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The Beliefs that Direct Your Life
By Michael Crow   Printer Friendly Version

Have you ever stopped to wonder what drives you? Why you hold certain beliefs about yourself and the world around you? What is it that makes you believe in something - instinctively, often when there is no logical reason or proof? Why do our beliefs have such a profound impact on our self-confidence, self-concept, our abilities and our achievements?

Our beliefs are an integral part of who we are; they help form our character and demonstrate what we stand for - yet often we can offer no explanation for why we believe what we do. Without even fully understanding our values, they still direct our lives.

In my book, "Intentional Identity: How to have everything you want in two days...or less" I provide fascinating insights and answers to these and other questions about ourselves and our lives.

Many beliefs are understandably rooted in upbringing and background. During childhood, our dependent stage, parents, family, teachers and peers have great influence over us. We unquestioningly accept beliefs taught us by others.

Other factors such as ethnic background, religion, family finances, the media and the events of the external world when we are growing up and entering the workforce, all play an important part in establishing a belief system that drives and directs us, as we transition into independence, over the course of our lives.

Some opinions are formed by lack of information or education, such as the folks hundreds of years ago that firmly believed the world was flat. Mariners feared that if they sailed to the edge they would disappear into oblivion. Any humorous ideas about men/women "understandings" to add here?

This rigid thinking was based on a more structured, manufacturing environment than today. In the 21st century, our technological society is far more flexible, open and accepting to unusual and innovative ideas that force us to re-think our beliefs on an ongoing basis. We are now far more accepting of things we don't understand.

For instance, studies tell us that we use a mere 10% of our brain at most, which leaves a massive 90% we know nothing about. Through personal development and self-help information over the past 25 years, we have come to accept that a strongly held faith or belief about something will bring it into our reality. We have no understanding of how this works physically - but we know that our thoughts and beliefs control our actions and those in turn magically bring people and events into our lives that can influence and direct our dreams and desires.

In today's fast-paced world, situations and surroundings change constantly. We have to educate ourselves continually by staying in touch with new information and events, and re-evaluating our beliefs as we see fit. If we operate on pre-conceived, out-of-date beliefs, we may jump to inaccurate conclusions that no longer serve us or are even relevant.

Do your beliefs support you or limit you? Rigid or limited thinking leads to stagnation, and creates poor communication and understanding. It hinders progress in achieving goals, or enjoying satisfying relationships.

We are told to believe in ourselves; that our beliefs direct all our thoughts and actions; that we cannot move confidently in the direction of our dreams without being congruent and comfortable with ourselves.

Until we truly know what we believe in though, how can we believe in ourselves? Defining and understanding your belief system is fundamental to establishing your Intentional Identity™ and potential.

Since your potential in life also depends largely on the pictures you form in your mind about your abilities, (what you see, you believe and what you believe, you see) examining and understanding beliefs helps you paint clearer pictures and becomes your blueprint for a more rewarding and productive life.

More how we evaluate beliefs and shorten the who and what??? Your call…

How do we arrive at our beliefs? What information did I use to define these beliefs? Which sources do I trust? Scientific Analysis Intuition Authorities Feelings Personal Experience Reasoning

Where or from whom did I get the ideas, thoughts, or beliefs? Are these beliefs still valid? Do I have all the information I need to justify applying these beliefs to every similar situation, event, person, or relationship? What affect do these beliefs have on my values and principles? How will these beliefs support or limit me in the future?

Take a few minutes to re-assess your thinking by answering the following questions:

What basic beliefs do I have about my relationships with…? My parents my spouse or partner my children my co-workers my boss my friends

What beliefs do I have about...? Money career/work health politics religion/faith home/security

In each area, ask yourself honestly if your beliefs in these areas still serve you. Are they valid in your life today? Are they in keeping with your goals? Are you flexible enough to change your attitudes if necessary?

This exercise helps establish guidelines for your life's journey and provides a firmly rooted belief system to help you build your dreams, make tough decisions and guide you through challenging times. You will begin to understand what you stand for, what you need to change and what you need to discard in order to move forward with confidence and clarity.

The most important belief is belief in yourself. Believing in who you are and your abilities frees you to pursue goals and dreams without reservation and drives you forward with confidence, independence, autonomy and direction. Combine this conviction in yourself with a solid framework of inherent beliefs from the list above, and you have an unbeatable combination.

Remember; your thoughts and beliefs do become your reality, so choose wisely. Living in harmony with your beliefs is the secret to accomplishing great things. The choice is yours.

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