Limiting decisions we made in the past often limit us and keep us from being able to create the future being the way we say we want it. Did you ever make a limiting decision? Maybe in the past you decided that it wasn’t OK for you to feel good about yourself, or not OK for you to experience your magnificence. Maybe sometime in the past you decided that it wasn’t OK for you to be brilliant, or not OK for you to express yourself clearly, or not OK for you to be able to have good relationships…or maybe in the past you decided that you couldn’t have good relationships — with your children, or with the opposite sex.
Karen used to ask, “Why does this always happen to me?“ And of course it did happen to her!! Did you decide in the past that something always had to happen to you? But what we find is that after changing the decision that things are different.
We do this all the time. Have you ever said, “I can’t find the car keys.” And then someone walked up, and said, “Here they are right under your nose.” As you said that you couldn’t find the keys, you gave instructions to your unconscious mind to ignore the keys. So even if the keys were right under your nose, you wouldn’t find them.
With my model airplanes, the funny thing was that in the past, even when all the pieces were there, I couldn’t see that last piece. It was as if I couldn’t see it. Why? Because I had already decided that it wasn’t there, so my unconscious mind blocked it out of my awareness.
All our decisions filter our awareness. All our limiting decisions can keep us from experiencing the full range of choices that we really have. Some people always find a parking space, by the way, and I’m one of them. I always find a parking space. I decided that a long time ago. I decided that wherever I go, I find a parking space. Now I know people who never find a parking space. I know people who say, “I never ever find a parking space.” You know what…if they drove into a half empty parking garage in the middle of the night, they wouldn’t see the parking space.
Don’t you see, we make decisions in our past and they run our lives in the present and our future. So what kind of decisions did you decide in the past that limit you that you want to get rid of right now?
Do you understand that if you’ve made a decision that its not OK for you to have a relationship that works, and someone who is absolutely perfect for you walks into your life, you’ll never even notice them, because you’ll be waiting for the relationship you’re in to fail. If you had decided that it wasn’t OK for you to make a lot of money, and the most incredible opportunity for financial gain came your way, you’d miss it! Because you’d be looking for what won’t work, and you’d be looking in all the wrong places.
At one of my seminars, I worked with a medical doctor who had a real problem with his children. He thought they were out to get his money, because he did make a lot of it. In the The Secret of Creating Your Future Seminar, we changed his decision that he had made in the past. He actually made the change inside himself — changing his decision. Do you know what happened? His kids changed how they acted toward him. You see, you get what you focus on, and he was in the past focusing on how bad his kids aware to him. Because he changed the decision he made about them he actually began looking for the good things in his relationship with his kids. What happened next was that they actually began to act differently toward him.
I worked with a woman named Patty who believed that she didn’t deserve to have a good relationship with a man. I said, “how do you know that?” She told me all about her ex-husband, and the abusive relationship that they had. One of her problems was that she had very low self esteem due to a decision she made in the past that she didn’t deserve a good relationship. We cleared that decision in the same way as we are going to clear out any limiting decisions you might have made. Six months later Patty was in a loving relationship with a man, and is very happy and satisfied, and knows she deserves it. I think that they might even get married.
Perhaps you decided in the past that it wasn’t OK FOR YOU TO HAVE A LOT OF MONEY. One of the salesmen I worked with just wasn’t making enough money. For his entire life he felt like he hadn’t made enough money. During his entire career in sales he felt like he never got anywhere near his full potential. Well, we discovered he had made a decision about money when he was in the womb. When he cleared that decision, and reevaluated all the events between then and now, as we’re going to do together on this tape, his income doubled in the next 30 days.
Another sales person was the number seven out of eight sales people at this car dealership. He had decided that he wasn’t good enough to sell Mercedes Benz to rich people. He felt inferior socially. I asked him when he decided that. He remembered that at a young age he had accepted when his mother told him that their family would never make a lot of money. We cleared that decision, and by the end of that month he was the number one sales person. And John was the number one sales person at his dealership for more than half the months of that year. And he just decided that, “Hey, I deserve to make a sale, to anyone I choose, my social status doesn’t have anything to do with it. In fact if they’re going to buy a Mercedes, they might as well buy it from me, because I give better service.”
We make decisions, and many of them are really absurd. Silly things like its not OK to make enough money! How bizarre. It’s important for you to know that this is a totally abundant universe. You live in a society that has more money than any society in the history of the planet. It is impossible for you to not make enough money. If you live anywhere in Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and most of the other free countries of the western world, it’s impossible for you not to have enough money. What’s keeping you from making money are simply the decisions that you’ve made about yourself in the past, such as, “I’m not good enough,” or “money is no good,” and the like.
One way you can tell if you have made a limiting decision is if you often hear yourself use the use the word, “can’t,” with regard to the things you want to be or do. Do you ever say, “Gee I’d like to do better but I just can’t,” if you do that it may be there’s a limiting decision which we need to clear. Maybe you decided “I can’t have good a relationship,” or “I can’t have long term relationships.” How many times do you say I can’t have that or I can’t do that.
So, as you think about it, ask your unconscious mind, have you ever made a decision about yourself which causes you to think that you’re anything less than totally magnificent? Now, I know that you are a totally magnificent being, and I truly believe everyone is, or can be magnificent. But some of us have decided somewhere along the way that we’re not that good. “Oh I’m not that good, I just sort of get by.” Or maybe you decided that you were anything less than totally magnificent.
The role of limiting decisions
The limiting decisions we’ve made in the past keep us from making decisions in the present that make it possible for us to create our future the way we want it, and those are the ones we want to get out of our past — we want to clear all of them out.
Did you ever decide to be clumsy, to be a slow learner; to be helpless; lazy; stubborn; you would always have bad luck; that other people wouldn’t like you; that you were not good enough?
So what we want to do right now, is to clear up those things those silly little things that keep us limited.
So think about this for a moment. What kind of decisions have you made in the past that limit you? What kind of decisions do you need to clear here that will allow you to begin to express your magnificence.
You know, at some point, you’re going to finally pick up the ball and run with it. You have a destiny — something to do, and you’re going to get on with it one way or the other. Do you want to do it kicking and screaming, or happily? At some point it’s going to be time for you to get on with it and stand up — to stand in your own spotlight. Now I’m not going to suggest that the time is now! I wouldn’t suggest that to you, but I would suggest that there might be some decisions about you and your ability that are keeping you from having what you want in your life that could use some cleaning up. Think of all the limiting decisions you’ve made in your life. How many were recently? Even last week. So what it is that holds you back? What kind of decision do you want to let go of?
A colleague of mine from Sacramento brought up Spud Webb the other day. He’s the 5’7” point guard who played in the NBA for years and won slam dunk contests. She told me about seeing him play when he was with the Sacramento Kings.
“We had seats just a couple of rows from the floor. From there, you could really see how small he was compared to the other players. And I kept thinking, ‘What could he possibly have told himself as he was growing up to convince himself that he could play in the NBA?’ Can you imagine the pushback he got from the world around him? He had to have some kind of mindset!”
Over the years, I’ve used examples like Spud Webb or Helen Keller or Stephen Hawking to illustrate that limitations only become limitations if you believe them to be. Our minds are that powerful. Our minds overcome seemingly “real” limitations— and they can also create limitations that are absolutely false!
In NLP we talk a lot about limiting decisions and how to work with them. We call them decisions or beliefs because they are not something we are born with. We “decide” or come to believe them, sometimes consciously and sometimes not.
But however they came to us, these limiting decisions run our lives and they prevent us from becoming who we wish to become, doing what we wish to do and having what we wish to have. In the past couple of decades, numerous studies have shown that what we perceive, how we feel emotionally in any situation, and how we perform is completely tied to what we believe.
The truth about limiting beliefs
Some limiting beliefs are obvious. “I’m not good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough” or, on the flip side, “I’m too fat, too old, too slow” are clearly limiting. Others are more subtle. “It’ll be really tough to find a new job in this economy.” “People don’t like someone who talks too much.” “A man who’s been in prison isn’t trustworthy.” Subtle, but these judgments are still limiting.
The sad part is that when someone has a limiting belief, they don’t even test that limit. A man who thinks he’s not handsome enough to attract a mate may never even ask for a date. A woman who believes she’s too old to start a new career will simply not try. A person who has decided that all politicians are crooks may not even vote or look into the candidates.
The truth is that we all have made a zillion limiting decisions! Many of them don’t really matter. I’ve decided that I’m not big enough to play as a linebacker in the NFL—but since I never wanted to be a linebacker in the NFL, I’m not really concerned. The limiting beliefs that should concern us are those that are preventing us from our goals and desires. For example, if I had held the limiting belief that I was no good as a public speaker and trainer, I’d be toast!
Discovering the limiting beliefs
So how do you know what your important limiting beliefs are? Playing detective, the first place to start is simply look at your life. As Tony Robbins says, “You always succeed in producing a result.” By that, he meant that the result you’ve got is exactly the result you’ve produced. It’s not a mistake. Consciously or unconsciously, what you got is based on what you believe.
That’s not meant to be harsh. Actually, knowing that you have created your results can be empowering! And if the results you’ve produced are not what you want, there’s a limiting belief in play.
Say, for example, your financial picture is a mess. You work really hard and make decent money but you haven’t been able to get out of debt. You’ve cut back expenses, tried budgeting, done everything you can think of—but you’re falling further behind.
Or maybe, like me in the past, you’ve struggled to get to a healthy weight. You lose a bunch of weight then let yourself celebrate—only to pack the pounds right back on. In both cases, there are limiting beliefs producing the unwanted result.
So what are the results you’ve produced? Where are your results not in alignment with what you really want to be, do or have? What area of your life have you really tried to improve but, no matter what, things just didn’t get better?
That’s the place to start unearthing your limiting decisions. And next time, we’ll talk about what to do with those limiting decisions once you’ve found them.
Your homework Jay - ask yourself the following questions and send these to me by 20 July LATEST!
Are you producing results you want or are you producing results you don’t want? Is there an area of your life where you have REALLY tried to make improvements but no matter what you’ve done, things haven’t got any better yet?
Your limiting decisions are hiding out in the areas where you’re producing results that you don’t want
“You’ve got to eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive… Eliminate the negative and don’t mess with mister in-between!”
-How do we eliminate our negative beliefs?
Focusing on the positive and keeping your goal in the forefront of your mind is the key to staying motivated and achieving success with greater ease. Motivation is the energy and passion that fuels our drive and provides the impetus to achieve all our goals in our world. Is it a world so far of ‘failures’, mediocre okayness or of success?
Examine your habits and results to date and ask yourself, are they based on a true belief in your self and your ability to build long-term success – a wonderful home life, great relationships, a profitable business, a fit and healthy body – or are you focusing on obstacles that stop you from getting what you want to achieve?
- What are our Limiting Decisions and Negative Beliefs?
Any comment or thought you say to yourself or someone else, or hear from another person and believe, that puts focus on the negative, limits the choices you allow for yourself and prevents you from focussing on what you want.
Each one of us has to ask “What are my limiting decisions and negative beliefs?” as only we know what holds us back. HONESTLY note down what yours are – and there’s no point lying saying it’s only a ‘maybe’ decision, beyond your control, because you are only cheating yourself! Only you know which voices you are listening to at any time – the positive or the negative?
- Where do these voices come from?
We have spoken many times before about self-talk, but often there is more than one voice, there could actually be a hundred! One for every mood you feel, every reaction you have, every choice you choose and sometimes they all talk at once! They can seem very overwhelming – like Gremlins!
Respecting the different voices and beliefs in your head, accept them rather than bully them - get them to work for you, to get what you want. What do you call your voices?
- How do we deal with the ‘gremlins’?
Pick out the voice that focuses you most on what you want and choose to ignore the negative ‘beliefs’ that have been your habit, often for years.
When you have a limiting decision or negative belief, stop and listen…
• Listen to what you have just said and decide whether it limits you.
• Acknowledge the thought to yourself or out loud if you like, say thanks but no thanks to negativity and think “how can I make that a Positive Focus thought that works towards my goal?”
“It will work” - Know that you can and you will… Simply focus all your attention and connect with the amazing you within you, who knows you have the power to know what is right to do, think and say.
- How to eliminate limiting decisions and negative beliefs:
To consciously change a habit takes:
• 5 days of strict awareness – notice your negative thought and immediately change it
• 31 days of ‘change to a positive thought’ habit for it to become instinctive and your first choice.
Is what I’m focusing on producing consistent results I want?
What decisions or beliefs limit me from focusing on what I want?
List my limiting decisions and negative beliefs**
What do I say to myself, to others and what others say to me that limit me?**
Is this a justified thought I need to believe to get what I want?
Does it negatively affect anyone else?
- Where can I shift my focus to achieve better results?
• Acknowledge the negative thought
• Reject it
• Discard it and replace it with a positive, focused thought working towards what I want.
Limiting decisions can be changed – it’s up to you. Create amazing new positive focused voices in your head that always tell you
“I can have what I want!”
And if you don’t quit – you will make it!