There are beliefs that empower you, and there are those that hold you back.
When you stop to think about it, it doesn’t make much sense to believe what someone else believes just because they believe it. But it’s quite common for people to believe what their friends or family believe — after all, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
If you care about your personal growth journey, your beliefs should not go unquestioned and unexamined. It’s important to ask yourself why you believe what you believe.
The following five beliefs can hold you back from laying claim to the things you want in life. If I were you, I would give them up and replace them with different beliefs immediately.
1. I Will Win the Lottery One Day
I shouldn’t need to tell you what the odds of winning the lottery are (approximately 1 in 14 million per The Telegraph).
It’s a little uncertain as to what happens to people after they win the lottery, but many studies don’t exactly paint a pretty picture. A high percentage of people continue to work after winning the jackpot and in some cases even file for bankruptcy within five years.
Nevertheless, there appears to be a pervasive attitude that one day I will win the lottery jackpot and all my financial troubles will disappear. This belief is not rooted in reality.
I surround myself with people who say they’d rather earn their first million than win their first million. We’re not opposed to windfalls, but we know there is a great more to be gained from earning what we want.
There’s nothing easy about earning your first million, but the growth you go through and the character you build through that process is immensely rewarding.
We also feel that entrepreneurship is far more secure long-term plan than being an employee.
Chances are your financial troubles are very real. And, having more money would help. But there are other ways to earn it, especially in the gig economy (the keyword being “earn”). Don’t limit yourself. There are plenty of options available.
2. The Government Will Take Care of Me
Per SmartAsset, the average monthly retirement income from Social Security was $1,294 per month, or $15,528 per year in 2014.
Now, I understand that many retired people have income sources outside of Social Security. But imagine having to live on just $15,000 and change per year.
“But if the government doesn’t take care of me, someone else will”, right?
I would argue they won’t, because they have their own financial issues to deal with. Your friends won’t. Your family won’t. The government won’t. Virtually no one will take care of you without a damn good reason.
I know I’m painting a bleak picture here, but I’m also being realistic. And, I think you should be realistic too.
So, what can you fall back on? In a word, assets. If possible, you should be spending your life creating assets.
An asset is any of the following:
1. Businesses. A business can make you money for a long time to come and even outlive you. It can also be sold, assuming it’s a profitable business.
2. Investments. For most people, I would suggest looking into lifecycle funds.
3. Property. Excluding your home or vehicle. Contrary to popular belief, these are depreciating liabilities. Intellectual property is valid.
3. My Schooling Taught Me Everything I Need to Know
I have mixed feelings about the education system. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important. I believe teachers have some of the most important jobs of any in the world and should be paid significantly more for their work.
The problem is that the school system fails to teach critical life skills, such as people skills, leadership, money management, and so on. But the one thing it will do is teach you how to be a factory worker. It will teach you that showing up and saying “yes” will usually get you a passing grade in life.
Some of my most important education came from — and still comes from — reading books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, going to conferences and events, and so on.
Perhaps your education taught you everything you need to know if you’re happy with your job, you have no intention of expanding your social circle, and you don’t think money is all that important. Life will teach you everything else you need to know, right? It will present you with all the lessons you need to learn along the way.
True, life will present you with many lessons. But wouldn’t you prefer to be prepared for those lessons than to wait around until they assault you? Wouldn’t you rather be equipped with the knowledge you need to navigate the challenges ahead?
4. Those Who Achieve Big Things in Life Are Lucky
I don’t think anyone who’s achieved big things in their life would deny that a little bit of luck may have been at play. But success generally doesn’t happen by accident.
I find that those who achieve big are those who are willing to make sacrifices for their dreams. Whether it’s giving up TV and hobbies, getting up early or staying up late, working on the weekends or otherwise, they are willing to eliminate distractions to remain focused on their vision.
The assumption that successful people are just lucky is most harmful to you because it makes you think you must be lucky to succeed. You don’t need luck. The number one prerequisite to success is hard work.
Take responsibility for yourself. No one else got you to where you are. You did!
If you want to be one of the “lucky” ones, start making your own luck. How? By setting a goal and daily working towards it.
5. Social Media is Fulfilling Me
Now, I haven’t heard anyone outwardly say that social media is fulfilling. But judging by the number of people who are constantly staring at their phones, it’s undeniable that there’s a payoff.
If I walk into a networking event and I see a group of people who are staring at their phone and a group of people who aren’t, I will immediately go and introduce myself to those who aren’t staring at their phones. It sounds cold, but I assume those who are mindful of their surroundings are sharper, more accomplished and are actually worth knowing.
At the end of your life, you’re probably not going to regret having spent not enough time on social media. It’s highly unlikely. The interpersonal politics and drama, as well as the clickbait news headlines and cat GIFs will all seem pretty empty and meaningless in the end.
Even the shyest people in the world can smile, shake hands and introduce themselves. I should know, because I used to be one and I still made an effort.
If you’re looking for fulfillment, put your phone away, connect with the people in front of you, engage in meaningful work, travel the world and add value to others.
Many times, we aren’t even aware of what we believe until others point it out for us.
Ultimately, there is no wrong or right here. So long as your beliefs are helping you achieve outcomes you desire, you can keep on believing what you believe. But oftentimes it is necessary to adjust based on your experiences.
Question everything. This is a healthy process. At times you will come full circle and land right where you started, but sometimes you’ll arrive at better beliefs that enable you to overcome mental blocks.