Most of the time we’re focused on improving and maintaining the exterior conditions of our life in the hope that getting on top of everything will make us happy. We work harder and harder to complete the ever-growing to do list, get to where we want to be in our careers, get the relationship, get the house, get the holiday, the iPhone, the dog, the Nespresso and the Nutribullet.
But according to Harvard Psychologist Sean Achor, if you know everything about someone’s external world, you can only prediction 10% of their happiness. 90% is predicted by the way your brain processes the world, and this is shaped by your beliefs.
We normally think about beliefs in terms of religion, but we actually have beliefs in every area of our lives. I’m talking about whether you believe you in yourself, if you believe the future is bright or bleak, if you believe it’s possible to enjoy your job and get paid well for it, if you believe you’re attractive or ugly, if you believe certain emotions are bad or if England will win Euro 2016.
For example, you might believe that because someone hasn’t replied to your text message, they’re angry or upset with you, even though you’ve got no evidence for that. This might makes you feel tense, anxious or resentful, when actually they were just busy. I once didn’t reply to my ex-girlfriend for a couple of hours, because I was working, and she sent me a second message saying “Do you hate me?”
It is one of the biggest myths of our culture that when you’re ‘successful’, then you’ll be happy. And in order to be successful, you have to slog your guts out. Accordingly, many people work long hours, doing a job they don’t enjoy, in the hope that sometime in the future they will be enjoying life.
I believe that success is being happy NOW. It’s waking up in the morning feeling excited about the day ahead rather than dreading it or just trying to ‘get through it’.
Achor suggests five ways to train your brain to be more positive: practicing gratitude, journaling, exercise, meditation and random acts of kindness.
I can testify that all those things have helped me to view the world through a more positive filter. I also recommend a sixth one, which is to tackle head on your limiting beliefs
A limiting belief is something you believe that is holding you back in some way, such as “I can’t earn enough time/money to do the things I want” or “it’s not possible to have a job I enjoy”.
Once you’ve identified a limiting belief that you have, it’s possible to change it using a tool like this Limiting Belief Buster, which I got from authentic sales guru, Catherine Watkin. It helps you to unpick how you came to believe it, how unhelpful it is and what you can choose to believe instead which would serve you better.
I’ve been particularly using this tool to shift my beliefs around sales and marketing. For example changing the thought that “It’s hard to find new clients” to “I have a responsibility to those people who could benefit from my help to find them and offer them that help.”
As soon as I did the exercise I felt a shift in me: I felt more optimistic and that possibilities had just opened up. Give it a go, and let me know how you get on in the comments below.
If you liked this blog, why not share it?
If you’d like help shifting your beliefs, get in touch.
Sign up here to receive next week’s blog: