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Limiting Beliefs

How Limiting Beliefs Affect Your Life

 

Previously, we examined how excuses are justifications for remaining stuck in your current circumstances. The excuses you use are a form of limiting belief. You’ll soon have a high-level understanding of how your various limiting beliefs impact your attitude, actions, and results.

 

Limiting beliefs probably have more of a negative impact on a person's life than any other factor. After all, most of us are pretty reasonable; we're not going to spend a lot of time on something that we believe is doomed for failure. Why would you even try to lose weight if you genuinely believed that everyone in your family was destined to be overweight?

 

We all carry around numerous limiting beliefs. They come from a variety of sources as well as from our own interpretation of the world around us. Humans can't help but learn, but sometimes we learn things that are inaccurate.

 

Fortunately, you can eliminate limiting beliefs and replace them with beliefs that empower you. Imagine replacing a limiting belief with one that makes life easier and enables you to be more successful.

 

It's important to follow a plan or process. Most things in life are like baking a cake. If you do all the right things when you're making a cake, in the end you'll get a cake. It's impossible to have any other result. Similarly, by following a process, you can banish your limiting beliefs.

 

Processes can be wonderful things. For example, if you have an effective process for getting up and getting ready in the morning, you'll never be late. If you have a healthy process for deciding what to eat, you're likely pretty healthy.

What is a limiting belief? For our purposes, we're going to define it as:


- A limiting belief is one that causes life to be less than completely satisfying.

 

You might believe that you can't be a doctor, but if you have no interest in becoming a doctor, what's the harm? There's no point in dealing with a belief like that, because eliminating it isn't going to have a positive impact on your life.

 

Focus your energy where it can have the greatest impact. The belief that you can't be a doctor is not a limiting belief based on our definition. So, limiting beliefs are those beliefs that restrict desirable options or your happiness.

 

Consider that if all of your beliefs were 100% accurate, you would be able to have nearly anything you've ever wanted. Believing the right things has a huge impact on your level of success.

 

Limiting beliefs affect our lives in so many ways, and none of them are good. If you can eliminate the 5 most limiting beliefs you possess, your life would forever change for the better.

 

One of the main ways that limiting beliefs have a significant negative impact on our lives is that they short-circuit the success process that follows:


 

1.       Decide clearly what you want. It's tough to accomplish something meaningful if you don't identify it first.

 

2.       Do something to make it happen. It takes action to attain any goal. Some people claim that you can practically wish a Porsche into your driveway without lifting a finger, but the real truth is that some action is required. You'll have to do something to accomplish anything meaningful.
 

3.       Adjust your approach as you gain new expertise. You might not know enough at first to realize the perfect path. If it's not working, do something else. Adjust your approach based on your results.
 

4.       Keep going until you're successful. If you kept improving your approach and you never gave up, how could you possibly fail? It's a simple process, but frequently, the simple processes can get you where you want to be. We spend too much time figuring ways to work around our faulty beliefs.

 

 

If you have a limiting belief, you're probably not going to complete step 2. As was stated earlier, most people won't take an action they think is doomed to fail. Why bother? This is one significant way that limiting beliefs get in our way.
 

Frequently, people are unable to complete step 4. Most of us decide too quickly that something won't work. As soon as you believe it won't work, you're unlikely to continue trying.

 

There’s a man in the real estate community who makes a great living buying and selling houses. He frequently has to make over 100 offers to get one accepted. How many offers would you make before you decided (incorrectly) that it wouldn't work?

Achieving big things usually requires time and effort. Frequently, that effort needs to be intelligent and calculated effort, as opposed to the lower-your-head-and-plow-ahead type of effort. It takes time and experience to put forth the proper effort. You can't do this with a limiting belief in the way.

 

Besides preventing your success, limiting beliefs also negatively affect your life in other ways, too, such as:

 

1.       Limiting beliefs taint your experience of living. You will do fewer things over the course of your life when you’re constricted by your limiting beliefs. Imagine what your life would be like without any limiting beliefs. Surely a fuller, richer life is more appealing to you, no matter how great your life is right now.
 

2.       You unintentionally harm those around you. Even with the best of intentions, you affect others with your limiting beliefs. You’ll likely teach your children false ideas that limit them and even affect your friends with erroneous advice.
 

3.       You fail to grow fully as a human being. It can be useful to view life with the purpose of eliminating your limiting beliefs and experiencing everything in the world that appeals to you. If you could do those 2 things, what kind of life would you have lived over the course of your lifetime? What path are you on right now?
 

4.       You'll be inefficient. Limiting beliefs cause us to find an alternate path, if we look for one at all. If we don't believe the best route will work for us, we spend a lot of time following a less direct path in an effort to work around our limiting belief. Save some time and deal with the limiting belief instead.

 

Now that you understand how devastating limiting beliefs can be, it only makes sense to discover your unique set of limiting beliefs. The next lesson will lead you through that process.

 

 

"Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.

Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives

and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives."


- Tony Robbins

 

 

Get Started on the Tips in This Lesson

 

Begin to understand the limiting beliefs you have rattling around in your brain. Make a list of all your unachieved goals, particularly those goals where you failed to even get started. If you failed to make a dent in a goal, there’s a good chance a limiting belief is to blame.

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10 Questions To Help You Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

 

 

During the first 6 or so years of our life, we soak up everything we hear and our young brains believe it to be true. During these years we develop our most powerful, and often times most life-limiting, beliefs that can stick with us for the rest of our lives. 

 

All of this information is held in our subconscious, and it's there to keep us safe. It's how we learn that the stove is hot because it burnt our hand, or how we know to look both ways before crossing the street because our parents drilled that home with us every single day.

However, some of these beliefs hold us back in life and keep us in a state of fear and ignorance. Typical limiting beliefs take the form of:

 

●       "I can't do that because"

●       "I don't deserve that because"

●       "If I do this something bad is going to happen"

●       "I can't do this because people will think"

 

I'm sure some of those statements sound familiar. I know I've said them on more than one occasion. So what do we do now? 

 

Here are 10 questions we can ask ourselves that will help us dig deep into our subconscious and identify our limiting beliefs.

1.  What belief has held you back the most? It might be hard to identify all of our limiting beliefs, but we can all pinpoint at least one belief that has held us back throughout our lives. 

 

It might not be obvious in the moment, but if we look back on the things we've done we can usually see it.

 

Maybe you didn't apply for that job you wanted because you didn't think you were "smart enough." Or that trip around the world you wanted to take never happened because you didn't think that was "responsible" and you went straight to college instead. 

 

Maybe you missed out on asking your future wife on a date because you knew she was "out of your league." 

2.  Why do you believe this? Now that we've identified our biggest limiting belief, ask yourself this question until you run out of answers. Maybe something happened to you when you were a kid. Maybe something happened to you last week. Maybe you've just never been told it's okay.  Write down every answer you come up with so you don't forget them. 

3.  What evidence proves your belief wrong? Most beliefs are just that, beliefs. Beliefs and facts are two very different things. Snow is cold. We know that because we can feel it. There's no debate to that fact. It can be measured. 

 

The fact that you believe you aren't smart enough for that job is subjective and just your opinion. There's no way to prove it with 100% certainty. If you look hard enough I'm sure you can find someone not as smart as you doing exactly what you want to do. The only thing stopping you is your belief. 

4.  What have you missed out on in life because of your belief? Sticking to the job example, how different would your life be right now if you applied for that job? Your life would most likely be completely different. Even if you applied and didn't get it, you could've learned something valuable from the person interviewing you. If nothing else, you would've learned that it's okay to try and fail. 

5.  Is there any truth in your belief? Is there truth to your belief? Has something happened to you recently to reinforce the belief? Or is it something you've believed for as long as you can remember and you don't really know why? 

 

If you can't think of anything to confirm your belief that has happened within a year, it's time to reevaluate. And be sure not to put too much weight in the opinions of others.  They also hold limiting beliefs that they project on others. 

6.  Question its impact. What happens if you challenge your belief? Let's say you wake up one morning and tell yourself you're not going to let that belief control your decisions anymore. Does your life change for the better? 

 

Do you allow yourself to do things that you've never done before? Do those things change your life for the better? Usually, the worst thing that can happen is a failure.  And even when we fail, we wake up the next morning with another chance to try again. 

7.  What are you afraid of? What's the worst possible thing that could happen if you challenge your belief? How does this change your daily life? Most of our fears boil down to being rejected, humiliated, embarrassed, isolated, and so on. How debilitating would these things be if they were to happen? Is bettering your life and giving up the belief worth the risk?

8.  How are you contributing? What are you doing on a regular basis that's contributing to your limiting belief? Are you reinforcing your negative emotions related to the belief? Are you letting the opinions of others influence what you believe? Are you avoiding doing things that would eliminate the belief? Write down all the ways you might be contributing to the belief so you can start changing those behaviors.

9.  What would you have to give up if you overcame this belief? What part of yourself would you lose if you gave up your belief? Would it be missed by you or the people around you? Would it make you a better person? Would it move your life in the right direction and create more opportunities? Sometimes our biggest fear is the fear of being more than we ever thought we were capable of. Make sure you aren't holding yourself back on purpose.

10.  What would you gain if you overcame this belief? How much better would your life be if you simply stopped believing in something that has no weight to it? Think of the freedom you could gain. Think of how much happier you could be. Would you even be able to make the lives of people around you better if you were to overcome this belief? Most success and happiness is just on the other side of a negative belief. Make sure you aren't keeping yourself from getting there.

Ask yourself these questions whenever you find yourself thinking "I can't" or "I shouldn't" or "I don't deserve it."  Make sure that thought is the reality and not just a limiting belief that's holding you back.