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Self Limiting Beliefs

Self Limiting Beliefs, Robert Anthony -

What is a limiting belief?

Are you familiar with the famous flea training story?

As Zig Ziglar tells it, fleas do only two things – jump, and ride dogs. To train a flea you just put it in a jar, and put a lid on the jar (with air holes of course!). The flea will jump and hit the lid of the jar. Repeatedly. Jump – bam! Jump – bam! – jump – bam!

The flea may do this for an hour or more, but eventually he’ll come to believe that jumping as high as he is capable results in pain. Well, he’s still got to jump because that’s what fleas do, but in order to avoid pain he’ll stop jumping quite so high.

At that point your flea is trained. You can remove the jar lid and the flea won’t jump out. Why not? He is still capable of jumping high enough to get out of the jar. However, he can’t escape the jar now because he no longer understands the difference between a real limitation (the lid) and a self-limiting belief (jumping too high equals pain).

Sad, isn’t it? The only thing that has changed is that the flea has altered his behavior because of his limiting belief. Because of that, he is now trapped in the jar for the rest of his life.

In his book Beyond Positive Thinking, Dr. Robert Anthony explains it this way:

All our experiences have led us to believe certain things about ourselves. Whether these beliefs are true or not really doesn’t matter because if we accept them as true, then they are true for us. If we speak our word long enough, it becomes law in the universe. Pronounce your limitations vigorously enough and they’re yours. Whether your beliefs are true or totally insane, if you accept them, then that’s what your life will be about.”

What Limiting Beliefs Are Holding You Back?

Answering that question is key to breaking through to the life you really want. A great test is to make a “Can’t” list, a list of what you “know” you can’t do and why. Complete the following sentence for everything that comes to mind:

I can’t ____________ because __________________________.

Pay attention to what comes after the word “because”. That’s your own little inner voice telling you that there is a reason this is impossible, and that’s what keeps you from being open to any possibility. If a great idea hit you over the head you would instantly dismiss it because you have already decided it’s hopeless!

What Are Some Common Limiting Beliefs?

The list is endless! To give you an example, here are a few that relate to money:

  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • It’s not right for me to be rich while so many others have nothing.
  • If I didn’t work hard for it, I don’t deserve it.
  • All rich people are __________ (greedy, corrupt, selfish … fill in the blank).

Get the idea? Now look back at your “Can’t” list. Most of our limiting beliefs have to do with somehow feeling hopeless, helpless, useless (it isn’t worth the effort because it won’t work anyway), worthless (I don’t deserve it), or blameless (your situation is always the fault of someone or something else).

How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

Once you discover your own self-limiting beliefs, all you have to do is stop accepting them as truths. It’s that simple. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy because:

  • We acquire many of our limiting beliefs as children. These thought patterns are lifelong “habits”, deeply ingrained in us.

  • Most limiting beliefs are operating on a subconscious level.

Unlike a lot of other websites, we don’t offer any quick easy tips to overcome limiting beliefs. If that works for you, great, but most of us need a little more help. For that, we turn to the masters in the field of personal growth, and below is one excellent way that you can get started right now, absolutely free!

How to replace your Limiting Beliefs with EMPOWERING Beliefs

Learn what self-limiting beliefs are, where they come from and how they take root in your subconscious mind without you even realizing it. Then, find out how to dissolve them to improve your income, business, relationships, health, etc. Take some time to reprogram your mind for success – you’ll be glad you did!

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Reader Interactions


  1. This is article is absolutely TRUE! I suffer from this at times. Being a Christian it is very difficult to be comfortable with material success. Some Christians tend to put down personal development and positive affirmations. They liken it to Satan’s famous “I will…” declarations. So by saying “I believe in my abilities…” you are somehow putting faith in yourself and not God. I am not going into a bible study moment (lol) but the Bible clearly supports that God gives us power to create wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) But the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. But a lot of us are conflicted with these false and dangerous limits we inflict on ourselves. Thank you for that incredible article. God bless!

    • Christopher, thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I agree. I’ve never been able to confirm this, but I’m told that the saying “it’s better to give than to receive” is not accurate. The actual translation is: It is better to be in a position to be able to give, than to be in a position to need to receive.” That certainly makes more sense to me. After all, the more I have, the more I am able to help others.

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