Suppose you knew exactly what to do to reach your goals, whatever they were.
Maybe grow your profits 27%, maybe lose 36 pounds, maybe change your life… Whatever.
You had a plan and you worked out the steps, but you weren’t taking the actions necessary to get anywhere.
What do you think would happen?
Of course, nothing would happen, because you weren’t doing anything. How could it possibly be any different?
But that doesn’t make any sense…
You knew what to do but weren’t doing it? Why not? That’s never happened, has it?
Well it may NOT make any sense, but for a lot of people this happens every single day.
When you’re done, take a minute and post your comments on the blog, because going public with this sort of thing can really make a difference.
Mike Noone says
this is interesting because I know that for a long time I struggled with stuff that I believed was difficult.
With the world of the web or business or whatever area of endeavor there are different ways to chunk down information.
For example. imagine that you have to learn an 18 day training and you have no previous script. You will deliver that training without notes.
Your beliefs about if it is possible are determined by the evidence you have gathered, as you say. To alter that evidence requires some re-wiring of your belief systems.
I’d love to chat with you about this at some point because beliefs are dependent on your physiology and your state. Change either of those and you change the results.
And you know this…
Robert Scanlon says
Hi Paul – I’ve been loving your work since Formula Five (in Stompernet) which has definitely been responsible for some of our growth.
I struggle with trying to do everything between myself and my wife and a few contractors for the more technical work – but I think a belief of “I have to work hard to make money” seems to limit us to incremental growth rather than dramatic increases that we should have (given our products & customer reactions to them!).
We’re both detail minded and have high standards … contributory factors I guess – but we’ve been in business for ourselves in various different markets for 20 years now and always seem to plateau at the same point.
Any ideas about busting through that and making breakthrough changes would be welcome!
Happy Memorial Day Paul
Thanks for a wonderful post, so full of saykhel for the average shlemeils.
Much nachas and good fotune to you and your family.
Please keep writing these posts.
Hey Joel, thanks. I’ve never seen that word (saykhel)in print before! My congratulations for attempting – even believing – that you can spell it. Give my regards to Rick. -pl
For 23 years I worked 15 hours a day between my government day job and a portrait photography studio. This year I have cut back my photography business in pursuit of setting up a coaching business. It is interesting that now that I am not “forced” to see clients in the evening and actually “push” myself anymore, my energy level has dropped off and I find that I am not able to work as many hours in the week. On one hand I am finally enjoying some true “freedom” in my life by not working so hard, but on the other I feel frustrated that I have not stood up my coaching business quicker.
Is this a situation a now being comfortable with my life? age setting in? or a question of not having that “burning desire” to go to the next level because I am so comfortable?
Hey Doug, that’s hard to say, but it’d sure be worth discovering what you’d really find worth doing right now. I’m working on some tools to unlock and harness inner motivation. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, what do you Trully care about?
I find myself with many good ideas, but following through has always been a flaw in my personality. I know its called “confidence”. I think this is true with many people.
Don’t sweat your personality flaws. We all have them (most of us, anyway.)
Courage is not the absence of fear.
Courage is being afraid and acting anyway.
Darrell Merrick says
Wow, I “forced” myself to go through this video, even though I thought “I don’t have time” (itself, an unsupportive belief).
And made a point of coming up with a key limiting belief, that I know has been holding back my business, and holding back how I can help clients.
It’s a belief I don’t profess, but realized how I have it unconsciously. Like it’s a little gremlin holding me back, on one side (hmm … like a gremlin on one of the wings of my plane, messing with the engine!)
Anyway, going through this short video and looking at my inner game really helped.
Good work – the most insidious of your beliefs can be ones of which you are not conscious.
But dude, don’t keep me in suspense.
What is it?
Darrell Merrick says
oh, was trying to keep it in general terms, for benefit of others.
But it’s the unconscious belief that most people/businesses aren’t willing to spend money on the help (internet marketing, in this case) I’m offering.
Even though logically I know that’s not true. It’s still there underneath.
Though feels less “there” now, after addressing it.
Thanks. Just so you know, you’re not the only one. And the cool part is that by exposing it, it grows a little weaker.
Jim Everett says
Paul, I’m sure that you have a lot of great things in store and I’d like to share a sticky point about beliefs that I’ve identified.
First, I define beliefs as ‘Mental models that we act upon as if they’re true.’ It seems to me that our actions are a better reflection of what we believe than what we claim to believe. What we’re willing to say we believe is always filtered through our rationalization and justification mechanism.
However, the majority of our actions are not filtered. They’re the outward display of what’s really going on inside. Then we use logic to cover our tracks about what really triggered the action. As Tony Schwartz says, “Humans have an infinite capacity for self deception.”
What recommendations do you have for identifying and correcting the ways we deceive ourselves and justify our actions?
Your definition is spot on: mental models we act upon as if they’re true.
So here’s the thing – there is NO objective truth. I mean that, I can’t prove it, but I mean it. I see beliefs as more about the POSSIBILITIES of things rather than the IS of things. If you think something is possible – then you can act on it. If you think it’s not true, then you won’t Period.
“identifying and correcting the ways we deceive ourselves and justify our actions.”
There are no false beliefs, only ones that serve you or don’t serve you. Identifying them is simple – find the ones that are driving your behavior towards what you want.
Changing / correcting them? Harder. We’ll get to that, but for now. Identify them, and keep identifying them daily. That’s a good start.
Jim Everett says
So, since they can’t be proven, they’re all potentially self-deceptions. And instead of getting into the right/wrong or true/false traps there’s much more value in evaluating them on their effectiveness in serving our goals.
Before we can evaluate them, we must identify them. One way we can identify them is by observing our actions and asking the question – “What beliefs does this action indicate?”
Am I on track with you, Paul?
See below, but basically, think of your beliefs about the “truth of what’s possible” rather than the “truth of what is.” This will make a huge difference for the Law of Attraction people, but from a pragmatic, skeptical point of view… The truth about what’s possible has a enormous impact on what you will and will not be willing to do.
There is no objective truth. (Think Matrix and Inception.)
Keep asking the questions, “What do I believe about…” and then decide whether that belief brings you closer to or farther from what you want.
Darrell Merrick says
Hi Paul, I do want to commend you for reaching into the “personal development” side here, while staying pragmatic (one of my favorite words!)
There is benefit in looking inward. And everything on here is great.
But a lot of people take the inner stuff into what I call “woo woo land”.
For example, when watching “The Secret” I was liking it to some degree. Or part of me was really responding to it. But my side that needs to stay in reality, was bothered by it.
Especially when Michael Beckwith was talking in absolutes. That you ALWAYS will get the result, from positive thinking. Or however he worded that.
At some point during the peak of “The Secret” hype I finally realized how I could bridge it in my mind.
My version of The Secret then became:
“There is a strong positive correlation between positive thinking and getting the results you want”
That allows for the value of positive thinking (and I know from personal experience that there is indeed value). But keeping it in reality.
There is no “always” there. Unless you’re talking about your result being a positive feeling, rather than actual external reality.
Of course my version of The Secret isn’t an easy black and white. And it has that “techie” word: correlation.
So if I ever come up with my own video (and book) called “The Darrell Secret”, I can’t expect it to become too viral!
There’s nothing woo-woo to it. And really, while I’m a fan and “believer” in positive thinking, this is something else entirely. As I said in a comment below, what you believe is possible IS possible for you. What you believe is NOT possible for you, is most definitely NOT possible. It’s very black and white that way. Doesn’t mean the things you believe WILL happen, just that they CAN happen.
Yes, beliefs do control us but it’s only part of the story.
I believe that one of the things that stop us is a lack of identifying what it is we truly want. Having a clear goal or desire is vital if we are to fulfil our true objective.
The funny thing about beliefs etc. is that they rapidly become less of an issue when we have a priority that is all consuming. For example, if one of my children needed something which would save their lives, nothing would stop me obtaining what ever it was I needed.
Paul mentioned money or acquiring wealth and a possible limiting belief which may stop us.
What is so interesting about money or the way money works is that it is actually impossible for everyone to become (money) wealthy. This has nothing to do with beliefs and everything to do with facts.
As sure as eggs is eggs, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
I’m not saying that individuals can’t buck the trend and improve their lot on life. But I am saying is that when we do improve our personal money wealth other people are going to be worse off.
I am based in the UK and most people here are likely to be based in the USA. My comment about the money system is as pertinent in the USA as it is in the UK.
Money scarcity is a truism and so is the competition for this scarce resource.
Steve, interesting point about how your children’s lives at stake would override your beliefs about what you could or couldn’t do. Not sure about the money thing, however. If you believe you’re destined to be poor, you’re pretty much going to stay that way. The contrary belief while it won’t guarantee wealth, can surely help. -pl
The story about my children is less about me and more about the priority of the goal. There can be huge emotion tied up in our priorities and when they are then nothing can stop us no matter what belief we may or may not hold.
I use children as an analogy of an all consuming goal to try and explain that what ever beliefs we think we have can and often do vanish when the stakes are high.
I don’t believe I’m destined to be poor and neither am I (I guess it’s all relative).
I’m only pointing out that the current money system doesn’t really work in all our favour. Granted it’s a huge technical topic and one I should have with a senior banker so may be not pertinent to this discussion.
Personally, I have always believed I could accomplish anything I wanted.
The odd thing though is this. It was only when I was at my lowest emotional point that I really looked at life and got my sense of humour back that I was able to turn my life around. I had lost my business, my house, my girlfriend and my self esteem and was at a very low point.
Now, I have achieved a big turnaround. I still seek out challenge as it’s the only way to grow and for me life is more fun when you create something new.
The “system” works… but only for those who work it. We can both point to many examples of people with modest or totally lacking means who are now wealthy. (Typically sports or entertainment (the same?) and, ta-da… Internet Marketing)
I’m not arguing your point, I think there are lots of flaws, and I fully get the technical aspects, which I WON’T go into here. Have you read “The Lost Science of Money” by Zarlenga, or “Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown? Both excellent if not a bit dogmatic.
Giles Brady says
Good Morning from London. You have caught my interest with this subject and I plan to follow the threads in the days to come. I need to think it through. For example, I have personal beliefs. I have beliefs about the validity of the services my company provides. I have SOME beliefs about the company strategy. It’s this third area, which could need further work doing.
Broadening the subject, your approach will also apply to the subject of Leadership. The famous John Adair has always promoted the three attributes of a good leader:
1. To inspire the Team to believe in the Aim.
2. To develop the individual.
3. To build the Team, so that the sum of the Team is more than the sum of the individual parts.
Returning to the first attribute, the leader who can inspire people to believe in the Aim and the purpose of the Task ahead will reap the greatest results. Leaders can’t do that unless they deeply believe in the mission themselves and have the incentive to evangelise it.
Giles, thanks for adding this. Great leaders believe, or at least they get very good at faking such. (not intending to sound cynical.)
But the point is this: having your beliefs lined up is one of the cornerstones, if not they cornerstone, of any big venture.
thank you – found that very interesting and valuable ; i guess the important thing is after taking that in is is to address the first point and make sure you do something about it
For now, and this is simpler than it should be…
Clearly identify your beliefs, both good and bad. Expose for yourself what’s going on behind the scenes where your mind is making decisions for which it was never empowered based on false information. That and that alone will start to cause a shift in your reality.
I believed that I must always succeed. Failure in my mind was not an option. Therefore I never did anything. Spent thousand of dollars on Sales and Marketing programs but never did anything with them.
My belief was that I couldn’t finish them. That too much would be required. Thus I never even read the books, tapes and programs I purchased.
Looking back I wished I had had more training in failing, learning why and trying again.
Thanks for asking.
What’s new? What, if anything, has changed?
Turned 71 yesterday. Need to get real. While my interest and excitement about Marketing is real, actually doing is not. My focus needs to be on what I am actually going to do. Will keep you posted.
Richard, Happy Birthday and good thinking. Get real…
What’s new? What, if anything, has changed?
What’s new? What, if anything, has changed?
Beliefs of the type you describe are literally the foundation upon which we build our lives. We are significantly constrained to the ‘scope of possibilities’ imposed upon us by beliefs that reside in our subconscious. Many if not most such beliefs become a part of us – embedded within our subconscious – by default of environmental factors to which we are exposed [particularly during the formative years of our intellectual, emotional and overall psychological development]. Unfortunately, whether or not beliefs we adopt as personal ‘truths’ are in fact accurate, the fact that ‘we believe it’ renders them self-fulfilling prophesies – the implications of which often manifest in the form of self-imposed constraints upon our willingness and level of commitment to action. Henry Ford said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Many of our beliefs are subject to being inaccurate and/or simply untrue. Acknowledging this is a first step to freeing oneself from their ill-effects. Your 2 lists are a great step for anyone to begin the process of revising their belief system, and thereby, the entire quality and course of their lives. Proactive analysis – an active process – can facilitate our choice of personal beliefs that serve instead of hinder us.
The fact that ‘we know what to do’ yet manage not do so closely relates to the overall effectiveness of willpower. It is conscious activity. While we may recognize certain of our beliefs readily, those in control of us – like a cybernetic autopilot mechanism – reside in our subconscious as paradigms. The good news is that fairly recent scientific research in neurology has yielded the fact that human brain plasticity [the ability for the brain to form new connections and neural pathways] is far greater than once thought. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks – and we humans are able, consistent with the design of our intentions, to ‘install’ new beliefs that effectively overwrite those that don’t serve us.
Great topic with PROFOUND implications to all of us. I’m anxious to know more of what you are working on.
Glenn, great points. Hey – this is great point day!!!
No kidding, thought.
I’ll tell you more shortly; I’ve got a number of programs and products coming in the next few months.
What’s so true about this is that it permeates the lives of everyone … highly successful people just may have a different set of limiting beliefs.
Though I don’t prescribe to ‘new age’ either, there’s a value in just writing down the things that you tend to just say to yourself daily.
Thanks for this – since much of business is a mental game, this is really helpful Paul.
You put out solid content.
Mark – I only bring up the “new age” thing because this isn’t! Lots there for all of us.
Howard "OutSourcerer" Tiano says
In the same way your beliefs can limit you, your beliefs can also empower you.
Once you’ve identified some “bad” or limiting beliefs, it can be challenging to break them up and replace them with empowering beliefs.
I used to think, “I can’t find/afford someone that can _______ better than me.”
I wound up working much harder than I had to.
Now I believe, “I’m an excellent recruiter/manager of talented team members.”
Works much better! 🙂
Thanks for the brain food, PL!
You hit the nail on the head. I’m just getting this started… Great points.
Andy X says
You’re absolutely right.
Lynn Pierce says
One belief many people hold is that tools and the newest thing on the market are what will make them successful. They don’t realize the value of the internal work. I believe the internal work we do on growing ourselves is the most important work we can do to have success in any area of our life. I also believe continuous personal growth is crucial to sustainable business success. And lack of doing this work is one of the biggest causes of failure.
Totally agree. Clearing out the blocking beliefs can have a huge impact on results. Thanks.
Tony Robbins Jnr says
Paul’s point is also very true.
Tony Robbins Jnr says
At first I was going to support both you Paul. But I think you have Not hit the nail on the head – and I will. It is true: many people grab onto tools or the latest thing without realising that much work is required, that work is to use the tools, to “Fail fast, fail forward”, to learn and to grow over time with feedback like any endeveour whether tennis , chess, martial arts, even body building (every male wants super muscles very rapidly but one can’t except by cheating. Same in life: cheating like fraud on the net can work but it is wrong). So “internal work as in working hard over time” is the most important thing. That is the key
Audrey, i think you’re missing the point. That’s ok, go back a few posts… In the meantime, if you don’t believe something will ever be possible, will you even try? Would you do all that work if you knew you were destined to fail, or at best obtain mediocre results?
Supportive Beliefs are not some bright shiny object or some magic cure-all, they are fundamental, foundational, essential. Get them straight and-THEN you are ready for the hard work. You won’t ever begin before.