n. an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists
Belief is a powerful thing. Our entire existence is shaped around beliefs.
Let’s separate the definition out into two parts. First, an acceptance that a statement is true: when we hear a “professional” tell us something we immediately believe it to be true. We believe a doctor when they give us medical advice, we believe a lawyer when they give us law advice and we believe a personal trainer when they give us fitness advice. The credibility of someone allows us to accept that what they tell us is true.
The second part of the definition is a more interesting view of belief. What do you believe EXISTS?
I love to tell people that we are capable of more than we think possible, but sometimes we need someone to bring it out in us. What we’re talking about is belief and making someone aware that something exists for them.
For example, I make a point to never set goals for an athlete or client…initially. I always ask them what they think they’re capable of, first, because it’s important to establish this initial belief. Once this is found, we can go through the goal setting process based around these beliefs.
I firmly believe in self-fulfilling prophecies, both negatively and positively. If you say something or if you believe something, it’s more likely to happen. I say “more likely” because I can believe I’m going to be a happy, billionaire Ironman triathlete but if I do nothing but lay on the couch it’s not going to happen. There has to be a manner of action that compliments the belief for it to be effective.
I should also touch upon what causes skepticism or disbelief, which is directly influenced by two things: what other people have told you (correctly OR incorrectly) or your own personal experiences. Please know that just because someone told you something doesn’t mean it has to be true (as my father always says, “consider the source”) and just because you had a poor personal experience doesn’t mean it’s destined to happen again. It’s important to recognize these two things if they are causing your disbelief…because they could prevent you from seizing opportunities and positively moving forward.
I see too many people who are afraid to take chances because they don’t believe things will work out. I usually refer to this as being paralyzed by fear rather than being driven by desire. Somewhere along the line their belief was stripped away.
Belief is a powerful attribute and is crucial for success. People with belief don’t care what other people think – they continue on their path of action regardless. People with belief see opportunities where others can only see obstacles. And people with belief can pick out the tiny bit of blue in a sky that’s otherwise overcast.
Important questions to ask yourself:
- What are your strongest beliefs?
- What do you believe you’re capable of?
- Do you find that your beliefs are growing or shrinking over time? (are you letting society ruin your beliefs?)
And most importantly:
- Are your beliefs holding you back or are they propelling you forward? How differently would you live your life if you BELIEVED you could not fail?