Friday, February 13, 2009

Do You Really Believe That?

(I originally posted this back in June 2008 and it bares repeating.)

Why did you get up this morning and go to work or go for a run or whatever else you might have done?

I bet you answered something along the lines of; because I have to or maybe ; because I get to or maybe; because it's what I've always done.

And if you did, you just confirmed one of the universal truths in our lives. Most of what we do in life is based on our beliefs!

What if you could completely change what everything in your life thus far means?

What if you could take any situation, event or even a thought and turn it into something completely different?

Imagine if you could take an event... let's say, getting fired from your job (normally a negative) and turn it into the best thing that ever happened to you!

How would this change your life?

Would it open new possibilities?

What if you could really believe deep down inside that what ever you wanted in life you could have?

What if you could take a $135,000 debt and turn it into the springboard that launches a whole new opportunity in your life? An opportunity so empowering that you became almost unstoppable in your thinking and beliefs!

The Good News is that the way you experience everything in your life is based completely and wholly on your beliefs. And... you can change any experience in your life by changing your beliefs.

The only bad news here is that until you and I change that one belief; that everything we believe is in our control, we won't be able to use this powerful tool to our benefit.

So, if you're willing... let's begin!

Let's start by exploring where our beliefs come from. Virtually from our very earliest days in this life or as soon as we begin to be aware of the world around us, we begin to assign meaning to the things in our environment. Early on it may be as simple as; that heartbeat is where I came from or that voice is where I get my food from.

A little later it may be; if I cry I get attention (some of us never lose that one even in adulthood).

Why do we formulate beliefs?

Every second there is so much information being thrown our way that the only possible thing we can do other than being totally confused is to begin to organize our world. By generalizing what different types of input mean, our brain can quickly decide what needs to be received and processed and what can be filtered out and ignored. An example is when we learn that touching a hot burner on the stove causes pain, we need to take action to avoid it. We create a belief that says something like; hot burner equals pain.

If you think about being able to change what you believe, this is a great place to begin. Did you know that the mind is so powerful that it can actually manifest physical affects on the body?

In one test they were able to convince a person that a piece of ice would cause a burn and that individual actually experienced blistering where they came in contact with the ice. Simply by changing the meaning of a sensation, they got a whole new set of physical manifestations.

If this is really possible and it is, imagine the wealth of potential you have for changing meanings in your life! The opportunities are absolutely endless.

How does this all work?

Why does one person have a terrible day just because they didn't get bacon on their breakfast sandwich at the drive thru while another suffers a serious life altering accident and comes out with all kinds of possibilities and opportunities?

Its all in the meaning you assign to events in your life. So let's look at one event in my life and see if I can help you understand what I'm talking about.

A month ago, I had a heart attack while out for an extended bike ride. Most people would agree that this could be considered a life-altering event. It would have been very easy for me to have a nice little pity party after such a traumatic thing like this and I had to act quickly or it could have gone that way in a hurry.

Thoughts flooded my brain as I tried my best to make sense of this whole situation. To add to the complexity of things, I had been in the process of changing career paths and as a consequence not only was I not working, I did not have any insurance.

If this happened to you how would you evaluate things?

Being totally honest, my very first reactions were not what I would describe as stellar. I believe in full disclosure whenever possible so I'd like to share some of those initial thoughts with you.

What would people think of the guy who was supposed to be a runner having a heart attack? I was honestly concerned about my credibility as a fitness trainer and personal trainer.

What would this do for my dreams of running an ultra marathon?

Should I just go back to my old career path and forget my dreams? At this point, I was closer to my previous career of 25 years than I was to my new venture. It wouldn't be giving up it would be acting responsibly.

How could I ever talk about life improvement or success or empowerment with this hanging over my head? Again the credibility issue was looming big time!

How on earth was I ever going to handle the $135,000 bill I had just been presented with? This one will get most people's attention, I think.

How could this happen to me? Why me? How am I ever going to get back on my feet again? I'm trapped! There is no visible way to overcome this, I'm just going to spend the rest of my life in a job I hate paying off a huge bill.

Not very empowering thoughts for a guy who is arguably one of the most positive people you will ever meet! I wrestled with this for a couple of weeks maybe a little more. It was tough, I mean really tough!

Little by little, I began to come out of my haze. Instead of turning on the TV, I listened to Cd's by people like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and James Ray. If I was going down, it was going to be a spectacular, full blaze of glory!

And then the questions began to flow!

What else could this situation mean?

I know everything's not perfect right now, but what can I be happy about with this situation?

How can I use this experience to never ever let it happen to anyone else again?

What can I create so that when other people are faced with a similar event they have a road map out?

What do I really want?

What's pretty cool about everything that's gone on in the last three weeks?

As I began to ask these questions and dozens more, I began to get different answers. The meanings I had given my heart attack just a few weeks earlier changed and they changed dramatically!

I began to realize that I could use this in an incredibly empowering way. My feeling of doubt about credibility went flying out the window when I began to realize that there is probably no better person in this world to talk about how important your health and fitness are than the guy who has had a heart attack. I mean, if anybody understands the importance if good health, it's probably that guy wouldn't you think?

I had been working on some writing projects on and off over the last five years. Suddenly my fingers began to fly as the words flowed from my brain like an erupting volcano. Don't tell my cardiologist this, but there were several sleepless nights where it was just me and the keyboard all night long producing page after page of quality writing.

Ultimately what happened is I changed what things meant to me. I went from believing that I was trapped by an event that I didn't have any control over in the first place to; this heart attack that I brought on myself (nobody sat there and forced me to eat poorly and smoke cigarettes) was going to be the springboard for my new and empowering future. I was finally going to lose the weight, get in the best shape and even more importantly use all of the lessons from this experience to powerfully impact the world that I live in.

This was a dramatic change in my beliefs and the Good News is that anyone faced with the same situation could make the same belief changes to get different results.

Let's look at one more, simple example that you can do yourself which can make a huge difference in your life.

If you ask, in fact I did, what most people want in life invariably between 8 and 9 out of 10 will say something along the lines of; to be happy. Are you in that group?

What has to happen in your life in order for you to be happy? Does something need to happen in order for you to have happiness?

Asked these questions most of us will come up with at least a small list, for some it's a monster list of things that must happen before they can be happy.


Happiness is a state of mind which means that at any time you can decide to be in that place and you can go there. Happiness is not an event and yet we treat it like it will only happen if X,Y and Z all occur simultaneously and then only in the presence of a full moon!

Think about how you feel when you're happy. How do you stand or what's your posture like? What are you thinking about? If you can describe those things to me, then why couldn't you at anytime think about what makes you happy, put yourself into that same posture and be happy?

Try it! You'll like it! If you were successful, you just changed your beliefs about what it takes to be happy. And even more importantly you now know how to be happy at anytime. So who's fault is it if you're not happy?

That's right, it's yours and that my friend is a very empowering belief! Knowing that other people or events don't have control over you gives you incredible power in your life!

So, if you really believe something and it doesn't empower you... change what it means.

Change your beliefs and you will change your life!

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