Beliefs Govern Ideas

Beliefs Govern IdeasSome ideas are so powerful they change you. More precisely, some ideas are so powerful you change your beliefs to fit them.

These powerful ideas come in two strains: those that already align with your beliefs and those that contradict.

The first strain works subtly. While you think on the idea, your beliefs test it for safety. (They work in the background without your knowledge.) And if the idea passes the sniff test, and your beliefs feel safe, they let the subconscious sniffing morph into conscious realization – the idea fits your beliefs. The result: You now better understand your beliefs and you blossom, grow, and amplify yourself.

The second strain is subtle as a train wreck – a full frontal assault on your beliefs. This strain contradicts our beliefs and creates an emotional response – fear, anger, stress. And because these ideas threaten our beliefs, our beliefs reject them for safety’s sake. It’s like an autoimmune system for ideas.

But this autoimmune system has a back door. While it rejects most of the idea, for unknown reasons it passes a wisp to our belief system for sniffing. Like a vaccine, it wants to strengthen our beliefs against the strain. And in most cases, it works. But in rare cases, through deep introspection, our beliefs self-mutate and align with the previously contradicting idea. The result: You change yourself fundamentally.

Truth is, ideas are not about ideas; ideas are about beliefs. Our beliefs give life to ideas, or kill them. But we give ideas too much responsibility, and take too little. Truth is, we can change what we think and feel about ideas.

More powerfully, we can change what we think and feel about our beliefs, but only if we believe we can.

image credit: farfresh

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Mike ShipulskiDr. Mike Shipulski brings together the best of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly, Axiomatic Design, TRIZ, and lean to develop innovative products and technologies. His blog can be found at Shipulski On Design.

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