We left off on the last post discussing how our behavior is rooted in our beliefs. So why don’t we take the time to look at where are beliefs actually come from. What do you believe you can do?
If you haven’t had the chance to read the last post, you can find Transforming Your Life: Part One here. Beliefs are accumulated throughout life from what we have been told, have learned, and what we have experienced. Our beliefs are very often tinged with emotions, which are very strong drivers of behavior: fear, love, anger, desire. Our beliefs generally fall into one of three categories:
- REFLECTIONS OF NATURAL LAW OR REALITY: vegetables are good for people; the earth revolves around the sun
- REFLECTIONS OF PERSONAL VALUES: financial stability and independence is important; It’s best to treat people with respect and kindness
- SUBJECTIVE JUDGMENT OR MATTER OF OPINION: hummus doesn’t taste good; Apple devices are best
Some of these beliefs can be backed up scientifically, some cannot. But the thing is that it doesn’t matter, because if we believe them to be true, we will act as if they are true. In my opinion, our beliefs fall into one of three categories: correct, incorrect or debatable. Please note that these terms do not imply any judgment – good or bad, positive or negative.
Correct beliefs generally produce positive results and the inverse is that incorrect beliefs produce results we don’t want. With that in mind, the best way to change outcomes that you do not want is to change the belief that drives that outcome. When you change a belief, your behavior will change instantly to reflect your belief. Negative outcomes produce the stress and emotional pain we feel. Negative results produce relationship disruptions and employment disappointments we experience. While we can consciously change behaviors to get different results, in order to make long-lasting change that doesn’t produce those bad experiences, changing the root belief that drives the behavior is the way to go.
Why Do We Latch Onto Beliefs?
Let’s take the story by Hyrum W. Smith from the last post and use it as an example. Smith says that all of our beliefs and behaviors are designed to meet basic needs that are common to us all; needs such as the need to live (survival), the need to love and be loved (relationship), the need to feel important (have value), and the need for variety. If we are not meeting those needs, we will feel pain in some way or another.
John’s reaction to the dog was meeting his need for survival; Susan’s was fulfilling her need to love and be loved. While our beliefs are based on meeting our needs, we don’t always adopt a correct belief to meet a need because we misinterpret events, believe something we have been told, or have had a bad experience. The only way to tell if a belief is correct or incorrect for us is to pay attention to the results and determine if the results of a behavior are what we do or don’t want and that takes time.
What could appear to meet your needs and make you happy once may not stand the test of time. For example, the use and abuse of alcohol. If you believe that having a beer or glass of wine relaxes you and makes you more social, you may try that a few times. But what works in a one-time situation takes on a whole different dimension when repeated over time. Smith sums it up concisely:
“You can choose to believe whatever you wish; just remember that your beliefs drive your behavior. A correct belief will lead to good results – results that are positive and beneficial to you…”
An incorrect belief will lead to bad results – results that are negative or damaging to you. It will not meet your needs over time. It is as simple as that. Adjusting your beliefs is the only true way to change behavior that will get you the results you want in your business and in your life!