What Is A Self Limiting Belief?
As I said in the previous post ‘What is The Secret To Success?’, beliefs are not real.
Unless you can get your head round that concept you’re probably going to struggle to make significant change and this post will probably frustrate you.
I sometimes post on a St Louis Rams message board and I’m frequently amazed by the amount of people who think the way they views things, is the only way to view things.
They seem to assume there’s a correlation between how fervently they believe and shout about something and the likelihood of it being true.
Does God Exist?
Millions of people believe with all their heart that God exists. Some of the cleverest minds on the planet believe that, as do some more cerebrally challenged amongst us.
Millions of people believe with all their heart that God does not exist. Some of the cleverest minds on the planet believe that, as do some more cerebrally challenged amongst us.
Which group you fall into is largely (although not entirely) an accident of birth, but make no mistake, neither is right and neither is wrong, they’re just beliefs
If you cannot or will not (as is often the case with extreme examples like the one above) distinguish between a belief and a fact, the process of removing self limiting beliefs is exponentially harder.
And the reason for that is if you can’t employ critical thinking you will always find ways to support your limiting beliefs.
Thinking you know that God either exists or doesn’t exist is arrogant and quite honestly, stupid.
And that’s not a knock on people’s faith, or lack thereof, it’s just that nobody knows the answer to that no matter how loudly the cry that they do.
What Is A Self Limiting Belief?
It’s important at this stage to separate a belief from a self limiting belief because, even though they obviously can be, they’re not necessarily the same thing.
Believing in God is unlikely to be a self limiting belief, unless that is you aspire to be a deity in your own right and rule the Universe, then the competition element may hold you back.
Similarly, my belief that bananas are a disgusting abomination of a fruit created by some malevolent being to curse me into old age hasn’t held me back in life.
However, if I ever want to make a living imitating a gorilla, it may turn into a limiting belief.
Here are some more sensible examples and how we turn a self limiting belief into a fact that we can work with.
(Self Limiting) Belief
- I’ll not find a mate that loves me
- I’ll struggle to make a decent living as a Life Coach
- I’ll never be a popular person
- I cannot stop one of my dogs from eating my tax return
- I haven’t found a mate that loves me up until now
- Making money as a Life Coach could be tougher than I expect, maybe I should hire Tim to help me!
- It’s probably going to take a lot of hard work to become as popular as I would like
- I didn’t manage to stop one of my dogs eating my tax return this year
You may have noticed that all of the first group are delivered as facts when none of them actually are, they’re opinions, beliefs or assumptions.
Of course the fullness of time and hindsight may prove them to be factual, but that’s not the same thing and none of us can see into the future to know that.
Statements like the former are unhelpful on two different levels.
The Two Reasons Self Limiting Beliefs Hurt You
Firstly, they all contain a presupposition that nothing will change in the future. Saying you’re not a popular person leaves no room for maneuver, it is what it is and your screwed and unpopular.
Secondly, when you say something like that your brain sorts for evidence to support the belief and it will nearly always remember times when you felt unpopular or disliked whilst ignoring any evidence to the contrary.
Thus you create a self-fulfilling prophesy as you carry on your not so merry way ‘knowing’ you’re unpopular.
A self limiting belief will always be future paced, and by that I mean it will have some element in it that suggests things cannot and will not change.
That may be a subtle presupposition as in the examples above, or it may be something a lot more in your face such as, “I’ll never be any good at this” or “I could never learn to do that”
Unless it’s something you physiologically cannot and will never be able to do, then for the most part treat every belief you have (that holds you back from doing or achieving something that is important to you), as a self limiting belief.
If you take that approach you are much more flexible, much more likely to spot erroneous beliefs masquerading as facts and in a much better position to kick their ass when you spot them.
This post was originally going to to explain who how get rid of self limiting beliefs. However, I thought it was wise to explain the basics before I got into that, so next time I really will tell you how to remove them.
Now who’s the first person who is going to tell me categorically God exists? ;-)