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Find & Replace Limiting Beliefs, Part 2: Replace Old Ideas

Find & Replace Limiting Beliefs, Part 2: Replace Old Ideas

Introspection is the key to transformation

    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.

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    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?

    Introspective Removal

    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.

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    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.

    1. Write down the limiting belief in a concise manner. For example, ‘Good money only comes through hard work.’
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.”

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.

    1. Write down the enabling belief that replaces the limiting one. Making money without hard work is the best way to live.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 meet

    Replacement Technique

    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.

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    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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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why we procrastinate after all

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    So, is procrastination bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How bad procrastination can be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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    8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

    Procrastination, a technical failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

    Reference

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