"I'm no good at maths": a blog about limiting beliefs

By Paula Meir

I'm no good at Maths

     

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There I’ve said it out loud. Actually, it’s not really a secret, I often tell people that I’ve never been any good at maths. Growing up I said it to

myself over and over again. At least once a day, at some point during every maths lesson I would tell myself “I’m no good at maths”. This belief was only embedded more by a traumatic experience with my maths teacher who was a nun at primary s

chool calling me up in front of the class to do a sum. I couldn't do it. I felt humiliated. I said to myself: "I'm not good enough". 

This mantra became a part of my DNA, it became a part of my story, the story that I told myself over and over again. And every time I told myself this story it further undermined my confidence in maths. So, it will come as no surprise that I failed my maths CSE - twice (yes, this was before the days of GCSEs). 

 There are many different views on why some people can sail through maths and others (like me) find it a perennial struggle akin to bungee jumping off the Macau Tower when you have vertigo. Plenty of research has been done including this which sets out to prove that some people are “born bad at maths”. And to be honest this kind of research doesn’t help anyone… it just reinforces the notion that there is some divine force handing out the ability to do something (or not) at birth.

 Genetics aside I am now convinced about one thing: your ability to do something starts with belief that you can do it. Once you have convinced yourself you can’t do it, guess what? You’ll always struggle.

 And this is precisely what happened to me.

 You see I told myself time and time again that I couldn’t do maths. I continued to look for evidence to back this statement (and fact as I told myself) including the time I was shortlisted in an intense interview assessment for a really great job at BMW. The final task was working out the APR on various new cars, something they gave sales guys to complete. I actually could have probably managed it but my ‘flight, fight, freeze’ automatic physical response kicked in and I panicked, couldn't do the paper, nor did I get the job. So, I continued to build this self-limiting belief, and this continued to undermine my confidence. And, as you might expect, the idea of not being good enough spread into other areas of my life.


 
                                                                     
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Limiting beliefs are pesky little devils. They sit on our shoulders like naughty gremlins and prevent us from doing stuff. They undermine our confidence and stop us taking positive action to achieve what we want to achieve.

 How many times have you told yourself “I can’t do that”? That four word phrase means you are imposing a limitation on what you can do.

 IMG_1278Last year I was leading a workshop at the Huntington’s Disease annual conference and I met a 69-year-old man who had a self-limiting belief that he couldn’t read or write. It had been distressing for him for that many years and he had had enough of it. Can you imagine what that has been like for him? A whole life spent with a limiting belief. Turns out he could read and he could write. Okay, he was no Oscar Wilde and perhaps he couldn’t read as quickly and voraciously as your average librarian but following the workshop we completely changed his perspective and reversed over 60 years of self-narrative. Another lady lacked a huge amount of self-confidence (mostly formed from self-limiting beliefs), a month after the workshop she contacted me to let me know she had landed her dream job.

These beliefs often form the basis of poor confidence and it doesn’t matter how long you have had a particular belief if you take back control you can rid yourself of these and become much more confident. In my workshops and training I help unearth limiting beliefs and using various techniques and processes help reverse them. In the space of this short blog it’s pretty tricky to run through an entire process that will re-build your confidence and rid yourself of all that negative self-talk but I can start you on the path.

Here are three simple things you can do: -

  •  Write down one thing which you believe you cannot do (my example would be maths!)
  • Now it’s time to turn detective: How do you know that to be the case? Did someone tell you that when you were young? Did you fail at something or did something go wrong once or twice to lead you to belief that you couldn't do it or you wouldn't be good at it?
  • Now replace that with the perspective that it might not be true, that the ‘evidence’ you have compiled to fuel that belief is only half the story. What would happen if you were good at it or could do it? How would it make you feel?
In following those three simple steps you are already on the road towards re-building your confidence. The brain is amazing. Once you start hunting down those negative beliefs and interrogating them the brain will start shifting your attitude and ultimately your confidence (in a positive way).

 

Want to learn a little more?

Why not sign up for my webinar on “How to uncover your self-limiting beliefs and become more confident” I’ll be talking more about how self-limiting beliefs can impact our day to day living, where to find them, and how over-turning a self-limiting belief can lead to a much happier, successful, and more fulfilled life. You will have the opportunity to ask questions in a completely anonymous environment.

Places are going to be strictly limited to ensure I’m able to respond to questions so grab your place today!!

 

Register now!