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.