Are Limiting Beliefs Stopping Your Improvement Projects?

Improvement Insights Blog

Are Limiting Beliefs Stopping Your Improvement Projects?

Everyone has limiting beliefs and they could be stopping your improvement projects. Here’s why and what to do about it.  

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software]. I want to talk to you about something that sounds a little bit out of the Six Sigma ballpark.

“One of the things I’ve noticed is people will develop limiting beliefs about what’s possible. They’ll say, “Well, I can’t fix that because…” or “I can’t do this because my boss won’t let me,” or “I can’t do this because management doesn’t understand control charts, performance charts,” …or whatever. “I can’t because…” As soon as you say “because,” guess what? Your brain [thinks] “Ah, I can’t.” It doesn’t matter what the thing after it is – you know, the excuse at the end? It doesn’t matter, it just says “I can’t because of… something” “I’m too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, too old, too young, too whatever…” No!

“So question your limiting beliefs. In the 1800’s they thought an ill wind caused illnesses, and then Pasteur found these little microorganisms. Does that make sense? And then, all along as we go through, nobody thought anybody could fly, and then the Wright brothers flew. We went from rattletrap aircraft to moon landings in 60 years. Anything is possible! You just have to stop doubting that it is possible. You don’t have to worry about it. Richard Bandler used to say you won’t have to worry if something is impossible, you just won’t be able to do it. Right? So stop worrying; stop worrying altogether. Start making improvements. “Oh, I can’t fix that because…” If you hear the word “because” in your brain, stop yourself and say “What?! What am I thinking?”

“I have this big, hairy, audacious goal that we’re going to create a hassle-free America and a hassle-free world by systematically streamlining everything and simplifying and optimizing all of our processes so that everything smooths out and we all start feeling a lot more comfortable in our lives without having to keep track of everything and chase everything and fix everything. That’s a big, hairy, audacious goal. Do I know how to do it? No. Do I say, “I can’t because I’m just me.”

“Anita Roddick at The Body Shop said any time you think you’re too small, just remember the time you spent a night in your bedroom with one mosquito. We have the ability to influence things way beyond what we think. So any time you think you can’t “because…” say, “Well, I wonder if I could,” and “I wonder how…” Once you start wondering how, guess what? Answers will come to you. You will see solutions you wouldn’t have seen before, because as soon as you have a limiting belief you can’t see them; your brain won’t let you. It’s a nasty little side effect of a limiting belief: It won’t let you see things that are right in front of you.

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Be the CIO (the Chief Improvement Officer) of your life, and start making everything hassle-free.”