Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Belief filters

Did you read Teflon's article from yesterday called "Generally Speaking"? He described how we often use generalizations in our daily lives. When Teflon talked about finding generalities in how we speak and think, he himself made a generalization.  His filter to find generalizations was turned on, so he was seeing them.

Doesn't this sound very familiar? When we have something on our mind and we focus on it, we seem to find the proof that supports what we focus on!

Let me give you another example of this same phenomenon. The other day I received an email from Mark K., who responded to my article from last Tuesday called "Relaxation". He told me about this professor who supports my article and recommended one of his books. In this case Mark K. found "proof" that supported what I had written about and shared it with me.

So, how does this work?
This all has to do with what we call "belief filters". A belief filter is a belief or set of beliefs that cause us to see some things and to not see  other things.  It also causes us to apply a positive or negative spin to what we see, hear or experience. You can compare it to wearing glasses with colored lenses; depending on the color of the glass, some light gets in and other light doesn't. The world looks quite different, depending on the color of the glass or the beliefs you are using in that instant.

In my article "Relaxation", I wrote that relaxation is not dependent on what you are doing; it depends on your state of mind as you do it.

Mark K., reading this article, was interested in this concept and changed his "glasses" to reflect this belief. He "turned on" the belief that relaxation was a state of mind and then, while reading other stuff,  found proof that supported it.

We always use filters!
Yesterday morning, while discussing belief filters with my friend Paul from the Netherlands, I realized that not everyone may understand that we are using belief filters all the time and that at any time we use a combination of different filters.

Let me give you an example that shows the difference between two Blog authors. The first author wears glasses that support the following beliefs: "life is wonderful", "everything is interesting", "I am a great writer", "I have important things to say", and "people want to explore the world around them".

The second author wears glasses that support the following beliefs: "life is work", "everything is interesting", "I am sometimes a great writer", "I have something to say" and "people need to be told what to do next".

In my opinion you will get different kinds of articles from these authors. The passion and enthusiasm of the authors will also vary. The articles will reflect the glasses the author was wearing while writing the article. Of course, a good writer can change his glasses in an instant depending on the article. This way he can show things from a certain viewpoint that might not reflect his general beliefs!

What filters are you using?
I can write about this subject for hours, but instead I want to give you the opportunity to ponder your belief filter system by answering the following questions:

  • What are your beliefs around getting up in the morning to go to work? Are you excited about it? Are you waiting for the weekend? How does this belief filter affect your experience throughout the day?
  • What is something you absolutely don't like? Is avoiding it affecting other aspects of your life and how you see the world around you? For example, Paul told me he doesn't like curry. The consequence of this is that he doesn't eat at Indian restaurants. Is he missing all sorts of wonderful social opportunities?
  • Finish the following sentence: "I believe that learning something new is...". How does your sentence influence how you approach new experiences and opportunities?
  • What is a belief that you would NEVER change? What is a NEW belief that you just started to implement in your life? How does the combination of these two beliefs influence your view on life?
I encourage you to observe yourself today and to take notice of what glasses you are wearing.

Have fun!

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