Identifying Limiting Beliefs – Part 2

In my last post, I talked about how to identify limiting beliefs. You may run into an obstacle in reaching your dreams unless you identify any limiting beliefs. In this post, we’ll delve deeper into your beliefs.

As discussed in the last post, when you state your goal, what immediately pops into your head? If it’s something negative, that’s your limiting belief and something you need to analyze. Your limiting beliefs may exist as passing thoughts or feelings. You may be saying negative thoughts to yourself or as even feeling negative reactions to what others say to you.

Examine your overall beliefs about the world.

Do you have a positive mindset? Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? What has influenced your beliefs? Where did you get this belief? Parents? Teachers? Society? Media? Obviously, many of our beliefs are handed down from family and friends. These beliefs are so ingrained that you may not recognize their impact. They become accepted as fact and influence your approach to any goal.

For example, do your family members struggle with their weight? Do they frequently say things like “Well, the Smiths have always been a hefty bunch” when explaining their weight loss issues. I’m not addressing genetics or heredity; simply, look at the general mindset of the group. This negative mindset easily influences your own weight loss trials. If you’re unable to lose weight, your mind can explain that the family has always been heavy, instead of a more positive statement.

In fact, look at circumstances where things do go wrong or not as you expect. What is your typical reaction? Do you blame others for your problems? Do you think “It’s not my fault”, “This always happens to me”, or “Why did I think this time would be better”? These are your subconscious beliefs, and it’s important to recognize your approach to the world, events, relationships, and yourself.

Negative subconscious beliefs color your journey to success with a negative mindset.

Once you identify where the belief originated, ask yourself, what is the underlying benefit from believing this? You are gaining something from continuing to accept the belief and behavior associated with it. There is a payoff, even if the belief is negative.

For example, let’s say you are organized at home or at school. But at work, you frequently find yourself disorganized. You become frustrated during projects because you can’t find necessary paperwork or contact names. You may think, “At home, I know where everything is. It’s very organized there, but here, I can’t find anything.” You may even have set a goal to be more organized at work. But by being disorganized, you are receiving a benefit.

What’s your secondary gain?

Yes, negative beliefs give you some kind of benefit. Using the above example, maybe the payoff is that people don’t give you projects because you’re known for your disorganization; it saves you from additional work that you may not want to do. Maybe your disorganization interferes from even starting projects, which are given to co-workers; again, giving you a payoff of not doing a project.

You have a good reason for wanting the payoff.

It may not be comfortable to think about the payoff. After all, why wouldn’t you want to do your best at your job? Why wouldn’t you want the additional work? The payoff might be that projects are given to others, or perhaps you get extra help that your boss doesn’t give to more organized staff members.

What’s underneath the payoff? Maybe you’re in a job that you dislike, doing work that you dislike, or feeling that you’re not capable of doing the work. Instead of addressing the bigger problem of being in a job you hate or addressing your feelings of inadequacy, you sabotage yourself by being disorganized and not starting a project at hand.

Analyze the underlying fear of your subconscious beliefs.

Dig deep and realize that your negative belief is not the genuine issue. Start asking yourself what you’re afraid of? What’s hiding underneath the belief? Conversely, do you believe you have the talent, ability, passion, and determination to succeed?

Continuing with the above example, let’s say you realize it is truly the job you want to change, rather than a problem with your organizational skills. What’s stopping you from searching for another job? What’s stopping you from finding the job of your dreams?

Instead of letting the negative, subconscious belief sabotage your goal, address the underlying fear and payoff. Once you’re aware of your fears and the secondary gains, you can create a new belief or mindset.

Create a new belief.

Think of logical reasons to change. Think about the payoff for your new, positive belief. Think about what your life would look like, if you eliminated this old, limiting belief. Would you get promoted? Would you find your dream job?

In my next post, I’ll give you some ideas in creating your new belief and in strengthening its power in your life.

If you’d like to share your limiting beliefs and secondary gains, I’d love to hear about them. You may need to do a little soul-searching to uncover the underlying benefit, your fears, and the bigger issue. But once you do, you’re on your way to changing the limiting belief.

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  1. Steve Vernon says:

    Hey Larry –

    Just read Parts 1 and 2 together. Great stuff. There seems to be a growing awareness that our thoughts create our reality. The idea certainly isn’t new, but I know in my own life, it has become more and more a guiding principle over the last couple of years. Once we realize this fact and make ourselves constantly aware of it, we can naturally take more control over which of the thoughts that constantly flow through our minds we give any emotional attention to. If we don’t apply any emotional attention to a thought, it passes in a flash without having the opportunity to affect our life in any way.

    A program in which I was involved for awhile centered, in part, around the concept of “FIBS”, or Falsely Implanted Believe Systems” — those false ideas that we have come to have about ourselves and the world around us. We were not born with these ideas. The became implanted over time though interaction with our environment. When we recognize these, we can begin to get rid of them just as effectively as we acquired them.

    Interesting stuff!

  2. Hey Larry,

    All I can say is wow. I’m impressed with the series you put together. I’m getting this content everywhere man. You’re an expert.
    Justin Hammonds recently posted..Leveraging Your Blog to Boost Your Bank Account Part 2

  3. Hi Larry –

    I get completely what you’re saying. I learned about NLP last year and this was a welcome piece of revision. I saw a quote recently that made me smile – We see the world not as it is but as we are.

    We have so much power yet struggle to unleash it positively. With help like this we will surely get there!


    Andrew Sayers recently posted..One more step

  4. Lori Tisot says:

    Hi Larry – fabulous information! I have found that asking questions, as you have listed above, is a very powerful way to get to the bottom of whatever our limiting beliefs are. You’ve put together a great series on getting to the root the beliefs that hold us back. Some of the beliefs are so deeply rooted that we don’t even know we have them – but your “questions” approach is a blockbuster method for finding out what they are. I’m looking forward to your next post on getting the new positive beliefs established :)

    Lori Tisot recently posted..The Change To Entrepreneur – Are You Ready

  5. Larry,
    Great series! I agree with Lori…your approach to uncovering limiting beliefs is a good way to examine ourselves. I’ve always thought that more entreprenuers would see the success they desired if they could simply change their thoughts. The desire is often there but I think it gets buried under a load of negative thinking that often keeps one from being all they were created to be. Thanks for shedding some light on this topic and offering some suggestions to help.

    To your continued success,
    Robin van der Merwe recently posted..We need your help…today!

  6. Beth Allen says:

    I just read both Part 1 and 2 ~ this is great stuff, Larry. Uncovering the root of our negative thinking is indeed, deep and emotional work. It is never what it seems, and you are absolutely right, there is always a payoff for every thought/ belief we hold. I love what you said about thinking about our beliefs as “coloring” our journey. I am a very visual person, and I think about the negative and limiting beliefs I’ve had over time, and they are dark and ugly colors, whereas my postive re-framed beliefs are vibrant and alive. And those colors are perfect representations of my life at those times as well!

    Thank you for sharing these powerful and thought-provoking questions and insights.
    Beth Allen recently posted..The 5 P’s of Powerful Marketing

  7. Yorinda says:

    Hi Larry,

    I appreciate your post.

    Looking at the payoff we get for the limiting belief can be quiet a revelation. Bringing fears out into the light is a good way of starting to ‘disarm’ them.
    I like your suggestion of finding payoffs for the new belief.

    Thank you again.

    Love and Light
    Yorinda recently posted..Joy is the Goal

  8. Thanks Larry for the intense blog post. I have heard that we limit ourselves because we are in our own way.

    TSA is a great platform for learning.
    rebeccarussell recently posted..TIPS TO WRITING A GOOD BLOG POST!

  9. Lynn Glaser says:

    Hi Larry,

    I was told by my doctor to get a note book and write down any positive thoughts that came into my head during the day. I then had to read over these positive thoughts four times in the day. I have four notebooks now all filled with positive thoughts and they’re so uplifting to read back through. Positive thoughts alone don’t achieve a lot but they definitely set the foundations for brilliant achievements.

    After reading this post it is clear that setting goals, understanding your fears and using a positive mindset you’ll have a very solid ground to shape and build your dreams. Great post Larry :-)


    Lynn Glaser recently posted..Business vs Busyness

  10. Vanessa says:


    Yep, I can relate to gaining something from limiting beliefs. There is ALWAYS a payoff. People do things for two reasons: to gain pleasure and to avoid pain. So everything we do, even the things we would like to change, we do because we believe it is gaining us pleasure or helping us avoid pain.

    The trick is to create enough leverage on ourselves, by creating more pleasure or avoiding more pain, by changing our belief.

    Thanks for the great post. Keep up the good work.

    Live with passion and purpose,
    Vanessa recently posted..8 Tips To Better Video Marketing

  11. If it’s something negative, that’s your limiting belief and something you need to analyze. Your limiting beliefs may exist as passing thoughts or feelings.

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