Everyone has some kind of foundation for their beliefs. Each of the things you believe in came about from some experiences, some actions, some relations or thoughts that led you to consistently thinking a certain way about a particular subject. Every time you are reminded of that item, your thoughts have reinforced themselves more and more in your mind to the point where it is completely natural. It’s there without you meaning it to be and you automatically feel some kind of attachment to that thought.
How Beliefs Develop
Beliefs are reinforced over and over and not generally immediately developed. In fact, they are learned. Anything that is learned is possible to be unlearned then as well. This is an important point to remember as have a certain set of beliefs shouldn’t be a roadblock or accelerator in your life that is never expected to change. As you change the things that lead to you having the belief, you also change the belief itself. To understand this we need to look closer at what made the belief in the first place.
Beliefs you develop are from many sources:
- Repetitive Actions
- Life Experiences
- Social Influence
These all feed our minds with things that stimulate us. They train our minds to see similarities and results based on those inputs. These form our beliefs. The interesting thing about all those sources is that we all have then yet we each form our own unique set of beliefs in life. This is because the beliefs we each have are learned!
Beliefs are Built Two Sided
The two sides of building beliefs are the associations with pleasure and pain . Everything that happens that leads to a belief turned into or stems from some form or pleasure and/or pain. I’ve written about using pleasure and pain to explore both goal setting and passions in previous articles and wanted to elaborate here more. I learned this concept from Anthony Robbins in his books and motivational speaking. He knows and teaches that pleasure and pain are the root of not only our beliefs, but ALL of our actions in life. Its essentially the balancing scale used for all decisions in life. It isn’t limited to having only one or the other on the scale, their are often many factors.
The way that beliefs are built using pleasure and pain is by conditioning. As you do things that you enjoy you link pleasurable feelings with that activity or thoughts or feelings you had while do those things. From then on, your brain remembers that and associates them together when its repeated to a point where you simple BELIEVE in the result when the same steps lead up to it. This occurs for simple actions, life changing decisions and everything in between. You will automatically be forming these beliefs based on how you feel at the time. Either how you feel about the decision, the action, the people involved, the result,and even all the feelings about doing one thing instead of another. On the flip side, the same thing occurs with experiencing pain. Those events and actions that cause feelings of pain lead to beliefs as well.
If you know that pleasure is an important factor in building beliefs, you need to look at how to use pleasure in your life to reinforce the beliefs you actually do want to have. If you don’t want them, then there is no point in looking for any pleasure associated with it. Pleasure is not something that either exists or does not exist however in your actions and events. Its something that has to be looked for and reinforced. Something like doing chores or errands might not seem at all pleasurable if it limits your free time available or takes time away from your family. However, you can easily look at the pleasurable sides like the fact that it makes you more organized, helps you to feel good about catching up on outstanding work, gives you a chance to complete and accomplish some tasks and perhaps it even puts a smile on someone else’s face when they know what you have done! All these pleasures can be used to remind yourself of the joy in doing chores instead of the pain. This kind of method to find pleasure in things helps you to have beliefs of accomplishment and completion in things. It also reinforces the beliefs of how staying organized and helping others with chores and errands can be a benefit to them as well and put a smile on their face. These are all pleasurable associations to make with something as simple as doing chores. If you use this method in any area of your life, you can develop a set of positive beliefs around the things you know you have to do and ultimately enjoy them a whole lot more.
Pleasure can be used to stop doing things as well. If you think of some of your bad habits you want to overcome or feelings that you don’t want to have like worrying or fear, you can learn to associate new feelings and positive results when those events occur. Perhaps things like, you feel a sense of security if you can overcome a fear, or a sense of freedom. Perhaps you look for the pleasure you would have if you break a habit or accomplish some goal that seems like a painful experience (loosing weight). You can look for the pleasures that will come about in the future after you overcome something to reinforce the belief now so that you know it is worthwhile and valuable to put your time and focus on.
Pain can be used to steer your beliefs just as easily and in as many creative ways as well. If you remember the feelings of pain (like jealousy, fear, anger, resentment, sadness, and hate) when you have experiences, it will build your beliefs that you don’t want those to occur. The power of this is when you use it to build the beliefs you want. If you want to start exercising regularly but have only ever experienced pain in doing that, you need to re-frame that pain around how you will feel if you don’t start exercising and how others will see you if you don’t take care of your body. Doing that can give you a sense of MORE pain in NOT doing it, than in taking action and getting to a regular exercise program now.
The pain you cause others in your actions can also be used to associate that with things you want to stop doing. You could take something that is pleasurable to you (like an addiction) and highly associate all the pain it causes to others to help you build a belief that you not only want to stop, but need to stop in order to prevent all that pain. You can do this to overcome your own pleasures and make sure that you really know the painful emotions it causes to others.
Steer and Control The Beliefs That You Build
All this understanding of the foundation of beliefs puts a lot of power in your hands to control the feelings you choose to associate with your actions and experiences. If you use these techniques you can easily create and reinforce only the beliefs that you want to have. Doing this enables you to make changes in your life and learn to connect the emotions you experience to build the beliefs you want.
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