How Your Thoughts are Making Your Life Suck (and What to do About It)
I nod my head. I agree . It is always fun.
“saiko janai” I proudly respond .
This is awkward.
But I don’t quite know why.
What just happened?
A minute ago, we were laughing, joking, eating and now…
Silence – and all eyes are on me.
All I said was: “It’s not the end”. I was trying to explain how I want to continue to see them and…
My friend gives me death eyes:
“Izzy, what are you trying to say” she says in a panicked quiet voice through her teeth.
“‘it’s not the end’ you know, saiko janai”
“Izzy, that’s not what you said! You just told them ‘It’s never great!’ Saigo janai is how you say ‘it’s not the end’”.
Here I am with a Japanese family who speaks zero English, has done so much for me, and is now taking me out to dinner… And I have just told them that everytime we hang out “it’s not great”.
Will I ever learn this language?
I have lived in Japan for a year and a half. I’ve been studying Japanese since I got here.
I was sitting there, looking at a temple near my home. I heard the noise of the birds. The trees rose to the sky. My mind was at peace. And then I realized something that has completely changed my life…
I don’t believe I can learn Japanese.
Self Limiting Beliefs Suck!
Your probably thinking: “That doesn’t make sense, if you don’t believe it then why are you studying it?”
Well for starters I wasn’t aware of my limited belief. I’m stubborn … It didn’t reveal itself in obvious ways. It was subtle.
Because in my heart I didn’t believe I could learn Japanese I’ve studied half-heartedly.
I thought I was “working hard” “putting in the time” and “hitting the books”. But I was lying to myself.
When it came down it, I wasn’t going all in because deep down inside I didn’t think I could do it.
I held myself back. I went to Japanese class once per week. I studied my vocabulary sometimes. I didn’t listen closely when others spoke in Japanese. I’d sometimes use English… Because deep down inside – I thought “What’s the point, I’ll never be great at this.”
Identify Your Self Limiting Beliefs and Destroy Them
There’s a common phrase I’m sure you have heard: “Believe it and you can do it”. There’s truth to it, but it’s missing a key ingredient. It gives off a false solution. It makes it appear as if our beliefs are all we need. Belief alone isn’t enough.
Our beliefs drive our actions. I’m talking about the step between “The belief” and “living it”.
The “gurus” often forget to mention that whole “taking action part”.
When we believe something is possible our actions will align with those beliefs. Then overtime because we are taking action the results will come.
For example, I didn’t believe I could really learn Japanese. But I did believe I could study Japanese. Do you see the difference? I studied it, but I wasn’t really learning it.
Here’s a hard pill to swallow: We all have limiting beliefs! ALL OF US! This means if you are reading this and saying “this doesn’t apply to me” – you are wrong.
The most dangerous thing about self-limiting beliefs is that they cloak behind the veil of “being realistic” “the facts” “lack of talent” “not a natural” and “I’m not good at it”. It all changes once you discover your self-limiting beliefs… Now, I’m on a mission to destroy them . Let’s jump into that now!
How to Identify Your Self-Limiting Beliefs and Destroy Them.
Step 1: Write Your List of “Things I can’t do”
Grab a piece of paper and a pen (or open a word document), and a timer. Put 5 minutes on the timer. Write down everything that comes to mind that you “can’t do, but want to do.”
Start the timer. Go! Go! Go!
Make sure to go on to step 2… otherwise this exercise will leave you seriously depressed .
Example of a list of “Things I can’t do”:
I can’t cook Japanese food. I can’t make Ramen soup. I can’t speak Japanese. I can’t read Kanji. I can’t run a marathon.
Step 2: Identify the Single Most Life Changing Thing You “can’t do”.
Look at your list. There are going to be 1 or 2 things that really stick out. These are the things that are the most frustrating yet also the thing that would have the biggest impact on your life if you could do it.
What is it? Yes! It’s the one that you are looking at and saying “But I really can’t do this!”
Example of “my most important thing”:
I can’t speak Japanese.
Step 3: Turn This Thing You “can’t do” Into a “how” Question.
Now look at your “can’t” statement. Now just turn it into a question… Make sure to stick with me on this . If it feels annoying, frustrating, or aggravating to turn it into a question you are on the right path! Self-limiting beliefs have been hardwired into our brain. By turning this into a question you are already challenging this belief… We don’t like our beliefs to be questioned.
In other words – if you want to quit now, close this window, and spit on me (for writing this post)… Then you are onto something – DON’T QUIT!
I turned the statement “I can’t speak Japanese” to
How can I learn to speak Japanese?
Step 4: Write Down 20 Answers to Your “how” Question (Not 19, Not 15, 20!)
This is powerful. Insanely powerful. I want you to go crazy and write down 20 different answers to the question you created above. Yes! It will be hard. Here is the key, any and every answer is okay! Don’t worry about if you can actually do it or not. Just put it down.
The reason that all answers are okay to put down is because every answer spurs more creative answers. So even though I cannot afford to attend “A Japanese University” I can attend “local Japanese classes”. One idea leads to the next.
1. Talk Japanese everywhere 2. Purchase a Japanese book and try to read it. 3. Join a conversation group. 4. Trade English for Japanese lessons. 5. Enroll in an online class. 6. Have a “Japanese day” each week where I speak no English. 7. Talk to myself in Japanese when I’m in my home. 8. Enroll in a Japanese university. 9. Date a girl that speaks only Japanese 10. Attend Japanese speeches 11. Record Japanese speeches and listen to it and look up the words in a dictionary 12. Watch Japanese TV 13. Ask people about “Cheap or free Japanese classes” 14. Make Japanese friends who only speak Japanese 15. Attend cultural events and only speak Japanese 16. Sign up for a Japanese speech class 17. Label everything in my house in Japanese. 18. Carry a Notebook and take notes everyday 19. Talk only in Japanese for a month 20. Study Japanese words out of the dictionary.
Step 5: Choose 1 Answer and Immediately Take Action!
Now look at your list of 20 things. Take action on one of those. Not 2, not 5, not 20. Just take action on 1 .
Down the road you can add a second one to the game .
I asked people about “Cheat or free Japanese classes”. Soon, I discovered Japanese classes that are offered 6 days a week for dirt cheap (about 50 yen per class or .50 cents per class). Now I am attending these classes 3 days a week. They are incredible!
Destroy Those Self Limiting Beliefs
Bottom line – we all have beliefs that limit us. The key is to identify the ones that are having the most negative impact on our lives and to destroy them!
Have you ever met a foreigner who really sucks at grammar but they are really excited to talk to you? … Yup, I’m that guy.
For The Comments
What is your major self limiting belief? What is the one action you are going to take?