How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs with Imagination is what the fifth principle in our Think and Lose Weight series is all about. The last article was all about Knowledge, the 4th principle following “Think and Grow Rich” (Hill, 1937).
This principle is closely tied to the first principle, desire, and the third principle self-suggestion.
But it’s not the same as those things. Desire is the original question that gets us moving. Self-suggestion is the wind in the sails that keeps us going.
But imagination is what defines our destination.
Sometimes, though, we don’t think we’ll be able to reach the most outrageous destination that our imagination provides. And we find, instead, that we have limiting beliefs.
It’s a good thing to find them, because once we find them we can move them out our way!
What Are Limiting Beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are the self-imposed glass ceiling that we cap upon our own potential in response to cues from our environment.
And while they are just beliefs, we tend to tie our identities to those beliefs. Being tied to them makes it hard to overcome limiting beliefs.
This is why self-suggestion is such an important principle to understand before we got to Imagination.
When we tell ourselves over and over again that we are worthy, we begin to believe that we actually do have some kind of worth that is not tied to anything at all.
Once we begin to believe the good things, we can start untying those limiting beliefs from our identities.
Once we untie these ideas from who we are, we can grow into who we want to be.
I like to think of limiting beliefs like anchors, the ropes clutched desperately in our hands. As we begin to release our hold on them, we begin to lift up.
That’s when we realize those glass ceilings were just made of smoke.
They were never pushing us down. It was all an illusion, that we couldn’t see because of our perspective. We were being held back by holding on tightly to our anchors, not pushed down from external sources.
What Are Examples Of Limiting Beliefs?
|LIMITING BELIEFS ABOUT YOU||LIMITING BELIEFS ABOUT OTHERS|
|I’m overweight because it’s hereditary. Everyone is my family is overweight, so there’s nothing I can do about it.||I can’t work-out outside because people will judge me.|
|I’ve always been fat, I’ll always be fat, and everything I try fails.||Everyone around me is working against me to keep me fat. They don’t support me, and it’s too hard to do this without support.|
|I can’t lose weight because I have another health problem/medication keeping me fat.||The world hates obese people.|
We have limiting beliefs tied to so many aspects of our lives that you can find them as soon as you start looking. Once you find them, you can start to overcome your limiting beliefs.
In the Overview, where this series was introduced, we talked about having spicy positive intent for all things. As a reminder, spicy positive intent is where we assume everything around us has our best interests at heart, but with a healthy dose of skepticism mixed in to keep ourselves safe.
This means that limiting beliefs are the complete opposite of Spicy Positive Intent. Limiting beliefs are actually the result of a war we didn’t know we were fighting.
And there are really only two kinds of fights we can have: Internal or External.
Our internal fights are those we have with ourselves, and, so, the beliefs we have are about “us”. The external fights are those that everyone has with us – ranging from a small encounter with a spouse, to discrimination in the workplace, to a global campaign against obesity.
Limiting beliefs assume everyone is out to get “us”. And so, we must follow a recipe of self-suggestion, our spicy positive intent, and our imagination to make something strong enough within ourselves to bust through these limiting beliefs.
And even calling them “fights” or “war” is in itself a limitation. Is everything a limitation? Sheesh…
How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs
To overcome limiting beliefs, we must use cognitive reframing and field theory to change our perspective and find the loopholes to bust through what we once thought of as impossible.
What Is Cognitive Reframing?
Cognitive reframing is the process of changing your perspective from a negative to a positive. And so, really, it’s just the psychological term for spicy positive intent.
What Is Field Theory?
Field Theory, coined by psychologist Kurt Lewin, is a technique of using cognitive reframing to view the world, not as a battleground where we are all fighting with each other, but more like a playground where we help each other get to our goals.
Let’s imagine you and I are playing on the same playground, though not playing together. You’re playing hopscotch, in-between me and the monkey bars. Instead of wailing about how you’re in my way, I can run toward you, you grab my arm and swing me with your momentum toward the monkey bars.
It’d probably take a little more communication and setup to achieve this, but you get the idea.
In this way, we’ve worked together on the same playground to achieve a goal. Accidentally, we probably created an even more fun (and dangerous) game that we both want to play together now.
Or, we might just continue on in individual play, never interacting again.
The Nerdy Psychology Stuff
So, for a little more depth, Kurt Lewin was part of the Gestalt School of Psychology. Gestalt theory believes that the sum total of anything is greater than the small individual parts – though, each part is incredibly important in itself.
If you’re nerdy about psychology like me, you can read a good article on Gestalt Theory here. But this theory actually shapes my entire approach to weight loss, and holistic health, so you might be getting a course on it through osmosis in reading articles on this-authentic-life.com.
I don’t understand how one can achieve true authenticity without considering the whole. Maybe you can’t?
Anyway, being able to achieve cognitive reframing with field theory in mind, we now have the most effective way to clear the limiting belief hurdle. And you know what? You’ve actually been practicing it with me since principle one! You go with your bad self!
What Are Increasing Beliefs
The simple act of reframing the phrase “Limiting Beliefs” itself transforms it to “Increasing Beliefs” – like an airborne butterfly that once was an earthbound caterpillar. Isn’t finding our limiting beliefs exciting?
Increasing beliefs are the beliefs that we use to propel ourselves higher. It’s a totally made up concept that I came up with as a way to describe how we should be capturing our own imagination to overcome limiting beliefs.
They are so important, because we don’t have to work very hard to know exactly what we each need to personally do to tailor success for ourselves. I like working efficiently… Thinking in the negative is super easy, though not very efficient. I’m sure you can come up with a TON of limiting beliefs to magically transform.
And if we’ve been doing it without realizing it the whole time, can you imagine what you can do with intent?
What are your limiting beliefs about yourself and the world? Do you find that you are weirdly excited to think about them now? They are your personalized compass toward success, after all!
I hope you are excited.
What Are Examples Of Increasing Beliefs?
|INCREASING BELIEFS ABOUT YOU||INCREASING BELIEFS ABOUT OTHERS|
|Everyone in my family is overweight, just like me. So, once I learn how to live a healthy lifestyle, everyone in my family will benefit!||If I can show people I’m not afraid to work-out outside, I wonder if I will motivate them to work harder, too!|
|I’ve always been fat. I can use the knowledge from my experience to keep me motivated as I journey toward health. This will also help me to have empathy for other people in my situation. I know what doesn’t work for me, so I need to focus only on what DOES work for me.||Everyone around me is working hard on their own lives. They don’t understand how what they do affects me. I should explain what I need from them, and ask how I can help them in return.|
|If I can get my major health issue under control, I bet my weight will be better, too. If I focus on living a really healthy – whole health, mind, body, and spirit – I bet my major health issue will benefit, too!||There is a campaign against obesity. It’s not a campaign against me. The whole world is on my team to help me get healthier!|
In fact, just changing the phrasing from “limiting” to “increasing” gets me excited. Can you feel how we are starting to overcome those limiting beliefs yet? I imagine instead of tying anchors to our ankles, we’re now trying balloons to our wrists. And Up, Up, Up we go.
As an example of how this can be life-changing for you, check out this post on how I used this technique to never again take an antidepressant for my depression. And the steps you can take to follow my lead in a healthy way!
How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs With Imagination
Now that we’re using increasing beliefs, anything is possible.
It’s time to let your spirit free to explore the realm of imagination. Don’t hold back.
Do you remember those old episodes of Star Trek from the 1960s? Everything that was considered futuristic is modern technology now, and actually perhaps in danger of being old news.
We have 3D printers, we have smart phones and watches and glasses, maybe one day we’ll have teleporters. Who knows? And that’s the point.
All of that technology was just a fantasy. But someone decided that they could make this happen. Life often imitates art, not the other way around.
When you dream, you turn your intentions toward that dream.
And then one day, you wake up. With your dreams in your hand.
If you need inspiration or proof of this, check out my YouTube video, Losing 170+ Pounds: My First 18 Months After Surgery.
If you’re ready to start capturing your own imagination, a great way is through creating a vision board.
What Is The Purpose Of A Vision Board?
The purpose of a vision board is to provide a physical way to turn your abstract thought into something you can touch and see everyday. It is the physical representation of what you are working toward.
I was just speaking with another musician yesterday about how hard it is to describe sound. We were admiring a new bass guitar that I’d inherited, and were working hard to categorize the different ways the bass sounded in response to how we fiddled with the knobs.
As we were trying to illustrate the beautiful, deep tones of this well-loved instrument, I said “Wow, what a bright tone.”
And my friend said, “Maybe…” in that wonderous way that people do when they are tasting a thought – not quite accepting or rejecting it. The way he said it, though, gave us both permission to be right and wrong at the same time. I love people who do that.
We were allowed to use our imagination without fear of rejection. Or feeling stupid.
This is the purpose of your vision board – to capture intention in a tangible way without fear.
You can always change it, and you can never be wrong. Overcome any limiting belief you might have about them.
How To Create A Vision Board
The best way to create a vision board is by using your personal strengths of illustration.
I think the concept of a vision board being only something you “look at” as a limiting belief in itself. So, let’s explore some options for vision boards you may not have considered:
- Traditional Vision Boards: These are collages done on poster board with magazine cut outs, or any media that uses pictures to convey feelings.
- Journaling: When I write down in my journal what I wish my life were like with words, they become the strongest goal-machine, pulling me toward success with every letter.
- Song Playlists: In an gym, there is upbeat music playing, but likely, the guests are all wearing headphones. They are listening to the background music for the life they want to be living. Music has a magic quality that can transport us and move our emotion. As a musician, I guarantee we can use the power of song to drive us to our vision.
- Vignette Settings: These are the small corners of your house where you’ve created a certain atmosphere. Or, this is your favorite spot in the mountains where you feel most at peace, because the trees are just right and the birds are just right and everything is just right. Maybe it’s that one table at your favorite restaurant that you go to every Sunday.
- Charcuterie Boards: I love food, so I think I’d be missing out on a golden opportunity to add this here. Charcuterie Boards are vision boards you can eat.
How To Use A Vision Board
- Make it with wild, personal imagination.
- Try to achieve a feeling or impression of what success looks, feels, sounds, tastes, or smells like to you.
- Be willing to edit it as you grow and change.
- Make decisions in your life that take your closer to these things.
- Check in on it daily to constantly remind yourself of what you want.
- Celebrate when you reach your vision. You worked hard and did well!
- Never consider it complete. Keep growing and changing.