Question Your Beliefs
In a world dominated by self-help books like ‘The Secret’ and ruled by new-age-thinking that promotes the virtues of ‘The Law of Attraction’ and ‘The Power of Intention’, it’s hard to draw the line between fact and fantasy.
Most people who find themselves drawn to self-help literature and new-age philosophies tend to lose sight of one basic fact – there are no free lunches. Nor, in this modern society, do you get something for nothing. Yet, reward without effort is a myth that more and more people seem to buy into every day.
It isn’t hard to understand why. Who wouldn’t be enticed by the notion of spending hours in their easy chair, just relaxing and sending out ‘positive intentions’ with the assurance that ‘the universe’ will fulfill their hearts’ desire? All you have to do is really, truly want it badly enough!
Here’s where most people seem to lose the plot. Intention alone will get you the results you want. The universe, no matter how benevolent, is unlikely to bestow upon you any boon or blessing – not unless you make a conscious, concerted effort to get it.
Effort, combined with positive intention is what yields results – that’s the true secret behind The Secret.
There is nothing wrong with new-age thinking, nor is there any blatant falsehood in the many self-help books that line the bookshelves in bookstores. Yet, our natural inclination towards ‘easy street’ as opposed to ‘the school of hard-knocks’ keeps us away from harsh reality. A significant number of people I meet are quite willing to buy into the myth of the Law of Attraction – very few are willing to put in the hours of effort, which is the key to unlocking the secret of The Secret.
Look around you. Think about the people who are true achievers in their chosen sphere of human activity –business, sport, politics, etc. Without exception, you’ll find stories of self-belief combined with relentless effort and the courage to take a stand in the face of opposition from others.
The only exceptions are those lucky few who are either born into, or inherit their fame and fortune. If you happen to be one of them, this column is not for you.
But if you, like me, are one of the vast majority that must carve their own niche in this world, be prepared to hear some hard truths.
First, put aside whatever self-help book you’re reading and ask yourself three questions:
1)- Where you stand now (in terms of your personal and/or professional life)
2)- What you want to do next, and
3)- Who you want to become in the future.
It’s OK if you can’t answer the last question right away – you can always figure it out as you go along. Just don't leave it too long.
It’s a bit of a problem if you cant answer the second question – do give it some thought and make a plan.
I’d be really worried if you find yourself unable to answer the first question – it’s a clear warning signal that you’re letting yourself drift, rather than trying to steer your life in the direction of your choice.
Regardless of how many of questions you can, or cannot answer, here’s something you can – and should start doing right away. Question your belief system.
Ask yourself: “When it comes to my personal and/or professional life, what is it that I believe I can do? And what are the things I cannot do?” (Make sure you ask yourself these questions in the context of what is really important to you.)
Now take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center, dividing it into two columns. One side is for the things you believe you can do – the other is for the things you believe you cannot do.
Once you are done, it's time to ask yourself another question: “What are the things that I want can do, but I don’t because other people won’t/don't allow me to? AND what are the things I do even when other people don't allow me, or try to stop me?”
Take a fresh sheet of paper and do the same thing. One side is for the things you don't do because others don't allow you – the other side if for the things you do even if others try to stop you.
Finally, ask yourself: “What are some of the things that I believe are right, and I should do? And what are some of the things I believe are wrong, and I should not do them?”
Again, take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. One side if for the things you believe you should do because they are right. The other side is for the things you don't do because you believe they are wrong.
Once you finish this exercise, take some time and evaluate your responses. Are there any contradictions? Is there anything that doesn’t quite add-up right? What have you learnt about yourself by doing this quick, simple exercise?
Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards understanding yourself. If you have the courage to follow this path, you’ll find yourself questioning quite a few things about yourself, and the way you choose to live your life. You might even realize that you need to make a fresh start.
But no matter what you do, remember to TAKE ACTION.
If you find yourself feeling restless, confused, and a bit frustrated, congratulations again. Confusion and agitation are necessary first-steps towards changing your existing situation. Feel free to reach out for profession support from any one of the mentors on the Sheroes forum. We’ll all be happy to help.