The True Cost of Self-Limiting Beliefs

motivation monday

Almost four months ago, Huffington Post uploaded this beautiful and emotional video to Facebook. Imagine – living your entire life without the ability to hear only to suddenly have that change with the flick of a switch.

It’s incredible, and something that most of us with five functional senses will never truly be able to fathom. If you had asked the individuals in this video just a few years ago if they would ever be able to hear, I wonder how many of them would have said yes? The sad truth of this story is that so many of us resign ourselves to our fate from the early years of life.

The Tragic Tale of the Circus Elephant

Have you ever been to a circus?

If so, you may have seen an elephant chained to a small wooden stake. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably scratched your head in bewilderment.

If that circus elephant felt so inclined, he or she could easily pull that stake out of the ground and escape… so, why does the elephant not even bother to try?

The answer is simple.

That elephant was born into captivity. As a baby, the elephant was chained to that same stake – and at that time, he or she was not strong enough to pull it out of the ground.

This circus elephant accepted at a young age that escape was impossible.

Fast forward a couple years to adulthood, and that elephant still carries that same limiting belief; he or she could not possibly pull that stake out of the ground.

Is This Starting to Sound Familiar?

Unfortunately, many of us carry self-limiting beliefs into adulthood there are not so different or any less tragic than the circus elephant.

We are nothing if not the sum total of our life experiences. And sometimes failure teaches us a permanent lesson about the limitations of our talents, expertise, and capabilities.

These sorts of limiting beliefs are cancerous, and they quickly spread into many areas of our lives – business, relationships, education, health, fitness, and finances, just to name a few.

I once saw a de-motivational plaque that said,

“Success is a matter of luck. Just ask any loser.”

From an analytical perspective, we recognize that quote to be nothing more than facetious parody; however, if many of us played back the things we say out loud each day, we might discover that we are that loser.

For example, how many times have you heard someone say…

  • I’m always late! I’m just not a morning person.
  • I could never do public speaking! I’m just too shy…
  • I’ve never been any good at math – numbers confuse me!
  • I’ve always been overweight… and I’ve just learned to accept it.

In other words, there are a lot of people who write off their personal challenges as disposition – we are to believe those people were simply born the way they are.

Do You Write off Weaknesses as Disposition?

Self-limiting beliefs come at a high price; in exchange for those beliefs we trade our ability to create positive changes.

Sure, we may make a half-hearted attempt at improving our eating habits, financial situation, or relationships… but how hard can someone work at making positive changes if he or she is already expecting to fail?

Holding steadfast to limiting beliefs is a vicious cycle, as I have described in other #MotivationMonday posts I have written.

As we mentally accept that we cannot succeed, we inadvertently sabotage our own efforts. This ultimately leads to failure, further reinforcing our limiting beliefs.

Accepting that you are a certain way only makes sense if you wish to continue to be that way.

Here’s How to Make Positive Changes

When it comes to escaping the chains of your own metaphorical circus, you will need to accept that change truly is possible.

And that means letting go of the limiting beliefs that you have harbored for so long.

Begin by listing those beliefs out on paper. This might be a difficult task, and it can take time and careful analysis – but it is a rewarding exercise. After all, the first step in fixing any problem is recognizing that there is one.

Realize that those negative beliefs you have listed are holding you back from making true progress.

Ultimately, accept that you are capable of more than what you have always believed. Because once you overcome those mental obstacles, the rest of your journey gets much easier.

If those born deaf can regain their hearing, surely you can accept that the impossible may soon be a reality for you, too.



Freelancer, Blogger & Internet Marketer

Brent Jones is a freelancer, blogger and internet marketer. He lives in Fort Erie, Canada with his beautiful wife and two dogs.

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