A limiting belief may also be referred to as a pessimistic belief. In short, these are beliefs that don’t allow us to adopt a feeling of certainty about something. Whether that be starting a great business, transforming your physical body, achieve excellent academic grades etc. They simply hold us back from being a better version of ourselves. Quite frustrating right? Now, some of you reading this, might know straight away what their limiting belief is. It’s simply that belief of whatever you keep telling yourself what you can’t accomplish.
Before I go on telling you how to eradicate limiting beliefs from your mind, it is essential that you understand the actual structure of a belief. Understanding how a belief is formed and how it really works is inevitable if you want to make a change to them.
Understanding what a belief really is
I’d like to refer to a model put forward by life-coach, business-strategist, and best-selling author Anthony Robbins. This model provides an excellent representation of how a belief is structured.
Right, let me explain this to you. A belief is nothing more than a bunch of ‘ideas’ or references put together that lead us to believe something. Here is an example…. suppose you have the belief that starting your own business is too big a risk for you. So you decide not to do it, even though, deep inside of you, you would actually like to get it started.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
That belief of too much risk involved is a limiting belief. Why? Because it is holding you back from getting out there and actually starting it. Simple right? But in reality, this belief is simply the outcome of your past experiences that you use as a reference that created this limiting belief for you. For instance, you may have seen one of your friends fail at a business in the past. Or you may have read a statistic that says that only 1 in every 9 businesses actually survive their first year of trading. Or perhaps it might be a matter of yourself having failed at a business in the past.
You see, these are past experiences of pain and failure that you use as ‘ideas’ or ‘reference legs’ that make you feel that it’s pointless and worthless anyway and that you don’t have the ability to act and execute. So your limiting belief is nothing more than a combination of past experiences put together that cause you to think or form a ‘thesis’ of what is impossible or what is not.
How to eliminate limiting beliefs?
“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.” – Brian Tracy
So the ultimate goal is to shake these ‘reference legs’ or disempowering ‘ideas’ and break them so we can build a new, more empowering belief. In other words, we have to create doubt for our current limiting belief. But how we do this? I’m sure that you’ve heard many people say that overthinking is bad for you. It simply makes us question what we believe in or what we’re about to do. Ever caught yourself questioning something so much that at the end you didn’t do it? I’m sure you have. The good news is, that the same principle actually works when having a limiting belief. So start asking yourself some thought-provoking questions like ‘How is this belief absolutely ridiculous?’ or ‘Was the person I learned the belief from worth modeling in this area?’ or ‘What will it ultimately cost me emotionally/financially if I don’t let go of this belief?’.
Another method is to start accepting the fact that your past does not equal your future. This may be tough to manage as our psyche tends to categorize new experiences into so-called ‘schemas’. These are pre-determined categories that have formed from past experiences. Ever met someone new and caught yourself thinking ‘Oh yeah, he’s just like one of my other friends!’ I’m sure you have. We all do it. So all you do is categorize that new person you met into an existing ‘file’ or ‘schema’ in your head. In psychology, this is referred to as a ‘cognitive short-cut’, simply because our brain is too lazy to create a new ‘file’ for the new person we met. So all in all, even though our psyche may find it difficult to accept, you need to start working on incorporating the fact that your past doesn’t equal your future.
Something that is inevitable, is that you search and find references or ideas that reinforce or help you adopt your desired belief. You may, for example, aim to find people who have done exactly what you thought was impossible to achieve. On top of that, you want to start committing yourself to taking massive action towards achieving your desired outcome of something.
“The sky isn’t the limit, your limiting beliefs are, dream big, take action and make your dream come true.” – Walter D’Amico
Take-home message. We all have limiting beliefs. Each and every one of us has them about something different. Usually about something we have associated pain and failure with in our past. The more important though is that we make a commitment to working on those limiting beliefs and make those a thing of the past. Only then can we break through our mind and unleash our inner power. Try to think of all the things around you right now. Computers, phones, buildings, cars, VR glasses… you name it. All these things were ideas some random person on our planet once had. And guess what, these people were no smarter than you are! So if they can achieve it, so can you. 🙂