What Are Limiting Beliefs?
I am going to start out by providing a few examples of limiting beliefs.
This can be an abstract concept to grasp, but when you see them laid out before you, it becomes much easier to understand.
The Person Who Can't Start Their Own Business:
Let us say that you have a business idea. You are going to provide coaching for small businesses and help them get up and started. You will charge a relatively low flat fee, but then the company will pay you a slightly larger fee a year later if their earnings have passed a certain threshold. Nice idea!
Your model involves selling direct to the customer, and the way you plan to do this is by looking for them on Instagram. You will find people who post about a business plan, then you will privately message them and simply start chatting. If you spot and opportunity to sell, you will pounce. That is the “soft sell” approach, and it means you can build a relationship and demonstrate your value before you charge.
Here is the problem though: you are too scared to contact anyone! Every day you put off messaging your clients unexpectedly, and you can not quite put your finger on why.
Chances are it comes down to some limiting beliefs:
- You do not believe anyone would pay for your business idea
- You are worried that if you fail, you will lose something that has been keeping you motivated
- You are a “shy person” and do not like to disturb people
Three limiting beliefs, holding you back from capitalizing on your dreams – even getting rich!
The Person Who Will Not Leave Their Current Job/Relationship:
Let us try another situation. Let us say you are in a job or a relationship that makes you unhappy. It really does not matter which, but you know it will not provide you fulfilment.
But you STAY THERE anyway! Why? Because you feel it is the “best you are going to get.” You think that if you terminate the relationship, you will end up loveless. Likewise, you will find yourself on the street if you quit your current job.
A lack of esteem means that you do not believe you can get “better.” You effectively think you are not “worth” more than that. In turn, this leads you to make some terrible mistakes.
Some people will even stay in abusive relationships because they do not feel that they will find anything better! Some even feel that they deserve the abuse they receive.
The Author Who Throws Away His Novel:
Did you know that when Stephen King first wrote Carrie, he threw it in the trash? It was his wife who retrieved it for him and told him he was being crazy!
Turns out, that we often cannot recognize our own good work – or we are too scared to believe in it!
Now compare this to someone like J.K. Rowling who persistently kept sending out her manuscript for Harry Potter despite it being rejected over and over! Imagine if Rowling had King’s lack of self-belief!
The Person Who Will Not Approach a Group of Friends:
The sad truth of it is that for some people, limiting beliefs are so powerful that they will not even go and speak to their own friends. They believe that they will stutter, or that their friends do not want them there! They think they have nothing to contribute to the conversation.
The Person Who Keeps Smoking:
Not all limiting beliefs can seem like negative things on the face of it. For example, how about your sense of “self.” We all have a sense of who we are, but most of us do not think of this as a limiting belief!
Of course, who you think you are is not always limiting, but it can be!
The perfect example of this is what happens when you get stuck in “type thinking.” This is when you think that you are a certain “type” of person, or that you have a certain set of traits, and then you let that dictate who you are going forward.
For example, you might have a reputation for being the class clown. As a result, you always cause a ruckus in the office and draw attention to yourself. Eventually, this starts to hurt your career, but you feel as though you cannot change that about yourself – as it is something you are known for and an integral part of your personality!
Likewise, you might not want to stop smoking because you have “always smoked.” You might not want to improve your diet because you love being known as the guy who eats everything. You might not approach clients because you think of yourself as shy.
As you can see, limiting beliefs really can be extremely problematic and hurt every aspect of your life – and I have only touched on a few. For this reason, it is time to start doing something about them.
Stay tuned for my upcoming articles to learn more.
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