“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.”Tony Robbins
There are many ways to address harmful beliefs and replace them with positive. Many times, all that’s required is a little attention and an open mind.
Many of our beliefs are created during childhood and are never questioned. At one time, you believed in the Easter Bunny. So, it’s likely that you have several beliefs about money that are impractical, too.
The experts can’t agree whether beliefs can be changed in an instant or whether it takes a significant amount of time. but like the old Chinese proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.”
John Grindler and Richard Bandler developed Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in the 1970s. You’re probably familiar with Tony Robbins, who made the technology popular.
Though there are many facets to NLP, we’re most interested in the use of language and perception to change beliefs.
For instance, if you imagine something that frightens you, the way you imagine it has an impact. There are an infinite number of ways to think about a spider, for example.
If the image of a spider in our mind is very large and colorful, it will have a different impact on your emotions than an image that’s small and lacking color.
The characteristics of a mental image are called submodalities. These include the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic details of a mental image.
Follow this process to change a belief with NLP:
1. Identify a belief you’d like to change. Let’s pretend you believe that you can’t save enough money each month to ever make a difference.
2. Consider an old belief that you no longer consider to be true. Perhaps you once believed in Santa Claus or that your high school girlfriend was the only woman you’d ever love. Notice the submodalities of this once-held belief.
• Are you in the image or viewing it like you’re watching a movie?
• Is it in color or black and white?
• Is there a border around the image?
• Is the image centered?
• What do you hear?
• Can you feel anything? Hot? Cold? Sick to your stomach?
3. Think of something you know to be true. It could be the belief that Christmas is on December 25th or that a January first is a new year. Take note of the submodalities for this belief.
4. Think of a belief that you’d like to add. For our example, it might be the belief that every penny saved is adding to your fortune. Find the most advantageous counter-belief to the belief in step #1. Notice the submodalities.
5. Eliminate the belief in step #1. Take the submodalities you found in step #2 and apply them to the image in step #1. You’re applying the mental characteristics of a belief you no longer hold to the belief you’d like to eliminate.
6. Now alter the submodalities of the belief you’d like to add to match those of the belief in step #4. Make your desired belief have the same mental characteristics of the belief you know to be 100% absolutely true.
7. Test. How do you feel about the original belief and the new belief? Can you feel a change? The ultimate test is to observe your behavior. If you behavior changes, you know you’re on the right track.
Many people find this process highly effective. It’s possible to change a belief quickly with NLP. If NLP doesn’t seem to work for you, though, there are other options.
“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.”
– John Dewey