|SELF-DESTRUCTIVE IDEAS turning into SELF FULFILLING PROPHECIES|
What is a belief, anyway? Often in life we talk about things without having a clear idea of what they really are. Most people treat a belief as it it’s a thing, when really all it is a feeling of certainty about something. If you say you believe that you’re intelligent, all you’re really saying is, “I feel certain that I’m intelligent.” That sense of certainty allows you to tap into resources that allow you to produce intelligent results. We all have the answers inside of us virtually anything-or at least we have access to the answers we need through others. But often our lack of belief, our lack of certainty, causes us not to be able to use the capacity that resides within us.
A simple way of understanding a belief is to think about is basic building block: an idea. There are a lot of ideas you may think about but not really believe. There are a lot of ideas you may think about but not really believe. Let’s take, for example, the idea that you’re sexy. Stop for a second and say to yourself, “I’m sexy.” Now, whether it’s an idea or a belief will come down to the amount of certainty you feel about this phrase as you say it. If you think, “Well, I’m not really sexy,” what you’re really saying is, “I don’t feel very certain that I’m sexy.”
How do we turn an idea into a belief? Let me offer you a simple metaphor to describe the process. If you can think of an idea as being like a tabletop with no legs, you’ll have a fair representation of why an idea doesn’t feel as certain as belief. Without any legs, that tabletop won’t even stand up by itself. Belief, on the other hand, has legs. If you really believe, “I’m sexy,” how do you know you’re sexy? Isn’t it true that you have some references to support the idea-some experiences in life to back it up? Those are the legs that make your tabletop solid, that make your belief certain.
What are some of the reference experiences you’ve had? May be men and women have told you that you’re sexy. Or maybe you look at yourself in the mirror, compare your image to that of those whom other people consider sexy, and say, “Hey, I look like them!” Or maybe strangers on the street call out and wave to you. All these experiences mean nothing until you organize them under the idea that you’re sexy. As you do this, the legs make you feel solid about the idea and cause you to begin to believe it. Your idea feels certain and is now a belief.
Once you understand this metaphor, you can begin to see how you beliefs are formed, and get a hint of how you can change them as well. First, though, it’s important that we can develop beliefs about anything if we just find enough legs-enough reference experiences-to build life, or know enough other people who have gone through tough times with other human beings, that if you really wanted to you could easily develop the belief that people are rotten and , give half a chance, would take advantage of you? Maybe you don’t want to believe this, and we’ve already discussed that it would be dis-empowering, but don’t you have experiences that could back up this idea and make you feel certain about it if you wanted to? Isn’t it also true that you have experiences in life-references-to back up the idea that if you really care about people and treat them well, they are basically good and will want to help you too?
The question is: which one of these beliefs is the true belief? The answer is that it doesn’t matter which one is true. What matters is which one is the most empowering. We all can find someone to back up our belief and make us feel more solid about it. This is how human beings are able to rationalize. The key question, again, is whether this belief is strengthening or weakening us, empowering or dis-empowering us on a daily basis. So what are the possible sources of references in our lives? Certainly, we can pull from our personal experiences, sometimes we gather references, through information we get from other people, or from books, tapes, movies, and so on. And sometimes we form references based solely on our imagination. The emotional intensity we feel about any of those references will definitely affect the strength and width of the leg. The strongest and most solid legs are formed by personal experiences that we have a lot of emotion attached to because they were painful or pleasurable experiences. The other factor is the number of references we have-obviously, the more reference experiences supporting and idea, the stronger you belief will be in it.
Extract: AWAKEN THE GIANT WITHIN--Anthony Robbins