Undoubtedly, one of the most pivotal moments in my personal development journey was learning about limiting beliefs.
If you’ve never heard of limiting beliefs, what you’re about to learn will change your life.
We ALL have limiting beliefs, but as they are often subconscious, we don’t realize we have them.
Limiting beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. These false beliefs hold us back and keep us stuck in life.
But here’s the incredible thing…
Once you uncover your limiting beliefs and do the work to break free from them, your life will change in ways you never imagined!
Here are the seven most common things we believe about ourselves that are (unknowingly) limiting our potential!
1) “I’m not good enough to do…”
This common limiting belief comes from a place of fear and is our mind’s way of keeping us in our comfort zone.
Our minds crave familiarity. But when we try new things, we step into unknown territory.
Our minds then tell us we’re not good enough to stop us in our tracks and protect us from the anxiety, stress, or pain that may come from this uncertainty.
This limiting belief can also present itself as the following:
- I’m not smart enough
- I don’t have what it takes
- I’m not the type of person to do that
One “I’m not good enough” belief I battled with was not believing I could work for myself.
Growing up, every adult in my family worked for a large corporation, so I developed the belief that this was the only way to make money.
So, when I began freelance writing and started building my writing business, I had a lot of inner resistance.
Luckily, because I was able to identify this resistance as a limiting belief, I was able to work through it.
However, if you don’t have that level of self-awareness, these beliefs can completely hold you back and keep you living a small, unsatisfying existence.
2) “I will never be wealthy”
Our upbringing determines our money mindset.
According to author and radio host Dave Ramsey, our money mindset is a unique set of money-related beliefs that drive our decisions around saving, spending, and handling money.
It also determines what we believe about earning money.
For example, if you grew up in poverty, you might develop the belief that you will never become wealthy.
For me, my negative money mindset resulted in the following limiting beliefs:
- That I would never have more than “just enough” to get by
- That I would never earn more than minimum wage
These beliefs stem from the lack of wealth in my family. While I didn’t grow up in extreme poverty, we only ever had just enough to pay the bills and buy groceries.
Moreover, my parents and extended family members worked very low-end jobs for minimum wage. So naturally, I didn’t believe someone like me could earn a high wage.
3) “Im too old” or “I’m too young”
Society pressures us to follow a rigid timeframe in life. There is a specific time in life when we should attend university, have children, and start a career.
These societal norms can cause us to limit our opportunities and create self-imposed boundaries.
For example, if you never went to university as a teenager, you may think you are now too old to gain a degree.
Or, if you’re in your 50s, you may think you are too old to start a new career or launch a business.
While less common, societal norms can also make us believe we are too young to do things.
Here’s a personal example…
During my college years (when I was studying media production), I would get involved in various projects, such as making short films and working on local radio stations.
I was always the youngest person involved in these projects, and people often commented on how young I was.
While their remarks were never negative, they made me feel more conscious about my age. I started believing that I was too young to achieve the success I dreamed of because no one would take me seriously.
4) “I’m not destined for greatness”
This is another limiting belief that stems from the environment we grew up in.
Let’s say, as a child, you were surrounded by positive role models chasing their dreams. In this case, as an adult, you’ll likely have the healthy belief that it is possible to achieve success.
However, if all the adults around you while growing up worked dead-end jobs they hated, you might start to believe that you’re destined for the same.
One way I overcame this belief was to change my environment and the people I hung around with.
This is because the people we spend the most time with shape who we are.
According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland, who we spend time with has a 95% impact on the success or failure we have in life!
While you could not control the influences you had as a child, now you’re an adult, you can choose the type of role models you want in your life.
By exposing yourself to people who are either already high achievers or have the ambition and drive to achieve greatness, you’ll engage in new, more positive conversations around success.
Over time, you will adopt their attitude and perspective on success.
5) “I’m not disciplined enough to…”
We always want to choose the easy way out. So, we will subconsciously try to get ourselves off the hope by blaming our lack of willpower.
For example, let’s say you want to lose weight, but you have a major sweet tooth.
So you develop the belief, “I’ll never reach my perfect weight because I’m not disciplined enough to stick to a diet.”
By blaming your lack of willpower, you shift the blame to something outside of yourself. This gets you off the hook and gives you a free pass to eat as much sugar as you want.
These limiting beliefs prevent us from ever accepting responsibility for our choices and actions.
But unfortunately, until we can accept responsibility, we will remain powerless in our own lives.
Here’s another common excuse we use to talk ourselves out of doing something difficult…
6) “I’m not qualified enough”
If you believe you lack the skills or qualifications to pursue your dreams, you may get stuck in the trap of always learning and never doing.
You’ll never feel ready to take the leap, telling yourself you just need to do another course or read another book.
The truth is we never feel 100% ready for anything. So if you keep waiting until you are, you’ll be waiting forever.
What’s interesting about this particular limiting belief is that it is much more common in women.
According to research, men don’t struggle with self-doubt and impostor syndrome in their careers as much as women do.
A Harvard study reported that most men will apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications listed. On the contrary, most women will only apply if they meet 100% of the required qualifications!
So, how do you overcome this limiting belief?
It requires a mindset shift.
Focus on the strengths and skills you possess rather than the ones you don’t by writing a list of all your past achievements. By doing this, you’ll see you have more strengths and skills than you realize.
7) “I don’t have enough time”
We’ve all used this excuse before.
Granted, sometimes it is true. We live such busy, fast-paced lives that it is impossible to do everything we want.
However, it’s all about priorities.
Let’s say you want to start a business. You plan to work on it as a side hustle until you can monetize it enough to quit your job and pursue it full-time.
But you struggle to get started as you can never find the time.
Even if you’re juggling a full-time job, child care, and responsibilities at home, it’s unlikely that you have zero time at all.
It’s more likely that during the little free time you have, you spend lying on the couch watching TV and scrolling on social media.
In this case, the problem is not that you don’t have time but rather your new business isn’t a priority.
While we use this as an excuse, the more we repeat it, the more it becomes a belief.
For example, we might create an identity around being a busy working mum, and this becomes our reason for why we can’t lose weight or start a business.
If this list has helped you uncover a limiting belief or two, congrats! You’ve just taken the first step to regain control of your mind.
However, overcoming limiting beliefs takes time and effort. There are various things you can do to break free from them, such as challenging yourself to do something that scares you once a week.
Research on neuroplasticity shows that challenging ourselves by learning new things and taking risks creates new neural connections in our brains. This, in turn, weakens and breaks down the existing neural pathways associated with our limiting beliefs.