One of the things that people tend to ignore is the damage that limiting beliefs can do to one’s life. If you are asking yourself what the heck I am talking about, that’s a good start 🙂
Imagine that you want to learn to play the guitar. You love music and have always dreamed of sitting somewhere with your friends playing your favorite songs on your guitar. But when you were a child you thought you didn’t know how to draw as well as your other classmates. So you grow up thinking that you have no artistic talent.
Then, when you think about learning how to play the guitar, that inner voice comes and says “You don’t have artistic talent. Better not even try. ”. So you give up trying to learn because you think you will not succeed. This is a limiting belief.
Limiting belief is something that you believe in and that limits you in some way.
In this post we will talk about how limiting beliefs can prevent you from being really successful in your life.
But, first, let’s understand a little better how limiting beliefs creep up on you.
Limiting beliefs are a type of excuse for not doing what you would really like to do. They keep us in our comfort and safety zone. This can greatly limit your personal development and achievement of your goals.
An important thing to realize is that often these limiting beliefs are things in our head that do not really match reality. They exist only because you are telling yourself that that is a reality. By changing your thinking, you can change as well.
As an example, feeding the belief that women are only interested in men with lots of money is just one way for you to make an excuse for yourself not to look for a woman. Obviously there are many women with men with little money out there.
Now try remembering the last time you wanted something and you didn’t get it. It was quite possibly a limiting belief that stopped you.
If you think about it, you will find that many of life’s difficulties and frustrations are derived from our limiting beliefs.
So if you want to achieve your goals, get rid of limiting beliefs that don’t make sense. Freeing ourselves from them, we make room to move forward on the path of life.
Why do we have limiting beliefs?
There are different sources of limiting beliefs. Some examples:
Let’s say you created a business that didn’t work. Perhaps from this experience there will be a limiting belief that you will not be able to create a new business that works because you have tried once and it went wrong.
It is often a matter of wrong logic. In the example above, it does not mean that the fact that the first business you tried went wrong that all others business attempts will also go wrong.
As Thomas Edison would say, “I didn’t fail. I just tried 10,000 ways that don’t work. ”
You may not really want to go ahead. Then you keep making excuses for yourself. For example, you can say that you have no discipline to diet and lose weight. Deep down, you may not really want to get away from what you like to eat.
Fear is certainly quite limiting. Let’s say you are afraid of flying by adopting the belief that flying is dangerous. In fact, it is known that airplanes are the safest form of transportation that exists. But that ends up not being the most important in the decision.
Family, friends, colleagues and the people who are part of your daily life can be a source of limiting beliefs for you.
Let’s say that a colleague of yours tells you about an experience in which he got sick after eating sushi and that it happened because sushi is made with raw meat.
You can develop a limiting belief that eating sushi is bad for your health by preventing you from enjoying or even trying it.
Religion is famous for indoctrinating people by generating diverse limiting beliefs. They even have a specific term for it: “sin”.
For an unassuming gay to hear from the priest of his Church that being gay is a sin can be a great mental block for him to assume his homosexuality.
Beauty standards are one example of things that can become a limiting belief for people.
A beautiful young woman may create a belief that she will never get a boyfriend because she does not follow the standards of beauty adopted by society.
How to discover your limiting beliefs?
To discover your limiting beliefs, think about something you would like to do and don’t do. Then look for the justification you find for not doing it. This justification is usually in the “why” of the sentence.
For example, let’s say you think “I can’t get a good job because I don’t have a college degree.”; “I cannot take the initiative in a date because men should do it.”; “I can’t have my own business because the economy is bad.”
As soon as you find a justification or excuse for not doing something, you will not do it.
How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
Identify one of your limiting beliefs
Think about what you would like to do and why you are not doing it. What is preventing from doing it?
Write it down.
Recognize that it is just a belief
Recognize that your justification may be a belief that is not true.
Challenge your own belief
Question your belief by raising questions like these:
• Is this belief really sound? What are the supporting facts?
• Did I always think that way? If not, what has changed?
• Is there evidence against my belief?
• Do other people agree with this belief?
• What would it be like to think of exactly the opposite of that belief?
• Is this belief helping me to progress towards my goals?
• How would I think about this belief if I were someone else (Einstein, Steve Jobs, an entrepreneur, a doctor etc …)
Notice the consequences
What are the consequences of holding on to your limiting belief? Holding on to the belief that you are not able to pass a entrance exam because you failed your first attempt can deprive you of passing in the future and having a better life.
Adopt a new belief
Choose something new to believe in. Something that will help improving your life, even though the transition may not be easy.
Depending on how long you have thought and lived through what led you to believe what you believe, it may have created a very strong emotional bond and rooted the belief very strongly.
But if you want to go ahead and change, you will need to have the strength and courage to make that change in thinking and adopt your new belief.
Put it into practice
Take action and start implementing things that support your new belief. Let’s say you had a limiting belief that said “I’m too old to start exercising”. After going through the previous steps you decided to adopt a new belief “It is never too late to start”. So today I go for a 15-minute walk to start exercising and create a habit from there.
Examples of Beliefs That Can Keep You From Being Successful
- I can’t do it
- Yes, I can do it.
- If someone else did it, I can do it too.
- Money is dirty and hard to get.
- Money is a great and powerful energy.
- Having a lot of money is a great thing.
- I can have a lot of money and be a great person.
- Money is easy to get.
- I can make a lot of money if I put in the work.
- Work is a prison
- Work makes me feel useful.
- I love getting home from work after a busy and successful day.
- I love my job and what I do can really make a difference in someone’s life.
The most important thing is to understand that limiting beliefs make you live below your potential, but these beliefs can be changed.
Reformatting your thinking can result in magnificent achievements for your life.