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Your beliefs create your reality. There was a time in my life when I had sneered at such statements.
Pshaw! Beliefs! Anything else? Maybe a Santa Claus or a tooth fairy?
Oh, my old, ignorant, stupid self. A tooth fairy may share a lot of features with beliefs — nobody saw them in real life, they belong more to the imaginative realm than to the physical one — but there is a striking difference between those two entities: A tooth fairy is a fictional creature; my beliefs are very real mind protocols stored in my brain.
They are as real as habit loops, and their influence is as real and as pervasive too.
So, what are beliefs? According to the dictionary definition:
an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof
When it comes to the beliefs you hold, the “proof” part is totally irrelevant. When you cling to a specific belief, you can be showered with ironclad proofs and still hold to it. You will just interpret those proofs in a way that will keep your belief intact.
Hint: all the folks who think a protective mask is an ultimate magic item against COVID and all the ones who claim masks are worthless, bordering on deadly. Or better yet, the ones who don’t believe “in” COVID. Hello! It’s a virus, a part of a physical reality! Can you not believe “in” oxygen and thus eliminate it from the universe?
Human minds, apparently, can do even that.
In short, your beliefs can distort reality because they determine — for you — what is the truth. And truth is:
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
Your beliefs are your reality.
The house you live in. The relationships you have. The work you do. The car you drive. Your net worth. Your bank account statement. Your health and physical prowess.
Everything, your whole life, is just a function of your beliefs. A “function,” not the direct effect. We don’t live in a Matrix-like reality when you can just think something and it will pop up from thin air. But our reality is shockingly close to it.
Why? Because your beliefs are a big part of your ego. And your ego is something more dear to you than your life. Well, it IS your life. Who would you be if you would not have been yourself?
You fight to keep your self-identity intact with claws and teeth, like you’d fought for your very life. Thus, whenever reality seems to be out of sync with your beliefs, you adjust your beliefs… or your reality.
You get a new great job, but your self-esteem is not up to par with it? You sabotage yourself. You do something stupid like coming drunk to the office or bombing the deadline of a crucial project.
You get a crappy job, but your self-esteem is way above that? You look for opportunities to get a better position. And when such an opportunity appears, you grab it!
The Proof from My Life
Remember I said I had sneered at the concept of beliefs shaping my reality? Well, one event convinced me that my beliefs do exactly this.
At the end of 2014, I wrote down a few goals for 2015. Like almost always, I missed almost all of them. The story of my life.
But, a couple of years later, I found in my journal an entry from the next day after setting my goals. On the 22nd of December 2014, I asked myself, “What do you really think will come out from these goals?”
My jaw dropped. In 2015, I achieved exactly the chunk of my goals I believed I could achieve. You can read the more comprehensive version of this story here:
How to Create the Reality You Want
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And not the one your subconscious beliefs dictate.
It’s a very complex issue, demanding a looong answer and many words, certainly book-worthy. I’ll just show you the first step in this article.
First of all, you need to realize what your current beliefs are. Doing some self-analysis may be useful. This is extremely tricky. We are experts in lying to ourselves (again, protecting our sensitive ego). Even if you uncover part of your true beliefs, you will be more aware of the steering wheel in your life.
You should do self-analysis in writing, like I did when asking myself about what I really believed I could achieve in 2015. Writing automatically activates the prefrontal cortex in your brain — the part responsible for logical thinking. Why? Because language is the real protocol for the conscious mind.
Einstein did miracles with his imagination — to formulate his relativity theory he imagined himself traveling on a photon with the speed of light. However, to put the theory in writing, he needed to translate this imaginary concept into words and sentences. Writing, language, is a bridge between images in your brain and abstract concepts (like setting yearly goals).
Self-analysis is the cheapest, quickest and the most available way to uncover your beliefs… Yet, very, very few of us ever do that. Even less do that on a regular basis.
The Best Way to Discover Your Beliefs
Examine your reality. Look around. How are your relationships? What is your net worth? Your reality will tell you what your beliefs are.
I recently did that exercise trying to figure out my beliefs around money. Some of the things I discovered were the direct copy-paste from my reality. Some required more digging. But the scrutiny of my financial position shone a light on the beliefs I didn’t even think I had. Here is a sample:
“I’m not able to earn more than $8k a month.”
“I cannot provide more value to my customers than nowadays.”
“Making money is evil.”
The first two beliefs were a direct mirror of my reality. Almost. Remember what I said about distorting reality with your beliefs?
In the last few years, I made over $8k twice. Barely. But in my finance tracking system, I didn’t register my day job salary. So, the reality was that I was able to earn more than $8k. My subconscious chose to ignore the evidence.
The third belief required more work. I inquired deeper about the first two beliefs and discovered the third one hidden even deeper.
Do you want better results? You should better know your internal beliefs about this area of life. It applies to everything — finances, health, relationships, work, education, and so on. This is the first step.
It’s hard to extract your beliefs just by asking yourself a bunch of questions. Humans are masters of self-deception. But if you attempt to do that, use pen and paper.
The quickest way to uncover your subconscious beliefs is examining your reality. Who you are and what you have now is created, almost entirely, by your beliefs. Any deviation of reality from your beliefs is just temporary (like me making barely over $8k twice). So, don’t compare just a current snapshot from your life, but recurring patterns.
Once you know your current beliefs, you can dismantle them and work on instilling new ones, serving you better.
You cannot dismantle something you don’t even notice. And building new beliefs in direct opposition to your old ones is like building in the dark. You will stumble all the time.
Discovering your beliefs doesn’t have to be hard. They are all hidden in plain view. Your reality will tell you what they are.
Originally published at Medium.