Humans Can Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs Completely
Even as the answer of the question that whether humans can overcome their self-limiting beliefs is explicit in the developed state of the human civilization itself, each generation would go on seeking its answer in a new format, that would provide them guidance to lead their life effectively among the prevailing culture of the society - Humans Can Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs Completely introduction. This in fact is an integral part of humans’ quest for temporal refinement which would go on, so long the civilization exists and in the process the civilization would keep on experiencing newer horizons of development.
The above state of affairs speaks about the macro level of the issue of human ability to overcome self-limiting beliefs, where humans maintain their habit of toppling the barriers of limiting thoughts. However, on the micro level too this issue is nonetheless important to keep the society healthy and prosperous. At this level most of the self-limiting beliefs stem from humans voluntary or involuntary submission to certain ideas, which eventually become part and parcel of perception and influence or dictate human behavioral processes within its framework.
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The term, “self-limiting belief” is capable of generating debate as well – because there is no proven universal yardstick that can totally certify a belief as self-limiting or self-expanding, because everything of this universe is dynamic and thus is capable of producing various results. Therefore, the beliefs behind acts that are harmful for the individual or the society, or detrimental to the individual or collective development, are usually counted as the self-limited beliefs.
For example, if someone gets addicted to smoking and drinking and never accommodates the idea that s/he can get out of that habit, then this attitude can be considered as self-limiting belief. While this limitation is injurious for the person’s health, equally injurious to another person’s development can be procrastination, which may put the person in distress.
Understandably, in both the cases, society gets affected, and thus, self-limiting thoughts of this nature catch attention in every period of civilization where humans try to discover ways and means to get rid of them permanently. Such endeavors involve both conventional methods of psychiatry and non-conventional methods of healing. As for the present time, the later process is gaining more grounds as new age therapy, which leaves nothing to use as its tool to cure limiting beliefs of humans, thereby, rekindling the age-old debate on one’s supremacy over the other.
Therefore, this paper explores the nuances of both the approaches towards de-limiting human beliefs and in the process reviews motivation theories, theories regarding human perception, the mechanisms of both the approaches, before analyzing all to reach its own decision regarding which method is “limited in its application to free humans from self-limited beliefs and whether humans can totally be free from such beliefs”. Background Before anything, it would be pertinent to review the humans need structure and the mechanism of human mind, because, these are the elementary things that stand behind each individual’s act.
Need creates the urge, which gets culminated into motivation and motivation becomes the guiding force of human action – be it ordinary or extraordinary regarding its implications. Understandably, with the gradual refinement of their intellect, humans have developed various kinds of sub-needs, and thus the structure of human needs have become far too complex to comprehend fully. However, there are some basic theories, which deal with the basic needs of humans, and provide some clues regarding its structure.
Human Need Structure Theory 1: Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) provides an outline of human needs, which eventually serves as the guiding engine to human motivation. Maslow’s model divides the human needs into five broad based categories and they are: 1. Physiological Needs: It speaks about basic needs like Air, Water, Nourishment and Sleep; humans can afford to chase their next need only after attaining this set of needs. 2. Safety Needs: This need deals with safety in both living and in workplace, and success in attaining them provides much needed mental space for humans to pursue the next need, i. . , Social Need. 3. Social Needs: It involves group activities, socialization, or enhanced interpersonal communication, through which humans form bondage with the society and make their way to pursue the next need, that is Esteem Need. 4. Esteem Needs: At this level humans focus on their esteem that involves recognition and social status, which in turn paves the way towards pursuing the self-realization process, which is a unique and an endless endeavor.
5. Self-actualization: Every human life is ideally expected to pursue this need, where one can discover one’s true self. (Maslow’s, 2008). Maslow’s Model Self Actualization This is the most developed stage of human where they realize their potential and engage in temporal quest. Esteem It deals with self and social recognition. Social This involves desires related to human interaction, friendship or relationship, love, etc. Safety The desire to remain protected from dangers of all kinds Physiological Basic needs like hunger, thirst, shelter.
Theory 2: ERG Theory. Clayton Alderfer has created an improvised presentation of Maslow’s model that looks more flexible and capable of determining the needs of an individual by redistributing the elements from Maslow’s model into three sections like below: Existence (E) – It involves physiological and safety needs. Relatedness (R) – It contains social and external esteem needs. Growth (G) – Self-actualization and internal esteem needs. (ERG, 2007). Clayton’s model allows to set the order of needs according to the existing need structure of an employee, besides providing the scope to pursue different needs simultaneously.
Accordingly, company can separately motivate any individual on any of the E, R or G needs. This model does more than it meets the eye, because it promotes a frustration-regression principle, which refers to the situation where an individual placates his/her mind with the fulfillment of one need after failing to meet another higher need – like when the company fails to fulfill the safety need of an employee (say, by arranging a decent housing) but makes up for it by recognizing her performance through incentives.
However, it is important for the managers to know about such levers of motivation in an employee. For that matter, I would like to introduce Acquire Needs Theory for the managers of Altitude Corporation, because it mostly deals with the dynamics of needs. Theory No. 3: Acquire Needs Theory David McClelland , the main propagator of this concept, opines, “motivation of an individual can result from three dominant needs” and they are, “The Need for Achievement, Power and Affiliation” (McClellands’, 2007).
This mainly depicts nodal points of human tendencies. The Need for Achievement: It refers to the people who want to perform tough and challenging tasks on a high level, where they thrive on continuous supply of success and positive feedback or try to exert them while avoiding both low and high risks. McClelland brands them as the potential leaders, who like to work along with other high achievers. The Need for Affiliation: It speaks about the need for networking and good interpersonal communication.
Here the persons want to be liked, appreciated and accepted by other people, as they value personal interaction. According to McClelland, “a strong need for affiliation undermines the objectivity and decision-making capability of managers” (McClellands’, 2007). The Need for Power: This has two segments – personal and institutional, where people want to direct and influence others in the first and want to organize other’s efforts to win the goals of the company. The second category usually enjoys an edge over its counter part.
Human Motivation Motivation is the real driving force of all living organisms which aims to fulfill the need created within that creature. Understandably, this process in humans have become far more complicated with the refinement of their brain and the expansion in their sphere of activity. Thus, it would be pertinent to explore the usual proceedings at the core of the human motivation, that contains three elements, viz. , Consciousness, Inverted qualia and absent qualia.
At the Core of Motivation: Consciousness, Inverted and Absent Qualia. The above three together refer to the package of various mental states, where the consciousness has six major identifiable states like 1. State of awareness: When is aware of being in (Rosenthal, 1986). 2. Qualitative states: When one senses something out of something like enjoying a meal or experiencing a pain. These are referred to as “qualia”, which are regarded as “intrinsic, private, ineffable monadic features of experience, though modern theories of qualia often reject some of those commitments” (Dennet, 1990).
3. Phenomenal states: It involves more than sensory qualia, as it covers spatial, temporal and conceptual organization of experience regarding the world and the person’s standpoint in it. 4. What-it-is-like states: It’s when one associates a sense of experience with another, like if there is something that it is like to be in that state. 5. Access consciousness: It’s when one deals with intra-mental relations – like one seeing a thing and ideating something and then deciding on something, where there maybe or may not be any apparent relationship among the above-said three stages . Narrative consciousness: It’s when someone is in the “stream of consciousness” that contain an ongoing, series of thoughts from the “perspective of an actual or merely virtual self” (Dennett, 1991). In short, qualia can be described as a personal package of intrinsic and intricate experiences, with which humans deciphers various external signals and responds to them, where the nature of experience governs the nature of response. Likewise, someone might like pizza and someone not for no apparent reason.
Qualia involve perceptual experience, physical sensations, reactions, various moods, etc. The difference in perception causes inverted qualia, like one likes pizza and the other detests it. Here the call is coming purely from within – where the person is unable to define excepting her liking or disliking. Seemingly it has a strong connection with intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, absent qualia, which speaks about the possibility of functional duplicates of the creatures that consciously perceive something. According to absent qualia, if Mr. X likes baked fish but dislikes garlic in it, then his absolute clone would also like baked fish and dislike garlic, for which the clone would not need an intricate and intrinsic package of experiences. Towing that line, one can say, if Mr. X happens to be a purchase officer in Y department and likes to get cash reward, then Mr. Z, who belongs to the same rank and file, would also like to get cash reward, and in doing so, he might not have to think twice! This study thus feels about a hidden relation between absent qualia and extrinsic rewards, as majority of people are moved more by extrinsic rewards.
That indicates to the fact that even self-limiting beliefs too promise extrinsic rewards, and thus influence humans to act accordingly. However, humans’ apparently involuntary association with rewards too has its routes in their perception, the deck of which contains a master list of desire and accordingly pushes them to achieve that list, and both inverted qualia and absent qualia are colored with those desires. The above diagram shows that no discussion on extrinsic rewards or intrinsic motivation would be complete without discussing the desire structure of humans. For that matter this study resorts to acclaimed theories on human needs. Motivating Tools Though it is difficult to make a comprehensive list of motivating tools, some elements can be identified as the sources of all other tools. And they are Extrinsic and Intrinsic rewards. Rewards serve to the emotional needs of humans, which in turn motivate them. “Every behavior comes out of ‘pain and gain’ principle”, says Shiv Khera ( 2004, p110).
There can be many types of gains, ranging from money, vacations or gifts to medallions, or even they can be intangible too – recognition, appreciation, sense of achievement, growth, responsibility, sense of fulfillment, self-worth, accomplishment, and belief are the examples of such gains. Broadly speaking, reward system separates the elements of motivation into two categories, external and internal. In the first category it lists items like money, societal fame approval, or fear, while in the second, it keeps factors like “pride, sense of achievement, responsibility and belief”.
It also takes an important fact into consideration that the inner motivation is actually the inner gratification that might not always depends on the material success – it is an innate desire to feel content with an accomplishment, rather than just achieving a goal (Khera, 2004). Thus it can be said, when any prospect of reward (like pleasure from smoking) forms a belief (which is intangible) and that starts influencing a human, then it would be difficult to remove that belief, and for that matter another belief that would promise more reward, is required replace it.
There cannot be a situation where two contrasting beliefs gaining equal importance. Thus it looks like the battle of beliefs within human mind, where self-limiting beliefs start gaining pleasure out of pain generated by non-conformity with the normal principles of life – like enjoying smokers’ cough, a pain generated by excessive smoking, or carrying on with drinking while suffering from liver ailment. The Zone of Psychology and Psychiatry Inner motivations are not totally dependent on the outer circumstances and they can boost one’s morale or self-esteem even under adverse conditions.
There are thousands of instances of autosuggestions working wonders under a tight situation. The elements like praise, love and faith can rise anytime as the most important element of motivation under a specific environment, they can be instrumental to boost one’s self esteem, or to build a strong conviction to march ahead towards one’s cherished goal. Approaches by Conventional Therapists The clinical approaches towards eradicating self-limiting beliefs include tangible evidences gathered through machine-oriented frameworks that can evaluate neurological impulses or other physiological actions.
For example, brain mapping is a process, that records the patterns of stimulation of brain, and it has its yardsticks/logistics of determining the state of brain by evaluating the recorded inputs gained in the form of visible digital signals. Accordingly, it attempts to attain the pattern/s that are recognized as healthy pattern. In the process, this approach tries to “fix” the problem. This approach of underpinning an intangible problem with little sources of evidence thus cannot provide any guarantee of success of psychopathology, and might even be detrimental to the mental health of the individuals.
Even the modern psychiatrists too hold the same view, like Nassir Ghaemi, MD, who assesses the stance of Karl Jasper, who is considered as a major contributor to philosophy and psychiatry, observes that scientific worldview to make a distinction between understanding and causal explanation should be there, but it should also have a methodological pluralism to deal certain situations (Ghaemi, 2006) Positive sides: The diagnostic system provides hints about the mechanism of human mind, but fails to answer why and how humans respond to certain stimuli, or how a set of belief settles in one’s perception.
Pitfalls: There is always the chance of wrongly identifying a pattern as unhealthy, as there can be numerous patterns that are yet to accepted as reflective of normal behavior. Next, this process does not provide solutions by providing another set of beliefs through the same technique (drugs, Electro-Convulsion Therapy or brain-surgery). New Age Approach This can be said as a refined presentation of ancient, natural process of meeting the human mind, much the same way humans got motivated to think out of the box and overcoming their self-limiting beliefs and making constant temporal advancement.
For that matter, modern day masters of self-development like Anthony Robbins or Nicholas Finnegan take help from the modern science and technology to weave their programs to free human minds from the shackles of limiting thoughts. Accordingly work on the effect of various external stimuli that work intrinsically with human mind and fuel their motivation, before settling down to their perception. Thus, the proponents of this approach basically engage in developing the human mind by imbibing the qualities that would remain in them and guide them towards development.
As for example, Anthony Robbins in one of his self-help module, Personal Power, applies his theory of Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC), which is based on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), developed by Richard Bandler and Dr. John Grinder. NAC works on two factors of human behavior – one, the need to avoid pain and two, the desire to gain pleasure. Understandably, it gears up to “condition” the human perception regarding its belief associated with pain and pleasure to derive desired response from them.
For that matter, it uses guided imagery, trance induction, personal values and rules realignment, etc (NAC, 2008). Accordingly, Anthony Robbins’ self-help module contains both suggestions and practice spaces, where individuals can learn and apply themselves to overcome their self-limiting thoughts and actions. It involves questionnaires to evoke the interest of human mind too – such as 1. What am I happy about in my life now? 2. What am I excited about in my life now? 3. What am I proud about in my life now? 4. What am I grateful about in my life now? 5. What am I enjoying most in my life right now? . What am I committed to in my life now? 7. What do I love? Who loves me? etc. Such questionnaires are accompanied with space for answers and explanations of various virtues that work as prime movers of human life, such as love, health, success, freedom, intimacy, security, adventure, power, passion or comfort, etc, besides examples of how humans move towards values. It also provides the counterpart of values – the elements which can generate destructive emotions and can limit human thoughts, like anger, frustration, boredom, resentment, jealousy, depression, self-pity, etc.
With a systematic arrangement of all these, Robbins tries to suggest humans to introspect and align their thought process with the universally acclaimed routes of development. Thus, such techniques aims to “fix” the problem with an alternative solution, where the approach was not to highlight the self-limiting thoughts as fault and to “kill” it, but accommodating it as a natural occurrence and replacing it with another set of natural process.
Nicholas Finnegan too comes up with wonderful suggestions towards self-development, where he emphasizes on self-esteem, a need which Maslow has kept right before humans’ ultimate need, self-accentualization. This is mostly analytical kind of book, which banks on logic, to substantiate the suggestion, much like the book written by Dr. Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (2001), where he discussed on the hidden qualities of mind. Thus, such suggestions of introspection are actually a promise of providing sustaining rewards to humans, where the suggestions can take all possible forms of communication.
Positive sides: This approach looks more comprehensive as it follows a total goal of developing humans, and it does not depend on mere tangible documentation of the mechanism of human brain, which is, after all, is not human mind! Pitfalls: The commercial aspect of this technique is tremendous, and no wonder, a large number of deviated gurus too exist in this profession and provide solutions like “Speed Seduction” – which is nothing but how to woo a woman quickly to satisfy lust.
Yes, that kind of practice too is there, where people like Ross Jeffries literally presents courses on how to seduce woman in minutes by applying suggestions. There are many more like him in the market, who are doing more harm to the society than doing any good, and they belong to a different league altogether. Moreover, their suggestions are limited in promising only extrinsic rewards, and thus unless constantly catered, cannot be effective, and thus they cannot be put into the same bracket of Finnegan or Anthony Robbins.
Analysis and Conclusion. The basic difference between the two approaches lies in their perspectives, where the clinical school of thought views the humans as a bundle of elements working under an established and tangible framework, where their nature of responses to any stimuli should be put under a tangible format and then if there is any deviation, that should be treated with tangible form of treatment, e. g. , ECT, brain surgery or drugs. On the other hand, new age therapy sees each human as a unique living organism with unique needs, and thus focuses on the ways and means to reach human minds with ideas that could replace the earlier set of beliefs.
In the first case, clinical healing clearly looks incomplete, as one tangible electrical signal cannot comprehend the state of belief in a human – even two different kind of thoughts can generate same wavelength – and thus can fox the healer and subsequently, chemical or similar external treatment could turn only as a diffusing or aggravating agent to the physiological system of the patient The general counseling can also prove ineffective here, as it does not follow the path through which the self-limiting beliefs get into human mind – where such beliefs promise rewards and generates intrinsic motivation.
On the contrary, such clinically administered therapy works on extrinsic motivation of the patient, and subsequently tries to invigorate absent qualia to make the mind involuntarily pursue the set of belief presented to it. Understandably, external motivation requires consistent supply of stimuli, and thus, the process of therapy has to go on and on, because the change in perception becomes dependent on it. In other words, the clinical process tries to “kill” the self-limiting belief, but cannot produce another set of believe to fill the void, as no capsule of ECT has ever been heard of generating designed behavior.
Thus there is every possibility of patients becoming out of ideas regarding belief system itself – as they are only taught to shun one belief, but are not provided with a substitute to replace that – consequently, they might become more helpless from within. In the second case, New Age healers accommodate the processes of human mind and try to align their acts in a way that can boost the inverted qualia, which generates conscious chase, and thus replaces any earlier belief with self will. In this case, the new belief starts working independently and do not need regular supply of therapy.
In other words, this process provides an alternative belief to practice by replacing the former. So, in a way it is the New Age Gurus who are exploiting the inherent pluralism of the issue by utilizing both imagination and advanced machines. Thus it shows that the New Age therapy stands to be more successful in replacing the self-limiting belief with positive beliefs, because it utilizes both the advantages of science and human mind, where it accommodates any patterns of human behavior as a component instead of considering them as disease.
Accordingly it imbibes powerful suggestions, which culminate into fresh set of beliefs that guide humans towards healthy and prosperous life. Since New Age technique works mostly on intrinsic motivation, which is a conscious approach to action, the messages once imbibed through New Age technique are expected to stay on and thus are capable of enabling humans to overcome their self-limiting beliefs permanently.