Eradicating LIMITING BELIEFS should be your focus.
Empowering beliefs can be used as a tool to help motivate, but use them wisely.
For example Saying “I’m going to be the best football player in the world”, is probably less doable than being a professional football player. Some endeavours are dependent on physical attributes and genetic limitations, while others are less so. You can be the best of your potential for sure, but if you can’t sing a note, you’re unlikely to be the best singer in the world, even with 10,000 hours of practice. But hey, if you aim for the stars you might make it to the moon.
You can aim to max out your potential in any pursuit, the best singer, the best footballer the best whatever you want, with enough desire and application.
Any sustained, purposeful practice will improve performance, remember the beginning is always going to be the hardest because it’s new and different. It will get easier and you will get better the more you do it, the more you practice, with the aim of improving on your previous attempt.
Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to try new things out because you might happen on a new path forward, that fills you with delight when you do it, which enthuses you when you wake up in the morning because of the prospect of doing it again today.
If you don’t have that something in your life that you love to do, maybe it’s simply because you haven’t discovered it yet, it’s out there waiting for you to find it. You might need to try 10 things, 100 things, a 1000 things before you discover it, but it’s out there.
Limiting beliefs act like coping strategies, they arm you with excuses not to engage, not to expose yourself to the chance of failure and disappointment. You may say to yourself I can’t do that, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the necessary skills or experience etc these excuses are tricks of the mind. You won’t start off with all that you’ll need at the beginning, but in the process of doing, you learn, and acquire all that you need to reach the next level, if you apply yourself effectively.
You can’t learn to ride a bike or walk by simply reading an instruction manual, you have to try to do it, you fall and you learn from falling, that’s how it’s supposed to work. You wouldn’t tell your child to give up walking because they failed to do it the very first time, or the second or third would you? You’d encourage them to keep trying until they could do it.
If something has been done before, it can be done again. You have an example you can model and learn from.
If something has never been done before then ask yourself why. 4 minute miles couldn’t be done until Roger Bannister did it. Men being able to fly wasn’t possible until the wright brothers did it. Getting a man on the moon wasn’t possible until Neil Armstrong did it.
Don’t let limiting beliefs discourage you, instead scrutinise such beliefs and ask of them, why can’t I, who says so? How do I know until I try? What’s the worst that can happen if it doesn’t work out? Is that so bad?
Never fear failure, because it’s an integral part of the learning process. You’re not really failing, you’re learning how not to do it. Embrace the learning process because a better version of yourself is waiting on the other side.
If you find yourself defending a Politician who is under verbal attack, let’s say its Jeremy Corbyn receiving stick from someone in a group your part of, or you feel the compulsion to defend or stick up for him, it’s because either..
#1 – You see the attack as a form of bullying that is disagreeable to your values of what is right and wrong behaviour or
#2 – You believe their opinion is inaccurate or unfounded or
#3 – You’ve psychologically invested a sense-of- yourself in that Politician or a cause they represent. You may feel you are personally being attacked through them, or at least what that Politician stands for, maybe their values, principles, cause or whatever it is you are attached to, that they represent in your perception. In the example of Jeremy Corbyn, you might share the same Political, Socialist stance or views.
The emotional response you feel, the compulsion to want to defend him, your physiological and psychological reactions, originate from a primitive part of your mind, what Spirituality calls “the Ego”, others may call “Instinct”, or survival instinct.
It’s the emotional part of your mind that needs to defend itself from a perceived devaluation in its sense of self.
Sense of self explained
Your “Sense of self” includes anything you’re psychologically attached to. If you refer to people, things, ideas, concepts using.. “my”, “mine”, “I have”, “I am”
“it’s MY car”, or “that car is MINE”
“MY opinion” or “this opinion is MINE”
“MY belief” or “this belief is MINE”
“MY friend” or “this friend is MINE”
“I AM a Socialist” or “I HAVE Socialist values”
Or even “WE ARE [Socialist]”, “WE HAVE [Socialist values]”, “OUR opinion/car/family” etc
For example if you hear a car has been stolen, it’s unlikely to bother you but if your car is stolen, a car you describe as “my car”, then you’re likely going to have an emotional response.
Well the same is true if the thing you’re attached to is tangible like a car, a person, or a possession or intangible like ideas, thoughts, beliefs, values, opinions, religious or political stances or views.
The reason you attach to such things, is because your instinct wrongly believes the more you have the more you are. You have a greater sense of self by having more attachments connect to you.
Taking control back
So what can you do about it, well if you don’t want to do anything about it and you’re happy to go along with the INSTINCTIVE part of your brain, and your emotions, be my guest.
But is you don’t want to be a slave to your instincts and emotions, understand one important thing, there is another part of your mind that can and should always take control.
If your instinct is the child-like reactionary part of your mind, the Intellect; the conscious thinking mind is the grown up part.
This part of your mind is where rational decision making resides. It’s the part that of your mind that says eating that piece of cake is not a good idea, and dismisses your instinct is craving for a slice.
It’s the part of your mind that says, stop taking drugs they are going to kill you, when your instinct is craving another fix.
It’s the part of your mind that says, stop investing a sense of yourself in Political ideologies and the people that represent them and start thinking rationally about such matters, when your instinct is craving the attachment.
BELIEFS are what make the world go round, at least for us as human beings. They determine what we will and won’t do, they determine what we pay attention to or ignore.
They are thoughts we invest a sense of ourselves into and hold with some certainty that they are true.
Beliefs are our path to freedom or the prison that keeps us trapped and hold us back from following our dreams.
Beliefs are picked up throughout our journey of life, from our parents, teachers, peers, friends and from wider society through the media, social media and authority figures.
Beliefs should be scrutinised and seriously questioned, because they are often based on nothing more than assumptions, inferences and the testimony of other people, rather than being derived from facts and truths and being evidence based.
Consider self-limiting beliefs like…
I’m not good enough
I’m not skilled enough
I don’t have the talent
I don’t have the experience
I don’t have the time
I don’t have the money
I don’t have the resources
I’ll forget my lines
Beliefs about what others think or will think about you
If it doesn’t work out…
They’ll know I’m a fraud
They’ll see me as a failure
I’ll make a fool of myself
I’ll embarrass myself
They’ll be disappointed in me
They’ll laugh at me
They want me to fail
They’re just wanting me to fail
They’ll think I’m fat
Beliefs about past performance
I’ll mess up, I always do
I failed last time, I’ll fail again
I’ve never been able to do it before
Seriously, stop buying into such beliefs, they disempower you, they turn you off even trying things. If you want to believe anything believe….
Self limiting beliefs are not going to put me in the best frame of mind to succeed
The opinion of other people isn’t important, it’s my life and only my opinion really matters; I must start being kind to myself
The past doesn’t dictate my future. Learn from my failures and improve going forwards
You can do whatever you put your mind to with enough effort, dedication and determination
You can learn what you can, and draft in help to fill the gaps
There is always a way, you just have to find it
You never fail at anything unless you give up trying
Getting results is a matter of acquiring the right knowledge, improving motivation and being productive
Take a long, hard look at your beliefs, write them down on a piece of paper. Question their validity, even ask someone you respect and trust to give their opinion of them. Replace the limiting beliefs, you wrongly, hold with more empowering beliefs that will give you the best frame of mind to succeed. If you’re going to make shit up, make it empowering.
As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living
against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is Authenticity.
As I began to love myself
I understood how much it can offend somebody
if I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right
and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call this Respect.
As I began to love myself
I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything
that surrounded me
was inviting me to grow.
Today I call this Maturity.
As I began to love myself
I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call this Self-Confidence.
As I began to love myself
I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects
for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness,
things I love to do and that make my heart cheer,
and I do them in my own way
and in my own rhythm.
Today I call this Simplicity.
As I began to love myself
I freed myself of anything
that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations,
and everything that drew me down
and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is Love of Oneself.
As I began to love myself
I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since
I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is Modesty.
As I began to love myself
I refused to go on living in the past
and worrying about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment,
where everything is happening.
Today I live each day,
day by day,
and I call it Fulfillment.
As I began to love myself
that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But as I connected it to my heart,
my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection Wisdom of the Heart.
We no longer need to fear arguments,
confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide,
and out of their crashing, new worlds are born.
Today I know: This is Life!
Having done some research, we found that this poem“As I Began to Love Myself” was not actually written by Charlie Chaplin. As far as we can tell, the poem is actually an English translation of Portuguese translation of an English language book written by Kim and Alison McMillen in 2001 entitled “When I Loved Myself Enough.” That text was then altered even further into the shareable form it consists of today.
The BELIEFS we hold so dear, are often, indirectly holding us back from chasing down our goals. The way we use beliefs to make decisions, and to interpret the world around us, can result in, both positive and negative consequences for us as individuals.
Our beliefs are the core of how we evaluate the world we live in. They determine, often on a subconscious level, who and what we pay attention to, or ignore. They influence what we do, or don’t do. They shape how we interact with others. They inform our choices about what groups we decide to join, or not. They affect who and what we are drawn to and who and what we avoid, who and what we disagree with and whether we take action or stay put.
I like to think about beliefs like bullet points that form the backbone of a story we tell ourselves, which we believe with some certainty, that we use to navigate the world around us.
For instance if you believe the following…
The world is a dangerous place – The news is full of horrible, violent events, I can’t remember it being this bad when I was younger
People are more violent these days than they used to be, I can’t remember all this knife crime and shooting I hear about now
People only care about themselves, and are less likely to help others, than they used to be
Community spirit is long gone, people aren’t as friendly as they used to be
So these beliefs form the backbone of a story that depicts the world as a lonely, scary place, with danger at every turn, where people are out to get you or rob you. – okay I’m exaggerating for effect here, but you get the point. The stronger you hold these beliefs, the more powerful the resulting emotions you will fear.
So how do you think this thought process is going to shape your behaviours? You might go out less particularly at night, or avoid certain places altogether because you see them dangerous. For instance, you might turn down the opportunity to go on holiday to somewhere you’ve heard has had problems in the recent past.
You might be less trusting of strangers when you interact with them, coming across as unfriendly and uncaring from their point of view. This impacts how they react to you in return. You can see how we can easily get the wrong opinion of someone and vice versa.
If you see someone in distress you might rush by, for fear of falling into a trap. It might well be a trap, it does happen, but it might also be someone that desperately needs your assistance.
You might prefer to keep yourself to yourself, rather than seek the company of others in social situations, making you seek aloof and unfriendly.
It’s not hard to see that these underlying beliefs are impacting the way you might make decisions, how you interact with people and places and how others see and interact with you. This shapes your relationships and directly impacts the quality of your life.
Life’s experiences are a combination of interpretations, emotions, behaviours, reactions and interactions which act like a feedback loop; all of which, are built on top of our core beliefs.
So what can we do about beliefs that are spoiling the quality of our lives? Surely we can’t just change our beliefs to suit us, after all, they are based on truths and reflect how the world actually is, right? Otherwise they wouldn’t be our beliefs in the first place, would they?
Well, let’s consider what a belief is. My definition of a belief is ;
“It’s a thought (which is a mind constructed abstraction) we hold with some certainty to be true.”
The dictionary definition is;
“An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.”
The directory definition is interesting because it adds “with proof” at the end. Yet I’d bet few of us consider our beliefs not to be based on proof, we might not even contemplate this possibility. When in fact, many beliefs we hold are based on nothing more than assumptions, inferences, and the testimony of other people.
Beliefs are absorbed through social conditioning. We learn them from people around us, from the media, from influential people like teachers, parents, authority figures, experts, from peers, work colleages and friends. Increasingly we are strengthening such beliefs through social media algorithms that are designed to feed us more information that we have “liked” in the past.
Okay our personal experiences shape our beliefs to some degree, of course, but consider than our beliefs are underpinning how we even interpret our experiences.
We see or hear something and almost instantly give is some meaning. This meaning is based on our beliefs. At the same time we are filtering out incoming stimuli and data that we aren’t interested in. For instance we buy a red Mini, we suddenly start seeing red Minis everywhere. Where there no red minis around before we purchased one, or were they always there but we just didn’t notice? Check out this video, follow the instructions, and see the power of our minds to filter out unnecessary stimuli.
So beliefs are core to what we pay attention to and what we filter out.
Something else that’s important to understand about our beliefs are they are often invested with our sense of self. This means we psychologically attach to them. They become our belief, we and the belief become one. Because we do this particularly with strongly held beliefs we fall into a couple of traps.
The first trap we fall into is we notice evidence that supports the belief, and ignore anything that contradicts it. This is known as confirmation bias.
The second trap we fall into is we find it hard to change a belief because we’re invested in it. To change the belief we must first accept we were wrong to begin with, and this can be unacceptable for our fragile Egos.
The way to avoid these traps is to avoid investing our sense of self in them. How? Well, use a scientific approach, consider beliefs like a best guess (hypothesis) that you actively try to disprove. That way you don’t fight for them, instead you’re open to hearing contradictory evidence. You suddenly stop trying to be right, and instead try to find the truth.
So the question becomes, which beliefs should we keep and which should be abandon? In truth, we should, as I’ve said previously, turn all beliefs into best guesses. But specifically it’s the beliefs that are holding us back from going after our goals we should target first. If it’s not serving you, drop it or change it.
Beliefs that hold you back tend to be self-confidence focused. Consider these common beliefs…
I’m not capable of doing [blank]
I don’t have the experience/resources/skills/ talent to do [blank]
You need to be [blank] to succeed at doing [blank]
We often allow these beliefs to put us off even trying to make progress, due to fear of things like disappointment, failure, loss, embarrassment, etc.
Changing such beliefs or incorporating new beliefs that empower us will help us to overcome such limiting beliefs
The best way to learn is by doing
Failure is a necessary part of learning and making progress
I am capable of doing this, I might have to learn something new or develop a skill further, but I can do it
If I lack a particular skill, I can find someone who I can hire to help me
Where there is a will, there is a way…always
I can only truly fail if I give up completely – I will not be beaten
You are never too old to learn new tricks
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change
These are empowering beliefs, but they are also very true, and more grounded in reality than simply saying “I can’t do this”. Why can’t you do it? Who says so? Based on what, the past? Remember the past doesn’t equal the future, how’s that for a belief.
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Drive your actions,
What you do,
What you don’t do,
What interests you,
And what doesn’t,
What you enjoy,
What annoys you,
What you’ll do,
What you won’t,
What turns you on,
What turns you off,
What you say and how you say it,
They choose your friends,
Where you live,
What you do for a living,
If you drive or not,
Where you holiday,
If you holiday,
What you buy,
What you throw away,
They are your focus,
They colour your world,
They make you liberal or conservative,
Leave or remain,
Kind or mean,
Social or reclusive,
They make you fat or thin,
Successful or not,
They determine if you’ll give up or soldier on,
They are your path to freedom or your prison.
So what are beliefs?
They are rigid thought forms invested with your sense of self. Formed from assumptions, inferences and the testimony of other people. They are a consequence of our social conditioning. Our thoughts are largely given to us by others.
What they are not, is fact or truth. They can be changed, reformed, manipulated to serve you better. They can and are manipulate by skilled persuaders to get you to do things for them, so be warned, be vigilant. Bring awareness to your beliefs, if they are hiding from scrutiny, observe your behaviours and emotions and ask why? What belief is driving this?
The modern world is fast moving, and we are, more than ever, required to try to keep pace with it. This requires the following…
To have a big enough WHY – If you’re not driven towards something, you’re going to struggle to find the motivation to learn what needs to be learned, and to do what needs to be done. Aligning your inner purpose with your outer purpose is a sure way to commit to the cause.
Ensure there is NO RESISTANCE – let go of the way things are, release any fixation you might have on the way things are or have been and open yourself up to the new, which brings me nicely onto the next point.
Open your mind to new ways of working, at least to the actual way things are now, today and keep one eye on where things are heading.
Keep looking forwards – stay ahead of the curve. The pace of change might scare you, because often change means risk and uncertainty, but with the right mindset, it also presents opportunities. Position yourself to take advantage of the way things are going to be. It’s going to happen, whether you like it or not, so better to make the most of it, rather than burying your head in the sand and pretending it’s not happening.
The next point is to become a FAST LEARNER! The skill that is going to future-proof you is the ability to learn new things as fast as possible. This starts with having the right mindset; be a lifelong learner, a master of what you know and an apprentice of what you don’t know. The fastest and most effective way of learning is by doing. You really can’t beat experience and purposeful practice.
Keep bureaucracy to a minimum, that of you or your organisation. This includes any regulations and rules you might operate within. Use just enough to get the job done. We can take a lead from nature with regards to this. The impressive flying acrobatics of Swallows runs on 3 simple rules; avoidance, direction and distance. Complex communities like that of Ants is based on simple rules that don’t rely on mountains of regulations, paperwork, check sheets and meeting about meetings.
Give yourself a a GOAL, and use it to gauge general direction, rather than it being a rigid, fixed, non-movable destination. Remain open to accidental discoveries and serendipity, but be wary of temptations and distractions that gets in your way and damage productivity and progress. There’s a fine balance to be struck here, which can only be fine-tuned through trial and error.
Finally use the getresults framework to ensure you KNOW – WANT – DO what’s necessary to get the results you’re seeking. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more.
Change is hard for one person, doing it yourself can be really difficult, let alone managing the change of a whole organisation.
Everyone is different, motivated by different things, with their own personal insecurities and fears.
How is it even possible to manage what is essentially a very personal thing, but on a one-size-fits-all basis, as you would with a large organisation?
We have one thing in common, in that we all want to improve our current situation, to feel we are improving in some way. This can come about through…
Feeling more valued
Feeling we are contributing more through our job function
Learning new skills
Our ability to make use of our talents
Being trusted more to use our judgments and skills
Not feeling like we are being exploited and used without any of the benefits
believing we can move forwards or upwards within the organisation
feeling we are not getting caught up in unnecessary politics within the workplace, and being supported when flare ups occur
It’s important we don’t over pander to employees, instead treat them as adults, with responsibilities, but be supportive, when required.
There are lots of frameworks that lay out the step by step stages people may pass through, throughout the change process; feeling anxiety, happiness, denial, then fear, guilty, depression, hostility, and finally acceptance (as in the illustration above). These kinds of frameworks can give us some appreciation of the possible stages our employees may go through, but they aren’t going to help us actually manage the change process, because they fail to account for the complexity of individual employees and the fact that employees have different fears, and motivations, and will be going through different stages and emotions at different times and for different reasons.
Let’s now look at the possible objections employees might have to any organisational change.
Why employees resist CHANGE
They may fear losing something from the current status quo.
They may just be indifference to the change process and/or destination the organisation is hoping to move towards.
They just can’t see or don’t agree with big picture vision of what the organisation is wanting to do.
They don’t agree with the path forward and the possible discomfort they might have to endure while making the transition, or they might just think there is a better solution available to the organisation.
They might feel they are already overworked and don’t want more workload on top of what’s currently on their table.
They may feel ignored or excluded in the decision making process.
They may fear a loss of face, responsibility, job security as a result of the change process.
They may be suspicious of some hidden agenda – fear a devaluation at some point – lack of trust in those who yield power.
They may feel change will be slow or it might prevent some self interested increase or advancement further down the line.
They may fear they will lack autonomy going forward or fear extra responsibility in future, which they are uncomfortable about.
Now not every employee will have such objections, others will have some or all of the above. A one-fits-all solution is not going to be an effective approach to implementing change because of such complexities.
The way ahead for long lasting CHANGE
So the question becomes, how do we effectively manage change, taking all these concerns and complexities into consideration?
Well you would have to first ensure that the organisation goals and change process are aligned to the inspirations of employees whilst actively managing their fears on a one to one basis.
This could be achieved by ensuring they feel more valued, have more autonomy, learn more skills, are trusted to make decisions, are able to contribute more etc.
The change process will only be successful, if employees are involved, are part of the process, and benefit from the changes.
Take employees through the getresults.org.uk framework, and improve their self awareness, improve their ability and willingness to take responsibility, ensure they are open minded and able to see possibilities rather than risks, help them be more committed to the process of change, by dealing with their own fears, discomfort and conflicts with the support of the organisation, at every stage. Sign up for our newsletter for more info.
Change requires employees to acquire the necessary knowledge to make progress, be more motivated to seek improvements and learn better techniques and methods, and embrace the opportunities to improve productivity.
The organisations leadership should be like a gardener, preparing the ground, the space, to make it easy for nature to do it’s thing, rather than being like the carpenter, who tries to control every aspect of the work, shaping it to his/her wishes.
If your method for change doesn’t align with the natural instincts of employees, and doesn’t take advance of human nature, you’re facing a path of conflict and struggle.
In his book “Brave new work”, Aaron Dignan uses the following method for organisational change.
This is an inclusive, persistent, continual process of evolution rather than revolution, where employees are empowered to remain involved in the evolving process permanently. It breaks away from a linear process, one step, then the next, and instead involves looping through a cycle of noticing Tension, Practice and Experimentation. I’d recommend checking out his book for more about this approach.
For more info about getting results and the methodology we use, sign up for our newsletter, or look through the information on this website.