Limiting Beliefs – The Silent Killers That You Should Eliminate

overcoming feelings of inadequacy

There were once a pair of twin brothers – the older one is Jon and the younger is Tom. Both of them went to the same school and even graduated with the same degree in the same university. Both of them were bright and intelligent students even though they were fairly individualistic – Jon being the older was more sensible and slightly more risk adverse. Meanwhile Jon was more adventurous and more risk taking.

Two years ago, both the brothers signed up for a trading course and they loved it. However, two years later, Jon is still struggling to be profitable while Tom is hitting consistent returns on a month-on-month basis. Although Jon does not make huge losses, he is frustrated and believes that he is not destined to be wealthy.

As you can see, although these brothers have very similar up bringing and received the same education throughout their lives, can produce very different trading results all together. In fact, I’ve used twin brothers only to exaggerate my point. Do you remember any trader who started learning to trade later than you but is now trading much better than you? Do you recall any trader who has been trading much longer than you but is doing much worse than you? More importantly, do you know why?

If you are curious to find out why, then please read on.

Beliefs Vs Limiting Beliefs

self-limiting-beliefs1While the reasons that differentiate both Jon and Tom can be multiple, we can be certain that one of Jon’s failure can be narrowed down to his limiting belief.

You see, having a strong and solid belief (system) is crucial and it looks like Jon has been well equipped with that since a young age. His achievements in school would have been a good confident booster for him and it will prepare him for many obstacles in life.

While having a good belief system is vital to succeed, the opposite is also true – the presents of a limiting belief can also prevent you from becoming successful. For Jon, he believes that he is not destined to be wealthy and that can be a huge limiting belief. In fact, it may have been the only reason that is stopping him from being profitable. That’s because, in truth, even though having a good belief system leads to taking the relevant actions, having a limiting belief will stop you from taking those actions no matter how much you want it. Do you see the problem?

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

sunriseIf you’re struggling to understand the idea of limiting beliefs then let’s flip the question around instead. Ask yourself – What is a belief?

According to Oxford dictionary, the definition is “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof”. In other words, having a belief is like having the feeling of certainty inside you. There will be feelings of comfort and assurance because you know that those ideas or information are true. The stronger the belief, the stronger the feeling of certainty will be. In fact, when you have a strong belief and strong feelings of certainty, it is like knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow. That specific belief is extremely strong because you know wholeheartedly that the statement is true.

The simplest explanation and answer to the original question is this – having limiting beliefs is having the Lack of Belief or Doubts. Whenever you lack a belief (which is required to take a specific action) it is almost always due to an equal but opposite limiting belief.

Unfortunately, the sources of both beliefs and limiting beliefs are too many to list. Some of these beliefs are just thoughts and ideas that you repeat in your mind several times and that causes you to accept it unconsciously. Sometimes you’ll even accept it without have reasons because it’s been humming inside your head for a long time. Meanwhile, some limiting beliefs were installed inside you at a young age and they could have started from your family, your school or even your community. Some of these beliefs include:

  • I must work hard to make money
  • Trading is difficult
  • Time is money
  • Technical Analysis works
  • Dreams are not practical

Jon probably had the idea that he is not destined to be wealthy repeated to him after several losses and, two years down the road, he has completely wired that belief into his conscious and subconscious mind.

Identify Limiting Beliefs

limiting-beliefsJust to be clear, finding the limiting belief might be more difficult than what I’ve presented in Jon’s story because, more often than not, the limiting belief is the root cause of other trading issues. In other words, it is not the symptom and, hence, it is rarely obvious. For example, Jon’s limiting belief could have stopped him from pulling the trigger (a.k.a. fear of trading) and Jon might perceive the problem as an emotional issue instead of an issue of beliefs.

Nonetheless, here is a quick formula that you might find useful when trying to find your limiting beliefs.

Step 1

Write down any goals that you are struggling to achieve. Example: I want to become a profitable trader.

Step 2

Write down the reason(s) that you can’t achieve it. Example: I don’t think I can do it.

Step 3

Kill those reasons:

  • Verifying that those limiting beliefs are baseless.
  • Finding past examples in your life where you have achieved goals where you once thought you can’t.

Example: Just because I’ve not done it before does not mean I can’t do it. Or, I have successfully achieved X and Y goals in the past even though I thought I would surely fail before achieving it.


This is only meant to be a quick fix to minor or obvious limiting beliefs. If you struggle to find the root cause of your trading issues, do consider engaging a mentor or coach (especially one who specialises in trading psychology). Alternatively, check out the programs here at TYE.


Limiting beliefs are probably one of the least obvious reasons why traders fail to become successful. Hence, I call them Silent Killers. However, even though they are not obvious, the impact of it on any single trader can be pretty significant.

With that, if you are struggling like Jon to become successful in trading, it might be worth considering and identifying any limiting beliefs that might be holding you back.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to post any questions at the bottom of this article.


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