Do Your Beliefs Hold You Back?

Quick, what color is a Yield sign?

Many will say unequivocally that a Yield sign is yellow and black. The image is so clear in our mind, but are we correct?

If you said the Yield sign is yellow and black you would be wrong! It is red and white and has been since 1971. The yellow and black Yield signs we grew up with are emblazoned in our mind.

Don’t Believe me: Click here to see for yourself.

The problem for the person who grew up with yellow and black Yield signs is that image is fixed in their mind. They did not update the image with the current actual colors of red and white. They managed to go through years and years of life with a belief that was not consistent with the way things actually are.

Why Are Beliefs Often Wrong?

Beliefs are generalizations or presuppositions that people create about how the world is and the relationship between experiences. They serve as filters that allow a person to get through life without having to re-think things every time. This can be helpful as well as unhelpful, depending upon the belief and the circumstances.

Issues arise because beliefs lie below the surface of consciousness. They are so ingrained in one’s system that a person doesn’t even realize they exist. People think that things are the way they are and never question why they see it that way. People are amazed when they run across people who see the outside world differently than they do. They are also amazed when they keep getting the same undesired results in their life.

Beliefs are the driving force that determines whether a person is successful or unsuccessful. For example, a couple of beliefs around money are: “It takes money to make money.” and “I am a great investor.”  A person with the first belief will most likely not even get out of the starting gate when it comes to financial success. They won’t even try to invest their money. Where as, a person with the second belief will use their money to generate more, regardless of how much they had when they started.

For most of human existence, things changed very slowly.  People and society had ample time to react and modify their beliefs and the way they did things. Now, change is occurring more rapidly then ever. This is creating interesting issues for individuals and society. What was “true” last year is no longer “true” now.  But, many people hold onto beliefs based on the old “truth.” This causes dysfunction, and people are often not sure why problems keep occurring.

Now is the time to consider a “spring cleaning” of outdated beliefs that no longer serve one as helpful. This is not an easy thing to do. It also is very difficult to do alone. The first step is to identify these beliefs. The best way to do this is for one to find recurring results that they do not want. In business, this could be a lack of new sales or employee turnover. Personally, this might be failed relationships that end the same way repeatedly.

Next, question every decision that led to the poor result. This is when having another person becomes very helpful. A person with a different perspective might not readily dismiss basic assumptions. For example, a company might have a lack of new sales. The owner might blame it on the sales team not doing cold calls. The importance of cold calls should be questioned. Also, what are other businesses in the same industry doing? Is the industry growing or shrinking?  Does the consumer see value in the product or service?

Make observations about one’s experience and what is happening in the rest of the world. It is important to be open to new information. If some people are succeeding when one is failing, then there is a limiting or old belief holding the person back. Be cynical. Find out what works for others and compare that to what is not working for oneself.


Beliefs are the algorithms that run our lives. Problems arise when one’s beliefs are based on information that is outdated. To get desired results, one must find the outdated beliefs that are holding them or their business from being successful? A person should act as an outside observer to their thoughts and decisions. Question what seems to be reality. Are Yield signs yellow and black or red and white?