Barbara and I use stainless steel water bottles every day. We have filtered water at our home, and we refill them multiple times per day. A few weeks back, I went to refill my bottle like I have done hundreds of times. I turned the water on and put my bottle under to fill, and water went everywhere. I had forgotten and left the lid on my bottle. Water was wasted. Things were a little messy. I had to take time to clean it up. Then I finally could take the lid off and fill the bottle.

We are constantly bumping up against lids in our lives. Sometimes it comes from not being prepared or not paying attention. Other times it is a little more nuanced than that. Limiting lids in our lives can create messes that we have to clean up and can cause us to waste valuable resources in the process. 

The question to answer is what are you going to do about your lids. There are usually options. Some people choose to continue to bump against the list over and over again. Others work to remove their lid so they can accomplish what they want.

In my 5 Thursday thoughts today, I want to share some common lids in people’s lives that we can address with a little effort or planning.


Some things come naturally to us. Other things do not. One of the places where we limit ourselves is an unwillingness to learn a new skill or improve on something we lack. There is no excuse not to learn what we need to learn in the world we live in. YouTube is a great resource. You can learn how to do almost anything with a quick search of this video website. If that is not sufficient, there are inexpensive courses on almost every subject. Don’t allow what you don’t know to keep you from what you want to do.


There are very few things in this world we have complete control over. The one thing we all have control over is our attitude. A negative attitude, or stinking thinking, has been the limiter to more people in the world than almost anything else. A poor attitude can keep you from enjoying moments of success. It stops us from enjoying the people around us or meeting the new people we need to move forward. Our attitude can shut things down before they ever get started. You have control of your attitude. Don’t let it be your lid.


We are all given the same number of hours in a day. We do not always use them the same way. Time is an excuse and a lid. Part of our problem is we do not arrange our time to achieve the thing we want most. We spend it and waste it instead of investing it. Time is much like money. It goes very fast if you do not pay attention closely. We all have things we are responsible for every day. Rearrange your day to make sure the important things get your time. Recently, I was listening to a book, and the author said his dad used to tell him, “you have nothing to do at 4 AM. Do it then.” Time is a tool. Use it. 


There is an old saying that “it takes money to make money.” To a certain degree, this is true. But this saying also makes us lazy. We use it as an excuse to do nothing until everything falls into place. One of the times I saw this first hand was when I first started leading leadership conferences in Venezuela. This would have been around 2010, and our church had been using some video technology in our services. We talked about how much the equipment cost and the challenges we faced. When I went to Venezuela, they were making better videos than we were, and they were doing it with equipment that was so old I am surprised it was still working. They were using old handheld camcorders and editing on a Windows XP desktop computer with a bubble monitor. They did not have the money for state-of-the-art equipment, but it did not stop them from getting started and doing what they needed. Use what you have to the fullest capacity. This example does not even address that you may need to shift your financial priorities to match your goals. Money can be a lid that is difficult to address. Most of the time, it is an excuse.


The opportunity of a lifetime is only as good as the lifetime of the opportunity. Sometimes it feels like everyone else gets all of the breaks, and we cannot get the opportunity we need. Many times, we have just not placed ourselves in the position to get the opportunity. We haven’t met the right people and gone to the right places. We have not gotten the training we need or had important conversations. You would be surprised by the doors that would open for you if you just start. Take advantage of what you have and move forward. It is arrogant of us to expect more opportunities when we haven’t maximized the ones we have. 

What lid is holding you back right now? What thing do you want that you could achieve with just a little effort? Don’t fall prey to limiting lids. 

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