Una's Blog


82 The half life of facts

graphic-6by Una Hearne.

On a rerun of the sublime TV show QI  (don’t you just love Stephen Fry and Alan Davies?) they were talking about the ‘half life of facts’. That is, how half of the ‘facts’ that medical students learn in college will be considered to be untrue in 10 or 12 years time. And how facts given on QI itself are just as subject to contrary proof over time.

We like to think that scientific facts are in fact, facts – and to some extent they are – but they are constantly changing and evolving. Facts can be defined as ‘the best reliable information available at the time’. Feeling unnerved? Excellent, carry on.

Facts are things we believe to be true. So our beliefs are things we accept as fact. Our beliefs about ourselves, other people and the world govern our thinking and behaviour. Our beliefs can either expand or limit our experience of life.

Many of our beliefs change over time, as a result of experience or new information and yet, we are generally very reluctant to change them. We like to be able to rely on things, we like stability and certainty and so we often cling tightly to beliefs which no longer serve us and may be limiting our lives severely.

One of the main aspects of my job is helping people to uncover and shift limiting beliefs, to help people get beyond internal obstacles and move forward in their lives.

Our core beliefs (the ones we are generally not even conscious of they are so deeply ingrained) were mainly programmed into us in early childhood. This is not the fault or intention of whoever programmed us – they were programmed too – it’s just the way humans develop. Some of the common limiting core beliefs I work with are:

  • I am not good enough
  • I am unlovable
  • I always screw up
  • I am unlucky
  • I am messed up/ crazy
  • I don’t belong

All that good stuff! Recognise any? I have yet to meet a person without some negative core beliefs. Real freedom comes when you identify a negative core belief which is no longer serving you. It then becomes possible to replace it with a more useful one.

An easy practice we can all do to uncover negative core beliefs is to develop a habit of noticing areas of your life which are not working for you and questioning your assumptions. How would your life be different if your assumptions in this area were not true, if something far more positive were true? You don’t have to believe the new idea at first, test it out and see how that goes. Updating your own programming can make a huge difference to your quality of life. Don’t take my word for it, try it out!


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