Watch the video above, or read the blog version below
Today we’re going to be looking at the most common beliefs people have that hold them back and make their life worse.
I’ve been a confidence coach for over six years now, and before that I was a Probation Officer in the field of corrections. I’ve seen the same three limiting beliefs come up over and over again, causing the most amount of suffering and misery. And yet they’re actually really straightforward to correct.
#1 Caring what others think
The first belief is thinking that other peoples’ opinions matter and that you must avoid causing negative reactions. This is just a fancy way of saying, “I care what other people think of me.”
This belief creates an intense focus on social approval, a massive amount of concern in your mind as to how other people think and feel about you. This concern grows over your lifetime until it drowns out your own morals and values and goals, and all you can hear is the raging voice of worry about what other people are thinking, in particular, what they thinking about you and how they feel about you as a person.
As Derren Brown puts it:
“We’d worry a lot less about what other people think of us if we realised how seldom they do.”
What he means by that, of course, is we know that we spend a lot of time thinking and worrying and concerned about our own problems and our own lives, and yet we don’t stop to realize that other people are like that, too. They don’t have much time to spend thinking, judging and feeling things towards you. They’re so busy with all the other shit going on in their life. So you’re spending a lot of time worrying about a thing that doesn’t happen very often.
Check out this video, and notice how many people basically ignore me because they’re wrapped up in their own minds:
When I starting my own coaching business, the people who were most discouraging and judgmental of me were also people who had really crappy lives. I know that sounds judgmental for me to say, but the proof was right there. They had terrible relationships. They had poor health. Their careers sucked. And yet I’m worried what they think of what I’m doing?!
You’ll find that so often you spend a lot of time worrying and concerned about people whose opinions are pretty dubious. If they are discouraging of you and judgmental, you gotta ask yourself: “Is this the kind of person who role models a great life? Is this the kind of person whose feedback I should be caring about?”
What you’ll find is that the people who are living a great life – people will take care of their psychology, are on a mission, have got a great career, are working on great relationships, and take care of their health – are rarely people where you need to worry what they’re thinking because they are usually encouraging and supportive. Confident people won’t judge you… so who else’s opinion even matters?
The simple fact is you don’t need everyone to like you, really! It’s not even possible. There are 7 billion people on the planet and thousands of different cultures, so the likelihood that everybody could like you is zero – it is not possible to be someone who everyone likes. The key truth is; it’s fine for a lot of people to dislike you. There are very successful people in all areas of life who have a lot of haters.
There’s a kind of a truism when you start your own business, which is you only need 1000 “true fans.” And I found that to be really accurate. Any business can survive if they have 1000 true fans – 1000 loyal clients and customers. Any business can survive on that, at least at a small level. So you don’t need billions, or millions, or even hundreds of thousands – just 1000. The rest of the world can hate you, and your business will still be fine.
The same applies to your social life. You don’t need hundreds of friends to have a good social life, you just need a couple of great deep connections, and everyone else can hate you and it won’t matter. So very few people’s opinions are of any worth to you.
But the truth is you’re not really worried about what other people think, because you don’t even know what they think most of the time. You’re just making it up in your head. You’re assuming they think certain things. Sometimes you get pieces of evidence, but 90% of the time it’s a fiction that you imagined.
What you’re really scared of is not what they think but confrontational emotions. That’s what you’re afraid of. You’re afraid of you or others feeling uncomfortable. This whole ‘worried about what they think’ story is really just fearing that you might do something that causes uncomfortable emotions to arise.
You’ve got to understand that if you can develop yourself into someone who’s comfortable being uncomfortable, someone who can handle any emotion when it comes up, then you never need to worry what other people think ever again.
For more on this, check out my podcast called ‘let them hate you‘. It’ll take you through an entire system of changing your thinking so that you can become okay with being disliked, judged, mocked and ridiculed, in order to be yourself authentically and to find the people who are a great fit for you. To find the clients who love your business. To find the friends who love your real personality, and so on.
Once you let go of people liking you and embrace being disliked, you’ll be free.
#2 “I’m not good enough”
The second belief that holds people back is the one that says “I’m not good enough” – with the implication that you need to be good enough.
This belief pressures people into struggling towards perfectionism, or the opposite; just giving up completely. They struggle to enjoy their achievements and accomplishments. They’re always undermined by the “could have been better” mentality. They become obsessed and anxious about success, and concerned and afraid of failure.
The funny thing is, when you think about it, you’ll realize you don’t know what “good enough” even means! You don’t have a clear description or a clear milestone that you need to accomplish to be good enough. It’s just always a sense that you’re not.
It doesn’t really matter how well you do, because this voice always comes in and says, “But blah blah blah.” So you might go, “I finally went and asked for that promotion from my boss, that was a really courageous thing to do!” but then your mind goes, “Yeah, but you didn’t get the promotion.” No matter what you do, your mind comes and kills it with this “Yeah, but…”
One thing you’ve got to understand: you’re never going to be good enough.
Just take that in for a second. You’re never going to be good enough! You know why? Because you’re chasing a rainbow. No matter how close you get, it’s always going to move further away from you.
Every time you achieve what you thought would be good enough, by the time you get there the milestone will have moved. You’ll be undermined. You’ll reach your goal and the voice will say “But now you need to …” or “You could have done that better” or “It wasn’t quick enough.”
No matter what you do, you’ll never satisfy that voice in your head, because that voice is always unsatisfied. That’s all it’s capable of being. There’s no point in trying to please it.
You often fail to recognize that every effort you’ve ever made was always your best attempt. It was the very best you could have done at that moment. Not only are you always good enough, but you’re also actually perfect! Because you simply couldn’t have done better.
No one tries to suck at life. Think about it, have you ever tried to be terrible? No, you’re always doing your best. You’re always functioning to the limit of your capability, the limit of your courage, the limit of your mood, energy, skills and resources. At any given moment in time you are striving to live within the restrictions that you’ve got. How can you be better than that?
You’re alive, which means of course that you’re good enough to survive. So is that good enough?
But the truth is, you don’t actually need to be good enough. What you need to do is let go of the good/bad dynamic altogether, and replace it with something much healthier. Instead, aim for valued-living – what we in BROJO call integrity.
(If you don’t know what your values are, join up with BROJO – it’s completely free – and sign up for our Discover your core values course. This will guide you to create a list of values with guided actions so that each day you can figure out how you’re supposed to be behaving, without having to worry if it’s good enough.)
Was I honest with what I just said? Have I been courageous and faced some fears today? How do I need to take responsibility for my problems? What should I accept about what happened today? How can I respect my body today?
These kinds of questions don’t have a good/bad answer, they just have specific actions you need to take. If you’re taking those actions, then you’re living with integrity. If you’re doing something else, something more harmful, then you’re not. At any given time you’re either doing it or you’re not, there’s no “good enough.” You’re either on or off, and you can switch between them anytime you choose. It’s always under your control.
There’s no such thing as good enough.
#3 The end is in sight
The third and final limiting belief that we’ll be covering today is the idea that there is a problem-free way to live… and it’s probably financial security.
I don’t know how this belief happens, exactly. I know it’s something to do with schooling and the way we are influenced by the media. We grow up believing that there’s a finish line – an end to all our struggles.
Many of us believe that this is wealth – either retirement or the accumulation of great wealth until you’re officially “rich.” Others believe its popularity and being consistently loved by so many that you’ll never go unloved again. Some even believe it’s something to do with physical fitness. A lot of us think it’s all of the above occurring simultaneously.
However it manifests, most of us have this idea that there’s an imaginary line we can cross; after which life won’t hurt anymore. Yet I challenge you to find me a single person on this planet who isn’t struggling in some way!
I recently saw an interview with Dan Bilzerian, the “Instagram King.” Wanna know what his problem is? Everything in his life is the best, so it’s very hard to satisfy him now! So you can cook him the best food in the world but that’s what he expects. If he gets anything less he feels like it’s rubbish. His other problem is trying to sexually satisfy his multiple model girlfriends. Poor guy!
Now a lot of you are thinking, “Man, those are good problems to have!” But I want you to think about it: he actually struggles with those problems. He feels the same way about those issues as you do about yours. It’s all relative.
There is no end to the struggle, it just adapts to your new life. So no matter how much you achieve, no matter how many milestones you cross, you’re still going to struggle and suffer. Success is only ever a temporary check-point before the next set of issues shows up.
The human brain is wired for dissatisfaction – this is actually a key element to our evolutionary success. We’re never complacent for very long because we’re always looking for the next best thing. The ‘happiness’ that you’re seeking will only ever be temporary; a brief reward before your brain starts to pick things apart, seek out threats, and become dissatisfied again.
However, there is good news…
While you won’t ever be happy for long, you can increase how meaningful your life is, which is a completely different pursuit – one that doesn’t have a finish line.
Rather than trying to get to the retirement of all effort, understand that you’re always going to have struggles and hassles and problems and pain, always. No matter how long you live, that will never end. But you do have some influence and some decision making available to over what kind of pain you’re going to have, over where you’re going to struggle. And it doesn’t have to be the shitty stuff that you’re dealing with right now. You can have problems and struggles that you’re proud to have.
As Mark Manson says:
“Self-development is all about finding better problems to have.”
It’s better to struggle with the financial fluctuations of starting your own business – something you’re really passionate about – than it is to deal with the monotonous dreary misery of going to a job you hate (even though it’s got a steady paycheck). Both of those options have problems, but one of them is a more meaningful set of problems than the other.
It’s better to manage emotional fluctuations, the highs and lows of a truly deep and meaningful connection with somebody, than it is to grind through a boring but safe relationship where you don’t feel connected.
It’s better to struggle through the muscle-burn of a difficult workout and feel sore the next day than it is to hate what you see in the mirror and be at high risk of heart disease.
There is no finish line, just the ability to constantly upgrade the meaningfulness and the quality of your problems. Make them problems you’re proud to have rather than problems you feel are just suffering without any benefit.
So those are three of the top limiting beliefs that I’ve seen in my work. For decades now that I’ve been working with people in this field, and I assure that if you tackle these three then your quality of life will increase dramatically.
I hope you found that helpful. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Please share this around and comment below with your thoughts.
And of course if you found that some of this resonated with you and you want deeper support, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org we can talk about everything – from becoming part of the BROJO self-development community through 1:1 intensive personal coaching.
Have yourselves a great week. Cheers.