Self-Limiting Beliefs

That Could Never Be Me

I sometimes look at successful magicians on stage, on TV or posting their latest jet-set corporate gig on social media and think, “That could never be me.”

But why not?

How are they really different to me? I know I can stand on stage, I know I can perform, I know I can learn routines. So what is getting in my way of being just like them? Well, first I need to work out if I really want to do that kind of work – Behind the glamour I know that it comes with a lot of travel, stress and hard work.

However, more likely is the fact that I don’t actually believe that I can or should do it.
This is the whole field of self-limiting beliefs.

Feeling Lucky?

The only things really between myself and the successful TV magician are training, contacts and hard work. I could do all of those. You might say there is a bit of luck as well. However, luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you prepare enough and put yourself out there enough, at some point you will get “lucky”.

Origin Stories

Where do self-limiting beliefs come from? 

Maybe from your upbringing? “Oh, we’re not that kind of people,” might have been a spoken – or unspoken – family mantra.

Maybe from a religious background? A healthy sense of humility can go too far and turn into false humility so that you hide your light under a bushel. A determination to not make mammon your god can lead to a sense of guilt about making money.

Maybe from something in your educational past? I had a tall, thin university tutor, reminiscent of a hawk leaning over the desk towards me. He used to say things like, “That’s obvious, surely?” and, “But that’s just schoolboy stuff!” when I didn’t understand something. The result: I felt like I wasn’t clever enough for years, even though I had an Oxford University degree.

Don’t Jump, You Can’t Fly

It is worth remembering that some self-limiting beliefs are good and for our own protection. We correctly believe we can’t fly by flapping our wings so we shouldn’t jump off high things, we  correctly believe we are not flame-resistant so we shouldn’t put our hands in fires. 

But we should try to work out which are the false beliefs that are holding us back.

Defy Your Doubts by Doing 

Then we should take action to defy our false self-limiting beliefs so that they start to lose their power over us.

There are two songs on U2’s album Songs of Experience that have been inspirational for me recently: “Get Out of Your Own Way” and “Free Yourself to Be Yourself” (From “Lights of Home”)

Thanks Bono, great advice.

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