Mad Lib-erate Your Thinking

by | Mar 15, 2023 | blog | 0 comments

Remember Mad Libs?

Mad Libs is a phrasal template word game created by Leonard Stern and Roger Price. It consists of one player prompting others for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story before reading aloud. The game is frequently played as a party game or as a pastime.

More than 110 million copies of Mad Libs books have been sold since the series was first published in 1958. (Wikipedia)

So, for something different in our monthly BEST BOSS blog, you’re going to Mad Lib-erate your limiting beliefs. 

Ready to play?

Grab a sheet of paper and a pen to write down your answers.

DO NOT READ AHEAD! Without thinking too much about your answers, complete the following:

  1. Name of an important group, club, sports team for you while growing up: __________
  2. An adjective for the worse thing possible in your life: __________
  3. An emotion that rewards you and makes you feel great: __________
  4. The opposite of (3): __________
  5. An adjective that is an aspiration or goal of yours: __________
  6. The opposite of (5): __________
  7. A noun for something tangible that you want: __________
  8. An emotion that you desire more of in your life: __________
  9. A method for “killing” something: __________
  10. Something you truly desire in your life: __________
  11. Space where you spend your mornings: __________
  12. Space where you spend your afternoons: __________
  13. Space where you spend your evenings: __________

Now – let’s Mad Liberate your limits! Take the words and phrases you recorded above, and place them in the corresponding numbered spaces below:

You were raised in systems and communities that may have been loving, with the best intentions – your family, your friends, your school, your church, ___(1)___ – doing the best they could, but in that experience, you also received messages that were ___(2)___. You were told what you could do, what was possible for you … but you were also told what you couldn’t do, what should be considered impossible for you.

Those messages of what you couldn’t do – or shouldn’t do – are called “limiting beliefs”. A limiting belief is a judgment about yourself that you think to be true that restricts you in some way. They are like roads cut into your mind that get deeper and deeper the more you use them.

Often, limiting beliefs start from a young age and progressively evolve and reshape throughout your life as you encounter new experiences. Whether you’ve had a painful experience that caused you to fear similar encounters or fear what’s to come, limiting beliefs can prevent positive new beliefs from forming. 

Examples of those beliefs include:

“I’m not worthy of ___(3)___. Instead, I deserve___(4)___.”

“I will never be ___(5)___.  I will always be ___(6)___.”

“I don’t have enough ___(7)___ to be ___(8)___.”

Here’s the thing with limiting beliefs … they stay strong because they are BELIEFS – they are shorthand for our thinking brains – we bypass the critical analysis that, when utilized, just might dismantle those beliefs.

What’s one limiting belief that you have? Take that limiting belief and liberate it! Here’s how …

1. Catch yourself! When that limiting belief pops up for you, take it and ___(9)___ it right away. Objectify it. Look AT it instead of looking THROUGH it.

2. Ask yourself, what would happen if that belief were not true? What could result if you thought the very opposite?

3. Taking that new possibility, ask yourself, what’s the data to support that possibility?  What’s true about that possibility?

4. Using the data from #3, take your limiting belief statement, and create a new REALISTIC OPPORTUNITY statement. What is truly possible?

5. Nurture that new REALISTIC OPPORTUNITY statement with a new daily affirmation statement: 
“I know I can ___(10)___ because I have evidence that says I can. I believe I have exactly what is needed to achieve that because I have all the tools, courage, resources and will to make that happen. I have EVERYTHING I need.” 

6. Copy your affirmation on sticky notes and put them all over your work and living spaces.  Make sure to post this affirmation in ___(11)___, ___(12)___, and ___(13)___.

Limiting beliefs are only as strong as we BELIEVE they are. With a little liberating, you can replace that belief with another – one that is reasonable, realistic, and data-informed. It just takes a little practice to catch yourself before the belief takes root in your present thinking and then replace that with another belief. Don’t keep your hand on the hot stove! You have that choice. You have that power.  

Now go “mad-lib” the heck out of your limits!

About Danny

With over 20 years experience in training and leadership development  — and holding an MBA and an MA in Organizational Development — Danny Ceballos has worked with organizations across the country to strengthen their effectiveness in leading and managing others through supervision+motivation best practices and strategies.