Self-Awareness 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
Make a conscious decision to change belief systems that may be limiting us from living the life we desire.
In this episode Willard discusses that as we become more self aware, we may find that we need to change belief systems that are preventing us from living the life we desire. What beliefs do we have about ourselves, about others and about the world in general? Do these beliefs empower us towards becoming who we wish to be? Or do they limit us? Understanding the power of our belief systems will open you to a whole new level of awareness.
How does a person change belief systems? What are belief systems?
You may have heard me mention them in earlier episodes; actually I've asked you to write down some of your belief systems in Episode 1 "The Importance Of Becoming Self Aware". At the end of that episode I had asked you to think about belief systems you have about yourself, about other people, and about the world.
So again, what are belief systems? Belief systems are pretty much the "operating system" that all of the other "software" in your brain runs on. And the unique thing about belief systems is that they are simply perceptions that we've chosen to accept as being truth. Even more importantly, when we understand this, we can choose to change belief systems that no longer serve us.
I say that because most belief systems come from past experiences and themeanings that we've attached to those experiences. Many times we have belief systems that aren't even ours. We've accepted them from our parents, teachers, and people in our community, our religion, our culture, and we haven't even questioned why we believe many of them. We just accept them, and then operate our lives based on those belief systems.
What we need to understand is that our belief systems affect everything that we do. They determine how we will act, how we will react and how we respond to each situation that we face. They determine what we will attempt or not attempt to achieve in our lives be it relationships, health, or career. Any personal aspiration will succeed or fail based on our belief systems.
We also need to understand that we can change belief systems at any time and as we do, our experience of life will also change.
Many of us have limiting belief systems, that we don't even realize we have that are negatively impacting us, that are sabotaging us as we try and achieve specific outcomes in our lives.
As we set goals for ourselves, limiting belief systems prevent us from tapping into our potential. Limiting belief systems prevent you from taking action and ultimately they limit the results that you could have achieved. By becoming aware of these limiting belief systems, you then have the option to change belief systems into ones that will empower you in your life.
In between takes of filming this video, Jerry, the man who works with me on creating this series pointed out that a lot of times, people, can hear about limiting belief systems but they ask, "How does this apply to me? I can't change belief systems. This is who I am!"
Well, let me share an example to help explain this does apply to you:
Ask yourself this question. "Why can't I _______________?" In any area of your life where you're not getting the results you desire say, "I can't achieve "X" because___________" (fill in the blank). You may find yourself coming up with answers like these...
I can't achieve losing the weight that I want, because I'm just an overeater. I can't achieve the perfect relationship, because my parents had a messed up relationship. I can't start my own business because I don't have money. I can't work out because I don't have the time.
It's the fill in the blank game; anything that you put after the word "because", "I can't because___________" is what we refer to as a limiting belief system. And when you do this exercise for yourself you'll start to discover places where you have been limiting yourself. By doing this exercise you will learn what has been stopping you from getting what you want in your life.
If you believe that you can't have a fulfilling relationship because your parents did not have a good relationship, how will you apply yourself when you are in a relationship? If you already have a belief that you are not capable of having a fulfilling relationship are you going to tap into more or less potential? You're going to tap less potential as far as how you could apply yourself in being a good partner because you already have a limiting belief of how good of a partner you can be.
Take a moment and ask yourself what kind of potential could you tap into if you decided to change belief systems about your ability to be better in relationships? What if you began to believe that, if you are truly committed, you can learn to be better at anything?
If you have a limiting belief system that you can't have a fulfilling relationship because your parents did not have a good relationship, are you going to take more or less action towards creating a fulfilling relationship? You're going to take less action because you are going to already be thinking that you're going to fail anyways. And if you tap into less potential, and take less action, what kind of result are you going to get? More than likely, you are going to get the result of having an unfulfilling relationship. And you're not going to do this consciously, it will all happen at an unconscious level because of the limiting belief you had.
Take a moment and ask yourself what kind of actions you would take if you decided to even slightly change belief systems about your ability to be better in relationships? What if you began to believe that, you could learn to be better in relationships by learning from your parents mistakes?
I'll give you an example that for me personally was one of one of the biggest limiting belief systems that I had. And until I became aware of it, and more importantly became aware that I could change belief systems, that limiting belief negatively affected my life for years.
All of us strive to succeed in some area of our lives. It stems from a natural human desire to be significant in the sense of our life having meaning. Some people shoot for mega-success to feel that significance, and some people just shoot for those little accomplishments, that we want to feel good about. Some people gain that significance in their families, and others achieve it globally. Some people fulfill that need without any external references. When they do something they are proud of, they simply feel good about it.
I lost my leg, when I was 8 years old and all of a sudden a big spotlight was shined on me and I received a lot of attention. I became very significant very quickly, and because of the meaning I attached to losing my leg, this significance caused me a lot of emotional pain. I was ashamed because I attached the meaning that "God didn't love me" and that I was a "bad" person. To avoid the pain and the "shame" I was feeling from the attention I was getting, I made the decision that I was not going to be different than anybody else. I decided that I was going to do everything that everybody else could do. So I went out and I lettered in high school football, I lettered in high school wrestling, I was the first known licensed amputee motorcyclist in PA. And every time I achieved one of these things that should have been a success for me, where I should have felt this tremendous sense of accomplishment, it never failed that people would say, “That's great, look what Will did, and he's only got one leg."
In that very instant, when I should have been feeling my greatest success, I felt my greatest pain, and I could never understand why. The more this happened, without even realizing it, I began to change belief systems about what success meant to me. I became conditioned to believe that succeeding at anything equaled pain. Based on that belief, it got to the point later in life where I wouldn't even try to achieve things, because when I achieved things, rather than feeling pride in them, I would feel shame. Don't get me wrong, I would still set goals for myself, but I found I was always "falling short" of achieving them. I would always seem to sabotage myself.
Finally there came a point in 1998, where I became aware of this limiting belief and how it was affecting my life. Having the awareness of this limiting belief system allowed me the opportunity to consciously change belief systems to ones that would allow me to respond differently. Over time, I conditioned myself to embrace these new beliefs, and ultimately enjoy a different experience when I would succeed at something or have a sense of significance.
At this point people usually begin to protest that they can't change belief systems. They say that this is just how they are, and they have to accept that. I'm here to tell you that you can change belief systems. Actually, you change them all the time. I'm willing to bet that if you think about it, you had belief systems that you would have defended to the death when you were younger, that you don't even like to admit that you believed them now.
I'm not going to go into how you change belief systems right now. There are plenty of resources available to teach you how to do it. What this is about right now is helping you become aware of belief systems you have that are limiting you.
And the way that you're going to do that is right now, get a pen, get a paper, do this on a computer, but make sure to do it right now. I want you to think of the areas, that you're not stepping up to the level you could be. Maybe it’s your relationship. Maybe it’s your finances. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your health. And whatever area you come up with that you are not achieving the results you desire, I want you to finish the following sentence.
I can't because_____________ and then fill in the blank.
As an example, you may not be as successful in your career as you would like to be when you explore your limiting belief you find yourself saying, "I can't because I don't know how." "I can't because I don't have the money to market myself." or "I can't because, other people are better than I am."
Or maybe you aren't as fulfilled in your relationship as you would like to be and when you explore your limiting belief you find yourself saying, "I can't because I don't know how to be a good partner." "I can't because I didn't have good role models." or "I can't because, I just don't trust people enough."
Identify three at the very minimum; I actually suggest that you identify 5 limiting beliefs in different areas. Then I want you to start asking yourself, "Is it possible, that this is just BS?" And in this context, I don't just mean belief system.
Then ask yourself, "What are some alternatives?" Maybe instead of, "I can't because, I don't know how", you could say, "If I really applied myself, I can learn anything."
That slight shift can mean all the difference in the world. But again, the first step is to become aware of those unconscious belief systems that are holding you back. When you change belief systems you begin to approach life in a significantly different way.
So, I look forward to hearing what you come up with. I look forward to finding out what possible tools you used to help change belief systems of your own. And I look forward to seeing you again soon.
You can jump from Change Belief Systems to our next free video in the series, Self Awareness 101 Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
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Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode