Open your mind to possibilities
“The world only exists in your eyes. You can make it as big or as small as you want.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
The phrase when pigs fly refers to an impossible event, something that just won’t happen. However, sometimes we don’t know what’s possible.
Before Sir Edmund Hillary, and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, became the first people to climb Mt. Everest in 1953 people believed their accomplishment was as likely as pigs sprouting wings. Still, they did the impossible — although it clearly was an achievable goal.
Likewise, after Jim Hines broke the 10-second barrier, completing the 100 meters sprint in less than 10 seconds, other runners did too. Until Hines showed them the way, though, his feat was thought impossible.
You might not have lofty goals like Hillary and Hines, but you face many thoughts about what is and isn’t possible every day. Often, your beliefs have nothing to do with facts; they are about your personal perception — the way you see the world.
In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The world only exists in your eyes.”
Your world shrinks or expands to suit the way you see it, and if you set limitations that stop you living a full life, it’s small. No one breaks records, or steps outside their comfort zone, unless they suspend limiting beliefs.
Two Types of Limiting beliefs
There are two distinct types of limitations. One is about what you’re capable of achieving, and the other regards how you behave.
Limits on achievement
Beliefs like you’ll never be rich, write a book, or do math well fall in this category.
How often have you heard someone say, or said personally, “I can’t draw,” “run fast,” “start conversations with strangers,” or something along those lines?
If Sir Edmund Hillary believed naysayers, he wouldn’t have climbed Mt. Everest. Similarly, if you believe you are incapable of doing things, you’ll know no different, which is a shame because you might enjoy expanding your horizons.
Limits about how you should behave
Some limits pop into your head in the form of commands.
“My friend’s probably busy today, so I mustn’t call her,” and “I won’t give my opinion, no one wants to hear it,” are good examples.
Your friend might not be too busy to receive your call and your opinions may interest people. If you’re held back by erroneous limitations, though, you won’t find out.
Why you accept limitations
Even though you know Hillary and Hines smashed through expectations to achieve success, you may not break free from your limitations.
You probably like the idea, but favor forgetting it and staying on familiar ground. The word ‘comfort’ isn’t in the term comfort zone for nothing.
Pushing past your barriers and climbing a mountain, or voicing your opinions more in social situations, sounds like a good plan, but you’re used to living your life a certain way.
You don’t want to leave your comfort zone and branch out because it means taking a chance. Why risk failure when you could stay comfy?
Part of you, nonetheless, knows there’s a bigger world out there and only you can expand your vision so you can see it.
Maybe it would help if you knew where to start.
Where to begin
You must recognize limiting beliefs before you can change them. Often, self-imposed boundaries seem so normal they are hard to spot.
You need to identify them and then imagine the advantages of setting yourself free.
How to handle limits on achievement
Limits on achievement develop over time, but crop up in childhood first. Your parents might tell you you’re not good at sports, for instance, and the idea you’ll look foolish if you play team games sinks in.
As a result, you avoid joining the school hockey team and getting involved in sports of any kind, and the belief strengthens.
When you’re an adult, you’ll tell people you are no good at sports and seal the limitation for life unless it’s challenged.
If you note where you got the idea you weren’t good at sports, you can find out whether it might be untrue.
Did your parents base their assumption on the result of a single sport’s day when you came last in an egg and spoon race? Hardly a true representation of your ability. Or maybe they were having a bad day and didn’t think about the impact of their words on you.
Trace self-imposed limitations to their source and challenge them. They will weaken and you’ll open your mind to the possibility they are false.
How to deal with limits about behavior
Limits about how you should behave are often learned patterns or stem from low self-esteem.
For example, if you have a friend who gets upset when you phone her and she’s busy, you might transfer your learning to other situations and believe it’s best not to call anyone when their day might be hectic.
And you may not give your opinion in a social situation because you lack confidence.
You can weaken limits stemming from learned behavior by noting how they came into existence.
Confidence boosting thoughts and behavior help bust limits caused by low self-esteem. Often, leaving your comfort zone will be enough to increase self-assurance.
If limiting commands pop into your head, consider whether they have any truth. Question their validity.
Recognize the benefits of leaving your comfort zone
How will your life change if you stretch your boundaries and squash self-imposed limitations?
Your social life, love life, or career might improve. Or maybe you’ll be more content?
You’ll feel encouraged to change when you recognize what you’re missing.
Step outside your zone
The part of your personality that wants you to stay in your comfort zone won’t point out the benefits of leaving. It will offer disparaging advice, so be ready to counter it with positivity.
Self-talk such as “you’ll never make it” and “you’re not good enough” are likely to flow, so flatten them with constructive feedback.
“I might make it” and “I won’t know until I try” will block an unhelpful inner dialogue.
As James A. Murphy says in The Waves of Life Quotes and Daily Meditations “seeking excellence means choosing to forge your own sword to cut through the limitations of your life…”
While pigs don’t fly at present, you never know what the future holds. Widen your perspective and expand your world. You won’t regret it.
Copyright © 2019 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved
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