When coaching some extremely successful individuals I am often intrigued as to how they have limited their true potential through learned helplessness and limiting beliefs.
Learned helplessness is a common problem in our society and it has come about through the way we live in our modern world. It endures because we now live in a global society, especially due to social media and many of us work in large organisations and cities. In these societies we see many things as another person’s responsibility and we often become lost or see ourselves as a very small part of this world; powerless and therefore unable to change things.
Hence, we talk ourselves into accepting the unacceptable, tolerating the intolerable and living with failure and lower standards than we would if we had control. This is learned helplessness or the “victim mentality” where everything is someone else’s fault.
To change we need to own issues and we need to empower ourselves if we are to overcome our self-induced inertia. Movements start with individuals who act. Change begins with the first step. I love Zig Ziglar’s quote “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”.
Unfortunately, it is not just our learned helplessness that hinders progress it is also our personal limiting beliefs which prevent us from fully exploiting our talents.
Limiting beliefs are far more personally oriented than learned helplessness as they originate from personal experience or individual learning. They start through personal experience or peer or others comment or statement. If you are told at school that you are no good at mathematics and you believe this, then you are unlikely to try to become a mathematician.
If you are told you are fat you may become extremely body conscious. These limiting beliefs can be far more damaging to an individual’s confidence than any failure as they lack perspective. Again, many begin to compare themselves to images on social media thus compounding the belief.
Challenging limiting beliefs is the key to overcoming them: understanding where they come from and how they originated is key to unravelling them. So, when the word can’t appears in our thinking we need to understand why it’s there and perhaps then and only then will we be able to remove the apostrophe and the letter t and turn the word to can.
Our modern world is a challenging one and it can quickly disempower an individual. Its only when we take ownership and challenge the thoughts and beliefs that limit us that we can start the change needed.
Sampson Hall offer executive and performance coaching to individuals who are looking to develop and challenge themselves for greater personal growth and self-improvement.