Photo by DreamWorks Animation – © 2013 – DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved
It is a difficult thing to come to terms with; the fact that what we perceive to be reality actually isn’t true or as real as we think. It’s only our personal version of reality! I’ve been wracking my brain as I begin writing this post, trying to come up with a funny, personal story of a limiting belief that once had me at its mercy. But I’ve got nothing, nada, naught! I’m not saying I don’t have any limiting beliefs because that in itself is a limiting belief. I just can’t think of an example, that’s all 😉
The subconscious can be a funny fellow like that! Slippery and hard to pin down, that’s our good old subconscious, just quietly sitting there, absorbing EVERYTHING! If it seemingly absorbs all sorts of information and ideas about us, how does one go about making a change? By changing what you say to yourself, about yourself and your business and your capabilities.
Whatever you tell yourself repeatedly and with feeling, you eventually come to believe. What we believe about ourselves influences our lives, whether we want it to or not. This also has a massive impact on your business. Whether you are a fledgling entrepreneur or a pro, you still need to know how to change your subconscious belief system. Your success may very well depend on it!
Firstly, where does the power of a subconscious belief system lie? Well, beliefs, for better or worse, act as filters, screening out any evidence that doesn’t support them. We screen reality through our senses, our language, and especially through generalizations, we make about our personal experiences. Our beliefs offer up a false sense of security, even when there is evidence to the contrary.
Why, if there is logical evidence going against our precious beliefs do we, in the name of all that is sane, hold so tightly onto them? We, humans, are all about staying alive. Thus we have a subconscious (read stubborn) tendency to continue doing what we’ve always done, to remain consistent with what we have said and done in the past.
It makes me think of one of my favorite movies, The Croods. This hilarious and insightful cartoon sheds some light on the fact that we love our limiting beliefs and cling to them, at our own risk! I’m not going to give you a full synopsis of the movie, but in a nutshell, the Crood family would have gone extinct if they continued to do what they always do, following the dad’s mantra of “Never leave the cave!”
The dangerous thing about beliefs is not just that they are typically false and based on fear, but it’s whatever you believe about yourself and your business long enough and deeply enough becomes true. For example, if you are holding a belief that you don’t have enough time to begin your business, the longer and deeper you believe it, you will start finding reasons and evidence to support that belief! Once a belief is locked in, you tend to notice only those things that offer supposed evidence that your belief is true.
You do not believe what you see, so much as you see what you have already decided to believe. It’s like wearing blinkers and being unable to notice or see any other opportunities around you. Your beliefs produce your life experiences, not the other way around. How do we escape the grip of our beliefs? How does one change the subconscious belief system?
Are you ready for the answer? The simplest way to change your subconscious beliefs is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Our human minds love what is safe, familiar and “real” (according to our belief systems). Remember Grug from the Croods? His belief system was simple – “never leave the cave and new is always bad, never not be afraid!” Had he had his way, his family would have been crushed in their cave and would have never found a new, safe home.
Most of the time, we aren’t much different from the grumpy caveman. Any attempt to change current habits of thought or action will make you feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Since the human brain seeks comfort and pleasure and tries to avoid and move away from discomfort and pain, you will naturally try to go back to the old ways of doing things. This is normal, but at the same time, it is also a very self-defeating habit. It must be overcome if you are to change your beliefs about yourself and unlock your full potential. You must be willing to be uncomfortable if you want the success that you are capable of in your business and personal life.
Think you don’t have any limiting beliefs? Think again! As I said the beginning of the post, thinking that is a prime example of a limiting belief! The simplest way to clarify your limiting beliefs is actually to look at a goal you’re aiming for. Let’s continue the example of above. So, you want to launch your own business. Why haven’t you done it already?
Whatever answers you come up with, whether they are logical, factual, exaggerated, distortions, fears or other excuses, they are still real as far as achieving your goal is concerned. Each answer you come up with is a blind spot, a subconscious belief holding you back. Now I know this part is the hardest. The reasons you gave for why you haven’t launched your business, reached that sales target, increased your revenue, whatever, are all real. But remember, the belief comes before the results.
So, acknowledge the things that are holding you back. Then choose to believe something other than you have been holding onto up to this point. It may be hard to release these things, but remember to challenge yourself. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Challenge those beliefs, ask yourself this: Is this true? Is it really true or do I just view it as truth? Truth and facts are not the same thing. Thank goodness! You can determine what you believe by adopting a growth mindset and then use your mental energies by focusing on where you want to go rather than where you are or where you’ve been!
Ever wondered what other limiting beliefs are out there? Check out this post and find out!