Limiting Beliefs

One of my favorite quotes, which I’ve used multiple times on this site, is from Henry Ford: “If you believe you can do a thing or if you believe you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”  Today I’d like to delve into the negative side of that quote; what it is that causes you to believe you can’t do a thing—limiting beliefs.

Your limiting beliefs keep you in an insidious self-imposed prison without walls.  They prevent you from obtaining great business achievements, marrying the love of your life, living where you would find the most possible happiness, and on and on I could go.  You are, in effect, your greatest enemy.  Most of us think our external enemies do us in, but it isn’t true: our external enemies, real and imagined, are nothing compared to the self-destruction we bring upon ourselves with our limiting beliefs.

John dreams of being a lawyer, of standing before a jury like Clarence Darrow and pleading for the life of his client; but his mother, a raging alcoholic, countless times told him he was a worthless dog who never would amount to anything; that she wished he’d never been born.  Others throughout his life reinforced the negative onslaught his mother initiated.  The only person who can overcome all the nonsense John has been fed is John, but it isn’t easy—or so John believes—so he struggles every day of his life, his dream of being a great criminal-defense lawyer seemingly out of reach.

There are times when a limiting belief becomes accepted universal dogma.  When in 1954 British track star Dr. Roger Bannister announced he would attempt to become the first man to run a four-minute mile, the world scoffed.  The great Jesse Owens, along with just about everyone else, said it couldn’t be done, that Bannister even could be risking his life, but Bannister believed differently and he wasn’t about to let Owens, or the press, or anyone else in the track-and-field world stop him from making the effort.  So on May 6, 1954, in a meet at Oxford, Bannister grabbed the attention of the entire world when he, indeed, broke the record for the mile by running a time of 3:59.4.  It was considered such an astounding feat it became the front-page headline for the majority of newspapers around the world.  Amazing as that was, what came afterwards was really even more amazing: within a month, the Australian track star John Landy broke Bannister’s record; by the end of 1957, 16 men had run a four-minute mile.  They did so because Bannister had shattered the limiting belief that it couldn’t be done.  If he hadn’t broken that limiting belief barrier, it never would have happened.

Have you ever seen an ugly man with a beautiful woman?  Trust me, that guy doesn’t “know” he’s ugly.

Another of my favorite quotes is from the twice-Olympic Champion pole-vaulter Bob Richards: “Every day ordinary people do extraordinary things.”  They do so because they believe they can; they’re not prevented from trying by limiting beliefs.

All this begs the question What are your limiting beliefs?  What do you believe that prevents you from living the life you dream of, of achieving all the things you dream of?  Here’s an exercise for you: make a list of all the limiting beliefs which keep you in check, which keep you from being the human being you were destined to be, the human being your Creator made you to be.

Then remember that today is the first day of the rest of your life and that you have the power to overcome every one of those limiting beliefs.

Go for it!  Do it!  Receive great joy from it!