What is a limiting belief?

Updated: Jul 17

When I was young, I think it was about 10 years old as I recall, I thought I could fly. Yes, fly, soar through the air like superman. As a child, my imagination soared, and like superman, I thought I could do anything I imagined. Like flying. Einstein was quoted as saying "imagination is more important than knowledge", and as an adult, I now understand what he meant. You see, as children, we act "as-if" our play is real. There is a psychology of "As-If" which proposes that humans willingly accept falsehoods or fictions in order to live peacefully in an irrational world. In other words, humans must act "as-if" certainty were possible; in achievement, he or she must believe "as-if" anything is possible.

Fast forward to adulthood, and by the time kids complete high school, they have lost the capacity for imagination, the capability to believe that anything is possible. The fact is, formal education educates people out of their creative capabilities. Picasso said that all children are born artists; the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. We don't grow into creativity, but rather get educated out of it.

The fact is, most of us, including myself, think that by the time we reach a certain age, we would achieve more of our goals and dreams than we have achieved at this very moment in time. Why is that? What is the ONE thing that is holding us back from achieving anything we had hoped or aspired for in our lives? The answer is simple.

Limiting beliefs... and what is a limiting belief?

A limiting belief is a false belief that a person acquires as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in life. For example a person could acquire a limiting belief about his ability to succeed as soon as he fails.

Limiting beliefs are those which constrain us in some way. Just by believing them, we do not think, do or say the things that they inhibit. And in doing so we impoverish our lives. ... Limiting beliefs are often about ourselves and our self-identity.

Consider these seemingly benign statements that we say to ourselves on a daily basis:

· “I can’t tell the truth because I may get judged…”

· “I don’t want to get close to this person lest my heart gets broken…”

· “I don’t want to ask for what I want because, what if I get rejected?”

· “I can’t trust people because I’ve been betrayed before…”

· “I can’t pursue my dreams because I don’t know what I’d do if I fail…”

· “I can’t do X because of Y…”

· “I can’t do A because of B…”

I thought I wasn't good enough or smart enough to succeed because I came from a background of poverty and didn't have the right contacts or schooling or connections or money or... the list goes on and on...

I thought I could never write a son and record it and post it on youtube, but I did. I thought I could never succeed in life, financially, socially and in a relationship, but I did. What made all the difference? I learned that you are not your beliefs. You can change your belief system anytime you decide to do so. You must BELIEVE that you can create your own success, your own blueprint in life.

Use the power of your mind for yourself to create what it is that you want, not what you do not want. As Jawaharlal Nehru wrote so long ago " Life is a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will".

In leaving, let me ask you a profound question:

What are your limiting beliefs? What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn't fail?

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