We all want to go to that part in out lives that we believe anything is possible. As a child, you thought you could be superman if you worked hard enough and anything from flying to the moon to playing in the NBA was possible. The era of imagination and endless possibilities would keep you from sleeping, excited at what the future might bring.
As you get older, your imagination dwindles into daydreams and your mind tells you that you can’t achieve those goals because your life, kids, finances, are standing in the way of your dreams. You are so busy trying to catch up or break even, that many of those dreams become just that- dreams instead of reality.
Now, I can’t speak for you, but my whole life has been someone imposing their limiting beliefs on me. My high school counselor told me he didn’t think I would graduate high school. My grandfather told me the US Army was no place for a woman. People closest to me told me I couldn’t raise a child and pursue higher education…or quit smoking…or take a new job…or start a business…or start a new skill late in life.
How will you manage all that responsibility? How will you raise your children? You’re too old to learn something that physical. How can you afford to do that? How can you give up meat? How will you feed your children? What if? What if?
I swear, motherfuckers are all in your shit, giving a flying fuck when you’re about to try something new. Maybe these people are strangers, more often these are people close to you, that you know intimately. They genuinely care about your future. And this is where it hits the fan- you listen to their limiting beliefs and you start to believe them. Their opinions help to mold the future decisions you make. You say shit to yourself like, “Maybe (he/she) is right. Maybe I am too young/old/broke/busy to take this on.” And then, BOOM, you stay in the same place and you don’t chase that dream because you let SOMEONE ELSE’S belief limit YOURSELF. And you do it because you think that this person knows you so well that they must see something in you spells failure- and then you believe them!
Why do we condition ourselves to do this? Because we want to conform? We don’t want to intimidate others with grand ideas of success and growth? Should we stay in the small pond because that’s where our tribe is and it’s more important to stay put and be a part of something than it is to jump into a bigger pond alone? Maybe it’s easier to listen to the criticisms and focus on all the things that can go wrong instead of focusing on how it could go right.
Now, riddle me this. When someone talks poorly to you and cuts you down, bullies you, and does something mean, we all know that this is a reflection of the other person and what they are going through and has nothing to do with you. This is kind of a no-brainer because people that are trying to tear you down are not usually the people in your tribe, so it’s easier to disassociate yourself from this because you don’t have the intimate relationship and you brush off haters because they don’t know you on a personal level.
But what about when people in your tribe advise you against chasing those dreams and goals? You think that they are giving advise from a loving place, but you fail to see that they are imposing their own limitations on YOU! It’s the exact same thing as the haters cutting you down. But because you have something more invested and they do know you personally, you take heed to their advise. BUT IT IS THE SAME THING! Even though it may be disguised as coming from a place of love and care, these are simply someone else’s limiting beliefs and it’s up to YOU to decide if you will take those beliefs on.
Now, the high school counselor telling me he didn’t think I would graduate high school was too easy to shake off. That man didn’t know me personally and he obviously has issues, going about telling his student body that he doesn’t believe in them is deplorable for an educator, but thank you Mr. Johnson! You were the first of many lessons!
I wish all of the naysayers were this easy to identify- too many of them were close and personal and it’s taken me awhile to figure out how to work past them, but I understand now why they say to keep your goals to yourself until you can put them into action- this affords you the opportunity to grind hard in peace and surprise them all!
Sometimes, things aren’t so black and white and you can’t work in isolation.
Most recently, I have decided to take on capoeira. Have you seen this shit? Acrobatic dance fighting with singing and instruments. It’s fucking beautiful. But, it’s not for the fair weather fan and many capoeiristas start training at a very young age or come in with some other previous experience in gymnastics or advanced movement. And then there’s me. 37 years old, no sports background, and jumping into this sport with an already full plate of children, school, etc. How will I have time to train? My mom expresses concern because she fears if I get injured, I will be unable to work. Even my own mestre (capoeira teacher) mentioned in class one day that “you can’t pick up this game at my age”, without realizing that I was, indeed, his age. Another person that I train with, mentioned the criticism of another mestre that suggested that same thing, “You can’t start capoeira this late in life and ever be any good”. Although none of these comments were directed at me specifically, they have been burning in my brain. Actually, they are fueling my fire. No one gets to determine my trajectory. No one gets to determine what the fuck I will be good at. So every time I think of the limiting beliefs set before me, I remind myself, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
There will be times when you want to believe the bullshit others whisper in your ear, but I challenge you to remind yourself that these concerns, criticisms, feedback are merely a reflection on how the speaker feels in their own shoes. Their words are a reflection of themselves and this isn’t inherently bad- maybe this risk you take isn’t one that would be well suited for them- that’s why they aren’t doing it- YOU ARE. So, take the comments and opinions in stride and go after all you desire.
May this year provide for you 20/20 vision so you can own your own path!