by Niall Doherty

One of my favorite sayings is “Not with that attitude.” Example of use:

Random friend: “I could never afford a house like that.”
Me: “Yeah, not with that attitude.”

It’s amazing the limiting beliefs we impose on ourselves. Such beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies. An example would be a girl who becomes convinced that all men are the scum of the earth and not to be trusted. She might often tell her friends that there are no good men out there. Believing that, she’ll only allow herself to experience relationships which reinforce that belief, thus proving herself right.

After all, us humans love to be right!

Open up to grow

To experience personal growth, you must be willing to let go of your existing beliefs and keep an open mind. You have to allow for your existing world view to be proven wrong. You have to change your attitude.

Personal experience

Earlier this year, I first heard of the concept of lucid dreaming. A lucid dream is one in which you become conscious within the dream. You’re still asleep, but you’re fully aware that you’re dreaming. Experienced lucid dreamers can apparently conjure up whatever they want in their dream world. They can climb buildings like Spider-Man, dominate Kobe Bryant on the basketball court or have sex with countless celebrities.

Before I heard of lucid dreaming, I’d never experienced a lucid dream, and I probably would have told you lucid dreaming was impossible. But then I started reading quite a bit about it, and became open to the possibility of such an experience. Then, within a few weeks, I had three lucid dreams.

After that, I finally understood what Henry Ford was talking about all those years ago:

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

Attitude and illness

One of the big differences between people who survive life-threatening illnesses and those who don’t is attitude. People who believe they can’t beat cancer never do. Then you have people like author Allan Pease, who was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2000 and told by doctors that only two percent of people with that level of prostate cancer live longer than 3-5 years. Pearse decided he’d be in that two percent; the alternative didn’t appeal to him. He kept a positive attitude and refused to believe the cancer would kill him. He’s still alive and well today.

What about you?

Consider your own limiting beliefs. Here are some common ones I hear:

  • I could never run a marathon
  • I could never give up meat/dairy
  • He/she wouldn’t be interested in me
  • I have no self-control/will power
  • I can’t lose weight
  • I’m terrible at remembering people’s names
  • I’m no good with children

Attitudes like that disempower you, and so they’re the wrong attitudes. Pay attention to your own attitudes and see how they serve you. If they’re not serving you well, you can change them.

Changing your attitude

For the most part, changing your attitude is a decision you make. Once you recognize that you’re holding yourself back, you simply choose not to do that anymore. Instead, you choose to trust and believe that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Beyond that, it helps to surround yourself with people who already have the attitude you desire. It’s hard to believe you can run a marathon if you spend your days surrounded by overweight slouches who project their own limitations on to you. But if you join a running club and spend more time with healthy and active individuals, it’s easy to pick up and maintain the right attitude.

Attitude determines altitude

As I learned from my experience with lucid dreaming, your attitude has a huge affect on the experiences you allow yourself to have. Believe something is impossible for you, and it almost certainly will be. But if you can open up your mind and allow for the possibility of new and different experiences, then the sky’s the limit.