You look at your calendar and you have something coming up next week that you’ve been nervous about and honestly are just plain avoiding. You see that appointment, presentation, meeting, or project and you are instantly nervous. You may be thinking, “I don’t know if I’m the best person to lead that” or “When I speak in front of others it doesn’t go well” or “What if I fail?”.
These are limiting beliefs. These happen when we allow our thinking to restrict the possibilities of what could go well, and focus more on what could go wrong. Limiting beliefs stop us from living the lives we’ve imagined because they limit the possibilities. The halt us from progress. They keep us small. And most importantly, these limiting beliefs are not true.
Limiting beliefs can sound different to different people. The may sound like “I’m not good at math”, “I can’t cook”, “I’m not a good spouse or parent” but they can also sound like “I don’t have enough time to invest in myself”, “I don’t have enough money to enjoy life,” or “I’m don’t have enough confidence to apply for this role”. The way our limiting beliefs attack our actions is detrimental. Not just because of the actions that we didn’t pursue, but because we allow these lies to become “true”. We adopt them as reality when they are far from it.
Now, picture that same appointment, presentation, meeting, or project again. But you’re excited. You’re thinking “I’m built for this”, “Everything is working out for me,” or “I always figure things out”. This is what overcoming your limiting beliefs sounds like.
So, how do you do that? How do you go from thinking with limits to thinking without limits? First, you need to be able to recognize the limiting belief, replace it with something that’s true, and then replay that true “soundtrack” as Jon Acuff calls it, over and over until it becomes your new belief. To dig deeper into the topic and get actionable steps to do this as well as examples, you can check out these three books below on the topic:
Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking – While all three of these are great picks, this would be my favorite and best “bang for your buck”. I love Jon Acuff’s writing. It’s short, hilarious, has great stories, and is so actionable. I read this book in 2022 and it is surely one of the top 3 books I read during the year. I’ve recommended it to so many people since and luckily enough, they’ve enjoyed it too! It tells you exactly how to recognize your negative soundtracks (limiting beliefs), replace them with something true, and how to get them on repeat so they become your new way of thinking.
Winning the War In Your Mind – If you’re interested in one that’s more biblically based, this is an excellent one as well. Rather than just focusing on soundtracks, Craig Groeschel encourages you to look at it through the lens of the Word and the renewing of your mind. While this and Jon Acuff’s book are on similar topics, they approach this topic of limiting beliefs from different perspectives and I appreciated both of them.
The Limitless Mind – Jo Boaler writes about the 6 keys that help us unlock our minds to future potential. She touches on a growth mindset, being adaptable, and how to rewire the brain. There’s a few stories in here like the London Taxi Cabs or how math is taught in schools in different countries that have stuck with me since I read it a few years ago. While the other two books on this list help you determine how to adjust your limiting beliefs, this one is more focused on what got you there in the first place, as well as some tools to unlock your learning potential.
Do you have any others on this topic you’d recommend? Please share them below!