How to Unlearn Limiting Mindsets and Become an Excellent Version of Yourself
“Remember: we all get what we tolerate. So stop tolerating excuses within yourself, limiting beliefs of the past, half-assed, or fearful states.” -Tony Robbins
Most people are not the best version of themselves right now. Not even close.
They are dragged down by mindsets defined primarily by limits — how smart they are, how far they can go, how hard they can work, how successful they can be. Most of these limits are pretty low.
“It’s lonely at the top,” wrote entrepreneur Tim Ferriss. “99% of people are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most competitive.”
Most people are living far below their potential, fighting for scraps with the other 99%. They’re more concerned with politics and “beating the other guy” than actually achieving personal success.
The power of these limiting mindsets comes from how long they’ve been in use. Most people had limits impressed upon them from an early age, which they mistakenly began to believe was the true deciding factor for what they could and could not do.
If you want to reach new heights, break new records, and become the best version of yourself, you must unlearn these negative mindsets.
Your Most Powerful Limits Were Learned in Childhood
Back when I was an emotional mess in therapy, my therapist instructed me to read David Richo’s How to Be an Adult.
Among the many gems I wrote down, this one was particularly powerful: “Unresolved baggage from our childhood can have severe impacts on our adulthood.”
Outdated and archaic limits we learned as children will have severe negative impacts on our adulthood, if left unresolved. If we don’t unlearn and replace them, we will continue living with the same childish limits under which we once lived.
We will never experience the rich, full success of a fully matured adult.
One afternoon when I was 10, my parents came home with a lot of groceries. My mom fussed that the bags were too heavy for us little kids. But my construction-worker dad disagreed. “Anthony, you’re fine. Now get off your ass and go help your mother with the bags.” (He was a…blunt man).
Guess what? The bags were heavy, but I could carry them. I was strong enough.
I appreciate my mom wanting to shield and protect me. But that type of learned helplessness has profound powerful consequences over time. Some people never get over it.
Due to learned helplessness, constant settling, and avoiding risk — habits we learned growing up — most people have begun to believe “this is as good as it gets.” They are content to walk the treadmill of mediocrity — breaking a little sweat, but never really getting anywhere.
This is not as good as it gets.
The first step of any 12 step program for addiction recovery goes something like this: “We admitted we were powerless over ______, and our lives had become unmanageable.”
The first step to unlearning negative mindsets is recognizing you have them, and how much power they’ve had (and still have) over you.
Identify what is holding you back — in relationships, career, finances, ability, and belief. Then you can move forward.
“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” Sheryl Sandberg
The 3 Toxic Mindsets That Always Lead to Mediocrity
There are three mindsets that cause the most damage in an individual’s life: the Fixed mindset, the Scarcity mindset, and the Entertainment mindset.
Fixed to Growth mindset
Carol Dweck’s book Mindset is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in years. She explains the “fixed” mindset is founded on the belief that you can’t change. You are who you are, and that’s final.
But that mindset is wrong. You are not fixed. You are a fluid, malleable being, and can become whatever you want.
Upgrade your mindset to the “growth” mindset: the belief system that says you can change anything about yourself. Failures are simply opportunities to grow, not measurements of your self-worth.
You can have whatever you want if you’ll do whatever it takes.
Scarcity to Abundance mindset
The Scarcity mindset says, “There’s only enough for you! Take what you can, and run!”
The Scarcity mindset is living in a perpetual game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. Every day, you must scramble to get yours before it’s gone. It’s exhausting and depressing — even when you “win.”
This isn’t how the world actually works, though. As Adam Grant wrote in his book, Give and Take: “The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.”
There’s not one pie to fight over; there are unlimited pies. A win for you doesn’t take away from me. My mom once told me if I closed my fist around some cash, I wouldn’t lose it — but I couldn’t get any more cash, either.
Entertainment to Education mindset
Most people seek entertainment and distraction. But incredible people seek education and learning.
Focus on creating and growth, not distraction and mindless entertainment. Author Hal Elrod once wrote, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”
Entertainment isn’t “bad.” It’s not wrong. But it can be used wrongly, which is what most people do. Most people don’t have the self-control to use entertainment and relaxation in a healthy way.
Instead, focus on learning, creating, growing, and evolving. This is how you avoid stagnating in mediocrity and becoming the best version of yourself.
“Every new skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” -Scott Adams
Don’t Fear Being Different; Fear Fitting In With Mediocrity
“The fear of being different prevents most people from seeking new ways to solve problems.” -Robert Kiyosaki
The world trains you to operate at substandard levels.
Traditional structures like the broken education system, archaic 9–5 workday schedule, and endless amounts of addictive entertainment set you up for mediocrity.
Don’t fear being different — fear fitting in with mediocrity.
“You cannot allow the actions of others to define your reality,” prolific writer Steven Pressfield once penned. If you do, you lose control. Most people are consumed with competition and will manipulate you for their cause if you let them. Pressfield went on:
“Those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.”
Most people just want to fit in and enjoy the safety of the herd — to fly under the radar, not rock the boat, and live as hassle-free as possible.
But eventually, hassle-free morphs into mediocrity. Best-selling author Grant Cardone once said, “If you are not creating enough new problems for yourself, then you aren’t taking enough action.” Struggle is growth. Experiments, even failed ones, lead to success.
Don’t worry about fitting in; you don’t want to be part of that club anyway.
“Take into account that you have been educated with restrictions. Be aware of this so that you don’t underestimate the possibilities.” -Grant Cardone
Your Estimations of Yourself Are Probably Wrong
“We foolishly believe that our own limitations are the proper measure of limitations.” -Napoleon Hill
Tony Robbins once explained that everyone has a “sleeping giant” in them, waiting to be awoken.
This giant is a personification of the sacred power of choice we all have — to choose to be whatever we want to be.
The problem is, most people never wake up their giant. They drift through life on autopilot, unconsciously trudging along without making the difficult but rewarding choices to become extraordinary.
“Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to take themselves there.”
-Darren Hardy, former editor of SUCCESS Magazine
The truth is, your estimations of yourself are probably wrong. Perhaps wildly wrong. You are stronger than you think.
Most people’s low levels of self-belief came from the agreed-upon norms of a mediocre society, favoring risk-avoidance and comfort over learning and growth.
Most people mistakenly believe these self-imposed limits are the ceiling for what they can do.
Your estimations are probably wrong. Less than 5 years ago, I was a hopeless porn-addict, I was broke, depressed, overweight, with no leads or prospects.
Now, I’m 100% debt-free and my beautiful wife and I are traveling the world. Marriage with her is incredible, and I can’t stop thanking Jesus for her. I don’t look at porn anymore. I lost my beer belly. I’ve gained tens of thousands of followers and I can make a living helping people live a better life.
What’s stopping you?
Are your estimations about yourself wrong?
“For many people, the power of their excuse is more powerful than their dreams.”-Robert Kiyosaki
Don’t Seek Security, Seek Growth (Even If It’s Uncomfortable)
“Even as a man fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his success, and this will form a new starting point for future power and triumph.” -James Allen
If you want to live an extraordinary life, you must give up many parts of a normal one.
There are three primary securities you must give up if you want to become the best version of yourself:
- Certainty of the future
- Fear of judgement
- Other people’s definition of success
Most people believe they already have “certainty” of the future. They believe they’ll simply live their life, with their job and health intact, with no problems.
But obstacles always arise. “Behind mountains are more mountains,” goes an old Haitian proverb. Difficulties never cease. It’s time to stop believing you have any certainty at all. Your job, family, health, even your life, are not guaranteed for even the next hour.
The next security to let go of is the fear of judgement. Becoming the best version of yourself will ruffle some feathers. Once you take a stand on issues you were previously vague with, or declare values you never had the courage to commit to, you’ll attract some critics.
The first time I began experiencing this was in my writing. When I finally started to get serious about my work, I began getting some serious, vicious criticisms in the comments.
But haters confirm you’re on the right track. It means you’re evolving and growing.
You should prioritize learning and creating, not entertainment and distraction.
In the words of writer Nicolas Cole:
“What separates a master from a cubicle worker (both of whom perform actions over long periods of time) is that the cubicle workers does the action and seeks completion while the master does action with the intention of discovery.”
“You got this far operating under one set of assumptions. Abandoning those assumptions and embracing a new, bigger set may be exactly what you need to to do get to the next level.” -Seth Godin
Most people are not the best version of themselves.
Due to limiting mindsets they adopted early on, they’ve developed a mistaken belief that their current limitations are actually true.
Unlearning limiting mindsets is your responsibility. If you don’t, you’ll continue living below your potential, never really experiencing true greatness or top-tier achievements.
Seek growth, not comfort. Choose learning over entertainment.
Make the choice today that you’ll stop living with fake limits and start becoming the best version of yourself you can be.
“In order to get to the next level of whatever you’re doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you previously have.” -Grant Cardone
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