What you believe matters. A lot. Your beliefs are the lens through which you look the world. They influence your perceptions in a positive or negative way and shape your character.
According to Dr. Andrea Brandt, “your beliefs about yourself are like an invisible, underlying script from which you unknowingly act out your life”[i].
What are limiting beliefs?
“Limiting beliefs are those which constrain us in some way. Just by believing them, we do not think, do or say the things that they inhibit. And in doing so we impoverish our lives.
We may have beliefs about rights, duties, abilities, permissions and so on. Limiting beliefs are often about ourselves and our self-identity. These beliefs may also be about other people and the world in general.
In any case, they sadly limit us”[ii].
Recently I came across a very inspiring story, written by Abasa Glory of Nigeria, that illustrates in a simple way a compelling truth:
As a man was passing by the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages, and it was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” the trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
The man was amazed! These elephants can break free from their bonds anytime but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they are.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging on to a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?[iii]
It is said that “The biggest room in the world is the room for self-improvement.” Do not let your past failures define who you are. Past is past, and you cannot change it for what it was. But you can always do something different today; you can succeed today if you put your heart into it.
If you believe you can, then you are already half past the obstacles.
What you are today may not be exactly what you want to be, but taking the initial steps to break free from your limiting beliefs puts you into the right direction. And once you are there, follow it through and see the positive changes it will bring into your life.
Unless you transform the way you think, you cannot achieve something positive in life with a negative belief.
In conclusion, the only thing that limits our success in life is our limiting beliefs. We are what we believe ourselves to be.