Don’t Wait Until You Are Released…

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“I existed in a world that never is – the prison of the mind.” – Gene Tierney

Have you ever been inside a prison? Have you ever felt the anxiety of doors clanging shut behind you? Even as a regular visitor into prisons I often feel the anxiety and claustrophobia. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be an inmate…

Johannesburg Correctional Services, fondly known as Sun City by inmates and warders alike, is one of the prisons where I am involved in a rehabilitation program. (For my overseas readers, Sun City is a popular holiday and conference resort boasting a game reserve, a man-made beach, two golf-courses and much more)

The Prison Warder

I arrived at Sun City (the prison) the other day to run a goal-setting workshop for the Heart-Work program. We start the morning off with a sermon. This week the sermon was given by a prison warder. He is a tall thin man with a smiling face and a sense of humor. The prisoners hung onto his every word. He had them in stitches by comparing himself with some of the prisoners. He is a fantastic presenter. Short, sweet, to the point, humble and humorous.

His message resonated with me in terms of the difficulties I have experienced when working with prisoners.

The Message

“Don’t wait until you are released to strengthen someone else.”

The biggest problem I experience when working with prisoners is that they limit themselves. HUGELY. They believe that there is NOTHING they can do about ANYTHING while they are inside.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do understand that you are limited in many ways when you are a prisoner BUT I don’t accept the NOTHINGs and the ANYTHINGs…

Nelson Mandela continued to lead his political party from his prison cell. He also obtained a degree, Batchelor of Laws, through the University of London whilst in prison. He did not limit himself when he was in prison, he did the best that he could and the most that he could.

There is always something you can do.

“Don’t wait until you are released to strengthen someone else.”

The prison warder explained to the prisoners, that even though they are inside, they can still strengthen others around them – help others, encourage others, teach others.

We all felt uplifted by this man’s presentation.

The Limitations We Create

It also got me thinking: how often do we limit ourselves by our thinking. And we’re not in prison. We are free.

The only prison shutting us in is the prison created by our own thoughts.

If you want to break free – try some of these:

10 Ways to Break Free of Limiting Beliefs

1. Stop saying “I can’t do xyz because…” Start asking “How can I do xzy?”

2. If you are waiting for something (a promotion, to get married, to be thinner, to be fitter, to be divorced, etc) before you take action on something you desire, understand this: you are putting your life on hold until some event in the future. Don’t limit yourself this way. Find a way to take action now. Don’t wait.

3. Use your imagination. Take it out every day and practice using it.

4. Imagine getting what you want – visualize it in great detail so that you experience the emotion of having what you want. Then take a small step today that’ll lead you (even vaguely) in the direction of what you want. Do this again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next ….

5. Before you solve a problem using the most obvious solution, write down 10 more ways that you could solve the problem. Now choose a solution.

6. Whenever you make a decision check this: will taking this action limit you or will it expand your well-being? If it’s going to limit you, change your decision.

7. Remember: beliefs are thoughts NOT facts. When you believe you can’t do something, write down all your thoughts about it, and then go through the list crossing out opinions/ assumptions and leaving only the facts. Study the facts and ask what is possible.

8. Pay close attention to your thoughts. Awareness is the first step in destroying limiting beliefs. Once you can acknowledge that you have a limiting thought, you can work on letting it go.

9. You can uncover limiting beliefs by writing down 50 reasons why you can’t do something.

10. Once you have discovered a limiting belief, find all the evidence you can that disproves the belief. Keep an evidence file – add to it every day until you have so much proof of the opposite that you simply cannot believe the original thought anymore.

Break Free

If you are feeling frustrated because you can’t get something you want, put yourself in prison for a moment. Imagine what it must be like to be locked away. That’s way more limiting than where you are now.

You are free. Free to choose, free to take action, free to create possibilities.


Don’t wait.