2023 April 25 Finding your true core beliefs

Apr 25, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website all about re-imagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight as we talk about attitude. 


First, just a reminder. These are the National Suicide Hotline numbers you can call if you find yourself in a really bad state of mind. I'm not a medical professional, but I'll be talking about some things that personally I find useful. If you find yourself feeling upset or depressed, please seek professional medical help, or just dial 911. You can call 988. That is a direct connection to the helpline. It gives you immediate assistance and someone to talk with. Something good to know for yourself or for a friend, if the situation arises. 988 / (800) 273-8255


Tonight we’ll go through a couple of things related to overall attitude in general. We've talked about different aspects of beliefs in the past. We've talked about beliefs and how they affect our whole life because beliefs are a filter. Anytime you see something, you have an event, some situation or action occurs around you, you see it, it goes through a filter and it maps to a belief and that adds the emotion to it without having to think it through every time.


Beliefs are just automations in your head. We talked about this last week, about how our response to a situation is a powerful tool for changing our immediate attitude. But tonight we're going to take it from a little different perspective because tonight we're going to be talking about our overall attitude - our core belief and our overall attitude towards life. It's related to how we respond, not only to specific situations, but also to situations in general.


It’s like defining our baseline response to all things that happen in our life.  If your normal attitude is to be looking to be offended, then no matter what someone says, you'll find a reason to be offended. However, if you tend to be very accepting, if the person were to say the same thing to you, then you'd probably stop and try to understand what they really meant instead of being immediately offended. 


Perhaps you realize that English isn't their first language, and so it didn't really mean what it sounded like. Those sorts of beliefs. We tend to say, Oh, I'm this sort of person. I'm a short person. I'm a suspicious person. I'm a happy person. Those are your core baseline beliefs and attitudes.


They go a long way towards shaping your typical response to a situation and to life in general. Of course, that can vary a lot from day to day. Naturally, you have a good day, you're in a better mood overall, but those variations will probably be more or less how you normally react.


If you're an accepting person, you might be more or less accepting, but you probably wouldn't suddenly become aggressive or easily offended. The way your day is going tempers how it is, but your core beliefs remain constant. 


However, just like all those other automations in your brain, your fundamental or core attitudes are also learned, and they can be relearned to change much of how you perceive the world around you, because your core attitude is really based upon your beliefs, and those beliefs then shape your responses to life situations. Your core ones are just ones you've had so very long. You just think that they're your personality, the way you always act.


It’s interesting because sometimes you get in a completely different situation.For example, maybe you  never really like loud music, and all of a sudden it's your favorite song playing, and it's kind of loud, and you think Wow, that's really nice because a different belief came in and dominated your core beliefs. You really like that song, so that belief, that filter, changed how you reacted to a situation. All these are just beliefs, and we know that we can change beliefs. 


If something you learned is that everyone's out to get you, you'll be naturally suspicious. That belief may have resulted from a single, very memorable incident, or may have resulted from any small incidents. But as you age and mature, although you think you may be defined by those beliefs, they can be reprogrammed over time. That's not to say you can magically forget all those old habits, but over time they can be encouraged to fade away and be replaced with beliefs that serve you better in the present that you may have consciously selected. I hope now you see that there's at least a path for changing your belief system to something that serves you better.


A lot of people have this feeling that how they act right now, or at least in the memory, how they remember they act, is just the way they're going to be forever. What they forget is that how they're acting now has changed over time. Some of that may have been by conscious change. I know for me, some of my changes were very conscious. I saw things myself that I didn't like, and looked for people who acted differently - the way I wanted to act, and then observed them to see how they are acting. What’s different? From that, I learned how their belief system was different from mine. I was able to modify how I reacted to a lot of situations. 


There's a lot here that we can go through, but I think the big takeaway from this is that you're not locked into how you are. There are a lot of things that you can control. So if there's something about yourself you don't like, I'm just not a morning person, that's something you've learned.  There's certain physiological things in people that are different certainly, different circadian cycles for example, but a lot of them are learned beliefs.


The good part is that you can teach yourself to do a lot of things that you thought you were completely unable to do. Whether it's getting up early and doing more things in the morning, doing things you never thought you could do, or getting up and presenting in front of an audience. These are all things that you can learn to do. Even if your core beliefs, Oh, I'm just too shy to ever present in front of somebody!  You can overcome those and really recreate your life. That's a super big takeaway. 


Why am I bringing this topic up now? I was just reading a story that said in the US only about 12% of the population described themselves as very happy, and that's the lowest percentage since 1972. There's a group, NORC. NORC is a research center at the University of Chicago. They've been doing this poll since 1972. Of course, if only 12 percent of the people think they're very happy, that means 88% of the people feel less than ‘very happy.’


Of course, this is a country that has a standard of living that much of the world can't even conceive of, let alone expect to experience. I know there's a lot of US bashing, and we're going to set that aside (because frankly, it's pretty disingenuous), but there's some very real reasons that so many people try to immigrate here to share in all that we have to live the lifestyle that we have.


But the people who actually live here can't see it all around them, and that's a real shame on a lot of different levels. It's also a function of what beliefs we either choose (or worse, don't choose) to have dictate our lives. If we've chosen a set of beliefs such that everything we see around us can’t possibly make us happy, then we won't be happy.


In a lot of ways, we can control what those beliefs are. There's a saying that the hardest thing in the world to change is yourself. That's very, very true, but we also know that it's something that we can do because we've learned some techniques to do it already. The reason it's so hard to change yourself is that if you change yourself, then by definition you have to say that something you were doing before was not optimal, or worse,  saying that what you were doing was wrong. That's really hard for us, because much of our brain's inner functionality is dedicated to supporting and validating our existing beliefs. So when you try to change your beliefs, especially your core beliefs, your brain is in that kind of awkward position of arguing with itself, and it doesn't like that at all.


So the natural tendency is to revert back to the original thought because your memory's filled with a lot of supporting evidence that your previous beliefs were correct. A big reason for this is so our core beliefs don't keep constantly changing, so we're not always changing with the latest belief and whim that goes by. The downside of that, however, is it requires real determination and patience to rewire those inner core beliefs. 


But if rewiring those beliefs gave you the chance to move into the category of a very happy person, it seems like it might be worth the effort then, right? I think it would. That's the basis of one of the advanced courses we're doing over the summer, and I'll talk about that later. But I think the most important point is to realize that when you look around you, it doesn't matter what your political viewpoint is, the way you interpret the world around you, and especially your fundamental beliefs when somebody says something and it’s an instant, Oh, I don't agree with that. I don't like that. I would never read that because.. I couldn't. I'm not even going to listen to that argument


It’s strong when you do that. Those are all your beliefs coming to the surface and controlling how you go through life. I hope you start to see that we've done a lot of foundational work up to this point with discovering and then working to change some of our general limiting beliefs. All of that builds right into changing our very core beliefs, about how we tend to approach everyday situations and sometimes blind ourselves to a lot of things that we would actually find very nice if we allowed them into our lives.


One more super important topic, which is related to this. Part of what keeps our core beliefs so firmly entrenched is how we talk to ourselves. If we're encouraging and positive in our self-talk, we're probably constantly encouraging and reinforcing that we're naturally an encouraging and positive sort of person.


But if we constantly criticize and scold ourselves, then we'll probably tend to be critical of all that we do, and not recognize or reward our accomplishments. This is very important. It's really important that we notice and correct negative self-talk. It's very damaging in every way, even physiologically. We can actually cause bonafide health issues by talking negatively to ourselves.


I find one of the most effective ways to end negative self-talk is to stay alert and be aware when you do it, then immediately - and I really do mean immediately - reframe it in positive terms. Instead of saying,  I'm so stupid, perhaps say something like, Huh, I've learned another way to keep track of little tasks so I don't forget it next time.


I'm so old, or I'm so young. I've gotten so much valuable life knowledge, or I still have so much energy, and so many exciting things to learn. We talk to ourselves all the time. Some of them are good, some are neutral, but a lot of them are really bad. What an idiotic thing to do!


Back up, immediately. Stop that. Recognize it. Stop it. Back up. Say, Okay, what did I do? I left my keys on the table. Oh. Here's another opportunity to find a better way to get my keys in a position that I won't forget them when I walk out.  Life does things for you, not to you.


Everything isn't negative. You’ve got to learn to find the good things in that. It's very much how you choose to react to the thought and how you automate that into a belief. By choosing how you react, and changing how you react, you'll change that belief and you'll change how you talk to yourself. So if you find any negative self-talk creeping into your mind, particularly after a stressful and difficult situation, then start by trying to reframe it, to see the positive side of the situation. Hopefully that'll begin to break that negative cycle. 


So your homework, which is totally optional of course, is to pick one core belief of yours and think about whether it's still serving you in a positive way. Is it consistent with who you want to be and consistent with your goals? If it is, that's really great. Then you go on another day and pick another belief. But if it's not, what belief would you rather have, and replace that limiting belief with? If you want to try and be aware when you're doing negative self-talk, (hopefully you're not doing that,) but if you are - then try and reframe each time into a positive light and see the good of what life just gave you. 


So, that's it for the evening. Of course, we have UKR7.com. Please remember the war in Ukraine. Remember that everywhere, there are disasters and people who need help. If you're able and interested, the page for Ukraine donations is still up. There’s also the World Central Kitchen wck.org. We’ve talked about them a lot. They do great humanitarian work. They bring food to people who need it all over the world. They're not only in Ukraine, they're worldwide, and they're active all the time. So if you're looking for places where you can donate, those are two great places. If you can and you're able, please check it out. Remember, one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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