Menu Close

These 5 Common Limiting Beliefs Are Destroying Your Life

Let’s talk about the 5 most common limiting beliefs and how they’re destroying your life. You’ll learn these limiting beliefs, why they’re so sneaky and pernicious, and what you can do about them.

Okay, I don’t really know if they’re destroying your life. You’ll have to analyse your situation for yourself. But if you’ve never learned about limiting beliefs before, I can guarantee they’re having some kind of negative effect on your life and preventing you from making positive changes.

Before we look at the five most common limiting beliefs, we need to discuss what a limiting belief is.

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

A limiting belief is a disempowering view you have about yourself. You tend to strongly hold on to them, and they persistently prevent you from making change in your life.

Think of it like being hypnotised by yourself, by your own mind. They trip you up, paralyse you, stop you in your tracks, and you don’t even realise it. In fact, they’re much easier to see in other people than in yourself.

Sometimes they come from difficult life experiences, which lead you to create generalised ideas about your identity and capabilities. Other times they’re introjections: ideas about ourselves that we pick up from others and never question. And they come from the culture – these ideas float around in the ether, so to speak, and secretly latch on to us.

What Do They Do To Your Life?

When you identify these limiting beliefs in yourself and investigate how they limit you, their effects become quite obvious. But let me try to explain it so you have an idea.

Their effect is simple but lethal.

All limiting beliefs stop you from making positive change, whether it’s in career direction, hobbies, relationships, or other areas.

All limiting beliefs limit your ideas of what is possible and extinguish your hopes of change. Any fresh idea or inspiration that comes in will be swiftly destroyed by these beliefs before you have a chance to entertain them. In this way, they keep you stuck in your habitual cycles and make you feel there’s no way out.

Always remember – these beliefs are invisible and taint your view of yourself and the world from the inside out. You can’t see them, precisely because you look at things through them. They’ll never jump out at you; you have to unearth them, and it takes great self-honesty and self-awareness to do so.

Now let’s look at the five most common limiting beliefs in detail.

5 Ultra Common Limiting Beliefs

Common Limiting Beliefs: #1 – I’ll Fail

Whenever we start a new endeavour, the overriding sensation is that we’re going to fail.

And in a funny way, if you believe this, you’re probably right. Failure is an intrinsic part of most projects, even those that are eventually successful.

Let’s say you want to start a business. You get the idea, do your research, then start trying to acquire clients. Well, don’t get too excited. The first solution you try will probably fail. You’ll put out an ad and nothing will happen. Customers won’t magically flow in.

This is totally normal, an unavoidable reality in all new endeavours.

But here’s the kicker: at this point you have a decision to make. Do you admit defeat and give up, or do you start iterating until you find the right solution?

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. This limiting belief will probably stop you in your tracks before you give your ideas solid form. It immediately extinguishes any flickers of hope that you experience. This is why it’s so pernicious.

The trick is to go through the fear of failure and just get started anyway.

However, this belief doesn’t just disappear overnight. Even if you do start, you’ll see your inevitable, initial failures as proof that it wasn’t possible after all. Your limiting belief is confirmed and reinforced, it seems.

At the heart of this belief is unrealistic expectations and an allergy to failure. You probably will fail over and over again before you succeed. That’s no problem. Embrace it, knowing that with every failure you’re getting closer to your target.

Failure is good, so long as you learn from it and keep going. In fact, short-term failure is what leads you to long-term success.

Common Limiting Beliefs: #2 – I’m Not Talented

Again, this limiting belief shuts you off from new possibilities. If you hold it, anything outside your circle of familiarity will seem inherently too difficult for you.

The tragic part of this limiting belief is that it swiftly reinforces itself and self-perpetuates, like a virus. If you believe you’re somehow incapable of playing the piano, or starting a business, or losing weight, chances are you’ll never try to do it. So you’ll never progress, which will only reinforce your idea! And you’ll believe the cause of your lack of progress is lack of talent!

Let me ask you: in this new area, how much time have you spent learning? How many times have you tried? Have you tried at all, or are you simply making assumptions? If you haven’t tried something for a good 500 hours and don’t see improvement, don’t tell me you don’t have talent. You simply haven’t done enough work to get good.

I’ve written an entire article about the subject of talent, and let me summarise it by saying that our conception of talent is largely false. Stop believing in talent.

You vastly underestimate what your capabilities. You vastly underestimate the power of persistence and hard work.

We have a remarkable ability to change both on a physical and mental level. The brain is constantly rewiring itself according to our experiences. It’s the most complex biological phenomenon we know of – and you think it can’t help you pick up new skills or make changes?

Though you might lack the right skills now, you’ll develop them if you have the desire and work ethic. Immerse yourself in your new pursuit, work your ass off, bust through all the mental blocks on your way, and eventually you’ll get the competence you need.

Common Limiting Beliefs: #3 – Now Isn’t The Time

This one sounds like: “I really want to change, but it’s not the right time. I’ll start that business in a year. I’ll start losing the weight next year, after Christmas.”

The problem here is that if you believe that now isn’t the time, you’ll always believe that. It becomes a habit because you get used to postponing your projects. You’ll postpone, postpone and postpone again. Before you know it, 30 years have gone by and you’re stuck in the same old ruts.

This isn’t a legitimate belief but a sign of resistance. At its root are your fears and your inability to face them. When something scares us, we try to postpone it as long as possible. It’s not that now isn’t the right time, it’s that you’re scared and don’t want to face it.

Sure, maybe you don’t have lots of time on your hands, but time is something you manage. When you make something a priority, a do-or-die necessity, you’ll find time you didn’t know you had. You stop watching TV, doomscrolling, and playing video games, and use the freed-up time to take action.

Check out my accompanying video on these 5 limiting beliefs.

Common Limiting Beliefs: #4 – This Isn’t Me

By definition, change means that you become a different person. Whenever you learn a new hobby, change jobs, start a new habit or change diet, your identity has to shift. You got used to being a certain way, with all the subtle behavioural and emotional patterns that accompanied it, and that has to go.

Though we consider ourselves advanced, rational, enlightened superiors, we’re still remarkably primitive in some ways. We dislike change and the unknown. We don’t even like positive change, because it’s change. That’s why the feeling of “this isn’t me” is so scary to us.

You’re right, it’s not you. It doesn’t fit with your current identity. But maybe it should be you. Otherwise you wouldn’t have entertained the idea in the first place.

You have to ask yourself whether remaining the same is better than enduring some discomfort to transform your identity for the better.

#5 – People Will Judge Me

We come to the last of our common limiting beliefs: the belief that people will judge you for changing your life in some way.

This is pernicious because it enables us to forgo responsibility for our own life. If we hold it, it seems that others are stopping us from changing, not ourselves. It’s them: “They’re judging me, and that’s why I can’t start a business, or move country, or leave my relationship.” This isn’t true, but it allows us to be lazy and play victim, which is a perfect way to avoid taking charge.

Let me be frank – if you structure your life around what others want, you’re going to be miserable. You’ll feel deeply cut off from your authentic desires and interests. You’ll feel like a puppet pulled and propelled by external demands.

If other people judge you, let me suggest they don’t really care about you or your desires. They’re actually extraordinary egocentric and selfish. They want you to be a certain way because they’ll benefit from it, or they can’t stand others being different and having the boldness to follow their own desires. Their lens is very narrow and restricting. Don’t make big life decisions based on their opinions.

If they truly do care, they’ll listen to you, understand you and encourage you. Those are the people you can trust. Maybe then you can take real advice from them.

In any case, people don’t care as much as you think, and you’d do well to practice The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***.

Here’s a summary of the 5 most common limiting beliefs and how to bust them.

Now it’s over to you. Which of these limiting beliefs hold you back most? Can you see how damaging it is? Do you understand where it came from?

I encourage you to be compassionate yet firm with yourself. The root of these limiting beliefs is often pain, or poor self-image, or other people’s words. Don’t criticise yourself for having them, yet realise that they’re jeopardising your ability to change and live the life you want to live.