If you were able to believe in Santa Claus for like 8 years, you can believe in your self for 5 minutes. -Unknown
“The belief you can do something is literally the difference between a life of mediocrity and a life of success.” That is paraphrased from Tom Bilyeu’s interview with Shawn Stevenson on The Model Health Show podcast (1). I highly recommend listening to the whole episode. It is pretty stinking inspiring. Tom Bilyeu talks quite a lot about belief and how it can impact your chances of success, how we find ways to make our beliefs true, and how we can change our reality by changing our beliefs. That got me thinking about the power of our beliefs. We’ve talked about this a bit in the context of limiting beliefs in the past (see Limiting Beliefs), but what about using the power of our beliefs for good? How can we make them work for us?
It is human nature to gravitate towards evidence that validates our beliefs and ignore evidence that does not support our beliefs. There is research out there to support pretty much anything you want to believe. Through the power of Google and PubMed, this research is available to you at any time and any place. At a cocktail party and need evidence to support your theory that genetics do not determine height? Grab your smartphone and look it up. This becomes a problem because who is doing the digging (through piles of scientific papers) determines what conclusion gets drawn. Hence, accusations of “fake news”. The reported “facts” are also subject to interpretation. She who reports the facts basically has control of what facts are out there and what spin she wants to put on them. Who reports the facts? That may be the difference between solid data and sketchy “facts”.
Pro tip: If it is reported on mainstream media, it’s likely got a spin on it. Look underneath these “facts” to determine the real story.
A few months ago we talked about the power of placebo and how it can work to heal or hurt a patient (this is also in Limiting Beliefs). If the patient believes she will be healed by a certain treatment, it is very likely she will be. Even if the treatment is bogus. If the patient is highly motivated to get well, she will get well. Of course, the opposite is also true (2). So, if you constantly listen to the negative banter of your personal brain bully, what do you expect to happen in real life? We all have the inner Brain Bully. Melissa Ambrosini calls it your Inner Mean Girl (3), Arianna Huffington calls it your Obnoxious Roommate (4). Seriously, if these super successful and confident ladies have a name for it, negative self-talk must be a major factor in their lives and they must have found a way to overcome it. I’m listening!
I just encountered my Brain Bully a few minutes ago. I was using the hashtag #bulletproofcoffee in my morning #coffeethoughts post on Instagram. I had a passing thought that it would be awesome to do a guest post on the Bulletproof blog. The very next thought, almost before the first one was finished was, “Oh, but I’m not nearly good enough for that,” and then came reasons why. Because I’m in tune with my Brain Bully’s tactics and know that she can drag me down, and because I was already thinking about this article, I shut her down right away. Ok, so I’m not an accomplished blogger yet. How can I become one? How do I have the most well referenced, informative, well-written blog in the wellness blogosphere? How do I attract a list of dedicated followers who tell their friends about this super helpful, informative blog that made them want to learn more? How can I be someone who could write for blogs that I look up to? And then I started writing. Because the next step is work.
“It isn’t enough to talk, you have to believe in it. It isn’t enough to believe, you have to work.” This is paraphrased from a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. I put my own spin on it to serve my purposes. See how easy that is? But you’re smart, you can look up the actual quote if you are motivated to do so. I encourage you to do this every time you are inclined to believe something someone else has said.
Most people are okay with mediocrity. They are resigned to shuffle through their day to day 8 to 5 jobs that are good enough. Their bills get paid, they have two weeks of vacation, they’re relatively comfortable, so they don’t want to rock the boat. Well, yes they did have a dream at one time, maybe during college, but it was silly and unrealistic. This, my friends is a limiting belief. The truth is, most of the competition is at this level. People actually compete for mediocre positions. Once you break through the mediocrity and strive for better, the competition thins out and the trail becomes easier. You just have to figure that out in your own head. You have to believe you’re capable of greatness.
In the podcast I mentioned earlier, Tom Bilyeu gives a powerful example of how beliefs affect the lives of people. He spent quite a bit of time working alongside young people living in the inner city. When he first started manufacturing his product (Quest protein bars), Tom worked at his plant and had extensive contact with the people working for him. These were young adults from the general neighborhood where his manufacturing plant was located. They had no plans for the future because no one they knew had a future. Everyone they knew either ended up addicted to drugs or in prison. That was their reality and what they believed was possible for them. After working with Tom for a number of months, one employee came up to him and said that he now had hope. He now believed something else was possible for his future. Tom makes a point that his employees’ beliefs about their future were based on their zip code, not what they were actually capable of. By showing them what was possible, he changed his employees’ belief system which changed their lives. What are your beliefs based on?
Believe you can and you’re halfway there. -Theodore Roosevelt
The belief that something is possible is arguably the most important and also the hardest step to success. Before you can actually take the steps towards a goal you have to believe it is worth the time and resources to get there. Then you have to work. Hard. You have to outwork everyone else in your field. When others give it up for a bad job, you keep going. That is how you will succeed. It’s like the airplane ascending after take off. It takes a massive amount of thrust to get it off the ground, then it has to break through a strip of turbulence before it gets above all of the weather and finally smooths out. Most people give up somewhere in the turbulence. If you truly believe in yourself and your goal, keep finding evidence that supports your success story. Keep ascending. Eventually, you will leave everyone else behind.
Begin to Believe: Tap Into Your “Can Do” Attitude
Here are some examples of things you can do to regain the “anything is possible” attitude of your childhood. Remember these are just suggestions. The most effective tools will be personal to you. Start by trying some of these, then maybe formulate your own methods to tap into the limitless power of belief.
- Affirmations. Talking to the mirror may sound silly, but many successful people do it. These affirmations, the good ones anyway, become mantras that you repeat to yourself throughout the day, and they keep you on the right track. Try “I am strong,” “I am worthy,” or “I am brave.” Or come up with your own. The more you say a thing, the more likely you will be to believe it. That’s why it’s so important to say positive things to yourself as opposed to negative things. Bonus points if you also congratulate yourself and express gratitude at the end of the day.
- Surround yourself with positivity. Hang out in online sites that are constantly talking about the power of positive thought, gratitude, and personal development. Listen to podcasts, read blogs, read books, and attend lectures that are informative and empowering. Follow people who are successful in your field on social media. Spend more time with people who encourage you and are interested in upgrading their own lives and less time with negative people or those who advise you to think small.
- Find an accountability partner who is your go-to for new ideas, thoughts, and bad days. She is your support, you are hers. You have similar interests but may have different paths. My accountability coach is indispensable.
- Learn about your dream. Identify where you want to be. What would be your ultimate dream position? You know, the one you don’t really believe you are capable of reaching yet. Pick someone who is doing it right now. Learn how they got there. What are they doing now? How can you do it better? Don’t just say “I wish.” Do your homework and figure out how to get your wish.
- Do the work. Nothing gets done if you don’t actually do it. All the belief and positivity in the world can’t get you to your goal. It takes actual work. Plus, if you are doing a thing, you have to believe it is possible…because you’re doing it! Tenacity counts for more than talent. Keep working, keep putting in the time, and eventually you will climb the mountain or wear it down in the process.
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(1) TMHS 254: “Build Unstoppable Self-Esteem, Reprogram Your Mind, and Make a Bigger Impact – Tom Bilyeu.” The Model Health Show. 21 November 2017. http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/1/4/6/1468835a0d688dc9/254-Build_Unstoppable_Self-Esteem_Reprogram_Your_Mind_And_Make_A_Bigger_Impact_-_With_Tom_Bilyeu.mp3?c_id=17873391&expiration=1511969439&hwt=3b74456fb0c958d9e72a407b487a7cf8
(2) Rankin, Lissa. Mind Over Medicine: Scientific proof that you can heal yourself. Hay House, New York. 2013. https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Over-Medicine-Scientific-Yourself/dp/1401939996/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512402595&sr=8-1&keywords=mind+over+medicine+lissa+rankin
(3) Ambrosini, Melissa. Mastering Your Inner Mean Girl: The no BS guide to silencing your inner critic and becoming wildly wealthy, fabulously healthy, and bursting with love. Tarcher/Penguin, New York. 2016. https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Your-Mean-Girl-Fabulously/dp/0399176713/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512402756&sr=1-1&keywords=mastering+your+mean+girl
(4) The phrase “Obnoxious Roommate” came from Arianna Huffington’s speech at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. While the lecture is available online, it is only accessible by students at IIN. Arianna’s book Thrive has many of the same themes and the synopsis that I read is very similar to the speech I attended where I heard that phrase. However, I haven’t actually read the book to know whether “obnoxious roommate” was actually used therein. In an effort to give you quality, useful references you can actually access to learn more about the subject, I would refer you to her book Thrive. https://www.amazon.com/Thrive-Redefining-Success-Creating-Well-Being/dp/0804140863/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512403565&sr=1-1&keywords=Arianna+Huffington+thrive