I’m not smart enough. For years, that negative attitude was my self help for more mediocrity. I said those words to myself in the 4th grade after I was informed I needed to start staying after class to be tutored. Each day afterward, as I watched everyone else go home on time, my attitude toward myself and being tutored was, No one else needs to stay late for extra help … but I do; it must be because I’m not smart enough.
Over time, “I’m not smart enough” became my belief about myself and my ability for success. For twenty years, I wouldn’t take on certain challenges. I “knew” I’d never be a professional speaker or write a book or articles. I “knew” I was smart enough for things like that, so why even try? My lack of success and limited potential seemed to be completely dictated by ONE moment when I was nine years old.
Not so. Years later, I learned a powerful self help principle for success – Reality does not hold back. Our perception of reality holds us back. I learned that “being tutored” was simply what happened, but I perceived it to mean – “I must not be smart enough”. The reality of being tutored hadn’t held me back; my perception of “being tutored” had held me back.
Everyone has belief barriers in one form or another, which were developed as a result of having an experience, making it mean something, formulating a negative attitude, and reinforcing that attitude over and over and over until it became a self-limiting belief.
Here are some examples of self-limiting attitudes and beliefs that can hold us back from success in some areas of life:
I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. I don’t have the right background. I’m not lovable. I just don’t have the time. I’m too shy. I’m too tall …. too small .. Things never work out. I’m just not cut out for that. I’m too old. I’m too young. I hate myself. I’ve never been any good at that. I’m not worthy. I never catch a break. I’m too stubborn. I don’t have enough patience.
What belief barriers hold you back from success? As you consider your limiting beliefs and your past experiences that gave rise to them, imagine that a couple of doctors performed surgery on you.
From head to toe, they removed every bone and piece of soft tissue from your body and analyzed it closely under a microscope.
Here’s the ten million dollar question – Is there anywhere in your miraculous body that those surgeons would physically find an organ called, “I’m not good enough”? Is there anywhere the surgeons would find a bone or some other anatomy called “I’m not smart enough” or “I don’t have the right background”?
Of course not! No such thing exists in your body like your collarbone exists. Such limitations are not tangible. Limiting beliefs only exist in your language; your attitude; what you say about yourself.
Relative to “being tutored”, was it possible for me to say something more positive to myself? What if I had said or adopted the positive attitude, “I’m spending extra time filling up that big, smart brain of mine?” Had that been my self help attitude about being tutored, my success in many areas would have come much more quickly.
Once I understood that my belief about being stupid, ONLY existed in my language because of what I’d been telling myself over and over for years and years, I instantly became smart enough to start a business, begin the journey to being a speaker and writer! I did not become “smart enough” by going back to school and making good grades. It instantly happened when the “I’m not smart enough” lie I’d been telling myself was exposed.
Never forget your ability to call into question the disempowering attitudes that you have believed about yourself. That’s a powerful form of self help because in doing that, you expose the lies and instantly see new possibilities for yourself and your capabilities. From there, you can have instant progress and success where there has been none before.
What lies have you been telling yourself, about your own capabilities, that don’t enable you to reach your next level of success?
By Bill Dyer