Don’t believe
everything you
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our beliefs are connected to your values and are very per-
sonal. They form a significant part of the pattern in your
personal kaleidoscope. If you value trust, you are likely to
hold beliefs such as:
G people can be trusted
G there is no need for rules
G people can manage their own schedules and productivity
G my children will come home when they say they will.
If you place a high value on mistrust, you are likely to believe the
G only fools trust others
G people are out to get me
G I have to watch what you are doing because you can’t be
G I have to phone my children when it’s time for them to
come home.
The beliefs expressed above probably came from experience and
it’s amazing how little you need to form a belief. How many
times does Johnny have to be late home from school before
Mum develops a habit of reminding him to come straight home
because she has formed the belief that ‘Johnny is always late
home from school’? How many times do you have to be ignored
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30 brilliant NLP
by someone for you to formulate the belief that he or she is
uncaring or arrogant?
We’re not saying that all beliefs are wrong or inappropriate, but,
rather, that it is good to test them to see if they are acting as a
barrier or limitation. Once you have formed a belief, it can
become self-fulfilling in that others behave in a way that is
expected of them. For example, if Johnny believes that Mum
anticipates him being late, then he will develop the habit. If you
regularly tell Johnny that he is lazy, he will prove you right.
Holding a limiting belief is like wearing blinkers you see only
what you expect to see and block out counter-evidence. Because
your beliefs are personal, you will defend them and seek evi-
dence to justify them. This is fine if
the belief is positive, such as ‘Johnny
has potential that is worth develop-
ing’, but consider the consequences
of believing ‘Johnny will never make
the grade’.
Are you being held back by limiting beliefs?
So who is turning the kaleidoscope of your mind? Who is
imposing their limiting beliefs on you? The people around you
will undoubtedly have a hand in making small turns, changing
your beliefs and having an impact on your behaviour.
it’s amazing how little
information you need to
form a belief
A mother and daughter attended the same training course. About to
embark on a physical activity, the mother turned to her daughter and said,
‘You’ll never be able to do that, you are uncoordinated.’
Fortunately the facilitator overheard the comment and the girl was asked
to walk across the room. She did so elegantly, proving that she was indeed
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Think back to your schooldays. How many things did you do
poorly or drop out of because you believed that you couldn’t do
them? Did your teachers, parents or peers reinforce or help you
to create any limiting beliefs? Take a few moments to think of all
the things that you could have been doing now if you hadn’t
carried those limiting beliefs to the present day.
At work, how many people are being held back by the limiting
beliefs of their managers? In our workshops, we find an astonish-
ingly high number of people who have had this experience.
Many managers don’t delegate, encourage, stretch or even
recognise superb performance in their people. One reason for
this is their belief in their own capability as managers and
another is their beliefs about the capabilities of others. Helping
teams to develop positive beliefs and
values about colleagues can dramati-
cally change attitudes, which quickly
cascade through the company, with
subsequent improvement in per-
formance. If you can identify and
change a limiting belief, you can
make huge strides forward.
A single belief represents just a small part of the kaleidoscope
pattern and is often itself part of a cluster of similar beliefs. In the
extreme, a cluster of limiting beliefs can lead into a whole host of
unpleasant areas, including phobias, blaming others, anger and
low self-esteem. Being in control of your own kaleidoscope,
therefore, is key to your success. The simple demonstration in
our brilliant example created awareness for the daughter that
completely changed her beliefs about what coordination means.
Don’t believe everything you hear! 31
coordinated. Imagine being continually told that you are uncoordinated.
What kind of limitation would that put on you? How long is the list of
activities that you would go out of your way to avoid?
if you can identify and
change a limiting
belief, you can make
huge strides forward
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