The Power of Belief

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It’s been en vogue recently to publish books about how we, as humans, think and to make a lot of references to the building body of Psychological research that continues to grow at a staggering pace.  Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink and Jonah Lehrer have all made valuable contributions and there are many others.  It amazes me how all of this work reinforces the power of belief.

A couple key psychological principles uncovered over last century…

Confirmation Bias – a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.

Behavioral Confirmation – A belief creating phenomenon whereby ones beliefs about another, lead them to act in a way that causes the other to confirm that expectation (e.g. one may be told another is cool and aloof, and in turn acts differently when confronting that person, which in turn causes the other to then act cool and aloof).

My take-away; it matters a lot what you believe…

about yourself

about others

about the future

about what you’re capable of

It seems that when it comes to your life, what you believe, matters more than the truth about your current state.  Unbelievable!!! (JK ;-))  So, if you’re going to work on anything, work on your belief.  Find a way to change your expectations.  Put yourself with people and in situations that have a positive effect on what you believe.  That is the battlefield where you should send all of your reinforcements.  That’s where you need to make your gains.  Everything else will follow.

It turns out that “Don’t be afraid, just believe” might actually be good advice… even if it is over 2,000 years old.