A Brief on Limiting Beliefs, Positive Thinking & Other Cringy (but Interesting) Ideas

Chase Reeves
3 min readNov 25, 2015

That video came highly recommended to me from a friend and fellow “i’m sure I’m fucking things up all the time” kind of person.

I am sure, you know. I’m quite sure I’m fucking things up all the time.

I’m quite sure I’ve picked the wrong path for my life.

Or that I’m a hack entrepreneur, not the real deal.

Or that I’m nowhere near as smart as others think I am.

I’m also quite sure my body looks gross, people judge me by my love handles, my penis is smaller than average and my nose is too sharp and bird-like.

Quite sure.

Quite sure because I hold myself to a high standard. I have set a high bar for myself. I set it there because that’s where it looks like it is for the best of the best… and though I’m sure that I’m fucking everything up, I am just as sure that I could be one of the best of the best.

“I’m fucking everything up.”

“I’m one of the best.”

How can those two beliefs live right next to each other in my gut? Because I’m an idiot? Because something deep in my brain is protecting me from truly terrifying ideas? Because I’m still a baby wondering why mom isn’t taking care of everything?

I don’t think I believe them both fully. I think, honestly, I never noticed them before. Never held them into the light and saw how they distorted things. Like thin, colored paper, this one casts the picture in red light, this one in blue.

I never noticed them before, I just kind of was them. I inhabited them, or they me. In one moment I was inside “I’m fucking everything up,” in another I was completely, “I’m one of the best.”

I’d keep this little note in my DayOne journal if I didn’t think we all had little delusions like this blowing up our minds from one moment to the next.

So, when I watched that video above it made me feel 2 things:

  1. oh boy, this is some Eckart Tolle power of positive thinking about Tony Robbins’ cufflinks kind of bullshit.
  2. “I’m fucking everything up” is just a lens I’m looking through.

Now, listen, if you get used to any kind of meditation you will see these thoughts swimming around your head, you’ll get used to them being inside you but not you. So, seeing the thoughts isn’t really the insight in this.

The insight I find myself having is that I really truly do hold myself to a high standard. When I think of the power of positive thinking I think of shouting “i’m a wonderful person” as everything in my life crumbles. The idea I’m feeling out here is different. It’s looking at the consequences of high bars, realizing they are far more dangerous than low bars, and wondering what it would feel like inside my head if I adjusted those thoughts.

If I saw myself as actually pretty smart. Others already do.

If I saw myself as kind of attractive. My wife, at the very least, doesn’t cry during sex (anymore).

Of course the writer and creative and “man on hunt to be celebrated posthumously” part of me immediately shouts: Hey fucker — you do that and we’re not going to make any really great stuff anymore! This is where our power comes from, not feeling like you’re enough is the explosion at the heart of the star keeping the lights on.

That guy sounds desperate. Also, sounds like another one for the “stupid shit I find myself believing” category:

“I have to feel unloved to make good things.”

Anyway, a little priming from me to you to try to suck back the bile and give that video above a try. Close your eyes for the little visualization thing he does, that’s when my brain fell out.

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Chase Reeves

Previously co-founded things like online education startups, children. Now making videos and podcasts at chasereeves.co