How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality

February 28, 2024

Ask any expert in any discipline how they create excellence and they will tell you that success begins in the mind.  The mind and physical body (including the structure that we know as the brain) are so closely connected, that the physical will not function at optimum performance without the close attendance of a healthy mind.  To produce excellence, you must first believe that you are capable of achieving ultimate success.  Every expert and champion will believe that they can succeed and win and it’s that total belief that has driven them to the peak of their profession, any profession.

Let’s consider belief for a moment.  It may surprise you to discover that beliefs are not true.  Beliefs are not true and we act as if they are, therefore beliefs act as self-fulfilling prophecies.  If you believe something to be true, then it will be true in your personal model of the world, your own reality.  This concept is nicely illustrated by the quote attributed to Henry Ford, ‘Whether you believe you can or you can’t you are absolutely right.’

Beliefs are related to your values and every individual belief is linked to a certain value, which is held at the unconscious level of your cognitive minds.  Beliefs are more conscious than your values and make generalisations about your actions, about what you are doing or what you need to do.  Beliefs form your Model of the World and by that I mean, how you believe the world is.  One of the presuppositions of NLP (principles that we work within) is, ‘The map is not the territory’, meaning the representation you make of your own reality doesn’t accurately describe reality itself because everyone forms a different map which fits their values and belief systems.  So, what you believe is your truth and guides your perception of reality and your outward and inward behaviour.

Positive beliefs are extremely powerful contributors to your success.  If you believe something is possible, then it is possible in your model of the world.  Let’s take Roger Bannister, the Athlete as an example.  When Roger announced that he was going to run a mile in under 4 minutes, his contemporaries said it was not physically possible. Even the physicians of the time postulated that it could be life threatening to even attempt such a feat of physical pressure. Roger’s belief in the possibility of running a 4 minute mile made his success possible.  After he achieved his goal, the four minute mile was achieved a further 70 times, because Roger had altered other people’s model of the world by his success, they believed it could be done and so they too achieved the same results, which only months before, were widely accepted as being impossible.

Beliefs can also be limiting.  If you believe something about yourself, all the time, then you behave as if that belief were true and so become the product of your limiting beliefs.  For example, if a person has a limiting belief that ‘I’m not good enough’, then they will behave as someone who is not good enough.  If a person believes that they can’t make enough money, then they will behave accordingly and never make enough money.  So, what you believe generates your model of the world and dictates your behaviour.  

You have probably realised now that beliefs are very powerful and changing a limiting belief into a belief that is resourceful and empowering can transform your life entirely.  The good news is that it is easy to change your limiting beliefs and replace them with powerful positive beliefs, using the thinking and linguistics held within the profession of NLP.  

Here’s a challenge for you and an opportunity to play and experience a bit of NLP thinking.  

Think about something in your life, either at work or more personal environments that you want to achieve and haven’t achieved yet.  Think exclusively about that one thing and push everything else from your consciousness.  Now, as you think about that one thing that you want to achieve and haven’t yet, notice how you represent that thing internally.  What do you feel like?  Do you have a picture in your mind?  Notice the properties of the picture, is it small, large, bright, dark, moving, still, framed, panoramic, do you see it as if through your own eyes or can you see yourself in the picture?  Notice any sounds that are important to your representation, including any self-talk.  Notice your physiology, how does your body feel?  Notice any muscular tension, how you are holding yourself and notice the rate and location of your breathing.  Now ask yourself, what is it that you believe about yourself that means you haven’t achieved this thing yet?  Notice the answer that your unconscious mind gives you and then let that go.

Now, please think about something that you wanted to achieve and achieved really easily and enjoyably.  Think exclusively about that one thing and push everything else from your consciousness.  Now, as you think about that one thing that you achieved, notice how you represent that thing internally.  Consider and notice everything that you noticed above.  Most importantly, notice how this representation differs from the other.  Now ask yourself, what is it that you believe about yourself that means you achieved this thing?  Notice the answer that your unconscious mind gives you and then let that go.

Take a moment to reflect on the differences between the two representations, note them down if that helps.  Most crucially, note down the belief that you held about yourself in each circumstance and see how different they are.

In order to change the belief that you found to be limiting your success, return to thinking about that thing that you want to achieve that you haven’t achieved yet.  Now, begin to change how your represent that activity in your mind so that it matches the thing that you have achieved.  Change your physiology, your posture, your breathing, change the way the picture looks, change the sounds and the self-talk and as you do that, notice the limiting belief changing to one of achievement.

Practice this technique a few times on the same desired goal, so that a new pattern of belief becomes consolidated in your thinking.  Your unconscious mind will form new and more complex neural connections and your beliefs will shift to empower and motivate you to achieve.

Beliefs are not true and we act as if they are, therefore beliefs act as self-fulfilling prophecies.

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