Let’s say you’re at a miniature golf course for the afternoon. You convince Jake Johnson, whom you just met, to play a 10 hole course for an experiment you are working on. Before he plays, you tell him that you will be judging his “natural athletic abilities”.
Do you think saying that will impact his game?
Well, research shows there is a good chance he would play worse than normal because of a concept known as Stereotype Threat.
He will play poorly because of a few words you uttered. I find this fascinating.
When I read it for the first time, I couldn’t help but scan my life to look for situations where my performance may have been impaired by hidden beliefs. It was an eye opener.
The study I referenced above happened at Princeton University in ’99. They showed that black participants performed significantly worse than a control group when the test was framed as a diagnostic of “sports intelligence”. White participants performed worse if it was framed as a diagnostic of “natural athletic ability”.
Other studies found that women perform worse at math when they think they are being compared to men (Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999), and men perform worse at math when they think they are competing with Asians. (Aronson et al., 1999)
Stereotype threat is only a subset of all the hidden beliefs which limit us in our lives and our learning.
Hidden beliefs ingrained in your brain by OTHERS have the power to make you weaker. (click to tweet)
Take a second to let that statement sink in.
Now, what if you’re not aware of the limiting beliefs you are lugging around? Isn’t that the equivalent of running a marathon while unknowingly carrying a weighted backpack? Definitively not recommended.
Think about this: what if everyone is running the marathon with weights on and you are the only one to notice and drop them. That’s a pretty significant upside. Imagine how light you would feel.
In order to get rid of these beliefs, your first mission is to identify them.
I’m opening up the comments on this post for you to share what YOUR hidden beliefs are.
You will be surprised how much you can learn about yourself by going through the hidden beliefs of others.
Sharing your own beliefs will not only help you take the first step towards overcoming them, but also help others identify their own hidden limitations.
Follow this link to share your top 3 hidden beliefs in the comments.
If you are having trouble identifying your hidden beliefs, let me give you a hand.
Hidden beliefs are like scripts that you carry around in your mind that block or impair you when you think about taking action. They are most likely unproven in the sense that you have never effectively challenged them by actually TRYING.
Here are a few examples to get your mind working:
- “I don’t have the time to start learning something new.”
- “You can only learn an instrument if you are naturally gifted for music”
- “I’m a beginner, so I should fall/fail on the first few tries”
- “I don’t usually succeed so there is no point in persevering”
- “I’m not good with [insert electronic device], there is no point in trying to make it work”
- “Why pay for a course when I can get free content on Youtube”
- “It’s not worth learning X unless I plan to be great at it”
- “Tomorrow I will take the time”
- “Why would I try to talk to X, they won’t find me interesting anyway”
- “Successful people are busy”
- “Self help is for the weak”
What are the top 3 hidden beliefs that you have carried around?
If you can’t identify your current beliefs or those you have managed to overcome, think about the top 3 hidden beliefs you have noticed in your friends and family.
In part 2: “How to Break Free From Your Limiting Beliefs” I share the story of how a good friend helped me overcome a Hidden Belief which opened a whole new world of opportunities, and the 2 last steps to overcoming your Hidden Beliefs. (Hint: Step 2 involves creating a Counter Belief)
Thank you Ramit for the inspiration