Bruce Lee and Anime have been two of my favorite pastimes among others ever since I was a kid. There was nothing more that could keep me captivated that watching Bruce Lee kick people’s ass and do that so effortlessly. To this day, I still am practicing micro steps to replicate his famous 2 finger pushup.
So when I was volunteering at Career Kraft, Akshay Cherian the person who ran this NGO along with Selvi brought about the concept of limiting beliefs and how they often are so invisibly deep-rooted in everyone of us that they control most of our choices in our lives. So, let’s dig into understanding what limiting beliefs are:
The beliefs you hold to be true make up the fabric of your experience. The stronger those beliefs, the more they seemunshakeable , and the more you will find evidence to support them. One warning – ( I will be coming up with words that like the one I used above often, they will only get worse :-P).
What I didn’t realize was that the vast majority of my beliefs about the world aren’t really true – “out there.” My Beliefs were formed through repeated thoughts, and the only reason they held any weight was because I had decided or agreed that they are true.
It took more than 6 months to even notice my limiting beliefs and acknowledge them for being present in the deep crevices of my being. Often, people throw quotes like the one I have shown you above which sound so cool to hear but there isn’t a significant pointer or set of action steps that any layman can follow to identify his/her own limiting beliefs.
I have researched and tried so many techniques but the one that works for me best is the following thing. So, a year back another friend of mine Banmeet whom I call the “Laughing Buddha” for his infectious laughter that he seems to possess in his whole being. Just thinking about him now brings a smile to my face. He suggested me the best method I have come across that works for me.
I’ll let you figure it out. The whole underlying principle is this =>
Replace all your should’s & say
IF I REALLY WANTED TO DO “X” ,
I COULD _______ AND SO WHY HAVEN’T I ?
Now let me give you some limiting beliefs that I had
- 9-5 job is the only way I can earn money.
- I should get married by the time I am 30.
- I should have my own car.
- I should have my own house.
- Once I’m an adult, life is about responsibilities, not fun.
- Dreams are not practical
- Now to pump it up a notch, ask WHY? To all the shoulds you have listed until you can no longer answer the next WHY? I call this the “INFINITE WHY LOOP”
One can thing that helped me was when I considered all my limiting beliefs to be assumptions and began to pick at them one by one by asking the question that I stated in the beginning. I came up with a ton of things but I urge you to try things that really begin to gnaw at your limiting beliefs like how a rat or a squirrel eats its food. Don’t try to come up with something overwhelming that drains you. For me, just acknowledging my limiting beliefs for more than a month even before I began to test its foundation little by little shook them up.
As always, make your action steps to be a series of micro steps that is easy for you to do and I invite you to practice the “DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN” technique that hasn’t failed me since I have started to use it.
I’m not a huge fan of quotes and external motivational triggers though some of them do help in certain cases but in the long run relying on extrinsic motivation is a really bad idea. Think of it like “GAS” for your car. You can only use your car as along as you have access to “GAS”. It’s a much better strategy if you have a balance of both extrinsic & intrinsic motivation and slowly over months of deliberate practice you begin to fuel yourself to get the results you want. Behavior Design will change your life if you stick with it and keep turning the flame on your ass little by little to whatever task you wish to hack down.
P.S. Banmeet calls this “Buns on Fire” technique. Whenever we have our calls we have developed this habit of beginning by bitching about what didn’t work and this goes on for like 5-10 mins and slowly we start setting each other’s buns on fire on things we could have tried and see what’s stopping us from doing that.
If something works for you, I’m eager to know. Do send me a reply.
Even better, take this exercise as a challenge and come up with 3 of your own limiting beliefs.