positive thinking

Can Our Assumptions Turn To Limiting Beliefs?

limiting beliefs vidya sury

I love reading inspiring stories, especially the ones that make me feel good instantly, teach me something or motivate me to take action. This could be an entire article, or a quote or just a witty joke. I believe we all need that little push once in a while as a self-improvement exercise.

For example, I recently read a post that talked about the power of asking.  I realized most of us have a tendency to assume (oh yes – I read your mind – ass | u | me) the consequences of any situation and just hold ourselves back from achieving what we want.

Would you agree? 

We hesitate to ask for something simply because we think we will meet up with refusal. How sad. We should take the example of children (the best salesmen, incidentally) in being persistent about getting what we want.  Unfortunately, as we grow up, we develop limiting beliefs that prevent us from reaching our full potential.

I am guilty of this, too

Some years ago, I went shopping for groceries. I mean, I obviously still shop for groceries, ha, ha – but this is a specific instance. This place was slightly far from where we stay and I went there because they had some good deals on the usual things we buy. Tight budget, you see.

When I returned home, I realized that the guys had not included the free gifts that were supposed to come with some of the products. Now – I am not a fan of free add-on stuff. But I had a 5 year old at home yearning for the freebie after watching it advertised on TV, and I certainly didn’t want to see him disappointed. Yet, I didn’t do anything about it. I felt bad, I felt angry and complained to my mom. She immediately told me to find the bill and call the store. Now, this store is one of those super busy ones that drive you nuts on the phone making you repeat your problem to five different people times five.  I grumbled, saying that those guys won’t do anything about it and it wasn’t worth it going all the way there to pick up the stuff, assuming, that is, if they even believed me.

Giving the benefit of the doubt

Anyway, if you knew my mom, you wouldn’t argue with her.  She convinced me to call them saying we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So reluctantly, I called them.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear a courteous voice at the other end and an ear that listened to what I had to say. The voice apologized, asked for my bill number, took my address and told me someone would come by to my house in a couple of hours.

Well, after the call, I smirked, and asked mom if she would make a bet with me about this.  She readily obliged (quite a sweetie, you know) and we made a hilarious one about going for a walk every day. Very clever.  Okay – so a couple of hours later, the doorbell rang, and there was this rather nice looking guy holding a carry bag from the store. He gave it to me. I looked inside and what did I find? Not just the freebie toys that were left out, but a couple of others too. I naturally told him that we were entitled only to some of the toys and not the extra stuff. To which he pleasantly said – compliments of the store. He urged me to visit again and left. Oh well, we went on that walk every day.  And I continued to do it well past the week. Win-win-ish.

Point is ..

If we don’t ask, we’ll never know what we can get.  I agree there are situations when things don’t go well – and life is often less than ideal…but these situations could probably be fewer and far between if we stopped second-guessing fate and taking the easy way out via negative thought. Assuming that something won’t happen is unfair. It is like saying you hate something without knowing what it is or trying it even once.

Now, I think assumptions tie in closely with limiting beliefs.

When you assume, you think you can’t.  That’s a limiting belief, right?  

So is it not time to throw your limiting beliefs out of the window?

Let me share another interesting incident.

You know, a couple of decades ago (yeah, I AM a fossil), at the time I worked with a top brand in office automation, I had the pleasure of attending several training sessions – delivered by excellent trainers. The venue for our annual sales training programs was usually a cool resort  where there were zero interruptions. The idea was to have the team in a happy frame of mind to “receive” learning points. Some of us made very good use of it, while others – well, they just had fun and experienced extra hangovers from the previous evening’s revelry.

I used to be teased quite a lot (being the only woman on the sales team) for taking the training very seriously. We had several customer-salesman role plays that I diligently worked on. I would answer the questionnaires and make notes to put into action on the field once we were back on the job. Some of my colleagues found it hilarious that I actually followed the blueprint with some customers. They would be sarcastic, cynical – telling me those things were good for theory but would never work in practice.

That was unfair, because the training team was reputed to be one of the best and the trainers put together the material based on solid research of customer behavior.  Point is, it is very hard to make believers of some people because they just don’t want to believe. (Horse – water – drink – ring a bell?) Hmm.

The men who knew too much

So every morning, they never tired of telling me I would never make a sale if I practiced what I learned at the training programs.  My point was – no harm in trying, was there? Like my Mom said, nothing to lose, and everything to gain. I did use the blueprint and to cut my autobiography short – let me just wind up this episode by saying I got the maximum sales in the succeeding months. I was also very very surprised to learn that some of the best salesmen do. not. ask. for. the. order. Fear of hearing “no”.

Can you?

Did I learn any lessons along the way? Yes.

Just because someone tells you something won’t work, that does not mean you shouldn’t try it
Intuition works. You are more intuitive than you think.
Do not allow limiting beliefs to hold you back
Every one is human. Well, almost.
Everyone has feelings
Don’t assume someone is unapproachable
Do not hesitate to ask for what you want. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to get it
Don’t be afraid of not being taken seriously. If you don’t tell, they’ll never know
You can be happy in life

Strive for excellence – you will reach there
Know when to quit
Kind actions speak more than words
A good deed never goes waste
Don’t think on someone else’s behalf. Let them enjoy the pleasure
You can create freedom for yourself
Don’t think small, don’t be mean. What can you get out of that, anyway, except a momentary cheap thrill?
Don’t be guilty about following the rules sometimes
Be generous about giving without expecting something back

We have one life to live (unless you believe in the meow myth about nine lives)

Awake, create! You control your happiness!

And here’s one for the road:
Unshackle your fears
Let go of what holds you back
You are good enough
Your thoughts?

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Terri Sonoda
    March 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Vidya; You have no idea how much this resonated with me. I’m on the cusp of changing things up in my life and making some pretty big decisions. I needed to read this. Thanks for always have such amazing insight. You really are my angel. And my friend!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Hugs Terri – and you are my angel, and my friend. I am glad you liked the post. You know I was just stuck with something when I was thinking and started writing this post. Before I knew it, I was done. Funny how things flow when our minds race.

      I was also arguing with Vidur about stepping forward…when I realized I was guilty of not doing it sometimes. It resulted in this post. Weird how sometimes, as parents we preach things we don’t practice. Hugs, to you. You know I am eagerly waiting for your Sunday edition of Sara’s Sleep. You know, Terri – I feel March is going to be a great month for you. Don’t ask me how. I just feel it. Love you!

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    March 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Such amazing insight!
    I am one of those people who has a hard time asking…that fear holds me back…and like you said, you have nothing to lose but do much to gain…I need to remember that.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      I know, Kim – I still freak myself out sometimes, unexpectedly, then I count and just go do it. It’s funny, isn’t it, how we sometimes hesitate to do the simple stuff? Hugs to you for visiting. 😀 Ya know I love you.

  • Reply
    Betsy at Zen-Mama
    March 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I love this post, Vidya.
    This is something we try to teach our children but it seems that experience is the best teacher. The older I get the more I try to go after my dreams. I love the lessons you learned along the way!!
    Thanks Vidya!!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Thank you, Betsy. You more than anyone, as a teacher, would understand this. Oh, I’ve lost count of the number of times Vidur’s teacher has told me how talented he is, but how he won’t step forward and present himself. Strangely, he is not concerned at all :-). Still, it is so important not to miss the bus sometimes – because once it has gone past, we cannot turn the clock back. You’re totally right about experience being the best teacher!

  • Reply
    Angela Artemis/Powered by Intuition
    March 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Vidya,
    This was fantastic! I loved how you covered this topic. We are our own worst enemies at times. I just had a wake up call today about one of my assumptions that turned out to be dead wrong!
    Thank you for linking to me too.
    xoxo
    Angela

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    March 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    🙂 Thank you, Angela. This is a topic close to my heart. Through various situations in life, although I’ve stayed calm through major events, I’ve found I’ve held back on the little things. And felt quite stupid. 🙂 And learned from the outcome, of course. 🙂

  • Reply
    Aileen
    March 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Oh Vidya, can so relate to this post – it gives me chills. I’ve got some work to do when it comes to asking for what I need/want. Some ancient belief about not wanting to upset someone just takes on so many shapes and comes out in so many ways – it’s a habit that needs to be stopped once and fro all.

    I love you success story! It can be hard to what we feel is right, and listen to our inner voice when the outside loudly tells us otherwise and add in some ridicule, that’s one hefty success!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Aileen, Thank you for your comment. I think we all have work to do in this particular aspect of our personality – assumptions and holding back. I, for one, often hesitate, thinking it might upset someone, as you rightly said. And before we know it, it is a habit. Worse still, the person we are concerned about, really couldn’t care less. Crazy how these habits stick 🙂 and are hard to break. Still, I am glad I did come through at the times that mattered most. :-). Thanks for coming by!

  • Reply
    Melody | Deliberate Receiving
    March 3, 2012 at 12:12 am

    This is excellent Vidya! I learned this lesson a long time ago. One story really comes to mind. I have a long and varied management background. When I first moved to Barcelona, I didn’t think I would stay and just applied to a couple of non-serious jobs to pass the time. I got a job as tech support in a large, multinational company. Well, as it turned out, I stayed and when a management opportunity came up, that was more than qualified for, I could’ve just waited to see if I’d get it. I had a great reputation and got along with everyone, including upper management. Everyone knew how I was. Right? Well, I didn’t do that. I went into the director’s office and asked for the job. He was the one that had hired me. And you know what? He asked me what made me think that I was qualified for a job of that level. I reminded him of my resume, which he then looked over and after stuffing his eyeballs back in his sockets and apologizing for having forgotten by background, offered me the job. He was not a bad guy, but he was busy. And yes, everyone knew me, but they knew me as tech support, NOT as a manager. This was a big job, running an whole division, so they wouldn’t have considered me for it, if I hadn’t reminded them of my experience. I got the job because I asked, pure and simple. Oh, and a couple of years later, I had that director’s job. :o)

    Awesome post!

    Huge hugs,
    Melody

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Hey Melody! Thank you for your valuable input! I admire you for what you did! Too often, one gets taken for granted! I am glad you stepped up and doubly glad you got the director’s job too! That really rocks.

      Like you, I’ve had a similar situation – being overqualified and the job coming up – except when I asked for the position, the “boss” just turned gender-biased and wanted a “man” to handle it, even if he was not as qualified as I was. I took the right decision at the time and quit – and glad – as i also decided to work out of home, which turned out to be for the best, since the “boss” later requested me to work from home for the same salary. Arrgh.

      Thanks for your visit – i really appreciate it!

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    March 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    —Dearest Vidya,

    I love this quote by Samuel Beckett.

    ****Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.****

    And I so appreciate your insight & brilliance, my sweet, Vidya. Xx

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Darling Kim – when I drafted the post, I contemplated including that quote – but chose another image, thinking I’d write a separate post about that. Hugs. I am privileged to have you here and your lovely comment. Love you!

  • Reply
    Hiten
    March 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Vidya,

    Firstly I just wanted to say this was a brilliant post. I really enjoyed reading a longer post of yours, because there was some excellent humour in it! 🙂

    I loved the 2 stories you included about calling the store and practicing what you had learnt during the training. The first story was a brilliant one on how being assertive can bring about unexpected positive results, and the second one was an amazing tale on how to just ignore what others say to us, and do what we want.

    I used to have serious issues with not wanting to ask and it was because of very low self-esteem and believing I didn’t deserve. It’s an area I’ve had to work on a lot of over the years.

    For a person who is not used to asking to start asking can be daunting, but it is well worth doing. It is an amazing way to build confidence and can feel extremely liberating.

    There is a simple yet profound saying: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

    Here’s to us all confidently and assertively asking for what we want.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Hi Hiten – so happy to have you here. Thank you for your kind words. It takes hard work to overcome self-esteem issues, however minor they may be. 🙂 Asking can be difficult even in simple situations and I often wonder what holds us back in practice, when in theory it really is a breeze. As you rightly said, the effort pays off in pure gold. Truly, that crying baby gets the milk, does it not?

      Cheers to confidence and being assertive! And thank you for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Paige | simple mindfulness
    March 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Wonderful post Vidya! It’s crazy how assumptions can limit us.

    Some time ago I developed the habit of asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” in any situation where I wondered if I should do or say something. This would definitely include asking for something. If a “no” response is the worst thing, I would definitely ask.

    A big part of this is learning not to take things that people say personally. If they say no, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

    No is just a word like any other word. It can only hurt us if we let it. When you can see things differently in your mind, you’ll feel them differently. And you can decide to feel good about just about anything.

    Like many teach in sales, look for the no’s because the more you get, the closer you are to a yes.

    Have a beautiful day!!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

      You’re right, Paige! No actually means yes in most cases. Sometimes it can be a challenge to overcome them, depending on who is saying the no and in what mood he or she is. 🙂 Definitely, I would ask “what is the worst that could happen”. And yes, taking it personally is what usually builds that fear in us! Thank you for your input.. I always find it valuable!

  • Reply
    Sibyl
    March 4, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Vidya: Loved this post and really loved the lessons at the end … such wisdom:) Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Thank you, dear Sibyl! I learn so much from you!

  • Reply
    Evelyn Lim
    March 4, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Hi Vidya, I love how you have managed to turn an ordinary event into some excellent advice for transformation of beliefs. It’s great that you also got freebies and compliments from the toy store. If we could only learn to overcome our fear of rejection and just ask. We are more likely to get what we want as compared to keeping silent because of our fears.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Evelyn, often we just assume the consequences and that can be such a barrier to moving forward! As always, I appreciate your feedback. By overcoming fear, life can really be much better! 😀 As I am discovering!

  • Reply
    Harleena Singh
    March 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Wonderful post Vidya!

    I agree with Hiten here, nice to read one of your longer posts and the stories shared were wonderful indeed!

    I am another one for freebies they offer at stores (another thing we share in common!), and have faced so many similar situations when my kids and hubby would prefer letting the offer pass by rather than call or go right back and fetch or fight for it. But I guess, just like you mom, I have seen my mom do the same, and learnt to ask for things when you are not given the due. And people at the store or counter have no other option but to give. Yet, even if they wouldn’t have, I don’t lose anything by asking!

    Loved what your mom taught you (similar to what mine did too!)- that at least go ahead and ask as you never know you may be give what you seek, or else you don’t lose anything much.

    Liked your lessons shared as well, the best one being that we have just this one life- so reach out and find your happiness 🙂

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Thank you, Harleena! I appreciate your views. Glad we learn these lessons – I learned most of these thanks to my son! 😀 Yes, reaching out to happiness is the only way! Thank you again, for visiting!

  • Reply
    Unknown Mami
    March 5, 2012 at 2:02 am

    I used to be a personal assistant and my boss asked me to pick up a bottle of some kind of expensive booze that he wanted to gift to someone staying at his home. I had a credit card that belonged to my boss, but had my name on it. I bought the booze along with some other stuff at a big warehouse-type store. Only when I got home I realized I had left the booze in the shopping cart and never loaded it into the car. Totally my fault. I was so bummed because I felt that it was my responsibility to replace the bottle at my cost since the error was mine. I could not afford the expense. My mother happened to be visiting and told me to call the store. Well, I told her she was out of her mind if she thought anyone would return a bottle of booze in this city. I called anyway and guess what? Someone had returned the bottle of booze and it was waiting for me at the store’s lost and found. Just goes to show what I know.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      March 8, 2012 at 10:18 am

      That’s an incredible experience, Unknown Mami! I would have thought like you, too. Thank God for Moms, eh? I am certainly thankful to mine! The things I’ve found from her wisdom and my stupidity! Hugs to you!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Vidya,

    I have been reading your posts for quite some time now and am pretty sure that I have never commented. This post is especially telling for me- I love your ass u me; got quite the chuckle out of that as I use that all of the time!! Secondly, you’ll never know unless you ask- another favorite yet I seldom apply that one myself. So easy to give advice and yet so difficult to take, or better yet,remember for oneself! I read lots of blogs and so, so many of their links have sent me to your site!!! Thank you, thank you!
    Nicole

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      September 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Dearest Nicole, I am blessed by your presence here today. I know what you mean – so many of life’s truths are simple – yet we become enveloped in a cloud of doubt that blinds us to them. Eventually, practice takes us closer to that peaceful state.

      Thank you so much for coming by. Do visit again.

      Love, Vidya

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