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  • Writer's pictureS. Alston

Limiting Beliefs That Hold Back Our Children From Reaching Their Goals

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

There are a few misconceptions that hold us back in life and keep us from taking action to reach our goals. If we believe that we are not smart enough or talented enough to do something, we may not even try. So as loving parents, one of the best things we can do to empower our children is to erase these limiting beliefs from their mind early on so they have time to practice more empowering beliefs and build up their own confidence and self-esteem.

Myth: We Are Born Talented Or Gifted

Truth: Talents Are Learned

It may be true that people are born with special aptitudes or may at a young age learn skills easier than others, but this does not mean that these people did not practice honing their craft before they mastered it. In fact, ask any professional athlete, musician, artist or professional and they will tell you the hours and years of practice it has taken them to be where they are today.

One of the biggest misconceptions that limits so many people from achieving the life of their dreams is the belief that people are either born talented or they are not. If you believe this, and feel that you aren't talented, then this belief limits your ability to take action to master the skills needed to do anything you want in life. While it might be true that if you're are not very tall, you or your child may never be a basketball superstar, this doesn't mean that you can't become an amazing basketball coach or work in the industry of a sport you love. True talent is the result of a strong desire along with dedicated and chronic repetition practicing skills over and over until they are mastered. And everyone has the ability to practice this behavior, but most lack the determination to see it through. Many will begin but then take score too soon and change directions or quit and give up entirely on their dreams before they have even had time to grow and flourish.

So if you want to empower your children, let them know that they have the ability to achieve anything they want in life. When kids understand that life is a journey of exploration and not a destination to reach, they will be more willing to have fun along the way, finding out what they are good at. Imagine how empowered they will feel if they know they get to choose what they want to explore and practice skills they want to get good at!

Myth: Mistakes Are Bad

Truth: Mistakes Are Feedback And Help Us Grow

Young children can't help but learn new things, it's part of growing up. But as they get older, they become aware that people who are talented receive a lot of praise, and people who aren't, receive criticism or judgement. So we work hard for praise and do everything we can to avoid failure. If we believe that mistakes mean failure then we may never take the risks necessary for us to truly succeed and as a result lower the expectations for ourselves so that we don't ever "fail" at anything.

It's logical to think this way, after all, the survival mechanism in our brain exists to protect us from doing things that are dangerous. In prehistoric times this was necessary for our species to survive, however, in modern times, threats are usually emotional and based on our personal interpretation of the situation. For instance, fear for getting a bad grade can invoke the same internal stress response as running from a predator, and it might even be worse today as we carry negative thoughts with us all day long and this tension becomes chronic. This stress response is wonderful if it is truly a dangerous situation, but when we think thoughts that stress us out all day every day it can manifest into chronic pain and physical disease.

The truth is that mistakes are just feedback and nothing more. We can use mistakes as excuses to stay stuck or use them as feedback to make adjustments and grow. Knowing this, one of the easiest ways we can prevent stress from wreaking havoc in our children's lives is to reward and praise their effort instead of focusing on just results. When your child is learning to walk, you would never yell at the baby when he falls down! Of course you wouldn't do that! You know that in time, he will learn and that all you need to do is keep encouraging him to try. Imagine how wonderful your child would feel if you treated every skill they were learning the same way, by giving a word of encouragement instead of judgement and letting them know that you believe they can do it.

Myth: Stick To What You Are Good At

Truth: Trying New Things Is How We Learn

In preschool, everyone is open to learning new things. Somewhere along the way, perhaps in early grade school, most kids begin to notice that they are better at some things than others. It's natural to want to focus on the things that come easily for you and then stick to what you are good at. The problem is that if we decide what we are good at, when we are only 8 years old, then surely we are limiting our lives a little bit into the future! There is always room in our brain to learn a new skill, in fact learning and growing are some of the greatest joys in life! There will never be a point in anyone's life where they have reached the end and they know everything there is to know. Teaching your children that even as adults, we are all constantly learning and growing gives them permission to do the same. And letting them know that trying new things is a wonderful way to explore the abundance that life has to offer, helps your kids become more flexible, adaptable and open adults. Let them know that it's ok to not like everything you try, but if you give it some time and try again, maybe you'll change your mind. I've done this with food when my kids were young. I always told them that their taste buds change as they age, so they should always keep trying new foods even ones they think they don't like, because they might be surprised one day when they do!

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