On a recent episode of The Science of Success Podcast with Matt Bodnar, Matt discusses something we have all dealt with at one time or another, limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are those tiny thoughts we experience every single day that run through our heads and hold us back. “Limiting Beliefs are stories you tell yourself that cause you to self-sabotage.” Explains Matt.
Your brain is hardwired for survival, “Your subconscious doesn’t care about you being happy. The only thing your subconscious cares about is keeping you alive.”
With your subconscious working against you it’s hard at times to be able to identify these limiting beliefs. So what can we do to eliminate these thoughts that climb into our head and hold us back?
Here is Matt’s three-step process to overcoming these thoughts from our subconscious:
Step 1: Become aware of the limiting beliefs
Matt begins, “There’s a couple different ways to cultivate the ability to be aware of your beliefs… one of the most powerful, is meditation. Meditation is an incredible tool for really becoming aware of your thoughts.” Simply identifying that these beliefs exist will pull them from your subconscious and into your mind. “You can then peg these thoughts and say, Hey, wait a second. That was a limiting belief.”
“Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” – Saint Francis de Sales
Step 2: Write down your limiting beliefs
“I love to use something like Evernote and just keep a running list of limiting beliefs as they come up.” Says Matt. Writing down these beliefs enables us to become more aware these beliefs exist and that grows our ability to see them for what they are. “It requires a brutal self-honesty and cultivated reflection…you have to accept reality as it is… These thoughts are there and ignoring them is only going to cause self sabotage.”
Step 3: Challenge the truth behind this belief
We do this by putting these beliefs through a four-question framework. The first of these questions, Is This Belief True? There’s really no right or wrong answer, “Many times you’ll say yes, I think this is true. I don’t want to come off sales-y, I don’t think I have what it takes to execute this project. Or sometimes even at a surface level, the belief is just not true.” The first question is simply, is it true?
Next we ask, can we absolutely know that it’s true? “This is a more metaphysical question about what the nature of this truth is. Is it really true?” Matt recommends looking to others, “Has anybody in history ever proven this wrong? Done something different?” We then ask how do you feel? How does this belief make you feel about yourself? “How do you react when you think you can’t be successful?” write it all down. “Feel the anger, frustration, whatever it might be.”
Lastly, ask yourself who would I be without that thought?. Think about how different your life might be if you weren’t holding on to this limiting belief. “You’d be achieving everything you want, you’d be Elon Musk!… as soon as that belief is gone, you can be that person… this question enables you to visualize a reality where that belief is no longer true.”
“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”- William James
To really ingrain these new frameworks in your head Matt recommends writing down the whole process. These beliefs might seem impossible to overcome at first, but the closer you get and the more in touch with these beliefs you become the easier they are to eliminate. Using these steps you can find yourself controlling your beliefs and ultimately your actions in a way you never thought possible.