How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Biology of Belief

“I cannot envision a single thing that, when left unguarded, does us greater harm than our own mind.” 

I have to say it. Those dudes who wrote the Anguttara Nikaya knew of what they spoke.

An illustration of two people looking at one another through binoculars.

Enemy of the state to be sure. Or more to the point, our mental state. Of course, Siddhārtha Gautama was no slouch, either. He had it going on when he deliberated.

“People make distinctions in their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

Are you hip to what he’s saying here? That’s right; we create our own bullshit and then have the audacity to believe it.

An illustration of beliefs in the brains.

Dissecting Beliefs

Beliefs. Now there’s a big word. Small but big. We all have them, and yet most often, we nonchalantly accept them as fact without any mental due diligence or internal critical analysis.

“Yep, that’s what I believe.”

Oh Really? Based on what precisely?

Let’s be truthful for a moment. In a nutshell, our beliefs are just a collection of ad-hoc mumble-jumble assembled from experience. More to the point, they are the assumptions and judgments we concluded as a result of those experiences. Be they good or bad, right or wrong, truth or lie.

Throw in a generous smattering of questionable environmental input data from family, friends, school, media, etc. and you’ve got yourself your basic Belief Structure.

A chalkboard with scribbles all over it.When first born, our minds are a clean slate. Soon enough, though, others begin haphazardly scribbling messages in a cacophonic symphony. Most often transcribing from their own now exceedingly cluttered mental slate. A slate that others before them had randomly written upon in the same injudicious manner. And so on and so on it goes.

A young girl lying horizontally with the blue sky in the background.Ground Zero

When a player struggles, regardless of the sport, the first thing he or she does is get back to basics. Ground Zero. Square one. I am here to tell you that if meaningful, lasting change is what you desire in your life, then you too have to go back to square one. That means taking one of those big fluffy chalkboard erasers and wiping clean the slate or your mind so that you may start anew.

Let’s get one thing straight here and now. Your subconscious mind is the one driving the bus, not your conscious mind. Your subconscious directly influences your every action or inaction.

An illustration of a girl suffering from mental anxiety.

Any doubts about that? Well, think about those times you reassured yourself with intense determination and unwavering will power that starting tomorrow you were going to stop smoking or begin that new diet. In most cases, you know what happened. Within a short period, you’re re-engaged wholly in the same old negative behaviors you swore you would quit.

Will power can only do so much. Without changing the core beliefs rooted in our subconscious mind, no lasting change will ever come about. That’s just a fact jack.

A happy and sad facial illustration.There are many great resources out there to help you with discovering your Core Beliefs, and I would strongly encourage you to begin making a study of your mind.

The simplest method goes as follows. Think of a young toddler of two of three. They are naturally curious creatures, to the point of being occasionally annoying. But they do teach us a valuable lesson.

Often, they’ll begin by asking an utterly benign question. Perhaps it’s, “Mommy, why do you go to work?” Mom, of course, warmly explains, “to make money, dear.” You know what comes next. “Why?” the child inquires. Again, the mother responds politely. But the inquisition has only begun. “Why?” And then yet again, “why?”

A mother and young child sticking their tongues out.

Herein lies the secret to bringing about lasting change in our lives. We need to emulate those youngsters. Get down to the heart of our beliefs and reexamine them. Categorize them and pull them apart.

Ask yourself, why do I believe that? Don’t accept the first answer your mind gives at face value. Remember that child. Ask again. “Well then, why do I believe that?”

You don’t have to restrict yourself to the following necessarily, but they’re an excellent place to begin.

Unlock the Block

  1. Love
  2. Relationships
  3. Work
  4. Money
  5. Self

A middle aged when holding her fingers to her temples and looking worried.

By getting down to the nitty-gritty of the matter, brain matter that is, you’ll discover some very enlightening things about yourself.

Some beliefs will still make sense to you, while others you’ll view as no longer valid. Holdovers, still lingering on from a bygone era in your life. 

A throughway sign on a wall.

Anthony Robbins used the analogy of a table to describe our Belief Structures best. Creating any meaningful change in our lives requires that we first knock the legs out from under that old table. Then and only then can we reconstruct the new legs that will effect lasting change.

As the Zen masters implored, ‘Become the Master of your Mind, no longer Mastered by your Mind.”

Girl standing in a field with her arms wide open gazing off at a sunset.









67 thoughts on “How to Get Out of Your Own Way

  1. There were many times in the past that I lost confidence in myself and my ability simply by thinking negativity. Your mindset is everything. Great post!

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you Jess.

  2. Geraline Batarra says:

    Great content, thanks for sharing a very informative blog, keep up the good work. Love it

  3. The mind is such a powerful organ. Especially when it is combined with the second brain. Limiting beliefs is why the world is in such a mess. Not to mention that feeling of scarcity. If we can put our minds to good use our lives would be so different. I know it takes baby steps but it would be a great start. Having a comprehensive awareness of our cognitive bias would also aid us in our decisions.

  4. These are great tips in how to unblock our lives in times we need to. I will try these if the time comes!

  5. Elizabeth O says:

    Such a nice post and written so well. The quote you share – Be Master of Mind, not Mastered by Mind is straightforward. I learned a lot today.

    1. tenzendude says:

      I always find some wonderful quotes on your posts as well Elizabeth. Thank you.

  6. Sometimes, we are our own obstactles and we should find ways on how to unblock this for success. I was told before that you cannot be successful with your old self.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you Dalene.

  7. I completely agree with the importance of knowing our own minds and our own core beliefs. I’m always shocked how many people don’t take the time to do the necessary introspection to find out their own opinions on things.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Know thy Self. Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read my post.

  8. Most times, we are in our own way and have to get out of our comfort zone. Our belief structure really controls us and sometimes gets in the way of us being great.

    1. tenzendude says:

      It does indeed. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  9. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    What you have written here is all true. I am so wanting to break out of my comfort zone, but it is family responsibilities that tie me down and keep me at home. If I do find a way to get some help around the house, I will spread these wings and be the person I was meant to be.

    1. tenzendude says:

      I am sure one day you will fly. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  10. I struggle to go out of my comfort zone but I do want to do more of it this year and push myself! It’s hard though!

  11. This is a very interesting and enjoyable read. One thing I have realized in the last couple of years is that in order to become a better version of myself and learn from past mistakes, I have to be more open minded. I have learnt to let go of old beliefs and be more open to new things. I like that you mentioned Tony Robins here, I find him very insightful.

    1. tenzendude says:

      I am happy to hear that you have chosen to be more open minded Pam. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”

    1. tenzendude says:

      You are welcome Karla. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  12. Your post made me really ponder on things and now, I am really wondering what are the things that I believe about love. A lot of things had happened. After being hurt and being able to move on just changed everything.

    1. tenzendude says:

      I am happy you were able to move past it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  13. This is one of the best posts I have read so far. I am trying to start anew and the belief structure banking on the ground zero seems like the best way to start.

    1. tenzendude says:

      It is indeed. Thank you.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  14. Michael David Oyco says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is always interesting to know what goes inside another ones brain

    1. tenzendude says:

      Indeed it is. Thank you

  15. Elizabeth O says:

    This is a great lesson for everyone and thanks for writing the tips. This one is such a great article

  16. Gervin Khan says:

    Great tips. As a person we sometimes lost our confidence and everything was turned into a negative mindset. After reading your article it helps me think and learn that I should trust and believe myself.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you Gervin.

  17. This was so insightful & thank you for the wisdom shared therein. Our minds really are sometimes both our greatest weapon & yet our greatest obstacle

    1. tenzendude says:

      True. Thank you.

    1. tenzendude says:

      I am glad. Thank you.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  18. JL Prince says:

    Ah! I am struggling with this so much right now. I need to get out of my funk and get on the move for sure

    1. tenzendude says:

      Dont be too hard on yourself. I am sure that you are a lovely person who is very much loved.

  19. I’ve been trying to step out of my comfort zone recently and say yes more! So far it’s working but there are certainly still areas where I am holding myself back.

    1. tenzendude says:

      You’ll overcome I am sure. “Conquer Self or Be Conquered By Self.”

  20. Eileen M Loya says:

    I always wish I could be a better version of myself. I want to be more, see more, to travel to other places but there are always obstacles blocking my path. Not of my own doing, but because of responsibilities that keep me tied to the home. Ugh. Would a weekend spent alone, just being who I really am too much to ask?

    1. tenzendude says:

      A sentiment expressed by other women as well. Have you written a blog on these feelings? I am sure many other people would benefit knowing they arent alone in their thoughts.

  21. Thanks for sharing the great, well written and informative post.

  22. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    Revisited your site today and wanted to let you know that I tried your tip of “unblock the block.” I have written down so many things and I am trying to work on the negative things right now. Hopefully I will be successful with this and looking forward to being the best ME. After all, I wasn’t “born into this world to just pay bills and die.”

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you for taking the time. My next blog will continue in a similar vein.

  23. Amazing! The power of us, of our mind. Very insightful article. Thanks for sharing this information.

    1. tenzendude says:

      You are most welcome.

  24. It’s really trying to get a good sense of yourself and knowing who you are and what you think. That’s the difficult part unfortunately.

    1. tenzendude says:

      It does require one go down the rabbit hole a bit.

  25. Thanks for the insight. But you know what we should just be always positive in life, it can keep you moving forward.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Attitude is altitude. Thank you

  26. what a great post on helping oneself, sometimes we forget about ourselves sometime

    1. tenzendude says:

      Self care is important.

  27. Such a thought provoking post – it’s always great to look at things from different perspectives than your own. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. tenzendude says:

      You are most welcome

  28. I enjoyed reading this, especially the Unlock the Block section. Asking ourselves these type of questions can help us not only learn about ourselves but learn what may be holding us back in certain areas of our life.

  29. Monidipa Dutta (@MonidipaDutta51) says:

    Great content. Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case regardless of empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Another way of defining belief sees it as a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true. And great ideas.

  30. Lauren Floyd says:

    So true! I have to constantly force myself to think positively, and stop letting my mind wonder down the road of how X could go wrong. It is really hard to do, but I believe it’s necessary.

    1. tenzendude says:

      It is indeed, especially with all the distractions these days.

  31. blair villanueva says:

    This is very informative and worth thinking. Thanks for sharing your writings!

  32. We are our own enemies! I can’t agree more. But if we want to succeed, we must get from our own ways. And it starts from the mind. Someone with properly defined beliefs in whatever aspect of life will do better than one who has none, or hasn’t clearly defined them.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Very true. The key is in possessing empowering beliefs rather than disempowering ones. Thank you for your comment.

  33. talamayfreelance says:

    Like this a lot. Most people are their own worst enemy and are stopping themselves from succeeding.

    1. tenzendude says:

      This is true. Thank you.

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