The limiting belief is a term that has entered common vernacular. It is a belief that restricts one’s spirit and persists regardless of whether any evidence exists to support it. They are often creations of the negative subconscious, or they are the reinforced behaviors of a society with broken values. Nonetheless, we all have limiting beliefs that pry at our hopes and ambitions. These are the seven deadliest to beware of:
7 – I Am Not Worthy of Her
A timeless concept that surrounds a man’s sense of inferiority compared to a woman of perceived higher value. You may hear men say “she’s out of my league, I should not even bother with her”. This is just a bunch of nonsense.
To say you are not worthy of somebody is classist. Most modern societies have moved beyond classist thought, and there is no longer notions that some people are of higher value based upon birthright, wealth, or physical appearance. However, this is not to say that some people do not still believe these things—for instance, some families would never permit their daughter to marry a guy without a certain type of career or prestige. However, this should not be interpreted to mean a man is inferior for not living up to another family’s random standards.
Ultimately, the real reason for anybody to believe that a pretty girl is somehow “superior” and outside of one’s league is due to a man’s own damaged self-esteem. Perhaps he sees a beautiful woman as a representation of the popularity, acceptance and affection that he believes he is lacking; and so he places her on a pedestal, whereby out of his own volition he becomes nothing more than the mud on her boots.
The moment you treat a woman with pure equality, she will likely respond in kind. Those few women who have convinced themselves that their beauty or status really does set them apart from the rest are the ones quickly get away from them; because they are NOT quality women for quality men. No romantic relationship should involve status or classism of any kind, and those relationships that are spoiled by these types of ideas are doomed to fail.
6 – I Must Be an Expert First
This could be the greatest thing that holds people back from pursuing lofty, innovative goals related to business or anything else.
Sometimes I hear variations of this limiting belief pop up as “common sense” advice is shared between people. For instance, I recently heard a restaurant owner explain to somebody inquiring about the industry: “you cannot open a restaurant unless you’ve spent a minimal 12 years as a water, dishwasher, busser, and chef, with degrees in culinary arts and business.”
Does this sound like sound and reasonable advice? Think again, there’s plenty of people who undertake much bigger goals than a restaurant with virtually NO credentials. For example: Virgin CEO Richard Branson had no experience in the airline industry, yet he suddenly turned his budding music company into a major global airliner. Branson is certainly not an astronaut, either—but that didn’t stop him from taking the next logical step and forming Virgin Galactic.
The way this is done is simple: outsource to people who are more knowledgeable than you. You can open a restaurant without being a restaurant guru by hiring a manager with a lot of experience, and ensuring the business has consultants who also understand the industry very well. This is how Branson undertakes goals bigger than his own abilities.
By believing you have to be an expert in something before you can make a mark in that world, you’ll be shortchanging your potential. This may also include switching careers or redefining yourself. The danger that this limiting belief creates is that you’ll be fixated into one mold that you can never escape from.
5 – I’m Not Young Enough Anymore
Limitations imposed by your age are entirely in your head. The world’s second oldest man is (as of writing this in February 2014) Alexander Imich. At 111 years-old, he is a WWI veteran, survivor of the Nazis AND Stalin, and is a reputable chemist. Surely, a man this ancient is confined to 24-hour care and cannot think for himself, right?
Imich currently runs an organization called the Anomalous Phenomena Research Center in New York City, and his main interest is (strangely enough) the paranormal. He cites that he has difficulty using computers because his vision is bad, but he remains active on Facebook and often responds to e-mails. He’s published some very interesting books about supernatural subject matters.
Several years ago, somebody I know interviewed him for his blog, and I predicted that Mr. Imich would outlast the skeptics who figured he would pass away soon. The reason for my prediction was because he seemed very dedicated to his work and had no intention of slowing down (how many people in their 100s do you know who are active in the blogosphere?). Sure enough, I was right, and he ended up assuming the title of one of the world’s oldest living people.
The lesson here is that age is much more related to the blood that’s in your veins than anything else. If you don’t want to get old, then simply choose not to. If you resign, stop doing what interests you, and you sit back and wait for death—that’s exactly what you’re going to get. If Imich had retired from doing the work that’s important to him, he’d have been dead 20 years ago.
So how do you think I feel about the quarterlife-crisis victims turning 30 years-old who suddenly think they’re “too old” to do the things they used to enjoy? Get a grip! You’re not too old to date younger women, go back to school, play video games, eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch, change careers, go backpacking, become a musician, or whatever other common gripe I hear. Most people don’t care about how old you are, so stop allowing your imagination to mess with your happiness.
Age is always a limiting belief.
4 – I’m Not Good Looking Enough
There is one simple factor that is indescribably more valuable than the symmetrical nature of your face and body: and it’s your confidence. To compliment your confidence is your values, belief, and your desire to give back to the world and the people around you.
Picture in your mind the ugliest slob you can think of, overweight and slimy, with hair in places where hair ought not grow. Now, give him a major boost of confidence, self-acceptance, and a value system that exists outside of himself and that cares about people around him, and what will happen?
He will become attractive and sexy, I kid you not. People’s interpretations are largely dependent on the vibe and energy that is transmuted, and the simple act of being pleasant, self-accepting and having a good personality is enough to make anybody attractive. And while it can be a long process to become a more centered, virtuous man—it IS doable, and it’s a lot more manageable than trying to change physical flaws that cannot be fixed.
Furthermore, even if a man underwent an “extreme makeover” and somehow turned from disgusting oaf into handsome playboy, if his value system was not corrected he may still experience the same problems with social isolation and loneliness despite the topical antidote to his appearance. So even a good looking person without a well-rounded personality is still going to have problems.
Therefore, those who blame their appearance for their woes are missing the big picture. In real life, most of us are NOT physically perfect, and the only reason we believe that physical perfection is even a reality is because of hyper-reality; which is illusionary images of airbrushed beauty that graces the covers of magazines and billboards. Don’t be seduced by these images, and don’t be fooled by society’s worship of youth and beauty. Most of us don’t look like that, and most of the time–it doesn’t matter.
3 – They Will Judge Me
You may be happy to learn that most people are far too busy judging themselves, and being worried about other people judging them, to actually do any of the judging. In addition, many times when people really do judge you about superficial, schoolyard type things—they’re doing it as part of a bizarre, complicated psychological attempt at rationalizing their own paranoia that people are judging them.
To understand what I’m saying, consider that bully behavior is often delivered by people who themselves were once bullied. Furthermore, abusive relationships are often instigated by the abuser witnessing the same things happening to their mom / dad / brother / sister growing up. In an oddity of human nature, people feel they need to emulate bad things that people do to them as a way to understand and accept their own experiences that left them emotionally bruised.
The way to eliminate this pattern is to recognize people’s mean or aggressive behavior as a psychological affliction. This way, you will never feel held back if somebody makes a harsh or unfair judgment about one of your endeavors, as their actions can be interpreted as a sickness.
Furthermore, you’ll always be in the clear if you’re doing what you care about, and you make a good effort at it—whether it’s singing, writing, dancing, public speaking, film-making, cooking, or anything else that puts you in the crosshairs of critics. You’ll always have the moral high-ground so long as you’re coming from a place of authenticity.
Just understand that there is an odd segment of the population who will hate everything you do, and this is fine—they likely hate everything that everybody else does, as well. I really feel sorry for these people, but their psychological affliction has much more to do with them and almost nothing to do with you.
2 – I Don’t Have Enough Money
This limiting belief is difficult to tackle, because it’s a very real and “physical” problem that holds people back. Your bank account may read 100,000, or it may say 10.00. The first example means you can fly around the world and stay in nice hotels, and the second example is all about choosing between ramen or canned ravioli for dinner (go with the ramen, and chop some vegetables into it).
But I’m no longer convinced this is as much of a problem as the modern man currently grieves about. Yes, some people have it very hard, and some are forced to work as rickshaw drivers in Bangladesh and bring home a dollar every four days. However, assuming you live in a developed enough country to use the Internet and read this, you have more options than you think.
The trick is to make full use of your ingenuity and ambition, because between these two things the seemingly impossible odds will typically fold to your will. I remember when I wanted to go to Southeast Asia, but I had no money. So, I started sniffing around for jobs online. Within a few days a company hired me and bought my plane ticket. Boom, done.
So if right now, there’s a specific lifestyle goal that you have in mind, the solutions may be closer than you imagine. The trick is just to find ways to make something happen without dwelling on the little details. Sometimes you don’t have to take 1,000 steps to reach your destination, but it can be done in one giant leap.
Money may have some practical effect on your life, but MOST of what’s holding you back is NOT the money, but it’s the fact you’re not trying your hardest. You will find the innovative solutions you’re looking for.
1 – Life is Hard
The final, great limiting belief of all time is that life “is hard”, a mantra repeated by everybody continuously. It’s so commonly recited that it has become the catch-all excuse to justify every behavior imaginable; “life is hard, so commit crime”, “life is hard, so I do drugs”, “life is hard, so stay in your shitty job and never leave”, “life is hard, so deal with it!”
It has never occurred to anybody that maybe the reason life is hard is because everybody keeps saying life is hard. Since most things are related to perceptions, it would be safe to assume that the hardness of life is proportional to the amount of people who feel they must struggle, resist and fight against the unpredictable nature of living on Earth.
The alternative, however, is to view challenges as opportunities. So, every challenge you’re faced with is a new chance to upgrade your life in some way. What happens when this becomes your view of the universe? Well, you achieve a massive amount of growth, and lots of crazy and POSITIVE things will start happening to you.
To Sum Things Up…
Everybody should be aware of the socio-cultural limiting beliefs that damage our perceptions, create pain, and generally make things harder than they have to be. If you desire to see your life reach a whole new level, and for your limitations to disappear, then it’s time to take responsibility for your life and become aware of the excuses that are holding you back.
(For more on limiting beliefs, conquering them, and pursuing your dreams–you can check out my book How to Quit Your Job: Escape Soul Crushing Work, available on Kindle for 3 bucks. And, by the way, you don’t need a Kindle to read it, it can be read off the Amazon website on their cloud )