Una's Blog


13 There’s a lie in believe

by Una Hearne.

I can’t…, I am…, I won’t…, I never…, I always…, I do…, I will…, I must…, I can…, I’m not…, I don’t…, I must not…

If you take a page and finish each of the above as a sentence (without thinking too much) it will show up much of the truth of what you think and believe about yourself and your life at this moment in time. Go on, get a pen and paper, write quickly, no editing. I’ll wait…

Done? How did that go for you? Interesting isn’t it?

What we believe about ourselves, the world and each other, colours our expectations and perception of everything that happens to us. We unconsciously act on our beliefs and filter our experience for ‘proof’ of them. If our beliefs are overly negative we act on them, find evidence to support them, they grow stronger, we end up believing the world is a terrible place.

If we are overly positive we live in a fantasy world and constantly put a slant on everything to try to preserve our illusions, until it all collapses one day in the face of reality. Neither extreme is particularly useful.

It’s important to be aware of your beliefs and change them if they are overly negative or overly positive. This applies to every area of your life. The following example is just one tiny example of how a belief can limit your life in a career context.

Sammy, Denzel and Gordon are interviewed for the same job. They are the same age, have the same qualifications, experience and professional presentation. Nothing to choose between them apparently. Except for their underlying beliefs that is…

Sammy believes that he is too old for a new job and that interviewers will be prejudiced against him. Denzel believes that he is perfect in every way. Gordon is pretty balanced.

The interviewer makes the same remark to all three. ‘I see you have a lot of years experience in this industry.’

Sammy hears ‘So, you are over the hill and are useless to anyone now.’ He answers defensively ‘Well, I have a few years left in me yet!’ The interviewer is irritated and thinks Sammy has a serious chip on his shoulder.

Denzel, on the other hand, hears ‘So, you must be so much more expert than all of us!’ and replies condescendingly ‘Well yes, I do know everything there is to know about this industry, but don’t let that intimidate you, I’m very willing to share my experience.’ He doesn’t get the job either.

Gordon hears ‘So, you have a lot of years experience in this industry.’ and he replies ‘Yes, I’ve got a lot of experience and I’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry over the years. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that there is always new opportunities, like the situation you are facing now…’

Gordon gets the job.

Your underlying beliefs matter because they have a huge influence on your thinking and behaviour.

Believe me?

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