Here’s a little story that illustrates the point made from the title of this blog. A shoe manufacturer once wanted to expand his market, and sent his two best salespeople to Africa to prospect the potential to sell his shoes there. The first salesman spent a week there and emailed back. “No one here wears shoes. Market potential for shoes looks very dim.”
The second salesperson also toured Africa for a week and emailed back. “No one here wears shoes. We’ve hit the jackpot!”
We are always looking at Reality from different perspectives, and those perspectives arise from our beliefs. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that we make those beliefs from concious or unconscious choice. If our beliefs are a set of choices we make, and perspectives arise from those beliefs, our behaviors are also based on choice. The first salesman, believing the world is a hard place, or that people are not willing to change their ways, takes on a perspective that there is no viable market for shoes. The second salesman processes the same information, but her belief, that people are adaptable and willing to try new things if they are useful, sees enormous opportunity. The behaviors of these two salespeople, arising from opposing beliefs, will be very different. I’d expect the first one to quit and go back. And the second one I could see setting up shop and demonstrating to anyone who would listen the benefits of her company’s shoes. The behaviors of each of these two hypothetical examples will most likely be consistent with their beliefs.
So when we look at our own behavior, what we chose to do, or chose not to do, we can trace those actions to our beliefs that are in operation. We can gain valuable self-knowledge about why we do the things that we do. Beliefs about oneself are some of the most powerful motivators or de-motivators we will ever experience. If I was raised by family that consistently gave me messages that I am clumsy, for example, I will likely internalize the message, and believe that about myself long after others have stopped telling me so. And if I believe I’m clumsy, I might avoid rock or ladder climbing, and many other things that require agility. Each time I spill my food, I’m aware of it, and curse myself for my clumsiness. The more I act according to my belief about myself, the more I make my reality and belief consistently the same. If I believe that money is the root of all evil, it’s filthy lucre, and comes as the result of servitude, what will be my behavior? And how much wealth might I manifest in my life?
Fortunately, our beliefs are choices, and we can change them. We humans are supremely able to adapt our beliefs to new information that we take in, and adjust our behavior accordingly. At times, we may struggle, caught between two conflicting beliefs that demand very different actions. Which one do we go with? How do we choose? This is where I am compelled (by my belief) to mention that having a life coach can be immeasurably valuable in helping to dispel and let go of old, self-limiting beliefs and behaviors. Coaching helps with making these choices through a comprehensive inventory of your core values, and looking for the direction that feels most alive and resonant with your core values. Coaching can also help to get you started in behaving in new ways, that over time may lead you to change the internal beliefs you hold to new ones that are better aligned with reality.
So here are some pointers that will bring greater self-knowledge and peace:
- You can examine your behavior patterns to understand clearly what you believe about yourself and the world.
- Your perspective on any given topic is a choice that often is a reflection of what you believe at that time.
- You have the ability, as a human being, to change your perspective on a topic at any time. You may change it due to new information you get, or you may change perspective and gain new information as a result. It works both ways.
- Changing behaviors can lead to changing beliefs.
- A life coach is a great resource for helping to try on new perspectives and behaviors that can lead to new, more lively self-beliefs that replace self-limiting ones.
Next week: You satisfy needs when your beliefs are in line with reality.