All About Limiting Beliefs

So what exactly are ‘limiting beliefs’?

Well, a limiting belief is ANY belief that you have that ‘limits’ your life in some way, or is in some way disadvantageous to you.

But what does this mean? Let me see if I can explain;

In order for human beings to ‘make sense’ of the world we inhabit, from an early age we create ‘codes’ that allow us to make sense of what we see and experience. These ‘codes’ can be referred to as ‘belief systems’ and we will tend to use them in the same way, until something happens that makes us consider ‘modifying’ or even ‘re-writing’ them – this usually occurs when we encounter ‘contradictory’ information, something that indicates that our belief system is in need of ‘tweaking’.

I Believe in Santa Claus

OK, I don’t, but I certainly did some years ago.

When I think back to those ‘heady’ days of my childhood I can easily remember the ‘nights before Christmas’ when I tried to go to sleep filled with the excitement of all the lovely presents that Santa was going to deliver to the bottom of my bed the next day.

My belief in Santa created a whole range of ‘lovely and exciting’ emotions and I would definitely say that this particular belief system ‘benefited’ me.

Of course, I don’t believe in Santa anymore, so something had to have ‘happened’ for me to change my belief.

Well, what happened was that when I was about 6 years old, a friend at school told me that Santa wasn’t real and that I should search around the house before Christmas to find where my Mum and Dad had hidden all the presents.

So that’s what I did and rather unsurprisingly (now) I found them under their bed, and from that moment on my belief system changed.

How?

Because I had ‘discovered’ a piece of ‘evidence’ that was so contradictory to what I had previously believed, that I HAD to change my belief system completely!

But Believing in Santa is a Childish Belief System

That’s true, but actually a significant number of the belief systems that people ‘walk’ around with on a day-to-day basis are also ‘childish’, or at the very least, were ‘formed’ during childhood.

Examples of Limiting Beliefs

  • Walking on the cracks in the pavement brings bad luck
  • If it’s not perfect it’s not good enough
  • People in authority should be feared
  • Phobias can never be changed
  • The only way I could be a millionaire is if I win the Lottery
  • You should always think about the mistakes you make
  • The Earth is FLAT not round – visit Flat Earth Society
  • Lucky charms influence outcomes
  • Getting things wrong is bad
  • You must ALWAYS respect your elders
  • You cannot change the path of your life
  • People are always out to ‘get’ you

Are Some Limiting Beliefs More Important Than Others?

Absolutely!

Despite the name ‘limiting beliefs’ there are some limiting beliefs that have very little impact on your day-to-day life, for example, “you should never wear brown shoes with black trousers” – it’s limiting because the underlying ‘idea’ behind this belief is that it will somehow ‘look wrong’ and that people observing this clothing ‘error’ will make a negative judgement about you.

The ‘reality’ is that the vast majority of people probably don’t care about your choice of shoe colour and it’s unlikely to have any major negative impact on your life. Unless, that is, that you had a ‘boss’ who had the same belief and who fired you from your job for making this sartorial error. In which case, you have some real evidence to support this belief!

There are Three CORE Limiting Beliefs

Whilst the vast majority of limiting beliefs have very little day-to-day impact, the Thrive Programme specifically draws attention to THREE ‘core’ such beliefs that have the most SIGNIFICANT impact.

These are:

  1. Your ‘Locus of Control‘ – your sense of power over your own life and its ‘trajectory’
  2. Social Pressure – how much you worry about social judgement or what people think about you or how much you worry about being ‘socially compliant’
  3. Self-Esteem – how you think about yourself, your opinion of yourself and your abilities

You can read more detail about each of these ‘core’ limiting beliefs by clicking on each phrase.

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Thrive Programme Consultant Paul Lee

About Paul BSc.

Paul is a highly experienced psychologist & therapist who has been delivering the Thrive Programme since its early development in 2011. Thrive with Paul is run from our private offices in Wombourne.


The Thrive Programme

The Thrive Programme is a science-based training programme that teaches self-insight as well as a range of life-changing principles.

Common Questions

Get the answers to the most frequently asked questions about what the thrive programme is and how it helps with life problems.

Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs are those things that we believe about life and how the 'world works' that may be self-limiting and unhelpful to us.

Locus of Control

Our Locus of Control is measure of how self-empowered we feel about our ability to determine the path that our life takes.

Social Pressure

We either succumb to the social pressures around us or we are able to make-up our own minds and not be swayed by the crowds.

Self-Esteem

Our self-esteem is the result of how we 'think' about ourselves, how much 'value' ourselves and how we 'treat' ourselves on a day-to-day basis.


Emetophobia

The fear of vomiting is thought to affect around 5% of the population. Thrive is the most effective solution to emetophobia ever devised.

Flying

Fear of flying has been around since air travel was first invented. It is most often associated with a 'high desire for control'.

Public Speaking

Reckoned to be the the most common phobia. This can become a significant problem if talking to groups becomes a part of your job.