Limiting beliefs: what they are and how to overcome them

Our beliefs can shape, influence or even establish our degree of intelligence, health, relationships, creativity, even our degree of happiness and personal success.

Robert Dilts

Limiting beliefs and beliefs: what they are

The beliefs we have are those feelings of certainty, but not necessarily of truth, which can function as invisible chains or binoculars to be exploited to enlarge one’s reality.
Maybe you never noticed it but we are surrounded by beliefs of all kinds, from thinking that we don’t like that taste of ice cream until we believe that we can’t do a certain thing because we can’t.
We can therefore divide beliefs into two groups:

  1. Limiting beliefs
  2. Empowering beliefs

Limiting beliefs are the invisible chains that block you, limit you and impose certain actions on you, in practice they do not allow you to express your potential.
Strengthening beliefs, on the other hand, have the opposite effect: if you believe you can perform an action you will probably do it.
Beliefs therefore, are the stories we tell ourselves and very often determine moods, expectations, behaviors and relationships, it is therefore easy to understand that knowing and changing our limiting beliefs can allow us to radically change our life.
We can see empowering beliefs as the fuel of life, while limiting ones like anchoring ballasts or invisible mental barriers.

Limiting beliefs about life

Have you ever heard of Roger Bannister?
Roger is a former British athlete who shattered an important limiting belief about running, in fact, before 6 May 1954 the world of athletics was convinced that running a mile in less than 4 minutes was an impossible undertaking, out of the reach of human beings, belief credited by the fact that a scholar of the first half of the nineteenth century claimed that under this limit the heart would explode.Obviously today we know that this is not the case, but since until then, no athlete had ever succeeded, this belief was highly rooted, until Roger Bannister managed to run a mile in less than 4 minutes setting the record of 3 minutes, 59 seconds and 4 tenths.

The beauty is yet to come, in fact, after just one year, several athletes fell below the fateful 4-minute threshold, in fact Roger had shattered a limiting belief that blocked all the other athletes.
This shows that we are very good at noticing the things that confirm our beliefs, but once again I invite you to think independently.

This story may make you seem that the only reason many athletes had failed to overcome the 4-minute obstacle was their limiting belief, but probably, this was only one of the factors, another could be that knowledge of the methodologies training is constantly evolving.
Having said that, if I see things from a point of view, I will always find facts that support that way of seeing things, this happens very often even in scientific circles: when someone wants to demonstrate a thesis, he tends to drag science towards him, citing only the studies that support his beliefs and skilfully leaving others out.

In order to counteract this type of reasoning, in some circles it is customary to work in two, so whenever a person says something, the second individual will immediately begin with a contrary statement to question that thesis.
This system is widely used to test scientific theories, if I want to corroborate my thesis I will not seek supporting evidence but I will attack my theory mercilessly to try to make it wobble, if the theory holds, perhaps it is valid.

You can apply a similar technique to limiting beliefs about life: if you have a belief about something, try to make a contrary statement to check if your belief holds, to understand if it is correct or not.
Limiting beliefs about life can also occur in more generic forms, the most common are:

– I am a woman
– I’m a man
– I am too old
– I am too young
– Just the way I am
– I have to settle for what happens
– I don’t deserve happiness
– There’s Crysis
– I have a slow metabolism, DNA fault
– I am a failure
– It will never get into my head
– I never finish anything
– I am not a technological person

The list could go on for whole pages because each of us invents our limiting beliefs, so try to identify them as a first step.

Limiting beliefs about money

Limiting beliefs about money are widespread throughout the population and severely limit people trying to improve their economic situation, here are some examples of limiting beliefs, some even slightly superficial.

# 1 It takes money to get rich. It will surprise you to know that many of the great modern rich people started out of nowhere and 90% of them are first generation.

# 2 You must have studied and be at least a graduate to get rich. Try doing some research and you will notice that people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (who has returned to the top of the richest people in the world in recent years, take a look at the rankings) are not even graduates, and obviously all graduates do not they are rich.

# 3 If I got rich I would turn into a materialist. Well, if money was enough to create materialistic people, the world would be a different place.

# 4 It used to be easy to get rich. The fact is that once it was easier to get rich, this reasoning works if you try to apply half a century old strategies to modern times: it is obvious that a financial strategy of forty years ago cannot work today, the point is to learn and train.

# 5 Money doesn’t buy happiness. So what if it were? Go beyond reasoning whether wealth makes you happy or not. Frankly speaking, who cares. If you don’t commit yourself to improve your financial situation, because so much money doesn’t make you happy, maybe it’s just a self-limiting belief that you don’t have to commit yourself to it.

# 6 If I get rich I will lose my spirituality, the rich are not spiritual. It will surprise you to know that many wealthy people practice meditation regularly, many are practicing believers or have a spirituality to envy, if you don’t know any, maybe it’s time to change your circles of friendship. In any case, spirituality is a personal factor, independent of the bank account.

Choose the job you love and you will never work, not even for a day in your whole life.


# 7 To make money you have to work too hard. This is also one of the most common limiting beliefs, take for example the aforementioned Bill Gates, when he was a simple programmer he was in fact the last to leave the office, so it is correct to say that during the apprenticeship he worked more than the others, but we know what results it has reached. The lesson to take home is that Confucius’ maxim is always valid: if you do something you like, you will never be really working, and with time you can also enjoy the fruits of your sweat.

Empowering beliefs

Contrary to limiting beliefs, empowering beliefs are beliefs that give you the opportunity to achieve results that would otherwise be barred from you and that open up opportunities and possibilities; a simple empowering belief can increase your horizons of perception, create a new reality and improve your life.

You certainly know one of those people who see opportunities everywhere, sometimes even where they are not there, these individuals are constantly immersed in empowering conditions: where others see limits and limits, they see fertile and profitable conditions.
These people are continually stimulated by empowering beliefs, they carry out their activities because first of all they are convinced they can do them: try to cross out your limiting beliefs and introduce empowering ones, the freedom in your mind is reflected in your life.

Become aware that you are the master of your life and your beliefs, since it is very difficult to live without, use empowering beliefs, leave alone the convictions that the opportunity of life happens only once or that you have to wait for the right moment , let me say, they are nonsense.
Create your opportunities, put yourself in the position of being often in the right moment to carry out the activities you care about.

How to eliminate limiting beliefs in 3 steps

Eliminating limiting beliefs can be easy or difficult, a lot depends on how deeply they are rooted in your mind, how much is true in them and how much you are willing to change one reality for another.
In fact, rather than elimination, we should speak of substitution: replace a limiting belief with an empowering one.

To replace a limiting belief with an empowering try to follow these 3 steps:

# 1 Identify your limiting beliefs. Choose an obvious belief that you are already aware of, for example I am too old to learn English or I don’t deserve happiness, if you can, write them all on paper, making a nice list of your beliefs.

To identify and unhinge some limiting beliefs it is useful to ask yourself strategic questions to stimulate a new point of view:

  1. 1. If there were new and unknown data, would I be willing to change my mind?
  2. By what reasoning do I attribute meaning to this fact?
  3. Is there information that I don’t consider because it is not in line with my belief?

# 2 Reverse your belief by making it empowering. Choose a belief and write what it might become, for example: it is never too late to learn English, or, I deserve happiness every day. Question your belief and create solid points of reference for your empowering belief.
# 3 Act. Now, you have to understand that if the limiting belief was able to castrate and harness you, an empowering belief is able to free your power, so if you have chosen to learn English, for example, start and take the first step, buy a textbook or sign up for a suitable course, remember that your thoughts are the basis of any action.

Limiting beliefs enter thought by repeating them, so use the same strategy for empowering beliefs, repeat your belief, so you will strengthen your beliefs.

As you have been able to read, replacing a belief does not require thoughtful actions or bizarre methods, as always everything is in the awareness and ability to tame our mind, without letting us be negatively conditioned by the world around us, it is simply a matter of doubting your certainties.
When you have a limiting belief in mind, think about it: is someone who instilled this belief in you a reliable and credible person?

How much does this belief cost you in terms of money, energy and relationships?
Always distinguish what you believe is true from what other people take for granted.

Awareness of limiting beliefs

Limiting beliefs, in fact, impose conditions on us, if I have a belief this will condition me by allowing me to do or not to do, obviously we all have more or less deep-rooted beliefs from which it is difficult to free ourselves, but at least we try to free ourselves from the coarsest beliefs .
You, what limiting beliefs would you like to eliminate?
What are the beliefs you observe around you and in the people you know?

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