Do you ever feel like life is just passing you by?
When you come across interesting ideas or opportunities, what does that little voice inside of your head tell you about them? Does the voice say things like “You could never do that,” “You don’t have the (time, money, know-how, resources) to achieve this goal”?
When you see other people out there getting things done, realizing their dreams… even doing small things that you yourself might never consider doing… what do you think about these people?
Do you compare yourself to them?
Do you really believe that they accomplish what they set out to because they have greater access to resources, opportunities, support and help than you do?
Thoughts like the ones above commonly describe what is known as a limiting mindset. The perception is that we are limited in what we can do.
And yet… think of all the incredible, mind-boggling achievements that some people manage to rack up in their lifetime.
The difference between those folks and likely most people you’ve met in your life, is that instead of dwelling on their own limitations, the doers and makers choose to focus on what they can accomplish and how to go about it.
(Did you notice the word CHOOSE in there? It’s your choice how to live.)
If you’ve been sitting in the passenger’s seat of life and you want to move over and take the wheel, guess what? You can absolutely do this. The first step to changing your life really IS changing your attitude.
That means that instead of having a limiting mindset, you’ve got to shift into expansive thinking.
“I can’t” becomes “Why not?”
“I don’t know how” becomes “How can I?”
“I’m not sure” becomes “How can I find out?”
“This is all my (or your) fault” becomes “What can I do differently next time?”
Awareness: Where Does Your Limiting Mindset Come From?
Let’s start by thinking about where your negative beliefs stem from. People either approach life from a positive, expansive mental outlook; or a negative, limiting one. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people lean toward a limited mindset? How so?
Well, the majority of humans live to a set of expectations that have been handed to them by society. So their achievements really only reach the status quo.
Just a small percentage of people approach life with a sky’s-the-limit philosophy. These are the people who are killing it in business, taking home Olympic medals, traveling the world, setting and achieving goals, and not letting small problems take them down.
The ones who are crippled by negativity, however, hear an inner voice that constantly tells them “No,” “You can’t,” “You’re not good enough,” “You don’t know enough,” etc.
Are you one such person? Why?
If you find yourself constantly psyching yourself out each time a new opportunity presents itself, it’s time to ask yourself the hard question: who put these voices in your head? Did you ever wonder how negativity managed to make its home in your brain?
Often, an authority figure of some sort, like your parents, teachers, care givers, or some other strong influence from your early years, is responsible for setting the tone of your mental outlook; the one you carry with you as a grown adult. For many people, the negative outlook stems from multiple authority figures.
Go back in your mind to a time in your childhood when you had an idea to do something, accomplish something, or be something. Maybe you wanted to try out for football, or take a babysitting job, or save up for your first car.
Did you tell your parents? How did they react?
If, growing up, your parents gave you a lot of negative feedback whenever you had an idea or goal in mind, it was bound to collect and build up inside of you. Those voices that brought you down when you were just a young and inspired kid, still live inside of your psyche.
So when we ask ourselves questions like “Can I do such-and-such,” believe it or not, the voice that responds in our own heads is often NOT our own – it’s very likely the audio script of our parents or other people whose care we were under at a tender or formative age.
What if your parents were actually awesome? What then?
What if your parents are NOT responsible for bringing you down as a kid? What is the source of your mental limitations in this case?
Not every person has had to suffer through damaging and discouraging statements aimed at them by their parents, teachers or other would-be role models.
In fact, many of us were blessed with optimistic moms and dads, instructors and coaches who told us to go for it, follow our hearts and work on making our dreams a reality.
You may remember being a child, thinking you could accomplish anything you set your mind to. Your parents adored, encouraged and supported you. Your teachers and coaches cheered you on. What happened?
If you know that you were surrounded by supportive parents and mentors growing up, then if you’re presently stuck in a limiting mindset, there could be another, more recent influence. So now ask yourself:
What types of people are you currently surrounded with in your daily life?
When you go to work, does your boss empower the team and offer positive feedback for a job well done? Does he or she trust you to handle important tasks? Or are you faced with a micro managing supervisor who blames you and other staff members when things go wrong?
What about your life at home? If you’re married, can you rely on your husband or wife to stand behind you and support your personal goals? Do you have shared goals together? When things go wrong, are you able to cooperate, troubleshoot and problem-solve? Or is a game of “this is all your fault again” being played at your expense?
What can you do to turn it around? Is there something?
Are you going to let the people from your past and present life influence you? Are you willing to keep on being a back-seat passenger of your life while others take the wheel, making you feel badly about yourself and your life every day? Take a breath and give it some thought.
Stay safe and Be well 🙂
The Positive Professional