Changing Limiting Beliefs Can Propel You to Success!

Whether a man thinks he can do a thing, or thinks he cannot.  In either case, he’s probably right.   ~Henry Ford describes belief as:

-confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.

Are your beliefs serving you by moving you towards your goals and dreams?  Or, are they the governor on your success?  This post is about creating a shift in paradigm which allows you to create positive change in your life, by analyzing:

  1. What your beliefs are right now in key areas of your life
  2. Whether or not those beliefs are moving you towards, or away from your desired end
  3. How to change or eliminate limiting beliefs 
  4. How to create new beliefs that empower you and move you towards your desired end

Lets start with a few basic ideas.  Our lives are driven in large part by what we believe and accept about how things are in the world around us.  This takes place largely in the subconscious mind, away from your conscious attention.  Self dialogue is the manifestation of underlying beliefs about things.  


The subconscious mind is the software that runs the computer which is you.  If we want to change limiting beliefs, we need to change the programming that runs in the background and influences our self dialogue, decisions and outcomes.  Outcomes in your life, follow a predictable path.

Thoughts –> Decisions –> Words –> Actions –> Outcomes  

Let’s say you are faced with a problem at work.  The process begins in your mind in the “thought” stage. You immediately begin in self-dialogue.  This dialogue progresses down a path to some sort of conclusion (decision) about what the problem means to you.  This is then expressed in how you communicate your ideas to others (words) about possible solutions (or gripes about it).  


You then take action(s) based on the conclusions you came to and the words you used to communicate this to others. These actions take you down a path to an outcome (desirable or undesirable).  


So, all outcomes start in you thinking about things and manifest as outcomes in your reality of experience.  


Let’s look at a few case studies of how strongly beliefs effect outcomes in our lives, shall we?


Beliefs Shaping Outcomes in Action


Rhona Weinstein, a professor of the graduate school of psychology at UC Berkeley, educational researcher and author, details a story in her book “Reaching Higher [1],” about a young man she calls “Eric.”  Eric had never learned to read and was well behind his peers in his fourth grade class.  


Eric had been tutored for years and tests showed he had no learning disability to contend with.  So what was Eric’s problem?  A visit to the classroom provided some clarity.  Eric had been placed into a group of other struggling readers, which came to be known as the “clowns.”   The “clowns” were the lowest level of three groups of readers into which the students had been placed.  


As she describes it, the reading material for this group was “repetitive, remedial and dull.” when compared to the most active reading group.  


In addition, the kids in this group didn’t associate with others kids on the playground, even in their own group.  She states that “their friendship patterns matched the reading groups assignments.”  


Her solution?  To move Eric from the “clowns” group to the middle group of readers.  She fought with both administrators and the boy’s parents to have him moved up into this group, finally winning approval.  Once Eric had been placed in the new group, changes began almost immediately. As that year progressed, Eric showed improvement, and by the end of the year was reading at the fourth grade level.  


The turnaround had been fairly dramatic.  Eric in just one school year had gone from being unable to read, to being proficient at his fourth grade level.  What was different?  Quoting from her book, “a belief in the child’s capacity to learn, a more challenging and motivational educational climate, and support through tutoring, play therapy, and the friendship of peers.”


Eric had been in a group where the expectations for him were very low, and the implication is that these low expectations helped to perpetuate a belief in him that he was a poor reader.  Simply by changing his beliefs about his abilities, and presenting him with more challenging material, there were dramatic results in his progress.  


In fact, there have been a number of studies measuring the impact of teacher’s expectations on student outcomes[2].  These studies show that how a teacher communicates belief in the students abilities, has a direct and quantifiable effect on the outcomes in the performance of the students.


The Self Fulfilling Prophecy


Beliefs then, are simply an internal set of representations about what is true within us and in the world around us.


Indeed, what we see, and think is what we believe to be the reality.  The great sociologist WI Thomas, stated that “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences,”  which became known as the “Thomas Theorem.” Robert Merton carried this forward in his 1948 work on self fulfilling prophecies [3].  Here he states,

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true. The specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.


What we see in this series of cases is the circumstance that your life is, in large part, what your thoughts and beliefs make it.  If you want to change your life and move in a new direction, you need to change the underlying beliefs which have led you to the outcomes you’re currently producing.  Well, now that I’ve convinced you that there is some basis for truth in these statements, let’s take a look at how you go about creating change.


What Are Your Limiting Beliefs 


There are many virtues to cultivate in our lives, and the scope of this post is incapable of touching on all of those areas.  However, I do want to focus here on a few critical areas from which almost every area of your life is affected.  They are:

  1. Your beliefs about money
  2. Your beliefs about relationships
  3. Your beliefs about success
  4. Your beliefs about yourself- self image


Let’s take money for example.  As the great Jim Rohn once said, “money is not the only, or the most important value to cultivate, but it’s easy to see how we’re doing; to quantify, because we can count!”  Money, whether we like it or not, is necessary in the world we live in.  It is neither bad, nor good, but just is.  


I would offer to you that it is much like a hammer.  A hammer can be used to build a house for a homeless person, or to bash in a man’s skull.  Same tool, two applications.  Money can be used in the same way.  It can be used for great good, or for pure evil.  It’s up to us how we choose to view it and use it.  


We’ve seen above how important our beliefs are in shaping our actions, which in turn shape our outcomes.  Are your beliefs about money moving you towards a life of freedom and happiness, or on a path to permanent financial difficulty?


If your internal representations about money tell you that “money is the root of all evil,” do you think you’ll be able to create an abundance of it in your life?  It’s almost a guarantee that you will not.  These two things are incompatible.  


We can see this attitude in our inner dialogue.  Let’s take a scenario where a pretty young girl pulls up in a very expensive car.  We have no idea what her circumstances are, but we think to ourselves, “rich b*tch, I bet her daddy bought that car for her,” or “it must be nice having a daddy who’ll buy you anything you want.”  


These kinds of conversations are manifestations of self defeating and self regulating attitudes towards money.   You cannot, in a long term sense, create massive financial success in your life while holding these kinds of attitudes.  


So, the first step in overcoming any of the limiting beliefs we have is to bring them out of our sub-conscious mind (where they are like the computer program operating in the background), out into the open where we can examine them.  In the darkness of our sub-conscious, they are simply accepted as truth and dictate our actions on auto pilot.  


When we can see them “under the microscope,” so to speak, we can determine whether they are empowering, or limiting and make adjustments accordingly.


Write out your most limiting belief about:




I am_____________________________


Remember, your keys to understanding what your beliefs are, in each area, are found in your inner dialogue and the words you use to describe how you feel about these things to others.  


When describing your most limiting belief about success for example, your internal dialogue might say “in order to achieve real success, I’ll have to give up all of my time to do it.”  This is a limiting belief that holds us back and keeps us from achieving our full potential.  


Since all vacuums get filled, we cannot simply remove the old belief and leave it at that.  We must then replace it with an empowering belief that serves us.  


Creating Empowering Beliefs


Next, write out a positive affirmative statement you want to replace the old belief.  


Let’s say for example, that your most limiting belief about money is that, “people who have lots of money, must have stepped on or taken advantage of someone to get it.”  We could write out our affirmative belief statement as, “the marketplace richly rewards me for providing value to others.”  


Once you have done this for each item, put these into your wallet and read them aloud several times each day.  This helps to seat them into your subconscious mind as the new program from which your beliefs will operate from.  


This can take some time.  


Establishing the New Beliefs as Habits


So how long does it take before you begin to habitually look at these things in the new context?  


Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London and her research team, conducted a 12 week experiment to see just how long it takes to form a habit.  They followed 96 people for a 12 week period, asking them to pick a new habit (running 15 minutes a day for example), and a time to engage in it (right after I wake up) and then write down whether they followed through in a journal.


At the end of the 12 week period they looked at how successful people were over a long period of time in creating “automaticity,” in the behavior.  This is the point at which they weren’t constantly, consciously working on engaging in the behavior.  


So what were the findings?  The research suggested that it took somewhere between 18 and 254 (even though the study only lasted 12 weeks the researchers were able to use the data to extrapolate how long it would take) days to reach automaticity, with an average being just over two months.  


In addition, they found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.”


Meaning that even if you slip here and there, you are not materially affecting your chances for seating the new behavior as a habit.  


Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture


Don’t be disheartened by the length of time it takes to reach the point where you habitually look at things through this new set of more constructive, empowering beliefs.  Positive people don’t have to wake up and remind themselves to be positive.  Remember, it’s all a process.


Just get started, that is where the magic is. 


What new beliefs are you going to create this year, and will they move you towards your dreams, or away?  I’d love to hear from you.


If you found value in this article, I would appreciate it if you would share it with your friends.











The Mosaic Theory, Or Why Your Friends Matter!

I can remember as a young man this one friend who I had so much fun with (some times so much fun that we got into trouble together), whom my parents forbid me to see.  Of course like all children trying to understand, I wanted to know why.  The answer would become rather prophetic for me in my life as an adult.

I was told that I could not associate with him because he was the kind of boy who got into trouble, and if I hung out with him, I would probably wind up in trouble as well.  I didn’t understand as a young man the importance of this message.

As I got a little older, I found myself associating with the kinds of people my parents had warned me about, and within a few years, my life was spiraling out of control to a point where I was nearing self-destruction.  I knew I had to make a change, and I tried several times to move my life back in a positive direction.

It was then, that I remembered the lesson of association my parents had tried in vain to impart to me when I was younger.  I had to change the peer group I was associating with in order to create the kind of change I knew I needed to make in my life.

So what does this have to do with developing your full potential and living the life of your dreams?  Well, there is this idea I first heard about from Jim Rohn.


I was trying to move my life in a new direction, while continuing to associate with the same people.  Quite simply, this cannot be done.

Let me offer an example.  Let’s say that you run around with a group of people who do casual drugs on a regular basis.  The odds are, that you too will engage in casual drug use.  If you want to quit using drugs casually, it will be very difficult if you continue to hang out with people who still do.

If I associate with bad people, I’ll probably end up getting into bad things as well.  I mean, if I’m an upstanding person of great integrity, I wouldn’t associate with people drastically different from me, because I have little in common with them.

But this works in reverse as well.  If I want to make change in my life, say to be a more motivated person, to increase my income or net worth, or to eat healthier, work out more and live a healthy lifestyle, I can accelerate my progress by associating with people who are already in that peer group.

What Jim Rohn states in his quote, is that your life will mirror on average the lives of your five closest friends.  Your income. your lifestyle, work, family etc., will be about the average of your five closest friends.

If your closest friends are fanatical about running marathons, you probably will be interested in running too.  If all of your closest friends are corporate workers, climbing the corporate ladder, that’s probably the path you will be on as well.

Choose your friends wisely, as they can either be a drag on your life, or boosters which accelerate your progress.

Mosaic Theory


So, I have come up with this idea I like to call the mosaic theory of personality.  In many ways this is just an extension of Mr. Rohn’s idea about your life reflecting your five closest friends.

Every one of us is influenced in small ways by the people and mediums we find value in. These can be people, TV shows, radio programs or organizations.  Over time, you integrate little mannerisms, sayings and ways of looking at things into your behaviors, and they become little pieces of who you are.  They become little tiles in the personality of the mosaic that is you.

My theory then, is that each of us are, as a person, little small pieces of the people and things that influence us over time.  These can add to, or take away from you.  You get to choose.


Some people allow this process to happen by default, rather than with intention.  If you are looking to create positive change in your life, you must act intentionally.  You must choose carefully those things that influence you, and it is a choice.

When we put these two ideas together, we get a picture that our life will, in many ways be the mean of those we are closest to and that those people we admire influence us in small ways.

If you want to create change, and move your life in a different direction, then you need to associate with people who are already living the change you want to see in your life.


Resolve that from this day forward, you will associate with people who motivate, inspire and bring out the best in you.

So how do you get started?

Here are five ways you can find, network and build relationships that will nourish and encourage you:

  1. Start locally by joining a gym, the chamber of commerce, the Junior League or many other great organizations where you can network with people who are aligned with the lifestyle changes you want to make.
  2. Next, go online and begin with the largest social platform on the planet.  Facebook.  Do a search for groups that fit with the interest you’re pursuing and get connected with people who are supporting each other.  I am plugged into several mastermind groups on facebook and the information and support I get there are invaluable.
  3. Visit sites like and which are great places to find people who are like minded, no matter what your interest are.
  4. Forums and blogs that are in your area of interest.  If you want to connect with people who motivate and inspire you to create change in your life, there are lots of blogs to help you do just that (hopefully this is one on your list :).  Just jump into the conversation and make some new friends along the way.
  5. Start your own blog.  By starting your own blog and publishing your own content, you will build an audience, and have a remarkable opportunity to network with like-minded people.  You can do this for free on platforms like, or very low cost sites like

So what do your five closest friends say about you?

The One Reason Your Stuck in a Rut and How to Get Out


Do you find yourself daydreaming about traveling to Africa for a safari, Paris to visit the Eiffel Tower or to the Peruvian Andes to visit the ruins of Machu Picchu?  Or how about leaving your day job to pursue an entrepreneurial venture working from home?  Perhaps you’ve always wanted to pursue writing as a new career, but have never gotten started.

What’s holding you back?

Your “why” isn’t big enough to move you to take action.

“…if you can create a big enough why, your brain will figure out the how.”  Tony Robbins

The simple fact is that if you have dreams and goals you haven’t taken action on, your reasons for doing so just aren’t motivating enough to compel you to do so.

There are two things you must do if you want to overcome the initial resistance we all feel when trying to move ourselves in a new direction.  You must get clear on what you want first.  Then you need to create some big, bold “whys” to get out of your rut.

“Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid…”  Dorothea Brande

If you’ve ever driven in a bad rut, you know that to get out of it, you have to turn the wheel hard to get out.  This is a great metaphor for how hard change can be.  You have to take bold action, based on clarity of purpose, with some compelling why, to get out of the ruts in your life.


Define your what:

What are the changes you want to make in your life?  A change in your diet to live healthier, a change in your career to be able to earn money working from home, or stepping out of your comfort zone to travel more and see the world. Whatever it is, you need to define it clearly so that you can measure progress.  If we have no yardstick to measure progress, we can’t tell whether we’re making progress, or even moving in the right direction for that matter.


Write a paragraph “why”:

After you’ve defined your what, sit down and write your paragraph “why.”  This must be compelling and personal. There are two motivating factors in all of life.  The drive to gain pleasure and to avoid pain.  Of the two, fear of loss is a more powerful motivator than the drive to gain pleasure.  What will you lose if you don’t change.  What will it cost you in time, health, unhappiness?


Make your plan and start taking action immediately:

This step is perhaps the most important.  Now, you know what you want and you’ve created some compelling, motivating reasons why you must make a change in your life.  It’s time to plan a course of action and start today with some small action you can take to get the ball rolling.

There are two mental laws you need to be aware of.  The first law is called the law of speed of implementation (which I learned about here, big thanks to Stefan Pylarinos) which states that the sooner you take action (swift, bold, outrageous action is better) the greater the likelihood you will achieve your end.  The reason for this can be found in the second law, called the law of diminishing intent.  This law states that if you don’t act immediately on an idea, the intent to do so diminishes over time.

Have you ever been inspired to start exercising regularly, reading more or to start a new routine in your life?  You thought about how great it would be.  You might have even done a little planning, but you didn’t take action right away.  Life and circumstance happen and the next thing you know, it’s lost.  Months later, your talking with someone and BAM, the idea comes back in a rush.

Peter Gollwitzer [1] did a series of studies looking at the strength of intention in goal attainment.  His studies showed that when a person developed an if__then plan, they were significantly more likely to achieve their goals.  If your goal is to start eating healthier, your plan might include things like “if I slip and and eat McDonalds for lunch, then I will make sure to eat a salad with water for dinner.  The development of this plan led to what Dr. Gollwitzer called implementation intentions.   These two disciplines allow you to overcome the most significant reasons why people fail to achieve their goals.  These two factors are

  1. Failing to get started- not taking action to get things rolling
  2. Getting derailed- getting off the path or stopping the process


The last thing you have to do, is to commit to someone else that you will make this change. Committing to others helps to provide additional pressure to follow through and push through the adversity we all face when making changes.


Remember, clarity is power.  When you get really clear on your what, you can focus the power of your intention on it. Taking a trip is such a great analogy for this.  A goal is a destination for where you want to be in some area of your life in the future.  If you are not clear on what you want, how can you know if you’re making progress, or if you’ve arrived at your destination.

A powerful, personal why is the best catalyst for moving your life in a new direction.  Life altering change can be difficult, so you’ve got to know why you’re doing it.  Don’t skimp here.  Make your why personal and compelling, and remember, avoiding pain is a bigger motivator than gaining comfort/pleasure.

Develop a plan but be ready to make changes along the way.  The path to achieving your dreams often takes detours and side roads.  Be ready to adapt and adjust.  This doesn’t mean the goal changes, just the path along the way there. This can sometimes be difficult because we attach our identity to the path we lay out.  If it doesn’t go exactly as we plan, we think of this as failure.  Instead, take the new information and use it to improve the plan to reach your goals.

Make sure you take some small action immediately.  This has been shown in several research studies to be one of the most critical parts of goal attainment.  Taking action, even wrong action, gives us feedback to be able to improve our aim.  In addition, once you begin taking action, things develop their own inertia and it get easier as you go.

Finally, commit to someone else what your goals are.  This creates pressure and accountability, so that you keep going when you face the inevitable challenge you will face on the way to achieving your goals.

And our “secret sauce” recipe for goal attainment:

  • 1-2 sentence clarity of “What”
  • 1 paragraph compelling “Why”
  • 1 paragraph “implementation intention
  • 20 days of focused deliberate action

Mix all of these together in a bowl and bake in the furnace of adversity and, Voila!




1. Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta-analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 69-119).