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Episode 47 – Letting Go To Move Forward – How To Believe In Yourself

Mindset is a massive piece of success. We all know this even if we may resist it to a certain extent. I certainly did in the beginning.

I talked in Episode 33 Why You Must Surround Yourself With Successful People about how our environment affects our beliefs, which affects our decisions, which affect our results.

But how do we learn to believe in ourselves regardless of our environment or the people around us?

The thing about beliefs is we believe they are true.

Even though we may know many people who believe the complete opposite of what we believe.

This is part of being human and why we can get into such intense debates about politics, religion, sports or anything else really.

We know intellectually that other people are 100% sure we are wrong, yet we’re 100% sure we are right and they’re wrong.

This goes for beliefs about ourselves and beliefs about the world.

How is it that we are so sure about our beliefs?

This is because we have three inbuilt ways that our brains keep confirming to us that we’re right, even when there is a possibility that a belief isn’t right or worse, isn’t helpful for us.

1. Our brain filters out what it considers irrelevant before we even get the raw data

We don’t receive every single piece of information that hits our eyeballs or any of our other sensory mechanisms. Our brain automatically filters out most of what comes in.

This happens out of pure necessity. Researchers at The University of California worked out that every day people are receiving the equivalent amount of 34 GB of information. That’s enough to overwhelm even a pretty powerful computer.

Imagine if you noticed every blade of grass on a car drive or heard every conversation that hit your ears when you walk through a crowded street. You would be consumed to the point of your brain not being able to do anything else. So to cope with this problem your brain only notices relevant data.

When I studied this at university we called this relevant data capta.

What this means, in reality, is raw data that is deemed irrelevant doesn’t even enter your conscious awareness at all.

That’s why if you have zero interest in a certain type of car you probably never see it on the road. Whereas if you suddenly become interested in that car you’ll start seeing them everywhere.

Your brain now deems that information relevant and it gets through the filter.

You are doing this with beliefs about yourself too. You will be filtering out anything that isn’t relevant and isn’t relevant includes isn’t true. Meaning information doesn’t conform to your beliefs.

2. We also have confirmation bias, which means we give data coming in the meaning to confirm our beliefs

Ultimately events are neutral. They are circumstances. We decide what they mean and we will give events the meaning that most fit our beliefs.

If for example, you strongly believed that ‘men don’t want to commit’ if you went on a date and the guy doesn’t call you within a certain time frame are going to make it mean he isn’t interested in committing out of all possible meanings you could give this turn of events.

If you believe you won’t be successful in your online business you will give setbacks the meaning that you won’t be successful.

If, on the other hand, you believed that every journey worth taking has some setbacks you would expect those setbacks and make the situation mean you are on the right path and on a journey worth taking.

This is why people experience different circumstances and come away with a different opinion or experience of them.

3. We naturally gravitate towards people and situations that confirm our beliefs

If you think about this, it makes sense. We like to be comfortable we don’t want to be confronted. We want to be with people and in situations that feel aligned with who we are as people, meaning are aligned with what we believe.

We congregate in groups based around our interests and this confirms our beliefs even more.

We become a broken record, stuck in the same belief groove.

So how do you let go of old unhelpful beliefs and behaviors to move forward?

How do you get out of the groove (sorry Madonna), or rut you are in and actually move the needle?

There are several ways you can do this. I’m going to explain the most practical way of doing it in this episode and then talk about more ways next time.

In order to make any progress on your mindset, your beliefs you need this:

Mental Flexibility

You need to first believe you can grow and change. Carol Dweck refers to this as a growth mindset.

You then need to be willing to try on some different beliefs about yourself or the situation you are having difficulty with.

If the problematic belief was about men and commitment you could try on the belief ‘Not all men don’t want to commit’ or ‘Some men want a committed relationship’.

If the belief you wanted to change was ‘I won’t be successful with an online business’ you could try on ‘Setbacks are normal. I am just as smart as anyone else running an online business. I can do this if I stay the course.’

When I say try it on I mean hold the possibility that it could be true.

Then third, be willing to take some action to test out your new belief and, as objectively as you can look at what happened. Does the outcome actually line up with your new belief?

What we are trying to do is see if you can find some evidence of your new possible belief being true.

To get what we want out of life, we must step up and play a bigger game.

That means we need to let go of some things and take a leap or at the very least a step, into unknown territory.

Very often the thing that is holding us back is ourselves and what we have decided to believe about ourselves.

If you get that nagging feeling that something’s not quite right or something has to change, don’t ignore it. Listen to it and decide to do something about it.

Whether you want to become a full-time coach, a designer or take the leap into entrepreneurship, there will be some things you’ll have to give up.

Comfortable things like a regular paycheck, coasting at work when you’re hung-over or not really feeling it, or other aspects of security and regular routine you’ve been accustomed to.

This is all part of becoming something bigger and greater than you already are.

That photo above is me in 2010. I left a well-paid, secure job in Germany to go traveling around Canada and the States with my friend Cathy and then I moved to Australia.

I had no idea how things would work out on the other side of the world. I just knew that somehow I would make it work. Several of my closest friends took me aside and asked if I really wanted to risk everything I’d already built but I knew in my heart that I had to do it.

There will be times when you will have no idea what is waiting for you in the future.

But this is when you need to believe in your ability to grow and work on your mindset.

You really can handle any situation that comes your way.

Because the most fulfilling path in life is to work on your mindset, work on your beliefs and to follow the path of what you really want in life.

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