Why haven’t you done that yet?

It’s a matter of belief.

What do we believe we can do? Why? 

I recently read a book called The Story of You by Steve Chandler. In one part of the book, he talks about possibility and what we believe is possible for ourselves. I’ll share this passage because I think it’s very revealing:

“What do we now really have the power to do? 

Let’s start here, then: we do what we believe we can do.

Isn’t that right?

Don’t we wake up each day and do what we believe is possible to do? If we didn’t think it was possible, why would we waste time doing it? Or even thinking about doing it? If I don’t believe it’s possible for me to play for the Phoenix Suns, I’m not going to pencil in a try-out on my daily calendar. I’m not even going to think about it. We simply ignore things we don’t think are possible.

So Step One in the failure of the human being to achieve his or her potential is that the human being only does what he believes he can do

Failure Step Two is this: we only believe we can do what we’ve done before.

Is that not true? How else do I really believe I can do something? The surest and most common way is to remember that I have done it before. So I say to myself, ‘I can do this. I’ve done this before.’

But this grim two-step doesn’t leave much room for growth. If I only do what I believe I can do—and I only believe I can do what I’ve done before—then I’m kind of stuck, aren’t I? My only possibilities for today are to do what I’ve done before. Isn’t that why most people keep repeating their habits, day after day after day? They find their wheel. They get on it. And go around.”

. . . . .

I used to think it would be impossible for me to fast for 24 hours–even though I fast for 14-16 hours a day on a regular basis. Those 8-10 hours more seemed unreachable.

But then a few months ago, I decided to go all-in and believe that I could do a 24-hour fast anyway. I wanted to see what those additional 8-10 hours of fasting would be like. I wanted to find out if it was possible for me to do it when I decided to believe that I could. I made it an exploration to see what would come up for me: how I would feel physically, what I would think mentally, what I would tell myself, how many times I would want to give up.

I was open to whatever came up for me and I was committed to making it to the 24-hour mark no matter what. I would let myself feel hungry. I would let myself think it was hard. I would let myself feel deprived. By hour 22, I was very aware of how close I was to hour 24. But when the 24th hour approached, I was surprised I wasn’t ravenous and even went 30 minutes more past the 24 hour mark. 

So I did it and discovered something: fasting for 24 hours wasn’t impossible for me like I thought it was. And after I did it once, the fact that I had done it and that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I was willing to do it again. Since last July, I’ve done about five 24-hour fasts. But before July, I hadn’t done one ever before (maybe besides being sick with the flu, but that wasn’t on purpose) because I didn’t think it was possible. Now I know it is. 

If I was able to do something I used to believe wasn’t possible for me, what else is possible for me to do once I change my belief about it? Once I decide to go all-in and attempt it? 

Your turn: What do you limit yourself from achieving in your life by believing it’s impossible for you? What would happen if you tried it? Like really go all-in and believe that you can do it and then attempt it? What would happen for you then?

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