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“All forms of self-defeating behavior are
unseen and unconscious,
which is why their existence is denied.”
– Vernon Howard, author
This blog is action-oriented and is meant for those who find fulfillment in learning and growing. This is designed to use the power of your imagination to discover old, limiting beliefs and replace them with a positive, empowering belief.
I strongly suggest you record your observations.
Before reading this blog, I invite you to watch a short video clip from my most recent book, IMAGINE THAT! Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance. Page 106.
This hypnosis demonstration reveals everything you need to know about a limiting belief:
URL: https://vimeo.com/mapes/4-1 Cut and paste in your browser and enter the password “boxclip.” Let me know what you think.
Did the individual in the video know what belief held him back from getting out of the invisible box and taking the money? No.
Do you have a limiting belief? Even if you do, I seriously doubt you could answer this question. Without examination and introspection, we remain blind to most of our beliefs.
Why is it necessary to identify your limiting beliefs?
Life Fact: If you don’t identify and mute a limiting belief, you will always sabotage yourself in certain areas of goal achievement and, you won’t know it. If this thought is a bit frightening, so be it.
Most people hold their beliefs as the absolute truth without ever identifying, questioning or exploring that belief. Many of your beliefs are embedded in your subconscious before the age of six. So, it is natural to assume that what we believe is true.
What is also disturbing is the possibility that you might set yourself up to defeat your goals. You do not want to have a victim mentality and blame yourself or others for not reaching your potential. As in the video, you won’t know why you can’t accomplish a goal even if the reward is huge.
The good news is that you can identify and break through these barriers by going to a coach or, you can become your own “Belief Detective.”
Becoming a “Belief Detective” gives you the power to break down the belief and change your perspective.
Become a “Belief Detective.”
The first step to positive change is to identify your limiting beliefs. If you don’t know your underlying limiting beliefs, mentally, spiritually, emotionally or socially, try this:
Look at limiting beliefs as the “code” in a computer program. This code programs your brain to think about things in a certain way.
They can only be changed when you identify the faulty code creating the belief.
The challenge is that we are often so close to a situation that we can’t see how we are tripping ourselves up. It’s only when someone else points it out that it becomes obvious.
As a “Belief Detective,” you can do this yourself IF you are willing to put in a bit of energy.
“Belief Detective” Tool #1: Step outside yourself, observe and identify.
Let’s play a game.
If you are going to uncover a limiting belief, you first need a specific situation to work with.
Go to an area of your life where you feel “stuck.”
Think, specifically, of one of your BIG goals, something you have been working hard for but have not yet achieved.
As you do, pay special attention to any negative emotions that come up. Guilt, anger or fear are signposts to limiting beliefs. Consider what concerns, worries and what limits you. Use negative emotions as a detective’s tool for discovery.
Look for situations where you have done or not done something, said or not said something that seemed to limit you in some way.
i.e. “I know my relationship is dysfunctional, but I can’t leave.” “I hate my job, but I can’t quit.” “I want to write a book but, I don’t have time.” “I know what I want to achieve but I don’t have any support.” “I don’t like being told what to do.” “I feel trapped with commitment.”
Here is a very powerful and simple technique I use with my clients: Complete a statement as quickly as possible. i.e. “I can’t start a new job because_________________________.” “I can’t commit to a relationship because____________________________.” “I can’t write my novel because________________.”
Your answers will be another clue to identifying your limiting beliefs.
Based on my work with clients, here are a few:
- I don’t have enough money.
- I don’t have enough time.
- I don’t have enough support.
- If I fail, I will lose my friends or customers.
- I’m not smart enough.
- I worry what others will think of me.
- I might fail.
- I might succeed.
Quickly write down reasons you have not yet achieved your goal.
“Belief Detective” Tool #2: Step outside yourself.
Look at your situation from another person’s point of view, perhaps a good friend or a loved one. Be the observer of your situation rather than a participant in it, just like watching a movie. Play the game of being an “objective observer.”
Observing yourself, consider the possible reasons this “other person” would have this problem. Why would he/she be stuck in this situation? Dig deep. What beliefs led to that choice?
Write down what comes to mind.
Do these beliefs ring true? If not, dig deeper until you find ones that do. Think about your values, your assumptions and your unique life experiences. Are any of these contributing to unconscious limiting beliefs?
“Belief Detective” Tool #3: Take a trip back in time.
There was a moment when that belief was implanted and taken in as truth. Seek the source. Ask yourself: “When was the first time I had this belief?” What happened for you to believe this. Were you told to believe it? Perhaps a parent, friend, relative, teacher or someone who did not have your best interests in mind? Did someone criticize you?
As any good detective would, write your thoughts down.
“Belief Detective” Tool #4: Question the belief.
Questions are powerful discovery tools. Once you have identified the limiting belief, answer the following questions:
How is the belief serving or not serving me?
How has this belief limited my perspective?
What is the opposite belief?
What would it take for me to let go of this limiting belief?
“Belief Detective” Tool #5: Create empowering beliefs.
Once you mute or let go of a limiting belief, you want to replace it with an empowering belief.
This is not a difficult task. Simply “imagine” what the new belief will be and use two of the most powerful words for creating your new reality: “I AM.”
Write out “I AM ______________________________ (Fill in the blank with your new belief.)
“Belief Detective” Tool #6: Install a new empowering belief by acting “AS IF” the belief was true.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” I believe he had an insight into the mind long before the discoveries of neurobiologists.
The truth is that the subconscious cannot tell the difference between a real or imagined experience. If you don’t believe it, recall a terribly negative event and notice your physical reaction. Then recall a peaceful and loving event. Notice the difference is how you feel. Nothing changed except your thinking. This same shift in your thinking will open new behaviors and new possibilities.
Acting “as if” the belief was already real is the final Belief Detective tool. It is a sure way to embed this belief in the subconscious. It’s is the way to literally get “out of the box.” It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Guaranteed.
State your new belief and visualize how a person (you) would act. What actions would you take? How would you carry yourself? How would you communicate? Who would you bring into your social circle?
Now, ACT AS IF YOU WERE THAT PERSON and DO IT NOW.
James Mapes is a best-selling author, speaker, coach and hypnotist. His most recent book IMAGINE THAT! Igniting your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance is the first web-supported book with access to 21 video-coaching clips. www.jamesmapes.com
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