Apr 5, 2010
Think about something you’re enormously unhappy with in your life, and don’t read any farther until you do so. Just focus on one thing that has been frustrating you for years and seems unchangeable, whether it’s an external circumstance or an internal struggle. I’ll wait.
Got it? Good. Now I’m going to tell you why it’s such a problem in your life, and you’re probably going to get mad at me. But I’m okay with that, because sometimes we have to get a little healthy friction going to light a fire under your ass. So here goes.
The reason you have persistent obstacles in your life is because you’re unwilling to give up tolerating their existence.
Yeah, I can imagine this isn’t what you want to hear right now. You want me to tell you it’s all going to be okay if you just work harder, but we both know that’s not helping. You’ve tried and failed before, and you’re still struggling with this “permanent” obstacle. And of course I don’t understand your situation, because “this really isn’t your fault.”
Well, OK, I’ll give you that. I’m not going to say that any bad situation in your life is your fault. I don’t know know who or what caused your problem. But I do know what’s allowing that problem to remain something that’s persistently holding you back, and it’s your commitment to the way you identify with it.
You see, on some level you believe in your heart of hearts that you just can’t break past this obstacle, and you’re unwilling to give that belief up because it’s safer than what lies on the other side.
Maybe it’s a felony-level traumatic event in your past that someone else caused that’s scarred you emotionally (I know exactly how that feels). Maybe it’s a chronic lack of willpower that has held you back as long as you remember (check that too, I’m with you). Maybe it’s a personal failing or shortcoming that has locked you into a “label” for life.
Or maybe it’s just a simple belief that you don’t have enough time/money/talent/whatever in your life … or maybe the old standby “I’m too busy / I’m too tired.” (And yes, I’m counting myself among the offenders here.)
These are all very real sources of pain in our lives, and all very real, very valid obstacles. They are strong, overwhelming forces that have shaped our past in ways that we weren’t strong enough to resist.
But today? If it’s still going to affect you for the next 24 hours, it’s because you’re committed to believing it must affect you. You’re not willing to give up playing the victim and demand the benefits (and responsibilities) that moving forward demands.
Strong words from someone who just doesn’t understand how your situation’s different. But I have to tell you, I think I understand it pretty well.
You see, we all have what I call a “success identity,” a personal view of what we think we deserve, what we think we’re capable of, and what we think we’ll have access to in this life. In some of areas, our success identity is strong, and we perform well in that arena.
In other areas, our success identity is weak and hindered by limiting beliefs, and we stay locked into a narrow range of experiences. And giving up that limiting belief can be very, very hard – so hard that most of us will never do it.
For example, think of your current monthly income, and multiply it by 50. Can you actually see yourself making that much within 5 years? I’d say for the bulk of us, that’s a damn scary thought. 50 times your regular paycheck is mindboggling … but only if you’ve never already believed you could achieve that.
Or maybe getting into “perfect” shape is the limiting factor here. Maybe you eat junk food, don’t exercise and have been steadily gaining weight, and the idea of getting into an ideal physical state seems impossible.
Or perhaps you’re so “messed up” emotionally that the idea of being a “together” person seems ludicrous. (I mean seriously, Dave, it’s easy for you to say I can change, but I’m not like you, can’t you see that?)
Hell yes, you’re not like me. And I’m not like you. And we each have our own baggage to unpack and overcome (and you’re likely trouncing me in areas I struggle with).
But here’s the thing: Whatever seems ludicrous, whatever you say “I could never do that …” to, that’s the limiting belief that you are absolutely committed to. In fact, you’re so committed to it that you’ve got a ready-made collection of reasons excuses to support it – and you’ll fight me like hell before you give it up.
I don’t have the time. I’m too shy. I’m too fat. There’s already someone doing that. Who am I to do that? I’m no expert! I’m not good looking enough. I stutter. I walk funny. My teeth suck. I can’t speak well. I’m too clumsy. I’m too chicken. I’m not smart enough. I’ll never have the money to do that. That’s for other people, not me. I don’t have the talent. It’s easy for you to say, you don’t have my commitments. I’m too far behind in things. I’ve tried before. They won’t let me. I don’t have any options. You just don’t understand.
Yeah, I understand. I understand that we both will never overcome our obstacles until we’re willing to give up the luxury of making excuses for why we can’t have/be/do something.
What’s that? You don’t think that making excuses is a luxury? Well, then let’s see how long you can go without it.
Look, I’m not saying any of this is easy. It’s damned hard. But honestly, if you’re experiencing a long-term lack of anything in life, it’s because you’re convinced that it’s normal (and tolerable) for that circumstance to exist. You’ve given up believing that life should be – and will be – any different.
But instead you should be giving up that limiting belief. You should be saying “There’s no reason I can’t have this, too.”
Are you willing to look at that generalized limiting belief about your life you’ve been clinging on to – even though you hate it – and to just give it up? If you don’t, you’ll always find an excuse to allow it to thrive.
But if you give it up – if you refuse to tolerate that limit’s right to exist in your life – then you’ll be able to start smashing it to pieces and living a life that’s more to your liking. Scary? Yes. Worth it? Hell yes.
And that’s with no existential, hokey “believe it and the magic genie will tell the universe to give it to you” nonsense. You “attract” what you tolerate. You “attract” what you’re willing to believe you deserve. You take action according to what you believe this ol’ universe has in store for you. And that action creates your new, more desirable circumstances.
That thing you’re believing right now, that belief that cages you in as a small, scared, weak animal who is going to be stuck in the same place forever? Give up that belief. Give. it. up. I know it’s hard. I know it hurts to believe that you can really have more than you think you deserve, more than you think you’re capable of.
But you can. Other people have done it before you, and others will continue to do it, once they give up on accepting the “fact” that things will never change.
So let me give you some first steps to take, and then you can leave a comment and start making progress.
Ok, so how do we get the ball rolling on this? Three simple steps:
- First, find someone who’s “just as screwed up as you are” or “worse,” but has managed to move past your limiting belief. (If you’re as screwed up as I am, you’re in luck, because there’s tons of people to choose from.)
- Next, decide you’re going to use them as a hero and a mentor. Commit to finding out how they did it and start looking into their story for inspiration (and if you’re already close to them, talk to them and ask for advice).
- Finally, write about it in the comments. Tell me what limiting belief you’re going to give up on and who is going to be your inspiration/example. If you’re worried about giving personal details, put “Ass Kicker” in the Name field below, and just tell me you’ve picked somebody.
The more of you who leave this kind of comment on this post, the more people you’ll inspire to take action.
Leave your comment. Give up on your limiting belief. Find a role model. And then leave a comment.
Do it now. You’ll thank yourself for it.
That is all -
P.S. – Once you’re done, hit that “retweet” button below & spread the word so others will be inspired to take action as well. (And if you’ve come to this post via my Stop Settling newsletter, please forward it to at least one person today who needs to hear this!)