For this post, I am going to begin the discussion about Belief Windows and give you a step-by-step approach to identifying and adjusting incorrect beliefs you have in your Belief Window. Your root beliefs drive behaviors and outcomes. Want something better? Believe.
Basically, I want to begin by reminding you that:
- Any belief that drives behavior that does not meet your basic needs over time is an incorrect belief.
- No right or wrong, no good or bad – just correct and incorrect. Correct beliefs provide you with the results that are good and benefit you; incorrect beliefs result in outcomes that you do not want and are not beneficial to you or your life.
In order to identify the beliefs you want to affect your Belief Window and what to adjust or change as incorrect beliefs, we will proceed with the following four steps!
STEP 1. ADMIT.
Yes, it always begins with awareness. You have to admit two things to yourself. You have to admit that there is something (a behavior) that is causing pain, stress, or chaos. Move beyond seeing the pain to seeing what is causing it. Be honest and you will find it. If you are prone to wallowing in your problems, I have to ask how that is working for you. I am hoping you will see the futility of that behavior, pull the plug on the pity party and try something new.
You have to admit – and agree – that you must change YOURSELF before you can experience a real change in your life. We can’t play the blame game or see outside forces as the impetus for our pain or discomfort. As John Maxwell says, “You aren’t a tree – change it!” The big thing to remember here is that until we change ourselves, the pain, discomfort, and problems will NOT go away!
STEP 2. ASK YOURSELF WHY.
You have to ask yourself WHY you are behaving in a way that leads you to the negative outcomes you don’t want. It takes being honest with yourself to find the answer, but until you do, productive change cannot happen. The important thing to know here is that the answer to this “why?” question will always be a belief on your Belief Window. (That’s why it is so important to be honest.) This is not easy. Smith gives a couple of examples that can help you work through this step. The examples helped me and I think they will help you, too.
- Why do I run away from dogs? (I believe that all dogs are dangerous.)
- Why do I make jokes at inappropriate times? (I believe that being funny is the best way to make friends.)
- Why do I cheat at games? (I believe that my value as a person is based on winning games.)
- Why do I continue to hang out with an abusive person? (I believe that I deserve the abuse I receive.)
- Why am I always late to meetings? (I believe that my time is more valuable than that of others.)
This step might take some time, and it will definitely take some honest self-examination. But you will immediately know when you find the root belief. Bear in mind that this is a private exercise and that you don’t have to share any of it with anyone else. We will continue with the last steps in our next post. Until then, write down your own “why’s” and try to answer them as honestly as you can!