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Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs | IE Building Resilience

Good morning, Vietnam! Do you remember that famous call by Adrian Cronauer—the great Robin Williams in his Oscar-nominated leading role—at the start of every radio show in the Barry Levinson film of the same name? Could you have imagined your city or country being called to help solve the unexpected conflict ahead?

By Pablo Martínez Arroyo, Associate Professor at IE Business School and cofounder of Building Trust.



Good morning, Europe! Good morning, citizens of the entire world! Right after this wake-up call, it’s time to ask some questions. Perhaps most importantly, do we have any reliable resources? In most countries around the world, political leaders are stepping up to offer citizens a very specific resource: trust. According to the dictionary, trust is sealing us with security “by taking dedicated actions.” It therefore seems that trust could be very important not only for battling crises, but also for facing personal or professional challenges upfront.

Working on trust

Wouldn’t it be great if we could work on trust over these next few weeks, months, or maybe even years, right after our wake-up call each day? This is the methodological proposal that we have humbly built for you. If we are to follow the “taking dedicated actions” proposal, let me point out something that could pose an initial problem: our limiting beliefs.

In our daily working life, we always face two types of limitations. The first ones come with the rules of the game: company rules, ethics rules, etc. These limitations have to do with certain predetermined procedures or internal or external demands that cannot be eliminated. Let us use a concrete example to illustrate the idea.

The rules

I was hired to work for a European professional basketball team for the 1992 season. To do my job, I had to understand a series of written rules: “The competition starts with 32 teams and runs from September to May.” “All games last 40 minutes.” “If your team scores more points than the other, you win the game.”

Those clear written rules contrasted sharply with other sorts of rules I encountered along the way. “A new team has never make it into the final four.” “A team with an average age of less than 25 years has never won more than ten regular-season games.” These other rules were pounded into our heads, limiting our capabilities.

We all wake up every morning thinking about both kinds of rules: the ones that come with the game, and all the others that come from our limiting beliefs.

You can probably guess how that basketball season turned out for my team. Given the complicated path that lies ahead for all of us, I’m not here to sap your limited energy with sad stories. Let me hand the mic to my friend Adrian Cronauer—A.K.A. Robin Williams, or any political, health or economic leader—who will provide some motivation:

“Good morning, citizens of the world! We need to build tons of trust!”

But in order to do this, your team has to overcome its limiting beliefs. A challenging season lies ahead.