Life Design Journaling Framework: Beliefs

What are Beliefs

Beliefs are the first aspect of the Self segment of the Life Design Journaling framework.  Identifying your beliefs is a key part of a complete life design.

Consciously or unconsciously you have started to create your life by the beliefs that you have adopted or learned based on your life experience.

Some beliefs you learned from your parents, some from the culture you live in, and some from what you have learned on your journey so far.

The question is, how are your beliefs helping or hindering your journey to your vision.

“Beliefs come from real experiences but often we forget that the original experience is not the same as what is happening in life now. Our values and beliefs affect the quality of our work and all our relationships because what you believe is what you experience. We tend to think that our beliefs are based on reality, but it is our beliefs that govern our experiences.
The beliefs that we hold are an important part of our identity. They may be religious, cultural or moral. Beliefs are precious because they reflect who we are and how we live our lives.”

[source: Nageswara Rao Posinasetti – University of Northern Iowa]

Business Dictionary: Assumptions and convictions that are held to be true regarding concepts, events, people, and things.

Beliefs are Assumptions

The assumptions you make about life are your beliefs. If your beliefs are 100% true they would be facts. There is always a chance that any one of your beliefs is wrong. Again, if you could 100% prove your beliefs they would be facts. Beliefs range from overall big beliefs such as religion, atheism, destiny to small beliefs such as I am too old to …

It is worth repeating that your beliefs are assumptions, any one of them could be wrong. It makes it all the more important to ensure our beliefs help us move towards our vision while at the same time living our values.

The process of documenting our beliefs starts us on the process of determining what facts we have that uphold our beliefs as well as understanding how our beliefs are helping or hindering us from achieving our vision.

Beliefs are a way of understanding the world at a macro level. They let us live our lives without having to look at all the details.

Where Beliefs Come From

Beliefs are learned from:

  • Experience
  • Culture / Media
  • Family

It is important to document and become aware of our beliefs. What supports our beliefs, and what counters our beliefs.

Your brain constantly finds corroborating evidence for your beliefs regardless of what they are. Unfortunately, your brain is designed to look for corroborating evidence, your brain tends to ignore opposing evidence. This is one area where the awareness of journaling brings amazing results. Not only do you see which beliefs you have, you see if there is supporting evidence for those beliefs. Simply being aware of your beliefs allows you to see how they support or resist your vision.

The ultimate question is what beliefs do I require in order to manifest my vision?

Identifying My Beliefs – a Personal Experience

Identifying my beliefs has involved a lot of introspection. I believe they have developed over time based on how I have lived my life. When faced with a problem I have always preserved until I have found a solution. Over the years I have developed the belief that there is a solution to every problem. Did I solve the problems because I had the belief, or did I create the belief because of the problems I have solved?

Other beliefs I have adopted is based on wisdom from other people. I learned the belief that I will benefit from every experience in life. Adopting this belief pushed me to look for the silver lining in any situation. Finding the silver lining would then reinforce the belief. This is a belief I look to pass on to my kids. As a parent, the ideal teaching moment for this belief is camping. There have been several times that we have gone camping where it has poured rain, but with this belief, those have become some of the best memories of camping we have as a family.

Typical List of Beliefs (Good and Bad)

  • Money is evil.
  • Rich or successful people had to cheat or screw people to get to the top.
  • I am unattractive.
  • It’s impossible to lose weight and keep it off.
  • Running a business is hard.
  • I am a shy person.
  • People can’t change permanently.
  • Money is hard to make.
  • I am not talented enough.
  • I am not smart enough.
  • I can’t charge more for my product/services.
  • I have to be extra-nice to people so they like me.
  • You can’t make money in a bad economy.
  • All the great men are taken.
  • All the great business opportunities are taken.
  • If I lose my current job, I will be homeless.
  • A beautiful girl will never want to date the real me.
  • Going to the gym is painful.
  • A small, new business can’t compete against a big, old business.
  • You have to pay your dues to get to the top.
  • Life is inherently frustrating and bad.
  • All marriages fail.
  • Other people can do it because it’s easier for them.
  • I am too old to start that.
  • People can’t be trusted.
  • People are out to hurt you.
  • For things to change, you have to change
  • Don’t wish it was easy, wish you were better
  • Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills
  • Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom
  • Believe it nor not, you can choose your beliefs

Questions to determine your Beliefs

  1. Why do I think I can achieve my vision?
  2. Why don’t I think I can achieve my vision?
  3. What holds me back?
  4. What drives me forward?
  5. How should people be treated?
  6. How should I be treated?
  7. What is my world view?
  8. Is the world becoming a better place?
  9. What changes do I want to see in the world?
  10. How do I understand justice?
  11. How do I understand fairness?
  12. How do I understand truth?
  13. How do I understand love?
  14. How do I understand knowledge?
  15. If I am wronged, how should I treat the wrongdoer? Does the severity of the crime make a difference?
  16. How does my vision allow me to live my beliefs?
  17. How do I handle situations where I am forced to go against my beliefs?

Examining your Beliefs – Action Steps

ActionStep Description
Start a journalStart a journal if you don’t already have one.
Document your beliefsCreate a section specific to your beliefs. This will allow you to regularly review and update your beliefs.
Document evidence for your beliefsDocument evidence that either supports your beliefs or invalidates your belief.
Document experiences of your beliefsCreate a section where you document reflections you have about your values.
Document reflections of your beliefsCreate a section where you document reflections you have about your beliefs. Pay particular attention to how your beliefs help you towards realizing your vision.
Review regularlyReview your journal regularly. Ideally, you would review your journal as part of your morning or evening routine. This is an integral part of daily improvement.