There are two primary types of limiting beliefs: an interjection and bias. An interjection is an idea imposed upon us by society, religion, parents, peers and our environment. Interjections become limiting beliefs that our mind can perceive as actionable truth. Bias is simply anything you currently think to be true that limits the options you perceive to exist and, consequently, the actions you take. Both interjections and biases fall under the broad umbrella category of limiting belief. Another way to think about limiting beliefs is to picture a horse wearing blinders. The horse can only see what is directly in front of it, thus reducing the possibilities for action it perceives to only those presented by the immediate situation. Blinders are perfect for horse racing because they force the horse to rely on the jockey for all strategic decisions and prevent it from being swayed by distractions.
You don’t have a jockey to guide your decisions. But you do have blinders on, and they severely restrict the options you perceive to exist.Most of us don’t think we have limiting beliefs because they are beliefs. And that’s the fundamental problem. If we believe something is true, then we don’t perceive it as limiting our actions but rather guiding them. We see what is in front of us and not the blinders, in other words.
Peter C. Fuller is an executive coach, chair with Vistage International, author of Start With You, How Badass Executives are Transforming Their Lives (and Businesses) in Just 12 Quarters, founder of Live Fused, Inc., and father to two amazing children.