Recently I was driving behind a car with a bumper sticker that read, if you ain’t first, you are last.
I am pretty sure that this is meant to be a motivational statement. Encouraging a person to do their best whether it is in sports, academics, career or some other area. (I did find out later that this is a quote from a movie.)
For me though, the statement implies that if you do not finish first, you are a loser, or not good enough.
It really got me to thinking about the many people who come to see me with beliefs that limit them and get in the way of living their life the way they want to. Sometimes people are aware of their limiting beliefs and sometimes they are at the unconscious level. Either way they run us.
A belief is just that - something you believe. Something that is your truth.
All beliefs are not negative. We have positive ones as well.
- I am worthy
- I learn easily
- I am confident
- I have excellent communication skills
Many times beliefs are developed early in life. People are in a situation and make a decision about themselves.
As a child “Margo” and her older sister used to run together. Margo was smaller and had shorter legs so she did not run as fast as her sister. Frustrated she could not keep up, Margo made a decision that she was not a good athlete. This belief that she was not a good athlete prevented her from getting involved with any kind of sporting activity. After we did some work together and she discovered the root of her belief, she developed a new belief about herself.
Or beliefs can be developed when children hear comments from others, often the adults in their life. If a person grows up hearing such things as you’ll will never amount to anything, you don’t deserve love, you are not good enough, they can then begin to believe these statements as truth.
Limiting beliefs stop people from doing things and they will find evidence to support the belief.
- Going for a promotion - I’m not smart enough. I’ll never get it, why bother.
- Asking someone out for a date - I’m not pretty/handsome enough. Why would someone want to date me?
Then you may even justify it by saying, see, I’m not smart enough that is why I didn’t get the job.
Some examples of limiting beliefs are:
- I’m not good enough
- If people got to know me they would find out that I am not as smart or confident as I seem.
- I’ll only be liked if I please people. This belief often leads people to say yes when they really want to say no.
- I’m not smart enough to do X.
- I don’t deserve love or happiness.
Sometimes the comments such as if you ain’t first, you are last are meant to motivate.
So does that mean if you came in second you are last?
The good news is beliefs can be changed. The first step is to recognize what they are. Notice what is not working in your life. Do you have trouble staying in a job or relationship? Chances are there is a limiting belief getting in the way.