What is it that keeps you from being the very best version of yourself?
There are lots of different answers to that question.
Sometimes, the circumstances we live in limit our potential. Sometimes, illness or misfortune can hold us back.
But for most of us, most of the time, the number one thing that holds us back is our own limiting beliefs about ourselves.
We look at people we admire, and we tell ourselves we could never do what they have done. We focus on our failures, and tell ourselves we don’t have what it takes to be a success.
But if you want to grow as a person, you need to let go of the beliefs that hold you back.
Let’s examine some dangerous beliefs that can stand in the way of you and personal growth. Because once you lose these beliefs, you’ll find yourself capable of progress you never thought possible.
1) “I’m too old/too young”
According to probably the world’s most successful life coach and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, any answer you give to the question, “what’s stopping you from achieving your goals?” is not really an answer, but an excuse.
Maybe that sounds harsh. But sometimes, you have to be tough with yourself if you want to achieve great things.
If you’re looking for excuses, it’s easy to fixate on things you can’t help. Age is a good one.
Young people lack experience, know-how, and connections, while older people may suffer from a lack of energy or diminished expectations of what they’re capable of.
These famous stories might be outliers. But they both demonstrate in a different way that while age can make things trickier, it doesn’t have to hold you back.
When it comes your personal growth, the best time to start – and the only time you can ever start – is right now.
Stop telling yourself you’re too old, too young, too tall, too blonde, or any other excuse that stands between you and what you want.
2) “I don’t have time”
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s what we do with them that determines what our lives will look like.
Yes, we all need to make a living. We all need to sleep. And if you’re caring for young children, looking after elderly parents, or have other important obligations, it’s easy to feel like there isn’t a single hour in the day that you can call yours.
But when something is important, you make time for it.
And what could be more important than developing who you are as a person?
When you have a hectic life, it’s hard to find the time to focus on yourself. And sometimes, it can even feel selfish to do it.
But remember, growing as a person will help you perform your other roles more effectively. Becoming a better person is something others benefit from at least as much as ourselves.
3) “I’m not smart enough”
Albert Einstein probably didn’t say, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
But somebody did.
And while you are almost certainly not an Einstein-level genius, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid.
To some extent, intelligence is hereditary. But it can also be influenced by external factors like nutrition, education, and availability of learning resources.
In other words, studying and learning can actually make you smarter.
Besides, many of the most successful people weren’t all that bright. Often, success is more about perseverance than it is about any special ability.
4) “I don’t have enough money”
Like intelligence, money is something that it seems there will never be enough of.
Unfortunately, lack of money can create significant barriers between you and your goals.
For example, getting a degree seems to get more expensive by the year, with students in the US spending an average of just under $100,000 during the time they are in college.
If your goal is to get a degree, or a job that requires one, that’s a scary thing to hear.
But life is complex, and there are always several different ways to achieve your goals.
Maybe it means going to a state college where tuition is cheaper. Maybe it means taking a second job to gather the funds to start your own business.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. In fact, I can almost promise you that it’s not.
But a lack of money should never be an excuse to put off your personal growth. While not having enough money can get in the way of some specific dreams, becoming the best version of yourself doesn’t have to cost a dime.
5) “I’ll never be the best”
You’re right. You probably won’t.
I always wanted to be a writer. But I didn’t just want to be any writer. I wanted to be the best writer the world has ever seen.
That’s what it means to be truly devoted to something. You want to master it and do it better than anyone else ever has.
But the world is not a videogame, and there is no high score at the end to tell us who is the best.
Pursuing your goals and working on your personal growth comes with all kinds of benefits that go far beyond the ego-boosting sensation of being the best at something.
In fact, as you grow as a person and become more comfortable with yourself, chances are good you’ll lose all interest in trying to prove yourself the best to anyone.
Besides, as Henry Van Dyke said, the woods would be very quiet if no birds sang except the very best.
6) “I’m not the type of person who does things like that”
This is one of the most damaging of all limiting beliefs.
We are told to think of each other as types of people. After all, life is easier when we can put everyone in their own little box. And this tendency ends up putting us in our own boxes, too.
You may not consider yourself particularly talented, successful, or wise. But guess what? No one does.
We are all born illiterate and incontinent. But who we are changes with time. After all, that’s what growth means.
You decide every day what type of person you are.
So decide to be the type of person who focuses on personal growth.
7) “I don’t deserve it”
This is another highly damaging belief that an unfortunate amount of people hold about themselves.
Therapist Tonya Ladipo writes that a sense of being undeserving often comes from long-ago experiences that taught us we were unworthy of getting what we wanted.
But there’s no reason to give the past that kind of power over the future.
Breaking the habit of thought that makes you feel unworthy of what you want isn’t easy. But working on your sense of deserving good things in life is key to achieving the growth you need.
8) “I’m not good enough”
I’m a writer, so I know all about this one.
Doing anything always comes with some self-doubt. And if you’re trying to excel at something, the self-doubt can be crippling.
Partly, that’s because you compare yourself to the very best.
When I think about being a writer, I compare myself with absolute titans of literature. I don’t compare myself to the average person off the street.
But imagine what literature would look like if everyone who wasn’t Tolstoy gave up.
Imagine how boring sport would be if only Michael Jordan was in the NBA.
Successful people know that the real competition is not with their heroes, but with themselves. And growth starts the minute you decide that instead of needing to be the best, all you need to be is better than you were yesterday.
9) “I don’t really want it”
Be careful with this one.
Knowing what you want is key to achieving success in this life. And it’s also an important part of personal growth.
So if you really don’t want a particular goal you’ve been told you should shoot for, you’re absolutely right to give it up.
But are you being honest with yourself? Or are you just telling yourself you don’t want something because you don’t think you can have it?
Everything worthwhile is difficult. But don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself you don’t want something that you actually do just because you don’t think you can get it.
Let go of limiting beliefs
One of the first things you learn when you decide you want to grow as a person is that the biggest obstacle is you.
It’s not a lack of money or lack of time. It’s not your age. It’s not your abilities.
It’s the things you tell yourself about yourself that become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Let go of these limiting beliefs, and watch your personal development bloom.