“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Belief is to our lives what a foundation is to a building. The height and security and reliability of the structure is dependent on the quality of the foundation it’s built upon. A shaky or unsure foundation cannot produce a sound structure. So with our lives. If our beliefs about ourselves or life are shaky and unsure, no amount of artificially-forced positive thinking or affirmations or anything else will help. You have to steady the foundation to build the tower erect, able to withstand stresses placed on it by the elements.
NOTE: Both this and a previous post titled, 5 Beliefs that Will Radically Change Your Life Forever are combined in a single article in Ayo Olaniyan’s e-magazine, Life Skills Magazine. Go check it out!
5 Beliefs that can Change the Trajectory of your Life
1. Believe nothing is impossible
What it means: You are an amazing work of art. You are a mechanical miracle. You are an engineering impossibility. And yet, here you are. Historically, most things we take for granted today were once considered impossibilities: The telephone, the radio, the camera, the car, the computer.
- It was impossible to run a mile under 4-minutes … until Roger Bannister ran it.
- It was impossible to fly … until the Wright Brother showed us it wasn’t.
- It was impossible to go to the moon … until Neil Armstrong stepped onto its surface.
What it does: You don’t allow others to place limits on your world. You seek the possible. You look for ways around and through and over. You think out of the box as needed to accomplish what others think can’t work. You work to make it work.
Bottom line: Much in the world will remain in the realm of the impossible … until someone like you proves it’s not! Decide what you’re passionate about. Learn what others have done to push it as far as it can be pushed. Then figure out a way to prove it can be pushed even further … or, perhaps, in an entirely different direction!
2. Believe who you are and who you work to become is important
What it means: You are a lump of clay in your own hands to mold and form into your own liking. Every decision you make, every choice, every step, every thought, every action you take or fail to take are the building blocks of who you become, each adding to the whole, constructing the total you. You therefore believe that how you live your life matters.
What it does: You live a life of character. You prioritize your personal growth and development. You work to improve your mind and overcome self-defeating habits and feed your soul with soul-edifying literature. You value your values and work to live by integrity to them.
Bottom line: Let your values sink deeply into the fabric of your soul, let it fuse with the flesh of your heart, let it work its way into your feet and your finger tips and course through your veins, affecting everything you do and say and think and feel. The result will be greater confidence and self-worth and happiness and joy.
3. Believe most people are basically decent
What it means: You’re not naïve, but you are also basically trusting. You don’t second-guess or ascribe ill-intent to others’ motives and behavior. You take them and life at face value unless they give you a good reason not to. You take appropriate preventive and self-protective measures, but you don’t walk around in a perpetual state of fear and distrust.
What it does: You enter into relationships freely and openly. You are not so guarded by distrust that others find it difficult to get to know you. Because you believe most people are decent people, you associate with those who value you and who support your moral convictions.
Just as you would never hang out with fatally contagious people, you won’t hang out with morally contagious ones. You know there are many others who share your decency and seek them out and attract them to you.
Bottom line: Seek to surround yourself with people of character. Seek to lift those who struggle in that department. Take appropriate precautions, but don’t hide in the corners of life worrying about the next swindle.
4. Believe imperfection is okay
What it means: You believe that it’s important to learn and grow, but you’re patient with yourself in the process. You’re okay with stumbles, trips and skinned knees. Failure is not some giant out to crush you, but a friend out to teach you.
What it does: Perfectionism in the enemy to action. It can stall and derail our plans and goals as we get chained to the need to force ourselves into the precise box of perfection, fitting into some preconceived impossibility, trapped in the cell of flawlessness. Believing perfection is not necessary, you take risks to step toward your goals, sometimes willingly stumbling in the dark as you go.
Bottom line: No mortal is perfect. We can’t be. But here’s the good news: We don’t even need to be. Allow yourself the right to be imperfect. Give yourself permission to fall short. If things go badly, learn from the mistakes made rather than beat yourself up for being human enough to make them.
5. Believe the miraculous
What it means: It’s a miracle when a person who has spent most of his life lost finally finds his way home again. It’s a miracle when someone stuck in life finds a way forward again. It’s a miracle when we fall down then find a way to get back up again.
The miraculous is revealed when life is so seemingly stacked against us, when the past is a chain and the present is a vice and the future seems so dark and bleak and ugly, and we stand up and take steps into that darkness anyway, pushing and digging and breaking through to an amazing life of deep significance and joy.
What it does: Life is a miracle. Love is a miracle. Selflessness is a miracle. We breath. We sing. We read. We communicate across oceans. We heal. We overcome. We mourn for others. Others mourn for us. You believe these things to be miraculous. And so we appreciate life in deeper ways. We recognize the Author of the miraculous in life. We are filled with gratitude and wonder and awe. And we are thereby also filled with more happiness and joy as well.
Bottom line: Accept the miraculous by seeing it in the wind and the rose pedal, the baby’s smile and an act of forgiveness. And see it in the mirror, because you, my dear friend, are a miracle too.
Belief is a powerful thing in determining the outer limits of what’s possible for each of us.
Every choice, and thought, and action we take, our habits, beliefs, ideas, interpretations, assumptions, ideologies, attitudes and behavior create an unmistakable trajectory for our lives. We are thereby pointed down a particular path.
But we can change that trajectory by simply changing some mix of thought, belief and action. If we want to change the road we’re on or the target our life circumstances are currently pointing us at, we simply have to change the decisions we make.
What we believe creates the context for what’s possible in our lives, for how we approach those decisions to be made. So choose your beliefs carefully and go create a life of beauty, significance and meaning.
In the comments, please share other beliefs that can reshape our lives and lead us to greater success and happiness. I’ll credit and link to your site in a follow-up post when you add a belief I haven’t yet added. Check out the previous list of 5 beliefs by clicking here: 5 Beliefs that will Radically Change Your Life Forever Then add what I’ve missed.
So far, the following have added additional beliefs I missed (in the comments of 5 Beliefs that will Radically Change Your life Forever):
John Sherry: “Believe it’s going to get better”
Steve Bloom: “Believe you can change your life”
Lori Gosselin: “Believe that life will go on”
Galen Pearl: “Believe the universe is friendly” (as in not hostile)
Add and be mentioned and linked in an upcoming post!
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