Beliefs, they are an extremely powerful aspect of who we are. I think it’s one of the most fundamental differences between us and the animal kingdom. It’s illegal that a lion goes hunting because of any particular beliefs it has but is more likely to be doing that because that is simply what is required when it’s hungry.
Taken to the extreme, beliefs are so powerful that humans will (and have many times in our history) KILL one another simply for having different beliefs or for not complying with our own beliefs.
More proof for the power of beliefs can be summed up in just one simple and scientifically established phenomenon, and that is THE PLACEBO EFFECT. One definition of this states: “A beneficial effect in a patient following a particular treatment that arises from the patient’s expectations [or BELIEF] concerning the treatment rather than the treatment itself.” This effect is observed time and time again, mostly in clinical settings in an astonishing ONE-THIRD of patients! What this tells us is that in 33% of cases a person has NOT benefited from a synthetically manufactured pill or chemical which is loaded with toxins that will actually HARM the body. What they HAVE responded well from is, in fact, a sugar pill and a BELIEF that the pill would actually do what THEY say it does.
There’s no doubt that beliefs have a HUGE part to play in who we are, what we do and what we can achieve as individuals and/or a collective. Henry Ford stated it so succinctly when he said; “Whether you believe you can or you can not, either way, you’re right.” Most of us will feel a profound sense of truth in this statement.
Another powerful question that I once came across, a question that had me in deep contemplation for days was:
“Are your beliefs shaped by your experiences, or do you experience what you believe?”
Just take a moment to read that question again. I invite you to contemplate on it for just a moment.
Like most people I’ve asked that question to, you might be thinking, ‘Hmm … well, a bit of both really “and that’s a very logical and accurate conclusion to come to.
However there is a very powerful idea worth considering here. And it’s a very fundamental concept on the study of human excellence call Neuro Linguistic Programming. And this is the idea of living one’s life inside either a ‘Cause or Effect’ type of mindset.
We all know people who have a tendency to live more within one type of mindset than the other and their lives and who they are tend to be a reflection of this. I’m sure you know someone than no matter what goes wrong in their life, they ALWAYS have someone or something to blame for it. ‘If they had not done or said this or that then this would not have happened to me’ or ‘it’s their fault not mine’.
As humans living in today’s world, it’s not hard to notice that we are typically creatures of comfort, always seeking a pleasurable and comfortable state of ease for either our mind or body. This is a very normal thing for us to seek and since it’s often an easy and comfortable choice to make. Especially when we can justifiably judge something or someone else as the reasons why we are experiencing X, Y or Z. And although this may be absolutely true and even validated while bonding with your friends over coffee, THE MOST SIGNIFICANT question to ask is:
In what state of being are you going to CHOOSE to stay in? A ‘Cause’ state or an ‘Effect’ state?
You see, it really takes take a commitment person to make the decision to accept the incidental immediate discomfort that taking personal responsibility may cause, in favor of the longer term rewarding and fulfilling feeling of living life at the cause side of the equation.
So you may be wondering, ‘so how does this all relate to beliefs and me quitting smoking’. Well, let me address both of these in order.
Firstly, if you go back and think about the powerful question above about beliefs which was: ‘Are your beliefs shaped by your experiences, or do you experience what you believe?’ AND you consider what was just said about ‘Cause and Effect’, maybe you can see a substantial link here already? If your beliefs are only shaped by your experiences, then you just might be living on the ‘Effect’ side of life. However, living a deliberate life means you make a commitment to yourself and make a decision to live on your own terms, not at the whim of other people, circumstances, and events. This includes taking a close look at your beliefs and then deciding for YOURSELF which beliefs are going to serve you best. We tend to think that changing our own beliefs is hard, but it’s not, you just make a decision to change it. It then happens in an instance. And once you’ve done that, as the second part of the question suggests, you’ll begin to ‘experience what you believe’.
So if it’s possible to experience what I believe, then it makes sense to examine what I believe and questions those beliefs. This includes your beliefs about smoking, quitting and remaining a non-smoker. This includes taking a good honest look at your ideas about you being a smoker and what you believe about that.
And here’s the BIG thing to ask yourself; WHY you believe you are still smoking?
Are these beliefs supporting you along your journey towards quitting or are you choosing to believe things that make it easy to justify your smoking habit?
For instance, honestly ask yourself if you have ever been guilty of saying things to yourself like: It’s not the right time, there’s so much going on right now, I’ve tried that and it didn ‘T work, I know someone who tried that and it did not work for them so it’s not going to work for me, it’s too expensive, my going through a stressful time right now, my partner smokes so I could not possibly quit , I’ll wait til after x happens, I can not drink alcohol and NOT smoke, I’ll quit when X, quitting is not easy, etc etc.
If you’ve ever said even one of these things to yourself I’d like you to consider what the under belief is that statement. Then ask yourself if it is a supportive belief putting you on the side of ‘Cause’ or if it is an unhelpful belief keeping you on the side of ‘Effect’.
Decision and choice are powerful tools if you choose to use them.