This post covers the third of several non-Method methods.
People often try to improve their lives by changing only their beliefs. Typical examples of changing beliefs include believing money, friends, or health will come your way. Since the book and movie “The Secret” so popularly propagated this strategy a few years ago, I call this strategy “The Secret” or “Law of Attraction.”
Before delving into it, I’ll point out that of all the non-Method methods I discuss, I believe changing your beliefs has the best chances of long-term success. Looking at the Model,
changing your beliefs can influence how you perceive your environment, which can change your motivations, which can change your behavior, which can change your environment. Acting on no other place in the cycle can change everything else because you can’t count on anything forcing you to change your beliefs. Only you can change your beliefs.
For example, if you believe money will come your way, say some time two friends want you to join them at the same time, one rich, one not. Your beliefs will motivate you to join the rich friend. After many times spending more time with the rich friend, you may find yourself in a circle with more rich people. After enough time with them, they may offer you jobs or opportunities to make money with them. Even if not, on average you’ll have more money around you.
Through countless other small daily choices, you’ll act to go toward money based on motivations rooted in your new beliefs. I don’t see anything mysterious in this process, though The Secret and similar literature imply mystery, saying your thoughts attract things. As I see it, your beliefs influence your emotions, which influence your behavior, which influences your environment.
Similar processes can work for gaining friends, health, and so on through belief.
Sometimes changing only your beliefs does change your life. Even if insufficient, it may lead to other changes that cumulatively significantly improve your life. Still, this strategy has a major shortcoming.
Focusing only on beliefs can lead to very slow results. If you consciously do nothing more than believe you’ll make more friends, you hold back from also choosing new behaviors such as building social skills or doing social things or choosing new environments like going where people meet.
Some changes based only in belief can take years, whereas changing your behavior and environments consciously can take minutes. You might die before some changes materialize. Or you might give up.
In summary, changing beliefs only can lead to significant life improvement, but can lead to very slow progress and hold you back from choosing behavior and environments that could lead to faster improvement.
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