What the &*$% is a ‘Limiting Belief’?

Have you ever had anyone tell you that the reason you don’t have what you want in your life (women, money, perfect health…you name it) is because you have “limiting beliefs”?

Maybe even yours truly has said this at some point?  😎

It’s true that limiting beliefs are one of the main reasons why people don’t achieve everything they want and are capable of in their lifetime. If you aren’t attracting the kind of women you want, there’s a very good chance it’s because you have some limiting beliefs knocking around in your unconscious mind.

However, not every limitation you experience is a limiting belief. I’ve noticed that it’s become popular to throw the term ‘limiting belief” around, and I’ve heard many coaches and healers label something a limiting belief when it isn’t one.

Because limiting beliefs play such a huge role in preventing you from attracting the women you want (and getting the life that you want), it’s important to understand what they are…and what they are not.

To do this, we need to clarify the difference between confidence and competence. While confidence and competence influence each other, they are not the same thing, but both are necessary in achieving results.

Confidence is how good you feel about yourself, either overall, or in a given situation. For example, you might feel confident in your ability to perform a certain skill or task. Confidence is an internal state.

Competence is how well you actually perform that skill or task, and it’s measured externally.

I’ve talked to many guys who are afraid to adopt a confident attitude because they fear that this will make them delusional. We’ve all known someone who thought they were really good at something…when in fact they sucked at it, and we shudder to think that we could end up like that.

When someone believes they are good at something, but external measurement shows that they are not, this is confidence without competence.

However, a person can also experience competence without confidence, and this is equally delusional. An example of this are talented artists or athletes who believe that they have no talent.

Let’s take archery as an example: an archer who feels confident that he is a great archer even though he keeps missing the target is delusional; an archer that hits the bulls eye consistently and believes he is terrible is also delusional.

It’s only by knowing your results and measuring them can you get an accurate representation of competence. If you shot a higher score than you did last time, you can say, “Hey look, I’ve improved!” That improvement is a scientific fact–your competence level has raised.

Confidence is trust in yourself. If you consistently shoot a score of 40, then you can have confidence in your ability to shoot 40. You can also have confidence in your ability to improve that score.

Ok, so what about limiting beliefs? Like I said, it’s become very fashionable in the personal development world to consider any “negative statement” a limiting belief. For example, if someone shoots a score of 40 consistently but can’t shoot a score of 60, then he or she might say, “I can’t shoot a score of 60 yet.” That’s not a limiting belief. That’s a fact.

Affirmations and positive thinking are like if that person was to stand there and say, “I am shooting 50, I am shooting 50…” Unconsciously, you know it’s a heaping pile of b*ll, because when you look at the total score, it’s not 50, it’s 40.

Limiting beliefs are not the same thing as recognizing your level of competence. Limiting beliefs happen when you make your current level of competence mean that you will never become more competent.

For example, Archer #1 looks at his score of 40 and says, “Oh, look, no matter how hard I try, I only can get to 40. Well, my family isn’t very athletic, and I was born with poor hand-eye coordination, and, and, and…I’ll never get better at this.”

Archer #2 looks at his score of 40 and says, “Ok, I can’t do 50 yet, but I will get there if I keep practicing and improving my technique.”

Both archers are right!

Archer #1’s unconscious mind makes sure that he does, in fact, maintain poor hand-eye coordination, and his level of competence does not improve even if he practices just as much–or more–than Archer #2.  Archer #2’s unconscious mind follows the instructions to improve with practice, and so he does. (Archer #3 is too busy doing affirmations to actually practice at all). Guess who actually improves his score? 🙂

The reason that Archer #2 is more successful than the other archers is because he recognizes his real, externally measured level of competency, but doesn’t let that affect his internal state of confidence in his ability to improve.

Limiting beliefs are a delusion. You are not smarter or more “grounded in reality” if you have them. An archery score of 40 is a measurable fact. Your belief is whatever meaning you attach to that fact.

A belief that “my current score of 40 MEANS I’ll never be able to get a higher score” is a total a delusion. There are an infinite number of meanings you can attach to a score of 40, and none of them will be any more or less scientifically provable than the existence of magical fairy dust.

Your current situation (or “score”) is not a reflection of your future; it’s a reflection of your past up to this point. Even with a score of 0, or even if someone has never shot a bow and arrow before, he can still maintain confidence that he will be able to become a great archer. It’s all about the beliefs he holds, for example, “I haven’t hit the target yet, but I see that other people in my archery class are hitting the target, so that MEANS that if I continue to learn, I will be able to hit the target.”

In other words, quit trying to predict the future and acting like that makes you more logical or grounded than your optimistic friends. 😉

Any belief can be “proven” because we delude ourselves into thinking that the evidence and the meaning we attribute to the evidence are the same thing. But the meaning we assign to what happens in our lives is not arrived at scientifically or logically; if you bring a limiting belief to conscious awareness, it will usually sound irrational and childish–which is no surprise, since it was probably formed when you were a child.

I’ve talked to guys who believe they can never attract women even though they had 3 dates last week. I know other guys who would say, “Hey, I had 3 dates last week–I’m on fire!” In other words, a guy who lacks confidence will often cling to his limiting beliefs and justify any evidence to the contrary. (“Oh, well maybe I did have three dates, but I’m sure it’s just because they were bored on a Friday night and wanted a free dinner.”).

Same “score” of 3 dates, two totally different meanings.

When you hear someone say, “It’s all a delusion anyway, so choose beliefs that empower you,” this is what he or she means. It’s not about blocking out reality; it’s about choosing the most empowering meaning for everything that happens in your reality (since it’s going to be your choice no matter what).

Where competence enters the picture is that sometimes, even when you have confidence, you still need to change behaviors. To go back to the archery example, what if the reason an archer isn’t shooting a higher score is because he is holding the bow the wrong way? Well, then confidence won’t correct that. He needs to learn to hold the bow the right way.

However, if you lack confidence, then learning more competence will not yield the improvement that you want. The archer who believes he won’t ever make it happen will keep missing the target because that’s what he unconsciously expects to do. He could have perfect technique, and still miss the target every time because of his beliefs.

The PUA industry emphasizes technique–ie competence–but in my experience working with one-on-one clients, very little “competence” is needed to make a drastic improvement in someone’s ability to attract women.

Men–and women–struggle in dating primarily because we are riddled with limiting beliefs, insecurities, and fears of inadequacy. We have attached so much unnecessary meaning to our past rejections and heartbreaks that most of us have become like the archer who will never hit the bulls eye, no matter how much we improve our “technique.”

So, the next time you catch yourself thinking, “Oh, she turned me down because….” or “She flaked, and that means…,” stop, and consider the most empowering way to complete that sentence. It won’t make you delusional to do that; on the contrary, it will probably be one of the biggest reality checks you could ever experience.


  1. Would love to know what products you have in miind

    • Anonymous says:

      Good question! The best thing I have found for resolving limiting beliefs is
      to work with a coach one-on-one. Products give you information; they aren’t
      personalized enough to find your limiting beliefs.

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