limiting beliefs

5 Limiting Beliefs You Need to Clean Out of Your Mind

“I can’t.” My kids say it a lot—and I can’t stand it when they do. It doesn’t matter what they’re attempting to do. If my kids say, “I can’t,” I immediately correct them. I’ll say something like, “Is it true that you can’t, or is it that you don’t want to or you think it’s too hard?” My son has thrown “I can’t” around recently while working on his jump shot in basketball. The conversation about it tends to move toward being mentally tough, and I always keep the conversation positive.

The truth is, I’m not immune to these types of limiting beliefs, either. I have been thinking a lot about thoughts I need to clean out of my mind. We all carry beliefs that limit our ability to grow and move forward. But I’ve learned from some mentors in my life who are mentally tough and willing to do hard things without excuses. Here are 5 beliefs we need to clean out of our minds ASAP.

1. Life should be fair.

My son complained to me the other day that something wasn’t “fair.” I immediately reminded him that “life isn’t fair.” For some reason, we’ve got it in our heads that someone, somewhere, owes us something. But no one owes you anything. Every person who is ever going to walk this earth will face challenges. We’re all in this together. When you realize everyone else is doing their best to make it, you stop feeling sorry for yourself, and you focus on helping not only yourself but also others where you can.

2. I can avoid all conflicts.

I like peace. I like when everyone is getting along, but the reality is, we’re bound to have conflict. A great mentor of mine says, “Leadership is a contact sport.” Whether that’s with a spouse, kids, extended family, coworkers, or the dude who cuts you off in traffic, when there’s contact, conflict is going to happen. Conflict is a sign that someone cares deeply—and that’s good. Trying to avoid conflict is like trying to get toothpaste back in the tube. It’s impossible. So embrace it, work through it, and move forward.

Failure might be the best thing to happen to you if you learn from it.

3. Failure is the absolute worst thing that can happen.

Speaking of moving forward, another mentor of mine has said, “If you’re going to fail, fail forward.” What he meant was to learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t wallow in them. Doing so only prolongs the problem and endangers you from taking whatever failure happened as your identity. Failure is generally a sign that you are attempting something great or risky. Failure might be the best thing to happen to you if you learn from it.

4. Everyone should like me.

When I used to umpire baseball for Little League, I learned a valuable lesson. No matter what decision you make, someone is not going to like you! I like when everyone likes me, but this isn’t realistic. That everyone should like me is a hazardous, limiting belief because it can cause us to compromise our values if we’re not careful. Being afraid of what people think of you causes many men to make poor decisions. Base your decisions on principles and values. People may not like you for that, but chances are, they will respect you.

5. My life can never change.

Sadly, we often buy into limiting beliefs that say we can’t change anymore as we get older. But the men I admire most are always learning. My dad always says, “If you ain’t learning, you’re dying.” Chances are you’re here reading this article because you believe you can grow, learn, and change. I encourage you never to stop having that mindset. No matter what circumstance you’re facing, it’s never too late to learn something new and change for the better.

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Reasons You Are Not a Failure.

Sound off: What limiting beliefs have you battled? What advice would you give to other men battling it?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How important do you think it is to believe you can accomplish something?”