What limitations have you put on your personal or business success? What goal have you not pursued because of a perceived limitation?
We’re all aware that we accumulate certain preconceived ideas and behaviours over the years. What we don’t always realise is how these may be limiting us in both our personal and business lives.
If we don’t believe we’re capable or worthy of success, chances are it won’t come our way. Henry Ford expressed this perfectly when he said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
We’re all conditioned by various things in our life based on our expectations of ourselves and others. Because of this, we’re programmed to behave and think in a certain way.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to change old established patterns of behaviour and thinking.
Why change what’s working?
The saying goes, why fix something that isn’t broken? But ask yourself this: Are your current behaviours and thought processes really working in your favour, or are they preventing you from reaching your – or your business’s – true potential?
It’s not necessary to accept the self-limiting beliefs that are largely foisted on us by society. It’s entirely possible to replace bad habits with good habits. In fact, you can even dare to chase goals you previously thought were impossible. Here’s how.
Three steps to a new you
According to Wayne Dyer, US author and inspirational speaker, in order to change any limiting beliefs or behaviours, you need to be aware of them and why you have them. Only then can you set about replacing them with new thoughts, attitudes and even behaviours.
By doing this you’ll embark on a journey of self-exploration, from unconsciousness to awarenesss to self-awareness.
The first step is to identify what your preconceived perceptions are and to establish what it is that you believe about yourself and your business – and your capabilities. Beliefs are mental notions and assumptions we have about ourselves and the world around us. They are formed through our experiences and interactions with the world.
So you may believe that you have an ability with words – because you did well in English at school – but are weak when it comes to numbers, for example.
Perhaps you think you’re a poor public speaker – because public speaking makes you nervous – but great in one-on-one situations. All of these beliefs will impact how you operate in business and could well prevent you from taking that next step towards success.
Sit down, and write a list of everything you believe, no matter how big or small. Be totally honest with yourself.
Next you need to challenge the self-limiting beliefs that you have. Question why you have these preconceived ideas, where they came from and how they are limiting you. You can’t change what you don’t understand.
Only then can the journey to change begin. In order to adopt new perceptions you may need to shed some old ones. Be aware that in order to really integrate a new, more empowering belief, you’ll need to spend time cultivating it.
Write down the changes that you want to make in your beliefs or behaviour. Read through this list every day to remind yourself of where you’d like to be. By changing our beliefs, thoughts and actions, we can change the end result. At the end of the day, you need to retrain your brain so that it adopts new thought patterns and sheds the old, self-limiting ones.
And who knows, you may turn out to be a financial whizz after all.
Let Ben show you the way
The language might be dated, but the ideas certainly aren’t. Try them today.
300 years ago American statesman Benjamin Franklin developed an approach to changing behaviour that still holds true today. He listed 13 character traits that he felt were desirable — but which he lacked. He felt that nurturing these habits would bring about positive change in his life.
Establishing new behaviours
Franklin spent exactly one week working on each virtue.
- In the morning he thought about how he would reinforce the new habit throughout the day.
- During the day he looked at his notes to remind himself of the new habit.
- At the end of the day, he counted how many times he fell back into the old habit. He worked through his entire list in a thirteen-week cycle, and completed four such cycles in the space of a year.
13 virtues to live by
Franklin tried to follow these principles in his life, although he wasn’t always successful. However, the positive intentions were there. We’ve left Ben’s old-fashioned words intact as we love their charm and quirkiness.
- Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
- Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Chastity: Rarely use venery (sexual indulgence) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
- Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.