We all struggle with limiting beliefs, one way or the other. Some more than others. It’s just the way most of us are wired, and it is simply something we will have do deal with sooner or later. Sadly, it’s not uncommon to deal with it by just accepting “who we are”, and continue to live life within the limits created for us.
Yes, they were created. You see, there was a point in time where the idea of becoming a professional soccer player seemed perfectly plausible, finding happiness was no more difficult than a good belly laugh, and saying things in front of a crowd wasn’t too embarrasing.
This was when you were a kid, long before parents, teachers, friends, neighbours and pretty much anyone you ran into started to fill you with limiting beliefs. Not necessarily out of spite or illwill of course, but rather because it was something they were convinced of themselves. It’s also quite possible they were woven into your upbringing with the intention to provide you with a realistic view of yourself and the possibilities at hand. And yet some of them were likely conjured up by none other than yourself.
I know, it’s so unbelievably annoying that you just want to slap yourself silly. And it happened without you ever noticing a thing. As these beliefs are controlled by our sub conscious mind, we tend to simply believe we were born that way, and that there is nothing we can do to change. They are simply reflexes we don’t remember learning, and rule almost everything we do. And rarely do we reflect on this fact.
Ever hear someone say they would love to get a certain skill, but that they lack the talent? Or that they would absolutely love to do that thing (working abroad, go backpacking or maybe start a business, take your pick), but that they lack the money/time, or both?
Beliefs are like road signs that point you in the right direction (or wrong). Without beliefs to guide you, it would be impossible to know how to act.
But there’s a catch.
The right direction is always the one that supports the belief. In other words; if you are convinced of failure, that’s exactly what you’re gonna get, and is typically the reason why people never follow through on the things they claim they want to accomplish.
Personal beliefs are chronic self-fulfilling prophecies. This is a of course a good thing when your beliefs are positive, as you’re likely to create a positive upward spiral that lifts you toward success. However, limiting beliefs will only drag you down and effectively block the way of any attempts at success. Every time. Until they’re adressed.
What to do
Knowing how to overcome limiting beliefs so you can move forward with your life is all about accepting things about yourself that you’ve resisted for a lifetime. Very few of us want to do that. This is why limiting beliefs are so pervasive and long-lasting.
To make matters worse, overcoming limiting beliefs involves accepting that not only do we have them, but that those beliefs involve a preference for the very thing we fear the most – failure.
So, you need to acknowledge your unconscious tendencies, and by doing so, something magical happens. The unconscious belief becomes conscious, and all of sudden it’s subject to change.
If you don’t make the belief conscious, it will continue to guide you on autopilot and deny you the things you desire. The best option is to bring it to the surface where you can exercise more control.
3 Steps to Take
- At the start of the day, acknowledge that a part of you will be actively seeking the advice of that miserable voice in your head you’ve been listening to for so many years. Simply by being aware of the beliefs that are holding you back means you have taken the first step towards awesome change.
- Identify one limiting belief at a time and challenge it. It doesn’t have to be enormous steps (you know, the shy guy doesn’t have to apply to x-factor right away), in fact smaller challenges that yield a quick result work better. As soon as you start to see results, by disproving the beliefs you hold, you will gain confidence. Not unlike seing those first results, after patiently spending countless of hours in the gym.
- Open up your mind to the things you may have categorized as silly before. Meditation, affirmations and visualisation may come off as a bit “out there”( at least they did to me in the beginning), but are actually powerful tools for personal growth. Use them!
On a final note, the key take away is this: Anyone can require just about any skill, whether that may be learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, overcoming social shyness or becoming an awesome public speaker. Period. As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s the absolute truth, and I don’t say that lightly.
If your conscious decision is to go to the gym four times a week, and cut down on your sugar consumption, you will get results. That is a fact. And once you start seing results, regardless of what it is you’re trying to achieve, you’re entire outlook on life (and yourself) will forever change.
No significant change will ever happen over night though. Patience and determination will be your best friends on this journey. But as long as you identify what’s really holding you back and make that conscious decision to do something about it, then change will inevitably happen. Combine that with a clear image of what the end result will look like for you, and you have an unbeatable formula for reaching your goals.