Updated: Jun 27, 2020
“As you think so shall you become”- Bruce Lee
We have all heard this quote before, haven’t we. But have you ever tried to understand how our beliefs manifest our reality?
What is belief anyway, and how do we acquire them?
A belief is a thought that is true to you and one which is acquired through the interpretation of past personal experiences.
Often in life we talk about things without having a clear idea of what they really are. Most people treat a belief as if it’s a thing, when really all it is, is a feeling of certainty about something.
1. Most of us do not consciously decide what we are going to believe.
2. Often our beliefs are based on misinterpretation of past events.
3. Once we adopt a belief we forget that its merely an interpretation.
Our mind is a very powerful machine. Yet, if you're like most people, you probably spend very little time reflecting on the way you think and what you believe. After all, who thinks about thinking? But, the way you think about yourself becomes your reality and once you draw a conclusion of who you are and what you’re capable of doing, you’re likely to look for evidence that reinforce your beliefs and discount anything that runs contrary to them.
How do beliefs shape our reality?
Beliefs influence behaviour.
One of the most basic ways that beliefs can shape reality is through their influence on our behavior. What you think directly influences how you feel and how you behave. For example, if you think you’re a failure, you will feel like a failure. Then, you’ll act like a failure, which reinforces your belief that you must be a failure. On the other hand, if you believe that you are capable, competent, and deserving of your dream job, you will probably be more likely to seek out and notice opportunities that could help you get there.
People so often develop limiting beliefs about who they are and what they’re capable of. Because they haven’t succeeded in the past, they start believing that they won’t succeed in the future. Creating a vicious cycle and as a result they begin to constantly focus on being “realistic”.
But the Past does not equal the Future. If you fail once, it does not mean that you will fail again. You just may have to fight your battles more than once to win them.
Here is a short story.
A man walking through an elephant camp spotted that the elephants were being held by a small piece of rope tied to one of their legs. No cages, no chains, just the little piece of rope was all that was holding them from escaping the camp. As the man gazed upon these giant magnificent creatures, he was completely confused as to why the elephants wouldn’t just use their strength to break the rope and escape. They could easily have done so, but instead, they didn’t try to at all.
Out of curiosity, he asked a trainer nearby. “How come these elephants never try to escape?” The trainer replied; “When they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to hold them back. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe that they cannot break away, so they never even try.”
The only reason that the elephants weren’t breaking free and escaping from the camp was that over time they adopted the belief that it just wasn’t possible.
It’s never the obstacles in our life but the meaning we attach to them. It is how we interpret them that shapes who we are today and who we’ll become tomorrow. Beliefs are what build some individuals to become heroes and others to live a life of misery. Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.
Creating a more positive outlook can lead to better outcomes. That’s not to say positive thoughts have magical powers. But optimistic thoughts lead to productive behavior, which increases your chances of a successful outcome.