Find & Replace Limiting Beliefs, Part 2: Replace Old Ideas
It’s time to weed out the limiting beliefs that you discovered in part one. This is a hell of a lot harder to do than simply discovering them, but on the bright side, the instructions are simpler—this one really just requires willpower and discipline. So, it’s technically easier, but practically harder.
When you ask yourself why you’re putting so much time and energy and discipline into this, remember the benefit once you’ve accomplished it. The most successful people act on their imaginations – they allow their ventures to venture beyond the realm of possibility, and still manage to accomplish it. Limiting beliefs keep people from breaching that realm of mediocrity into successful living.
Prove Yourself Wrong
By far the quickest and easiest way to banish a limiting belief once and for all is to prove it wrong. It’s not that hard to do—you just have to accomplish it! Until 1954, it was considered pretty much impossible to run a mile in four minutes, and in that year it was actually done. After that, the record was broken again and again by runners. Why? The first runner to break that limit proved the belief that it was impossible wrong and mentally enabled other runners to succeed.
Figure out what it would take to prove yourself wrong, and accomplish it. Doesn’t get simpler than that. But chances are that you don’t get to take the easy way out on this one, so what else can we do?
You can’t remove an item from your environment if you cannot see the item, or even know what it is. Sometimes we don’t even have a conscious knowledge of our limiting beliefs. For instance, many people are unaware that they’re uncomfortable with the idea of making money easily—because the correlation between earning money and hard work has been drummed into them since childhood.
In part one, you may have discovered limiting beliefs that you didn’t know you held, while others we’re already aware of. In this case, once you’ve discovered what is holding you back, you can take an introspective look at not only the belief but the context that generated it. Understanding where it came from is just as important as knowing it is there.
Here’s what you do.
- Write down the limiting belief in a concise manner. For example, ‘Good money only comes through hard work.’
- Think about the internal dialog that created, or exists because of, this belief—for instance, making money without effort is morally wrong, or I don’t deserve to make money easily.
- Look for the fear that reinforces this belief—if I make money without hard work, I’m a corrupt, greedy person like those other rich lazy types.
- Try and recall any experiences that may have contributed to or caused the limiting belief.
At this point you’ll have a good idea of not only what that limiting belief is, but why it’s there and what its effects are, as well as what kind of internal dialog it is generating. Now we need to mentally “debunk the theory.”
- Write down what it is that makes this limiting belief so limiting. If I continue to interact with reality based on this assumption, I will be working hard for peanuts until the day I die.
- Write down what it is that makes this limiting belief a ridiculous notion. There’s nothing at all wrong with making money—there’s only something wrong with becoming a different, greedier person because of money.
It’s important to have a clear idea of not only what the belief is and what context it exists within, but why the belief is a faulty notion. If you don’t have a clear idea of why that belief is wrong, you will be unable to get past it.
Brains don’t do well with a vacuum, so now that you’ve knocked this puppy down from an intellectual standpoint, it’s necessary to prop something else up there so that limiting belief doesn’t reclaim its throne.
- Write down the enabling belief that replaces the limiting one. Making money without hard work is the best way to live.
- What kind of internal dialog would go on in your head if you held this belief? Write it down. Making money without hard work gives me more time to focus on the important things in life, such as my family, rather than spending all my time worrying about day-to-day survival.
- In step 3 of the first process, we defined the fear that accompanied our limiting belief because fear is the emotion that gives power to limiting belief. Where does your enabling belief get its power? Making money easily doesn’t make me a different person unless I allow that to happen—I can use this to effect greater change in my life and the lives of others than if I were constantly trying to make ends meetAdvertisingAdvertising
Similar to the trial technique we used in part one to find our limiting beliefs and some enabling ones, we’ll now dedicate a certain amount of time to enforcing our new replacement belief. 30-60 days is best for really ingrained beliefs, but whatever amount of time you choose, set it before you commence. The next period is going to be tough.
In this period you’ll be living as if you held the enabling belief in the first place, and training yourself to think that way. Beliefs cause thoughts, but disciplining yourself and changing your thoughts can go the other way and change your beliefs over time.
It’s important to keep yourself reminded of your replacement belief at all times, because sheer discipline alone rarely works. Make sure you can’t escape that reminder in the places it counts. For instance, with the making money example, I’d keep a note on my monitor if my work was all done at a computer. If I were quitting smoking, I’d avoid usual smoking spots—especially those spots where other smokers congregate—and keep a post-it nearby reminding me about a specific symptom of smoking, or a disease it causes.
Other than that, there’s not much you can do at this point but spend those 30-60 days focusing a significant amount of your attention and discipline to removing those heavily ingrained beliefs and habits. You’ve done everything you can to ensure your chances of success up until this point.
Hey, nobody said it would be easy! But see it through and you’ll be ultimately grateful for the effort you put in. We are talking about beliefs here, which are some of the most fundamental elements of our daily existence, and it’s no mean feat to change them—even the seemingly small ones.
What is the worst limiting belief of them all? I think it’s belief in the concept of the impossible.
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