Limiting Beliefs

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I just got back from a trip to Hawaii with my wife. It was for our 10 year anniversary and was really a great time for me to bond and relax with her. I can still see the warm water and beaches even though I am back here in the cold of Utah. I wish I could have stayed in Hawaii longer.

Since I’ve returned, I’ve had time to reflect and think. I’ve realized there is one big barrier that holds me back. And that is my own limiting beliefs. And there’s not just one limiting belief, there are many. My hope is that by sharing what my own limitations are, that you will be able to identify yours and at least know what some of your struggles might entail.

Limiting Beliefs

I believe that I’ll never have greater than middle class income

This belief is tough for me. Most people I know are middle class. They work at regular jobs that pay the bills for supporting a family. I don’t have any close friends that own their own business or are very successful in their entrepreneurial endeavors. That may be the reason for this limiting belief. Either way, I’m doing all I can to recognize, but bury this limiting belief.

The challenge I have is that it’s hard for me to speak from a position of authority on creating wealth when I myself work at a job (that pays well of course) as a regular employee. I make about $30 to $40 a month from side stuff and that number is less than desirable. I think I have a lingering doubt in my head that says no matter what I try, it just isn’t going to work. That I’ll never get lucky and find a big break. I’d say that is the most challenging part about this belief for me.

As I think about overcoming this belief, I think the biggest obstacle is consistently taking action. This limiting belief can cause me to not even try sometimes because I don’t believe what I’m doing will work anyway, so I just don’t do anything. This of course leads to no results and no chance of creating extra income.

I believe I’ll never lose weight

This may seem funny to some people – but my family struggles with obesity – my parents and my siblings. I understand the struggle. I’m about 10 pounds above what my ideal weight is and it’s a vicious, perpetual cycle to live trying to get your weight down to a ‘goal’ weight. I think the problem here is living a certain way so long that having the idea of losing weight is nice, but the mind does not act in accordance because it believes it won’t happen anyway.

That is where I over-indulge and splurge. Since I don’t believe it’s possible to lose those last 10 pounds, even though it is a goal, I’ll just indulge and not watch what I eat. Because if it’s not possible to lost the weight, then why torture myself with trying? I think this is at the core of what limiting beliefs do. They create action that is a counter against some good being achieved. It’s like a boa-constrictor that squeezes tighter at the hint of any resistance. And so the snake squeezes and creates destructive action anytime anything presents itself which detracts from the weight loss goal.

Is that going to help someone struggling to lose weight? I don’t think so. If I were to take a guess, someone wanting to lose weight will probably be where they are now in one year. This isn’t to be pessimistic or to create doubt. It’s just the reality of the situation. It’s the law of averages as it comes to body transformation. Generally limiting beliefs prevail and no sustaining action is ever taken.

I believe I’ll never find a way to make a big difference

This is similar to the one where I feel I’ll never earn more than an average income. This limiting belief stems from a thought in my mind that people who are lucky or grew up with the right conditions are really the only people who have a shot at really leaving a mark on the world. Either you grew up in a wealthy family with the right parents, or you had such hardship and difficulty, that your body created the resourcefulness it needed to find success.

Either way, if you grew up in at least somewhat normal circumstances, your childhood was largely wasted on irrelevant activities and no foundation was created for making a large scale impact. And that’s my big challenge. My limiting beliefs says that I just don’t have the time as I’m getting older and that I should just accept that where I’m at is all I can do. It’s depressing, but I can see where the truth lies in that. I’m sure some of you might be able to relate to this.

I’m all for positivity and optimism and fire and doing great work. I’m all for taking risks and giving maximum effort. But I’ve realized that as I’ve done this, that I still have this belief in the back of my mind. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get rid of it. But being honest about it is probably a good first step…

I believe I’ll never find a way to climb the ladder at work

To take a spin off from the previous limiting belief, I’ll expound on my situation at work. I’m a web developer in a cubicle. That visual representation in my mind of myself is unsettling. The reason is that I feel shackled by the standard of doing such. It means I can’t really do any more than that. The frustration is that I feel perceived as a simple developer. Sure, I may be smart. I may have good ideas. But at the end of the day, I’m getting paid to write code. There is no perceived value beyond that.

So why even bother to try and climb the latter? Why dress up and talk to people and try to make a name for myself? I think the one thing that keeps me trying is realizing not many other people are doing it. If everyone is doing something and they are in a certain position, it stands to reason that doing things differently than that will give me a better chance.

The challenge is that I have not seen any result. I don’t get paid any more for what I do and I don’t get any better benefits for the extra work I do as a scrum master, in addition to being a web developer. Unfortunately that reinforces my limiting belief that I’m perceived as a developer and only get paid for such. I’m sure many of you are in a situation where you feel you are adding tremendous value, but nobody sees it or cares enough to do anything about it.

I believe it won’t matter when I die

Ah yes, this one is interesting. I used to think the world absolutely needs me. I still believe it does, but it does not mean I have this limiting belief conquered. Quite the contrary. I look at all the great people in the world and realize that I really am a grain of sand in the grand scheme of things. My only advice is to try not to dwell on this fact. To keep trying and doing regardless of how insignificant you think you are.

With over 6 billion people in the world, many are born into the world each day and many die and leave the world each day. I realize that were I to die, my passing would go un-noticed by the majority of the planet. Does that matter? I’m not sure, part of me wants to leave a legacy greater than myself.

It reminds me of the movie ‘Troy’ when Achilles is talking to the little boy before he goes to battle the best warrior of the opposing army. The boy says he saw the other warrior and he was huge and that he wouldn’t want to fight him. Achilles looks at the young boy and says, “That is why no one will remember your name.” I like that scene. It helps me realize that I have to keep doing those things which most people aren’t doing.

Conclusion

This article wasn’t meant to depress or encourage. Rather it was to confront the brutal facts of limiting beliefs. I hope that what I’ve done will serve you in the sense that you will be able to examine your own limiting beliefs and at least understand yourself. In a future article, perhaps I will ponder the best way to push past the limiting beliefs.

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Updated: December 10, 2010 — 10:50 AM

4 Comments

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  1. Man…. what happened in Hawaii? Too much time to reflect on the beach?

    I hear what you are saying, and I’ve got to say you can do better, I’m sure of it. Legacy is important. Empowerment is important.

    We have the $100,000 goal at Yakezie which I KNOW we will reach by this time next year. We are running the Yakezie Scholarship starting this Monday, and i KNOW it will be a success and 3 applicants are going to win a total of $1,000 this month, and every other month at least for all of 2011 and beyond. Every single Challenger will do better if the join the Yakezie Challenge at least, and perhaps you will consider the same.

    Cheers, Sam

    1. Sam, not my usual upbeat style huh? :) I think spending too much time reflecting can do that – make one dwell on negatives. But this healthy dose of reality and reflection was very eye opening and useful for me to see what I need to do differently.

      You’re absolutely right though, I can do better than what I am doing. My biggest pitfall has been lack of involvement with other people/websites/blogs, etc… That will change. I appreciate you stopping by as always.

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