Sunday, January 07, 2007

Changing Direction

In the previous post we discussed how our beliefs guide our behaviors just like the rudder on a ship. Now let's talk about how to uncover those beliefs and use them to change our direction. If you want the ship of your life to head somewhere specific, you have to know how to control your rudder so you can steer.

If you recall, there are two types of beliefs: positive and negative. When it comes to dragging us off course, it is our negative beliefs that tend to be more dangerous. If you want to control the direction of your behaviors, you first need to understand your negative beliefs.

Identifying your negative beliefs can be tricky, but let me walk you through a simple technique that can help you to to discover your negative beliefs.

Start with an area of your life where you are haven't been seeing the results you'd like. Then construct a sentence starting with the words "I can't..." that you believe to be true. For example:
  • I can't lose weight.
  • I can't become rich.
  • I can't find my soulmate.
  • I can't learn to speak another language.
  • I can't take the vacation I would like.
So now you have a statement that gives you a clue to your beliefs in this area. Remember, many of our beliefs we don't even realize are there, but an obvious statement like this will give us the opening we need to discover the other less obvious beliefs.

Now consider the statement you just constructed (I can't...). Construct another statement that explains how you know that your original statement is true. We often call this a Classify step. This exercises the internal process you normally use to verify beliefs or statements. For example:
I can't lose weight.
Because I've tried dieting and that doesn't work.
I can't become rich.
Because it takes money to make money.
I can't find my soulmate.
Because all the good ones are already taken.
The classifying sentences you come up with should give you a good starting place to identify the beliefs you hold that are guiding this area of your life. Once you can clearly state your beliefs, you can begin to change them. If you can change your beliefs, then like a rudder on ship, you can change the direction for your life.

As we continue through this series I'll introduce some other techniques like the one discussed in this post. As you bring together these tools and practice you will become adept and influence. First with yourself and then with others.

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