In a conversation I was having with one of my mentors recently we spoke about understanding how our beliefs drive our feelings, and how those feelings drive our actions. Many people believe however, that circumstances or events drive our feelings. Actually, our beliefs frame our perceptions of those circumstances and events. Take a moment and let that penetrate. Perhaps this example will clarify how events do not elicit feelings, beliefs do.
A soldier loses an arm in the war and comes home and is devastated so much that he remains virtually paralyzed by the loss and unable to move forward; another soldier loses his arm in the war and comes home and decides to start a fund for others who have lost arms in the war and he ends up raising $100M on their behalf. What they each believed interpreted their perceptions of those events and their actions followed accordingly.
Now, I know that this is a BIG subject and trust me, I dare not even try to serve it fully here. But a recent event inspired and prompted me to write about it. So, I would at least initially like to open this topic with the hope that you may find it interesting and it will perhaps spark some internal dialogue that may in some way raise awareness for you on some topic that matters to you. But first to the process.
Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly was quoted as saying the following, in response to a question about one particular coaching decision he made. He said “I am not governed by the fear of what other people say. Events don’t elicit feelings…Beliefs elicit feelings. I understand what my beliefs are, and I know how ‘I am.’
So on the big playing field of the healthy mind, how does one get to this remarkably revealing (and healthy, I might add) mental attitude? Why would it be important? Where do we go for guidance if we are keen to change our process to a healthier one?
Understanding “I am” is really the piece that reveals what you believe….about yourself. It can be as booming as an “I am a person with an abundance of solutions” or as subtle as an “I am not worthy”. Either one of those and everything in between reveals your belief….again, about yourself.
Many would agree that our feelings and beliefs are a result of our thoughts. Ok….got it. So where do our thoughts form on any one topic? It would appear that our input, whatever that turns out to be, like our experiences, what we read, what we watch, who our friends and mentors are, to name a few, is where our thoughts, feelings and beliefs originate. Once something becomes a thought, it often demands our focus. So what happens when we find ourselves focused on something? We may typically decide to take action. And once we take action, we propel ourselves over the tipping point to results. Please note though….that this is a description of the process, not a judgement. It is not judging the source of the input or the ultimate results of our actions. It is just describing the process.
Why is this important? The interesting piece of this may reveal to us that if we don’t like the results, perhaps we need to take a step or two back, breathe and change how we are thinking about something. Maybe an even bigger step back, would mean taking a look at our input….what are we putting in and what is the source of our input?
Now this is such a HUGE topic because the choices are endless, of course. Some of my personal favorites thanks to my mentors begin with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, The Four Agreements by Dom Miguel Ruiz, anything written by Simon Sinek or Seth Godin, and of course, The Bible.
Oh, and by the way, “I Am” can change. Events or circumstances are what they are. That’s the whole point. Oh, and if the outcome is undesirable to you? You have options. You can affect the outcome….how?
“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you feel about it.” Mary Engelbreit
This has been perhaps one of the most challenging blogs to write because as I began, I realized how numerous my own concepts are and how they have influenced much of what I think. It was fun, interesting and enlightening to explore this topic and so it is with gratitude and thanks to my mentor, coach & friend, Eric M. Stofman, a Cherry Hill, NJ chiropractor who has been an invaluable partner to me and my family as we continue on this journey to living a more “optimal life”.