I don’t believe in superstars, organic food, and foreign cars …that being first is always best … and I believe in you.” ~ Don Williams, “I Believe in You”.
So, what’s the problem with beliefs? A lot of people think they are true. Think, about this belief for example, ‘America is good, Isis is bad’. There are parts of the world where people believe the opposite. ‘America is the great Satan and Isis is good’. Our values and principles are entwined in our beliefs. And, the problem is, sometimes our beliefs limit us, and hold us back, or cause us to suffer in some way. One technique I use with clients who need to change an unhealthy belief is to show them the “Museum of Outdated Beliefs”. Why? Because once you see how many firmly held beliefs are ridiculous and no longer “true”, you start to wonder about your belief. So, “that neighbor is bad”, might become “that neighbor is different”. And you will feel better and act better when you get rid of a belief that really doesn’t help you.
Let’s look at some outdated beliefs:
- Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. – Grover Cleveland, 1905
- It is an idle dream to imagine that…automobiles will take the place of railways in the long-distance movement of passengers. – American Road Congress, 1913
- There is no likelihood man can never tap the power of the atom. – R. Millikan, Nobel laureate in physics, 1920
- “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – Harry Warner, Warner Brothers Pictures, 1927
- Penicillin molds are pleasant enough and … completely useless. – Scottish physician, 1929
- More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette. – advertisement, 1930
- I think there is a world market for about five computers. – Thomas J. Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
- There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in the home. – Ken Olsen, President of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
- “We don’t like your boys. Groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished.” Dick Rowe, talent scout for Decca Records turning down the Beatles to their manager in 1962.
The “Museum of Outdated Beliefs”
Why is it important to understand the importance of beliefs? Look at your own beliefs. Now think about what’s important to you. Beliefs reflect what you personally value and have strong feelings about. The best run workplaces are those where the leader’s beliefs and the workplace values are in sync, congruent, and aligned. And, you can spot the places where this is working. People behave in accordance with their beliefs. Beliefs are powerful. People are willing to go off to war and die because of their beliefs and the shared beliefs of their citizenry. Consider your core beliefs and ask yourself, “Are they helping or hurting me?”