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Let Go of Limiting Beliefs About Money

A man was walking through the circus grounds when he noticed several elephants in one area. They didn’t have chains and they weren’t in cages. They were secured only with a small rope tied around one of their ankles.

Because the elephants were thousands of pounds, the man knew they could easily break free from these ropes and stampede through the circus grounds. Puzzled by this, the man asked a trainer why the elephants didn’t try to free themselves.

The trainer told him the elephants had been tied to those ropes since they were young. At that age, the elephants were too small to break free. When the baby elephants tried, they quickly learned they could not escape.

Eventually, they were conditioned to believe breaking free from the rope was impossible.

And as adults, they still believe the rope can hold them, so they don’t try to escape.

This article was submitted by Jorge Sanchez, M.D.

 

What is a Limiting Belief?

Limiting beliefs are beliefs about ourselves and others that we create to stay safe and survive in the world.

Similar to the rope in the parable, these beliefs are often false, yet they still render us powerless, preventing us from taking risks and achieving our goals.

We may think we lack the ability to achieve but all too often, this is a mistaken belief we have learned and accepted to be true over time. Rather than challenge these beliefs, we let them guide our decisions and behavior for the worse.

 

Common Limiting Beliefs About Money

Money is “hard” to obtain – Earning money requires hard work, stress, and long hours.

Money is scarce – Money is scarce, so I need to hold on to what I have.

Money is the root of all evil – People who focus on making money are greedy, selfish, and lack integrity.

Money doesn’t buy happiness – Focusing on material wealth leads to a sad, pointless life.

Money is hard to manage – Managing and improving my finances is confusing, frustrating, and difficult.

I need money to be happy – Once I have enough money to live the life I want, I can be happy.

 

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Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?

 

Stories From Your Past

Despite events of the past lying firmly in the rear-view mirror, many of us still allow them to influence our current reality.

We tell stories about our past and use them to paint ourselves and our future. As we recycle these thoughts and repeat them, their impact on our beliefs grows stronger, eventually limiting our understanding of what is possible.

Here are examples of stories about our past that become limiting beliefs:

Story #1: I invested heavily in the wrong career in the past. I have to stay in the same career in the future.

Story #2: I make x-amount of money now. I will make roughly the same amount of money in the future.

Story #3: My business failed in the past. I will probably fail at business in the future.

Story #4: I lost money investing in the past. I will lose money investing in the future.

Limiting beliefs will have you convinced that your past determines your future. When, in reality, your past in no way guarantees your future – that is, unless you let it.

 

Your Role Models

Our ideas and values are rarely our own, especially in our younger years. When we are young, we look for role models who can show us who to be and how to be in the world.

Growing up, your role models are likely your parents or close family, all of whom have their own ideas and values they instilled in you.

Perhaps your mother was an attorney, and she taught you that earning money requires hard work and long hours. Or your father taught you that starting a business is reckless and that having a stable job is the responsible thing to do.

To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with these ideas and values. They are designed to keep you safe. However, such ideas are often rooted in fear – fear that becomes a limiting belief keeping you from achieving your financial goals.

 

The Cost of Limiting Beliefs

You might be surprised to learn that limiting beliefs frequently come with a payoff. The payoff manifests in many forms, such as a feeling of control, validation, safety, etc.

For example, believing that money is the root of all evil might make you feel justified in your lack of financial responsibility. Similarly, staying in a job you hate because you believe you are too old to start a new career could offer a sense of safety and control.

However, it’s important to remember that while limiting beliefs can feel empowering, they can also come at a significant cost.

If being in a clinic, cubicle, or cath lab makes you miserable, but you believe you have to stay to be financially secure, your limiting belief is costing you your vitality and well-being.

If your disorganized finances stress you out and you avoid organizing them based on a belief that money is hard to manage, you are robbing yourself of peace of mind.

If you believe you can’t be happy in the present because you’re not where you want to be financially, you’re cheating yourself out of the joy of living in the present.

If you believe that money is scarce and, therefore, you must save every penny, you are starving yourself of valuable opportunities at the moment.

Your limiting beliefs about money can keep you stuck in scarcity instead of living a fulfilled, abundant life.

 

How to Let Go of Limiting Belief

Here’s the good news – you don’t have to live within the constraints of your limiting belief.  Here are some simple steps to help you overcome them.

 

Check for Truth

Thoughts and feelings are not facts, but we often use them as the basis for our reality. An excellent way to lose your limiting belief is to consider that they might not be true.

Here’s a mental exercise. Close your eyes and identify a limiting belief you have, then challenge that point of view and imagine a world where an alternative is true.

 

Here are some examples:

 

Limiting belief: Earning money requires hard work, stress, and insane hours.

Truth: I can make the money I earn work for me. I have the tools and resources to make money and grow my wealth outside of work.

 

Limiting belief:  Money is scarce. I need to hold on to what I have.

Truth: Money is abundant. I have skills that solve real problems and money flows easily to me.

 

Limiting belief:  Money is the root of all evil.

Truth: Money is neither good nor evil. It’s a resource that allows me to care for myself, my family, and my community.

 

Limiting belief: Managing my finances is complicated, confusing, and frustrating.

Truth: I can find a simple, workable system to manage and improve my finances.

 

Limiting belief: I need money to be happy.

Truth: My goal is to be financially free, but I can find happiness in the present moment and enjoy the journey.

It takes self-awareness to consider a different point of view than our own, but often, once we find the courage to do so, we learn we were wrong about what we initially believed.

 

Let Go of the Past Stories

You have the power to choose what story you tell about the past.

That’s because the past only exists in your thoughts and you control your thoughts. The past has no power over your future unless you give it that power.

You get to decide what every event from your past means.

For example, you might think that because you failed in business before, you’ll also fail at business in the future. But you have the power to reinterpret your past failures as par for the course in entrepreneurship. Even the most accomplished business leaders fail and you are still capable of success.

Choosing what to believe in every moment empowers you to create a future different from your past.

 

Stand by Your Commitments

We find evidence for the things we believe to be true. This is why limiting beliefs are so challenging to overcome.

However, when you stand one hundred percent committed to your goal, all the ifs, buts, and maybe some days you have about it fade into the background.

Example:

You commit to spending more time doing what you want and less of what you don’t want. Because that’s your commitment, you make a plan on saving for a couple of years to quit the job that you no longer want and replace it with something else that you do want.

This is a big decision and you’ll likely feel fear and anxiety. Those emotions can quickly drive you to second guess whether it can be done.

When this happens, remember to return to your commitment: you are committed to spending more time doing what you want and less of what you don’t want.

In doing so, you empower yourself to pursue the things you want, regardless of the negative thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing.

 

Final thoughts

Limiting beliefs are narratives that keep us stuck and render us powerless.

They prevent us from taking risks and achieving our goals. But, with repeated practice in self-awareness, you can begin to see a possible alternative and take your power back.

Sure, overcoming limiting beliefs doesn’t guarantee that you achieve your goals. But at least you won’t be the one keeping yourself from that possibility.

 



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