Beliefs define the world for us. They are the colored glasses from which we see the world. This color is the filter through which we perceive everything in life – from people, to habits, to religion, to politics and everything else in between.
These beliefs over time help us make decisions in life. In his book Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling, Dr. James E. Alcock said, “Our thoughts and feelings, our actions and reactions, respond not to the world as it actually is—for we never know reality directly—but to the world as we believe it to be. Because of our beliefs, we brush our teeth or don’t bother; we eat certain foods and avoid others; we worship one deity or another or none at all, and we rely on scientific medicine or homeopathy to cure our ills.”
Now, there are three kinds of decisions we make in our life: emotional, spiritual and practical decisions.
Emotional decisions are often based on how you are feeling or want to feel when you make that decision. For example, calling your mother up and telling her about your day will make you feel good.
Spiritual decisions go a little deeper than that. They are a little more intuitive. You may call it “that little voice at the back of your mind”, or “your gut feeling”, or “the right feeling” etc. This decision process could also be your connection to God, or The Universe.
Practical decisions are steeped in logic. For these decisions, we often use rational tools and how much utility the decision will have in your life. These come as a result of thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and some degree of forecasting. For example, choosing to eat an apple over a cookie, due to sheer calorific difference and not how either of those make you feel.
What determines the choices and decisions we make? What makes people decide on the path they take? The variable factor is belief .All decisions and choices are driven by a belief.We do whatever we do because we believe and the beliefs we hold are the bedrock of our personality.
However, there is often another aspect that comes into play. When our beliefs seem true over and over again, they start becoming our biases. What we don’t often end up seeing are the circumstances that make our beliefs seem repeatedly true, and therefore, start believing our biases.
So then, how do we identify our biases? How do we overcome them internally to make better decisions outwardly? How do we do things differently to get different results?
While this is a large conversation to have over a blogpost, there are small changes we could start incorporating internally.
We could begin with identifying internal dialogue. Becoming aware and understanding a relationship with the self may be painful, but it is important to identify patterns. Sometimes, our weakness tends to become our identity. We internalize it to it being the only defining factor of ourselves. For example, a large woman thinks of herself as only fat – this is an adopted bias from the society she lives in. But she is a lot more than just that, right? She is also smart, has had perfect scores in college, and is a wonderful friend. By understanding that she is a lot more than just her appearance, she can make better, happier decisions in life.
In their book Prisoners of Belief, Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning said, “People are limited by their own negative restrictive beliefs about themselves and the world. They surround themselves with bars of conviction”. For change or transformation to happen these bars of belief need to be shifted.
Our thoughts create and reaffirm our beliefs. So, how about changing the way we think? Thoughts and emotions are based strongly within our beliefs and the biases we have formed over time. By making the effort to bring about minuscule changes in our thoughts, belief systems and behaviors, we can truly create the ability of changing our mindset. It certainly takes time and effort to work through beliefs that determine who we are and the complete shift would happen only when we are convinced that a limiting belief can be replaced with a belief that works for us !
While it is easier said than done, it’s definitely worth starting somewhere! Doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results, doesn’t really work, does it?
Are you looking to work on your beliefs and innovate to create better results? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org today!