What we choose to be, the dreams we invest time and energy in pursuing, the ways we relate to other people and the world, how passionately we develop our talents, how we identify and esteem ourselves – all are impacted by our beliefs.
“It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”
That well-known saying has been attributed to nineteenth-century humorist Josh Billings, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and others. Whoever it was, the truth of it is clear.
But can we modify even long-standing beliefs? There are a number of approaches to personal growth that provide help, including cognitive therapy, The Lefkoe Method and Paraliminals.
The Lefkoe Method
An Institute of Noetic Sciences profile on their Shift in Action site (shiftinaction.com) of Morty Lefkoe says he “discovered that beliefs were the core cause behind many problems such as procrastination, shyness, fear of public speaking, depression, eating disorders and a host of other problems.
“He then created a process that has helped people quickly, easily, and permanently eliminate the specific beliefs responsible for their behavioral and emotional problems.”
In this video Paul Scheele of Learning Strategies says, “Probably one of the most significant blockages that keep people from behaving in new ways once they learn a new technology is beliefs. Beliefs are the things that hold us back, that govern our behaviors.”
He goes on to talk about the benefit he found in using The Lefkoe Method: “Whatever had held me back in the past was gone.”
Also on the Shift in Action site, Morty Lefkoe gives examples of how beliefs affect us.
He says, “One of the beliefs underneath procrastination is mistakes are bad. If you didn’t think mistakes were bad you might not put it off. You might have the belief that what makes me good enough is doing things perfectly, so you’re afraid of doing something that’s not going to be perfect.
“So, basically, it’s sort of logical. If you have a hard time getting into relationships you might believe relationships don’t work, or, or, ‘I’ll lose my independence if I’m in a relationship,’ or men / women can’t be trusted.
“So, it takes a while sometimes to figure out what they are, but they’re basically logical… what I mean by a belief is a statement about reality we think is the truth. It’s a fact. I mean, this is the way things are – ‘Life is difficult.’ ‘I can’t get what I want.’ ‘Relationships are hard.’
“For people who have those beliefs – ‘That’s not, sort of, in my head – that’s not what I think – that’s the way the world really is.’ And, the way we think the world really is determines how we act, how we feel, how we perceive life.”
For more info and to order The Lefkoe Method program visit Undo Public Speaking Fear.
Dr. David Burns is one of the prime developers of cognitive therapy, a very successful approach to relieving depression, anxiety and other issues.
In his book The Feeling Good Handbook, he outlines a number of thinking distortions that can solidify into distorted beliefs, and can retard our growth and positive experience of life, reagardless of our mental health.
Here are a few of these distortions :
Jumping to conclusions : You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion.
Mind Reading : Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you.
Fortune-telling : You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, “I’m really going to blow it. What if I flunk?” If you’re depressed you may tell yourself, “I’ll never get better.”
Magnification : You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the “binocular trick.”
Emotional Reasoning : You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be very dangerous to fly.” Or, “I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person.” Or, “I feel angry. This proves that I’m being treated unfairly.” Or, “I feel so inferior. This means I’m a second rate person.” Or, “I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless.”
> See more excerpts from the book on Nurturing mental health page 2.
There are a number of programs that present material to shift attitude and support personal growth. A number of these programs use various kinds of affirmations, which can help us replace limiting beliefs.
One of the main companies is Learning Strategies Corporation. Numerous peak performance experts such as Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Ken Blanchard, T. Harv Eker, and Brian Tracy have used and endorsed their programs.
[The photo of Canfield is from the article Jack Canfield in conversation with Bill Harris.]
Steve Pavlina, author of one of the most popular sites and blogs dedicated to personal development, writes on his site that he has used Paraliminal programs regularly.
“I primarily think of them as a mental reboot. When I’m feeling drained or tired, a 20-minute Paraliminal session refreshes me more than a 20-minute power nap.”
From the page Peak Performance – a Paraliminal program – which also includes a link to the article Foundations of Paraliminal Technology.
Some related articles:
Using visualization to change limiting beliefs, by Iain Legg
Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs, by Brian Tracy
Identify Your Core Beliefs, by Matthew McKay, Ph.D. and Patrick Fanning.