Reality Distortion Ahead! How are Your Beliefs Limiting Your View of the World?
Sadly, sometimes our own beliefs limit our view of the world and get in the way of us making progress in our lives. It becomes the boulder holding us back. What’s more, the very automatic and sub conscious nature of how our self beliefs operate, mean that sometimes, we are the blindest to how they are really affecting us.
So let’s start out with the quote.
“Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
The quote dates back to a 19th century German Philosopher called Arthur Schopenhauer and it’s as relevant today as it was then.
So what does it mean and how does it all relate to your vision of the world?
To answer that we need to look at how and when we form most of our self beliefs about the world.
Survival of the fastest
Nature has done a great job of ensuring the survival of our species. And in doing so, the brain has evolved to a highly complex and sophisticated machine that is capable of processing the many thousands of bits of information that we are bombarded with every second of our day.
Unfortunately, the level of data coming at us far outweighs the ability of our brain to process it. So to compensate, the brain has developed a knack for only paying attention to the things we really need to pay attention to in order for us all to survive.
It ensures you only see as much of the world as you need to survive.
The next thing we need to know about our brain is its amazing ability as a Pattern Recognition Machine.
In order to short cut our thought processes, the brain is always on the lookout for patterns within the world that surround us. These patterns speed up our decision making, allowing us to free up parts of our brain to concentrate on more important tasks.
When the brain sees a pattern that has some significance to our lives or explains why something is happening in our world, it remembers it.
These patterns become our beliefs about our world. A large proportion of the beliefs we all walk around with where formed when we were young and based on limited knowledge and experience we had at that period of our lives.
This means that some of the beliefs we take for granted, day in day out, may be completely different to the real world we live in today as adults.
Once we have formed these beliefs, the brain goes to work to notice and reinforce these beliefs.
It’s the same effect you get when you buy a new car.
Before you buy it, there doesn’t seem to be that many on the road. Fast forward a few days after you have had your shiny new car and you start to notice them everywhere.
It’s not that there are many more of these cars on the road; it’s just your brain noticing this pattern in your environment.
Just to spice things up further and to ensure we don’t forget these beliefs, your brain gives you a healthy dose of positive confidence boosting emotion every time you recognise the pattern. This emotion comes in the form of a shot of highly potent neuro transmitters that produce a pleasurable chemical reaction in our brain.
This ongoing feedback loop embeds the belief firmly in our sub conscious. Once embed, our brains are constantly on the look out to reconfirm these beliefs and to experience the surge in self confidence provided by this neuro chemical rush.
And this is where it gets really interesting….
It turns out that your brain’s need to always ensure these beliefs are true is so powerful that we begin to filter out anything that begins to contradict these beliefs.
In most cases the effect is so subtle that it can barely be detected, but in extreme cases, the self deception and illusion can fly in the face of everything around us.
At this point, your belief begins to exert a negative effect on your life and you begin to limit your view of the world to the unhealthy degree. You lock yourself into unhelpful routines and lose sight of the different viewpoints that surround you.
How can you reset your Reality Distortion field and ensure your beliefs don’t hold you back?
- Acknowledge that your view of the world is limited
- Start to identify the routines in one area of your life where you are not currently getting the results you truly desire.
- Start to note down all the assumptions you have about this area of your life, don’t filter, don’t judge just write and keep on writing until you have all of them out of your head.
- Put the items in the order of how strongly you feel about each belief in this area of your life (the strongest at the top, the weakest at the bottom of your list)
- Take the first item on your list and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the opposite of this belief?
- Could it be true?
- What if this belief where true?
- How would it alter how I feel about this area of my life?
- What would happen if I adopted this belief for a week?
- Who do I know who holds this belief and are they successful in this area of their lives?
It’s not always easy to do this but the effort you put in to answering these questions will open you up to more possibilities and ways of thinking.
If you have trouble with the questions, ask them as if you where answering someone who held this opposing belief (it doesn’t have to be perfect you are just trying to imagine how it would feel, look and sound if you held this belief) and finally try to imagine watching someone with this belief answering the question.
- The final stage is to identify three things you will do differently in this area of your life for the next week. Then do them and make sure you follow through on them for a week.
You will begin to notice changes starting to happen as the week goes on as your view of the world begins to expand. You should also begin to notice it positively impacting your life.
Then after a week, go on to the next item on the list and repeat the process.
This very act of systematically examining and question these automatic beliefs will begin to open the limits of your own world and in turn open you up to more or the world and opportunities that surround you.
Above all, have fun with these ideas, play with them and notice what’s possible.