Getting Past Self Imposed Limitations and Limiting Beliefs.

Stephen Nalley
Relentless Pursuit Magazine
4 min readJun 19, 2021

One of the biggest obstacles that limit people from accomplishing their goals is their inability to push through adversity. For many people, this begins with Self-imposed limitations or Limiting Beliefs. The effects of both of these are very similar despite the fact that they have different origins.

Self imposed limitations are shackles that hold us down and prevent us from achieving our potential. When a person sets a limit, he or she puts a limit on what is achievable. That person will never evolve beyond the arbitrary standard set for him or her. Simply put, we get it in our head that that we are only capable of doing so much and when we reach that limit we simply quite or we do not get started at all.

A limiting belief is a state of mind, conviction, or belief that you think to be true that limits you in some way. This limiting belief could be about you, your interactions with other people, or with the world and how it works. An example would be, “I am not smart enough to start my own company” or “I could never write a book because no one cares what I have to say”. Limiting beliefs are simply assumptions about your reality that come from your perceptions of life experiences .

Everyone has these thoughts or feelings about something or at sometime. The National Science Foundation published a study in 2005, that stated that the average human has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
We can see that one of the tendencies of the mind is to focus on the negative and ‘play the same songs’ over and over again.

There was another interesting study (Leahy, 2005, Study of Cornell University), in which scientists found that, firstly 85% of what we worry about never happens. Secondly with the 15% of the worries that did happen, 79% of the subjects discovered that either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or that the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. The conclusion is that 97% of our worries are baseless and result from an unfounded pessimistic perception.

With that being said, self-imposed limitation an/or limiting beliefs are nothing more than rules that we have created in our heads. The good news is that they are not hard wired and can be altered or changed. Our brain is like a computer. An extremely high functioning computer. We can actually, change our mindset and the way that we view and approach things.

David Goggins Before and After

David Goggins, who I consider the mentally strongest human on the planet changed his entire life based on this premise. Goggins speaks frequently about making the uncomfortable comfortable. He is very open about his journey of going from over 300lbs to becoming a Navy Seal simply by changing his mindset. He did not invent this philosophy, but no one can question the fact that he has not only demonstrated it, but tested it like no other human alive.

Goggins, like most successful people began his journey by identifying his self imposed limitations and limiting beliefs. Goggins was dyslexic and could not swim. An odd combination for a Navy Seal right? Successful people do not focus on “can’t” or “why”. They focus on “what” and “how”. Everything begins with failure is not an option. We set a goal and relentlessly pursue it. However, that is not enough if we do not believe in it or can’t get out of our own way. Rather than focus on why you cant do something the mindset should be “What do I need to do to get this done”? or “How do I push past this”?

The truth is that we can take control or our brain and re-write a rule that exist. If the rule is that we don’t have time. Then we can re-write the rule so that our brain states that we do have time. If the rule is that we can’t start a business because we are not smart enough. Then we can re-write the rule so that our brain states that we are smart enough.

Here comes the secret. Once we acknowledge the self imposed limitation or limiting belief and re-write the rule, then the only thing left after that is discipline and work. I think that we can agree that we are all capable of discipline and work. We just have to get started.

I know, Sounds easy right? Well its not, but if you never get outside of your comfort zone you will never grow. All things begin at the starting line and if you have self imposed limitations or limiting beliefs that are preventing you from beginning the race, then you will never see the finish line. The running part is painful but easy. Getting started and remembering why you started is the key.



Stephen Nalley
Relentless Pursuit Magazine

American Business Magnate, Veteran, Entrepreneur, Mentor and Author.