Change your life… I could also say: change your thoughts and change your life; change your attitude and change your life; change your words and change your life…
I was sitting here thinking about how to change a belief. After all, most of our beliefs are long held, formed long ago and firmly planted. And, yet, there are many beliefs that are best left behind and new ones planted, instead.
I’m reminded again of the 4 boxes diagram I’ve shared before based on a video by Tony Robbins. I’ve repeated it here so you are reminded of it.
Our beliefs generate the thoughts that we have. Then, our thoughts create certain actions on our part which then lead to a result. This result then affects the belief.
Most often, we have results that match our beliefs, because that’s how our brain works. It’s difficult to have an experience that’s radically different than an existing belief.
Thankfully, it does happen occasionally, which gives us a choice of accepting the new data and changing the belief OR of rejecting the data as an outlier and keeping the same belief.
Most of this happens behind the scenes, that is, we are hardly consciously aware of it.
As I said before, most of our beliefs are well rooted. How do we change them or add new ones?
One way is to look for results, either in our own past or in experiences of others, that support the new belief that you’d like to have. When you have these results, it’s possible to use pictures, discussions and mental videos of them to feed the belief box.
Reminds me of the story I’ve seen multiple times on Facebook about the 2 wolves we have inside of us. The wise grandfather was telling his grandson about the 2 wolves–one good and one bad–that battle inside of us. The boy asks which one wins, and he answers “the one you feed”. So, it is with your beliefs. The beliefs that continue and grow are the ones that you feed.
Here are a few examples.
First, imagine that I have a belief that everyone is always out to do something that will hurt me. That belief might lead to a thought that while I’m shopping, someone might steal my purse. This causes me to act in a way that’s nervous and anxious while I’m at the store. Maybe, even be so distracted that I momentarily loose track of my cart. Just at that moment, someone steals my purse and I only notice it after it’s too late. This result then reinforces my belief that everyone’s out to get me.
Or, I might have a belief that people I meet are very helpful and pleasant. That belief might lead to a thought that I might meet someone interesting at the store. This causes me to smile and be outgoing as I make my way through the store. These actions then lead to a situation where I’m looking for something in the store that was recently moved and a stranger goes out of his way to walk down a few aisles out of his way to show me where it’s been moved to. This result reinforces my belief that people I meet are helpful and pleasant.
What are you feeding into your belief box?
Pick one belief that you’d like to modify or remove. Write a clear, short description of the new belief you’d prefer. Then, take some time to look for experiences in your own life that support the new belief. If you have none (which is highly likely), look around for famous people or people that you personally know that have experiences that support the new belief.
Once you have some examples, begin to make mental movies and pictures of this new result. Use your imagination to place yourself in these movies–make yourself the star that you are! Play the movies and pictures in your mind. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
Maxwell Maltz in his book “Psycho-Cybernetics” (Chapter 3 – Imagination, The First Key to Your Success Mechanism) gives an excellent description of how to make movies in your mind. Maybe his description can help you produce hit movies in your mind, too.