“Your potential is limitless. Yet when you judge life as good or bad, right or wrong you keep yourself in the limited state of being. To become limitless, you must work on the limiting beliefs that cause you to think in terms of good / bad, right /wrong. When you dedicate yourself to the SEJ process with each resolved limiting belief you move one step closer to being limitless. It is that simple”
Jacqueline Mary Phillips
Is it our genes or is it our beliefs?
I was talking to a couple the other day about children and what they are currently doing. The man is a mathematician and his wife a musician. Their elder son is also a talented musician and the second one is an engineer. They asked me about our children and I told them one is studying product design and the other is applying to Universities to study humanities. They asked me immediately why neither of our children were scientists knowing both parents are qualified. They also asked me which one of us was more ‘artistic’. I simply said that it was up to them what they studied (or not) … but this conversation got me thinking, is it to do with our genes which path our offspring take or is it to do with our beliefs about what they should be doing based on our past experiences?
This type of conversation is not uncommon amongst families and friends, or at work places when we talk about our families and what we do for our careers. We often end up asking which one of our families are good at maths/music/sports etc and thus making assumptions as to why we have chosen certain professions. This also extends to pupils applying to Universities to study certain subjects or professions based on similar assumptions and beliefs. Indeed, I often hear students saying that ‘I am not good at maths my dad wasn’t either’ ‘My mum is good at painting and so am I but she said that wouldn't pay the mortgage, so she told me to study science’ ‘My brothers went to study medicine and are both doctors, I must be stupid as I can’t even remember simple chemistry formulae’ etc…
The reinforced beliefs
Regardless whether it’s genes or beliefs this is reinforced at schools; one of my children struggled at A’ level as they were often compared (not maliciously by any means) to the elder sibling who studied the same subject 2 years earlier. I am sure teachers meant well but being constantly compared/encouraged to their older brother/sister can and did put them off. It took applying the SEJ process for myself and to them to turn this situation around.
A similar thing happened to me when I was younger. I was told by well-meaning relatives that as a woman I should consider marrying well rather than pursuing a scientific career. That I should not seek to be too highly qualified as it could put some men off marrying a woman with a PhD!!!
Thankfully this kind of ‘encouragement’ is far less common but projecting and perpetuating limiting beliefs and expectations on young people still happens. We as parents say this to our children and to ourselves; as educators we say this to our students and pupils; as relatives and friends we say this to our young people. What’s the most shocking thing, is when children say ‘I can’t do it like my sister as I am not clever liker her’ ‘My mum says I am not going to be as good a footballer as Charlie next door as my dad isn’t good at sports either’ ‘I’m not going to even try as Dad says kids like us don't go to Universities’…
The best thing we can do as ‘adults’, in these young people’s lives, is to apply the SEJ process to dissolve as many limiting beliefs as possible and stop projecting our expectations and assumptions. Also, to encourage and nurture them to try new things and seek new experiences, to support them to build resilience and a positive mental attitude to let them know that there is nothing they can’t do once they put their mind to it. The SEJ process will show you how to do that; in challenging genetics and beliefs that stop our future generations flourishing.
Dr M Howard-Kishi