Category: Beliefs

The Importance of an Open Mind

The Importance of an Open Mind

Having an open mind is an important requirement or prerequisite for personal transformation.  

This is because the reason we are stuck where we are right now is our rigid and unyielding mind. It is precisely because of this rigid mind that we do not seem to have changed, to have progress, to have moved forward. We are still stuck in our old limiting beliefs, and therefore in our old attitude that has become a hindrance to our own progress.  

With this rigid, unyielding mind, we are blind to opportunities and possibilities that are there for us. We are building walls and closing doors. We imprison ourselves in our own little world, our little cocoon of comfort and apparent safety. We may feel safe, but it is actually a false sense of safety. In the long run, it is detrimental to our psychological and physical health. We are constantly validating our fears. 

When you have an open mind, you start to change all that.  

An open mind allows you to see more possibilities, more opportunities. An open mind allows you to consider other views, other options. They are all there, waiting for you. But you need to have an open mind to see them. With an open mind, the doors disappear. The wall disappears.  

With an open mind, you can start to see and recognize your own limiting beliefs and attitude. And once you are aware of them, you can change them. With a rigid mind, you cannot even see them, let alone recognize and change them.  

Thus, an open mind is an important prerequisite for personal transformation. If you want to change your life, start by having an open mind. 

The Power of Beliefs

The Power of Beliefs

What are beliefs? 

A belief is merely a perception of reality. This perception may or may not be accurate. Nevertheless, we believe it to be true.  

Knowing something to be true is different from believing that something is true. In knowing, we have either seen the truth for ourselves, or we have strong evidence to support our conclusion that it is true. 

With beliefs, there may not be a knowing of truth, or any evidence to support our conclusion that it is true. We merely believe that it is so. 

However, a belief is not to be trifled with. Beliefs are almost always associated with, or invested with, strong emotions. That is why it can be difficult to get someone to change their beliefs. When their beliefs are challenged, their automatic reaction is to resist or push back. This may manifest in the form of anger or outright confrontation. 

Beliefs are also very powerful. Once you believed in something, you create a potential for it to become true to you. Acting on this belief validates it, and gives you the corresponding results that is congruent with your belief.  

The positive power of beliefs can be seen in spontaneous healing. The negative power of beliefs can be seen in all the fanatics in religions that end up as suicide bombers, murderers and manipulators.  

How do we form our beliefs? 

We form beliefs in two ways.  

The first way is through the way we interpret our own experience. This, in turn, is dependent on our own attitude towards life and our pre-existing beliefs. Our attitude itself is formed by our pre-existing beliefs. So, we can say that how we interpret our experience is greatly influenced by our pre-existing beliefs. Thus, we form new beliefs on top of old beliefs. Therefore, we have layers upon layers of beliefs, most of which we are not even aware of. They reside in our subconscious mind.  

The second way is when we accept what other people tell us as truth, often without even trying to verify or validate them. From young, we have been conditioned to believe that what our parents tell us are true. Likewise, we believe in those in position of authority, such as teachers, police and religious leaders. So, we automatically believe in whatever they tell us as truth. We do not try to, or even bother to verify them before accepting them as truth. 

This is erroneous on our part. The job of verifying the truth is our responsibility, and we should take it seriously. We should not be so gullible as to believe what people say without verification. 

We should also be careful of manipulators who are good at using words to evoke our deep emotions, and to arouse us to act in their interests. Using the right words that resonate with your beliefs, they can easily lead you by the nose and push you to act in a self-destructive way, and often, by staying out of harm’s way themselves. 

A belief does not have to be true for it to work for you 

 This is important to know – that a belief does not have to be true for it to work for you. In fact, that is why beliefs are so powerful, but used wrongly, they are also extremely destructive. When you truly believe in something, you basically hypnotize yourself with that belief, and live its “truth”, oblivious to reality.  

That is why people who are paranoid can behave in ways that are consistent with their paranoia, and may even resort to harming others in their attempt to protect themselves. Likewise, religious fanatics are willing to blow themselves up or kill others in the name of their beliefs, even when those actions are inconsistent with the real tenets of that religion.  

In a more positive way, a belief can cause spontaneous healing.  

So, be very careful what you choose to believe in. They can make or break you. Be aware of your beliefs.

Making Decisions

Making Decisions

We would all like to believe that we make rational decisions, based on facts and logical thinking. However, the truth may be far from this simple assumption.

There are two ways we make decisions.

The first way is to make decisions based on what we think, and by this, we mean logical thinking. Thinking that is based on facts and reality. Thinking and making conclusions based on logical deductions.

However, we must be aware of the fact that we actually have a lot of irrational thoughts – thoughts that are not logical. Many of our thoughts are simply assumptions and beliefs. They are not evidence based. And we make conclusions and deductions based on these unconfirmed assumptions and beliefs. Not surprising, then, our conclusions are wrong.

To make rational decisions, we therefore need to verify our assumptions and beliefs, checking them with facts and evidence. We also need to make sure that our logical thinking process is valid, thereby the conclusions we come to is accurate and sound.

The second way we make decisions is based on our feelings. This would be considered an irrational way of making decisions, and often inferior to the first way. However, the reality is that many of us do make decisions based on how we feel. Sadly, we are not even aware of this fact when such decisions are made.

Without this awareness, we can be easily manipulated by others. They can easily rouse our emotions through clever and manipulative speeches. Advertisers are very good at this. Politicians too. Think Hitler. Think Trump. You get the idea.

If ever there is a need to make decisions based on emotions, then, always choose love over fear.

Examine your motivations. Are you motivated by greed, lust, hatred, anger, fear? If so, drop them, like you drop a hot iron. However, if you are motivated by love, compassion, kindness, gratitude, then you can choose and act on them.

You are likely to enjoy a better outcome with love.

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Carol Dweck is a researcher in the field of success psychology for over 30 years and is the author of “Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfill your potential”.

In this book, she put forward the idea that your success in life is not as dependent on your ability and intelligence as it is on the type of mindset you have. In other words, your success in life is dependent more on the way you think and believe about yourself than about your ability and intelligence.

Specifically, she pointed out that there are two very distinctly different mindset, each with its own distinctly different consequences.

TYPES OF MINDSET

The first type is called the Fixed Mindset. A person with this mindset believes that his ability and intelligence are fixed, innate and absolute. He sees a challenge as a test that may potentially expose his lack of ability or intelligence. Thus, he is challenge-shy.

The second type of mindset is called Growth Mindset. A person with this growth mindset sees every challenge as a potential opportunity to learn and improve himself. He does not see his ability and intelligence as something fixed or absolute, but one that can be cultivated and improved upon. Thus, he is not challenge-shy and is thus more resilient than one with a fixed mindset in times of adversity.

PRAISING THE PROCESS VERSUS PRAISING THE ABILITY

One way to cultivate and enhance the growth mindset in others is to praise the process – that is to say, praise their effort and persistence, their strategies and problem solving attitude – when they are given a task or challenge to accomplished.

This is in contrast to praising the ability of the person, as if to validate that his worth is dependent on his ability and intelligence. Praising the ability can sometimes have the negative effect of reducing self-esteem and confidence.

MIXED MINDSETS

A person may have a growth mindset in one area, such as in terms of intelligence, and yet still have a fixed mindset in another area, such as in the way he looks at relationships.

A MINDSET IS A POWERFUL BELIEF

A mindset is simply a belief. It is how you see yourself and the world. It is how you make sense of your experience in the world. It is how you give meaning to your experience.

Like all beliefs, it is not an absolute truth. What is true, is that there are beneficial beliefs and harmful beliefs. So, it is important to be aware of your beliefs and examine them to see if what you believe in is helping you or holding you back from the person you want to become.

4 Pillars of a Meaningful Life

4 Pillars of a Meaningful Life

Happiness is not the same thing as a meaningful life. Most people look for happiness in their lives. However, according to author Emily Esfahani Smith, the way to find happiness in our life is to actually create a meaningful life for ourselves. Then, happiness follows.

She listed down four pillars that provide meaning to our lives. They are:

  1. Belongings – Being appreciated for who we are
  2. Purpose – Our ability to use our gifts to make a difference
  3. Transcendence – Inspiration for looking beyond ourselves
  4. Story Telling – The narrative we create about ourselves

Here is a link to her Ted Talk about this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Trdafp83U

Overcoming the fear of aging

Overcoming the fear of aging

Aging, like sickness and death, is part and parcel of life. Everyone who is born must eventually age and die. This is the natural cycle of life. However, not everyone ages in the same way. Some age gracefully. Others age with fear.

Fear is Optional

If you are fearful of aging, you should know that this fear is not inevitable. It is there only because of your own past experiences, your own beliefs and your own attitude towards it. In the end, it is a matter of choice. Aging is inevitable but fear of aging is not. Aging of this body is a physical phenomenon. That is why it is inevitable. Fear, on the other hand, is a mental phenomenon. It is optional.

Identify Your Fears

If you are fearful of aging, you should try to be more specific and identify what it is that you are really fearful of. Generally, those who fear aging are actually fearful of sickness and death. Those who believe that they can age with a healthy and functioning body have little fear of aging. Those who think of the possibility of sickness and death as they age become fearful.

Having identify our specific fears, it then becomes possible to do something about it.

Fear of Sickness

If it is sickness, then we can start to live a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to start a habit of living healthily. If you smoke, stop smoking. If you drink alcohol, and especially if you drink heavily, then tone it down. Drink less. Scientific studies have actually shown that a small amount of alcohol is good for your physical health but too much is harmful. Sleep early and wake up early. Sleep well. Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Drink lots of water. Practice yoga or tai chi. Learn to meditate. All these improve the quality of your life, making you healthier mentally, emotionally and physically.

Fear of Death

If your fear is death, then once again you have to be specific. Is it the process of dying that you are afraid of, or is it death itself? If it is the process of dying, then the real fear for most people is actually the fear of a painful dying process. If that is the case, we have good news for you. Science and medicine today have reached a point where we can almost always minimise pain in the dying process. In most cases, we can even totally eradicate pain. However, even without medicine, pain can still be managed well. Physical pain may be inevitable but mental suffering is optional.

The question then is how do we free ourselves from mental suffering in the presence of physical pain? The answer to that is a strong mind. We can train our mind to be strong and resilient. It is a skill, and like all skills, it takes practice. The most common and popular mind training is meditation. So, learn to meditate, and learn it well. Gain mastery over your own mind. Then you will have little to be fearful of.

Fear of the Unknown

Lastly, if it is death itself that you are afraid of, then it is most likely because death is a big unknown. What happens to us after death? This is a spiritual question, and you will need a spiritual answer. It all comes down to your belief system. So, when you talk about death, and especially when you want a solution to this type of fear about death, then you must re-visit your spirituality, and the very nature of who you are.

Are you simply this body or are you more than just this physical body? When you die, is there a part of you that continues on? This is your quest. It is a journey that none can take for you. Only you can do this for yourself.

Identifying Limiting Beliefs through Recurring Patterns

Identifying Limiting Beliefs through Recurring Patterns

One of the most common patterns of behaviour that I encounter is a self sabotaging behaviour towards money.

Diane is a lady in her mid 30’s. She is a very kind hearted woman and enjoys helping people. Despite her good nature and pure intention, she constantly complains that she just can’t seem to prosper, no matter what she does. Every business venture that she tries seems to end in failure.

“I do not cheat and I do not lie to do business, yet I am not able to succeed in whatever I do. Perhaps people like me are just not suited for business,” she says.

And there-in lies her problem!

She believes that business is a “dirty” business and good people cannot therefore succeed in business. Furthermore, she also believes that she should not get rewarded for doing good things for others. So each time she gives a good service to others, she dare not charge them a premium rate. In fact, she frequently undercharged them, sometimes resulting in a loss to herself. On the other hand, when she buys from others, she is afraid that they may not earn enough from her, and so she rarely ever negotiate for a good price for her own purchases.

Little wonder she fails in her businesses!

Once she recognises her self limiting beliefs, she immediately make a conscious effort to change them.

“It’s not easy to change.

There is already a set pattern of behaviour. The old habits I have tried to resist my effort to change. At first, it feels very uncomfortable to do things differently, to behave and respond differently, but after a few times it gets easier.

Learning to negotiate was a new experience for me. There is this constant guilt that arises whenever I start a negotiation, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that others seem to accept negotiation as part and parcel of doing business. Some even looked at me with a new respect! Pretty soon, I was trying to negotiate at everything. Of course, I remind myself not to get carried away.”

Dramatic changes sometimes require only a single change in our limiting beliefs.

SELF LIMITING BELIEFS ABOUT MONEY

As mentioned earlier, limiting beliefs about money is one of the most common problems encountered by the masses. Some of these limiting beliefs are:

* Money is the root of all evils
* People who are filthy rich cannot have gotten their wealth legitimately
* Poor is good. It means I am more spiritual
* I don’t deserve to be rich
* When I do good, I shouldn’t asked to be rewarded for my effort
* And many more…

If you have any one of these beliefs, it’s time you recognise them and do something about it. There are many ways to overcome these limiting beliefs and we will touch on them later.

Note: If you’re in a hurry to eliminate your limiting beliefs on money, learn how to do so with Brad Yate’s Money Beyond Belief… The Spiritual Way

How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

Beliefs drive attitude and behavior. Self limiting beliefs result in self sabotaging attitudes and behaviors that prevent us from getting what we want in life.

So the first step to self transformation and change must involve a change in our belief system. Without this change, nothing else you do will lead to a permanent change in your life.

However, we acquire most of our beliefs unconsciously. Once accepted and imprinted into our subconscious mind, it takes a conscious effort to remove and replace them with positive life enhancing beliefs. That is the reason why many gurus advocate conscious living.

There are many ways to identify our self limiting beliefs and all require a conscious effort to be mindful of our thoughts, speech and action.

Below is a list of the areas we need to focus on in identifying our self limiting beliefs, beginning with the most obvious problematic area and slowly working towards the more subtle area of the mind.

Recurring problems
Patterns of behavior
Emotion
Speech
Thoughts

RECURRING PROBLEMS

Some people seem to have the unhealthy ability to get into relationships that are obviously going to lead to trouble. For example, there was this lady in her late 20’s who seems to be getting into relationships with older married men over and over again.

As she consciously and mindfully looked into herself, she discovered not one but several beliefs that led to her behavior. She believed…

…that all good men are married
…that mature men are more tender and caring
…that all the young men wanted from her is sex

She further realized that she identifies married men with her father whom she highly respected because he was very loving and caring towards her. He gave her a sense of being loved and protected.

She also realized that her need to feel protected from pain came from several earlier failed relationships with guys of similar age with her in her younger days. Those failed relationships not only gave her a sense of vulnerability but also lowered her self esteem.

After several failures, she believed that she could not establish any meaningful relationships with men of her age. Those failed relationships also led her to her limiting beliefs mentioned above.

Once she recognized her limiting beliefs and where they came from, she can consciously decide to change her beliefs. She learned not to generalize men and instead to treat each person as unique individual, each with his own strengths and weaknesses.

Several months after this, she began a relationship with a single man a few years older than her whom she described as “loving and caring”. He works in the same building but with a different company.

“It’s as if he was there all along but I couldn’t see him because of all the self limiting beliefs I had about men. The moment I change my beliefs, I could see so much more possibilities… and there he was, right under my nose!”

The last I heard, they were happily married.

COURAGE AND TRANSFORMATION

It takes courage to want to change.

Most people prefer being in their own comfort zones, even if they are not happy in them, because they lack the courage to examine themselves. They are afraid of what they might find out about themselves.

All change requires self examination. Many people find it frightening to do that. When you take the courageous step to do that, you’ll find a lot of new possibilities opening up to you. You feel empowered and in control over your life – and that will make all the difference!

Or you can just stay the way you are, joining the mass of men who lives lives of quiet desperation – to borrow a quote from Henry Thoreau. As they say, “Knowledge is NOT power; knowledge AND action is!”