Home » APEX Leadership Coaching Blog » Limiting Beliefs – the First of the “Big Four” Blocks to Success

Limiting Beliefs – the First of the “Big Four” Blocks to Success

“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.”  ~ Brian Tracy 

Last week we discussed Self-Fate and how, because we are subconsciously making choices based on our past experiences, we cannot change our future unless the control of our past is removed. We need to learn to make conscious choices, choices that are made in the present moment, without all the emotional “baggage” we carry around. Which means we need to become aware of what the actually is baggage so we can intentionally choose to keep it, change it, or eliminate it.

Think of that emotional baggage as being packed in four kinds of suitcases. We’ll call these suitcases the “Big 4” energy blocks we carry around that dictates how we see the world and holds us back from reaching our unlimited potential.

The first suitcase contains your limiting beliefs. Beliefs can either help you or hinder you; limiting beliefs are those that hold you back from success. If you do not believe something is possible, you’re not likely to attempt it. Even if you do attempt it, you won’t devote much energy to achieving your goal because it’s going against the “old rule” that says you can’t really achieve that anyway.

Limiting beliefs are general beliefs about the world, your environment and situation, and the people around you that stand in your way. More often than not, you accept a limiting belief as true because you’ve learned it from someone else, or from an “authority,” such as the media, a book, or a movie. You assume that it’s “just the way it is.”

_40118235_race_end_238Here is a classic example of a limiting belief: Up until 1954, it was commonly held that running a mile in under four minutes was impossible. Moreover, physiologists believed it was  extremely dangerous even to attempt it. Yet on May 6 of that year, Roger Bannister crossed the finish line in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds, disproving that myth forever.

It’s remarkable that Bannister accomplished his feat. It required that he completely ignore the prevailing, limiting belief and construct an entirely different belief system for  himself. What others saw as a limitation, he perceived as an opportunity. And once he disproved the presumed limits of the human body, in less than two months another runner,  John Landy, broke Bannister’s record with a mile dash of 3 minutes and 57.9 seconds. And then within just a few years, dozens of runners were leaving the four-minute mark in the  dust.

Here are a couple of common limiting beliefs that hold many of us back.

  •      You have to work really hard to achieve success
  •      Successful people are lucky
  •      You have to have money to make money

There are several ways to challenge limiting beliefs. You can explore the effect the belief has had on your life, look for proof of its truth (or lack of proof), or modify the belief or aspects of the belief to better serve you. Simply examining the belief with questions like “How true do I believe that is?” and the rhetorical “Where did I get that idea?” can also work remarkably well. Once you overcome limiting beliefs, they can no longer hold you back.

This week, think about examining the contents of your limiting beliefs suitcase – what are the “old rules” that are holding you back? Unpack them, and see how much lighter you feel.

In the next issue, we’ll continue with the next of the Big 4 and discuss the assumptions we make.

For more on “Old Rules”, check out these blogs: The Power of Your Mind and What Rules are Holding You Back?


“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”Roger Crawford