Self-Limiting Beliefs and Goal Attainment

Self-Limiting Beliefs and Goal Attainment
In the book Just Shut Up and Do it: 7 Steps to Conquer Your Goals, Brian Tracy tells the story of a baby elephant that is tethered to a post with a rope. The little elephant tries again and again to break free, but is unable to do so. Over time and after many defeats the elephant begins to believe that it will never escape from bondage. Even after the elephant reaches adult size, if that same rope is tied around it’s leg, the elephant feels as helpless as it did as a baby. Although in reality a full grown five ton elephant could easily break free, it does not go beyond the confines of the rope because it believes it can not.

“The baby elephant developed “the greatest malaise of the modern word, what psychologists call learned helplessness,” writes Tracy who contends that 80% of the population suffers from this same affliction of passivity.

If you are a member of that 80% group, Just Shut Up and Do it provides advice about how to change a self-limiting mindset. First, take responsibility. Tracy says that if you repeat the words “I am responsible” the phrase automatically switches off negative emotions. “You cannnot say ‘I am responsible’ and be angry, worried, or scared at the same time.” I have to disagree with Tracy here. When things go badly, taking responsibility is the right thing to do if you are truly at fault, but this does not always feel good. Further you can take full responsibility for yourself, not blame another soul for your life situation and be terrified, anxious and furious all at the same time.

Another point I disagreed with was Tracy’s theory that “the business of life is the elimination of negative emotions...If we can just get rid of our negative emotions, our minds should automatically fill with positive emotions of peace, joy, and happiness,” he writes.

If we rid ourselves of all negative emotions we would no longer be human. I prefer the advice given by Adam Hamilton in Unafraid. Hamilton says that negative emotions are a fact of life and instead of focusing on the futile enterprise of elimination, in his book Hamilton helps readers to understand and cope with unproductive anxieties, fears and worries.

While I had issues with some parts of Just Shut Up and Do it I always enjoy when Tracy does what he does best--helping readers eliminate procrastination, develop good habits and take actions that lead to achievement and success. You should be aware of any self-limiting beliefs, and work on overcoming or managing them for your peace of mind. In the meantime you still can achieve goals, even if self-limiting beliefs are present. Actions are the key ingredient in goal attainment.

“The secret of success has always been the same,” writes Tracy,” get started and keep going. If you can do these two things, every single day, there are no limits to what you can achieve.”

I borrowed Just Shut Up and Do it: 7 Steps to Conquer Your Goals by Brian Tracy from the local library.

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