Self Help – Change Your Beliefs To Change Your Life

The farmer had rescued the baby cockatoo after it had fallen from a tree and landed on the ground in front of his tractor. With no way to return the baby cockatoo to its nest, the farmer bought it home, fed it and was now wondering what to do with it. Just then he heard a cackle from his hen house and hit upon a brilliant idea.

The baby cockatoo lived in the hen house and quickly learned to mimic the rooster's crow in the morning, the hen's cackle during the day as she laid eggs and her cluck while with her chickens. Every night he fluffed his beautiful white feathers, climbed the roost and settled in the 'other' hens for a good night's rest. He ate with the chickens, sounded like a chicken (although he could also do a fairly creditable imitation of the farmer laughing) and walked with the chickens. In fact, he thought he was a chicken and life as a chicken was good.

Then one sunny day he wandered a little further from the chicken house than usual. He saw the farmer's dog streaking towards him and knew he was in trouble. In his panic he found that he could use his beak and claws to climb the nearby tree and escape. It was while he was in the tree checking whether it was safe to return to the ground that he chanced to glance up in response to a very noisy racket coming from the tall gum tree next to his. There in the tree were the most beautiful snowy white birds he had ever seen, they made the most beautiful noise he had ever heard and … they could fly !!!, "I wonder if I could make that noise?" So he tried and he could. "I wonder if I could fly?" So he tried … and he did. He became the world's first flying, screeching chicken to have a gaggle of cockatoos as his friends.

For many years I pondered the relationship between my beliefs, reality and the truth. The more I experienced and saw, the more I came to realize how personal beliefs were, how easily they could be changed and frequently what little relationship they had to reality (if in fact there is one).


Beliefs are convictions you hold to be "true" in life. You were not born with your beliefs. You have chosen your beliefs. You start with an idea and the more support it receives, the stronger the belief ever becomes. Many of your beliefs are based upon memories of the meanings you placed on past events. Your brain clumps events into categories and places the same meaning on a current event of a particular category as it did for events of that category in the past. These beliefs may no longer be true or helpful to you as:

  • You saw the past event through your previous filters;
  • Your view of the event was not reality;
  • There were many other meanings you could have placed upon the same event; and
  • You are now a different person with different filters from the one who previously placed a meaning upon the event.

Your decisions form the cornerstones of your beliefs. First, something objective happens, and then you make subjective decisions about what to believe about life based on that experience. Two people can have the same experience and make very different choices. For example, two children in the same family could be told by their father they will never amount to anything. One may decide that, because parents know everything, the statement is true. This child chooses to believe she can not achieve anything of value. Meanwhile, the other child decides to prove the parent wrong and he goes on to become very successful. Your present life is a result of all the decisions you have made in the past.

Your beliefs also provide the boundaries for what you believe is possible. The bigger you can believe, the bigger you can achieve. For example, if you believe that you can learn anything, then your experience of life is going to be very different from someone who believes he / she is not that smart and has difficulty learning anything new.

Did you realize that Beethoven and Thomas Edison were deaf, Julius Caesar suffering from epilepsy and Charles Dickens was lame?

We have beliefs that empower us such as:

  • The sun will come up every day;
  • I have a great singing voice;
  • I am a good and loyal friend;
  • I do not indulge in gossip;
  • Flossing my teeth will help stop cavities; and
  • It is safer to stop at red lights.

We also have b eliefs that hinder or limit our potential in life such as:

  • I find it difficult to learn new things;
  • I am too old to get another job;
  • I do not deserve abundance;
  • I am not worthy of having a loving relationship; and
  • I will never be wealthy.

Although it is initially a challenging concept, it is possible for you to make choices about your beliefs. You are the one who created and chose your existing beliefs. As your beliefs are merely a function of the filters used in your reticular activation system you can change them.

The power of belief is beautifully illustrated by the story of an inspirational man, Roger Bannister. Prior to 6 May 1954, it was generally believed that it was humanly impossible to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Then on 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister ran the mile in the time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. His race changed the belief people had about what was possible. Within 12 months of Roger breaking the 4 minute barrier, 37 other people had done the same thing. The next year an amazing 300 people broke the barrier. Today, college students routinely run this distance in less than 4 minutes.

Beliefs That Limit Us In Life

You are limited in life by what you believe is possible. There are people with fewer natural talents and greater disadvantages than you who will realize more simply because they believe they can.

Beliefs about yourself became self-fulfilling prophecies. If you believe you are a failure you will set yourself unrealistically high standards, then notice all the times you fail to exceed them. You will put your successes down to luck and your failures down to you. If you believe in yourself, you set yourself realistic goals and give yourself credit, you notice your successes and celebrate your attempts.

For example, within 2 years of winning Lotto, 80% of people who believe themselves to be 'poor people' are worse off than before they won Lotto.

It can even be the case that other people's beliefs about what you are capable of can have an impact upon what you achieve.

In 1968 Rosenthal and Jacobson conducted an experiment is US school on self-fulfilling prophecies. They randomly selected children in classrooms. They then told the teachers in these classrooms that due to special testing, the performance of these children in the classroom would increase by the end of the year (there was no basis for this assertion). At the end of the year, all the children in the classroom were tested.The teachers "beliefs" about the special children came true. They had an average IQ increase of more than 10% over the other children.

Where do your limiting beliefs about yourself and your abilities come from? They come from constant reinforcement from your parents, friends, teachers and our own self-talk. Research has shown that:

  • A parent on average gives 8 lots of criticism to each lot of praise to a child; and
  • 95% of children have a negative self-image by the time they are 14.

The impact that beliefs from your youngger years has upon your life is known as the "baby elephant syndrome" and comes from the way circus elephants were trained. A baby elephant was attached to a long chain by one of its ankles and secured to a large spike hammered deep into the ground. The elephant could not escape. As the elephant grew larger, the circus kept the same chain on its ankle, and by the time the elephant was fully grown, only a few links of chain dangling from its ankle were sufficient to ensure the elephant would not escape. Why? Psychologists call it 'conditioning'. The elephant was held back by past memories of when it was too small to escape. Without the memories of its past conditioning, the elephant would easily be able to escape.

Many people live with the effects of conditioning from their youth in their lives. Fortunately, history is also riddled with wonderful counter examples of people who succeeded and prospered despite being consistently told by others that they would never amount to anything. The difference between these people and those who did not prosper came from choosing not to take on the beliefs that others had about them and their abilities.

Your ability to change your beliefs in a heartbeat is illustrated in the following story that was distributed on the Internet several years ago.

While a woman was waiting for her plane at London's Heathrow Airport, she purchased a package of English shortbread cookies. Making her way to a seating area, she carefully arranged her luggage and was getting settled when a man approached and indicated by pleasant gesture that he would like to occupy the seat next to her. She nodded and he sat down.

After a few moments, the woman decided to eat some of the cookies she had purchased, and she reached down to get them. As she opened the package, she noticed the man beside her watching with great interest. She took the first cookie and began to eat when, to her great surprise, the man reached over, smiling, and took the second cookie.

The woman ate her cookie in stunned silence, astonished at the audacity of the man. After a moment she determinedly reached for the third cookie, but no sooner had she taken it out of the package than he, smiling and without a word, reached over and took the fourth. Her indignation rose as back and forth they went in total silence, she taking a cookie, he taking a cookie, until they reached the bottom of the package where the final cookie remained.

Without hesitation, the man reached over and took it, broke it in half and cheerfully handed her one of the pieces. The woman took her half of the cookie with an icy glare. After finishing his half, the man stood, still smiling. With a polite bow, he turned and walked away.

The woman could not believe that anyone could be so arrogant and rude. She was extremely flustered and her stomach churning. Making her way back to the airport gift shop, she picked up a package of antacid. As she opened her purse to get the money to pay for it, she stopped short.

There in the bag was HER unopened package of shortbread cookies.

As beliefs are large unconscious, how do you find out what your beliefs about yourself are? Easy. By listening to your self-talk.

Your Self-Talk

'That voice inside your head is not the voice of God. It just sounds like it thinks it is. "- Cheri Huber

Your self-talk is your 'voice within'. It is the little voice inside your head that you hold conversations with. Some of us have an inner cheer squad and some of us have an inner critic. Here is an example of the difference.

You make a mistake at work. The inner critic says, "You fool! You really stuffed up this time." An inner cheer squad says, "OK. That was a good learning experience. Let's not do that again."

Buy a small notebook. Every time for the next fortnight that you indulge in self-talk, jot down what you say to yourself. Do not judge, just notice what you say to yourself and how often you say it. Identifying your current self-talk habits is half the journey towards more positive self-talk. What have you said to yourself already today? Listen closely as your self-talk will reveal some unconscious beliefs that will surprise you.

Your self-talk journey may reveal that you have a harsh inner critic. The worst critic is the one who lives in your own mind. You can use the following technique to overcome the inner critic. Become aware of how you speak to yourself and consciously taking steps to change it.

Considering the limiting beliefs that many of us have about ourselves, we lead some very amazing lives. Imagine what we could do if we actually had a powerful self-image and self-belief.

Source by Petris Lapis

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