This month’s topic from the Quest79 A-Z book is ‘Beliefs’.
To kick things off and start limbering your mind up to the topic, here are a couple of my favourite belief-based quotes…
“Believe you can, and you’re half way there” – Franklin T Roosevelt
“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford
When I think about beliefs, I often think about the placebo effect. It’s a highly proven, scientifically robust idea that our beliefs have a huge influence over what happens physically in our bodies, and potentially in wider ways as well.
You see, beliefs are our psychological governors that have a hugely powerful influence over our lives, impacting our emotions, feelings, and behaviours. They are the union of our thoughts and emotions. This combination of what we’re thinking and feeling can change the energy field that exists within our bodies.
I like to think of beliefs like a spotlight. When we have limiting beliefs, we shrink the reach of the spotlight and therefore what we believe is possible. But when we allow ourselves to think big and expand our beliefs, the spotlight shines on a much wider range of possibilities.
Expanding the spotlight
I’ve had some powerful sports related experiences that have really expanded my spotlight of belief. A big one that comes to mind was my first introduced to wheelchair climbing!
My belief was so narrow, and it seemed like a ridiculous idea to me. All I could imagine was being winched up a tree strapped in my wheelchair. And that just wasn’t for me!
However, I learned and discovered more about what was actually possible while attending a workshop in the US called No Boundaries.
I’d already toyed with the idea that I might want to climb El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park. But I’d completely dismissed the idea as ridiculous – I’d had a climbing accident and broken my back, it was crazy, I just couldn’t see how it was even possible.
But one of the best ways to expand our spotlight of belief is to look for people who have done things before us. This gives us indisputable evidence that it’s possible. Take the 4-minute mile for example. Everyone believed it was impossible until Roger Bannister did it. And then, within a month of him doing it, half a dozen or so other people did it!
And it was the same for me. At No Boundaries, I met a guy who was paralysed and had climbed El Capitan! I had the evidence I needed that it could be done, and my spotlight of belief and possibility expanded.
I trained hard, I built my belief and then I achieved my goal. It blows my mind to look back at where my belief of wheelchair climbing started and then discovering what it could mean. It’s a wonderful example of how our belief spotlight can be blown away.
The power of visualisation
Visualisation is a powerful key for enhancing belief. Anything that helps us to drop our brain out of active Beta brainwave mode and into slower more relaxed states, becomes a powerful zone for bringing thought and emotion together. It’s in this space that beliefs start to be changed, broken, shifted and enhanced.
On my journey to my first Paralympic Games, I did a huge amount of visualising. I made recordings about my process and then listened to them every night without fail as I was falling asleep. I visualised every single detail of the race – when I was going to change gear, when I was going to brake, every single point and detail of my actions and environment in an hour-long race.
I created the outcomes that I wanted to achieve in my mind and played them over and over again. Did things always turn out the way I envisioned – no, not every time. But I kept doing the visualisation work and then in Rio it did all happen, and I won a gold medal!
The power of visualisation is immense and the detail and way we can connect it to our heart and motivation is so incredible.
The Reticular Activating System
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a part of our brain that filters the 11-million bytes of information that are bombarding it every second! Because this system can only receive a fraction of that information (around 40-bits per second), it decides what to take in by noticing what’s important to us and to our survival.
- Filters information that’s bombarding the sensory system
- Only takes in information it thinks is important
- What you focus on defines what is important
- The system then dictates what you think
- Which dictates how you feel
- That then dictates your actions and your reality
A great example of the RAS in action was my Rio Paralympic Project Gold. I flooded my life and therefore my RAS with gold. Friends bought me gold gifts and treats, I wore gold shoes, my mobile phone was gold, my laptop cover was gold. The whole focus and surroundings of my life was gold.
This way of choosing where to put our focus by flooding our lives with reminders of the thing we want, builds a wonderful bridge from where we are across to a new belief. A belief that can initially seem a little too far-fetched and out of reach, suddenly feels much more real.
For a deeper dive into the research about beliefs, look into Epigenetics. Plus, books like ‘The Biology of Belief’ by Bruce Lipton, ‘Becoming Supernatural’ by Dr Joe Dispenza, and ‘The Answer’ by Allan and Barbara Pease.
To wrap things up I’ll share with you my 3Ps that I see as access points for understanding and shifting our beliefs:
Psychology – become aware of your thoughts and know you can actively and deliberately change them.
Phraseology – the words and common expressions you use are a window into what’s going on in your inner world. If they don’t feel empowering and uplifting, you have the power to change them.
Physiology – work with your body and energy to shift what’s happening and how you’re feeling.
And remember, you have the power to create your future right now by what you think, what you feel and therefore what you do!
If you have any questions or would like to dive deeper into the topic of beliefs, we’d love to invite you along to our monthly online support call. These calls happen on the 3rd Thursday of every month, and you can CLICK HERE to join us for our next one. We look forward to seeing you there!