Are Your Beliefs Holding You Back?

Your beliefs will have a profound effect on the actions you take and the consequences you expect – and will most likely get – from those actions.

Rather like a pair of spectacles, your beliefs act as lenses through which you view the world and decide on how to react to the circumstances you find yourself in.

If you are struggling to lead the life you deep down desire, it could well be your belief system that is holding you back.

“People have a lot of different beliefs and at the end of the day we all have deeply held beliefs that probably don’t make sense to anyone else.”

– Trey Parker

beliefs holding you back

Are your beliefs holding you back? (continued)


Mental maps

Beliefs can be likened to ‘mental maps’ that govern our lives, emotions, health, skills and everyday experiences.

You will have firm beliefs about many things. For example:

    Beliefs about yourself (your skills, your values, your dignity, your deficiencies).
    Beliefs about other people (what makes them tick, what they want, how to relate to them, etc.).
    Beliefs about work, play, recreation, hobbies, and voluntary activities.
    Beliefs about the world (politics, religion, education, crime, police, the justice system, other countries, wars, journalism, the environment).


Beliefs and facts

First up, it’s important to distinguish beliefs from ‘truth’, or scientifically proven facts.

Beliefs may seem like incontrovertible facts to the person that holds them, but of course they are not. Beliefs are just strongly held opinions or convictions. In other words, beliefs are things that one accepts because one is convinced they are true.

At New Insights we have a saying: “True for you but not necessarily the truth.”

How beliefs develop

So how do these deeply held convictions develop?

Well, for one thing, we are born without beliefs (though some may wish to argue that we may carry forward beliefs from past lives and that’s the subject of a different discussion!)

The beliefs you have today formed over time, starting with simple thoughts that were shaped and developed through your experiences, what you were taught, the environment you were exposed to and your imagination or creative thinking processes.

If you’ve ever rolled a snowball downhill you’ll know how it tends to pick up more snow and get steadily bigger. In a similar way, when you latch on to a thought or an idea that resonates with you, you tend to look for supporting proof – or confirmation – for that idea.

Human nature is such that you will tend to latch on far more enthusiastically to anything that will affirm and validate your idea than you will to anything that invalidates or detracts from it.

As a result, your idea gains in substance and credibility until what started out as a simple thought suddenly becomes entrenched as a full-blown belief.

Beliefs are powerful things

As I implied before, beliefs are powerful things.

When you believe strongly in something you will be inclined to defend that something against criticism from others, because the belief is no longer just an idea or concept – it is now part and parcel of what you stand for.

This is all very well and good – if your beliefs serve your best interests.

And herein lies the problem. Very often your beliefs can obstruct you from living the kind of life you desire for yourself.

Limiting beliefs

A belief that acts as an obstacle to achieving what you truly desire in life is called a ‘limiting belief’ – because it restricts you, holds you back or limits your growth and development.

Imagine you have a desire to lead a life characterised by abundance, fulfilment and happiness … but you harbour beliefs like this:

“It’s a tough, dog-eat-dog world out there.”
“There’s not enough for all of us, the cake is only so big.”
“You need to have money to make money.”
“Life is inherently unfair”
“I don’t deserve anything better.”

These are limiting beliefs because they limit your ability to lead the life you deep down desire.

Good news

But here’s the good news!

Limiting beliefs can be banished just as easily as they can take root!

All that is required is a bit of ‘reverse engineering’!

You need to start by being clear on what it is that underpins your limiting beliefs. Over the years you will have gathered various bits of ‘evidence’ that you have used to prop up or support your convictions.

Now, for each limiting belief, you need to invest a little time questioning the so called ‘evidence’ that you have relied on by searching your history for experiences that contradict that ‘evidence’. In doing so you can ‘shake the foundations’ of the belief until it collapses.

Then all that remains is to replace your old limiting beliefs with some shiny new empowering ones!

Simple … but not easy

This all sounds very simple – and in principle it is. But in practice, because your beliefs and their evidence have become so entrenched over the years, this is not so easy to achieve in practice without the help of a well trained life coach.

I’m going to end off by offering you a quote from Sanaya Roman, that I think sums up the message I have attempted to get over:

“If any area of your life is not working, one of your beliefs in that area needs to be changed.”

This is the official Blog for New Insights Life Coach Training. Find out more about life coaching and becoming a life coach here:



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  1. Michelle Bloem
    Oct 6, 2017

    Thank you for this refreshing and inspirationa blog. I love the quote from Sanaya Roman and think it is very appropriate. It could be part of a discussion when explaining life coaching to potential clients and I am definately going to start using it a lot. 🙂

    • Bill
      Oct 6, 2017

      You’re welcome Michelle – and good luck!

  2. Karen
    Oct 5, 2017

    I gain tremendous value from the way in which you dig deep into whatever theme you have chosen, unpack our perceptions and prejudices and then clearly explain the benefits of doing things differently. Thank you, Bill.

    • Bill
      Oct 5, 2017

      And thanks to you for your loyal support Karen!

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