It has been said Albert Einstein exclaimed ‘the definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’
I surely am a mad man regularly if this is the case. Aren’t we all?! We are a net sum of piles of habits that form the majority of our life. What about if you want something different in your life? When we want to grow and change for the better we always find resistance.
To believe differently is to really become different.
The catalyst we need for real and lasting change is to go for our beliefs. It’s like the source code, or the base program that automatically runs and this base program is what we use to assess the inputs and create the outputs of life.
For example, let’s assume your kids will not settle down well after bedtime and are still defying your will to have them go to sleep (input). Highly theoretical, I’m sure this never happens 🤨. Your base program might interpret the situation to mean your kids are unable to listen to instruction and it’s your fault they haven’t learnt to go to bed better (output). Or, your output might be different. Anger (why won’t they listen!?). Despair (they will never change). Some kind of emotional response will spit out of your base program (your belief).
Belief forms the assumptions and agreements regarding the meaning of inputs, and selects a response.
This all happens subconsciously of course. Many times I think this whole process goes unnoticed and I know for me at least, I just identify with the emotions and carry on into the next input/output loop as defined by my base program.
Now, if indeed we dislike the output we might try to change. Here’s where we apply massive mental energy and effort to manage the response. We make resolutions to do or not do something different next time.
But, what if the base program is faulty? What if the assumptions about the inputs are wrong and are creating unhelpful outputs.
What we do follows what we believe.
It’s natural now to apply effort to change by focusing attention on ‘management of action’. This is not a wasted exercise and much can be gained by management of action but true growth and transformational change lies in assessing and changing beliefs.
To consider the agreements and assumptions requires time, headspace, humility and some form of mentoring/guidance. Because, it gets messy in there!
The fact remains, all humans can profess to believe something which they actually do not believe. Yes, including you and I.
What happens if you stop to look inward at your beliefs? Do you ever stop and let your mind dwell on the beliefs beneath the action? The base program? For me at least, to continue the software analogy it’s like a more complex code I can’t understand or perhaps its encrypted. What I mean to say is, it’s no simple task.
But hey, good things don’t come easy right?! Our beliefs are the compass and map with which we navigate, the rails on which life runs. It would be worth seeing where they are leading us!
Here’s a few ideas from a fellow traveler to pick from:
- Find people worth following. Mentors will help you calibrate your beliefs. A good way to assess what you truly believe is to hold your beliefs up to the light alongside a trusted advisors beliefs and compare them in real life situations.
- Set aside time to remove distractions and relax into meditation and prayer.
- At a foundational level I directly confront any sort of belief that you are a wonderful accident or some unintended result of chance. You are exactly where you were designed to be and your unique contribution is wanted and immensely valuable.
- Name your beliefs. Write them down. Once you have spotted them and given them name and shape. You will see them more clearly when they appear in the moment. Think “The Matrix” where Neo learns to stop bullets and he can see the actual code itself and realizes he has the ability to re-write it! Same-same but different.
- Read and listen to “Whole Foods” content. YouTube trawling will not provide the mental nutrition to build better beliefs. Mind numbing bing watching is just that – mind numbing. You’ll need to stimulate thought and use that to dive deep into belief.
- Finish your shower with cold water! A bit random I know but holding your body in the uncomfortable water intentionally will remind you your mind is capable of overcoming the “inputs” and learning new ways of being. It has crazy good physical benefits too (check out Whim-Hoff the ice man!)