Head Scratchers, Old Dogs/New Tricks, and Your Limiting Beliefs



A once successful businessman now facing some very troubling financial times found himself walking through the park considering his options.  Through the many back and forth thoughts he came to the realization that there was not much else beyond closing his business and filing bankruptcy that he could do.

Seconds later an older man emerged from the dark and sat next to him on the bench.  The look of worry and stress on the businessman’s face prompted the elderly man to ask, “what has you troubled?”

                At the time the businessman wasn’t sure why but, he told the elderly man all of the problems he faced.   Sitting and listening with a sense of curiosity and interest the elderly man said “you know…I think I can help you.”

The older man reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his checkbook. He told the businessman “I’m going to write you a check to help with your business finances.  In one year from today meet me back here and you can pay me back at that time.”

                After handing the businessman the folded check the elderly man turned and walked back into the darkness.  The business man shocked by what had just taken place unfolded the check to find it was written out for $500,000 and signed by John D. Rockefeller – the richest man in the world at the time and known for his philanthropic efforts.

The man returned to his business with new energized thoughts and ideas buzzing through his head about what to do next.  He ultimately decided he would put the check in his safe and operate with a new sense of confidence in making deals knowing that he could use the money at any point he needed.  Over the next 12 months with a new confidence, spirit, and energy his business flourished.

Standing in the park one year after originally receiving the check and anxiously waiting to return the never deposited check ,  the businessman spotted the elderly man walking toward him. However, just before the two men could shake hands a nurse emerged from the darkness.  She said “I’m so sorry, Mr. Thompson keeps getting out of the hospital and telling people that he’s John D. Rockefeller.”     

                Like the businessman, we all operate based on what we believe – beliefs both true and false.  Our beliefs serve as the greatest indicator for what we will or will not do.

The 3 major problems with our beliefs are:

  1. Most people do not consciously decide what they are going to believe.
  2. The beliefs that limit us are typically a result of misinterpreting past experiences.
  3. We never question our long-held beliefs (or fail to update long-held beliefs with references of new accomplishments).


                Human beings are not random creatures.  The acts of others will regularly leave us scratching our heads.  In the future when you find yourself curious about the behaviors of yourself or others remember actions and behaviors are based on what we believe.  The more I attempt to understand behavioral psychology the more I realize that to influence the behaviors of yourself and others you must first seek to identify the belief that the behavior is built upon.

Old dogs do learn new tricks, being “big boned” doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight, and because we believe so placebos tend to work.  In short….our beliefs serve as the foundation to build upon whatever goals, dreams and desired behaviors we want.  Unfortunately, these same beliefs can also serve as the demolition team toward those same goals, dreams, and behaviors.

What beliefs are you holding onto that aren’t actually yours?  What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself and what’s actually possible?  What long held beliefs do you need to reexamine that are no longer appropriate?


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