In 1843, US Patent Office Commissioner, Henry Ellsworth stated to congress, “The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end”. In his position, he had seen many innovative and less than innovative creations, so why would he have such a strong and destructive limiting belief?

Ellsworth’s quote was turned into “Everything that can be invented has been invented” and another Patent Office Commissioner, Charles Holland Duell was inked as saying it. Upon further investigation, what Duell really said was: “In my opinion, all previous advances in the various lines of invention will appear totally insignificant when compared with those which the present century will witness. I almost wish that I might live my life over again to see the wonders which are at the threshold.”

Duell’s actual quote is much more positive and inspiring than the limiting quote of Ellsworth. Duell believed that we had only scratched the surface of our advances, where Ellsworth gave up and stopped believing. Both Duell and Ellsworth have seen many good and bad examples of innovation, but what is important to remember here is that they did not manage their beliefs the same way. If you start to believe that you know for a fact, then you stop paying attention and you fall behind. You limit your beliefs.

We can hear limiting beliefs from automotive professionals every day. Here are some examples of the things they say: “my customers NEVER buy creditor insurance”, “people in my area ALL have a lot of insurance” they also say things like “I CAN’T sell extended warranty, it’s too expensive” or “they will NEVER buy anything.” Why do we say these things? Are we trying to make ourselves believe that we are not to blame, and to do so, we limit our beliefs by generalizing?

By doing this, we are staying in our comfort zone. To have a successful career in the industry, we must be able to adapt to our customers and believe in ourselves and the products and services we sell. If we put barriers in the way, success will be harder to reach.

If you find that you are limiting your beliefs, start off by asking yourself if it is serving you well. Then, ask yourself if it is good or bad for your customers. If you answered “bad”, here are ways to overcome this:
1) Take the opposite view of the limiting belief.
2) Identify what is causing your limiting belief.
3) What do you want instead of the limiting belief?
4) What resources do you need to overcome the limiting belief?
5) What effect will it have on you to take the new positive belief?

Don’t allow limiting beliefs to occupy space in your mind and you will have a clear vision of the future.

“When we limit our beliefs, we limit our success.” Andy Mazak, Eastern Trainer, iA-SAL

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