When was the first time someone told you that you couldn’t do something? When you learned that you could put things in your mouth at six weeks old? What was your reaction? Well, you put the thing right back in your mouth. You didn’t have a sense that you couldn’t do something. What does that even mean?
Then we moved on to childhood when people are full of encouragement. We hear that we can do anything and that anything is possible. We get coached and positively reinforced to take our first steps or ride a bike. We hear “you can do it” quite often. No one accepts our excuses as to why we can’t do something. No one allows us to accept defeat. We honestly think we can do anything because we’ve never heard otherwise.
Except, by this time, we have heard that we shouldn’t put things in our mouths enough times that we sometimes comply.
Moving into the tween years, this constant encouragement gradually turns into discouragement. The words change. We start hearing the word “can’t” more often. Whether it’s from our peers, our well-meaning parents, our teachers, or the small-minded among us, the discouragement overtakes the encouragement and we begin to doubt ourselves.
Maybe we can’t do anything. Maybe there are limits to our amazingness. Maybe there are things that aren’t possible. Our minds are super plastic at this young age. They can be molded into anything. Thus the seed of doubt is planted.
The thing about doubt is that you will find no limit to its resources. Doubt has a big team and a bigger cheering squad. Once it gets in, you will find evidence of its truth everywhere. You will start to believe that you can’t. Doubt may have a bigger team, but belief is stronger.
This is how limiting beliefs are conceived, and we all have them. Fortunately, they can be overcome.
My daughter and I have been watching the Winter Olympics for the last few nights. If you listen to the athletes’ background stories, you will hear about struggling with mindset, overcoming self-doubt, coming back from tragedy, taking on the unbeatable champion, or enduring financial hardship to have a chance at being the best in the world. What is the difference between them and you? Well, besides age and maybe you don’t want to be a figure skater. They defeated doubt.
Doubt is big, it’s true. It is strong and manipulative, sneaky even, and doesn’t like to be ignored. Belief is strong and it can work against you, also true. But belief can also work for us. Belief is stronger than doubt. What we believe to be true will be true, without a doubt. If we can harness belief’s power and turn it into something that works for us, we can be unstoppable.
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing you are right. – Henry Ford
Right, how do we do that? How can we change this mindset when it is so ingrained in our everyday thinking? After a lifetime of “can’t”, let me hear some “can”!
This week we’ll use the classic Remove, Replace, Retest, Repeat model that functional medicine doctors use to solve imbalances. These aren’t necessarily steps you take in order. Sometimes replacing doubt with belief comes first, then you remove the causes of doubt. Sometimes they happen simultaneously.
The point is that you start your momentum going in a different direction. You leave “Can’t Land” and “Team Doubt” and find the path less traveled toward “I Believe.” Even though doubt has a bigger team, belief is much stronger. You’ve got this!
Come back tomorrow for Get Off the Doubt Hamster Wheel.
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