“The greatest achievement was, at first, and for a time, but a dream.” – James Allen.
One of the essential life lessons you can learn is that your beliefs can either create a path to success or be an obstacle.
Prior to 1954, most of the talented runners and coaches thought it was impossible to run a mile in less than four minutes. Why wouldn’t they? After all, people had tried for decades, and only one athlete had done it in 4:01.
That was until Roger Bannister broke that record in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. What was his secret? Belief in his abilities and relentless mental visualization.
The exciting part is that his record only stood for 46 days, and 200 runners broke it by the end of 1978. Why? Because Roger Bannister’s successful attempt had liberated athletes from the mental shackles of limiting beliefs and taught them important life lessons.
Why Belief is so Important
- Your beliefs affect your behaviors and actions
One of the most basic ways belief can shape your reality is through its influence on behavior and resulting actions. That’s because your reality predominantly exists in your mind, and it ensues from your beliefs, life lessons learned, experiences, et cetera. How does this happen? Your belief system influences how you gather information.
When you develop a particular belief, there is a natural tendency for you to focus on and support information that validates and reinforces that belief while rejecting contrary information. This, in turn, reorients your behavior and actions towards the belief. What this means is that you can consciously adopt beliefs that will lead to desired behaviors and results.
For example, let’s assume that you believe you are the architect of your destiny, that you are in command of your perceptual world. If that is the case, you will start looking for opportunities to validate this belief, and you will act accordingly. Conversely, if you believe that events of your life are out of your control, you will ascribe your accomplishments and misfortunes to fate or bad luck, and you won’t act – you will settle for whatever happens to you.
- Your beliefs affect your health
Several factors, which are mostly out of your control, affect your health and well-being. For example, genetics, environmental pollution, geographical location, socioeconomic circumstances, et cetera. Whenever you get sick, you can rely on the expertise of your physician and a plethora to drugs to help you recover. However, another important factor plays a significant role in your prognosis, and one that is mainly within your sphere of control – your belief about wellness – and your belief about your wellness in particular.
According to research, people who have positive beliefs about aging live an average of 7.6 years more than their counterparts. What’s more, through belief, your mind can stimulate healing by convincing your body that a false treatment (one devoid of intrinsic properties) is in fact effective – the placebo effect. On the other hand, the nocebo effect happens when you are given a sugar pill, made to believe that it has negative side effects, and you start exhibiting those symptoms.
- Your beliefs build self-efficacy
Building self-efficacy by believing in yourself is vital because it gives you confidence in your abilities to carry out a task. Whether you wish to make and maintain positive changes in your life or you want to enjoy a prosperous professional career, self-efficacy is the foundation that will allow you to achieve that.
“Whether you think that you can, or you think that you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
The stronger your belief in your abilities to do a task, the stronger your resolve in the face of obstacles and your ability to get desired results. Some people are quick to “throw in the towel” when facing challenges because they don’t believe in their abilities. And these difficulties tend to reinforce their disbelief.
Belief is where everything begins! Adopting the correct beliefs is an empowering tool to get you to your destination.