Chances are that you don’t control your own brain. Nor is there a big chance that you’ve heard of belief systems. Everyone has a belief system and when you’re aware of this, it can enhance the quality of your life.
It has nothing to do with religion and neither is this some voodoo-like magic. If it’s not any of this, then what is a belief system?
What Is A Belief System?
If your first thoughts about belief systems are, this is bullsh*t, then that’s a belief. Your perception of the world is built upon the things you believe.
All those beliefs bundled together forms your belief system.
Whether you believe that you can or cannot do something, is only your belief. It doesn’t contain any hard truths. It’s only the truth you’ve made up and given to yourself.
This means that how you feel isn’t determined by the things that happen to you. It’s determined by how you see and experience the things that happen to you.
In other words, it’s not the real experience that matters but your own perception of this event.
“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.”
– Tony Robbins
Your belief system is a unique bundle of beliefs that you’ve acquired over the duration of your lifetime. Let’s have a deeper look at how your beliefs come to life.
How You Make Up Your Beliefs
It’s important to understand that beliefs are not made up out of the things that actually happen. It’s about the meaning you gave to those experiences.
Most of these experiences are created at a young age. At this stage, you’ve got no control over what kind of beliefs you adopt. You’re exposed to a couple of things.
Firstly, and this one is obvious, your parents. Your parents have a great impact on what kind of beliefs you adopt as a child. Most people carry those beliefs with them for the rest of their lives.
For example, if your parents are very careful in everything they do, chances are that you’re not going to be much of a risk taker either.
Secondly, your environment shapes your beliefs. The people who you hang out with certainly have a great impact on the way you think and act.
A great example of this is the different cultures. Think about how cultural differences make our beliefs that others might find ridiculous.
But also news, media, and television shape your beliefs. Although consciously you know that television and news are staged, unconsciously you take things on as truths. Learn here more about how this source of drama shapes your beliefs.
Thirdly, the mayor and minor events in your life. With major events, you can think about the birth of a child, death of a loved one, or any kind of addiction that you’ve struggled with.
Again, it’s not so much the events that have happened in your life but the meaning you give to those events.
Some people who overcome their addiction use this to help other people overcome their addiction. And thus, transform a horrible event in their life into a fulfilling path.
Fourthly, your own knowledge. This could be the knowledge that you’ve learned in school or past results in your life.
And finally, your future experiences. This one might seem odd but you can adopt a belief based on something that’s going to happen in the future. If you want to learn more about this, have a look into the law of attraction.
The more things you can find to support a belief, the more certain you become that this belief is a fact.
For example, most of us dislike salespeople because we believe they’re too pushy. When you try to buy a car, and the salesman turns out to be pushy, you’ll tell yourself: I knew it!
This is an extra reference that builds upon the knowledge that you already had.
When you talk to your friend about what happened, he had exactly the same experience. Now you’re making your reference even stronger with social references.
But does this mean that all the salesman are pushy? Of course, not.
This example demonstrates how you can build a belief that’s generalized. This can be very harmful and happens unconsciously for most people.
How Beliefs Guide Us
What you believe can make or break you. It’s the framework within which you operate.
So it’s important to make sure that you adopt beliefs that are empowering instead of destructive.
Let me explain why with a little story of myself.
Back in school I was depressed (belief) and didn’t like the study that I was doing. I couldn’t (belief) stop with the study because there is a huge incentive if you finish it.
I failed many tests several times but it was never my fault (belief). The teachers weren’t there to help (belief) and it was just a lazy way of earning money (belief).
I was shy (belief) and very bad at making initial contact with people (belief). Also, I was considered boring for girls (belief).
I was mediocre at best in anything I did (belief).
As you can tell, it’s no surprise that I felt depressed with all those disempowering beliefs. Even the belief of depression kept me in a state of depression much longer than I should’ve allowed myself to be in.
Can you think of some disempowering beliefs that limit you from breaking through to the next level?
Great Beliefs Bring Riches
You can create an extraordinary life, by adopting a belief system that’s empowering to you.
No need for materialistic stuff or other persons to make you feel great, sounds awesome right?
Just like anything, you must practice this consistently until it becomes a habit. Negative and disempowering beliefs aren’t going to disappear overnight.
Let’s take a look at this Ted talk where Eduardo Briceno explains why your belief system is important for your success.
Before we jump into how beliefs work inside of us, let’s get this statement right:
Beliefs Can Make Us Sick Or Heal Us In Any Moment
Your belief system literally has the power to kill you or make you better, even when the odds are against you. There are dozens of stories about people who, against all odds, survive a terrible disease.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
– Henry Ford
Your belief system is responsible for your inner strengths. If you don’t believe that you can do or overcome something, it’s going to be difficult to make it happen.
Your belief system contains a tremendous amount of power.
How Your Belief System Creates Your Reality
The picture above is originally called the structure of experience from the book, NLP – The Essential Guide. It describes that this is the cycle that we go through in an instant.
This means that this happens automatically and you’ve likely never been aware of this.
Why is this important?
Because awareness is the first step towards taking any action. When you’re aware that you’re the one who’s attaching meaning to the things that happen to you, you can begin to understand why you feel the way you do.
I’ll stress it again because this is important: you don’t experience an emotion because of what happened to you. An emotion is triggered because of the meaning you give to an event.
Here’s some great insight into how beliefs shape your reality by Tony Robbins.
Identifying Your Beliefs
When you want to identify what you believe, you must become an observer of your own thoughts. Meditation could be a great way to start practicing this.
Normally, we drift off in our thoughts to wherever it takes us. If you can distance yourself from your thoughts and raise your curiosity about why you’re thinking this, you’ll discover your core beliefs.
To raise curiosity to ask yourself the following: why?
Followed by a couple other questions: why, why, why?
This question brings you closer to your core beliefs. Most people never do this because they’re not aware of the great discoveries this reveals.
For example, you walk into a store and you see a pair of skinny jeans that you really want. But all of a sudden you realize it’s not a good idea. Why?
Because Peter, the important guy at work, said that only losers wear skinny jeans. So you don’t want to buy it. Why?
Because you don’t want to be excluded from the group. Why?
Because you’ll feel lonely and unloved.
So what you believe is that when you buy the skinny jeans, you won’t be loved and feel lonely.
Now do this simple exercise above to discover 1 believe that you’ve got and that you want to change.
Changing Your Core Beliefs
Changing your core beliefs isn’t an overnight process but with the right mindset, you can get this done. Beliefs are often ingrained into your system so it’s your goal to shake and test the rules about a certain belief.
Start with the decision that you’re going to dedicate yourself to changing your disempowering beliefs. Let’s create a new meaning for those beliefs so you can enjoy a better quality of life.
The first thing you’ve got to realize before making change is that…
Step 1: Your Past Doesn’t Determine Your Future
Most of us believe that what happened to us in the past, dictates what’s going to happen to us in the future. This is simply not true.
What you do today, determines your future. And thus, you determine your future.
This is the first fundamental belief to change if you haven’t already. How successful you’re going to be in changing your beliefs depends on the belief of how much you believe that you can actually change it!
If you find it difficult to adopt this mindset, think about times in the past where you’ve determined your outcome. You’ve done it once, why can’t you do it twice?
It can help to look up different biographies of successful people. People who changed their lives despite having had a bunch of difficulties.
Some interesting people to look into to gain references for this new belief are:
- Walt Disney
- Jim Carrey
- Thomas Edison
- Jack Ma
- Michael Jordan
- Colonel Sanders
- J.K. Rowling
There are many great people to read about and this is just a list to start with. When you read about those people you learn that you create your own possibilities.
Nothing in your future is a fact unless you accept it is. Even Disney Land was ridiculed at first, yet it’s extremely successful today.
Step 2: Associate Massive Pain To Your Old Belief
This idea comes from Tony Robbins book, Awaken The Giant Within. The idea is so profound that I’m sharing this with you.
The science behind this is that you do everything to gain pleasure or get away from pain. Pain is often a better catalyst to make change happen.
What you want to do in this step, is to associate massive pain to your old belief.
How do you do this?
Think about what you’re unable to do now because you’ve got this belief. Maybe it’s keeping you from making a transition in jobs or it keeps you from getting a beautiful partner.
Create a whole list of the pain this belief brings you if you’re not going to change it. If you want to make this work even better, do this for the side of gaining pleasure as well. What pleasures will a change in belief bring to your life?
Make sure you write this down on a list to make it visible. This is going to help you in …
Step 3: Question Your Old Belief
What you’re going to do right now, is shake up your old belief. This means that you’re going to create so much doubt that you stop believing an old belief.
The goal here is to bring so much doubt to your belief, that you start to question why you’ve ever believed it in the first place.
You can do this by questioning the old belief. When you question something long enough, you eventually begin to doubt it.
There are several questions you can ask yourself to shake up old references that you’ve adopted. Here are a few of those questions:
- Why is this belief not accurate?
- Why is this belief ridiculous?
- Where did you get this belief from?
- What characters that you look up to would poke fun at this belief?
- What would you think of this belief when you put yourself in this character’s shoes?
- What’s something that’s funny about this belief?
Ask questions that focus on questioning the belief, rather than reinforcing the belief. If you ask questions like: how does this belief help me? You’re guaranteed to find an answer.
Truth is, you’ll find answers to any question. It’s just how the mind works.
It doesn’t matter if the answers are correct. You know that you use your model of the world to figure out these answers. And your model of the world isn’t reality.
This means that the answers you come up with, are neither going to be right or wrong.
So let’s find some helpful answers instead. You do this by asking yourself questions that question your old belief.
Step 4: Reinforce A New Belief
It’s great to question your old belief but if you cannot replace it with a new empowering belief, chances are that you fall back into old patterns.
You need to fill in the gap that you’ve just created.
So let’s make sure you adopt a new belief that’s going to empower your dreams, rather than destroy your hopes.
Also, make sure that it’s a belief that’s in contrary to the old belief. This way you’re making sure you won’t unconsciously slide back into old patterns.
Step 5: Find References For Your New Belief
Why is your new belief a fact? That’s the question you’re going to answer in this step.
You want to find as many references as you can find to reinforce your new belief. The more you fuel your new belief with powerful references, the more you start to see this new belief as the truth.
You can get references anywhere but here are some ideas:
- Your own thoughts
- Personal past experiences
- Other people’s experiences (that back up this belief)
- Biographies from successful people (with the same beliefs)
- Studying people that share the same belief
The more evidence you find to back up your new belief, the stronger it becomes in your mind. Once you believe it completely, you see how this changes the way you operate.
If you’ve done this correctly, this new belief empowers you to take action, rather than hold you back. If you notice that you don’t fully accept the new belief, keep building references.
Tony Robbins uses the metaphor of a table. The more legs (references) you can add to the table, the stronger the stable stands.
I love this metaphor because every time I find a new reference that backs up a belief, I can see myself attaching a new pillar underneath a building that makes the whole foundation stronger.
The new belief feels much stronger by doing this.
Step 6: Take Action And Keep Building References
You’ve got to put yourself into positions where you use this new belief consistently. Because if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Take action upon this new belief and everytime you succeed, add this new reference to the belief.
Doing this makes your belief so strong, that you won’t ever question it again. When that happens, your belief automatically activates whenever you’re facing a challenge.
At this stage, you’ve completed the adoption of your new belief. You can now focus on another disempowering belief.
Congratulations, you’ve improved yourself and upgraded your character.
Building empowering beliefs can be the difference between giving up on your dreams or persevering and living your dream life.
How Belief Systems Can Hinder Communication
Belief systems can hinder communication because your mind filters what you hear, based on your beliefs.
When someone says something that you don’t believe, you naturally shut down and stop listening. This happens unconsciously all the time.
Start to notice when this happens and consciously become aware of it. Observe where this feeling is coming from.
Does what this person says stirs up a barrier because you hold a contrary belief?
Whenever you’re in disagreement with someone, your belief system is running in full power. You automatically tell yourself that whatever this person says that you disagree with, it sounds ridiculous.
Even when someone makes a great and valid point, often you do everything in your power to defend your own belief.
This isn’t a great way to communicate and isn’t beneficial for possible solutions that you’re trying to come up with.
How To Communicate Effectively With Belief Systems
You’re already making massive steps towards communicating more effectively. Most people aren’t aware of their belief system.
You’re now aware that other people have their own belief system and thus filter their beliefs through their own, self-created map of the world.
Rather than raising your defenses when someone mentions something that you don’t believe, try to become curious about it.
What does their belief system look like for them to believe such a thought?
Understand that some of their beliefs might be more reasonable than your own. Everyone’s got their flaws. In trying to understand how other people operate you get some great insights.
Your belief system controls the decisions you make in your life. That’s why it’s important to understand what belief systems are and how you can change your beliefs.
Most beliefs are created at a very young age. You’re influenced by your parents, the environment, the events in your life, your knowledge, and future events.
You can figure out what beliefs you hold by observing your own thoughts. Question your way of the thinking with the question: why?
You can change limiting beliefs in 6 steps:
- Realize That Your Past Doesn’t Determine Your Future
- Associate Massive Pain To Your Old Belief
- Question Your Old Belief
- Adopt A New Belief
- Find References For Your New Belief
- Take Action And Keep Building References
Everyone has their own belief system and this can hinder communication. Whenever you hear something that you don’t believe, you shut down and stop listening to whatever else that person is saying.
You’ve now got the power to understand that everyone has a different map. When you’ve learned how to navigate your belief system, let’s dive into how you can learn more about someone else’s perspective.