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What To Do When Your Mindset Holds You Back

Feb 01, 2023

Your mindset and your beliefs about yourself are powerful. They can elevate your confidence, your actions, and the results you get in your life, or they can crush your confidence, limit your actions, and limit the results you get in your life. Have you heard of the “fleas in a jar” story? It is a great example of how what you believe changes how you act, and therefore the results you get in your life. 

Years ago, a scientist conducted an experiment where he placed fleas in a glass jar. Once in the jar, the fleas immediately started jumping and jumped so high that they were able to jump out of the jar and escape. Next, the individual conducting the experiment put a glass lid on the jar so that the fleas could not escape. The fleas continued to jump but now they were hitting the glass lid, jumping again, and hitting the glass over and over without being able to escape as they had before.


What happened next is fascinating. The scientist removed the glass lid and guess what happened? The fleas continued to only jump as high as the lid, even though the lid had been removed and they are capable of jumping much higher. 


They had been conditioned to believe that they could only jump as high as the lid and therefore, even without the lid, they no longer attempted to jump higher.


As humans, we do something very similar in regards to our beliefs about our potential and our “upper limits”. Over time, we are conditioned to believe (both consciously and unconsciously) that we have upper limits. Whether because of messages we have received from others, things we have experienced, things we have observed, or because of the messages we tell ourselves, we think we are only capable of so much and therefore we stop ourselves from pushing harder or trying to do more. Without pushing ourselves and really testing ourselves, we make assumptions about our potential and capabilities and about what is possible in our lives. Just like the fleas in the jar, we think we have a glass lid over us…even when there is not one there.

How do you know if you have placed a glass lid on some aspect of your life?


Take some time to assess different areas of your life and consider if you have been holding yourself back by asking yourself the following questions:


  • Is there something that I want in my life, yet I have not yet pursued trying to achieve it?


  • Have I allowed other people to tell me what I am capable of or what I “should” be doing with my life?


  • Do I speak negatively to myself, about myself?

  • Do I forget to remind myself of the things that I can do now, that I did not think I was capable of doing in the past?


  • Do I tell myself that I don’t have the resources or the determination to achieve something I say I want in my life?


  • Do I tend to stay with what I know and what is comfortable, even though I say I want something more?


If you find you answered yes to some, or maybe to all of these questions, you may have a glass lid problem, also known as a belief or mindset problem. Even if you realize you have been holding yourself back for a long time, you can change this if you are willing to raise your awareness of your mindset and what you are telling yourself about what you can and can’t do. 

To help you start to challenge and change your beliefs and mindset that is holding you back, try the following:


Make a list of things you have done in the past, even when they were hard.


Make a  list of something that you could not do in the past that you are currently able to do.


Make a list of the qualities you would need to embrace in order to break through your current “invisible lid”, or mindset.

Come up with a statement, affirmation, or mantra that you will tell yourself every single day that reminds you that you can embrace the qualities you listed above, and that you are capable of more than you currently think you are. If you want ideas for this, follow me on Instagram HERE or Facebook HERE and check out my affirmation posts as well as the daily affirmations I put in my stories. 


Commit to one small thing you can do that will start moving you forward so that you break through your invisible lid. Start small so that you don’t go so far out of your comfort zone and put that invisible lid back on without even realizing it.

Do these five steps daily and start to believe you are capable of so much more than you thought was possible.

You don’t have to believe everything you currently think. Your beliefs and mindset have a significant impact on the results you get in your life. If you want different results, challenge your current beliefs and create a mindset that works for you instead of against you.


Live your best boss lady life! 

~ Karen 

Karen Vincent Solutions 

PS: If you are interested in information about additional ways of managing your brain by learning to manage unhelpful thinking patterns, you can grab my free 5 Common Thought Distortions Guide HERE. 

PPS: Did you know that I host the Women’s Success Coach Podcast? It is a podcast created to inspire growth and to help you learn, achieve, and evolve in your life ongoing…regardless of your age. You can listen to it anywhere you listen to podcasts. Just type in Women's Success Coach Podcast Karen Vincent and check it out. If you find the content valuable, subscribe so you will be notified when a new episode is released.

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