We all believe in something. Right from our birth, we are all brought up, slowly conditioned to believe in things that the society around us believes in.
More often than not, many of these beliefs are not going to help you so much in your journey towards greatness and success. On the contrary, those beliefs may end up imprisoning you in the prison that you end up building with those beliefs, sabotaging any shot you have at greatness and success.
If you want to pursue excellence, achieve success and become a great person, you are going to have to face these limiting beliefs head on and break through them.
The following are the seven most common bull pooping beliefs that are sabotaging the lives of the millions around you and any chance they have at being great & accomplishing something.
1. The belief that if you talk about your plans with others you won’t end up actually accomplishing it:
This is probably the fundamental belief that actually sabotages most of our efforts. You end up attracting what you believe in, subliminally. So, when you think that if you discuss your plans with others, you are less likely to accomplish it, then that’s exclusively a sign that you are limiting yourself by that belief.
Derek Sivers spoke in his very famous TED talks speech about why keeping your goals to yourself will increase the probability of your accomplishing it. He also cited a recent psychological experiment which supported that idea. He was completely right about it. But then, it applies only to those who are not aware of what’s going on within them. I am assuming you are not one of them. Because, you wouldn’t even be here reading this if you were. You are either a self-aware person or you want to be.
So, the topmost bull pooping belief that is pooping all over the chances you have at achieving success and greatness is this. It doesn’t matter if you talk about your plans and goals with others or not. What matters is the conviction that you have towards your goals and towards accomplishing them.
I graduated from a sandwich course, a five years integrated program – MS in Software Engineering. Usually, in my college, the students from B.Tech (CSE and IT) have a lot of opportunities in terms of campus placements compared to the opportunities that our branch students have. For instance, B.Tech students appear for more than 200 companies, more than 20 to 25 super dream companies (the companies offering a salary > 10 Lakhs Rupees per annum) while MS is allowed to be interviewed for a maximum of 5 to 7 super dream companies. Only two seniors from the batches prior to mine have gotten placed in such super dream companies – one guy in D.E.Shaw and another guy in eBay. That’s like an odd which would make anyone believe that his/her chances of getting into one are negligible. Did I believe in that? NO. I set my target and goal. I wanted to get placed in the first four super dream companies that will visit the campus. Paypal, D.E.Shaw, Flipkart, Trilogy Inc – are those four companies.
I talked about this goal, this dream of mine to at least five of my classmates, two of whom I knew closely. I spoke about the goal like once every week. It was a way of motivating them to be serious about it and also a way of keeping myself accountable.
You know what? Some people ridiculed me even for trying. I did feel bad for talking about my goals with them. They were trying to poop on it, and project their negative beliefs and limits onto me. It was my mistake to have expressed my desire to them. I did regret the fact that I chose to discuss those desires with them. At one point, even I started thinking if my talking about it was sabotaging my work and efforts. I even started imagining that their negative energy was affecting me. (Sometimes, being around negative people can be draining, that’s different.) But one day, I sat down, introspected, questioned myself and realized that my success was entirely dependent on me. I also realized that the other beliefs about whatever/whoever was sabotaging my efforts were all just in my head – nothing but a bunch of baloney.
That realization empowered me. I stopped bull-pooping myself. I started putting in efforts. I did talk about my desire, my dreams, and about my fantasies of post placement life, etc., to those whom I thought were good friends of mine. But, once I became conscious of my own mind’s working, talking about my goals didn’t stop me from marching towards what mattered. On the contrary, it made me more conscious, aware, and more driven towards reaching those goals. I got a job in PayPal Inc. PayPal was the first company that I appeared for and that was the company I got placed in – against all odds.
Sometimes, discussing your dreams and talking about your goals – with those who really care about you can do more good to you. In a way, they will help you be accountable and they will also keep you motivated when you experience a dip in your motivation. Also, steer clear of negative people who are inclined to talk about things in a dark manner. That said, discussing your goals with others is never going to affect your performance. It won’t have any impact on your journey either. It’s all in your head.
2. The belief that blowing your own horns is wrong:
That brings us to the second most limiting belief – that blowing our own horns is wrong/bad/pompous.
I beg to differ. I spoke about my story in the point above for a reason. For someone who reads just the story above, it will definitely sound like I am trying to blow my own horn. Am I? Certainly not. The story serves a purpose – that something as trivial as a journey undertaken with the only goal of getting a job can be an example for a situation that we all face.
In this age of attention revolution, where an average person’s attention span with respect to anything has been brought down to a bare minimum, if you don’t catch the fancy of people, you won’t sell yourself. To survive, you have to sell yourself. And it is often those who are proficient in blowing their own horn that end up rising above all odds. They also end up surviving the storm. The art of selling is not just limited to marketing people or salesmen. In this information age, almost all of us have to sell ourselves one place or the other if we wanna survive the odds.
Blowing your own horn is not wrong/bad.What matters is where you blow it. Also, how smartly you do it matters the most. Some people come across as pompous jackasses when they blow their own horns. That is why you have to master the art of blowing your own horn. There is a very thin line in between appearing as a grounded, self-confident person and as a pompous, self centred, arrogant person. And, how you blow your horn decides how you will be perceived.
So, blow your own horn where you have to, where you need to, just not everywhere. It’s neither wrong, nor bad. Period.
3. The belief that makes you want to be liked more than you want to be respected:
Everyone wants to be liked by other people. Most people love to be loved by other people. We all have this notion that if people don’t like us, that means we must be bad/horrible/terrible/stupid/boring, etc. We have all been conditioned from our childhood to believe that being liked by everyone around us, and being accepted as a part of the social community that’s around us (our peers precisely) is the only way to survive in this society.
How does this sabotage your chances of success? Because of this idea that you must be liked by everyone, or at least by most if not all of them, makes you do things that you wouldn’t normally wanna do, to please those people. Yet, doing such a thing doesn’t guarantee that those people will end up liking you.
Let me propose an alternative. Endeavor to become a person who will be respected by everyone. Trust me when I say this. You can become a person who is respected by people around you in your world. But you can never win the likes of everyone around you.
You’d be better off aspiring to become someone who is respected by everyone than aspiring to be liked by everyone. The likeability will change based on what people expect you to be and what you are being. Respect will not change.
Sometimes, some people around you might be jealous of your growth. They wanna see you do better. But not better than them. And when you do, they might get jealous. A lot of us stunt our own growth not wanting to outgrow our friends and the circle of people around us, in the fear of being excluded. What we don’t realize is that, even jealousy is a form of respect. They are jealous of you coz you are doing what they thought/said you can’t do and what they themselves couldn’t do.
So, believing that being liked is better than being respected is a surefire way to spoil your chances with your own hands. Prioritize respect first and you will go a long way in your life as one among the greats.
4. The belief that being rejected means there’s something wrong with you:
This belief has caused more heartbreaks in this world than Benedict Cumberbatch’s marriage did. Not just limited to relationships, this belief pervades to the other areas of your life if you consciously or subconsciously allow yourself to believe in that. If someone rejects you, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It means that, that person doesn’t have the ability to see the value of what you have to offer. When someone rejects you, it reflects more about them and less about you.
Also, rejection is not bad. It doesn’t mean you are worthless. The power is in your hands. The power to turn the world’s worst rejection into the world’s best motivation – that power can turn dust into gold. It is often those who have seen the worst of rejections that made the impossible, possible.
Rejection, when it happens, hits you hard. There is no escape from that. But when you learn to view rejection as a chance to introspect and improve yourself rather than as a chance to put yourself down and crawl into your shell – you start gaining control over how even the worst situations outside of you can make you feel inside.
So, the belief that being rejected means there is something wrong with you will more often do a disservice to your talents and the greatness that you stand to offer to this world. Put an end to that belief and liberate yourself from the shackles of the emotional prison you have built through years of believing in such a narrow-minded notion. When you do that, you will notice yourself making amazing things happen in your own life.
5. The belief that some people are born gifted, talented prodigies and that you aren’t one of them:
We have all come across people we consider born-gifted, people we consider prodigies. When we talk about Mozart, we immediately associate him with the phrase “musical prodigy”. When we talk about A.R. Rahman, we immediately associate him with the tag “Mozart of Madras”. When we talk about Sachin Tendulkar, we call him “The God Of Cricket”. When we talk about Warren Buffet, we call him “The Investing Genius”.
What do all these people and people like them have in common? It is that the rest of the world consider them as either of the following – Genius/Prodigy/Born-gifted.
We don’t realize that their success is a combination of hard work combined with dedicated perseverance and immense love for what they do. Most importantly, they are who they are because of the years of hard work they put upfront before they were known to the world outside of their immediate close friends.
This belief that only a bunch of people in this world have what it takes to be great makes you believe that only a few people in this world have that “innate special gift” of a talent that makes them great in what they take up. You also end up believing that the rest of us are just doomed to be mediocre. If you are an average Joe, this is probably your belief.
If you have such a mindset, read the book:- Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. It debunks the myth of geniuses and prodigies.
If you really want, you can be great too. If you want to, you can be special too. If you want to, you can very well be the best in something. The mistake we do is that we compare our life’s behind the screens to their life’s highlights reel. You can accomplish what someone else you call a genius/prodigy has accomplished. It may not take you the same amount of effort or time that it took for the other person to do it. You might probably need to put in more time and effort than that person did, based on your capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. A lot of us don’t even have the motivation to do so because we give up even before we begin. For those who do begin, they compare their progress, time and effort that they have invested, to that of the person they hold as their role model. If the results they see don’t match anywhere to that of what their idols had accomplished at a similar stage, they get disheartened. In most cases, they give up too. The elite few who manage to keep going are the ones who end up succeeding.
What do those few have in common? They believe that they have got what it takes. They know that they can’t expect themselves to achieve something in the same amount of time, with the same amount of effort that their idols did. So, they give themselves enough leeway to keep pursuing and improving along the way. It isn’t a surprise that they end up successful.
So drop the belief that some people are born special, gifted, born to be a genius. If you want something so badly, you’ll always manage to find a way to get it. If you wanna become somebody so badly, you will always find a way to make it happen. It all comes down to what you do with what you have got.
6. The belief that success is a destination:
The belief that success is a destination is the cause of most depression cases registered all over the world. Success in anything – if taken to be a destination is only going to lead to more emptiness, more heartache.
Success is not a destination. People usually get this wrong. Success in love & romance is marriage – a destination. Success in education is a job – a destination. Success in parenting is a well-mannered child – a destination. You get the picture, right? So many people have this idea about success. And this is the predominant reason we all end up heartbroken when the destination turns out to be different from what we expected it to be.
Success is a journey. It is a series of little things that you do successfully, to your heart’s content. It is a series of things done with a lot of passion, love, with all your heart and soul. In anything you take up, your journey is what makes you a success or a failure. Your journey decides if you are a success or a failure.
We see people ending up heartbroken that their marriage didn’t work as they expected it to. To them, marriage was a destination that their long-term romance and courting led to. Beyond marriage, they didn’t see it as a journey that they needed to give its due value to. We come across heartbroken parents who are disappointed when their children turn out to be people they didn’t wish for them to grow up to become. They end up thinking that they failed as a parent. We see people thinking that they are a failure if they didn’t get a job right out of college. Those around them start questioning as to why they didn’t get a job and if they failed in their college.
We have these stupid notions tied to our lifestyle these days that it is very hard to separate success from the destination that we want to get to.
Success is actually more in the journey than in the destination. The same applies to your happiness. If you consider success and happiness to be things that should be savored only when you reach your desired destination, you will often face the bitter truth that – that success or happiness you thought you’ll have – are nothing but a few fleeting moments after which you end up feeling empty.
Most often, that mindset will kill the motivation you have during your journey. So, put an end to that mindset. Start savoring little successes that you have, starting right now. Start being happy for what you have and what you are accomplishing day to day. Grow day after day, little by little, savoring both those little successes and the happiness along the way – and one day you will find that you have accomplished so much that you can’t really count them all and that you can only be grateful for it all.
7. The belief that external circumstances are limiting:
Finally, the one belief that you need to let go of, in order to achieve greatness in anything – the belief that your external circumstances can limit you.
A lot of us let our external circumstances, relationships, situations, adversities dictate who we become and what we accomplish in our lives. We LET it happen. We aren’t victims. We give power to those situations to actually overpower our motivation and will. I have seen people who keep giving reasons – reasons for why they can’t do something that they want to do. I always tell that they don’t want it enough. If they had wanted it enough, so badly, they would have found a way around those constraints or difficulties.
You are not one of them, mind you! When you consciously realize the fact that it is your belief that is limiting you and not the actual circumstances outside of you, you start gaining power over yourself and your life.
It doesn’t matter what the external circumstances are, what adversities you face, what difficulties that you come across, or what hurdles you go through. What matters is, you get to CHOOSE. You always have a choice to view them in a negative light, as a limiting situation, or in a positive light, as a situation that you should desperately work hard to get out and ahead of. You always have a choice to either succumb to those situations, sulk and cry or to convert those adversities into factors that break the mediocrities in your life and empower you to achieve the greatness that you are destined to achieve.
You get to choose. Choose wisely. Choose to break out of all these molds of stupid, ignorant beliefs that cause nothing but heartbreaks all over the world. Dare to dream big. Fight hard for what you so badly want. Don’t give up without a fight. For, if you are reading this article, it’s a sign that you are born to be a warrior. It is a sign that you are not gonna go out without a fight. Let that fight be the fight of the last warrior standing on the battlefield – a fight of grit, a fight of resolve and most importantly, a fight for legacy.