6 Myths that Hold You Back in Life


Life is full of ups and downs. However, it’s possible to have more ups than the downs. A lot of the downs can stem from myths you’ve bought into but usually aren’t true. Below are six myths that might be preventing you from reaching your true potential.

The ‘I can’t change’ myth

Many people think personality is locked. Perhaps you do. I hear it all the time, usually from people who’ve never really engaged in any serious self-development.

I beg to differ greatly. People all over the world are creating changes in their lives every day, which includes learning new skills and behaviours and adapting their characteristics. Just like others can change dispite difficult circumstances, so can you.

The ‘I don’t have it in me’ myth

This is similar to the first one, but differs in one big way – that you believe change is available to everyone except you. This is a self-esteem issue. If you believe you can change, then the framework for changing yourself is already there. You do have it in you to change. Just use some courage which is already in you and dare to be different to what you normally do or say.

The ‘I don’t have time’ myth

Yes, you’re busy with work and have other people to support. However, are you saying you can’t even find 1 hour in your weekly schedule, to do an activity that will progress your inner growth? If so, you might want to analyse where the belief that you don’t have enough time, is coming from. Most likely you’re creating excuses and procrastinating due to some underlying fear.

The ‘I don’t have the right background’ myth

You have a background and history just like all of us do. However, your background doesn’t define what you can do and/or what you can become now and in the future. Instead of looking at your background as a barrier to what you can achieve, use it to extract out sources of strength, which you can build upon to create the life story you’ve dreamed of.

The ‘I have to do everything perfectly’ myth

This myth is completely false. It is unreal because there is no such thing as ‘perfect’ . Trying to be perfect is a state of mind born out of fear of not being good enough. When you were young, if elders told you to always be perfect, they might have wanted you to be the best you could, yet the words they were using were unwise. Instead of striving for an ideal that doesn’t exist, aim for becoming highly skilled and competent.

The ‘if I achieve/get something, then I’ll be happy’ myth

Developing yourself and growing your confidence is a wonderful thing to do. It makes your life enjoyable. As you do, you will believe in yourself more and one of the by-products will be the attainment of material items. However, remember, that although the feeling from achieving will be a good one, it won’t last long. Before you know it, you’ll be worrying about something else.

This is the way the mind works. Therefore, learn to appreciate what you already have, no matter how small you might believe it to be and find joy in the simpler things in life. Doing so will give you the ability to always have a sense of satisfaction for what you have, at any point in your life.

My friends, it’s over to you:

• What other myths hold us back in life?
• What can we do to dispel such myths?
• Please share your valuable experiences, thoughts and views in the comments box below.
• Please also share this post on your favourite social networks. Thank you.


Photo Credit: Keng Susumpow

  1. Great myths to dispel, Hiten! It’s amazing how many self-limiting messages we live by, often subconsciously. Just this past Thu evening, I went to see Dr. Bruce Lipton talk. He’s a cell biologist by training and has offered great insights into the biology behind how we form our beliefs. Essentially, 95% of the time, we act automatically (I’ve written about that in my blog before). It’s our subconscious programming that controls that time. And that programming is full of the myths that you outlined here. If we don’t become conscious of these myths, they continue to run our lives. Thank you for pointing out these myths for us to dispel.

    1. Hi Alice,

      Many thanks for your wonderful comment and sharing some excellent, further insights into this area.

      The talk you mentioned by Dr. Bruce Lipton, does indeed sound fascinating. The science behind our beliefs is a very interesting area and I’m keen to learn more. As you quite rightly said, we do act on autopilot. What I’ve found is there is a distinct gap between something happening in our environment or in our mind and our reaction. It would be very interesting to know what happens from a scientific level in this gap.

      Thanks very much for adding so much more to this post, Alice. Have a wonderful week.

  2. Hi Hiten,

    This is really an eye-opening as well as a motivational post!

    You’ve emphasized on one important fact of life – that it’s possible to have more ups than the downs, and it largely depends on our attitude and belief. The downs will be there, you can’t remove or stop them from happening. However, you can make all the efforts that you’ve within your hands and control to maximize the “ups” in life. And, some of them you can achieve by removing the myths that you’ve wrongly learned.

    That yet again reminds us the importance and need of “unlearning” in life. So many things we learn in life that are not correct, and sometimes we know that, but still we’re unable to change our habits, or be willing to unlearn them as they become an integral part of us.

    There’s a great resistance to change in some people, and I’ve observed that personally. I’ve mentioned that in a couple of posts on “change” I’ve written. I agree with you that we need to have a continuous self-development process going on – but some people really jam their change mechanism and are rendered helpless because of the lack of belief and will.

    I like how you’ve meticulously combined your life experiences and observations, and mentioned all the excuses that people make when it comes to changing or progressing. One other factor that I mentioned in my posts is that most people are gripped by the “state of inertia” and they’re not able to move themselves, and do or say anything to remain in that state or call it their self-limiting comfort zone.

    You’ve conveyed and big and important message in a simple, objective, and easy way to understand. Thanks for that. 🙂 Have a great week ahead!

    1. Hi Harleena,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

      Absolutely, as you said, there will always be downs (its part and parcel of being human), and the ups can in fact me maximised. When one becomes serious about changing their mind-set and becomes committed to practicing changing the way one thinks and feels, one becomes increasingly competent at spending more of his/her time in “up” states.

      Ah, what you wrote about “unlearning” in life is so true. You stated is brilliantly. So many things we pick up in life are not really good for us and unfortunately, this can start right from when we’re kids. By the time we reach adulthood and if we conclude that something is not quite right in our lives, we have to “re-program” the olds ways and replace them with news ways of facing and being in the world.

      Indeed, the resistance to change can be such a barrier to one’s growth. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the recent posts on self-development over at your blog. The tips and models you’ve shared are so practical, which is great.

      Many thanks for sharing another factor which hold people back in life; namely being stuck in a state, where people feel they can’t move. You’re right. So many people can be in this state, and unfortunately might consider it the norm and see no way out. Hopefully and somehow messages about self-help will filter through to them.

      Thanks for leaving such a wonderful comment and thanks for your words of appreciation for this post. Have a good rest of the week, Harleena! 🙂

  3. You are so right by pointing out these myths. People are able to do anything they want. But its a lot easier said than done, one has to put in a lot of effort to get there but you are spot on by pointing out these myths.
    If a person really wants to do something then they can achieve it. I am not sure how to dispel these fears so I would like a post on this topic.

    1. Hi Shalu,

      Indeed, as you quite rightly said, if a person wants to do something in life, the person can achieve it. However, nothing worth having ever comes easy. Therefore one needs to be prepared to put in effort.

      Thank you for joining the discussion here.

  4. Hi Hiten,

    A great list of myths that we need to knock on the head. I think I’d add the “I’m too old” or “I’ve left it too late” myth – as your first point makes clear, we all have the capacity to change, and I think that holds true no matter how old (or young) we are.

    I think the first step in dispelling such myths is to recognise that we believe them in the first place – they’re often very deep-seated, almost unconscious beliefs – we need to become aware of them first and see them for what they are, if we’re to send them packing.

    Thanks for another thought-provoking and inspiring post, Hiten,


    1. Hi Sue,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post!

      Many thanks for adding the additional myth related to being too old. As you quite rightly said, we have the ability to change during all stages of our lives, no matter how old or young we are.

      Indeed, you’re spot on about the first step in overcoming such myths. We need to become conscious of them, almost in detached, objective way to notice how such beliefs work, where they come from and how they make us feel. We can then take steps to develop a new belief system.

      Many thanks for adding so much more to this post. Sue!

  5. Thanks for gathering this awesome list Hiten. All have resonated with me at some point or the other. Unfortunate we grow up with so many of these myths and stories in our head when they don’t serve us at all. The “I don’t have time myth” is classic because it’s a cop out for anything we don’t want to do in our lives. It’s never about time for people, it’s only if they want to do it or not – it’s only if the activity fits their value system or not.

    I used to have a “I can’t accept change” myth but over the last few months and years have learned to accept, embrace and even welcome life changes.

    1. Hi Vishnu,

      It’s great to see you here, my friend and I’m really glad you liked the list of myths!

      I can so appreciate what you said about the “I don’t have time” myth being a total cop out. In fact it’s probably one of the biggest excuses we can make for not doing anything. A managing director of one of the previous companies I worked at, told me that people always have time, including those at senior levels in organisations; but only if it’s an activity that want to do. This is just like what you wrote in your comment.

      It’s amazing how you’ve learnt to embrace and welcome change and I appreciate you sharing this with everyone. It’s inspiring and even proof for those who believe they can’t change.

      Thanks for adding so much more to this post, Vishnu! 🙂

  6. Great list Hiten. The only other myth I might add is the “I’m too old” myth. I just love stories of people who achieve amazing things in their later years. I wrote a story last year about a man who learned to read at 91 and wrote a book at age 94! There are stories of people who run marathons in their 70s and beyond. It really all boils down to the wonder of the human spirit. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Marty,

      Ah, the story you shared about the man who learned how to read at the age of 91 and wrote a book at the age of 94 is truly inspirational. What a wonderful example to help blow the myth you mentioned; namely “I’m to old”.

      Indeed, great changes are possible during all stages of our lives.

      Many thanks for adding so much more to this post, Marty. I appreciate your support.

  7. Hello Hiten, Nice post my friend. I’ve lerned that you can do anything if you really want it. The worst thing that you can ever do is not give it a try because you’ll never know if you could have suceeded.

    Thanks so much for a great sahe Hiten…

    1. Hi Rob,

      It’s wonderful to see you here, my friend! How are you? Hope you’re well.

      Many thanks for sharing the wisdom you’ve gained from your experienced. I totally agree with the point youmade about how we can do anything if we want it bad enough. Indeed, as you quite rightly said, the worst case scenario is not even giving it a go.

      I’m really glad you liked the post and thanks for adding so much to this post, Rob.

  8. Hello Hiten,

    You have laid out a great list! It is clear that if we should hold on to any one of the myths, we are bound to hold ourselves back!! The other myths laid out by the other commenters are great ones to bust too!

    1. Hi Evelyn,

      Indeed, as you quite rightly said, holding onto these types of myths is a guaranteed way to hold us back.

      Many thanks for commenting, Evelyn. I appreciate your support!

  9. Yes Hiten,
    These ‘myths’ have been around as long as I can remember … I call them EXCUSES.
    And they go hand in hand with “it’s not my fault” … why would it be when you can blame someone else?
    Thankyou for the reminder.

    Be good to yourself

    1. Hi David,

      Absolutely my friend, these are also excuses and I loved the additional one you shared, about it not being our fault. This is a big one and allows one to so easily shift into blame game. In effect, it’s a copout, where one doesn’t have to take responsibility for his/her own actions, words and feelings.

      Many thanks for adding so much more to this post, David.

  10. The ‘I don’t have it in me’ myth was a big one for me.
    I used to always say to myself that I wasn’t good enough to use it as an excuse for not even trying and to feel better about not doing it.
    It’s a weird feeling because it also made me overlook my successes because of that one belief. It wasn’t until recently when I really sat down and thought about all of my achievements when I realized how successful I actually am. In addition to also being a fast learner. I was effectively holding myself all along and not realizing it.
    I think being observant and conscious of your daily thoughts is so so important.

    Great Post Hiten 🙂

    1. Hi Onder,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I can relate to what you said about telling yourself you weren’t good enough and using this excuse to not do anything. I used to do the same, too. It’s amazing how a slight shift in our attitude, to actually considering that we might be able to do something, enables us to see new possibilities.

      The realisations you came to, through considering all your achievements and understanding that you had already made great strides is wonderful.

      Many thanks for commenting, Onder. I appreciate your support. 🙂

  11. Thank you for breaking these common myths.

    The most common excuse I’ve heard form people who don’t move toward their dreams is the time myth. Seeing their daily agenda/actives it’s often full of time wasters. They spend a huge amount of time on social media, watching TV, playing video games, or doing unproductive actives. They enjoy the comfort life rather than putting in the time and work to chase their dreams (a better future). It’s important to know and stay focused on our top priorities and to dedicate our time for them.

    Thank you for this great post!

    1. Hi Dan,

      I can really appreciate what you wrote in your comment, my friend.

      Indeed, the time myth is such a common one. As you said, people use this excuse, yet spend their time doing wasteful activities. It really is illogical. I guess some people just don’t get it.

      Many thanks for commenting. I appreciate your wonderful support.

  12. Great stuff Hiten. I especially love the “I don’t have time” myth and the “If I achieve/get something I’ll be happy” myth. I’ve heard both of those myths so many times. Each one is bullshit in it’s own way. Like you said, if someone says they can’t spend one-hour a week on self-improvement than something is definitely wrong. The achievement = happiness myth is a little bit more challenging. Personally I think there needs to be a solid balance between achievement and appreciation.

    Another great myth is “I’m too old/young.” It’s never too late to start and it’s never too early to start. As long as you start, that’s all that matters.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post, my friend.

      I loved what you wrote in your comment, and in particularly the advice you shared regarding the achievement=happiness myth. What you wrote about the need for a good combination of appreciation with achievement, is a wonderful way to continue achieving in a way where we don’t get insecure, and start to worry when things don’t always go to plan.

      Have a wonderful week ahead, Kevin!

  13. Your posts always encourage me. This time you make me speechless. Specially when it comes to say ” i don’t have the Right Background”. People always think they are not from good background But now we have to create our Background with our-self.
    Thanks Bro for sharing this kind of stuff with us

    1. Hi Gautams,

      I’m really glad you’re finding the posts useful!
      Ah, what you wrote about creating our backgrounds ourselves was so inspirational. Indeed, we all have the power to determine our own legacies. I always like to look into the future, imagine myself old, and then look back on my life to notice if I really did lead the life I wanted.

      Many thanks for adding so much more to this post, Gautams!

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