Whatever you believe, you are right in that. Everything is what you believe and everything you do is because of your beliefs. So, if you want to change the things you do (to get different results) then it all leads back to your beliefs. This article covers a few different angles of beliefs but focuses on how you can create, reinforce and use your beliefs to impact your life in a positive way. The beliefs that I am writing about here are core beliefs that drive you with reason to do the things you do. Not simple or dispositional beliefs like statements or opinions on a subject such as “Do you believe a tree makes a sound if it falls where no one is there to hear it?”. These core beliefs are not easily changed and are not formed by a simple thought or guess, they are developed over time.
The Root of All Beliefs
Some people feel that you can develop beliefs by choosing them (I certainly agree with that) and others feel that beliefs come about only through experiences that train you to think about things a certain way, which eventually becomes a belief. Looking at both of these options, there are obvious arguments for both side as to which happens most often, but I look from the perspective of which I want to happen more often and that is certainly creating or choosing my own belief. I don’t really like the idea of waiting for things to happen and then root a belief around that, I much prefer the idea of building a foundation based on decisions and choices that I make. This seems to latch more responsibility and personal accountability to the belief since it is something I deliberately made. So, even if I choose and develop my own beliefs, that is just the root of it, it says nothing of the way that belief will actually affect me. And if I choose my own belief, aren’t I then empowered to use that to steer my actions in a way that’s pleasing to me?
Whether you say you can, or you say you can’t, you’re right. Anthony Robbins
I love that quote from Anthony Robbins. It’s an argument he uses where people look at making an excuse as justification for not being able to do something. If you don’t believe that you can do something, then you can’t, so it’s not really needing an outside excuse, since your own belief is what prevented you from being able in the first place! Associating your beliefs with your thoughts, your mind set and what you say are all critical elements that all affect each other. You can easily see this with individuals with low self esteem for example, they will constantly say they can’t do something and they actually believe that themselves which just feeds a vicious circle as they think it over and over.
You can certainly learn to change that thinking for yourself to avoid being in that circle of thought you don’t want to be in. I recently wrote about how to do that by mastering your state of mind , which will definitely help you in controlling your beliefs so I recommend reading that article if you haven’t before.
Creating Your Beliefs
Beliefs are not usually something people hunt down and look for in life. They are often just felt or learned through experience over the course of time. What I find very interesting though is that its possible to deliberately create your beliefs instead of just waiting for them to show up. There is a lot of value in this and it helps you focus your attention in many areas on your beliefs. Doing this in goal setting for example, helps you focus on goals that are based by your beliefs, which are much easier to achieve and more valuable in your life as these are also the areas that lead to passions. I’ve written in detail about using your beliefs to find your passions , but I believe it works both ways. You an also use your passions to create new beliefs.
Looking at ways to create new beliefs before there is an experiential basis for them can be done with a number of simple steps.
- State new opinions – This helps you to begin agreeing with your own opinion.
- Research areas of interest – Doing this will often give you strong evidence and expert opinion to help you firm up a new belief.
- Question everything – Questioning things leads to a deeper understanding. Deep understanding is a strong foundation for a belief as it is harder to sway a belief that is well known.
- Continuously Learn – Learning new information, improving oneself and exploring new topics can often trigger new beliefs and is wonderful way to create them.
- Share your beliefs with others – Relationships are an invaluable source of new experiences, discussions and great emotions. These are great ways to discover new beliefs about yourself and others.
Reinforcing Your Beliefs
The Placebo Effect is a when the outcome of an action or event changes due to the individual expecting or believing a particular outcome. This is often discussed in relation to health and drug use, where a patient reacts positively from taking a drug that they think will help, even if it is a fake drug like a sugar pill. The Placebo Effect is real and there is much evidence to support its impact. It is also something to take advantage of. Having a belief will inevitably make that outcome more likely, so you should also look to reinforce the beliefs you want and focus on the positive beliefs you have so that they help drive positive outcomes. If you have a lot of negative beliefs, those are just as likely to cause the Placebo Effect but unfortunately, with a more negative outcome.
Look to reinforce the beliefs you want to have and change your beliefs around the ones you don’t want. This is really a case of the classic “Glass Half Full, or Glass Half Empty” mindset. There are many techniques to changing your beliefs and here are just a few you might want to use if your beliefs are not positive or particularly strong.
- Write down your beliefs you want and review them regularly.
- Before bed, review your day and think about each time a positive belief came to mind.
- Share your beliefs with others – This helps discover new beliefs like I mentioned above but its also very useful to identify similar beliefs with others as shared beliefs will definitely help you strengthen them.
- Affirmations work for many people and can help you reinforce existing and new beliefs.
- Turn your negative beliefs into a positive by looking for something you can learn from it, or a new opportunity from a negative event.
Using Your Beliefs
I’ve mentioned a few areas that beliefs relate to and its great to be able to use your beliefs with those. This includes many areas about passions , identifying and setting meaningful belief based goals , and in sharing your beliefs and opinions with others to build relationships. One additional area that I believe is significantly affected by your beliefs is achievement . The more I learn and read about great authors, experts in their fields, leaders and great teachers, the more I have realized that they all share similar attitudes and beliefs about achievement which has made everything possible for them. They belief in the capability of themselves and others and know that change is possible and that they will have an impact on others. These beliefs are exactly what enables them to do what they do best and it inspires others to develop similar beliefs and make their own achievement and success possible as well.
On the other side of this, humans have created limiting beliefs that hold people back in many areas as well. For centuries no one believed that the earth was round and it limited people from daring to explore past known areas from the fear of falling off the earth! People believed it was impossible to fly something heavier than air and this limited progress for decades. Often the unknown or fear of it creates a strong negative belief which not only limits you, but others around you from achieving what is thought to be impossible. There are great examples of this in sports and the human physical capabilities. It is constantly changing nowadays with records and speeds being broken every year by great athletes and competitors using nothing but the human body. It has not always been like that however, as beliefs have changed drastically. For decades and decades, no one thought it was possible for a human to run a 4 minute mile. Hundreds tried and they continually failed for years! Finally, after many attempts, one person eventually beat the 4 minutes mile and it immediately change everyone’s beliefs about the human capability. Over the next month, 30 additional runners broke the four minute mile! This was changed entirely because of the beliefs.
So, knowing what beliefs can do for you and how they affect you, I definitely encourage you to work on your beliefs, change the ones you don’t like, refocus them in a positive way, look to develop new ones in areas you want to achieve and share your beliefs with others to reinforce theirs and your own. I’m sure there are other ways to develop your beliefs and I’d love to hear any suggestions!
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