Do you ever think: My biggest barrier to happiness and success is what I don’t know?
Do you ever think: If I could only learn the secret to having great relationships, making more money, or just being happy—I’d be able to achieve those things?
Do you, as a result, read books and blog posts, take workshops, attend webinars, or listen to CDs in order to learn what you need to learn? That’s why the most popular blog posts are usually the ones that offer “Ten Tips to ….” or “15 Ways to ….”
If you have these thoughts and if you often seek more information, you are not alone. There are millions of people who are trying to improve their lives through more information.
Information is the problem, not the solution.
While learning new things certainly can’t hurt, I disagree that the biggest barrier to happiness and success is what we don’t know. Our biggest barrier is what we already know.
I’m not talking about factual information we’ve learned from books or courses. I’m talking about what we believe. A belief is a statement about reality that we feel is true. It is our beliefs about ourselves, people and life—such as I’m not good enough, mistake and failure are bad, life is difficult, relationships don’t work, I’ll never get what I want—that thwart our attempts at achieving happiness.
We act consistently with what we believe to be true.
People who hold these and other similar beliefs experience them as facts, as true as 2+2=4. As a result, they act consistently with their beliefs. For example:
If you believe I’m not good enough, you probably will hear a little voice in your mind criticizing whatever you do: “What makes you think that’s good enough?” That constant question is debilitating.
If you believe mistakes and failure are bad, you probably will avoid doing anything innovative where you could make a mistake.
If you believe life is difficult, you probably will always expect the worst and give up very easily.
If you believe relationships don’t work, you either will resist them becoming too serious or feel insecure about them even when they seem to be working.
If you believe I’ll never get what I want, you are unlikely to want very much or continue to fight for what you do want if you discover barriers in the way.
Our beliefs—what we are convinced is true—are our biggest barriers. Therefore, unlearning our negative, limiting beliefs is ultimately more important to our success and happiness than learning something new.
Factual information can be useful.
I’m not saying that we can’t learn anything new that would improve the quality of our lives. Of course we can. There are some ways of interacting with people that are more effective than others; there are strategies for making money that are more effective than others; etc. It is worth learning those things.
I read marketing books all the time to learn how to better get my work out into the world. I read other types of books to learn more about psychology and the human brain.
Unlearning has made the biggest difference in my life.
But unlearning my negative beliefs has made more of a difference than any new information I’ve ever learned. It has enabled me to have a blissful 32-year marriage after two unhappy divorces. Unlearning my limiting beliefs enabled me to get rid of my depression, which had rendered me miserable for most of my life. I had a hard time committing to anything and saw life as overwhelming. Eliminating those beliefs made it possible for me to create a business that uses our belief unlearning process to help hundreds of thousands of people, when before I had always felt I was powerless to succeed.
Unlearning versus learning.
My wife Shelly, a Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator who helps 25 clients a week from around the world unlearn limiting beliefs, tells the story of a client who called her when the client returned from a T. Harv Eker “Millionaire Mind” workshop.
“I’m so excited. As a result of what I learned in the workshop I bought the summer house of my dreams,” she exclaimed to Shelly.
Shelly was obviously happy for her, but was aware of the work the client had done with her before she attended the workshop. So Shelly asked, “What did your friends buy?” “Nothing,” the client admitted.
Shelly opened the client’s file and read several of the beliefs the client had unlearned prior to attending the workshop: Money is scarce and hard to get, You have to save your money for a rainy day, I’m not deserving, and Mistakes and failure are bad.
Shelly then asked her, “Do you think you would have been able to use what you learned in the workshop and bought the summer house of your dreams if you still had the beliefs you eliminated?” The stunned silence at the other end of the phone line was the answer.
Do some unlearning and see for yourself.
While it is always wise to learn as much as you can, to achieve true happiness and success make your major focus unlearning all that we believe is true … but really isn’t. Unlearn the negative beliefs that have been sabotaging you.
In an earlier post here at Lifehack I described how the Lefkoe Belief Process could help you unlearn the beliefs that are undercutting your attempts to fulfill your dreams. Use that process to help you do some unlearning. I promise it will make a profound difference in your life.