How to become mentally strong?
Have you ever wondered why you believe what you believe? Have you ever been told you can do or be anything you want in this world? But like a controlled car crash, your subconscious comes along and slaps the thought of unlimited potential into the wayside.
We reach positive and negative conclusions that we are not very smart, socially awkward, a talented athlete, or extremely logical in decision making. You see whether we have experienced good or bad thoughts, all of these are based on our beliefs. And beliefs are a series of reference points that have all occurred within our past life all of which equals our mental strength.
Take a moment to think about your past and let’s look at these few scenarios. When you were growing up, the generic thoughts of becoming a Doctor, Lawyer, or Professional Athlete may have entered into your potential vocation options at one point. If you are one of the three, over your life, as a teen you may have met the opinion of peers, who have highlighted how good you are at chemistry and in equal part how good your memory is, even ‘photographic.’ Additionally, a sports coach may have said: “everyone watches how Max passes the ball, now you should replicate what he is doing”. For Max, this is an example of a reference point, where his skills have been reconfirmed.
Leading to a positive belief he is more competent than others. Conversely, as you can imagine, a teacher scolding you for the inability to recite 2 lines of Shakespeare may have led to some inaccurate self-limiting beliefs along your life journey, resulting in you believing you are useless at English and your quest into journalism became paralyzed.
So I am here to tell you something quite fascinating and unbelievable, all your beliefs can be changed and you can live a life of unlimited potential at any age.
Hopefully, you have realised by now a belief has the ability to empower or destroy one’s self-esteem and subsequent life if enough reference points are compiled.
What is a limiting belief?
A limiting belief is one that causes life to be less than completely satisfying. A negative and limiting belief sticks with you, it robs your energy and results in self-sabotage and this will only change if you are willing to commit to change. But before we embark on how to change your beliefs, you have to be open-minded to realise all the small things you believed to be true for all these years just might not be so.
Let us look at universal beliefs. These are statements that at some point we or others have said.
- “I DON’T HAVE TIME.” We all have the same hours in the day. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Your Mother, best friends, homeless people and yourself. Why do others seize the day and achieve impressive results? Simply put they prioritize their should-do’s into a must. If they have to solve a problem at work because their business depends on it then they will make it a must, If your friend leaves work at 5 pm and is in the gym at 5.15 pm and in great shape, his must is his health. The truth is that it is an allocation of priorities, we believe certain areas of our lives are simply more important than other areas.
- “IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE.” Many will struggle to spend £10 each week on a book that could change their life but easily spend £10 for an office lunch. It is a perception of value, they believe the food is a must and the book non-essential. When you find a way to invest in yourself you will have true nourishment.
- “I DON’T UNDERSTAND.” We have all encountered a close family member who sees eating healthy as a mysterious art. They believe setting up a wireless router is easier. The truth is, food has served them as sustenance thus far in life so why change? There is no need to understand further. Ignorance is not bliss, Understanding is.
- “I COULD NEVER DO THAT.” I wanted to become an architect when I was younger. Yet my maths teacher was not fond of rewarding me with good grades. My parents would say “it is clear it is not your strongest subject, you are more creative” I subsequently took the viewpoint I was terrible at maths, thus eliminating career choices. One despondent day, I actually said, “What if I could be an architect, what would I need to do? “That one question led me to a change in beliefs and perseverance in picking up a degree in architecture.
- “I AM JUST NOT GOOD WITH MONEY.” “We all like spending money, the world economy is failing, Brexit is terrible for us, I can’t afford to save. I am going to live for today and spend on me and enjoy my life.” I am still unsure why people feel this statement is cathartic as if is justifies being financially poor. Well, the truth is the world has held up pretty well this far. And that logic has not created any billionaires yet, take the time to educate yourself from financial masters of the universe, then tend to leave very good clues.
Now make time to consider which beliefs might be limiting your potential. All of your behaviours are an indicator of your beliefs.
So how do we get rid of negative beliefs?
To change anything, you must first identify it. Open a new document on your computer and do the following;
- Make a list of the areas in your life where you feel challenged.
Finances, health, relationships, fun. Simply put anything down under these categories where you feel there is a road-block.
- Identify the beliefs that are contributing to your challenges.
‘I will never be able to get a promotion, I am too overweight to get in shape, No one fancies me.’
- Identify the beliefs that are holding you back.
‘I need more skills to earn more money. I am comfortable with my weight. I am so unattractive.’
- Put those negative beliefs in order.
List out what is the most negative for you and tackle that first.
Time to change that belief…
- Read the belief out loud and ask yourself,
“Do I really know that this is true?” Remember, you cannot draw conclusions from a limited number of experiences.
- Where the heck did you come up with this belief?
Write down why you think this. Did this belief of not getting a promotion come from your co-workers? They are not a reliable reference
- Then state out loud to yourself,
“This is not true, this is what have believed up until now, I choose not to believe this anymore. My beliefs are simply not true.”
- Create a new belief that serves you.
“I believe I can easily get that promotion.”
- Measure yourself.
Find someone who got a promotion, what did they do, what do they know? Implement their steps and take action. Congratulations you have just embarked on the process of reframing your beliefs. Follow this process, repeat daily your new beliefs and take steps.
You cannot just say out loud what you want, you need to take the action to do so.
- Reinforce the belief.
Now go back to your list of limiting beliefs and Repeat all the above steps on a regular basis, once you have replaced a limiting belief go through your list and keep working through. In life, you will always encounter pervading negative thoughts the secret is the process and action you take to overcome and not let them fester.
Private investor, Consultant & Coach. UK