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Jun 11, 2006

How To Become a Stronger Person

I still remember how Mike lost his job. When I was a teenager, I rode the bus to school – you know, those big yellow ones that slow down traffic so much. If you’ve never had the opportunity to ride in one, you may not know that the engine is equipped with a little device called a governor. It’s purpose is to limit the top speed of the bus to 35 miles an hour for safety. (That made for a long ride to school.)

One day, my bus driver Mike (not his real name) decided that he was going to taste a little bit of freedom and figured out how to disable the governor on his bus. Being one of the kids in the back, I wasn’t in a position to see the spedometer, but I’m guessing he had that bus going about sixty miles an hour at the top of his game.

It’s amazing how bumpy (and terrifying) the ride in a school bus gets when it’s rolling along almost twice as fast as it normally goes. We all got to school early that day. Mike ended his day early as well – permanently. He was fired on the spot. And though we were all a little shaken up at the dangerously wild ride, we all secretly thought it was a little cool that Mike had figured out a way to unlock the governor and make the bus go as fast as he wanted it to go.

Years later, I still vividly remember that day because it opened my eyes to the reality that in life, there are a lot of things that enforce limits on what we can and can’t do. Some of them, like the governor, are external to us – and are there for a very good reason. But the ones that tend to limit us the most, the ones that hold us back – they’re generally internal governors. You may have heard of them talked about before as “limiting beliefs.” But like the governor in the school bus, they can be unlocked – one by one – so you can start going as fast as you want to go.

Beliefs Are Everything
Your beliefs – limiting and otherwise – are everything. They’re the core factor in determining what you can and can’t do, and the level of success you have in your life. But if you don’t pay close attention to them and manage them ahead of time, they will essentially dominate you instead of freeing you. You;ll be intimidated by all the things you believe you cannot do rather than fueled by the ideas of all the things you can do.

If you’re like most people, you didn’t consciously choose your beliefs. Someone pushed them upon you, or they just came together as a result of how you interpreted the things going on around you throughout your life.

If you grew up being the best at something, you might have pretty strong beliefs of what you are capable of in that area. But if you were second best – or you weren’t above average at all – you might go through your whole life feeling inferior, always focusing on how much better other people are than you. Or perhaps someone gave you some rough criticism and said you weren’t good at something. regardless of whether that’s true or not, that could be limiting you by supporting a belief that you just don’t measure up.

You Can Change Beliefs At Any Time
But as I said – just like my bus driver Mike discovered how to disable the thing that was limiting his ability to “make progress faster,” you can dismantle the things that are holding you back as well. In reality, there’s absolutely nothing preventing you from breaking past any limiting belief that currently dominates your life.

When I coach people on breaking past limiting beliefs, they are always surprised at how many beliefs they’ve been holding on to that are holding them back. Most of them they weren’t even aware of – but these beliefs were driving their everyday actions and emotions nonetheless. It can easily be an overwhelming experience to come fact-to-face with fifty or sixty limiting beliefs that are keeping you down – but if you have the courage to acknowledge them, you can find the strength to defeat them with what end up being some pretty simple strategies.

Now, if these strategies are so simple, why don’t you see people making radical changes in their lives by shattering all of their limiting beliefs? Well, it really all comes down to courage. It’s not an easy task to sit down with a pen and paper and write out all your insecurities, all your emotional baggage, and all your shortcomings (real and imagined). It’s can be not only scary but downright demoralizing to see so many things that need “fixing.”

The First Step
But like anything else, acknowledging a problem exists is the mandatory first step in overcoming it. And while it’s challenging to face up to your issues, it’s also liberating – because now you’re not hiding the truth from yourself, and you’re laying it all out in the open. And that’s how you can start making progress on it.

Soon I’ll be writing a series of articles about overcoming your own limiting beliefs, based on the strategies I’ve used to dismantle mine, one at at time (which, naturally, is still a work in progress). So bookmark this article and check back later on and you’ll find the links to these articles as I write them.

For now though, you have to face the question – will you have the courage to face up to your limiting beliefs and take them out of the dark? The ironic thing is that when you do, you’ll find they’re not as scary as you might have expected. But this is the all important first step. If you want to become a stronger person, you have to face the things that are holding you back and decide to wage battle against them.

Get To It
So set aside thirty minutes or so and begin listing out all the reasons you feel you can’t have the things you want in life and why you can’t be the kind of person you wish you were. These are your limiting beliefs. When you’ve written them all out, look over them again, but this time tell yourself that you’re going to start shattering them, one by one.

So get to it now. Acknowledge your limiting beliefs, and take that powerful first step to becoming a stronger person today. Do it now. You’ll thank yourself for it.

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