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7 False Beliefs That Are Holding You Back in Life

7 False Beliefs That Are Holding You Back in Life

Are you carrying self-limiting beliefs that are preventing you from living a great life?

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…”

Can you spot the self-limiting thoughts behind these statements? Here are seven false beliefs that hold many from living a great life.

False Belief #1: “I can’t be my real self or I’ll be judged.”

I often watch videos of Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and other successful people on YouTube because I get to learn more about them and absorb their wisdom. I’ve noticed that no matter who the person is or how inspiring he/she may be, there’ll always be detractors trying to tear him/her down.

For example, with Oprah’s videos, I usually see detractors calling her “a fat hag,” “an overweight, money-grubbing whore,” and “a black racist.” Detractors of Ellen usually describe her as a “homo,” a “disgusting gay,” and an “evil lesbian who violates Jesus’ teachings, destroys the sanctity of marriage, and is going to hell.”

Seeing such comments helps me to realize that people are always going to judge, no matter how great of a person you are. You can never please everyone because everyone is different with his/her own set of opinions. Since everyone is different, why bother trying to please people? You are better off being yourself and owning your real self!

Embrace these beliefs instead:

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  • “It is not my job to please people in life.”
  • “Be myself; there’ll never be anyone else like me.”

Further reading:

False Belief #2: “I can’t fall in love or I’ll get my heartbroken.”

I used to carry this belief subconsciously. While I had been open to dating and being in a relationship since young, subconsciously I was afraid to love because I didn’t want to be rejected and have my heart broken. So, even though I would verbally say that I wanted to be in a relationship, I never truly opened my heart to others.

It was only in my late 20s when I let go of that belief, and subsequently found my soulmate. Now, if I had continued to close myself off, my now-husband and I would have never had gotten together; I would also not have found the love of my life. This would have been my greatest regret — except that I wouldn’t get to regret it because I wouldn’t even know what I had missed out!

To find true love, you need to put yourself out there and allow yourself to be vulnerable. While you may get hurt in the process, it’s part and parcel of any love journey. Know that it’s not possible to form a true connection without first allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “I love freely because it is part of being human.”
  • “It is by opening my heart that I will attract the right kind of love into my life.”
  • “Heartbreaks help me to learn more about myself and love; they move me closer towards attracting the right person into my life.”

False Belief #3: “I can’t ask for what I want lest I get rejected.”

In life, people face rejection all the time. Rather than avoid rejection, learn how to handle it. Know that rejection is merely a process that lets you know that you’re poking in the wrong direction, so that you can adjust your strategy and redirect yourself in the right direction. By shying away from asking because you don’t want to face rejection, you’ll only rob yourself of opportunities to get what you want. The universe wants to give you what you want — create the opportunity for it to do so.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

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  • “Rejection is part and parcel of life. Every ‘no’ will lead me closer to a ‘yes.’”
  • “I need to first ask in order to receive.”

False Belief #4: “I can’t trust people lest they betray my trust.”

When I was in primary school, I found out that my then-best friend spoke ill about me the whole time we were “best friends,” even though she would always be saccharine sweet before me. As a twelve-year-old adolescent who was already self-inferior, this incident left me feeling worse about myself.

Even though this was a negative experience that made me more guarded, I realized – after embarking on my personal growth journey – that being guarded doesn’t help me to forge meaningful connections. While it may prevent me from getting hurt, it limits me from forming deep friendships with anyone.

Trust freely, while being smart about how you handle toxic people who betray your trust. Cut off the bad eggs in your life while opening yourself fully to receive new people into your life.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “Everyone is deserving of my trust unless otherwise disproved.”
  • “Without trust, I can’t form a meaningful relationship with anyone.”

Further reading: The Secret To Meaningful, Fulfilling Social Relationships

False Belief #5: “I can’t pursue my dreams because I may fail.”

Before I came to pursue my dreams, there was a brief moment when I worried about failing. What if I fail? I thought. What would happen to my life? Would I be deemed a failure, a loser, a good-for-nothing?

However, it didn’t take long before I realized that my fear was redundant. Firstly, by doing proper strategizing, planning, and taking due action, there was no reason why I would fail. Secondly, even if I were to “fail” (as defined by not generating revenue before my savings run out), I could always return to the corporate world, generate more savings, and then return to pursue my dreams after a year or two. I could simply just do this over and over again, until I succeed.

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Failure is over-glorified in today’s world. People fail all the time; there’s no need to make a big hoo-haa out of it. What’s more important is the actions you take when things don’t go your way. How can you learn from your failures? How can you turn your failures into success? These are the questions to ask yourself to create the future of your dreams.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “My dreams are mine for the taking.”
  • “Whatever I can conceive, I can achieve. It’s up to me to take the steps to make things happen.”

Further reading: How to Achieve Any Goal with Success (seven-part series)

False Belief #6: “I don’t need to be successful, so I’m not going to strive for success.”

Uh-oh, the self-intellect’s trap. I carry a variation of this belief sometimes, such as “I don’t need a lot of money to live a great life, so I’m not going to strive for riches,” and have to catch and correct myself when that happens.

The danger with this belief is that it creates this intellectual, rational, even convincing self-justification on why you shouldn’t be successful (or even, why you aren’t successful right now), when actually, it’s in your destiny to be successful, wealth, abundant, or whatever you want to be. And believe it or not, the only person who can break this trap is you yourself, because the ego can find unlimited ways to justify its state of being.

You don’t need a reason to achieve success because you’re meant for success. But supposed you do need one — what would you do if you are hugely successful, have a billion dollars in your bank, and are well-known throughout the world? How can you put this success, money, and fame to the highest use of all? Perhaps this answer will be the answer you need to strive for your highest potential.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

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  • “I succeed simply because I can be.”
  • “By being successful, I have more resources to achieve my highest goals and dreams and to support the highest good of mankind.”

False Belief #7: “It’s too late to pursue my dreams.”

Everyone knows Colonel Sanders, the founder and ambassador of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). However, did you know that before Sanders became a world-famous Colonel, he was a “sixth-grade dropout, a farmhand, an army mule-tender, a locomotive fireman, a railroad worker, an aspiring lawyer, an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur, a tire salesman, an amateur obstetrician, an (unsuccessful) political candidate, a gas station operator, a motel operator and finally, a restaurateur”?

It was between the ages of 48 and 49 that Sanders finalized his now-famous “Original Recipe” for KFC with 11 herbs and spices. At the age of 65 in 1955, Sanders traveled the U.S., visiting from restaurant to restaurant, knocking from door to door, and cooking batches of chicken for the restaurant owners to convince them to franchise his chicken. In 1964 at the age of 74, Sanders sold the company to investors for US$2 million (about US$15 million today), a lifetime salary, and the agreement that he’d be the company’s quality controller and trademark.

I don’t care much about the KFC restaurant since I don’t eat meat, but Sanders’ story is both inspiring and chocked full of lessons.

If you often say that it is too late to pursue your dreams, recognize that your age isn’t the real limiting factor here — your belief that it is a limiting factor, is the limiting factor. Forget the standard societal track of success where one needs to be at a certain place in life at a certain age to be considered successful. Your life path is bigger than such predefined tracks. Create your own life path and make it happen.

Embrace these beliefs instead:

  • “It’s never too late to pursue anything. What’s more important is that I take action now.”
  • “Age is just a number. My current age is just a reflection of the number of years I’ve been alive, but not a reflection of my unlimited power as a being.”

Further reading: How To Overcome Fear Of Loss And Pursue Your Dreams

How About You?

Do you carry any of these false beliefs? How are you going to turn them around? Share with me in the comments section.

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Original Article: 7 Limiting Beliefs Keeping You from Living Your Best Life | Personal Excellence

Featured photo credit: StandUPP via flickr.com

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Celestine Chua

Celestine is the Founder of Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to boost productivity and achieve excellence in life.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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