8 Powerful Beliefs of People Who Reach Their Full Potential


Powerful Beliefs

There’s something compelling about underdog stories. You know the ones I’m talking about. The hero of the story is faced with a challenging obstacle or sinister threat and needs to dig down, deep inside to discover inner strengths and attain new heights.

It’s like Rocky who works harder and harder to defeat superior opponents or Harry Potter who needs to find his inner strength and resolve to battle Voldemort.

There’s a reason we like stories like these: it’s inspiring to think there might be more to us beneath the surface. They make us wonder what we might find if we take a look into ourselves.

These stories are about self-reflection and working hard to discover hidden potential. But more importantly, they’re about belief in finding what lies inside.

Belief can have a big impact on our potential. When I look back on my past to a time when I quit or didn’t succeed, I can usually pinpoint it to a limiting belief holding myself back. It’s strange how often just changing the way I think can change the way I act.

It reminds me of this famous quote:

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford

There’s a big truth behind this quote. Our thoughts and beliefs can have a profound effect on performance. Just having the right mindset can influence our behavior and abilities more than anything else.

Here are some good thoughts to get into the right mindset.

1. If I ask more of myself, I’ll get it

I see this principle in action frequently at the gym. People will lift the same amount of weight in their workouts for weeks on end and wonder why they’ve plateaued. If they just added more weight, their muscles would adapt and grow.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself a little and do more than normal. It’s easy to think we’ve reached our limits, but too often it’s just an illusion. The only way to reach a new level is to push yourself to do more.

2. It’s not too late to start

By the time Grandma Moses finished her painting career, she had been included in some of the most prestigious art galleries around the country, landed the cover of major magazines and sold thousands of dollars of artwork.

Such an impressive story for someone who didn’t start painting until her late 70s.

We all have inner skills and abilities inside us that we might not have discovered when we were younger. That’s no reason not to set aside time to discover it now. As an old Chinese proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

3. I can always learn what I need to know

A lack of knowledge is no reason to stop yourself from pursuing what you want to do.

When I first started blogging, I didn’t know the first thing about WordPress, HTML, Twitter or – well, just about anything. But I started anyway because I knew that I could learn it as needed. Now that it’s years down the road, I’ve learned all of those things (and much more).

No one starts off knowing everything they need to. Even rocket scientists and people with PhD’s in physics had to start at the beginning and work their way up. If there’s something you want to do, you have to believe that you can learn what’s needed.

4. Perseverance and hard work will eventually pay off

It’s important to believe that hard work and perseverance will eventually pay off. Sometimes all you have to keep you going is the faith you have in your abilities.

It reminds me of a story I read about an author of about twenty books. I can safely say you’ve never heard of him simply because he never sent out a single one to a publisher. Not one.

He desperately wanted to be published, but was too afraid of rejection. The whole situation was a catch-22 keeping him perpetually away from getting published.

You have to be that kind of person who can persevere and keep trying no matter what. You’ll often hear “no” a lot, but you keep going for that one “yes” that will make all your efforts worthwhile.

5. There is no glass ceiling

It’s an invisible barrier separating you from the upper echelons. Something you perceive is holding you back from attaining the next level.

Perhaps it’s a limiting belief. Maybe you’re holding back because what you want to do has never been done before.

But there’s less holding you back then you realize. Thinking like this is often just in your head preventing you from reaching new heights.

6. I have untapped abilities waiting to be discovered

The more I reach into myself to see what I’m capable of doing, the more surprised I am by what I can accomplish. It only makes me wonder what else is lying dormant inside me.

People who reach their full potential realize there is more to who they are. They understand that overlooked abilities and untapped skills are just waiting to be discovered. All you have to do is believe they are there waiting for you to find them.

7. Even small progress is good

It’s easy to dismiss small progress as too insignificant to matter, but it does.

Think about a runner who makes small incremental 1% improvements to his strength, endurance or speed. It starts slowly, but steadily the improvements accumulate. Over time, those small steady steps will eventually add up to create a powerful runner.

All progress is good, even the small steps. We tend to celebrate the big achievements while ignoring the little ones, but that isn’t the best approach. Small progress might not seem like much, but over time, they can pile up and make a massive difference.

8. It’s important to start before I’m ready

Writing my first book, I knew full well that I had major gaps in planning – how was I going to format the book? How was I going to find a cover image? I didn’t have everything planned out, but I began, knowing that I would eventually solve all these problems.

You can sit around and try to prepare for every eventuality that comes your way, but you’ll never be fully prepared for everything. Start before you’re ready and know that you’ll have to face these problems. But also know that you’ll be able to find a way around them.

Diving right in is the surest way to get going. Patience may be a virtue, but if that means waiting and planning until you’re completely ready, you’re going to be waiting far longer than necessary.
photo credit: niko si

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  1. Oliver Benson says:

    Thank you for writing this Steve! You’re right on so many of these ideas! You do sometimes just have to just dive in, and maybe you should have started earlier, and maybe you could have done it better, but at least you did it!

    It reminds me of this quote (not sure where it’s from):

    “Success is when you suffer a huge setback and shake it off.
    It looks like someone whose head is chock full of doubts, but still puts in all the effort he can muster.
    It’s when you get up in the morning and wonder if anything you do makes the slightest difference to the world. But you get up and persevere anyway.
    Success is when you feel so much fear about doing something that you almost talk yourself out of doing it. Then you scrounge up that last bit of courage and do it anyway.
    It’s the moment you let go of the need to be perfect.”

    It is just about going for it!

    • That particular quote is from my post http://dosomethingcool.net/what-success-looks-like/

      I can think back to times when I was younger when I waited to be perfectly ready to try something big. But the problem was that I continued to wait, hoping one day to finally have the perfect conditions. I’d rather just start. I’d rather be able to look back and say “I at least tried”. It’s better than saying you waited too long.

  2. Starting before I’m ready – definitely! How many of us ever feel ‘ready’ to start a venture that’s taking us outside of our comfort zone?

    I’m cautious of number 4 though. Especially in the blogging world. I see people starting blogs with zero idea of where they’re heading, even a year down the line. Perseverance doesn’t pay off here – testing does.

    • Well, there’s no guarantee of success no matter what you’re trying to do. You might not be successful even if you work hard and persevere; however, failure is guaranteed if you don’t have those qualities.

  3. Steve,
    I particularly like “it’s never too late to start”. There’s a lot of bunk about being born gifted or only being able to learn when young. Fortunately, science is prooving these to be fallacies. We just need to sick at it and perserve.

    • It’s very true. If you look up famous people who started later in their lives, it gives you hope that you can always find something to yourself at any age. I always found Grandma Moses to be a perfect example because she was a huge painting celebrity in the 1950s and she didn’t try painting until her late 70s.

      Even then it was by accident. She only took it up because arthritis prevented her from knitting anymore.

  4. I’m a big believer in small steps, Steve. Do something, do anything, just start and do something small. YOu don’t have to build Amazon in a day but sell one book on your blog. lol It’s how all great things are done. All small progress is good – even the ones where you fail, fallback or face setbacks. Even going backwards can help us propel us going forward.

    Needed this shot of motivation – all 8 beliefs are the absolute truth!

    • Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m sure Amazon wasn’t either. Most things are done in small incremental steps. It’s great to have that big payoff, but usually it comes after about a million small steps to get there.

      Even my book was like that. I had about a million small things to do. At one point I even had a document listing out a couple dozen things I had to take care of. But eventually I got through them all and the book was published. That’s when the big payoff came.

  5. Some great principles here. Belief really is a huge deal. Allowing ourselves to believe in the possibility of progress and change is a challenge to many. Because this belief then makes us accountable. Believing that we can grow means accepting it’s our responsibility if we don’t. And so it’s far easier to attribute failure to external factors when we use limiting beliefs. Although they are hinderances, for many, they also feel safe. It’s like an internal stockholm’s syndrome that causes us to become attached to the very notions that limit us. Finding a way to let go and embrace our potential takes real courage.

    • You make some interesting points. Believing in ourselves is about accountability. We have to take responsibility over our own actions and decisions. You’re right that it can take courage to do that. It’s often easier to point out external circumstances that hold us back. And while I’m not saying that there might not be some external factor holding you back, it still doesn’t do any good to focus on that. It’s better to focus on what you can do.

  6. #1 Expanding beyond onself is impossible without this additional push.
    #2 I started writing at age of 34. I knew I had some potential, but it takes work to reveal it.
    #3 My story is almost identical.
    #4 It’s not exactly true. sometimes we persever doing the wrong action. But the opposite is always true: “Lack of perseverance and hard work won’t pay off.”
    #5 It’s quite scary to experience it. I was quite shocked when my fifth book sold 4 time more copies than all my previous books combined in the prior month. Micah is right, I suddenly realized what kind of BS I was saying to myself. The facts negated it.
    #7 It’s one of the indications of success according to Ben Franklin.
    #8 and we are back to #1 😉

    • I didn’t know Ben Franklin said anything about that. That’s pretty cool to hear that.

      I’m glad you could sell more books each time. I kind of had something similar to that with my first book. I wasn’t sure if it would even sell one copy; I’d never written one before, but I knew the info was valuable. Now that it’s been several months, I can safely say people many people wanted to buy it and have benefited from its contents. Sometimes you just have to do it to see what happens.

  7. Great stuff Steve – some of it I’ve heard before but it needs to be reminded often since it’s THAT essential.

    Getting your head right in order to get your life together is the hardest part, it’s mostly the only thing that’s in our way.

    Take care man!

    • I work a lot of getting into the right mindset. It doesn’t help that I’m genetically prone to anxiety so I think I work on it more than others. But I handle it really well. I’ve always persevered and never let my thoughts bring me down.

  8. Fantastic post here, love point #3 because if you have a passion for something you can learn how to do it well. During my years of blogging I’ve learned so much about writing, marketing, and coding. Great post!

    • I’ve learned so much about blogging too over the years. I now know way more than I ever thought I would actually get around to learning. I’m still learning in fact; it’s never-ending.

  9. I loved this article, it is very inspirational to me. Thanks!

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