THE ENGINE OF BELIEF
#1: Our Belief Inventory
Of all the self-help clichés, the ones that espouse the benefits of “believing in yourself” are perhaps the most tiresome and overused. Despite that, it’s hard to discount what science tells us about the concept of belief. The Placebo Effect is a phenomenon in medicine when a patient’s condition changes based on their belief that they received medical treatment, which was never actually administered. This includes patients’ illnesses dramatically improving from taking fake pills and even developing measurable side effects after reading warnings on fake pill bottles. This phenomenon illustrates that the power of belief taps into profound capabilities within us that are not fully understood. It also illustrates that this mysterious mechanism can work in two ways… for us or against us. With that understanding, it’s prudent to carefully examine the beliefs you carry around from day to day about yourself and about life. And it can be life-changing to analyze this “belief inventory” and evaluate if your beliefs make you feel stronger and more capable or whether they make you feel weaker and disempowered.
#2: Our Belief Potential
We all see the path ahead through the filter of our chosen beliefs. If we don’t believe certain things are possible, we won’t see the opportunities hidden in our life circumstances and relationships that could make them possible. These hidden opportunities are unlocked by flipping the script on our life perspective. Many of us fixate on how life is treating us. The more empowering perspective, however, is to examine instead how we are treating life. That first perspective of “life is happening to me” can make us jaded if our world doesn’t show up the way we want it to. This can begin a downward spiral of negative, defeatist beliefs piled one on top of another. But the truth is that we are not passive observers watching things happen to us as the movie of our life plays out. We are that which projects our movie onto the screen of the world. We’ve simply forgotten that these images and storylines are coming from us, and ultimately, from what we believe. Our lives unfold from our focused efforts in the direction of what we believe is possible. Again, if we won’t even entertain the possibility that something extraordinary or inspirational can happen for us, we won’t put any effort in that direction. That’s why - like it or not - belief is the instrument by which we both navigate and propel ourselves through life. The pivotal question is whether we’re using that instrument consciously or unconsciously.
#3: Believing is Creating
Choosing one belief over another is literally choosing one future over another. I know that sounds dramatic, and there’s no way to prove this to anyone other than yourself. But if you objectively reflect on the trajectory of your life, you will begin to see that what you earnestly believe has always influenced what shows up for you. This is especially true regarding your self-image and self-esteem. For example, if deep down you feel that you are undeserving and insignificant, you will attract an experience in your personal world that is often condescending and controlling. This shocking realization of the creative power of our personal beliefs leads to the discovery that we are both the problem and the solution to our difficulties. Following the trail of the question, “Why is my life the way it is?” will always lead back to ourselves as the answer. The things we believe can build up our life, tear it down, or keep it stuck in a numb, depressing stasis. We all have voices of doubt, pessimism, and fear - and sometimes it can be useful to hear them out. But don’t let those voices drown out the voices of courage, inspiration, and optimism. You and your life become whatever you think about. And your life as it exists today is a direct result of the way you’ve been thinking and believing. The next time you contemplate a belief about yourself or about life, ask yourself, “Am I choosing a limiting belief? Or am I choosing a belief that tears down what I once thought were limits?” In every moment of every day, life awaits your answer.
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