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Do Your Beliefs Empower You or Limit You?

Do Your Beliefs Empower You or Limit You?

Do Your Beliefs Empower You or Limit You

    What if it Just Ain’t True?

    A few years ago one of my friends accidentally discovered that his dad was in fact not his dad at all. Ouch. At twenty seven years of age, he discovered that something he absolutely knew (not thought, hoped, or wished) to be fact, was in reality, not true at all. Let’s just say that his reaction wasn’t a totally positive one. It never occurred to him that his ‘truth’, may in fact, be a big lie. A well-meaning lie (his mum had tried to protect him). A noble lie (is there such a thing?). But a major deception nonetheless.

    What if you were to wake up tomorrow and discover that something you’ve believed (thought to be absolute fact) for years, simply wasn’t true? Completely and utterly false. You weren’t even close. How would you feel? Mad? Betrayed? Confused? Stupid? Maybe a little of each? Could it be that some of us hold on to certain beliefs in order to avoid the above feelings? After all, imagine having to unlearn something we’ve believed for decades? That would be quite the mental and emotional challenge, wouldn’t it?

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    We’ve spoken about beliefs many times here at me-dot-com but today I want to give you a little something to chew on, think about and discuss; if you feel so inspired.

    Some questions for you:

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    1. Is it possible that you’ve ‘learned’ certain things over the years that are, in fact, false? Is it maybe even likely?
    2. Is it possible that some of your (self-limiting) beliefs are the very things which stop you from fulfilling (or at least, exploring) your potential, making certain decisions, taking chances and possibly finding happiness?
    3. Did you consciously choose and develop your own beliefs, or did you simply adopt ”hand-me-downs” from somebody else? (Many people do this). But Craig, why wouldn’t I believe dad? He knows and I trust him, so his beliefs become mine – consciously or not. Intentionally or not. Besides, I wouldn’t want to offend him would I?
    4. Is it possible that you’ve believed certain things (seen the world in a particular way) for so long that the very thought of questioning some of your long-held beliefs makes you feel (1) uncomfortable, (2) anxious, (3) disloyal, (4) unfaithful, or perhaps even (5) overwhelmed?
    5. Have you ever been coerced, pressured or expected to believe certain things, and because of those imposed beliefs you have been compelled to adhere to certain standards, rules and behaviours? Even though deep down you resented it?
    6. Have you ever felt like questioning certain beliefs (to others) but held your tongue in order to keep the peace and avoid potential confrontation? (Why bother – it will only create problems?).
    7. For the most part, do your beliefs empower you or limit you?

    Breaking Free

    Sometimes beliefs are like handcuffs or leg irons. They restrict movement, potential, exploration and of course, freedom. Freedom to learn, grow and change. They keep us in the custody of something or someone. You know what I mean.

    One of the most liberating, empowering and cathartic things we can do as authors of our own lives is to question our beliefs. Not for the sake of being different, difficult or rebellious, but for the sake of learning who we are, what we are and what we really believe beyond the social conditioning, the weight of expectation, the years of mental and emotional programming and beyond the pressure of group thinking.

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    After all, our beliefs determine our choices and behaviours (for the most part) and our choices and behaviours determine the kind of results we produce in our world. So why wouldn’t we? Is it time for you to do a little unlearning?

    Tell me about what you’ve unlearned lately.

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    More by this author

    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

    Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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    Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

    However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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    The leap happens when we realize two things:

    1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
    2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

    Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

    My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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    In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

    “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

    Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

    More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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