Your Beliefs Determine Your Level of Success

by Mark on January 13, 2010

“Success” means different things to different people, but no matter how you define success, there tend to be certain consistent principles that transcend the various definitions of success. One of those success principles is the idea that success or failure is a result of the way we think, because the way we think determines the actions that we take and therefore the results we get. If you don’t like the results you are getting, then you need to change your actions and therefore your thoughts. It has been said that one definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. We are all guilty of this to a certain extent, and it does seem a little insane. Sometimes we have to take a step back and look at our actions with fresh eyes. You don’t want to be like the fly that crashes into the window over and over again in an attempt to get outside. If you change your thoughts, you will change your life. It’s as simple as that.

The Power of Beliefs

Few people recognize the true power that beliefs have over our lives. As Tony Robbins once wrote, “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.” I don’t think that this is an exaggeration. Beliefs have a strong impact on the way we think. What is a belief? A belief is just a sense of certainty that something is true. The problem is that most of us don’t really challenge our beliefs once we accept them, and many of our beliefs are formed while we are still too young to think critically about them.

“Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless.”

– B.F. Skinner –

Ask yourself: What beliefs do I have that could possibly be preventing me from achieving the success that I’m capable of? For example, do you believe that wealthy people are greedy or evil? Do you believe that wealthy people take advantage of people to get money? Do you see how such negative associations could hold you back from taking the actions you need to take to become a wealthy person?

“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.”

– James Allen –

Here are some more possible beliefs that could be holding you back. See if you have a voice in the back of your head whispering things such as:

“Becoming wealthy requires laboring for long hours at a stressful job.”

“I would need to be a cheap, miserable miser to get rich. I would rather be happy than rich.”

“Rich people are rich because they are lucky.”

“I can’t save now, but I am going to start saving for my future right after such-and-such happens.”

“I can’t get rich because I don’t know how.”

“Money doesn’t buy happiness.”

“The love of money is the root of all evil.”

“I would be rich if someone would just give me an opportunity.”

“I can’t be successful because I’m discriminated against for being a black person/woman/Martian.”

“I can’t do it because…”

“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.”

– Mahatma Gandhi –

There are all sorts of possible negative beliefs that could be holding you back from taking the actions that you need to take to be successful. Many of them you probably aren’t even conscious of. You can change these beliefs that are holding you back by challenging them. For example, what about the idea that rich people are greedy or evil? My own personal belief is that rich people aren’t any greedier or more evil than people in the other social classes. It might seem like they are all greedy or evil because the media and our politicians incessantly tell stories of fraud, destruction of the environment, price gouging, or whatever, but these people really only make up a small fraction of the wealthy population. Your chances of being successful will improve if you change your belief from “Wealthy people are greedy or evil” to “Some wealthy people are greedy or evil, but I’m going to be one of the wealthy people that uses wealth to make the world a better place.” Change the belief that “Wealthy people get rich by taking advantage of people” to “Wealthy people get rich by giving something that people value in exchange for value in return.”

Personal Examples

So what are some of the beliefs that I’ve changed in my own life?

I used to have a belief that in order to get wealthy you needed to work extremely hard, gain numerous promotions, earn a high income, and after enough years passed by, then you would become wealthy. After reading books like The Millionaire Next Door, I changed my belief to believe that you don’t need to do anything extraordinary to become wealthy. You can become wealthy even without a high income by living below your means, investing wisely, and being patient while your capital continues to grow.

I used to have a belief that whatever career I decided to choose was going to be the career that I was stuck with until I retired at 65.  I recently changed my belief to believe that I can live my life the way I really want much earlier than I would have ever previously dreamed possible.  It just takes deliberate action in that direction. There are plenty of success stories out there to emulate.

Changing my beliefs changed my behavior, causing me to live well below my means, pay off all my debt, begin to save up capital, and create this blog. It has also caused me to begin brainstorming possible ways to design my life the way I want to live it.

Changing your beliefs is no guarantee of success, but if you have beliefs that are incompatible with the success that you desire , you will never take the actions necessary to achieve it.

So what beliefs are holding you back?

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