But first, a story.
I couldn’t drive a car for more than 10 years.
Now, I have a driving license, know how to drive a car and I’m physically able to.
I just couldn’t see myself doing it.
When I was a kid, nobody in our family had a car.
Neither my dad nor granddads could drive and when I asked them about that they’d answered something like “ah, that’s not for me”.
I didn’t have any role model whom I could use as an example for “I can do it too”.
The kids whose parents had cars are almost always excited about getting their driving license.
I did it out of necessity.
I had a car for a year around 2010, and even though I haven’t ever had any really bad experiences, never been or seen any major accidents, I dreaded driving the car.
Every time I sat behind the wheel, I got overwhelmingly stressed due to the cognitive complexity of the driving experience. My hands were shaking, I was all sweating and my vision curled into a tunnel.
Even after a while, once I got good enough at it, the stress didn’t go away.
I was terribly frightened of driving.
“I just can’t drive.”
That was the story I told myself for many years.
I thought I would never drive a car in my life again.
This might not seem like much to you, but here is me, me, driving, after a 12-year break.
This is just one example of a Self-limiting Belief that can negatively affect your quality of life and limit your potential.
The story of “I can’t drive” was a part of my worldview and my identity.
Some of these beliefs are ingrained in us from childhood, some are acquired with life experience. That’s what the worldview consists of.
Many of the ideas we inherit are toxic and cause harm or suffering.
This is a part of the reason why quite many people have a Victim Mentality and a Fixed Mindset.
Now, it is possible to stop being a victim and start editing your worldview.
For this, you need a systematic way of working and building your own worldview.
You need to become The Author of your worldview.
How to Work with Your Worldview
The prerequisite for this is to have awareness, agency and a growth mindset.
But, since you’re reading this, I assume you’re already on your growth trajectory.
The next step is to create a habit of processing and triaging your beliefs and your core values.
The goal of this process is to adopt only thoughts and beliefs that are beneficial for you, improve your thinking and decision-making, and help you grow.
The process should work like this:
Identify a specific toxic belief that’s not working for you.
You can do that by asking yourself the questions like:
“What’s not working for me?”
“What do I feel bad about when I think about it?”
“What do I hate doing but should?”
“What should I stop doing?“
“What do I not like about other people?”
Find the root cause of this belief
e.g. “I can’t drive” → “Negative predisposition + no positive experiences and examples”
Re-write the belief by choosing a specific positive way to think about it
“I can drive if I can get comfortable with it”
Define your action
“I need more driving experience so that I can get comfortable with it”
Of course, you won’t be to instantly replace the original belief. But now, every time the negative belief comes up you can de-activate it using “or actually”, for example:
“I can’t drive…” → “or actually, I can drive if I get comfortable with it” → “I really need more driving experience”
The key to making this process work — is to create a habit out of it.
One way to make it easier and more natural is to write your thoughts down.
Writing things down also greatly enhances your cognitive abilities by expanding your “operating memory”.
Sit down comfortably and take a pen and a piece of paper, or a notebook. Don’t use your phone or your laptop, they negatively affect your focus. You want to be maximally focused in order for this to work.
Start asking yourself the questions above. Write every belief you identify, leaving some space underneath it for the following labels:
Do NOT fill in the labels until you’ve written down all the beliefs you could think of.
Once you have a list of beliefs, start by going through them one by one and filling in the labels.
You can use the Five Whys method to identify the Root Cause.
To come up with the Rewrite answer the question “How should it be?” or “What would make me feel good about it?”.
Define your actions yourself. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Did this method NOT work for you? Send me your feedback.
P.S. Norway is magnificent.
This is great! I do somewhat of the same thing...I track limiting beliefs via notion. Then pareto the top 3 categories and do 5 why from there