What’s something you believe to be absolutely 100% true? Think of something right now that you believe to be irrefutably true about the world, your surroundings or perhaps someone you’re familiar with.
Now ask yourself this: What is the basis of that belief? Where did it come from? How did it develop? Why do you believe it to be true?
Is it a positive, empowering belief or a disempowering one? In other words, does it help you get sh*t done or does it inhibit action?
What are limiting beliefs?
It was once believed the world was flat and the sun orbited the earth. It was also believed that a human being was physically incapable of a running a sub-four minute mile. For countless years and millions of people, these beliefs formed the basis of actions, inactions and daily habits.
- No one dared to sail beyond the horizon for fear that they would plummet off the edge of the earth to their death. Those who dared challenge that belief were often never seen again.
- Men had been exiled, imprisoned, and even sentenced to death for challenging the doctrine that the earth and its inhabitants were at the center of the universe.
- The mere idea that the four-minute mile barrier could be broken by a human being was considered preposterous. Any belief to the contrary was met with laughter and even ridicule from the informed running community.
How limiting beliefs affect your growth
Your beliefs may be the very thing keeping you from sailing beyond the comfort of your self imposed horizon — either shattering your own four-minute mile barrier or taking the focus off yourself as the center of the universe.
The more deeply ingrained those beliefs are, the greater their unconscious influence on your actions, habits and, ultimately, your results.
When the relatively unknown Oxford medical student began his quest to be the first man in recorded history to run a sub four-minute mile, he was empowered by a belief. Roger Bannister had something his competition lacked — the absolute and unyielding belief that it was possible.
What he was up against was the collective belief that human beings were simply not designed to run that fast. The previous world record of 4:01.4 had held for almost a decade. Not a single attempt after almost 10 years had been able to break through that barrier.
As it turns out, the actual barrier had very little to do with what we humans are physically capable of.
Banister: “There was a mystique, a belief that it couldn’t be done. But I think it was more of a psychological barrier than a physical barrier.”
The young man cracked the code with what has been called the “the single greatest individual athletic achievements of all time.” By running a mile in 3:59.4 seconds, he also shattered a universal limiting belief.
How else do we explain why, after just a few short weeks of Bannister’s successful record the four-minute barrier was broken again and again by several other runners? Australian John Landy had tried and failed on six previous attempts. On his seventh attempt, which took place less than one month after Bannister’s, Landy not only succeeded, but also shaved additional time off Bannister’s record.
Bannister was successful for two primary reasons:
- He was in the “habit” of diligent and rigorous training.
- He was also in the “habit” of healthy, empowered thinking.
Positive thoughts such as “this is possible…I can and will do it” give birth to positive and empowering emotions. Those emotions influence empowering goal oriented action and the daily habits that ultimately lead to positive outcomes.
The opposite is also true. Negative and disempowering thoughts such as “this is impossible…I can’t do this” spawn negative and dis-empowering emotions. Which lead to negative actions and habits and ultimately disappointing results.
Identifying supportive and non-supportive beliefs
Want a surefire way of identifying your underlying beliefs and whether or not they support your efforts or sabotage your success?
- Become aware of the consistent thoughts you entertain and the emotions they invoke.
- Make a close inspection of your daily habits.
Bannister could have believed anything he wanted. If however, he didn’t support his “I can…” belief with daily action (training) it would have amounted to nothing more than additional proof that it couldn’t be done.
Tom Terwilliger is equal parts athlete, entrepreneur and motivator. 5 years after pulling himself from the world of drug and alcohol abusing outlaw bikers Tom’s determination and willingness to sweat earned him a coveted Mr. America title and was the springboard to a successful 16 year career as a Fox Sports Net TV show host and the #1 bestselling author of 7 Rules of Achievement. Tom has taught thousands of individuals and organizations the empowering Leadership, Body Rapport strategies needed to take massive leaps forward in their lives, businesses and careers. Learn more at http://www.MaxMindset.com