“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?” – Robert Anthony
Belief fuels action and habit, which creates a hard to break cycle. The more we do something, the more it becomes habit and the more of a habit it is, the more we do it. This penetrates every aspect of our lives.
Mr. Anthony refers to beliefs and it’s easy to think he is only talking about belief with a capital ‘B’: God, morality, religion, etc. That makes the power of his comment easy to miss. We have beliefs about every aspect of our lives. We choose our actions based on what we think will make us happy and successful (or at least happier or more successful than other choices), if only in the short run.
How often do we hear (or say), “I have to do it this way” or “Everyone does it like this” or “That’s just the right way to do it”? How often do we overjustify our actions without bothering to consider other possibilities (remember: we don’t want the best way, we want our way to be best)? How often do we use our beliefs to justify playing the victim?
We can try to make changes, but if we don’t change our beliefs, the changes will never stick. We’ll never, ever lose weight if we think we’re doomed to be fat. We’ll never get rich if we believe we were born to a loser’s life. We’ll never make good leadership decisions fueled by inaccurate beliefs. Too many times it’s been said:
- “I can’t fire them, they are over 40.”
- “I have no control over my employees’ motivation because I can’t give raises.”
- “HR won’t let me fire them.”
- “They’re doing a poor job, but I can’t fire them because I can’t have that position empty.”
- “I spoke with them about that once, but it didn’t change so I’ve just learned to live with it.”
- “I’m not a pleaser, I just don’t like people to be mad at me, but that’s ok, because no one does.”
Change the belief, change the action, change the result. Keep the belief, take the same action, get the same result. Your call.