In his book, Upgrade your Brain, Learn Anything Faster and Unlock Your Exceptional Life, Jim Kwik begins with the first element of the three-part Limitless Model, Mindset. You need to unlimit your mindset to become limitless because there are certain LIEs (Limited Ideas Entertained) we have grown up believing that are not helpful. To begin, let us untie the meaning of the word “Mindset”.
Mindset is psychological; it is a habitual mental attitude that determines how you respond to and interpret situations. According to Verywellmind, your mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself, it influences how you think, feel and behave in any given situation. It means that what you believe about yourself impacts your success or failure.
Take, for example, a young elephant tied to a stake in the ground. When it’s a baby, the elephant isn’t strong enough to pull the stake up, so it eventually stops trying because it learns the effort is futile. As the elephant grows, it gains more than enough power and strength to pull out the stake, but it remains tied up by something as inconsequential as a rope and a flimsy piece of metal because of what it learned as a baby. In psychology, it’s called learned helplessness.
Most of us behave like that elephant. At some point, we had an experience that gave us an impression of what we’re capable of, and our belief about our potential has been set ever since. But just as helplessness is learned, it’s just as possible to learn to be limitless. The key is to develop a growth mindset. This is in contrast to a fixed mindset that believes that people are born with innate traits or abilities and therefore, cannot be developed. No one is born with a pre-installed mindset about what we’re capable of achieving rather we learn fixed and limited ways of thinking (LIEs) from the people in our lives and the culture we experience growing up. This is why it becomes important to develop a growth mindset which views intelligence, abilities, and talents as learnable and capable of improvement through effort.
Do you know that learning is your superpower? Yes, you have superpowers because of your gifted brain but you need to unlimit your mindset to harness this superpower. So often, we don’t accomplish something because we’ve convinced ourselves that we can’t do it. This is why it becomes necessary to unlimit our mindset.
How to Unlimit your Mindset
Name your Limiting Belief
They could relate to your skills, personality, relationships, education, or anything else that makes you doubt your ability to achieve your goals. Start noticing straight away whenever you tell yourself that you are incapable, even if you believe that this particular thing may not have much of an impact on your life.
You might tell yourself, for instance, that you’re horrible at cracking jokes. Perhaps you don’t think much of this because you don’t personally aspire to be a good joke-teller. However, you might also be telling yourself that you don’t think you’re amusing, likeable, or a good friend. This negative self-talk can eventually make you hesitate when you’re in a crucial social setting or when you have to address a crowd. Listen carefully every time you find yourself using phrases like “I can’t,” “I’m not,” or “I don’t.” You’re sending messages to yourself that are affecting how you think about your life in general, even if what you’re beating yourself up over is something specific and seemingly not important to how you define yourself.
At the same time, try to identify the origin of this sort of self-talk.
Limiting beliefs often start in childhood. That doesn’t automatically mean that your family is their only source. Early social settings can cause limiting beliefs, as can early experiences with education. Some might take hold simply because something didn’t go well for you the first few times you tried it as a child.
It is incredibly liberating to be conscious of how your self-talk is limiting you and to take the time to explore the roots of these thoughts because once you are aware, you can start to see that these thoughts aren’t facts about you but rather opinions. And there is a strong likelihood that those viewpoints are wrong. Once you identify the voices in your head that are focusing on what you can’t do, start talking back to them. When you find yourself thinking, “I always screw up this sort of thing,” counter with, “Just because I haven’t always been good at this in the past doesn’t mean that I can’t be great at it now. Keep your opinions to yourself.” This is the first step to unlimit your mindset.
Get to the Facts
One of the basic tyrannies of limiting beliefs is that they are frequently flat-out incorrect. Do you truly have a poor public speaking voice? Are you truly ineffective as a group leader? Wherever you are, are you truly the least interesting person there? What proof is there for that? How often have you actually encountered these circumstances, and what were the outcomes?
Limiting beliefs prey so strongly on our emotions, which is one of their most harmful aspects. When you encounter a limiting thought, it’s likely that it will fight—and typically win—a battle with your logical self. But to what extent is there any truth to this self-talk?
Think about your experiences speaking in public (an extraordinarily common fear, by the way). Rather than focusing on how you felt in these instances, consider how things went. Were you booed off the stage? Did people come up to you afterwards to laugh at you and tell you how awful you were? Did your boss sit you down the next day to say that you might want to consider a career where you never had to utter a word?
My guess is that none of these things happened. Instead, it’s likely that your audience felt connected to what you were saying. If it was in a professional setting, maybe they were taking notes, and you almost certainly taught them something.
Does this mean that your next speech should be at TED? Of course not. But it definitely means that you’re likely much better at conveying information to a group than that voice in your head is telling you that you are.
Then there’s this: How much of my allegedly bad performance was caused by my self-talk, which wouldn’t stop bothering me? For many people, this is an actual problem. They’ll be working on something they’re not certain about when their inner critic will become so distracting that they can’t concentrate on it and end up performing it poorly. This is one of the reasons it’s so crucial to discover how to confront and silence your limiting ideas. You’ll be more effective at minimizing distractions throughout your toughest growth problems the better you are at doing this.
Therefore, when you’re looking at the facts supporting your limiting views, make sure to take into account two things: whether there is actually any evidence to support the notion that you are actually limited in this regard, and whether even that evidence was caused by the inner critic in your head.
Create a New Belief
Now that you’ve given your limiting beliefs a name and now that you’ve carefully examined the reality of those beliefs, it’s time to take the most essential step—to generate a new belief that is both truer than the LIEs you’ve been accepting and beneficial to the limitless you that you are creating.
Let’s say that one of your limiting beliefs is that you always come up short at the most important moments in your life. Having identified that as a limiting belief, you’ve then taken the step of examining the facts. What you realize is that, while you have occasionally succumbed to nervousness in pressure-packed moments, very few of these instances have been disastrous for you and, upon examination, you can think of several times when you “came through in the clutch.” In fact, now that you really think about it, you’ve succeeded way more often than you’ve faltered.
So, now it’s time to create a new belief. In this case, your new belief would be that no one triumphs at the most critical juncture 100 percent of the time, but that you should be proud of yourself for how many times you’ve performed at your best when the pressure was highest. This new belief completely supplants the old belief, is fully supported by the facts, and gives you a much healthier mindset the next time a critical situation comes along.
You should also know that your inner critic is not the voice of the true you. Most of us use phrases like, “I know myself, and . . .” before announcing a limiting belief. If you can create a separate persona for your inner critic—one that is different from the true you—you’ll be considerably more successful at quieting it. This can be enormously helpful and you can have fun with it at the same time. Give your inner critic a preposterous name and outrageous physical attributes. Make it cartoonish and unworthy of even a B-grade movie. Mock it for its rigid dedication to negativity. Roll your eyes when it pops into your head. The better you become at distinguishing this voice from the real you, the better you’ll be at preventing limiting beliefs from getting in your way, and ultimately, unlimit your mindset.
Have there been times when your inner critic stopped you from doing something exceptional? Now is the time to unlimit your mindset so it doesn’t have to happen again. Truly, there is no such thing as limits except the ones we place for ourselves.