Your superpower

“I would never die for my beliefs. I might be wrong.”
– Bertrand Russell

​I’ve been wanting to write this article for a while now. At least a year. I’ve held off because the concept is so important I wanted to do it justice, and to be sure I was ready to accurately present it.

It’s one of those things that’s somewhat known, but could change the world if everyone fully embraced it. I’ve tried to do so myself with more or less success, and now to share it in a way that others can easily put to use.

To say it simply:

Beliefs are a tool with which you create, they are rarely if ever true.

Or, to say that another way:

Your beliefs are your superpower.

Allow me to explain.

Most of us hang on to our beliefs as though they were absolute. We define who we are by what we believe, which is why someone questioning or – worse – trying to disprove them can feel so threatening.

At the same time, we can reflect over our lives and see how many things we’ve stopped believing that we once held as unwavering truth.

The fact is beliefs are not stagnant. We continuously pick up new ones and discard old ones, but mostly as an unconscious process. Being unconscious means it’s not necessarily based on our best interests, but on our emotional reaction to experience.

The longer we’ve thought something, the deeper we believe it and the more gravitational force it gains in our lives. Beliefs create the paradigm with which we navigate life, and all thoughts and feelings arise out of and return to them, enforcing what we already know and filtering out or dismissing what we don’t.

So what would happen if this process were conscious? What if we could pick and choose our beliefs based on how they serve us rather than what we feel is true? In what direction would the gravitational force in our lives then pull us?

That isn’t only possible, it’s very doable. It’s a skill like any other, and practice makes easy. First, let’s explain the brain’s processes for creating beliefs:

1. Connecting a thought with an emotion.

For example, a teacher’s comment, “This is hard for you, huh?” might tag into an emotion of shame you already had running and be recognized as an explanation for it. A thought that you tag as an explanation for a feeling is the most common and fastest way beliefs are formed.

2. Seed planting.

Someone says something like, “the economy is tough right now”, which invites a bias in the mind in which you start to see things that match this statement. Seeing things that enforce the seed is how you water it until it becomes a full-fledged belief (that is, ties itself to an emotion). For example, this article is seed-planting as it suggests a new way of thinking about beliefs.

If you start to engage the practices outlined below and look into other sources for changing beliefs, (such as Byron Katie’s “The Work” ) the seed that says your beliefs are a choice you have the power to change will be sufficiently fed to take hold on the unconscious – gravitational – level and release any sense of being stuck or held back by your mind. If you think about it a lot but don’t apply it, it will never feel effective to you and ultimately be dismissed as either not true or for other people but not you.

Now, let’s look at the process for consciously changing beliefs. (courtesy of Joey Klein, Mental Mastery Series)

Let’s say you have a belief on a deep level that says, “It doesn’t matter what I do, nothing works, I’m always stuck”.

First, you can check if it needs to change or is beneficial for you. Questions that help answer if you want to keep it are:

“Does this statement align with fear or love?”
“What actions does it inspire me to take?”
“If I continue with this belief, where am I likely to end up?”

You can hold any belief up against this check list. The above example obviously aligns with fear and you can stop there. Another belief, such as “a certain school is right for me”, might not feel clear in terms of whether it aligns with fear or love, so you can go to the other questions and see how those answers shed light on the usefulness of the belief.

Now to change the belief let’s try one that says, “with practice I can achieve anything I want.” Before doing more we take it through the checklist. It aligns with love, inspires me to try, and will likely lead to great achievements in my life, so I decide it’s worth anchoring.

In order to anchor it I link it to an emotion. The way to do this is to think of a time when you really succeeded at something, or felt proud of yourself. Maybe you finished a big project, or ran a marathon, or helped someone in need. Whatever it was, tune into the feeling that came with that moment of accomplishment.

Now, centered in that feeling, think to yourself, “With practice, I can achieve anything.” Tie that statement as the explanation for why you feel good about what you accomplished.

If the belief that nothing works has been with you for a long time, it will likely come up multiple times in a variety of situations. Each time it does say “thank you” to it, and return your awareness to that feeling of accomplishment and the belief that with practice you can achieve anything.

The teacher who gave this to me sits down and reviews all his beliefs once a month using the checklist given here, updating them as needed to align better with his life goals.

I personally haven’t yet developed that discipline, but have applied it successfully to the most difficult beliefs that once ran me and have noticed significant improvement in all areas of my life as a result.

Our beliefs are our superpower. They create our world and are the sole determining factor in how far we can go in life. Start building them consciously, and they will bring gravitational weight to the direction you want to go, so success becomes your baseline.