“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.“
– Henry Ford
We have all heard this quote before. Whether you believe this quote or not, you’re right, and the key secret lies both in the expansions and limitations in our minds — whether we think we can or cannot.
Our beliefs are so powerful that they dictate the direction of our lives and we seem to attract only what we believe in. Our beliefs are the lens through which we see the world. Unless we change our beliefs, it is unlikely that our situations will change. Our beliefs have been formed since the day we were born. Our environment, upbringing, education, and experiences have all come together to create who we are today. And just like positive experiences add to who we are, negative experiences tend to create walls within us for protection.
I remember when I was in primary school, I participated in several school competitions from art to math to science. My dad told me that the secret to becoming a winner is to think like a winner. And the winner does not let doubt, particularly self-doubt, enter their mind. I grew up with a great life coach, whom I’m blessed to call ‘dad.’ But even then, I still had a lot of self-limiting beliefs creep in. I had doubts, insecurities, and fears. As I got older, I started pinpointing what those limiting beliefs were and tried to get rid of them one by one.
Telling yourself that one of your beliefs is invalid can feel like you are lying to and robbing yourself. But the fundamental truth is that beliefs are at the core of who we are.
Here are the steps I had to go through each time I worked on removing a self-limiting belief.
1. Identify what your limiting beliefs are.
There’s no doubt that we may have more than one limiting belief. Identify the beliefs that you want to work on and overcome. Examples of such beliefs are:
- I don’t believe I can start my own business and make it succeed.
- I don’t trust the opposite sex.
- I don’t want to fall in love because I will get my heart broken again.
- I want to ask for what I want, but what if I get rejected again like I have been?
- I can never make money from my passions.
- Life is unfair.
It can be extremely hard and we may feel that it would be very difficult to try to challenge these beliefs. But if you’re reading this now, it means that you realize some of your beliefs are holding you back in life and you want to work through them.
Congratulations! It’s time to make some more progress.
2. Identify the root cause of those beliefs
Now that you know what your limiting beliefs are, it’s time to uncover how these were formed in the first place. Who or what planted the seed within you?
- If you don’t believe you can start your own business and that you will likely fail, root causes may be that (1) you don’t believe in your own capability. You don’t have enough self-confidence and self-belief. (2) you’ve seen many businesses fail (3) people around you, family and close friends, don’t believe that starting a business and becoming successful is possible.
- If you don’t believe true love exists, it could be because you grew up with parents that had a failed marriage, witnessed people close to you suffering through bad marriages and divorces, or you have gone through a terrible breakup yourself, resulting in your heart being shattered into pieces.
- If you don’t trust the opposite sex, it could be because you’ve been cheated on before, and that you have friends who sleep around so you learn the tricks of the game.
- If you are too scared to ask for what you want because you have been rejected too many times in the past, identify why you got rejected. A lot of times, this has nothing to do with you but to do with them and their criteria.
- If you don’t believe that you can make money from your passions, it could be because (1) you don’t believe in yourself (2) you have been told to believe that passions are not to be pursued professionally. This belief could also be passed onto you from your parents because parents oftentimes pass on their beliefs to their children.
- If you believe life is unfair, this could be because you focus on what you don’t have and what you lack rather than being grateful for what you do have. This could be because you compare other people’s front-row highlights to your behind-the-scene lows. This could be because you always focus on the negatives. This pattern likely was formed while growing up. You may have grown up with a caretaker or a parent whose view of the world was negative. Therefore, you started adopting those beliefs and focused on the negatives as well.
3. Challenge your beliefs.
“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.”
Now you’ve identified your beliefs and the cause of them, it’s time to challenge those beliefs by finding the other side of the argument. Most of the time, we surround ourselves with people with the same beliefs. So our limiting beliefs get reassured and reaffirmed, making us feel that our beliefs are right and that it is the only way to see the world. But this is not true. As you’re reading this, you’ve probably already realized that you have limiting beliefs that are holding you back and you want to get rid of them for good. In order to change your beliefs, you must change your environment. Remember, we are a product of our environment and our brain subconsciously mirrors the people and things we are in closest relation to.
- If you don’t believe that you can start your own business, then start looking at businesses that succeed. Make friends with and talk to entrepreneurs who have started businesses and are successful. Surround yourself with people whose belief challenge your own limiting belief as much as you can so that you eventually erase your old belief from your mind and adopt the new belief.
- If you don’t trust the opposite sex, then this unconsciously makes you attract the opposite sex who are not to be trusted. Your limiting belief in this area also sets a low standard for what you should and should not accept which does not go with what your heart truly desires. Sometimes we start tricking ourselves as a self-defense mechanism so that we do not get hurt. Trust issues are hard to overcome and I still combat them myself. Giving trust fully to the opposite sex right away can be hard when you’ve been hurt in the past. Challenge this belief by becoming friends with men and women who do not play around and only sees one person at a time. By doing this, you will start to see the other side of the coin. Your existing belief will get challenged and slowly you will start changing your belief.
- If you don’t believe you can make money from your passions, then start making friends with people who successfully turn their passions into profits. Learn from them. Absorb the good energy from them. See how they do things. Surround yourself with people whose beliefs challenge your old beliefs. This will slowly change your beliefs.
- If you believe life is unfair and realize that it’s because you have a pattern of focusing on the negatives, then start by removing yourself from negative people. A lot of the time, we continue to hang out with people with the same beliefs as us because it’s comfortable. But, comfort doesn’t always equal care. Sometimes comfort reinforces worry, self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors, and negative patterns. Look at people who eat for comfort or cut their wrist for comfort, sure it gives you momentary release and takes your mind off one of the pains. But does that mean it’s good? No. Once you realize this, you realize that being in a comforting surrounding doesn’t always do us good, and in fact, it can do us a lot of harm sometimes. Put yourself in a new environment. Surround yourself with positive people who focus on the good things in life and what they have. This might feel strange, foreign, and not comfortable in the beginning. But slowly, you will get to see a new perspective, and you will be able to see the glass half full, rather than half empty. Or even better, you will start being thankful that you even have a glass!
4. Take it one day at a time. Journal.
Changing our beliefs is no easier than changing a habit. In fact, it’s much harder because our beliefs lay as a baseline for our actions and thoughts. Take it one day at a time.
In the beginning, it will feel like you’re forcing yourself to believe in something that you do not believe in at all. Try to forget the old belief. Remind yourself of the good reasons why the new belief is more believable. Surround yourself with people who embody the new belief. Read content that reinforces the new belief.
Journal. Record your thoughts. Observe the little things in life that could help you reinforce the new belief. Slowly, one day, when you successfully adopt the new belief, you will feel like a brand new person. You will even forget that you used to have that old belief and what it felt like to have a belief that held you back for so long.
I’m here with you. And you can use our Growth Mindset printables to help you tackle your self-limiting beliefs and start the new year with no limitations. Remember, it all starts in the mind.
“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”
– Robert T Kiyosaki