Beliefs; the basis of judgement have a profound placebo-like effect.
A simple fact which almost does not need stating is that all judgements are based on experience. This is central to what all talk of mindset is about. we judge and make decisions based on what we believe to be true.
As we are born with little in the way of experience we quickly adopt a set of beliefs. These are guiding principles or core values which are given or imposed by parents and our close community ; religious, cultural and familial.
There are some inherited beliefs and some from the womb but that is for another essay.
These early factors form the first and most significant filter through which we see and judge the world.
The innate human state at birth is to trust. The baby will not survive but by complete dependence on others. We trust how our needs are responded to and we must accept the beliefs imposed on us. They may be horribly wrong, for example a child born into an abusive household will have no experience by which to judge that it is not normal.
But the development of the mind needs a basis from which to grow. It needs a set of guiding principles to form that basic framework which will guide the networking of connections in the brain which form the subconscious mind.
I will explain:
How is a memory formed.
To understand this statement we must try to understand what a memory is and how it is thought to be stored. There are billions of brain cells, each of which has thousands of connectors called dendrites. These connectors reach out to connect with other cells across the brain to record a specific bit of information.
Each recorded memory can be seen as a unique set of connections reaching across the various parts of the brain. The smell, touch, sound or the pain of an experience locked together in a memory which will trigger that precise emotion whenever it is triggered.
The more often the experience, the greater the reinforcement of the memory.
Everything we learn is recorded in this way and the total of that store of information is the subconscious mind. The subconscious differs from consciousness in that it functions without our awareness. It has a protective role of observing, analysing and reacting and of course, carrying out the learned rituals of everyday existence.
Beliefs, as the earliest of this network of connections in the brain, have a profound effect and can be difficult to change, since all other judgements, everything we regarded as being true, were based on that initial mindset.
A revealing demonstration of the power of beliefs and of trust is in the placebo effect. A placebo is used in trials for the effectiveness of new drugs. The placebo is a pill which looks in every way like the drug being tested but has no medicinal effect.
It is at this stage in drug trials that many drugs fail. Patients who believe that they are being treated with the new drug and trust the prescribing doctor but are receiving the placebo are sometimes cured of their condition in equal numbers to those receiving the actual drug.
The belief which brings about this cure is not a profound act of devotion to the treatment. It is simply reinforced daily when the patient takes the pill. That momentary act of faith persists silently, subconsciously during the day, causeing such significant changes to their body chemistry that they are cured.
Belief and trust shattered, also has a very profound opposite effect as seen in the breakup of relationships.
Our beliefs which are the basis of our subconscious mind are working in a similar placebo like way, constantly shaping everything, not only our judgements but our chemistry and thus affecting our success or failures.
Default self-belief – unless we take steps to change it – is a set of beliefs which are inherited or imposed. They can be challenged and changed. We can create ourselves but to do so thoroughly will obviously require a profound change.
If we take for example a belief that if I jump off a cliff I will die. This is a deep, inherited, sensible, safeguarding belief which is bounded by fear of heights and reinforced by a dreadful feeling if challenged. A stuntman or woman will confront the fear and devise a way to overcome it. This will not be without a lot of planning and practice to learn and record new protective ways subconsciously.
Breaking free of deep early beliefs; religious and cultural for example, can be as profound as this. Read the article at the link here: It is possible to change any limiting belief.
We all live within a comfort zone the boundaries of which are defined by our beliefs. If you want to be the best version of yourself. If you want to exploit your talents and be successful, it is important to examine the beliefs which may be be causing an unnecessary boundary to your achievement of your full potential.
There are other essays here on mindkickstart.com which develop this subject and which you can read for free at the links below.
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- Read these other articles here on mindkickstart.com. linked below.
Also published on Medium.