3 Symptoms of Self-Limiting Syndrome

Self Limiting SyndromeKeeping with the theme of overcoming self sabotage and battling limiting beliefs, we’re going to talk about a devastating disease called self-limiting syndrome. Please bear with the analogy. I’ve been out of the medical field for about 9 years now.

SLS, I’ll call it, is a disease in which the victim suffers from a life lacking fulfillment, satisfaction, and success. This condition is typically due to flawed thinking, negative internal dialogue, and a general unwillingness to break through previously established limiting beliefs and behaviors.

SLS is also known as:

  • Sucky Life Syndrome
  • Severe Lack of Success
  • Subtle Life Sabotage

Most of us have fallen victim to SLS at one point or another. Some of us are still struggling with it to this day. I’ve outlined a few of the most obvious symptoms below. If you struggle in any of these areas, stick with us via RSS subscription or Email Subscription. I’ll discuss each area in detail over the next few days.


  • Symptom: Everything you do is comfortable. You rarely seek opportunities to break out of your shell. You seldom do things that are generally uncharacteristic of you.
  • Diagnosis: An unwillingness to grow relationally and emotionally due to an acute case of SLS.
  • Prognosis: If allowed to continue down this path, you will always stick to what you know and feel comfortable with. As a result, you will never develop deep,challenging relationships and never experience the full extent of who you were created to be.
  • Prescription: Conquer your fear of discomfort. Intentionally seek ways in which you can break out of your comfort zone. Meet new people, have uncomfortable conversations, and live outside of your bubble. Check out our more thorough discussion on comfort vs. discomfort.


  • Symptom: You’re satisfied with your current level of understanding and knowledge. You shun outside advice. You always know best.
  • Diagnosis: A false sense of pre-eminence and an unwillingness to change and grow intellectually; most likely caused by advanced SLS.
  • Prognosis: Your inability to grow and adapt to changing culture in life and business will lead to mental atrophy. You’ll cling to old habits and practices even when they are proven to be ineffective and irrelevant. Your competitors will surpass you. Your friends will call you ignorant.
  • Prescription: Get over yourself. Read some books. Attend a seminar. Take a class. Let go of the idea that you’ve got it all figured out and go get on the knowledge-train. Here’s how to get smarter.


  • Symptom: You have a clear definition of the things you can do and the things you can’t do. You are reluctant to engage in activities where the risk is great but the reward is even greater.
  • Diagnosis: A misconceived notion of one’s own ability with the tendency to limit his or her capabilities; text-book SLS.
  • Prognosis: You’ll only ever do the things you think you can do. You will suffer from an inability to dream past your own abilities. You will consistently seek to cap your own potential.
  • Prescription: Ditch your fear of failure. Identify the activities you’ve told yourself you are incapable of. Define them, study them, and enlist outside help in ensuring that you attempt them. Here are some more details on turning inabilities into abilities.

What other symptoms are holding you down?

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