Scott H Young

How to Change Your Beliefs


What causes someone to persist when another would give up? What causes a person to focus and utilize all their resources towards a goal? What ultimately creates the difference between happiness and despair? The answer is beliefs.

I’ve tried a lot of crazy methods to improve my beliefs structure. Most of them didn’t work very well. Some of them were complete garbage. But in trying and failing to change my beliefs with all these methods, I slowly found the right system for changing my beliefs.

Changing beliefs isn’t easy. Despite what some authors and speakers tell you, deeply ingrained beliefs aren’t going to disappear with one magical technique or method. But if your happiness and success is important to you it can be done.

Hunt Them Down

How do you find beliefs to change in the first place. There are many beliefs that are so firmly rooted in your psyche that you wouldn’t even notice them. Why do you believe that if you sit on your chair it won’t collapse? Because of a belief that says your chair is stable.

There are many ways that you can begin the process of finding damaging beliefs. For myself the best way has always been reading and listening to material from successful people in that field. One of the greatest benefits of personal development content is that you subtly pick up on the belief structure of the person who is delivering it.

An even better way is to start associating with people that hold the beliefs you want. They may be difficult to find if the level of success you are seeking is rare, but if you do their belief structure will begin to point out flaws in your own.

My favorite way of finding beliefs is to do mental experiments. By far the easiest technique, I always ask myself, “What if I’m wrong?” What if I’m wrong that people don’t want to hear what I have to say? What if I’m wrong that I’ll do poorly at this? I’m constantly running mental experiments to test the foundations of my beliefs.

Often fear can keep you from finding negative beliefs. If you believe that you are unworthy of a relationship, this belief may be hard to get rid of. Why? Because then you would have to admit that for all the time in the past you could have been in a relationship if it wasn’t for such a stupid belief.

Let go. The past is the past, move to the now and find those beliefs that are holding you back.

Uncertainty

Doubt begins to destroy beliefs. The first step in any effort to restructure your belief system must always begin here. If you don’t have any doubt for a belief, you can’t see it. You probably contain many empowering and damaging beliefs that you aren’t even aware of because you have no doubt for them.

I generally don’t consider my belief in gravity to be a belief, but a fact. That is because I have no doubt in gravity. I believe it exists so thoroughly that my conscious mind has never needed to quarrel with my subconscious over whether it is true.

If you are trying to rid yourself of a negative belief, then you already have a fair bit of doubt. The next step is to intensify that doubt to a point where the belief seems almost ridiculous. Because building doubt is the easiest step in this entire process, creating as much as possible is a good idea.

Let’s say your belief is that you aren’t attractive. You can start building doubt by finding all the moments in your life where this hasn’t been true. Chances are you can summon up moments in your life when people were interested in what you had to say or gave you a compliment.

This process of creating doubt is called finding opposing references. Enough of this and any belief will begin to loosen.

Another process I like to build doubt is to work through the problem logically. For example, let’s say my belief is that starting a business is riskier then having a job. This may or may not be true, both are beliefs. But I could begin to use logic to build doubt by reasoning that if my true passion lies in running a business then it is far riskier to take a job even if it may be financially stable.

This method of logically debugging beliefs won’t always work but I find that if you can apply it correctly it can build a huge amount of doubt. By combining this with referential methods of creating doubt you can move yourself to a point where you know cognitively that a belief is wrong or is very unlikely.

The process of building doubt shouldn’t be used to procrastinate for the next step. Building doubt doesn’t take long. Some beliefs will quickly look ridiculous and others you may still hold to strongly when you need to move on. If you are struggling to build doubt then you need to just move on to the next step of testing.

Test It

Have you ever had a belief that you knew was wrong but it still influenced your behavior? That happens when you build enough doubt consciously but your subconscious is still in favor of the old belief. The subconscious almost always wins in the battle of any behavior, so unless you can focus your willpower for the rest of your life, you need to convince the subconscious it is wrong.

To change your subconscious version of the belief you need to go out and actually test it. This is the difficult part. The subconscious mind doesn’t like it when you try to do things it believes are negative. It will likely fill you with fear at the thought of challenging it. Overcoming this internal urge can be very difficult.

The best way to tackle this problem is to do as much as you can. If you are too afraid to test out the full version of your belief, try a smaller version. As your belief starts to crumble you can go further and further until it completely removed.

This process takes time and it is the reason that changing your beliefs isn’t immediate. Confidence, courage and charisma can take a long time to build because the beliefs that prevent them take time to be demolished and new ones need to be formed in their place. Systematically pushing your belief structure will slowly remove them from your subconscious.

The only reason people can change their entire belief structure almost immediately is when they test a big belief all at once. This can be done through leverage, extreme willpower or force. But if you can’t swallow down your belief all at once you can still test it gradually to get the same result.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t try to test as much as your belief at once if you can. But sometimes people find they can’t test their belief all at once so they don’t break it down and test pieces of it. The larger the chunks you can test at once the faster the belief will be destroyed. But if you can’t take down a chunk, break it up and try again.

The process for improving your beliefs, finding, doubting then testing, may sound simple or crude, but it works. Shifting your beliefs to a more empowering state can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Take the time to do it properly and begin right now.


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20 Responses to “How to Change Your Beliefs”

  1. Kali says:

    Nice process.

  2. vince M. says:

    I am going to implement your method of changing my belief system because I believe I am happy or unhappy or successful or unsuccessful due to my bliefs. Thanks for your help.

  3. Lana says:

    Very interesting…. I’ve been researching the same
    subject for the last few years…

  4. Joanna says:

    Your process is very practical and clear. Thank-you for sharing steps that work for you! It was good for me to read this today – I needed the reminder that changing my beliefs is a process that takes time… I have some beliefs that I am going to “test” today, and I already know that they are going to fail – but your idea of actually physically showing myself that they will fail is a step I haven’t taken yet. Thanks!

  5. Sean says:

    AMAZING ARTICLE – absolutely amazing Scott. Do affirmations and visualisations (and prayers but even though I really believe in God, we won’t discuss that aspect of it in this email). Anyway do affirmations and visualisations greatly help to change your beliefs aswell?
    Cheers,
    Sean, Ireland

  6. Scott Young says:

    Sean,

    I’ve stopped doing affirmations and visualizations largely because I find the best way to change an image you have of yourself is to start behaving differently. If you change your behaviors (through new habits and goals) then you start to modify the self-image you have.

    Visualizations are a good way to start, but unless you put in the effort, they aren’t going to go the full mile.

    -Scott

  7. Vara says:

    This sounds very true …. just need to face my fears i suppose. and go 4 what i really want… =] gd luck mee!!!

  8. meng zhang says:

    I learn a lot from your essay. I have an experience about changing my learning belief.

  9. Vicki Harris says:

    Im greatful for what I just read but Im curious about something. It is easy for me to get overwhelmed when looking at all that has been messed up by myself in my life due to negative thinking. I grew up in a very abusive situation full of negativity and whenever i thought things were about to get better they got worse. Its just been easier not to believe for good anymore. But now Im ready to work on it. Im just overwhelmed at how much needs to change. How do I overcome feeling so overwhelmed to the point of paralysis?

  10. Maria Stroud says:

    Hello,

    I suffer from schizophrenia, and I am researching on how to change your beliefs. I have learned that I must test my own thoughts. Before, I had been too afraid. But now I know that I should. Thank you for this post.

    Maria

  11. joan lucas says:

    How can I purchase your book?

  12. fixie says:

    Excellent article. A lot easier said than done, but definitely makes sense. And I agree with you that affirmations and visualization only go so far.

  13. Greg says:

    Great technique Scott. Our beliefs structure who we are and guide our habits and behavior. I always say the first step to recognizing a limiting belief is ‘recognition’, but I like your way of putting it better… it truly is a hunt!

    Usually when hunting down my beliefs, the first question I always ask is ‘why?’… why do I hold this belief and is it helping me create successful behaviors. I try to validate the reason behind the belief before I can truly own it, stop guessing it and turn it into a conviction.

    Fascinating topic that not too many people think about on a regular basis unless they are referring to religion or what political affiliation they have.

    Thanks for a good article!

    – Greg

  14. Piet says:

    One topic that I am thinking about a lot is the role of fear in our beliefs. I think most of our beliefs originate from fear of some kind and to change one must first overcome the fear to change the belief that the fear caused. However, to combat a fear is not that easy, but as you said one must tackle it step by step in order to bring about a permanent change.

    Thanks for the post.

  15. bliss says:

    I wish you gave examples of how to imply this method. I still feel lost with this technique.

  16. Gawn says:

    I don’t know if I’m not seeing it but I didn’t really get how to “build” a new belief. And frankly I rather pay attention on propergating a new positive and benifitial belief than tearing down negative ones.

  17. What an enpowering article. It’s stuff like this that helps the average joe. Thanks. I’ve been tackling belief issues and having trouble, especially after forty years. I read a lot of stuff on changing belief, but no one actually tells you what to do. Thanks for this!

  18. Josh says:

    for those of you who are still confused about creating new beliefs…by getting rid of the old one you automatically create a new one…. like his example, you have a belief that you aren’t attractive. by recalling times that people have told you certain things about you are attractive, it starts to create doubt about your original belief that you aren’t attractive and in turn your are creating a new belief that you are attractive.
    there is a great book on this subject that gives you exercises to help create new ones.
    its called “the spontaneous healling of belief” by gregg braden.
    like the guy in this article was saying gravity is a fact not a belief, if you create facts that counter your negative beliefs it helps change them into positive ones.
    hope this helps!!!

  19. Dominique says:

    Beautiful article.

    I can’t however, find an answer to a question that is nagging in my mind.

    How do we know our negative beliefs aren’t in fact, true?

  20. […] negative beliefs. Almost everything that happens in the world is related to what you believe. In an article that I read, the author (who’s blog has many other interesting posts) made an example about […]

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