Beliefs Matter: Part One

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

For the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing a series of thoughts on the topic: Beliefs Matter.

This is Day One.

Human beings believe things.

We have beliefs about weighty matters like the meaning of life and what’s beyond the grave. We have beliefs about lesser issues like who makes the best pizza, or which smartphone is superior, iPhone or Android. We don’t give a second thought to some of our beliefs.

The sun rising tomorrow is never in question, we just believe it will.

A belief is an acceptance that something exists or is true. Belief normally implies the absence of doubt. I believe I will one day die. I am certain of it. At some point in time there will be a termination of all my biological functions that sustain me as a living organism. I have plenty of evidence to substantiate my belief.

There may not be factual certainty that something is true, but that doesn’t stop a person from believing it. Contrary to popular belief, if you are hit by a penny dropped from the Empire State Building it will not kill you. Lightning actually does strike the same place twice and many more times than that. Despite the National Enquirer, there is no proof Elvis is still alive, notwithstanding the recent citing at a Dairy Queen outside Memphis. And of course there’s the five-second rule – if you drop food on the floor and pick it up within five seconds it’s safe to eat. However, research shows that salmonella can survive on the floor for weeks. I suggest you follow the no-second rule.

Our beliefs shape and determine our experience of life and the world.

If you believe something is true, whether it factually is or not, it’s true for you. For centuries people believed the world was flat and feared the possibility of falling off the edge of the earth into an abyss of nothingness. In M. Night Shyamalan’s film, The Village, inhabitants are made to believe

and fear evil creatures in the surrounding woods, an elaborate scheme used by the Elders to forbid

people from leaving.

Life is not a sequence of random events. Life unfolds according to our beliefs. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” You are not likely to succeed or flourish in life beyond the beliefs you hold about yourself. Our behavior is aligned with these

beliefs. If you believe you are not capable of succeeding, you will likely not have the attitude of

self-confidence or make choices such as taking risks, both of which are almost always present

where people achieve success. If you believe you are not worthy of love you will close yourself

off from love or drive it away, and then use the result as evidence to support your original premise.

Our beliefs form a story – it’s our own individualized view of the world, ourselves and all of life.

We play our part in the story based on those beliefs. If you believe there are hideous monsters in

the woods waiting to devour you, you won’t venture beyond the village limits. If you believe you

are inadequate as a man or woman, you will assume or have suspicions that others see you in the

same way.

Beliefs are convictions. We are convinced things are a certain way. Our beliefs become a state of mind. We habitually think and act in accordance with our beliefs. Beliefs determine what we do in the world. People act in line with their beliefs.

© Jim Palmer

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