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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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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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