You’re Correct, Even When You’re WrongDecember 29, 2022
I find the psychology behind decision making to be fascinating. How much of our thought process comes from original thought vs. implanted thought. We like to believe “I am my own person” but that’s nearly impossible unless you were raised your entire life by a volleyball named Wilson.
We go through at least 12 years of school, influenced by teachers who were influenced by their teachers and textbooks. We lived in neighborhoods and were influenced by its events and social standing. We watch TV and are influenced by the values of the shows, the horrors of the news, and our ideas of wealth and poverty. We spend countless hours looking at computer and phone screens at all of the good and bad of social media. Are we our own person? Hardly. Try as we may.
Our belief system (our spiritual beliefs, who we vote for in elections, how we parent our own children, etc.) is built up over decades from all the information we ingest from sources. So the things we’re told as a child seem completely true, because they come from parents or people in authority, and that becomes the gospel truth to us.
It’s All In Your Head
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you’re right.” Have you ever looked into the eyes of children as you’re attempting to teach them how to ride a bicycle? More times than not, there is a fear that vocalizes itself in the form of, “I can’t do this.” They believe with all their heart that they will never learn to ride this bike. If left to their own devices, they may never even attempt to ride it, as the fear outweighs the perceived benefits of knowing how to ride.
The same applies to learning to swim, riding a roller coaster or any situation where fear might be part of the process. But guess what? An hour later, they learned how to ride it, despite their temporary disbelief. Were they right when they doubted, or when they saw proof that they could learn? Yes to both. The “I can’t do this” was 100% true and real to them at the time. Thankfully, their new truth is they’ve done it, they’ve followed instructions and are now on the other side of it. The fear has been released and now they will have this skill the rest of their lives.
Two Houses Divided
Imagine two homes. In the first household, the following phrases can be heard: “You can learn to ride a bike. You can do well in school. I believe in you. You are important.” The second household echoes different sentiments: “Why can’t you be more like your brother? You’re too small for sports. You aren’t smart enough to do well in life. Our family will always be poor.” Which of these will set up children for success later in life? I’m not saying that it ONLY takes affirmation, but positive phrases can instill confidence, direction, and a belief in oneself.
The negative (or even positive) phrases don’t have to be true to be effective. Remember that they are true for the person hearing it… IF they believe it. And they usually do believe it because their elders are supposed to know the truth, right? It becomes their reality and their decisions are influenced by those words. This is what I call a “limiting belief.” It is a belief, whether it’s true or not, that holds us back in one way or another.
My family had a bit of a warped sense when it came to finances. My father would lead me to believe that rich people are crooks, that they only made their money by cheating or taking advantage of others. I, in turn, arrived at an unhealthy viewpoint of the wealthy. It greatly influenced my first few decades of life, with shameful results. I accept full responsibility for my past actions, but I often wonder how my early life would have been different with words from that first household above. My limiting belief took my life in a regretful direction.
I remember hearing this phrase often, “Think small, son; you’ll never be disappointed.” That taught me to set the bar low and to give up on aiming for prosperity, wealth, success and more. Be careful, because you may be planting seeds of doubt or misinformation that could turn into someone else’s world view.
Let me ask these questions that I’d like you to answer in your head. What would you say has been one of the most influential limiting beliefs for you? How much better could your life have been if you had overcome one or more limiting beliefs early on? What limiting beliefs are you passing on to others, whether intentional or not?
The New Year is a time to reflect on the past, and also a time to plan a better future. Our family here at WeldonLong.com sends our best wishes, hoping you’re able to sit with these thoughts and make this next year your best one yet.