I want you to imagine in your mind, that you have got a circle and within the outer edge of the circle there are four different labels. The 4 labels are linked together by the circle. In the first label, it says ‘potential’, on the right-hand side add a label that says ‘action’, at the bottom of the circle add a label that says ‘results’ and finally on the left, there is another label that says ‘belief’.
So, going around in a circle we have potential linking to action, linking to results, linking to belief and then linking back to potential. For anyone to learn, the potential to achieve it must exist. How much potential they have will determine then how much action they take.
That action will then dictate what kind of a result they get (or how they perceive their result), so depending on what kind of action you take and how much action you take will determine the result that you get. The result will then determine how much belief you have about how easy it is for you to continue to learn this new skill. The more belief you have the greater the potential you have to go on and take further (or better) actions.
When someone is operating from the belief of ‘I can learn’, they will have a certain degree of potential already. If they believe that they can learn it’s likely that they are going to take some positive action towards this. Which will lead them to a more positive result (or a way to view their results positively).
Let’s take someone who’s operating from the belief of ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘this is difficult’. This person still has potential but because they are operating of the belief of ‘I can’t do this, this is difficult’ they’re likely to find it less easy to access their potential or to take less, or reduced quality actions, leading to lower quality results. They will then see and experience those results which will affect the belief they have. If they have got poor results it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy with thoughts like ‘I knew I couldn’t do it, now look, it’s gone as wrong just as I thought it would’. There is less belief in their ability to be able to do this thing and that will lead to a reduction in potential and poor action, or no action at all will be taken.
Everything you can and can’t do is shaped by your beliefs and what you are telling yourself.
Changing beliefs that have been ingrained for years or from significantly emotional experiences can be daunting, but it is not by any means impossible to do. In fact on the NLP Practitioner training there are plenty of exercises and interventions you learn that help to change your beliefs rapidly. Sometimes though, it’s possible to begin reshaping your beliefs simply by challenging the negative ones that get in the way. If you slow down your thinking to notice the negative self-talk which tells you what these self-imposed limitations are, you can begin to come up with your own counter-examples of when you have been able to do the things (perhaps even in moderation) that you believe you cannot do.
By Gemma Bailey