Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Can Limiting and Negative Beliefs be Completely Eradicated?

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I recently asked individuals to submit their questions regarding limiting and negative beliefs. I received some intriguing questions to which I have been somewhat tardy in responding to.

A shortened version of one of the questions is as follows:

"How can I truly, fully get beyond and/or break down old limiting beliefs? Do they need to be "totally eradicated"?"

It's a great question and when I read it I was immediately reminded of an episode of Iron Chef America. For the uninitiated, Iron Chef is a Food Network TV show where celebrity chefs compete against their choice of Iron Chef to create five dishes in one hour using a secret ingredient. The chefs only discover what the secret ingredient is just prior to the cook-off and I have seen it range from sugar to venison.

Anyway the episode of Iron Chef that my mind flashed back to was one in which British Chef, Jamie Oliver battled it out against Iron Chef Mario Batali.

Jamie opted to use Ostrich eggs to prepare some noodles for one of his dishes. Jamie's Sous Chef cracked open an egg into a pan but discarded it because the yolk was already broken. In fact, it looked as if the egg was off.

So he tipped it down the sink but he didn't wash out the pan. Now as with all competitions time is of the essence. Like I said the chefs have five dishes to prepare and only one hour. Still, somehow this bothered me and it stuck in my memory. Personally, I would have rinsed the pan out before cracking open another egg into it.

You're wondering how this reminded me of negative beliefs. Bear with me.

There are many techniques that one can use to overcome limiting or negative beliefs such as NLP, Time Line Therapy, Hypnosis, etc. but I would not claim that any one technique can completely eradicate all of your negative beliefs. I actually believe this to be impossible and, although it pains me somewhat to say this for there are times that I too wish things were a little easier, I don't believe that this is a bad thing.

According to the Law of Polarity you cannot have a positive without also having a negative. Therefore, if you have positive beliefs; you also have negative beliefs.

Now before you start to despair hear me out. What the various techniques we can use to overcome negative beliefs allow us to do is to effectively shrink your negative beliefs down to size so that your new, empowering positive beliefs are much stronger than any lingering traces of your negative beliefs. They allow you to manage you negative beliefs so that they are no longer debilitating.

Can you see how the Ostrich egg fits in with this? There may have been traces of spoilt Ostrich egg in the pan (negative) but the new egg (positive) was able to, in effect, overcome it.

Do you know that by age 10, a child growing up in the Western world will generally be exposed to in excess of 400,000 commercials? As we grow up we are constantly being negatively programmed. In fact, the negative programming starts the moment we are conceived because of what we inherit genetically. As children we are generally not conscious of the negative programming we are exposed to. Don't get me wrong. I know that all the unconscious programming we receive is not all bad but much of it is.

My point is that it is generally only after many years of continuous negative programming that we develop the awareness to do something about it and then we expect or want instant results. While we can achieve dramatic results I believe that that to eradicate our limiting and negative beliefs altogether is a tall order.

"The programming that you accept from others, and the conscious and unconscious directives, pictures, feelings and thoughts that you transmit to yourself, will find a place in your own internal control centre. Together, those thoughts and images will continue to create in advance or influence on the spot, every response, attitude and action that will be a part of you and your future."
Dr Shad Helmsletter

And the thing is negative programming continues through out our lives unless we take conscious steps to mitigate it. The various techniques that exist to help us overcome limiting and negative beliefs are great but as Marlon Sanders says,

"Please, do NOT buy one product thinking that you'll solve all your problems and issues and be on easy street. It doesn't work that way. Success is the result of an accumulation of know how and effort."

He is referring of course to Internet Marketing but I'm sure you can see how it applies here too. One technique is unlikely to resolve all your issues and if, like many people, you simply 'shelf' what you have bought then you will not benefit from the tools that you have at your disposal to overcome limiting and negative beliefs.

I think we can get too hung up on trying to erase our limiting beliefs completely. Just giving our limiting beliefs this level of attention is what makes them grow out of proportion in the first place.

"What you resist persists."

To want to completely erase negative beliefs is like saying you want a life with no problems or challenges. Yet we know that it is the problems and challenges that we face in life that help to mould us and shape our character. They can help to improve us or they can also destroy us. One way or another they help to make us what we are.

I was touched by another program I saw recently - Law and Order. In this program a young man had fallen through the cracks of the system. He was dyslexic but no one had diagnosed him as such. His dyslexia resulted in him seeing things in three dimensions and so he grew up unable to read.

He was teased and ridiculed by his peers. They thought he was dumb and stupid. The reality was that he had the potential to be brilliant. When he finally found someone who accepted him as he was she used him so that he not only became a drop-out of society he became a cold-blooded killer as well. It was a poignant story and although this was fictional there are real life stories just like this.

Yet, some of the world's most famous people and greatest achievers are or were dyslexic. Famous people with dyslexia include Tom Cruise (actor), Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple Computers, Cher (actress and singer), Walt Disney (film producer and director), Thomas Edison (inventor), Pablo Picasso (painter), Leonardo da Vinci (sculptor and inventor), Sir Richard Branson (entrepreneur), Sir Winston Churchill (former British Prime Minister), Alexander Graham Bell (inventor), Henry Ford (founder of the Ford Motor Co.), Whoopi Goldberg (actress and comedian), Steven Spielberg (film producer) and Mohammad Ali (former Boxer).

In mentioning the talents of these individuals I have been selective for they are all multi-talented. However, I wanted to draw attention to the broad spectrum of talents that these individuals represent - arts and entertainment, sports, science, business, politics...

I think it would be fair to say that the world would be a very different place if it were not for these individuals. You may be saying that dyslexia is a condition and not a belief but this condition often leads to negative and limiting beliefs which is why I've included it in this discussion.

These individuals didn't allow dyslexia to define them or inhibit them. Instead, they learnt how to manage the condition. I would go so far as to say that to what others perceive as a weakness in some ways became their strength because it forced them to see the world with new eyes, to have a different perspective on things. And by focusing on their other strengths they all became great achievers. Many, thankfully, are still alive today and continuing to both bless and astonish the world with their greatness.

Even the most accomplished person has negative thoughts from time to time. Upon awakening one morning, Bob Proctor told his wife how a particular goal he had set himself scared him. He knew it would be difficult to pull off. He had that tiniest bit of doubt that he could pull it off.

However, his positive belief system, honed over the years to a finely tuned machine kicked in. He was grateful for that fear, for those negative thoughts. He knew he was on the right track. He stared fear right in the face and proceeded to take positive steps towards achieving his goal. Today, he is not only well on his way to achieving that grand goal but he has revised it so that it is larger still.

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face... You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Eleanor Roosevelt

So by all means use techniques and strategies to manage your negative beliefs and use them on a regular basis. The more often you use them the more effective they are. However, more importantly focus on and develop your positive beliefs or else your negative beliefs will cripple you.

"Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs."
Dr. Maxwell Maltz

I want you to take a good look at the picture accompanying this post. Yes, it's a chain but what I want you to see is that it can either keep you chained to the depths or you can climb that chain and soar sky high.

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