Mediocrity is Contagious
The old saying of "you are the company you keep" is especially valid when dealing with physical endeavors. Self imposed limits are validated by the progress of the individuals in your training environment. Regardless of your perceived independence; your training environment impacts your ultimate progress. People around you reflect your image. For example, a child learns that he or she is talented based on the relative responses of people around them. You can see this on shows like "American Idol" where participants think they have "talent" because some relative told them they sound great. If you train at a commercial fitness center, which is in the business of selling memberships and generating profit; the staff of that facility is going to do what is necessary to make everyone happy. If the older clientele request easy-listening -non-threatening music, that is what they play. This may be a conflict when trying to make significant physical progress.
In a world where the "ends" are prized more than the "means" it is difficult to get an honest assessment from people or organizations that profit from your insecurities. Always trust your instincts when acquiring information pertaining to exercise and nutrition. Hard exercise is effective and can be fun but fun is not a priority when trying to change your physiology. Your body does not want to change, so you must thoroughly convince it (though proper exercise) to change. Easy does not work when making physical changes.