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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 July 8, 2020

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

    This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

    Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

    When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

    This is why setting priorities is so important.

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    3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

    There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

    1. Eat a Frog

    There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

    Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

    When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

    2. Move Big Rocks

    Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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    You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

    If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

    For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

    To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

    In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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    3. Covey Quadrants

    If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

    Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

    1. Important and Urgent
    2. Important and Not Urgent
    3. Not Important but Urgent
    4. Not Important and Not Urgent

      The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

      Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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      You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

      Getting to Know You

      Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

      In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

      These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

      More Tips for Effective Prioritization

      Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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