Are Your Beliefs Empowering You to Think Big?

Sometimes I wake up feeling great, like I can do anything. I feel successful; I’m positive, optimistic, thinking big! But, other times I relapse into small, insecure thinking. I feel defeated and lose control of my thought factories production.

Beliefs are wide-ranging, and learning where they come from and how they play a role in our life is crucial to begin changing them. They become such a part of who we are as a person. It’s tough to alter what we have been attached to most of our life, but we must start to produce more empowering beliefs and stop defending the half-truths that hold us back.

Beliefs that lead to lack of confidence, fear, and worry are what ultimately prevent people from experiencing success and achieving what they want from life.

Are you ready to change your beliefs in order to change your life?

Where do beliefs come from – are they really yours?

No one is born with beliefs. Beliefs are acquired from a young age and through our life experience. The things you were told and how you were treated when young, become the way you think about yourself and the world, and become your beliefs, whether empowering or defeating.

The great thing is this doesn’t mean that our beliefs are actually true. Just because someone told us we can’t be somebody or do something doesn’t mean we have to believe them. Stop defending discouraging beliefs! I know it’s hard, but ask yourself:

What do I believe about myself?

What do I believe about the world?

What do I believe about my future?

After you have uncovered what you believe, it’s time to decide what you want to keep and what you want to throw out.

What beliefs do I want to change?

What do I want to start believing about myself and my future?

You can decide what you want to believe. Throw away those self-defeating beliefs for an empowering and successful self-image.

Change your beliefs and change your life

Whatever we think about, we will move toward this. If I feel good about something, I’ll move toward it, and if I feel bad about something, I’ll move away from it.

This is important because what you think about now, will determine where you go in the future. In other words, if you believe you’ll never get that new job, get a book deal, have a great relationship, you won’t.

Your beliefs may have you stuck in a cycle of helplessness, where you never see positive results. You might have made so many deprecating deposits into your mind bank account that you have nothing else to take out.

Self-talk determines your self-image and self-concept, which in turn accumulates to determine your beliefs. If you change what you think about, you can largely determine what happens to you.

How are beliefs playing a role in your life?


  • You think in three dimensions: words or language, which trigger pictures, which in turn cause emotions.
  • You build your self-image with your thoughts. Be careful what you think.
  • Your subconscious accepts what you tell it. You must control your self-talk
  • Your self-image controls how you act. To achieve more, alter your self-image

What is your perception of your capabilities?  How do you act when you’re not faking it, when you let yourself flow freely with no conscious control? This is the where you want to be in your daily life, in touch with your real self and no restrictions on your potential.

Beliefs equal effectiveness: How effective are you being?

I believe that everyone has immense potential, though despite this enormous potential, we are limited by our beliefs. We will only be able to do what we believe to be possible.

Once our beliefs are fixed, our behavior and attitude follow suit. People self-regulate at their belief level, and will stay put unless they empower themselves to break free.

This is why it’s so important to make gradual steps everyday to expand and do something that helps you grow and break away from previous limiting beliefs. Taking action can kill the self-limiting fear that may be holding you back.

Be prepared for an increase in tension as you step out of your comfort zone though. This tension comes from our subconscious mind, which wants us to stay the same and not take any risk.

This is what makes you feel like you need to go back to “where you belong,” or why it’s too risky to try something new.

Pay no attention to this. You can elevate your comfort zone by raising your self-concept of what you expect of yourself though affirmations and visualization, as well as achieving small goals along the way.

You can also start changing your behavior by rewarding desired changes with self-affirming statements, such as, “That’s like me,” or “Yes, I’m good at that.”

Setting goals to increase energy and creativity

To feel more empowered it takes a structured process of setting goals, affirming the change we want in our personal or professional life, and seeing progress along the way. In other words you need to be intentional and deliberate in setting goals and affirming them. You must believe you can achieve what you desire.

I believe we are naturally driven to achieve and grow as humans. Thus, setting goals is a part of human nature. Goals release creativity and energy from your creative subconscious, and the larger the goal, the greater the drive, energy and creativity.

You can start thinking big at anytime, but it can come more naturally as you set and achieve goals and increase your creativity and energy.

Use this energy surplus to start setting bigger goals. Thinking big can mean mentally transcending our daily surroundings. We’ll run into people who tell us we can’t make it, or encounter ideas that conflict with our big thoughts, but don’t let this bring you back to your old ways of thinking.

Start thinking bigger about yourself, what’s possible, and where you’re headed. Set your goals high and then expect to achieve them. The bigger you think the greater success you will see.

I would love to hear from you! What limiting beliefs have you been struggling with? What have you done about them? How do you stay empowered to achieve your big goals? What do you do when little thinking creeps into your mind?

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if so, please share it with others, or subscribe below to get updates straight to your in-box! You will also receive a free copy of the eBook “Think Big Act Now”


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  • Robin

    Great post. We sometimes forget that our beliefs shape so much of who we are and what we are able to do. I’m going to believe big! :)

  • Rob

    Hi Joe,
    Your articles are getting better and better… this I believe! Beliefs are a big one. We can believe limiting opinions, or we can believe liberating facts, but we can’t believe both…. and the truth about us all is that we are unlimited beings pretending we are not.

  • Gordie

    I think we’re so fortunate in the West here that we’re not living in theocracies where our beliefs are shaped, enforced and are not permitted to change. We have so much access to other people’s beliefs that we can see and take the best of each if we so choose.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Welcome and thanks for the comment! Our beliefs and attitude has such a profound influence on our performance and expectations. I only with I new this earlier. ;) It easy to let little beliefs keep us down and discouraged, so thinking big must become a habit, and eventually we will learn this is the key to reaching our level of success.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for the comment and kind words. You’re inspiration is a prime example of how beliefs can drive us to be better. Great point about conflicting beliefs. We can’t feel competent and ignorant about the same thing at the same time. One will always overshadow the other. For this reason it’s so important to really inculcate our thinking with empowering and uplifting ideas. We must make these the primary thought. Our mind will be constantly creating thoughts, and it’s a matter of if we are managing what these thoughts will be.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks so much for the comment! This is deep point that most of us probably take for granted. I know I do. I can’t imagine having no option but to take a passive perspective of my existence, and just accept all that is presented to me. Many people probably interact with the world in this manner regardless, but at least we have a choice to make up our own mind, and have more access to help us think critically about issues. Having this freedom to seek out great minds, knowledge, and wisdom is a true blessing.

  • Ande Waggener

    “Change your beliefs and change your life” is one of the most profoundly impact-full ;) truths we can get. We wander around telling stories that we’re convinced are reality. I like what Wayne Dyer says about this: since you can’t know for SURE if something is true (something like a belief), why not choose one that feels good and gives you the incentive and power to act. And that’s what’s behind the other powerful truth in this post: beliefs equal effectiveness. I’m believing bigger and bigger every day. My beliefs are growing into a giant stay-puff marshmallow man, like the one in Ghosbusters,, that can go anywhere and do anything. :)

  • Alex Blackwell

    Very powerful article Joe.

    For much of my life. my self-limiting belief was I was “not good enough.” Today, I’m finally learning how to replace this lie with the truth – the truth that tells me I am loved unconditionally by a higher source which makes me more than enough.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!


  • Lachlan Cotter

    Right on Joe. I definitely believe in the power of a goal as the catalyst to transcend a limiting belief. Some beliefs are just opinions that we have inherited from others as you say. Other times it’s not really an intellectual thing at all. It’s simply a habit of thinking—a pattern. Beliefs like that don’t necessarily need to be dissected and analysed in order to move on from them. You simply need to start practicing an alternative pattern. Having a goal that compels you beyond the limits of your comfort zone is a great way to identify and anchor that new pattern.

  • Gip @ So Much More Life

    I used to believe that I all I wanted was a very modest life. But that’s a limiting belief, too. Why can’t I have the grandest life imaginable? Now, I’m convinced that living a simple, deliberate life is the path toward the grandest version of myself that I once sought so hard to find.

    Great post!

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Awesome comment Ande, and great insight! I connect very much with the idea of choosing to believe what feels good, right, and positive. Beliefs come in all shapes and sizes and understanding that we can choose what to believe is possibly one of the most liberating realizations we can experience. Our life can really change when we recognize how much our thinking and coinciding beliefs impact who we are, what we do, and where we go.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for the wonderful comment. This is very similiar to what I am experiencing in my life right now. We are all born into the world a “10″ and then we experience the strain of society and our self-image starts to lower. We must bring ourselves back to this perfect “10″ through self-acceptance and unconditional love. Recognizing the universe is benevolent and wants the best for us is a powerful belief to hold, and really offers us a chance to accept our imperfections and embrace life more fully.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind


    Welcome and thanks for your comment! I agree completely with the idea of practicing a new pattern of thinking. It’s helpful and very enlightening to be mindful and recognize self-defeating thoughts, but at the same time this adds complications to the greater goal of having bigger and more empowering thoughts. I’m an advocate for positive illusions and feel that more people need to seek out optimism and courage regardless of logical thinking. Many of the greatest ideas have come from someone thinking “illogically” at the time.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind


    Glad to hear from you, thanks so much for your comment! This is something I struggle with at times. I feel like less is more in a philosophical sense, but deep down I know that I have a greater purpose and mission for my life. I think everyone has this empowering feeling at times, but tends to disregard it and deny it due to limiting beliefs. I believe in living life to it’s fullest potential, which entails continuing to do things that we before thought we couldn’t do. Once potential is unmasked there is no stopping someone.

  • Jonathanfigaro

    Belief is were all things Joe. Your Master at that. Great post. I saw it on the daily brain storm and I had to check it out…Great work..Your starting off the new year very well.

  • Karl Staib – Work Happy Now

    Fear has always played a big role in my life. I used to look at it as a weakness, but I’ve learned to use it as motivation. I used it to help guide me into public speaking. And now public speaking lands me new clients. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    I appreciate and am glad you stopped by. Thanks for commenting as well! Happy New Year!

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Very cool! Thanks for commenting. I also had a fear of public speaking until I was forced to do it a few times. I still get nervous before hand, I think this is one of those fears that almost everyone has. Conquering this fear opened up many opportunities such as adjunct teaching, and facilitating seminars. This is something I hope to do more often to keep breaking down barriers. But overall it garnered me the confidence to try something I was afraid of initially.

  • Bryan

    From this subject I am reminded of a quote:

    “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” — Mahatma Gandhi

  • all_is_one

    Something that was given to me a few years back, which I feel is quite beneficial to supplanting negative belief patterns (and statements) is…if you tell yourself you can’t do something…immediately follow that statement with “NOW, I CAN”, or “I CAN NOW”. So, for example “I get apprehensive about speaking in front of people…but NOW I CAN speak in front of people more at ease.
    If we evolve the words we use in our everyday experience, we evolve our being. Use words that serve you, and your purposes for your goals.

  • Dia

    Hi Joe,

    Beliefs have huge power on what our actions will be. If we manage to get rif of our limiting beliefs, we start taking action and our life will change for the better. One of the most harmful beliefs is “you will not succeed.” This is a belief that kept many people from achieving their goals and success. Thanks for sharing

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind

    Amazing quote Bryan! Thank you immensely for sharing this! This says it and sums it up about as well as anything.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind

    This is a great technique. It seems like a great way to switch focus quickly. This reminds me of something that has helped me with emotion regulation called take opposite action. If we experience a counterproductive emotion the idea is to do the opposite of what you feel. It tends to work with anger and anxiety in particular. Anything we can do to change our focus is the goal. Thanks for the insight!

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for the comment! This is so true, and the harmful belief you mention is one saying I am working to take out of my vocabulary. I’m also trying to avoid, “it won’t work,” “it’s stupid,” “it’s useless.” All very harmful beliefs that really don’t help us with the bigger picture goal. There is always smaller doable steps we can take to get to our bigger goals.

  • Lachlan Cotter

    I’m intrigued by your use of the word “illusion” here. Could you elaborate?

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Sure, thanks for asking. It’s actually a very fascinating notion. Often the most happy people have a somewhat inaccurate and overly optimistic view of the themselves and everything that happens. They also have an inflated level of self-esteem and view themselves as significantly “better” than would prove true in certain comparisons and situations. One specific example that helps people have in a high level of self-esteem is attributing failures to external circumstances, and attributing success to personal qualities. Basically, we can feel better about ourselves, have more confidence, feel more empowered, and reach for higher heights when we tend to focus only on the positive and neglect some very real but discouraging facts about ourselves and life. Thus positive illusions or denial about our weaknesses and inadequacies, which I believe is much better than taking the opposite perspective. We could be overly negative or overly positive,so I guess there is a balance to find.

  • Lachlan Cotter

    Interesting Joe. I would absolutely agree insomuch as focusing on the positive aspects and strengths promotes happiness and self esteem. Where this gets curious is when you start talking about what is “real” or “accurate”. Aren’t you just then talking about the “illusions” of others? There’s no such thing as a discouraging fact. Only an attitude of discouragement.

  • Sibyl-alternaview

    Joe: I liked this post and am totally a believer in everything you said. We really do have to be careful of the stories we sell ourselves because what we say and think about ourselves defines ultimately who we will become and what we are capable of. I really appreciated what you said about your beliefs keeping you stuck in a cycle. I think that is really helpful information that allows us to understand the importance of not allowing limiting beliefs to continue to create the same restrictions in our life. Great post.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for your comment! It’s interesting you refer to “the stories we sell ourselves.” I think this is a great metaphor for how the mind thinks. Basically, anything outside of the present moment is a story in our minds, particularly when we are envisioning our future. Since the future hasn’t happened yet, it is all a story we are creating in our mind, and why not create a story that provides us courage and confidence? The story of our future is ours to develop if we are willing to think about it in an empowering way.

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