Monday, July 13, 2015

ALL Beliefs Limit You

All beliefs limit you, even the positive ones. If you believe you are a poor leader, then you will lead poorly. I have known "leaders" who believed they were effective, yet they were not. The belief they held in their own competence prevented them from learning from failure--prevented them from hearing when they made mistakes. Truly excellent leaders don't think about  whether or not they are good; they just lead. They listen and make decisions that are best for the group. They speak with authority even when they aren't quite sure.

Self-help literature tells us we should believe in ourselves. I say we should stop believing and listen, pay attention to your results. If I approach a speaking engagement with high confidence, it is not because I believe in myself. My confidence comes from knowing, from experience. Sometimes I might feel anxious. Belief does nothing to solve my anxiety. Anxious or not, I dive in, paying close attention to my audience, listening to my Inner Voice, responding to the needs of the people who sit before me. Once I am in the flow, the anxiety passes and confidence takes over.

Belief in yourself, even if it is positive, limits you. A belief is a construct made up by you, or passed on to you by someone else. Believing you are a great artist, does not make you a great artist. Believing you are a wonderful teacher, does not make you wonderful. Learning and listening and practicing and doing--being humble, asking for help, both human and spiritual. Having natural talent and passion for a particular vocation is also important.

When I began my novel, Human Adulthood: A Spiritual Romance, I had not previously written fiction. I had no beliefs about the quality of my writing. I joined a writers group, and learned that I had much to learn. I had no positive beliefs that got in the way of criticism and suggestions. I just listened, asked questions, kept writing, and rewriting, and rewriting, and did I mention, rewriting?
So do I believe I am a good writer now?  No. All I know is that there are stories in me I want to write. So I'll keep learning and listening and writing, and yes--lots of rewriting.

Belief is overrated. Listening and paying attention are often underrated. What is calling you? Where is your potential? Don't worry about belief. Just do it and see what happens. If you fail, do something else.

William Frank Diedrich,

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