Beliefs

Values and beliefs are unconscious filters that you use to decide what bits of data coming in through your senses you will allow in and what bits of data you will keep out. That means that the unconscious nine-tenths of your brain has been sitting there on the quiet, building up all sorts of beliefs and making all sorts of decisions about you and environment and ….… you aren’t even aware of them!

  You learn your values, almost by osmosis, from your parents and close family up to about the age of seven, and then from your peers and friends. Values are what motivate you to do something, but they can also work as brakes stopping you from achieving your ends. These are the factors that are important to you and let you assess whether something that you have done is either good or bad.  These influence how to interpret data from incoming stimuli. Values are arranged in a hierarchy with the most important at the top of the ladder. Examples of values are health, wealth, happiness, honesty, friendships, job satisfaction and so on.

 

 Your beliefs can, when allowed to go to the extreme, have the power of life and death

over you. Your beliefs can help you to health, wealth, and happiness or keep you

unwell, poor, and miserable.

 

The beliefs we are talking about here are distinct from religious beliefs - these beliefs are the generalisations you make about your life experiences. These generalisations go on to form the basis of your reality which then directs your behaviour. You can use one empowering belief, for example, to help you to develop another belief to the next level of achievement. So 'I am a really good speller" can help you develop the belief that you enjoy words and are really quite articulate. This might lead you to believe that you can tell stories and suddenly you find that you have the courage to submit a short story to a magazine and ... all of a sudden you are a published author.

 

Just as you have positive, empowering beliefs, you can also have negative, disempowering beliefs. If you had the misfortune of being bullied at school, you may have developed a belief that people, in general, are not very nice. This might make you behave quite aggressively toward people when you first meet them. If some people then respond in a similarly aggressive way their behaviour could well reinforce your belief that 'people aren't very nice'. You may not even notice when someone responds in a friendly manner because your belief filters are not geared to notice nice people.

 Be aware that a limiting belief may be lurking if you find yourself using words or hearing words like can't, should, shouldn't, could, couldn't, would, ought, and ought not. As Henry Ford said, 'He can who thinks he can, and he can't who thinks he can't. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.'

 

 Being impacted by others' beliefs

The really scary thought is that other people's preconceptions can place false limitations on you, especially if the other people are teachers, bosses, family, and friends.

 A very interesting study conducted with a group of children who had been tested

and found to be of average intelligence illustrates how a teacher's belief

can enhance or hinder a child's learning ability.

 

The students were split into two groups at random. The teacher for one group was told that the students in the group were gifted, whereas the teacher for the other group was told that these students were slow learners. Both groups of children were retested for intelligence a year later. The intelligence score for the group where the teacher thought the students were gifted was higher than when previously tested; whereas the group where the teacher had been told the students were slow learners scored lower on the intelligence test than they had done before.

 

 Sadly these limitations are not just the domain of overcrowded schools but exist in homes where parents shoehorn their children into an 'acceptable' position. Other examples include when your friends remind you to be careful of changing a secure job to pursue a dream, or if a boss whose communication style is different to yours has a detrimental affect on your career progression. Not only are some of these people perceived to know more than you. you may even have placed them on a pedestal.

 

It may be difficult for a child to overcome the shortcomings of a teacher with­out parental assistance and even more so the restrictions of a parent or family environment. As an adult, you can weigh up the pros and cons of the advice you are being given by seeing it from the other person's point of view.

 

Changing Beliefs

Some beliefs you hold may empower you. Other beliefs can limit the way you think and hold you back. The good news is that there are techniques to help you change beliefs. Theta Healing and Emotional Freedom Technique are simple, painless ways of removing destructive beliefs and installing supportive ones.

 

Do I hear you say, 'Why would I want to change something that glues my world together?' Yes, beliefs do hold your world together, but... is it for better or for worse? If a belief is holding you back, change it. If you find you need the security blanket of the old belief, you can always change it back.