Transcend Your Limiting Beliefs

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Can you fill this in?

I can’t __________.

Many people have thoughts that come to mind immediately, such as:

  • I can’t get ahead.
  • I can’t save any money.
  • I can’t move into a better home.

However, these are often beliefs that limit you. Each time you repeat them to yourself, you give your subconscious mind marching orders to make sure you are correct.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you are right.

– Henry Ford

Principle #33 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is Transcend Your Limiting Beliefs. You can often recognize a limiting belief because it causes you to believe that something is impossible.

The Source of Limiting Beliefs

These limiting beliefs often come from our childhood. For example, your parents might have told you things such as:

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees (creating a limiting belief that you can’t save money or can’t enjoy abundance)
  • Life is difficult (creating a limiting belief that anything that will make your life easier just isn’t possible)
  • The only person you ever think about is yourself (creating a limiting belief that it isn’t acceptable to focus on your needs)

If you heard these comments enough times from people that you loved and admired, it’s easy to embed them in your mind. However, if you’re willing to recognize that the beliefs may be false, you can replace them.

Replace I Can’t with I Can

One way to transcend these limiting beliefs is to simply eliminate “I can’t” from your vocabulary. Each time you find yourself saying “I can’t,” replace it with another phrase such as one of these.

  • I can…
  • I wonder how I can…
  • What could I do differently so that I can…
  • What are other people doing differently that allows them to …

I Can't

Some of the greatest achievements occurred because someone simply didn’t believe that inner voice (or external voices) that said “you can’t”.

  • Luke Aikins jumped out of a plane at about 25,000 feet without a parachute (on purpose), and successfully landed in a 100-foot x 100-foot net. He later said “I’m here to show you that if we approach it the right way and we test it and we prove that it’s good to go, we can do things that we don’t think are possible.”
  • This year’s Olympics in Rio are sure to include many record breaking wins. For example, Katinka Hosszu finished the 400 m individual medley swim beating the previous world record by almost two seconds. Most female gymnasts end their gymnastic career before they hit age 21. However, Oksana Chusovitina is competing in this year’s Olympics at the age of 41. You can bet she’s heard the word “can’t” many times, but she continues to compete in Olympics since 1992.
  • Many people said that you can’t land a rocket on a barge floating in the ocean. Elon Musk and the engineers at SpaceX insisted it was possible. While they failed several times, they eventually succeeded in April 2016.

I remember my first thought when I learned the price of my current home was “I can’t afford…” However, I quickly replaced it with “how can I afford that?” While this isn’t anything on the scale of breaking a world record, I’m very grateful I was able to replace “I can’t” and explore the available options.

Transcend Your Limiting Beliefs Summary

We are often capable of much more. We’re capable of achieving more, loving and being loved more, receiving and giving more, learning more, and doing more. And even relaxing more. However, we often allow embedded beliefs to tell us we can’t. While there are many ways to transcend these limiting beliefs, one of the simplest is to eliminate the phrase “I can’t” from our vocabulary.

I can't I can


About This Post

I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.

Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.

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