What’s The Number 1 Belief That Holds Us Back?
“I’m rubbish at…….”
Throughout our lives, we automatically compare ourselves with other people and we sometimes tell ourselves that “I’m rubbish at……”, because we’ve observed someone doing something really well and we expect that we should be able to do it as well as they can.
This is really common when we’re children and in our early development stage, where we learn how to do things and we form our earliest beliefs about ourselves.
We’re not born with our beliefs, we learn them from our experiences and how we interpret our results.
The past events and our experiences throughout our lives, either boost our confidence and our beliefs about what we can and can’t do or they deplete them. However, what we learn about ourselves can be wrong and we can challenge ourselves to form new beliefs about ourselves.
What do you believe you’re good at and what do you tell yourself you’re rubbish at?
- Have you simply given up even trying to do something, based on one or two early experiences in your life?
- Are you missing out on things you might be amazing at if you simply tried and learned the necessary skills you need, to be able to do something?
There are a few people who seem to have a natural talent for something, but most things can be learned and we can always improve our skills, talents and abilities when we take the time to challenge ourselves and to practice.
However, so many of us give up and stop practicing, simply because we tried once or twice and failed to meet our expectations of what it ‘should be like’… not realising that practice makes perfect and perseverance is often the key to mastering something. Talent, skills and confidence in ourselves, doesn’t just happen automatically!
As a young child, we learn from observing and listening to other people in our lives – our parents, siblings, family, teachers, friends etc. and we start to try to do things we’ve seen those people do. For many of us, what we learn during these early years, influences how we live our whole lives and particularly when it comes to how CONFIDENT we feel and our beliefs about what we’re good at and what we’re rubbish at.
Let me clarify this with a personal example.
I’ve always felt that “I’m rubbish at art”, so when it came to art classes at school, I avoided them as much as possible and at Senior School, I fought hard to change the system and to argue that girls should be able to learn woodwork, not just because there were some good-looking lads in the woodwork class, but because I didn’t want to take art, which I believed I was rubbish at and I felt I’d make a fool of myself, because I’d never gone beyond drawing ‘stick’ people.
I held onto the belief that I was ‘rubbish at art’ until 2014, when aged 54, I attended my first Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) training with the co-founder of NLP, Dr Richard Bandler.
During that week, many of the beliefs I held about myself were challenged and I finally realised that sometimes what we learn about ourselves, isn’t always reality.
Many of us have learned behaviours and beliefs about ourselves that limit our lives, based on false and limiting beliefs about ourselves, based on false information that we interpreted incorrectly as children.
When Dr Bandler asked the trainees whether any of us felt we were rubbish at something, I obviously put up my hand. “Yes, I’m rubbish at art”…. and to my mortification, I was asked up to the stage and under hypnosis. For a moment, I wished I’d chopped off my arm as that would have been preferable to going up on stage in front of 400 people… or was it? I was definitely VERY discomforted and yet maybe my subconscious mind have forced my arm up, because deep down I wanted to shake off some false beliefs about myself.. Mmm – what do you think?
So, I found myself up on stage, feeling incredibly embarrassed, in front of 400 people and facing a massive challenge to my long-held belief that I was ‘rubbish at art’..
Yikes – I’d given up art classes so I didn’t have to make a fool of myself to 10-15 classmates and here I was standing in front of hundreds of people. Wow – that’s definitely a case of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’…
Dr Bandler went through a series of questions and he used a form of time line regression, to take me back through my life, to the first time I developed the belief that I was rubbish at art. This wasn’t something I was consciously aware of, but we retain all our memories within our subconscious mind, even if we don’t remember them consciously.
Under hypnosis, we can access memories by travelling back along our timeline. I travelled back along my time line to age 3 or 4 and I remembered watching my sister who was 5 years older than me, drawing lovely pictures of fairies and dogs. I remembered trying to copy her drawings and looking at my attempt and feeling that my drawings were rubbish.
Now as an adult, it’s pretty obvious isn’t it.. As a 3 or 4-year-old child, my drawings weren’t going to compare to my sister’s, – hey, she was 9 and had 5 more years practice!
In those very early stages of learning about myself and what I could do, I began to form the belief that I was rubbish at art. I remember listening to my mum praising my sister’s art work (she was very talented) and being left with a sense of not being ‘good enough’ and therefore I gave up trying to draw. I turned my attention to writing and spent hours writing poems and stories, for which I was praised by my mum. “Oh Bev’s the artistic one and Wendy’s talent is writing”, which unbeknown and unintentionally reinforced my belief that I couldn’t draw…. So, I never did!
Until that is…. the day I was sat on stage in front of 400 people and under hypnosis, Dr Bandler instructed me to pick up the paintbrushes laid out in front of me and to dip them into the paint and paint a picture of anything I chose.
I remember briefly thinking “I’m going to look like such a fool in front of all these people, I’ll never fill that large canvas” (at that point in my life I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush for over 40 years)…
….. and yet, I followed his instructions and the brush flowed across the large canvas. I recall feeling shocked when my hand swept the paintbrush in bold strokes and looking down seeing a band of green and thinking “OMG – what is that going to be?” and after 20 minutes, when I was bought out of the hypnotic state, I looked at the canvas and felt elated.
- My painting was actually pretty good – I’d painted a woman sat against a tree looking across a field, with lovely flowers and bushes and a cloud floating across the sky.
- It was the first time I can remember ever drawing anything other than a stick person.
As a young child, I’d compared my attempts at drawing unfavourably, against my sister’s drawing and had formed a false belief and therefore wrongly learned that I was ‘rubbish at art’. As a result, I’d avoided art throughout school and constantly reinforced the belief by telling myself and other people – “I’m rubbish at art”.
In reality, it wasn’t that I was rubbish, it was that I believed I was rubbish and had therefore given up any attempts to learn the necessary skills to become good at it. It had simply become a SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY.
The truth is that we can all learn to do lots of things. We may have natural talents, but that rarely means we can’t learn and improve in other areas of our lives too.
Often, we make a comparison with other people and stop trying, because we feel it’s a waste of time as we’ll never be as good as them… will we? Yes – Maybe We Will.. If we change our beliefs and allow ourselves the chance to try!
Is it time to challenge your beliefs?
- What do you tell yourself you’re good at? What are your talents? Write them down.
- What do you tell yourself you’re rubbish at? In what areas of your life do you feel your not good enough? Write them down.
Now, have a look at the list of things you feel you’re good at.
- Cast your mind back to when you first ‘felt’ you were good at ‘it’. What did you think and feel?
- Can you remember whether you told yourself ‘I’m good at this’ or whether you heard other people commenting on your talent/skill?
- What words can you recall yourself using?
- What thoughts did you have?
- Did you keep challenging yourself to bigger and better things, because you felt you could i.e. because you’d developed a fundamental belief that you could?
Now, have a look at the list of things you feel you’re rubbish at.
- Cast your mind back to a time when you gave up trying to do it because you believed you couldn’t… Can you remember what you told yourself?
- What words do you use to describe yourself when you talk about ‘it’?
- What thoughts do you have?
- What did you hear other people saying about what you’d tried to do?
- Did you simply give up trying, because you felt there was no point, because you felt you’d never be as good as …………. sister/brother/friend/parent/teacher…..
- Compare your two lists and notice the difference between the thoughts and language you use about the things you feel you’re good at and the things you’ve felt you were rubbish at.
- Try swapping some of the words you use. How does it feel when you take the positive language from the things you’re confident at and apply these words to the things you believe you’re rubbish at?
- You’ll probably feel very uncomfortable – that’s normal and that feeling of discomfort is what you need to start casting some doubt on your old beliefs and to start testing out some new possibilities about yourself.
- Start to consider some new questions:
- How could I learn this…?
- Who do I know who does it well already that can help me to learn?
- What training could I do to improve my skills?
- What would be the benefit of learning this and how would my life be enhanced if I could do this better than I can right now?
- What might I be missing out on by not improving and growing in ‘it’….?
Asking yourself these questions, will start to open your mind up to new possibilities and will set your subconscious mind to start coming up with some solutions.
Our subconscious mind loves to help us answer questions about how we can do things.. Listen to the answers and then start to take some action.
Remember that perseverance and practice are key. If you expect to be Lowry, Rembrandt or Monet as soon as you pick up a paintbrush, you may be expecting too much. They had to practice and keep practicing and I bet if you asked them, they’d have said they needed to keep practicing and keep improving and maybe they never felt ‘good enough’ …
- Our lesson to learn, is that not feeling good enough or feeling rubbish at something, can become our inspiration to grow, learn and develop.
- When we recognise that our fears are based on false beliefs and misinterpretation of our experiences, often when we were children, we can start to set ourselves new challenges, to keep going, keep learning and developing and not to simply give up!
You may just surprise yourself! I did….
What if you’ve been ‘wrong’ about yourself and you’re missing out on the opportunity to be BRILLIANT at something, if you just let go of your fear of making a fool of yourself or you simply dared to allow yourself to try again and to persevere and take the time to learn some new skills?
When we believe we’re good at something, we allow ourselves to keep challenging ourselves to try new aspects that expand our knowledge and our skill level and therefore we improve, develop and get better and better and our confidence grows stronger and stronger.
However, the opposite applies when we believe we’re rubbish at something and as a result we find ourselves telling ourselves we can’t do it and consequently, we don’t do it… Do we?
- How can we possibly get better at something and allow our confidence to build step by step, if we give up trying in the first place?
What are you holding back on trying because you’ve developed a belief that you’d never be able to do it or maybe you tried a couple of times and gave up on?
Who knows how talented I may become now my inner artist has been released, if I ever allow myself to find the time to practice and learn the skills I gave up learning as a child!!
You may be the next Lowry or J K Rowling too!
I’d love to hear from you about what your talents might be, if you just gave them a chance to flourish..
Please leave me a comment below to start a great new conversation..