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Learn the ART of Grasping Opportunities
Every individual, at some point in their lives, stands at the crossroads of choices. One path leads to uncharted territories, brimming with opportunities, while the other to familiar grounds. Sadly, many of us often find ourselves gravitating towards the familiar, not out of preference, but because of limiting self-beliefs that act like invisible barriers keeping us static and stuck.
These beliefs silently keep us apart from countless opportunities. But how do limiting self beliefs form? Why do we allow them to shape our reality? And most importantly, how do we break free?
Understanding Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are deeply entrenched notions we hold about ourselves and our capacities. The form when we are young and become entrenched in our psyche as we grow up. Often, they are offshoots of past experiences, criticisms, societal norms, or even throwaway comments made by someone in our formative years. Examples include beliefs like “I’m not good enough,” “I’m too old to start,” or “I’m not as smart as others.” Over time, these beliefs become an integral part of our identity, casting shadows over opportunities that come our way.
The dangerous thing is that we believe these thoughts. After all they come from inside our mind so surely they are the truth?
No - they are made up thoughts which we must try hard to identify and then work tirelessly to change.
The Cost of Missed Opportunities
By clinging to these limiting beliefs:
- Stagnation: We refrain from stepping out of our comfort zones, leading to professional and personal stagnation.
- Decreased Confidence: With every missed chance, our self-worth diminishes, making us even more hesitant the next time.
- Regret: In the twilight of our lives, instead of reminiscing about the risks taken, we are burdened with the weight of “what ifs.”
So, how do we break this cycle and embrace every opportunity with open arms?
A Three-Step Strategy to Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
- Awareness and Acknowledgment:
- Seek them out: Set aside quiet moments for introspection. Ask yourself - Why did I not take that chance? Was it truly because of external circumstances or was it my own belief holding me back?
- Journal: Document instances where you felt a pang of regret for not seizing an opportunity. Over time, you’ll notice a pattern, a recurring theme — this is your primary limiting belief. By recognizing and acknowledging it, you've already taken the first step towards dismantling it.
- Challenge and Reframe:
- Seek Evidence: Our limiting beliefs are often not rooted in reality. For every belief that says you can't, ask yourself: Is this absolutely true? For instance, if you think “I’m too old to start,” look around. There are countless examples of individuals who embarked on new journeys later in life and succeeded. Write down evidence that this is not true. Prove to your sub-conscious that you "can".
- Affirmations: Craft positive affirmations that directly counter your limiting beliefs. If you believe you're not smart enough, your affirmation could be, "I am capable, and I can learn and grow." Repeat these affirmations daily - multiple times a day. Every time you boil the kettle, sit on the loo. Initially, it might seem mechanical and not feel true but persevere, over time, these words will reshape your subconscious beliefs.
- Take Small, Consistent Actions:
- Start by doing things: Instead of making a monumental leap directly, start doing small things. If you're looking to change careers, start by attending a workshop or networking with professionals in that field. These small steps compound, and before you know it, you’re well on your journey.
- Celebrate: Every time you push past a limiting belief and grab an opportunity, no matter how small, celebrate it. This reinforces positive behavior.
- Seek Accountability: Share your journey with a trusted friend or mentor. Their encouragement and occasional nudging can make a world of difference.
Break free from limiting beliefs
In conclusion, the journey of rising above our limiting beliefs is continuous. There will always be newer challenges and, with them, newer limiting beliefs to overcome. However, with every belief you shatter, you pave the way for a world brimming with endless possibilities.
Remember, your life is your canvas. You are painting your self-portrait so use lots of colours and paint it vibrantly.
The next time an opportunity knocks, instead of being held back by the chains of self-doubt, let's embrace it wholeheartedly.
The alternative is you stay limited. Trust me that when you start living your best life you really do wake up every day feeling motivated, energised and happy.
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