How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
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[Today’s post is by staff writer Melanie.]

We all know those people who respond to something cool you are doing by saying, “I could never do that!”

That has happened to me several times. I would talk about paying over 50% of my income to debt while earning a nonprofit salary; leaving security behind in Los Angeles to attend grad school in New York City, and relocating to Portland without a job, all in the name of love.

I’d hear it over and over again, “I could never do that!”

I’ve been guilty of saying it myself as well. When people talk about significantly increasing their incomes, or learning a difficult technical skill, I find myself on the other side of the coin. I think, “I could never do that!”

But here’s the thing: you could if you really wanted to.

If in your heart of hearts, you really wanted to do something, you would. If you wanted something so badly, you would find a way to make it happen. That’s why people live in New York City and put up with the crazy rent. People elsewhere can’t comprehend living there making less than $50k, yet people are doing it everyday. People can’t understand because they haven’t experienced it.

These limiting beliefs help excuses procreate and hinder progress. By saying that you can’t do something, you’ve already given yourself an out. No point in trying now, right?

Wrong! I’ve come to learn that for me, success is trying again and again despite my worst insecurities. To me success means trying again even if it seems like the worst or most uncomfortable thing to do.

So, how can you overcome those limiting, debilitating beliefs? Here are some tips on how to get started:

Believe in Yourself

I know it sounds super cheesy, but it’s so true. If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will. It can be hard to believe in yourself when doing something that makes you uncomfortable, or something that you have failed at in the past. But believing in yourself should be a core at which all your thoughts and decisions are based on.

Get Used to Rejection (and learn how to live with it)

Rejection is tough and for many it can keep a person hidden in their shell, too scared to come out because of the Big, Scary World. I think safety and comfort are important to an extent, but getting out of your comfort zone and facing rejection can be incredibly invigorating.

Last year while volunteering at the World Domination Summit in Portland (Note: I just met Brent at this year’s WDS!), I met Jia Jiang. He was on a journey to have 100 days of Rejection. Say what? He was looking for rejection. He realized that rejection can instill a paralyzing fear in us and by facing rejection head on, it becomes less scary. Like anything that is uncomfortable, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

By doing this everyday, he couldn’t just sit around and think about the previous rejection. He responded with action. He changed his relationship with rejection.

Brent here: Watch this short 2 minute and 22 second video for a quick taste of the awesomeness of Jia’s rejection therapy journey.

Think about your most recent rejection. I’m sure it was tough, but was it the end of the world? No. Oftentimes our insecure brains can massively blow things out of proportion. Also, some think if you aren’t getting rejected enough, you aren’t trying enough. It can take a certain amount of rejection to finally get ahead.

Rejection combined with feedback should be considered a gift. A gift that you unwrap slowly and learn how to enjoy and learn from it and move forward.

For me, rejection is a tiny misstep in the master plan. It’s par for the course.

Fake It Till You Make It

I had a hard time with this one for a long time. If I wasn’t good at something, or was insecure, how could I fake that? I’m a pretty open and honest person and wear my emotions on my sleeve so it can be hard to grasp this idea. When I first started freelancing, I would ask some of my more successful friends how they did it. How did they get started? How did they get people to pay for their services with hardly any prior work to show? Most of my friends said, “Fake it till you make it!”

To be honest, I hated that answer. It seemed out of reach, and well, fake. But I’ve come to realize that the gap between good people and successful people isn’t that large. The difference? Their mindset and the subsequent actions.

Try an exercise for a minute to see “fake it till you make it” in action. Smile. Right now. You can’t tell me that you didn’t just instantly feel a little happier by just smiling.

Faking it till you make it might also include dressing up in ways that make you “look the part,” writing crazy insane pitches you would never dream of writing (a friend of mine used to write pitches, “I’m awesome, you should hire me, this is why.”), or talking to people you think are out of your league. Soon enough, the faking it will start to work and you won’t be faking it anymore.

It’s important to overcome these limiting beliefs because of the costs. What are you saying no to because of your fear? A better salary? A better life? A relationship? You might not see the costs in front of you, but they are there. Use these tips to conquer these insecurities and overcome those limiting beliefs.


About The Author: Melanie blogs about breaking up with debt at and invites others to write breakup letters to their debt as well. She’s accumulated a total of $81k in student loan debt between two degrees. Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. Melanie enjoys travel, art, music, adventure, and of course, personal finance.  If you’re interested in writing for Vosa contact us here.

Afterword From Brent

I love this post by Melanie because it’s 100% true.  

So many of us, myself included, have let limiting beliefs get in the way of doing what we love, chasing our dreams, pursuing a relationship and even asking for your dressing on the side.

The most common thing that I talk about that elicits the response “I could never do that” is travel hacking.

Whenever posts are shared here at VOSA on travel hacking and when I talk to people in person about it, I always hear people say: “but that’s you, you’ve been doing this for year and I could never figure it out.”

My response to this is “yes, I have been travel hacking for year and yes, I have accumulated millions of airmiles but SO CAN YOU!”

Yes, there are rules to churning credit cards.  Yes, you have to make sure that travel hacking doesn’t hurt your credit score.

But honestly, for you to become a travel hacker all you need to do is start.  

Pick a credit card that you want to apply for based on the bonus they are offering then apply, get approved, meet the minimum spending requirement, earn your bonus.  That’s it.  Just remember, step 1 is applying for a credit card with a big airmiles bonus.

I recommend starting with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard where you can earn 40,000 miles which is good for $400 worth of travel.  Another great card is the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard where you can earn 35,000 bonus miles and a bunch of other goodies.  These miles can be transferred to American Airlines and a ton of other airlines as well.

Go forth grasshopper and make the world your oyster!  

Photo Credit: BK

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