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7 Common but Unhelpful Conditioned Beliefs and How You Can Change Them

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Most of what limits us as people are personal beliefs based on past experiences, or unconscious conditioning that we have been programmed with or picked up during our education or development. The people I look up to and respect the most are those who have managed to unlearn what society has taught them by way of conditioning and have created their own lives in line with what works for them.

They still operate from a space of personal integrity and caring towards others and they can see the limitations in unquestioningly following what society has taught them. They have learned to listen to and follow their own internal guidance and values, create successful habits and win at life.

Some common beliefs that I’ve noticed trip up my clients and students are as follows:

1. Expecting anything from others, life and the world

“If it is to be, it is up to me” is my motto. That’s not to say I don’t collaborate with others, contribute and receive from them, but I am the driving force in my Universe. I know when others do something for me, an opportunity comes my way or something great happens. It’s always my legwork that’s created that association, opening or sense of gratitude or invitation and it’s something to be deeply grateful for and not to take for granted.

TIP: Look for inspiration that resonates for you and act from that space

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. Functioning from thinking at the exclusion of our intuition

Many of us have learned to mistrust our instincts instead of acknowledging what feels right deep down in our gut (which may offer seem counter to what we think about a situation). The term ‘stinking thinking’ exists for a reason. If logical thinking alone worked for running our lives, none of us would have problems. Instead, combine logic with your inner awareness and appropriate action to become unstoppable.

TIP: How can you begin to listen to that powerful voice inside, starting today?

3. Pushing aside our soul whispers because they seem too hard

How often have you ignored a constant urge to do something new/different because you couldn’t quite fathom why that was a good choice, because it felt messy or risky or just didn’t fit with what you have decided is best for you right now?

Staying stuck and perhaps miserable is safer and may seem easier than hacking a track that no one’s ever taken before, but the cost of ignoring our knowing seems to grow over time in terms of stagnation, regret and always wondering.

TIP: What if being truly you and following what excites you most is the only thing you’re supposed to do?

4. Not realizing that feelings are based on conditioning

We tend to associate particular emotions with how we think about certain events/outcomes because of past negative experiences or due to conditioning, even when it’s not actually true for us. When we are in our truth, our thoughts are of such a positive/freeing nature that not much can throw us off centre.

TIP: What is the underlying belief in a current difficult situation that you haven’t acknowledged? How can you change your beliefs about that person/situation to give you a different outcome?

5. Having Expectations of others based on their ‘Role’

People often expect family members/partners/friends or colleagues to behave in accordance with the values and behaviours that they have assigned to those roles. For example “Family must love me”, or “colleagues must be supportive”. In an ideal world these things are always true, but more often than not, our belief just hinders our ability to deal with the reality in this individual situation. People are only capable of being who they are and acting from that space regardless of their role in our lives.

TIP: Always assume who others are based on their behaviour not their relationship to you.

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

6. Expecting others to have the same values/capabilities as us

People always show us who they are. Some of the most stuck clients I see, are those who repeatedly ignore who someone else is based on who they want the other person to be. People will always be who they are and do what works for them, regardless of your preferences. It’s good to understand why we are invested in someone being that way and to provide ourselves with that thing, instead of seeking it through others.  

TIP: When you see people for who they are instead of who you would like them to be life gets exponentially easier and you will have so much energy for you.

7. Thinking that the personal development journey is too hard

Realizing we have a lot of work to do is no reason not to start. A year from now, 12 months will have passed whether or not you have grown and developed the way you know you can. Personal growth can be tough, however can you live with staying the way you are now and depriving yourself of the opportunity to reach your greatness? Who are you to play small and not share your potential with the world?

I get it, you might put all that work in and it might be for nothing, but it’s extremely doubtful if you are able to be honest with yourself, devote a bit of time to the journey and follow some great mentors that you are the one person this stuff won’t work for.

TIP: Who do you want to look back and say you were able to have been in this lifetime? Now start doing what it takes to be that person.

Identifying and recognizing unhelpful conditioning and beliefs and changing them in a way that works for you is valuable process to master. It takes courage to look beyond we have been conditioned to believe, seek our truth and live according to that and the rewards are phenomenal.

What are some limiting beliefs that are holding you back? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Rose Aitken is a Global Empowerment Coach and Facilitator of Change living in Nelson, New Zealand. Rose loves working in that zone where psychology, science and spirituality intersect to create rapid and profound breakthroughs for her clients. You can apply to work with Rose here or download her free e-book here. When not at work Rose is travelling and attending personal development classes, hiking in the hills or hanging out with friends.

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The 3 Types of Confidence You Need to Know and Understand

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We’ve all heard it before, confidence is everything. Those that seem to have it, have it all. They, themselves, are not necessarily perfect human beings, but they seemingly have the charisma to attract whatever they want in life. (more…)

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3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships

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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

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You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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