By John Smith
There is a saying that states, “Knowledge is power.” Although there may be some degree of truth in this statement, it also leaves a lot unsaid. If knowledge in itself ultimately is power, why do we continue to do the things we know are harmful or disempowering to ourselves and to others? If knowledge on its own were enough, surely knowing not to do something should stop us from doing it. There is however, a deeper reality than only knowledge when it comes to our actions. The truth is that what we know is not necessarily enough to make the difference. It goes much deeper than that. The truth is that not only our knowledge, but also ultimately our beliefs determine the outcome.
It is common knowledge that the human mind consists of two parts namely the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is the rational, aware aspect of the mind that interprets and analyses information received via the five senses, essentially turning it into thoughts. The subconscious mind, as the name implies, functions below our level of consciousness and awareness. While we are aware of the processes in the conscious mind, we are unaware of the processes taking place in the subconscious mind. While most of us are aware of our thoughts, feelings and perceptions based on the information we take into the conscious mind, we are unaware of what beliefs and convictions are being formed in the subconscious mind. It is important to understand that the thoughts we entertain in our conscious mind (without questioning or analysing them) over time will eventually settle as beliefs in our subconscious mind. These beliefs are what ultimately determine and control our actions, behaviour and attitude, resulting in the outcome of our lives. If we think in our conscious mind to change any situation in our lives, and these thoughts contradict the beliefs that have been formulated in our subconscious mind regarding the situation we want to change, we will never achieve our goal. Remember, it is the subconscious mind that essentially controls the outcome of our lives. Therefore, is it not important that we become aware of what is taking place in the subconscious mind? What beliefs are we harbouring in our subconscious mind?
The first obvious step to determine this should be to have a good look at our current reality – what is happening in our lives. Does there seem to be a pattern of circumstances, situations and events in our lives that we would like to change? The only reason we experience these in our lives is as a result of the beliefs we have in our subconscious mind. The most practical example would be money. We may have a New Year’s resolution every year to improve our financial situation, curb our spending and start to save money. We might even get a raise in salary at the beginning of the year. For a while things seem to be improving and then all of a sudden we are back to square one financially, or even worse. Why did all the resolutions and the ideas we had in our heads not work for us? The only reason is that these positive intentions were in our heads (conscious mind) and still needed to get into our hearts (subconscious mind) before we can experience any change. Lack of money is the result of limiting beliefs about money that lead to a negative attitude and wrong behaviour in the area of our finances.
How do we bring about change in these limiting beliefs in order to bring about change in our circumstances? There is a school of thought that teaches that we should examine and find out exactly what all our limiting beliefs about a situation are. However, I believe it is sufficient to simply understand that the challenges we face are the result of limiting and disempowering beliefs. All we really need to do next is make a list of what can be called empowering beliefs regarding the situation – how we would like the situation to be. These beliefs should always be in the affirmative and in the present tense. Some examples in the area of finances are:
• I am wise in handling my finances and am making a difference in my financial situation
• I control the urge to spend unnecessarily
• I take a percentage of my income and put it away into a savings account
Spend at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening reading these new intentions out loud to yourself. What you are doing is starting the process of introducing new empowering thoughts to your conscious mind, which over a period of time will develop into new empowering beliefs in your subconscious mind (transitioning from knowing to believing), which will ultimately start to influence your behaviour with and attitude towards money. Please understand that this is not a “quick fix”, but that this process takes time. First, the idea has to become acceptable to the conscious mind. Initially, these statements may sound like we are lying to ourselves. However, all we are doing is reconditioning our mind with these new thoughts and beliefs. We can apply this type of exercise to any area in our lives where we would like to bring about change by using the relevant affirmations. The secrets to success in this area are discipline, consistency and the commitment to change.
This ultimately, if conscientiously applied, will make the difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it, changing the thoughts into beliefs, influencing your attitude and behaviour and ultimately changing the outcome. Ultimately, what we know does not help us, but what we believe does, on condition that these are empowering beliefs.