Embrace Change: Fighting Self-Limiting Beliefs

Picture of by Dr David Phelps

by Dr David Phelps


ne of my favorite quotes is by Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet. He says,

“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?”

What he’s referring to are self-limiting beliefs. Beliefs we’ve been taught by well-meaning people that are part of an early indoctrination into certain things that may or may not be true. Self-limiting beliefs put a ceiling on our ability to adapt and change.

We don't like change. We want to keep things the same. It feels more comfortable that way. It's less scary. We have less fear. But that's not what life is supposed to be about. At least, not a fulfilling one.

In my own life, I adopted some of those same limiting beliefs. I wanted things to continue as they were. I wanted things to be built out and then followed. I’m a planner so everything had to go according to plan. 

But life doesn’t always work out the way you planned.

I had to learn to embrace the change, embrace the things that I couldn't control and learn to not always be reactive. I had to, instead, learn to be proactive and on the forefront of looking for the opportunity inside those changes.

A valuable mindset shift that most do not undertake when faced with self-limiting beliefs

We go to school and learn to make good grades, take on specialized technical training and go to higher levels of education. This is an admirable pursuit but it makes us less adaptable and flexible due to the sunk cost fallacy.

Face your self-limiting beliefs as dentists - Dr. David Phelps
Face your self-limiting beliefs as dentists. Dr. David Phelps at a Freedom Founders Event

This thing that we learned to do, it now describes who we are. And it’s hard for many to let go of that even when it would benefit them the most to do so. I see this all the time in dentistry. Dentists work so hard to get where they are that it becomes who they are all about. They see nothing wrong with that until they start making moves to exit practice.

Then what? Who do you become now?

I learned in life that I'm a lot more than just a technician (more on what this means in a previous blog). I’m grateful for that education as a technician in a specific field because it gave me a lot of satisfaction to help people with that expertise. But isn’t there something more beyond being defined by that one thing you specialized in?

How do you identify yourself?

Is it by that technical trade? Or is there more inside you?

I found there was a lot more inside of me. I began to expand my horizons once I began surrounding myself with different people. Different people outside of my industry. People who thought differently, who saw life differently, who were entrepreneurial and gave me the permission I lacked early in my life to pursue those different opportunities. I didn’t pursue them then because it fell outside the scope of what I was taught to do. I didn't want to mess up the path I was on.

That was the wrong attitude.

The kind of people who pursue opportunities

It’s the people who come in first in life (NOTE: I do not define those who come in first by monetary wealth). It’s those who are truly satisfied and eminent joy who are willing and able to take steps that other people won't.

I was able to obtain that from being around other people. Jim Rohn says you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I found by upping those five people I associate with, it gave me the impetus to make the changes that in the past I was fearful of making.

Think about where you are in your life. If you're wanting to make a change, do something different. If you feel stuck in a rut, changing your environment, changing the people you're hanging with could be that next step for you.

Tactics and strategies are useful but until you make a difference in your surroundings, not a lot else will change. Maybe you're looking for a different path and are confused about the options you may or may not have. This is when the people around you can make a big difference in the choices you make so make sure you give this serious thought.

The door could be wide open and you just may not be able to see it.

To your freedom!

– David

P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are some other ways I can help fast track you to your Freedom goal (you’re closer than you think) :

1. Schedule a Call with My Team:

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