Here’s a statement that is worth pondering: Among a group of people, the most successful person is usually the person whose beliefs correspond most closely with reality.
How closely do you think your beliefs correspond with reality? My guess is that about 100 percent of you answered 100 percent to that question. Of course that would mean that some of you are wrong, since there is no way 100 percent of the people in the world believe 100 percent of what you believe.
I’m dating myself a bit here, but many of you probably remember the 1970s sitcom “All in the Family.” The main character was a guy named Archie Bunker. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed someone so certain and firm in his or her beliefs – and so wrong at the same time. Archie was growing old in a period of radical social and political change. The beliefs that had served him so well in the past were rapidly becoming out of alignment with the realities of the world. Because his beliefs were so out of alignment with reality, Archie spent the majority of his time frustrated, angry, sad or anxious.
In one sense, I admired the fact that Archie was so confident in his beliefs and rarely felt the need to question them. I would watch him and think of how nice it must be as a human being to be so certain of things. However, I was not willing to accept the by-product of this certainty – frustration, anger, sadness and anxiety.
And that’s the point of this article. If you find yourself experiencing patterns of frustration, anger, sadness or anxiety, maybe it is time to examine some of your strongly held beliefs. Specifically, try to zero in on the exact source of any less-than-desirable (but appropriate at times) emotions and explore any beliefs closely related to the source.
By the way, beliefs have much to do with what is stored in your memory. And they have proven that your memory is often highly unreliable. For example, when researchers purposely added a lie (such as getting lost in the mall as a child) to their subjects’ true memories and questioned them about their past, participants said they remembered the false event and offered many details related to it. Elizabeth Loftus, the researcher in this experiment stated, “People’s memories are not only the sum of what they have done, but also the sum of what they have thought and what they have been told.” That’s another statement worth pondering.
According to the findings in the book “Psychocybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the brain does not know the difference in a real or imagined event.
So, back to the beginning – if the most successful person in a group of people is the person whose beliefs correspond most closely with reality, perhaps it is a good idea to periodically examine your beliefs. Especially any beliefs that might be creating frustration, anger, sadness or anxiety – and especially if you are 100 percent certain of everything.
Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.