How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality part 1

beliefs create reality part 1

By now, everyone has heard the favorite quotes from the “Law of Attraction” movement. You know the ones I mean, like…

Whatever your mind can conceive and can believe, it can achieve. ~Napoleon Hill
Whatever we think about and thank about we bring about. ~John Demartini
Whether you think you can or can’t either way you are right. ~Henry Ford

Those are great quotes for sure, but have you ever wondered how your beliefs actually create your reality? Do you think there is a logical explanation for this phenomenon, or is it some kind of secret cosmic mystery?

If you cherish your cosmic mysteries then this might be a good place to stop reading. Why? Because I like logical explanations, and that’s where we are headed.

Editors note: This is the first in a five part series of articles about
How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality.
Here is a list of the subjects we will examine:
Part 1: What We Believe to Be True
Part 2: Your Internal Map of Reality
Part 3: Defending Your Beliefs
Part 4: Upgrading Your Beliefs
Part 5: Beyond the Map

It all starts with…

Part 1: What We Believe to Be True

Our personal beliefs play a huge role in how we view our own life. Your estimation of your successes and failures will depend entirely on the framework of your personal beliefs. Our beliefs provide a structured process through which we evaluate everything in our lives.

We develop our personal beliefs about reality based on how we interpret the world around us according to our observations and experiences. There are two major components or aspects that contribute to your personal beliefs, an emotional component and a logical component.

The blending of logic and emotions

In some cases, a belief starts out much like a theory. Assumptions are made based on logical observations and deductions. In other cases, a new belief grows out of an emotional viewpoint that seems to be supported by logic.

It’s the blending of these two major components that form the basic structure of our personal beliefs. Through the window of these beliefs, we try to make sense out of the things going on around us. We also use them to form assumptions about probable future results.

Accepted as facts

Once established, beliefs are accepted as fact and are rarely subject to scrutiny. They become our “personal operating system.” Much like the operating system on your computer, our beliefs control how we sort and file every bit of input data.

Everything we see, experience, think and feel is adjusted to fit with our beliefs. In other words, our version of reality is a creation of our beliefs. Our personal operating system disassembles and reassembles all input data to conform to what we believe.

This is not a conscious process

Many of our beliefs were established in childhood and have outlived their usefulness. Others are leftovers from situations and circumstances that are no longer relevant. Why is this important?

Well, imagine trying to run your current software on an ancient version of windows, or some other obsolete operating system. The results would not be very satisfying. The same could be said of obsolete belief systems that are still influencing how we evaluate everything in our lives.

Beliefs need to be upgraded

As we learn and grow, many of our former beliefs will no longer serve us. They have outlived their usefulness. In the final article in this series, we will look at some effective techniques for Upgrading Your Beliefs.

Before we get to that, it’s important to understand how our beliefs impact our current perspective. That’s what we will look at in the next article as we discuss: Your Internal Map of Reality.

What role do you feel beliefs play in your reality?
How interested are you in this subject?
The lines are wide open!

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Find Your TRUE SELF is the fastest inexpensive way I know of to make positive life changes very quickly. Do you want to discover your core standards and personal values? Would you like to make a deeper connection with your real self? Find Your TRUE SELF will guide you smoothly through the process.


  1. Mitch November 3, 2009 Reply

    Wonderful stuff. I believe everything you said. One of my issues with religion, not that you went there, if that people believe that someone else is going to take care of them, so they kind of stop trying to do things for themselves and, in the end, miss out on so much.

    The same happens with people who believe in the Law of Attraction, but think that just believing in something is going to bring them what they want. In both cases, people still need to do something to help bring them towards that belief.

    • Jonathan November 3, 2009 Reply

      Hi Mitch, and thanks for contributing to the conversation. Somewhere along the way the definition for “believing” seems to have been cut in half. What I mean is, if we truly believe something, then our resolve should be apparent by our actions. Just accepting something as true without acting on it seems more like acknowledgment than belief.

      For example, if I am standing on a train track and you tell me that a train is coming. I could say that I believe you, but if I don’t follow through by getting off the track, Is that really belief?

      • Mitch November 3, 2009 Reply

        That’s definitely not belief; it’s lip service.

        • Jonathan November 3, 2009 Reply

          That’s the description I was looking for. Well said Mitch!

    • Happy February 17, 2011 Reply

      Hey Mitch, I agree with you.

      You have to do something. The thing is, when there are limiting beliefs in the way, they stop you from taking the action you need to do.

      On the other hand, if your clear your mind, action becomes so easy, that you hardly even notice that you are doing something.

      Will power is a scarce resource, and the way to use it efficiently is to remove the obstacles in your mind.

      • Jonathan February 22, 2011 Reply

        That’s where the biggest obstacles reside, in our own minds!

  2. Rocket Bunny November 3, 2009 Reply

    I believe things happen for a reason, good or bad. The trick is not to dwell on the bad for long and let it go don’t bring it into the future with you if it is a negative behavior.
    Bad things happen so we can appreciate the good ones more.

    • Jonathan November 3, 2009 Reply

      Hi Bunny, hopefully, as these articles unfold, we will come to see that many of those “reasons” come from our perception. And that our beliefs quietly guide our thoughts and actions in a variety of way that we can actually take control of.

  3. Frank J November 3, 2009 Reply

    Great post! When things are bad, overcome and adapt just like the US Marines do.

    • Jonathan November 3, 2009 Reply

      Hey Frank, what about when things are good?

  4. Nea November 4, 2009 Reply

    This post does a great job of helping readers to understand how we create our reality. Great insight!

    • Jonathan November 4, 2009 Reply

      Hi Nea, I am so glad you liked it. Thanks for your support.

  5. Tristan Lee November 4, 2009 Reply

    Like you say, much of our beliefs are a blending of our emotions. Before the year Y2K, people thought the destruction of earth was going to happen. Because of the fear of destruction was of these people’s thoughts, they created a belief that it was going to be the end of the world during that time. Was this true? No. It’s crazy how “factual” our beliefs can become when there are deep emotions involved in the process.

    • Jonathan November 4, 2009 Reply

      Hey Tristan, we wouldn’t want to overlook the media’s influence on how people see reality. Y2K is a perfect example. Now they are using the same fear tactics to sell boatloads of swine flu vaccine. That’s why I quit watching the news (actually all TV) decades ago. Between the advertisers and the news, your beliefs about what is real or important can end up completely skewed.

      • Colleen April 16, 2013 Reply

        Hi Jonathan:
        I read your comments and others as well and decided to cancel my cable. Thank you for your knowledge.

  6. Stephen November 4, 2009 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, I can’t wait for the rest of the series. It’s true that many of our beliefs no longer serve us, but we seem to have a hard time letting go of them. We use confirmation bias and continue to stick with them long past their usefulness. Human psychology is such a fascinating subject area!

    • Jonathan November 4, 2009 Reply

      Hey Stephen, what a great phrase: “We use confirmation bias and continue to stick with them long past their usefulness.” This is so absolutely true and right in harmony with part 3, “Defending Our Beliefs.”

      I totally agree about human psychology. The more we examine how things actually work, the more we realize how many aspects of our behavior are within our ability to control. And remarkably, the skills required to do that are usually fairly simple to master.

  7. Karlil November 4, 2009 Reply

    Our reality is dependent how we perceive things. This is certainly a good reminder Jon.

    • Jonathan November 4, 2009 Reply

      Hi Nik, in the rest of the series I am hoping to how our perception is governed by our beliefs, how those beliefs paint our picture of reality, how we defend those beliefs by adjusting our perception, and finally, how we can take conscious control of the whole process.

  8. Steven Aitchison November 4, 2009 Reply

    Brilliant post Jonathan, and I can’t wait for the rest of the series. I love this topic, it’s the one thing that we can actually change and see a marked difference in our lives when we change our beliefs.

    • Jonathan November 4, 2009 Reply

      Hi Steve, this is one of my all time favorite topics also, for basically the same reasons. Beliefs tend to operate in the shadows. Once we drag them into the light, they lose much of their mystery and become a powerful tool that can serve us.

  9. timethief November 4, 2009 Reply

    I’m loving this series already. When we are children our core values are those transmitted to us by our parents, teachers, religious leaders and the society we live in. Our core values are at the heart of all the values we’ve been taught we “should value.”

    When we are adults we can choose to uncover these core values and jettison those leftover from childhood that are negative and no longer useful to us. Then we can move forward by adopting new core values that are positively focused towards helping us achieve our chosen life purpose.

    During that late 20’s to early 30’s time frame I fought and won my battle with the outdated core beliefs, and I learned many important and life shaping lessons that exposed the uselessness of many core beliefs I had been inculcated with as a child. I became more conscious and aware after I replaced the negative core beliefs from my childhood with new ones including these:
    * I am complete, perfect and whole.
    * I am capable, competent, compassionate, lovable and powerful.
    * I set realistic goals and achieve them.
    * I learn equally well from both success and failure.
    * I see clearly what is happening both outside and inside of me, without emotional or rational attachments and distractions.
    * I experience joy and peace that pass all understanding when I enter the ego-less state of harmonious balance through meditation.
    * Learning is a lifelong experience that transcends many lives…and when we close our minds to learning we close our minds to life itself.
    * The same life lessons will be presented to me and over again until I learn them.
    * The more difficult the challenge, the more valuable the life lesson will be.
    * Ideas, theories and beliefs are not necessarily truths.
    * A belief is not an idea held by the mind; it is an idea that holds the mind.
    * We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.
    * Change is the only constant in life, and I am able to be flexible, adaptable and to flow with its ever-changing events.
    * Life’s changes are challenges, which help me grow and become more powerful, purposeful and strong.
    * Not everyone will love me nor will I love everyone but that’s okay, because at our core we are all much more the same than we are different.
    * Death is a transition, a new beginning.

    Since that time I have regularly re-examined my core beliefs and made adjustments along the way. It’s an egocentric quirk of human nature that we maintain our beliefs by selectively exposing ourselves to information that we already know is likely to support those beliefs. Yet, when we remove the emotional elements and take the time to gather information on the opposite side of any issue we are more likely to come to different conclusions. This is why it’s not surprising that gut responses based on deeply held core beliefs are not always the most accurate.

  10. Jonathan November 4, 2009 Reply

    timethief, now that’s a comment. I mean, WOW, you totally get it. You covered so much important ground here. I was really drawn to “It’s an egocentric quirk of human nature that we maintain our beliefs by selectively exposing ourselves to information that we already know is likely to support those beliefs.” In an earlier comment by Stephen Mills, he called it “confirmation bias.”

    This is the part about our beliefs that gets by most people. The realization that those beliefs not only influence our internal map of reality, but they use that map to reaffirm their own apparent truthfulness.

    This quote, “A belief is not an idea held by the mind; it is an idea that holds the mind.” was so good I had to post it on twitter. Thanks so much for this wonderful contribution. I’m inspired.

  11. Lana November 5, 2009 Reply

    Great series, Jonathan! Our beliefs determine our thoughts and feelings, and those in turn determine our actions. And we all know that our actions determine our results. So everything starts with a belief. I look forward to the next post!

    • Jonathan November 6, 2009 Reply

      Hi Lana, and thanks for your encouragement.

  12. Zeenat November 5, 2009 Reply

    Wow Jonathan,
    Love this post! Very insightful..and oh…questioning our belief system is such a necessity in todays day an age. Things situation..everything has changed….so why shouldn’t our belief system. What ever we have been brought up with understanding the world wise etc, can be altered by our own true understanding today. We can grow to become better individuals by our adaptable understanding.
    I look forward to the other articles of this series Jonathan…very important a topic indeed :)

    • Jonathan November 6, 2009 Reply

      Hi Zeenat, you brought up an important concept here. The skilled use of questions is one of the best ways to make our beliefs, which are emotionally based, susceptible to logic and reason. Normally, emotions are largely immune to logic. Used skillfully, questions can penetrate that immunity.

  13. John Duffield November 5, 2009 Reply

    Good morning Jonathan. I think you’ve taken the lid off Pandora’s box with this post. As you suggested, beliefs dictate what we see, how we behave, and can limit our lives in dramatic ways. Here’s a little story that illustrates just how limiting beliefs can be. Imagine you were imprisoned for life for something you didn’t do. You want to get the heck out of there, but it looks impossible. Oddly enough though, it looks like previous inmates have painted stuff all over the walls. Pictures of the Grand Canyon on one wall for instance and bathing beauties on another. One wall has several windows painted on it and a door. And here’s the thing. That door is actually a real door, perfectly disguised as a painting of a door. It looks exactly like it was just painted on the wall. It leads outside to a back alley, where you could simply walk away from the prison too. But will you? No you won’t, because you don’t BELIEVE paintings of doors can be opened….so you’ll never even bother trying. You have freedom sitting in front of you every single day, but you’re not going there. You never even suspect how close you are to changing your life. Here’s something else to think about. Each of us, right now, as we speak, is confronted with two possible simple ways of seeing the world. One way limits our lives like the odd door in the story. The other way brings real peace of mind, purpose, and true Freedom. But….. sadly….. almost everyone BELIEVES the first way is the only way. As a result, far too many men and women spend their entire lives in a self-created prison. Ciao Jonathan. John Duffield

    • Jonathan November 5, 2009 Reply

      Hi John, what a great illustration, again. You’ve got an incredible gift for using emotional word pictures to help us grasp the heart of a message. I say rattle every door until it opens. Thanks for bringing this to life so vividly John, I really look forward to your comments.

  14. Celes November 5, 2009 Reply

    Hey Jon! This is a critically important series, and I think it’s going to be immensely useful for any reader. Our reality is essentially shaped by beliefs. Whether we think we already understand/grasp the concept, there are always going to be limiting beliefs blocking us and it’s important to always be aware of them so we can continue to grow and reach out to new heights.

    • Jonathan November 5, 2009 Reply

      Hi Celes, been missing you lately. Thanks for joining in! You make a valuable point about the ongoing need to be aware of any limiting beliefs that surface in our lives, and then take steps to make the necessary adjustments. Reevaluating our core beliefs on a regular basis is like upgrading our computers operating system.

  15. Tim November 5, 2009 Reply

    I find that another useful way to upgrade out beliefs is to keep learning.

    For example, if someone is usually self-conscious of what people think of them, they may want to consider learning more about people, motivations and social dynamics in general. If you someone thinks it’s impossible to improve their life situation, they may want to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and other such people. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to shaping our beliefs and perceptions of the world.

    • Jonathan November 6, 2009 Reply

      Hi Tim, that’s a nice point. Knowing the obstacles that others have overcome can certainly make things seem more doable. It’s the “if they can do it maybe I can too” mentality.

  16. Jeremy August 26, 2011 Reply

    You explained it very simply Jonathan. I think what I get from this is my own beliefs as a young man are definitely outdated. Some of them are: go to church, pay the church, play computer games, sleep in, pig out, don’t talk to people, etc…

    A few years ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I’d been living a lie and was controlled by my thoughts. When I discovered I could break out of my current way of thinking and choose for myself, it was a great moment.

    I still have a ways to go and am by no means perfect (just ask my wife). Glad to see your insights.

  17. Brian September 2, 2011 Reply

    Great stuff…The Buddha talked about this thousands of years ago, he said right view right thinking right action…Basically our views are what are causing us to have undesirable results and so to change these reults we must get to the root, the view or the belief and with understanding we uncover the habitual mind patterns of thinking (in essence we are meditating subconciously all day everyday on wrong view, wrong only pertaining to what brings suffering and undesirable results in our life) and so when we change our habit patterns through understanding our thinking is changed and the actions follow suite. Buddha offered amazing super simple techniques to this, dismanteling the delusions that stand between us and our goal, happiness, because that is what we all want finally, to be happy and not to suffer. Good stuff Jon. :)

  18. Ryno July 15, 2014 Reply

    Great stuff. I grew up in apartheid South Africa. Done 7 years in the SADF special forces, and as you can imagine had quite a “fixed” belief system. I had a relationship break up a few years after the military and lost a job as well. One day I decided to hitch through Africa. It went against my beliefs and most of my friends and families beliefs. All fear based. I done it anyway, and only returned 10 years later, after island hopping the south Pacific and hitching through South America. Best thing I done in my life. I still challenge my fears today by sky diving, rock climbing and various other things. This keeps me in touch with the now, so that my beliefs can be challenged and updated.

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