My Most Cynical (and Empowering) Belief

“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
– Paul Simon (from “The Boxer“)

Or, as I less poetically paraphrase it: People don’t want to know the truth, and they don’t want to experience reality. People just want to hear and experience things that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs.

I know this might sound cynical—especially coming from a guy who prides himself on seeing the best in people and in the world in general—but, as I wrote (in the title):

This is also my most empowering belief!

Think about it: If we tend to experience reality in ways that reinforce our beliefs, then we have the power to alter our life experience simply by altering our belief system!

By adopting more positive beliefs and expectations, we can have a more positive experience of life!

Evidence of this principle abounds:

  • When teachers are told (and therefore believe) that their students are gifted, they “magically” produce gifted students!
  • When you try to “catch someone doing something right,” they “magically” start doing more things right.
  • We also know that, more often than not, placebos work!

Whether you attribute this to the power of positive thinking, the law of attraction, or the brain’s reticular activating system, you can probably notice this in your own life:

The world proves you right—by mirroring back your beliefs.

Knowing this, you never again have to stay stuck in a crummy life experience. You can expect the best in people, in situations, and in yourself—and, more often than not, I bet that your expectations are met. (And when they’re not, you can assume that it’s for the greater good, whether or not you fully understand how or why.)

Think your beliefs are based on your experiences? It may be the other way around!

So choose your beliefs wisely, because you’re also choosing your life experiences!

Ask yourself:

  • If the world did prove me right, what would it prove?
  • Are there any times when I wish it wouldn’t prove me right?
  • What beliefs could I adopt that I’d LOVE to have proven right?

For instance, if you believe, “I have to struggle to make ends meet, but I always manage to make it,” there’s a good chance that’s what you experience!

In this case, you’d probably like to keep the “always manage to make it” part, but lose the “struggle” part—which could lead to a best-of-both-worlds replacement belief: “Abundance flows naturally as I do what I love, and I always manage to make it!”

Wouldn’t it be nice to have that proven right?!

Right or happy?

Have you ever heard anyone ask, “Would you rather be right or happy?” Well, by choosing positive, empowering beliefs—about yourself, others, and the world in general—chances are, you’ll be both!

I would love to hear your comments about how the world has (or hasn’t) proven you right (i.e., reflected your beliefs). Are there any beliefs that, if proven right, might lead you to a happier life experience?

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6 thoughts on “My Most Cynical (and Empowering) Belief

  1. Hi Dan,
    My new mantra is, ” Abundance flows naturally as I do what I love, and I always have plenty to share.”
    Sometimes our beliefs are like weeds, we don’t notice them until they’ve grown taller than the grass. Negative beliefs sneak up that way. Poverty can become a negative belief system. I’m not saying that we will not face lean periods during our lives, but I am saying that sometimes we attach ourselves to poverty by believing that we will always be poor and that having money is a luxury meant for others to experience and not ourselves.

    Interesting post Dan. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting–very insightful response! You’re right that “Sometimes our beliefs are like weeds, we don’t notice them until they’ve grown taller than the grass.” That’s why if you’re not sure what your beliefs are, just look around you–those “weeds” (and flowers, trees, etc.) didn’t just spring out of nowhere! Blaming the world around us if we don’t like we see is like blaming the mirror.
      But, yes, sometimes beliefs (like what you mentioned about money/luxury) are very deep-rooted and can take some digging to unearth–frequently going WAY, way back. Other beliefs are so deeply rooted in our society (or just in our own minds) that it can be hard to even notice them. My dad often says, “If you spend your whole life in a red room, you don’t even know what ‘red’ is.” That’s one reason why it’s so nice to get reflections–including your response!–from others and the world around us: to open us up to new ways of seeing and to new possibilities for our lives. Thank you again so much for offering your insightful perspective!
      PS: LOVE your new mantra! I might have to borrow it! 🙂

  2. Another great post, Dan! I’m a big fan of the Law of Attraction, but even for those who are skeptical about it, what you described is what most know as “self-fulling prophecy.” I especially love your question, “If the world did prove me right, what would it prove?” My answer is, I can create anything I truly want! 🙂

    • Thanks, Alice. Yes, “self-fulfilling prophecy” is the perfect phrase for this! And it works both ways: for you or against you. Seems like an easy choice–as long as we realize that it IS a choice! I LOVE your choice of beliefs to affirm! 🙂 Thanks for visiting and leaving such a thoughtful comment.

  3. “Think your beliefs are based on your experiences? It may be the other way around!” I would say here that my reactions are based on my experiences, but my reactions don’t have to become beliefs because they are very often wrong, and it’s up to me to chose what my beliefs should be, and then my experiences will follow

    • Excellent point, Nikky! We can’t necessarily help our reactions to situations/experiences, but we can choose how to respond–including what beliefs we develop. I like the analogy that just because someone hands us a check doesn’t mean we have to sign and deposit it! You don’t have to buy into someone else’s belief system (or your own!) if it’s not serving you and/or accurately reflecting the world you want to live in! Thanks for your insight! 🙂

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