Beliefs - Making us who we are
Our beliefs do not happen to us, they come from within us.
What we choose to believe about, including world, others or our self, has dramatic impacts. Most people’s belief systems are, for the most part, unconsciously shaped over time as the product of their environments. Few people take complete responsibility for their worldview. Few people own the fact that what they currently believe is what they have chosen to believe.
But that is the reality. You have chosen what you believe right now.
The insane impact our beliefs have on our life
Our beliefs are taking us somewhere. Our beliefs determine the foods we eat, the friends we have, the goals we set, the environments we're comfortable in, and how we behave on a daily basis. What makes us happy and what makes us sad.
Few of us realize we are like a domino, which was knocked down by previous choices and will push down further dominoes. Those dominoes are unquestionably leading somewhere.
Where is our belief system taking us?
Are we absolutely sure that’s where we want to go?
Yet, it’s the common lot for many of us to wake up one day and ask ourselves, “How did I end up here? I didn’t choose this.” we wake up and our marriage has fallen apart, or we’re in a job we hate, or something far worse than these.
I have watched as many of my friends and family have ruined their lives by not paying attention to their beliefs and the environmental influences they allowed to shape those beliefs. I’ve seen so much unnecessary pain as the product of not living life consciously.
Whats our definition of 'Cool' or 'Happy' or 'Sad' and many such beliefs make up our life. Do we think its sad to sit back and read book or create something trival when all your mates are partying. Do we think driving SUV is cool while a fuel efficient hatchback not so much? Do we think earning money is the most important thing in life than doing what you love?
The most important beliefs we have is regarding ourself, other people, and life in general, are up to us. We can convince ourself of absolutely anything. And we can confirm that perspective with endless information, as well as by surrounding ourself with people and environments that support us in that viewpoint.
This doesn’t mean we should only seek information to confirm our bias. However, we should be highly selective of the sources of our information. A rule of thumb for me is to never take advice from someone I wouldn’t trade places with. Thus, I don’t seek fitness advice from out-of-shape people. Rather take career advice from someone who you think had done good in career, take relationship advice from someone who has been in a long meaningful relationship and so on.
Up until the last few centuries, our belief systems mostly reflected our local society and culture. Thus, in previous generations and eras, we had limited freedom in deciding our own beliefs about ourselves and the world.
Due to globalization, information democratization, and technological advancements, we have access to a global and even universal context. With information and air-travel, we can consciously shape our worldview and external context to support that worldview. Thus, we are exposed to limitless ways to see ourself and the world around us.
This puts you in a very unique position in human history.
We are in charge
When we grow up, we see ourself and the world a particular way, mostly based on the environmental influences of our parents and peers. However, as we grow into adulthood, we become increasingly responsible for developing our own belief system.
This reality is both empowering and paralyzing. With all of the options and opposing perspectives, how do we possibly choose what to believe?
Without question, we will be able to find loads of evidence to support any particular viewpoint. Of course, some evidence is more compelling than others.
We live in a world that demands us to choose which evidence to believe, and which evidence to disregard. If we are a person open to growth, we’ll often be forced to grapple with contradictory evidences. As said by a wise man, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
A rule of thumb for me is to be wary of social values, which are constantly in flux.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain
Just because the masses agree with something doesn’t mean that’s the best approach to life. Indeed, most people have very limited and limiting views of themselves and the world.
Without question, the world’s most successful people see the world strikingly different than the average person.
“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it. You have to let it all go. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind. ” — Morpheus
You are the designer of your destiny.
You are responsible.
You get to decide. You must decide — because if you don’t, someone else will. Indecision is a bad decision.
What will you believe?
Where will those beliefs take you?
How will those beliefs change the world?
p.s: Inspired & extracted from many awesome blog post and books I have read.