Hank was strong. Strongest dude in our gym. Big too. You could actually see his muscles! (No, really.) It was my first membership at a real gym. But it was a very small gym in a very small town.

But Hank? Hank wasn't small. He was huge. And he could easily hoist up the heaviest dumbbells in our gym and rep with them. As young teens, we were very impressed with Hank, and Hank knew it. He'd strut into that gym like Arnold strutting onto the stage at the 1975 Mr. Olympia.

The problem was, the heaviest dumbbells in our pissant gym were 50s. And Hank's physique wasn't that impressive; it was just the best physique in a tiny gym (filled mostly with 50-year old women doing Jazzercise) in a tiny town.

A limited environment can often limit your goals and expectations. Lifting the heaviest dumbbells in your gym feels good, but if the heaviest dumbbells in your gym are 50s then that achievement isn't impressive. Worse yet, it limits what you're truly capable of lifting and tricks you into thinking you've maxed out your performance.

We all need pushed a little more. We need to see those 200 pound dumbbells and know that another level exists. In short, we need to drop the strut and get challenged.

People are capable of achieving great things, more than they often realize. Surround yourself with the wrong people and they'll limit you. Don't settle for being the strongest person in a roomful of weaklings. Don't settle for being the smartest person in a roomful of idiots, or the most successful person in a roomful of failures.

Better to surround yourself with people a little stronger and a little smarter, people a little ahead of you in the game. Those invisible limitations will immediately fall. You'll get challenged to be your best.

And suddenly you'll see those 50s for what they really are: mediocre. And you'll have none of that.

Chris Shugart is T Nation's Chief Content Officer and the creator of the Velocity Diet. As part of his investigative journalism for T Nation, Chris was featured on HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumble." Follow on Instagram