How limiting beliefs can prevent people from succeeding

This is a guest post by Farouk Radwan, founder of

We all know the famous story of Thomas Edison who kept trying and trying to invent the lamp even though everybody was against him until he succeeded.

The story of Thomas Edison is no different than the story of any other successful person. In the beginning he finds something that he believes in then he starts doing his best to make it true.

As soon as this happens, jealous people, negative people and others who put him down appear in the picture.

At this point If the person believed any of them, he is very likely to stop trying and give up his dream while if he kept going forward then certainly he will reach his goal and prove them all wrong.

I was telling a friend of mine about such facts then she replied saying “people criticize me and tell me I am wrong because they are different not because they are wrong”.

At this point I replied saying, if you believed that people are right then you are giving up on your dream while if you believed that people are wrong then certainly you will prove them wrong one day just like Thomas Edison did.

Limiting beliefs and success in life

If I was asked to point out the most common factor that prevents people from succeeding I would say that it’s the presence of false beliefs.

My friend confused a real fact that people are different, with another false idea which states that people are always right while usually most people who try to put you down are wrong.

When people put you down ask yourself the following questions:

1)      Are they very successful?

2)      Are they very wealthy?

3)      Are they really happy?

4)      Are they satisfied with their lives completely?

Usually you will find that all the answers are no.

Most people are not successful, unhappy and not satisfied with their lives. Does it make any sense to follow them or even to believe in them?

Believe in yourself in order to succeed

You will never be able to succeed before you believe in yourself.

And you will never be able to believe in yourself before you:

1)      Get rid of all the false beliefs you have about success

2)      Understand that most people who reject you are not Gods but they are normal human beings who might be jealous, uneducated or even scared to take the path you took.

Success in life can only happen when you truly believe that you will succeed one day.

Believe those who reject you and you will end up being like them, Go against them and you will prove them all wrong one day.

Just remember how Thomas Edison had the last laugh because he believed in himself.


If you have liked this post, then please leave a comment in the box below and/or share it with your followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or your favourite social network.

  1. Sometimes people are afraid to take the risk to become successful. Most successful people have to take the risk, it could be financially or just trying something out of the normal box

    1. exactly debbie
      those who dare try more often and those who try more often succeed 🙂

    2. Great point Debbie!

      Successful people are not afraid to think outside the box. When we’re inside the box, we are restricted, usually by our own fears. Step out of the box and there is an element of risk due to the unfamiliarity. However, it is by doing those things which are most unfamiliar and risky, that lead to the greatest opportunity for growth and success.

      Thanks for your comment Debbie, and for supporting Farouk! Your views are greatly appreciated. 🙂

  2. Excellent guest post, Farouk!

    I have heard it said to consider the source when someone criticizes others. We all have different perspectives and different ideas.

    Some people may not intent to be hurtful, and instead they are trying to be helpful but their negativity isn’t as helpful as they think. They may mean well, but they may be basing their judgements of my life on their life experience, not on mine. Even if they are right, at the end of the day it’s my life and I’m the one who will live with the success or learn from the failure.

    Other people are truly jealous or petty, and do not want others to have success they do not have. This attitude is damaging to both parties, but does not have to be as hurtful as it’s intended if I choose to recognize their behavior is the result of the limitations they put on themselves.

    I’ve also heard it said to ask myself, “is it true?” when being criticized. Too often we automatically take on the beliefs and behaviors of others, but those beliefs and behaviors belong to them, not me. I don’t have to take responsibility for anyone else’s attitudes.


    1. I agree with you Chrysta
      some people like our parents for example might want our good while some people might be jealous but in the end both can put us down
      thanks for your comment 🙂

    2. Hi Chrysta,

      I really love your approach to life! It’s truly refreshing and enlightening.

      I can totally relate to the point you make about some people not intending to be hurtful, and in general meaning well, but because of their life experiences end up presenting more negativity.

      In my own life many people have told me to be watchful of this thing, or be careful of that thing. However, I’ve always wanted to experience for myself, and then make my own judgements on what it was like.

      From the comment you made about seeing the limitations that jealous and petty people put on themselves, I can sense you have a lot of compassion Chrysta, my friend! This is great.

      And as you quite rightly said, it’s always wise to question when people criticise us. It is their views and opinions. Not ours. Your words reminded me of the following quote by Wayne Dyer I believe:

      “What you think of me is none of my business.”

      Thanks for adding so much more to Farouk’s post Chrysta. It’s so nice of you to drop by. 🙂

  3. Boy, this is so true! Great insight to what you wrote Farouk-thank you:)

    1. Hi Carla,

      I’m really glad you could resonate with Farouk’s post!

      Thank you so much for your comment. It’s so nice to see you here! 🙂

    1. Hi Deva,

      I’m so glad you found Farouk’s post motivational and gained confidence from it.

      It’s so nice of you to drop by and thank you for commenting! 🙂

  4. Hi Farouk,

    I just wanted to say thank you for your excellent post in the area of limiting beliefs.

    It’s a real pleasure to have you here my friend! 🙂

    1. The pleasure is Mine Hiten,
      i am really happy you gave me this opportunity 🙂

      1. You are most welcome Farouk! 🙂

        It’s lovely to see your post being so well-received by the readers.

        Thank you my friend.

  5. Believing in yourself and having the courage to pursue dreams regardless of naysayers is so critical. I’m a big Edison fan, as well 🙂 Lovely reminders. 🙂

    1. Hi Antonia,

      I loved the way you said that!

      It really is so important, to believe in ourselves and be courageous to do what we want, because the truth is, we will all most lively come across negative people, who will try and discourage us. These people are best ignored! 🙂

      Thank you for commenting Antonia. It’s lovely to see you here. Your blog is amazing by the way. 🙂

    2. I a fan of Edison as well Antonioa and of all people who persisted until they got what they want
      thank you for the comment 🙂

  6. Hello Hiten & thankyou Farouk,
    Excellent points.
    be good to yourself

    1. Hi David,

      It’s great to see you here and I’m really glad you liked Farouk’s post.

      Thanks for commenting my friend. 🙂 Your support is much appreciated.

    2. thank you so much for your comment and nice words David
      happy to see you here 🙂

  7. This post is timeless. Thank you, Farouk and Hiten. (Hiten, loved your post over at Zeenat’s)

    Another side of limiting beliefs which are bestowed on us, rather than stemming from within as part of our emotional make up is “negative praise”. (I just made that up). Words like “Nothing less is expected of you” after a major achievement rather than “Wow! you did a great job – how did you pull it off!” and keeping the adrenalin rush live.

    I was lucky to go to a school that had “Moral Science” as one of the subjects, during which we were told all kinds of inspiring stories – inculcating a positive attitude in us, most of the time. Yet, there were also teachers who never wanted to praise, for fear we may sit back and bask in our achievements, stagnate, and let it hold us back from moving forward. They meant well. But that’s not how we always saw it! We were young, after all! We sometimes resented them for thinking it was no big deal.

    Limiting beliefs or this sort make the individual believe they’re never good enough. Appreciation, even for little things is so very important.

    My two cents.

    Incidentally, Thomas Edison’s story is very inspiring and relevant here – he was no remarkable student – and his teacher often scolded him for his wandering mind and even considered him dull. Truth was, Edison was brilliant and imaginative as we all know it 🙂 Luckily for him, his mother took over his schooling after he was chucked out of school after 5 years for being dull. :-). She believed in him and encouraged him to excel. And gave the world Thomas Alva Edison.

    1. Vidya
      thanks for making the post more rich with your analysis 🙂
      happy to see you here 🙂

  8. Hi Vidya,

    I loved your term “negative praise”!

    And I so know what you mean as well. I’ve experienced something similar. When I was a kid, one particular cousin used to say “I expect more from you”, in response to when I was being a little out of character from my normal self. I was a good boy when I was a kid. 🙂

    Anyway, such comments, particularly to sensitive kids like I was, are not helpful. And they contributed to a belief that I developed, which was “I’m not good enough”.

    I really liked the way you explained how praise should be given. I totally agree.

    Vidya, you truly were lucky to learn “Moral Science” when you were kid. If only schools in the UK introduced these types of lessons, which would indeed help a child deal with the trials and tribulations of life. In fact, all schools across the whole world should have such lessons!

    You are so right. Let us appreciate the younger generation, give them positive praise and celebrate their achievements, rather than holding back, for fear it will be bad for them, if we do. Even such fears belong to the adults. Why project our fears onto the kids?

    Your two cents were more like a million pounds my friend!

    The way you explained Edison’s story as a student makes me even more inspired. I love a story where teachers or other adults in authority roles never believed in a kid, but someone always did, and encouraged the child to go onto achieve great things! 🙂

    Thank you very much for adding so much more to Farouk’s post Vidya.

    And I really appreciated your comment at Zeenat’s post. I responded a little earlier.

    Take care.

  9. Hi Farouk,

    Thank you, I enjoyed reading your post and thank you Hiten for publishing this.

    I agree with you when you say that self limiting beliefs are the major reason why people find succeeding a challenge.

    Isn’t it interesting how human beings are automatically programmed to focus on all the reasons why they can’t be successful rather than arguing for all the reasons why they can be successful?

    Having a reason why you can’t be successful is not an acceptable way to legitimise your perceived failure.

    Because it does not come naturally, you have to train yourself to be present enough so that when you hear yourself arguing for your limitations you can interrupt the pattern.

    This done you can start the process of rejecting outdated beliefs that usually come from others and in their place start installing all the reasons why you can do whatever it is you desire to do.


    1. that’s so right Marcus
      once we train our brain to think positive, nothing can stop us
      happy to see you here : )

    2. Hi Marcus,

      Thank you so much for responding to Farouk’s post and for giving him your support.

      As I was reading your comment, it got me thinking of something I’ve been thinking of lately.

      As you quite rightly said, we as humans are programmed to focus on reasons why we can’t be successful rather than focusing on the reasons why we can. Indeed, as you say, doing the former doesn’t come naturally so we need to train ourselves.

      Wouldn’t it be great if they somehow taught such lessons to younger people in schools and colleges? Having an understanding of such very important issues, really is critical for our survival and progression in this world.

      By having this knowledge earlier and learning how to deal with, perhaps young people would grow up with far less limiting beliefs.

      Thanks for adding so much more to Farouk’s post Marcus.

  10. Very nice to meet you, Farouk, and thanks for adorning Hiten’s blog with a truly valuable message!

    I see this issue much the same as George Bernard Shaw …

    “The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.” – George Bernard Shaw

    When people put you down or attempt to squash your plans and dreams …

    Turn a blind eye!

    Refuse to acknowledge their negativity, well-intended advice, or ignorance.

    Until someone has walked a mile in YOUR moccasins …

    They’re not entitled to pass judgement.

    Think of naysayers as having NO vested interest in what your future holds.

    I don’t mean to sound harsh, but the older I get, the more I’ve learned to trust my gut level instincts, my better logic, and my intuition when it comes to pursuing my desires. And I won’t allow anyone carte blanche to steer me in the opposite direction.

    I don’t know if you noticed yet but …

    Life is doggone short! 🙂

    1. you are so right Melanie
      thanks so much for your addition 🙂

    2. Hi Melanie,

      Thank you for your very powerful comment and for supporting Farouk!

      You left a very important message, which is that life is just too short. Do we really want to spend our lives living out other people’s negative beliefs and views? I don’t think we do.

      The thing is so many people do fall into the trap of ‘buying into’ what others tell them.

      I’ve have had a number of people in my life try to discourage me from doing this or that, because there was too much ‘risk’ and it wouldn’t work out.

      The best thing I’ve done, which you mentioned is turn a blind eye! 🙂

  11. This is a great post and a great reminder. So often I find it easier to sweep aside the hundreds of positive affirmations I receive from people and focus on the pea in the mattress of the disgruntled one. I have spent years working on my belief system and know it underpins every step we take in life and no more so than in business.

    1. Hi Maureen,

      Isn’t it strange how the negatively people try and portray on us, is usually in the minority, yet it these people and their messages that we tend to remember?

      I believe it has something to do with what Marcus said in his comment above, about humans being programmed to focus on all the reasons why they can’t be successful rather than on why they can.

      It’s like sometimes we also run a similar program to get discouraged when someone advises us, and tells us ‘it can’t be done’.

      It’s important to be mindful of this, and keep pushing the negative people out of our minds, while bringing the positive people who spread encouragement and support to the fore of our thoughts.

      You are 100% right. Our belief system really does underpin what we will do in our lives.

      Thanks for leaving your brilliant comment! 🙂

  12. I love this post. It resonates completely with me. I used to worry about people who gossiped about me, people who said I was worth nothing, people who didn’t agree with my philosophy about life. Then I asked myself: “what’s their life like anyway?” “Are they really happy?” “Are they successful?” And the fact was, and still is, they haven’t made anything of their lives- they are headed down the wrong road in life. As a matter of fact, the wiser a man becomes, the more enlightened a man becomes, the less inclined he is to criticize others jealously. It took me some time, but I was eventually able to develop the confidence and inner strength to remain independent of other people’s opinions- whether good or bad.

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