Who do you think you are? 4/4 believing is seeing

Here is the final chapter to our “Who do you think you are?” series. See chapter 1 (beliefs from early conditioning), chapter 2 (beliefs from personal experiences) or chapter 3 (beliefs and truth).

There is a famous saying that goes: “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right”. This is simply because beliefs are extremely powerful: they create our reality, as per the universal Law of Attraction. The beliefs we acquired whether through conditioning and/or interpretations of life experiences, whether empowering or limiting, ultimately drive our choices, behaviour and performance in a way that is consistent with them. When we believe something we automatically act as if it is true with all the emotions that go with it. When we believe in ourselves for example, we act with intention, desire, ambition, motivation etc all of which transpire in our energy and our verbal and body language. This leads to the results that we get, which influence events and people around us.

There are many examples that demonstrate the impact that beliefs can have. The power of the placebo effect demonstrates this brilliantly. Numerous studies have been made Also, in his book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, Victor Frankl recounts his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes how hope and faith in the meaning of life was the backbone of was what a man could never be stripped of: his choice of attitude, no matter the circumstances.

Positive beliefs attract more positivity through positive action and positive outcomes. Hope and optimism are actually factors that have been weighted in achievement and success in acclaimed psychology research. “When you compare students of equivalent intellectual aptitude on their academic achievements, what sets them apart is hope [… which Dr C.R. Snyder, who conducted the research, defines as]: “believing you have both the will and the way to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be”.”[1] “Optimism is an attitude that buffers people against falling into apathy, hopelessness or depression in the face of tough-going. And as with hope, optimism pays dividends in life […].”[2]Daniel Goleman recounts that in a study of insurance salesmen, those who were naturally optimistic sold 37% more insurance that the pessimistic one who thought “I’m a failure at this; I’ll never make a sale”. To take things even further, a special group was formed of applicants who scored high on a test of optimism but failed the normal screening tests. The performance of this special group was 21% then 57% higher than that of the pessismists in the first and second year respectively. Daniel Goleman continues to say that “Underlying both [optimism and hope] is an outlook psychologists call self-efficacy, the belief that one has mastery over the events of one’s life and can meet challenges as they come up”. This is how we take control of our mind! With regards to faith, believing that we are destined to a life of struggle and bare survival often cuts us off from living in possibility and further self-exploration and self-discovery. Whereas, believing in the inspirational force within us, whatever we want to call it, compels us to seek a higher purpose and live the best life we can live (mindfully and meaningfully).

Whether we believe we can or believe we can’t, we are right. Our ‘Attitude’ and ‘Feelings’ direct our ‘Actions’, which create ‘Results’.

Now think again to a circumstance that may be bothering you:

1) How did your beliefs impact on your behaviour?

2) How did these beliefs ultimately create what happened the way it did?

3) What things did you wish happen but did not because of lack of action on your part?

4) What beliefs held you back?

5) What beliefs would have changed your behaviour and thus increased the chances of the outcome you really wanted?

To Your GDL Transitions!


[1] Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, Pandora’s Box and Pollyanna: The Power of Positive Feelings, p86-87, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1996

[2] Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, Optimism: The Great Motivator, p88-89, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1996