Some years ago I was just starting a corporate training course for managers when one of them, Kelvin, approached me. He asked me if he could have a word with me before we started the course. He went on to tell me that he was a slow learner and might struggle. I asked him where this belief came from. Kelvin told me that a teacher had told him more than 30 years before. “Kelvin, you are a slow learner. You have always been a slow learner. You always will be a slow learner” the teacher said.
Power of Beliefs
Kelvin, about 12 years of age at the time, did not think to challenge the teacher and so a belief became installed in Kelvin that remained through his school life and beyond. Do you think this belief affected Kelvin’s life? You bet it did. By his own admission, he struggled through school and at work.
Here’s the point. A belief is a meaning of certainty that we have about things; religion, society, politics and ourselves. We take them to be true. In Kelvin’s case, thanks to that teacher, he believed he was a slow learner and it became true for him. The interesting thing is that a belief is not necessarily true, we just act as if they are. When was the last time that you challenged a belief of yours?
Changing Limiting Beliefs
There is no such thing as an absolute good belief or a bad belief, a right belief or a wrong belief. There are, however, beliefs that make you more resourceful or less resourceful depending on what it is. So, here are some questions that you can ask yourself if you want to begin changing limiting beliefs:
- Does this belief (whatever it is) empower me?
- What has this belief cost me in the past?
- What might it cost me in the future if I don’t change it?
- Why might this belief not be true?
- Was there a time when this belief was not true?
- What would be a more resourceful belief to have?
So, the next time you are holding yourself back just ask yourself what beliefs you are holding on to and change them by asking these questions.