The Flip Flop Exercise: Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs
A writing exercise to give your limiting beliefs a platform to speak their minds and turn your negatives into positives.
In many ways, we can be our own worst enemies. We are confined by our own perceptions, constrained by our understanding of true and false.
— Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
🧑🎨 About this creative exercise
Limiting beliefs can be like those uninvited guests who crash the party of your potential. 🚫🎉
These sneaky notions often creep in during our early years or through not-so-great relationships. They're the culprits that slam the door on our dreams, whether it's shedding a few pounds, launching a business, or finding the courage to start anew after a toxic relationship.
You see, our brains have a knack for this thing called ‘learned helplessness’ (check out the technical side here, if you fancy a deep dive).
The name might sound like we willingly signed up for powerlessness lessons, but in reality, it's our default mode to feel a bit helpless. We often think we lack control over ourselves, our lives, or the situations we find ourselves in. So, we've got to learn how to be confident and cultivate self-belief to chase after our goals and dreams.
Combine this learned helplessness with our innate knack for focusing on the negative stuff (thanks, negativity bias!), and things can feel a bit topsy-turvy.
Here are some of my previous limiting beliefs:
I'm too old to pivot into a new career.
I never have enough time to do everything I want.
My business will fail before it's even got started because I'm not an expert yet.
People won't understand what I'm doing and will think I'm stupid.
I'll never make any money from it.
But there's a solution...
Challenge your own understanding. Test new ideas. You are never at the full expansion of yourself. There is always room for growth.
Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Grab two pieces of paper. Label the first one ‘FLIP’ and the second one ‘FLOP.’
Begin with the ‘FLOP’ page. Here, your task is to unleash your limiting beliefs aka your FLOPs.
Focus on a specific challenge, a goal you aspire to achieve, or those beliefs hindering your mental well-being and physical fitness objectives.
As you write, pay attention to any bodily tension and the arising emotions.
The goal here isn't to change your thoughts and feelings but to observe them without judgment.
Limiting beliefs, aka your FLOPs, typically start with:
It is impossible because...
I don’t have enough...
Vent your limiting beliefs freely on this page. Go on, let it all out.
Move to the ‘FLIP’ page. This is where you'll craft statements that counteract your FLOPs. These are positive affirmations aligning with your goals and ambitions.
Consider what you can do today to advance your goals and acknowledge the resources you possess, such as your knowledge, experience, talents, or the people around you who can assist your plans.
Your counteracting FLIP statements start with the following:
I love to...
It is possible because...
I have everything I need to [insert goal here] because...
From here, you’ll have devised a set of lovely positive statements that enable you to see possibilities instead of obstacles.
🍦 Three Flavours of Limiting Beliefs
In order to help you understand limiting beliefs in a little more detail, according to an article by author Mark Manson, limiting beliefs come in three distinct 'flavours':
1. Limiting Beliefs About Yourself
These are the ones that make you doubt your abilities because you think there's something inherently wrong or lacking with you. It could be related to your age (too old or too young), your physical attributes (too fat or too weak), or even your emotional traits (too angry or too soft).
2. Limiting Beliefs About the World
These beliefs can make you feel like the world is conspiring against your dreams. You worry about what other people will think, like your parents, coworkers, or even strangers on the internet. It can also involve biases and prejudices, be it related to religion, race, or gender. And then there's the ego - thinking you're so special and unique that no one will understand you!
3. Limiting Beliefs About Life
These are the beliefs that make life seem like a maze of complications. They revolve around the scarcity of time, the notion that you're either too early or too late to the party (thinking your business/book/idea has already been done), and the struggle between what's real and what's imaginary.
Are those deep-seated beliefs ingrained in childhood or through culture? Yep, they're the trickiest to break, but certainly not impossible!
Why not take on the Flip Flop Challenge and witness the transformative power of giving your limiting beliefs a voice and turning negatives into positives, for yourself.
🪞 Reflection & Enquiry
🧘♀️🖋️ As you write, did your words flow effortlessly or did you encounter resistance and negative self-talk?
Compare the experience of writing negative and positive statements. Are you now ready to pursue your goals, or do you still sense limitations?
I recommend practising this exercise regularly to challenge these beliefs. You'll be amazed by what you discover when you allow yourself to write freely.
🎨 Stay Creative!