All that you do, all that you are and all that you will become, is wrapped up in the belief system that you have. Your beliefs have the power to chain you up or the power to unleash your potential. So, the first part of any lasting change in your business, your relationships and yourself is to look at what you really believe.
Read on to find out why the first thing you gotta do, if you’re struggling with juggling business, travel, friends…or your whole life, is check what you really believe about yourself and your capabilities.
What is a belief system?
“The most powerful force the human being possesses is the power of belief.” – Myles Munroe
A belief system is a curated set of “mutually supportive beliefs”. What is a belief? How many times can I say belief in this article? Start counting...
A belief, according to Wikipedia is –
“the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case regardless of empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.”
Your belief system is what you use to interpret your reality and it is at the very heart of your perspective on everything to do with your life.It is not always evidence-based; in fact, they can be completely irrational and still retain the power to steer your life. They retain the power to make you feel a certain way and do or not do certain things. Look at you for example. You believe that conventional ways of working are not the only way to be successful, and here you are now, reading this blog on your laptop from a cafe in a country you weren’t born in, as you take a break from the freelance work that paid for your coffee and cake.
How does your belief system affect you?
It has the power to position you in a way that will either benefit you or drag you down. This is why it is so important to consciously check your core belief system; a positive belief system will pull you towards success in all the things you deem to be important. A negative belief system will drag you into a pit of despair. One that’s a mixture of both will lead to a lack of focus and a huge amount of frustration. Whatever camp you’re in, if you want to change and grow, check your beliefs first.
How do you do a ‘Belief System Audit’?
I’m a practical person. I don’t read or listen to mumbo jumbo about self-development unless there are tangible steps to making some kind of improvement. I tried this and it is working for me so I thought I’d share.
Write two lists – positive and negative beliefs
The good news is that this does not have to be super complicated. You do have to be honest with yourself though. Write down two lists. One list about all the positive things you believe about yourself, your life, and what you’re capable of. Then write another list about all the negative things you believe about yourself. All your insecurities, all the beliefs that talk about what you can’t do. What do you believe about travel, business, relationships? What do you believe is fun, what do you believe is the right way to live, what do you think your purpose as a human being is? What do you believe you have to contribute?
Write this list like nobody is going to see it but you. Deep down if you genuinely believe that you will never be good at maths and accounting, or that you will never be a morning person, write it down. If you believe that one day you will impact the lives of a million people, write it down. The power of this exercise is in honesty. So please judge yourself as accurately as you can – all of your beliefs must come under scrutiny no matter how far fetched they may be.
Assess both lists
Then take a long hard look at the list. I always thought I was a positive person, but the first time I did this exercise, I realised deep down that I had a lot of “I can’t” beliefs and not a lot of “I can” beliefs. It was a small wonder my life had gotten to a point where I felt like nothing would change, and that I would be working in a dead end job I hated for the rest of my life. It was a small wonder that I was bad with money; I believed that I was, and my life became a reflection of that belief.
But don’t stay in the negative. Change is what we are ultimately looking for. Constant and consistent improvements in small, intentional increments. Which follows nicely to the next step…
Take out the trash…
Highlight all the positive beliefs. Give yourself a pat on the back, you still believe that you have plenty to offer. Let’s put those to one side for the time being and look at creating helpful beliefs out of the harmful ones. It’s time to take out the trash.
Notice that a belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs.
You might have written down that you believe one day you’ll own a multimillion-dollar enterprise, but you’ve also written that you’re rubbish with money. The two don’t tend to go hand in hand so the belief that you are rubbish with money needs to change. Why? They aren’t mutually complimentary which means they will work against each other. You’ll be pulled in two different directions; you want to be a multimillionaire, but you believe you’re rubbish with money. So which is it? Choose the positive belief that pulls you towards success and stick the negative belief in the trash. It won’t serve you.
Change the Language
Just a slight modification in language will make the world of difference. Instead of “I’m rubbish with money”, swap it instead for “I am getting better at managing my finances.” That belief sets you on a path to making improvements until eventually, you can upgrade the belief to “I am good with my finances.”
Why is this important? It’s important because when you decide that instead of buying clothes you don’t need, you want to take that cash and put it into an investments fund, you’ll have the core belief to back it up. The pain of change will be answered with “I am getting better at managing my finances” and you’ll be far less likely to make a decision that will be worse for you in the long run.
Let’s have an example related to us as digital nomads. Perhaps deep down, you believe that building a business on the road is not a sustainable model. You’re frustrated because it seems like there are too many distractions and it’s difficult to focus. But you also know and believe that with your trusty laptop, you can work from anywhere. These beliefs are at odds with one another and so they work against each other to make you agitated. One belief says you can, the other belief says you can’t. Modify the one that says you can’t. “If I can work on somebody else’s business and travel, I can work on my own business and travel.”
Get the beliefs aligned so that they all work together to promote your personal development. Cool system I think. Thanks, Tony Robbins!
Live out your new convictions
Every time you come up against a challenge, have your new and improved belief system to hand. The new set of convictions that you’ve consciously chosen have the power to change the course of your life. Repeat to yourself all the reasons why you can overcome challenges. Then to create a solution, pull out a mental model and get to work. Keep doing this until it becomes a habit to think the best of a situation and not the worst. Become sure-footed in a belief system that doesn’t pull you in two different directions
So lets quickly recap. If you’re frustrated and agitated and you want to see change do the following –
- Make two lists – one list for positive beliefs and one for negative beliefs
- Assess both lists side by side
- Swap our harmful beliefs for helpful beliefs that will promote growth in your life.
- Keep your new beliefs handy to reflect on when you come up against a challenge.
To conclude, auditing your belief system is a worthwhile and worthy exercise. What is the point of setting goals, or dreaming dreams, if you don’t really believe that you can achieve them?