The video I posted this week has struck a cord with me, as I’ve realised that limiting beliefs are still present in my life, regardless of how much I try to be aware of them.
Limiting beliefs are the fundamental ‘truths’ we believe about ourselves. We might not even realise that we actively think them, but they can permeate our thought patterns, mindset and self-esteem. They are things like thinking “I can’t concentrate for more than 1 hour”, or “I’m naturally bad at maths” or “I’m not someone who likes to study with others”. Almost always, these ‘truths’ are completely UNTRUE and instead serve to narrow our capabilities.
Our limiting beliefs are likely to be untrue because they imply that genetics override environment in all circumstances. It is true that natural born genuises exist, but performing at a high school or early university level doesn’t necessarily require so much skill that genetics would completely exclude someone from doing well. I don’t think that genetics have such a strong influence over our ability that there is nothing we could do about it.
In the video, I discuss some of the limiting beliefs I had about english, and since posting, I’ve become aware of more beliefs that I hold surrounding music, study and my mindset.
I have started to take violin lessons again this year, and I’ve set my mind to play consistently for at least the next 3 years. As I play violin more, I realise that some of my beliefs about how ‘good’ I was at music likely played a role in how fast I improved at my instrument.
My highschool had many talented musicians and as a result, I often felt as though I wasn’t naturally good at music, even though this wasn’t necessarily true. Reflecting on my time and thinking logically about the situation, it’s more likely that I practiced less effectively than my peers over a long period of time and/or started my instrument later, which resulted in me being ‘worse’ at music. This thought would have fed into a harmful cycle where I thought I was bad at music, making me less likely to practice, making me worse at music and affirming the negative perception I had of myself.
Now that I’m taking lessons, I’ve realised that I learn quickly, and that I don’t struggle to pick up musical ability. This reflection is interesting to me, as the thought that ‘I’m not naturally good at music’ still sticks with me to this day.
It’s been an interesting reminder that even though I may think that I am aware of my thought patterns and thinking, it can still be a very difficult process to shake beliefs that you may have held for more than half of your life.
This belief is likely to make practicing an instrument more arduous, and will demotivate me from practicing effectively and practicing theory. Thinking “even though I’m not good at music, I can practice and get better” is far less motivating than “I’m good at music AND I can practice and get better”.
On a positive note, I can tell that acknowledging this belief has made it much easier to shake, and working through the logical reasons as to why I’m NOT naturally bad at music has helped significantly.
Working through this belief has also empowered me to consider other things that might be holding me back. I’ve recently noticed that there are multitudes of limiting beliefs that I hold about myself, all of which are likely untrue.
I hope that this analogy can provide you with a reminder to think about how you think about yourself. What are your limiting beliefs and why might they be completely wrong?