Problematic False Beliefs

what you don't know you don't know
what you don’t know you don’t know

It’s interesting isn’t it, beliefs are a fascinating topic. What we believe guides our decision-making in every aspect of life.

There was recently a post on Facebook with the following maths problem..

(7+7+7)-(7+7)x 0 = ?

On reading the comments, it was funny to see how some people were arrogantly quoting zero as being the answer, while others equally arrogantly quoted 21 being the answer.

This observation got me thinking how people were so sure in their belief in the answer, that they were happy to comment to the world, and potentially in front of their friends, family and other associates, without ever doubting that they may be wrong, and the possibility of looking stupid.

Now I’m not judging people who got this wrong, as being stupid, but I’m sure that if they found out they were wrong, they would feel a little embarrassed that they didn’t know the answer, after all “it’s something you learn in 3rd grade” – and I’m quoting a comment of someone who got the answer wrong.

But people do this kind of thing all the time, particularly on social media. They believe they know something when they wrong – they have false knowledge.

Having false knowledge can be problematic for decision-making, if you’re basing your decision on that false knowledge.

Doing a quick Google search will undoubtedly give you the right answer to a simple maths question, and the consequences of getting it wrong is nothing greater than a little social embarrassment, but there are situations where having false knowledge, while believing you are right, can cause significantly more serious consequences.

The answer to dealing with false knowledge and misguided belief, is not to hold beliefs with such certainty. Question them, look for proof that you are right or wrong,  before acting on them.

The moment you believe you are right, is the exactly the same moment you stop looking for evidence of contradiction. You look for confirmation you are right, which further entrenches you into that belief mind-set.

One solution, drawn from a famous insight of philosopher Karl Popper, who argued that in science, evidence against a hypothesis, called
disconfirmation, is much more important than evidence for that
hypothesis, called confirmation.

So, let go of beliefs, and instead look for evidence that disconfirms them. If you believe “all politicians are self-serving”, then you only have to find one that isn’t self-serving, and you’ve disproved your belief, good luck with that, only joking. But you get the point, it’s easy to fall into the trap of finding evidence that supports your belief, after all, there are many politicians who you can find evidence of being self-serving, if you look hard enough, and this further embeds the belief.

A word of warning before I finish this post, if you find yourself using generalities such as “all”, “most” or “none” you’re over-relying on stereotypes and biases, and this is a lazy and foolish way of forming beliefs.

Comments like “All BMW drivers are arrogant”, and “most politicians are self-serving”, play on stereotypes, prejudices, biases and vastly overgeneralise, so stop holding such beliefs, and start looking for contradictions. You’ll undoubtedly find that many of your beliefs are based on false knowledge.

Just one last point, the answer to the maths question, if you didn’t already know, is 21 – the rule that makes it so is called “order of operations”, so now you really do know the answer.

Why We’re Always Jumping To Conclusions About People

Get Results: We judge ourselves by our INTENTIONS and others by their ACTIONS
Get Results: We judge ourselves by our INTENTIONS and others by their ACTIONS

We label people with just a first impression.

They are doing [blank], so must be [blank].
They look like a [blank], so must be one.

The blanks are full of stereotypes, prejudices, biases and generalisations.

This makes us feel satisfied, because it helps us think we understand the world around us.

Understanding the world keeps us safe, but we have no idea, if we’re actually right in our instant evaluation.

But that doesn’t matter because we’ve already moved on to something else.

Not jumping to conclusions means we have to admit to ourselves we don’t know, we can’t know from just one look at somebody and this isn’t satisfactory, because it means we don’t understand the world around us after all, and this could be dangerous.

You’re Not Who You Think You Are

Get Results: self awareness
Get Results: self awareness

If you’re of adult age, you’ve probably experienced a fair amount in life.

You’ve probably fallen in love, and maybe out of love again, at least once.

You’ve probably been to school, witnessed or been the victim of bullying.

You’ve undoubtedly experienced  a loss of some kind, whether it be someone close to you, or loss of a valued possession.

You’ll have most certainly have experienced many different emotions; such as happiness, sadness, anger, embarrassment, longing etc.

Through all these experiences, what has been the one thing that has remained constant?

If you said your “thoughts”, then we know this isn’t true, your thoughts come and go like clouds. Sure you experience many thought over and over, these form beliefs that shape your life, but they do still come and go. You’re not thinking the same thing all the time.

If you said your “emotions”, then again these are constantly in flux.

If you said your “behaviours”, then again these have changed as you’ve grown and unless you do exactly the same thing all the time, they are constantly changing as you undertake different tasks.

So what is the one constant, that has shared every second of every day?

The answer to this is the “awareness” in which all experiences unfold. The “presence” that watches, listens and is.

This presence can be described as consciousness, awareness, or even space. It is the space into which all life unfolds, but it isn’t empty space. It isn’t a vacuum of nothing, but it a space of “NO THING”.

You can not view it in the same way you can your mind constructed self. The self you describe when someone asks you, who you are.

I am [whatever age you are],

I am a male or female

I am a professional whatever

I am a father, mother, daughter son, only child

Whatever you label yourself as being, is not really who you are.

This labelled self is your mind constructed identity, used to tell stories about, to describe, to understand, to point to, but it isn’t the real you.

You look at a flower and you call it a flower, you have a mind constructed idea of what as flower is, what it should look like, where you should find it.

In the same way you do with anything you’ve ever experienced.

You label it, so it can understand it, and your mind does the same with its version of you.

When you say I’m trying to find myself, this is a false way of thinking about it. The real you, can’t be observed,  or lost like an object because you can’t removed yourself from it. “You are it” and “it is you”. You can’t do anything other than “be who you are”.

It’s not about finding yourself, it’s about losing everything that mentally and emotionally blocks your realisation of the truth, that all the constructed versions of yourself are not you. The real you is what’s left when all the labels are stripped away.

You are awareness, presence, the space in which all experiences play out, without the layer of thought and interpretation getting in the way. The space that just is, without any need to add anything else. You are consciousness.

I love these two quotes that say it all…

“Thoughts are like clouds, you are the sky. ”

“You are the Universe, experiencing itself from infinite points of view. ”

That means you and I, and all life are connected because we are all a manifestation of the Universe experiencing itself.

Why It’s So Hard To Control Your Mind

Get Results: why is it hard to control your mind
Get Results: why is it hard to control your mind

We are all storytellers, it’s built into our instinctive mind.

For example, I recently heard, in separate news bulletins about a “Super spreader” of the Coronavirus who had infected 30 people after a travel journey.

I had separately heard that some people were refusing to be quarantined after being suspected of contracting the virus.

As a result of these two bulletins my mind created a narrative that this guy must be self-centred with no consideration for other travellers.

Furthermore I assumed he was one of the people that didn’t want to be quarantined.

My mind began to built-up a picture of what the guy possibly looks like, a sense of his arrogance, visually pushing authority away to break free from his imprisonment. Great imagination.

In reality, I don’t know who he is, what he looks like, if he indeed, actually, refused quarantine, if he even had symptoms at the time he was spreading the virus.

I found it interesting to see how my mind instinctively created, and filled gaps in knowledge with assumptions, created out of my overactive imagination.

It got me to thinking about how the mind works, not so much with sympathy but instead with judgment, I suspect this is the case for most people. In this instance, I hadn’t initially thought about the condition of the “Super spreader”, I’d immediately jumped to the conclusion about his potential guilt in knowingly spreading the virus, before my conscious thinking mind had stepped in to question this thought process, and only then did I consider the health of the individual.

Try to catch your instinctive mind in its creative process. Bring awareness to how it reacts to things that are going on around you. This is called mindfulness, it gives your conscious thinking mind time to step in and ask questions of the instinctive mind.

Is your mind instinctively inclined to come from a positive or negative point of view?  Let this be part of your self-awareness practice. My thoughts indicated I’m quick to judge. I’m not particularly sympathetically inclined, instinctively, otherwise I’d have been more concerned about the man’s condition.

I suspect this is the case with most people, because the instinctive mind is designed for self protection, so it is fear driven. It’s design to look for danger, to think the worst of people and situations, so as not to become a victim of them.

Use your imaginative, instinctive mind to create good stories of fiction, rather than waste its built-in creativity, but don’t let it shape your opinion of reality. Don’t let it form beliefs, that you hold with some degree of certainty. It’s creative and imaginative, but it’s not accurate, most of the time.

The thing with the Instinct is, it is creative, imaginative, but often light on evidence-based facts. It is directly connected to our emotions and nervous system, which means it is very persuasive in its storytelling, if we aren’t conscious of how and why it works.

The way to step out of the instinctive minds influence, is to bring awareness to it, and allow the conscious thinking mind to step in and question its ramblings. Awareness gives you the space needed to prevent being drawn into the emotions and subsequent reactions.

You are not your thoughts, and they are not you. You are the observer of them, in the same you are not your instinctive mind, it is your self-preservation instinct, but you are so much more, by engaging your conscious thinking mind to take control.

The instinctive mind is a great tool, but a destructive master. Make sure the conscious thinking mind is in control and you won’t go far wrong.

Focus on Eradicating Limiting Beliefs

Get Results: look to discredit beliefs
Get Results: look to discredit beliefs

Eradicating LIMITING BELIEFS should be your focus.

Empowering beliefs can be used as a tool to help motivate, but use them wisely.

For example Saying “I’m going to be the best football player in the world”, is probably less doable than being a professional football player. Some endeavours are dependent on physical attributes and genetic limitations, while others are less so. You can be the best of your potential for sure, but if you can’t sing a note, you’re unlikely to be the best singer in the world, even with 10,000 hours of practice. But hey, if you aim for the stars you might make it to the moon.

You can aim to max out your potential in any pursuit, the best singer, the best footballer the best whatever you want, with enough desire and application.

Any sustained, purposeful practice will improve performance, remember the beginning is always going to be the hardest because it’s new and different. It will get easier and you will get better the more you do it, the more you practice, with the aim of improving on your previous attempt.

Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to try new things out because you might happen on a new path forward, that fills you with delight when you do it, which enthuses you when you wake up in the morning because of the prospect of doing it again today.

If you don’t have that something in your life that you love to do, maybe it’s simply because you haven’t discovered it yet, it’s out there waiting for you to find it. You might need to try 10 things, 100 things, a 1000 things before you discover it, but it’s out there.

Limiting beliefs act like coping strategies, they arm you with excuses not to engage, not to expose yourself to the chance of failure and disappointment. You may say to yourself  I can’t do that, I don’t have the time,  I don’t have the necessary skills or experience etc these excuses are tricks of the mind. You won’t start off with all that you’ll need at the beginning, but in the process of doing, you learn, and acquire all that you need to reach the next level, if you apply yourself effectively.

You can’t learn to ride a bike or walk by simply reading an instruction manual, you have to try to do it, you fall and you learn from falling, that’s how it’s supposed to work. You wouldn’t tell your child to give up walking because they failed to do it the very first time, or the second or third would you? You’d encourage them to keep trying until they could do it.

If something has been done before, it can be done again. You have an example you can model and learn from.

If something has never been done before then ask yourself why. 4 minute miles couldn’t be done until Roger Bannister did it. Men being able to fly wasn’t possible until the wright brothers did it. Getting a man on the moon wasn’t possible until Neil Armstrong did it.

Don’t let limiting beliefs discourage you, instead scrutinise such beliefs and ask of them, why can’t I, who says so? How do I know until I try? What’s the worst that can happen if it doesn’t work out? Is that so bad?

Never fear failure, because it’s an integral part of the learning process. You’re not really failing, you’re learning how not to do it. Embrace the learning process because a better version of yourself is waiting on the other side.

Stop Letting Your Instinct Control You

Get Results: self awareness otherwise you'll struggle against yourself
Get Results: self awareness otherwise you’ll struggle against yourself

Who or what is in control of you

If you find yourself defending a Politician who is under verbal attack, let’s say its Jeremy Corbyn receiving stick from someone in a group your part of, or you feel the compulsion to defend or stick up for him, it’s because either..

#1 – You see the attack as a form of bullying that is disagreeable to your values of what is right and wrong behaviour  or

#2 – You believe their opinion is inaccurate or unfounded or

#3 – You’ve psychologically invested a sense-of- yourself in that Politician or a cause they represent. You may feel you are personally being attacked through them, or at least what that Politician stands for, maybe their values, principles, cause or whatever it is you are attached to, that they represent in your perception. In the example of Jeremy Corbyn, you might share the same Political, Socialist stance or views.

The emotional response you feel, the compulsion to want to defend him, your physiological and psychological reactions, originate from a primitive part of your mind, what Spirituality calls “the Ego”, others may call “Instinct”, or survival instinct.

It’s the emotional part of your mind that needs to defend itself from a perceived devaluation in its sense of self.

Sense of self explained

Your “Sense of self” includes anything you’re psychologically attached to. If you refer to people, things, ideas, concepts using.. “my”, “mine”, “I have”, “I am”

like…

“it’s MY car”, or “that car is MINE”

“MY opinion” or “this opinion is MINE”

“MY belief” or “this belief is MINE”

“MY friend” or “this friend is MINE”

“I AM a Socialist” or “I HAVE Socialist values”

Or even “WE ARE [Socialist]”, “WE HAVE [Socialist values]”, “OUR opinion/car/family” etc

For example if you hear a car has been stolen, it’s unlikely to bother you but if your  car is stolen, a car you  describe as “my car”, then you’re likely going to have an emotional response.

Well the same is true if the thing you’re attached to is tangible like a car, a person, or a possession or intangible like ideas, thoughts, beliefs, values, opinions, religious or political stances or views.

The reason you attach to such things, is because your instinct wrongly believes the more you have the more you are. You have a greater sense of self by having more attachments connect to you.

Taking control back

So what can you do about it, well if you don’t want to do anything about it and you’re happy to go along with the INSTINCTIVE part of your brain, and your emotions, be my guest.

But is you don’t want to be a slave to your instincts and emotions, understand one important thing, there is another part of your mind that can and should always take control.

If your instinct is the child-like reactionary part of your mind, the Intellect; the conscious thinking mind is the grown up part.

This part of your mind is where rational decision making resides. It’s the part that of your mind that says eating that piece of cake is not a good idea, and dismisses your instinct is craving for a slice.

It’s the part of your mind that says, stop taking drugs they are going to kill you, when your instinct is craving another fix.

It’s the part of your mind that says, stop investing a sense of yourself in Political ideologies and the people that represent them and start thinking rationally about such matters, when your instinct is craving the attachment.

 

Political Persuasion and Manipulation

get results: hugh Rank's model of persuasion
get results: hugh rank’s model of persuasion

As we begin another general election here in the UK, I think it’s important to understand how the art of persuasion will be employed by all sides in the battle for our vote. I’m going to keep updating the list below as the campaign goes on.

I think it’s important to understand what politicians say and why, then research the accuracy of such talk. You may notice that some things are repeated again and again; such as ‘fall off a cliff edge’, ‘regain control of our borders and laws’. These become sound bites that if repeated enough times become political truths in the minds of receptive listeners/viewers.

Instead of blindly allowing such comments to be integrated into your beliefs system, question their accuracy. It’s not about what you want to be true, but what is true. So consider all such sound bites as the start of your research, not the end. Take the scientific approach and look to disprove them, before you integrate them into your sense of self and believe them with complete certainty.

Remember, both sides are trying to manipulate your opinion, don’t be outraged by this fact, and it is a fact, it is a truth, after all, this is what the game of politics is founded on. Politics is about each party presenting their argument and trying to convince onlookers that their argument is more compelling.

Personally I think the whole political system is broken, it should be about having a system of governance that provides the best outcomes not the best and most persuasive arguments, and party politics is often reduced to throwing insults at the other side rather than establishing effective solutions to real-life problems.

We must hold politicians to account more; promises made should be the same as promises delivered, and often they are not.

Whoever you decide to vote for, and you should always vote, don’t blindly listen to the words, question their validity, research them and make sure you insist that promises made are honour with action, and if not, hold the promisers to account with your next vote.

Get Results: political persuasion examples
Get Results: political persuasion examples

Challenge Your BELIEFS

BELIEFS are what make the world go round, at least for us as human beings. They determine what we will and won’t do, they determine what we pay attention to or ignore.

They are thoughts we invest a sense of ourselves into and hold with some certainty that they are true.

Beliefs are our path to freedom or the prison that keeps us trapped and hold us back from following our dreams.

Beliefs are picked up throughout our journey of life, from our parents, teachers, peers, friends and from wider society through the media, social media and authority figures.

Beliefs should be scrutinised and seriously questioned, because they are often based on nothing more than assumptions, inferences and the testimony of other people, rather than being derived from facts and truths and being evidence based.

Consider self-limiting beliefs like…

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not skilled enough
  • I don’t have the talent
  • I don’t have the experience
  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t have the money
  • I don’t have the resources
  • I’ll forget my lines

Beliefs about what others think or will think about you

  • If it doesn’t work out…
  • They’ll know I’m a fraud
  • They’ll see me as a failure
  • I’ll make a fool of myself
  • I’ll embarrass myself
  • They’ll be disappointed in me
  • They’ll laugh at me
  • They want me to fail
  • They’re just wanting me to fail
  • They’ll think I’m fat

Beliefs about past performance

  • I’ll mess up, I always do
  • I failed last time, I’ll fail again
  • I’ve never been able to do it before

Seriously, stop buying into such beliefs, they disempower you, they turn you off even trying things. If you want to believe anything believe….

  • Self limiting beliefs are not going to put me in the best frame of mind to succeed
  • The opinion of other people isn’t important, it’s my life and only my opinion really matters; I must start being kind to myself
  • The past doesn’t dictate my future. Learn from my failures and improve going forwards
  • You can do whatever you  put your mind to with enough effort, dedication and determination
  • You can learn what you can, and draft in help to fill the gaps
  • There is always a way, you just have to find it
  • You never fail at anything unless you give up trying
  • Getting results is a matter of acquiring the right knowledge, improving motivation and being productive

Take a long, hard look at your beliefs, write them down on a piece of paper. Question their validity, even ask someone you respect and trust to give their opinion of them. Replace the limiting beliefs, you wrongly, hold with more empowering beliefs that will give you the best frame of mind to succeed. If you’re going to make shit up, make it empowering.

 

As I Began To Love Myself Poem By Charlie Chaplin?

Get Results: Love and do what you will
Get Results: Love and do what you will

As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living
against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is Authenticity.

As I began to love myself
I understood how much it can offend somebody
if I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right
and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call this Respect.

As I began to love myself
I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything
that surrounded me
was inviting me to grow.
Today I call this Maturity.

As I began to love myself
I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call this Self-Confidence.

As I began to love myself
I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects
for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness,
things I love to do and that make my heart cheer,
and I do them in my own way
and in my own rhythm.
Today I call this Simplicity.

As I began to love myself
I freed myself of anything
that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations,
and everything that drew me down
and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is Love of Oneself.

As I began to love myself
I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since
I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is Modesty.

As I began to love myself
I refused to go on living in the past
and worrying about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment,
where everything is happening.
Today I live each day,
day by day,
and I call it Fulfillment.

As I began to love myself
I recognized
that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But as I connected it to my heart,
my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection Wisdom of the Heart.

We no longer need to fear arguments,
confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide,
and out of their crashing, new worlds are born.
Today I know: This is Life!

Having done some research, we found that this poem“As I Began to Love Myself” was not actually written by Charlie Chaplin. As far as we can tell, the poem is actually an English translation of Portuguese translation of an English language book written by Kim and Alison McMillen in 2001 entitled “When I Loved Myself Enough.” That text was then altered even further into the shareable form it consists of today. 

 

Get Results: As I Began To Love Myself poem
Get Results: As I Began To Love Myself poem

Why Can CHANGE Be So Difficult To Achieve?

Get Results: Change is a journey of transformation
Get Results: Change is a journey of transformation

We often think CHANGE will be a simple process, a case of cause (we do something) and effect (something happens as a  consequence). For example, we learn to drive, pass a test, get a car so we can drive around where we want to go. Or we learn a skill, let’s say programming, then we can go looking for a programming job. We learn to swim, we go swimming etc.

These are reasonably straight forward examples of simple change, but let’s consider another example that tends to be more problematic. Let’s say we want to lose weight, why can it be so hard to shed those pesky pounds?

We first must KNOW what is required to lose weight; which is, we must consume less calories than we burn off as energy.  It’s as simple as this to lose weight, right? If we do indeed eat less calories than we burn off as energy, than losing weight is inevitable.

But many people often struggle to achieve weight loss, why is this?

Figuring out what calories we are consuming and how many calories we’re burning off is difficult to gauge. We get so many mixed messages from the media and people around us, we are told fat free food is the way to go, then we find sugar is really the problem. Finding accurate information from reliable sources is critical for success, but harder than it should be.

If we are armed with the correct information, we then have to deal with MOTIVATION. We have to overcome our desire to eat those calorie-loaded sweet treats. They taste so good don’t they?

Such desires are the enemy to our goal of losing weight.  Here at getresults.org.uk we call them blocking motivations, they are blocking progress towards our goal. In fact, they can be taking us further away from our goal as with the example of eating calorie-dense foods; we’d be putting more weight on rather than losing it.

Fear is another example of a blocking motivation, it isn’t usually a factor when trying to lose weight but it can be when we’re, say, wanting to start a business or looking to make some meaningful change to our lives or professional life. We fear the thought of failure, loss, disappointment, embarrassment etc and this can stop us taking action altogether.

Discomfort, inner-conflict, coping strategies and lack of support are other examples of blocking motivations.

Then there is COMPLEX CHANGE to consider, this is change where there are more variables and moving parts to consider, many of which aren’t under our direct control. For example; if you want to set up an online business, you have to figure out what message you need to use to communicate and market your product or service, so that you get people to visit your site and buy. This isn’t just about what you are doing, it’s about shaping the thoughts and behaviours of other people. This is altogether more complex than just controlling your own actions and behaviours.

You can see how complicated things start to get when considering CHANGE. We must not under-estimate the difficulty of the challenge, even with apparently simple change. But armed with the right knowledge and motivation, it can be mastered, and once mastered, it will help you in other aspects of life, from health to wealth.

Check out the site for more information on the  subject of change and the aim of getting results, it is dedicated to the pursuit of achieving success in all areas of life. Hope you find it useful on your journey of change.