The Power of Perception: How Our Beliefs Shape Our Reality

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One of the most pertinent dilemmas with the humans that inhabit the earth today is that we have large subsets of people who will accept whatever they hear just because it suits their worldview—not because it is actually true, or because they have evidence to support it, but rather that people prefer reassurance to research.

One of the views that is so perplexing to me is the widely held belief that you cannot view the world through a lens of positivity or optimism if ‘really bad things’ happen to you.

Fuck that nonsense.

I’ve found myself on death’s door more times than I can count, which is most definitely something people would consider ‘really bad things’ happening in my life. Sometimes by my own irrational decisions, other times at the hands of people whom I had no control over. Most would view it as a series of unfortunate events. I should be sad, depressed, angry, and resentful, right? If I do not have these strong emotions, I didn’t really have it that hard.

Or so people say.

That’s not how it works though. I choose my thoughts regardless of my life indoctrination and experiences. Good or bad. I am a thinking adult—and now have the choice on how I view my past, present, and future. We choose what we believe and this directly supports growth or the victim mindset.

Hey. Check this—beliefs don’t happen to you, they come from you.

Your current beliefs started with an interest in something or a life-altering experience. They have become increasingly solidified in that beautiful mind of yours, as you’ve gathered selective evidence to validate and confirm those beliefs. It’s how your mind is wired up. Always searching for information that supports our ideas of how the world ‘should’ work or operate. We also know this commonly as confirmation bias.

So what this breaks down to is our perception of the world is not objective, and never will be. No matter how ‘evidence’-based and objective you believe you are—you are still approaching it and seeing the ‘evidence’ through the window of our personal constructed biases. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are—or rather as we are conditioned to see it. What you choose to believe about something, including yourself, dictates how your life plays out.

If you see yourself as a victim of your life, you’re going to be looking for ‘evidence’ to confirm this belief. If you see everything as a hopeless situation, it indeed will be hopeless.

Conditioning the Human Mind

I guess the question many of you have, is how the hell are we conditioned and where do most of our beliefs originate from? Well, this is complex and multifactorial, but I’ll attempt to break it down simply. As a child, what becomes our unconscious system for how the world ‘should’ operate is mostly based on environmental influences/experiences, paired with cues from our parents and peers. As an example—many of us were instructed that if we went to church and practiced religion we were ‘good’ boys and girls. So now as we reach adulthood, we will look for anything that confirms this belief disregarding any evidence to the contrary. It makes us feel good to support this framework. We don’t want to be bad, because bad things happen to bad people. There is usually no rationale otherwise. At its core, this is what we were conditioned to believe.

The human mind will always take the path of least resistance and that for most, is looking for evidence to confirm these unconscious beliefs because it’s uncomfortable and causes emotional pain to analyze our core values critically. We are all wired up to seek pleasure and avoid pain. If someone or something disputes our beliefs, we get defensive and drive even further into supporting our biases instead of taking a step back and entertaining the idea that we may be reacting emotionally instead of logically because this causes less emotional pain than being wrong.

As you grow into adulthood, you become increasingly responsible for developing your own solid belief system using logic, and not conforming to tradition without merit. This is difficult because it’s not like these conditioned beliefs are in our conscious awareness. They bubble up to our conscious awareness when we react strongly or emotionally to something that triggers us. Pay attention to these bubbles, as they are the key to getting out of this vicious cycle.

This realization is both empowering and paralyzing simultaneously.

How Do We Choose What to Believe?

With all of the options and opposing perspectives, how do you possibly choose what to believe if we can’t count on our conditioning?

Well, we must first recognize that just because the masses agree with something doesn’t mean that it’s logical or the best approach to life. Herd mentality is not something to strive for. Civilization evolves when unique, seemingly ‘crazy’ humans think and act differently, shatter the status quo, and change how we will forever perceive and do things. It isn’t the individuals that never question their conditioning and accept things blindly.

Second, we need to accept that if something is triggering a strong emotional reaction, it’s most likely rooted in deep conditioning and layered with years of selective information seeking to support your confirmation bias and will be hard as fuck to unravel.

Few people own the fact that what they currently believe is what they have chosen to believe. Blame game is the best game if the mind wants to avoid the pain of being wrong.

It’s important to remember our beliefs are always taking us somewhere even if we want to deny our responsibility. Your beliefs determine the foods you eat, the friends you have, the goals you set, the environments you’re comfortable in, and how you behave on the daily my friends.

It’s a common theme to hear people to have an aha moment one day and ask themselves,

“How the hell did end up here? I didn’t choose any of this.”

You wake up and your marriage has fallen apart, you’re in a job you hate, you could be overweight, have a mind-shattering addiction, or for some, it’s something far worse than these. So please my friends—I urge you not to take lightly what you choose to believe.

Your beliefs shape everything about who you become. Your destiny. Your so-called ‘luck’.

Consider the powerful impact you have when you believe you aren’t worthy of love. How will that influence your choices, daily behaviors, your Tinder dates, and long-term relationship goals?

What about the belief that you aren’t beautiful? Contemplate how this will impact your self-image and how you treat your body.

What if you believe that you have had a fucked up life that is destined to be the same for the remainder of your days? It’s highly unlikely you will take action to change your circumstances if you feel helpless.

How would your life be different if you believed failure was a beautiful thing? What if you thrived on mistakes and picked them apart to see how you could improve your approach, instead of belittling yourself?

What if you believed the opinions of other people don’t define you? Everyone is operating from their own cognitive biases anyway, right?

What if you believed being honest and acting with integrity was more important than being approved of?

You can convince yourself of absolutely anything—and you can confirm that perspective with endless information by surrounding yourself with people and environments that support your viewpoint. Or you could choose to surround yourself with individuals that constantly challenge your preconceived beliefs. You know, the friends that aren’t afraid to tell you you’re being a dumb ass.

What Does This All Boil Down To?

You are the designer of your destiny.

You are responsible for the outcomes in your life.

You get to decide. You must decide—because if you don’t, someone else will for you. Either through indoctrination, conditioning, or that lovely herd mentality people so easily get trapped in.

Indecision is a bad decision. Letting life happen to you and never assessing your core beliefs isn’t living at your maximum potential.

As the new year is upon us, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are some of your strongly held beliefs, and where did they originate from?
  2. Where will those beliefs take you? Do they support your larger goals? Are these beliefs keeping you stuck in the victim mindset? Is life happening to you or are you creating it?
  3. How will those beliefs push you towards evolution and impacting the world in a positive light?
  4. Do you actively seek to prove yourself wrong? Are all of your friends YES men and women?

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