How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality part 2

How beliefs create reality part 2

Understanding that the mind is only creative can help us grasp the power of beliefs. George Orwell once said that “myths which are believed in tend to become true.” This is especially true on an individual basis.

By now, most of us realize that our perception of reality is heavily influenced by our beliefs, but the full extent of this influence is often underestimated. Each of us has a variety of methods for altering our reality so it conforms to what we believe to be real. Each of us is a reality alteration expert.

Editors note: This is the second 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

In part one of this series we talked about how our beliefs provide a structured process through which we evaluate everything in our lives. Now it’s time to take that concept a step further and look at the influence of your beliefs on…

Part 2: Your Internal Map of Reality

From the moment you entered this life, your subconscious mind has been busy collecting and processing information. Combined with your experiences, this information is used to create your beliefs about who you are as a person, and how you fit into the world around you.

Because these beliefs are based on your evaluation, and emotional conclusions of your personal experiences, they are accepted by your subconscious as being absolutely true. Your subconscious mind then uses these personal “truths” to construct your personal version of the real world. In other words, your beliefs become the foundation of your internal map of reality.

To the mind, your map is reality!

The way in which your map is constructed will determine many aspects of your life. It will be a major determining factor in your success or failure, your happiness or unhappiness, and your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your entire life experience.

Remember when people believed that the world was flat? That belief completely changed the way they viewed and interacted with their world. It didn’t matter that the world was really round. They believed it was flat and that belief had a powerful influence on their version of the real world. It changed the way they interpreted the facts.

We customize the facts to fit our map

If we have created a map where opportunity is everywhere, that’s what we will see. When our map is based on opportunity, we won’t view challenges as obstacles because that wouldn’t harmonize with our map. So we interpret the facts in a way that allows them to fit in with, and support, our internal map of reality.

Here’s the catch. For most people the way the map creates their reality on a day to day basis is completely outside of their conscious awareness. And because the process takes place on a subconscious level, they don’t see how they are creating their own reality. Instead of feeling like something they created, it seems like it’s coming from an external source.

The map is not reality!

We also create an emotional attachment to our map. It’s our personal version of what is real and we have a vested interest in verifying its accuracy. We want it to be real because it’s familiar, and that makes us feel safe and secure. This is why we are willing to distort, or even ignore, almost anything that might undermine our map.

Despite our best efforts though, sometimes our map of reality comes unraveled. Usually this involves emotionally charged events that don’t fit the map, and can’t be ignored. It’s like basing your map on a flat world, and then discovering you were wrong. Now your world doesn’t make sense anymore and your map falls apart.

You are not the map

For personal growth to occur, the map needs to be redrawn from time to time. The reason this change feels scary is because most people don’t realize that it’s only a map. They feel like their actual reality is imploding. Like their life is coming completely unraveled.

What is actually happening is their map is being updated to include new information. Being aware that it’s just a map, and not actual reality, makes it much easier to just let it happen. We know that the old map no longer serves us, and that the new one will. But this awareness requires the acknowledgment that we are not the map, and that we create the map based on past beliefs.

New beliefs are the key to a better map

Updating our beliefs automatically changes our map. This is how we create a more pleasing version. When we systematically dismantle our limiting beliefs, and replace them with empowering beliefs, the topography of our map will conform.

When we replace self-doubt with self-confidence, fear with curiosity, or pessimism with optimism, our map will rearrange itself to support those beliefs. The world around us will look and feel different, and we will be more comfortable with our place in it. We will have created a better internal map of reality.

Letting go of the old map

In part 3: Defending Your Beliefs, we will take a closer look at how we alter the meaning of our experiences to fit our map. We will also discuss how we attract people and situations into our life in an effort to verify the correctness of our version of reality.

I have decided to add a fifth article to this series called “Beyond the Map.” Even though learning to manage our beliefs in a way that creates a more satisfying map of reality is the goal of these articles, there is another level. This next level of creating our own version of the world around us will be the subject of part 5: Beyond the Map.

What do you think so far?
Do you agree or disagree?
The lines are open!

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  1. Frank J November 7, 2009 Reply


    Excellent and deep! The one part of the article that captured my interest was – “Remember when people believed that the world was flat? That belief completely changed the way they viewed and interacted with their world. It didn’t matter that the world was really round. They believed it was flat and that belief had a powerful influence on their reality. It changed the way they interpreted the facts.”

    That is really deep!

    • Jonathan November 7, 2009 Reply

      Thanks Frank, I wanted to go beyond the typical explanations and really break this creative process down. It’s a favorite topic of mine and a powerful personal growth tool.

  2. Rocket Bunny November 7, 2009 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    This reminds me of a quote ” how many cares one loses when they decide not to be something but to be someone.”
    Wonderful job! Keep up this great series.

  3. Steven Aitchison November 7, 2009 Reply

    This is a brilliant series Jonathan and I am really enjoying it. I had a thought when I was reading this and you said “sometimes our map of reality comes unraveled” it struck me that could be why mental health issues occur in our lives !!!

    Thanks again for a wonderful series.

    • Jonathan November 7, 2009 Reply

      Hi Steve, the mental health issues related to the unraveling map exist because they don’t see it as a map, they see it as their life. There are a million ways this can end up, but the harder we cling to a map that doesn’t serve us, the more difficult the experience. When the map unravels there is a period of chaos because nothing makes sense. This is the point associated with the greatest challenge to emotional stability.

  4. Eduard November 7, 2009 Reply

    Speaking of customizing the facts to fit our map, I find it interesting that a lot of times, limiting belief stay unchallenged because we do not try the things that might challenge them. For example, a person might believe that if she approaches a stranger at a business conference, that person will find it weird and be unreceptive. So she’ll never approach stranger is these situations and not get a chance to be proved wrong.

    Looking forward to the next parts,


    • Jonathan November 7, 2009 Reply

      That’s exactly right Eduard, because people design their map to support their beliefs. In your example, the gal who won’t approach the stranger is acting in a way that reinforces her beliefs. It’s important to note that this is not a conscious decision, it’s emotional. So, breaking through limiting beliefs can’t usually be accomplished with reason unless you are familiar with the exact series of steps required. There is a highly specialized process that renders beliefs vulnerable to reason that I teach in my book “7 Simple Steps.”

  5. Nea November 7, 2009 Reply

    This was a great post & I’m loving the series. It was my honor to share this post with others seeking such insightful info. Keep up the good work. You rock!!

    • Jonathan November 7, 2009 Reply

      Thanks Nea, I am hoping that the explanations offered in this series will help people take greater control of their creative powers. Seeing how the process works can clear up a lot of misconceptions.

  6. Lana November 8, 2009 Reply

    I am also really enjoying the series Jonathan and cannot wait for beyond the map post. Awareness and understanding is the first step to take control and gain more power. Thank you!

    • Jonathan November 8, 2009 Reply

      Hi Lana, glad you are enjoying these articles. As I wrote this one, I realized the need for that final article “Beyond the Map.” – After all, there’s always a next level.

  7. Tristan Lee November 8, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for this post. You’re right in that we stick to our own mind maps and it is hard to change them. We may have doubts doing so, but when we replace those doubts with self confidence, or with maps of positive success, then we begin to be more comfortable in turning the new, internal mind map into the current reality in our lives.

    • Jonathan November 8, 2009 Reply

      Hi Tristan, certainly a change from doubtful to confident creates a major shift. We can only experience so many perspective shifts before our map of reality needs to be updated.

  8. Stephen November 8, 2009 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, this is really interesting. How does this relate to paradigms?

    • Jonathan November 8, 2009 Reply

      Stephen, that’s a really good question. If a paradigm is the way that we view something from our own personal perspective, or an assumption based on our frame of reference, then it’s closely related to (if not the same as) a belief.

      Our internal map of reality encompasses all of our beliefs or paradigms. So there is room for some changes in individual beliefs without a meltdown of the map, unless those changes occurs in an area that is central (core) to our life and involves a huge emotional investment.

  9. Tim November 8, 2009 Reply

    Jonathan, you made a particularly poignant point about us not being the internal map of our reality. I’ve seen some people so attached to their beliefs that any scintilla of questioning to what they say drives them to a molten fury.

    It may very well be true that human minds aren’t built to perceive the world as it really is. For example, there are tons of information all around us that is constantly being filtered out every second of the day. With this in mind, I think we should focus our minds on what is most beneficial to the well being of us and other people.

    • Jonathan June 27, 2014 Reply

      Hi Tim, it’s amazing the lengths we will go to to maintain the imaginary integrity of our internal map of reality. That’s really the whole subject of the next article “Defending Your Beliefs.” We can be very creative when it comes to proving ourselves right.

      As far as seeing the world as it really is, well, not so much. Each of us is our own little special interest group. Our view of reality is influenced by so many things. This includes long forgotten (but not lost) experiences and assumptions from our childhood.

      Really, the goal is to have a map that creates the kind of results that we feel comfortable and happy with. focusing our minds on what is most beneficial to the well being of us and other people is a perfect example of such a map. Of course, there is life “Beyond the Map.”

  10. Amit Sodha November 9, 2009 Reply

    Hey Jonathan,

    My number 1 hit article on my blog is a post called ‘Perception Vs Reality’ which is one of my first posts I ever wrote. If it’s ok with you I’m going to link to this series from that post as it ties in very nicely!

    • Jonathan November 9, 2009 Reply

      Hi Amit, and thanks for joining the conversation. By all means, link away. You’ve got a great blog and I consider it a privilege to have you link here. Thanks

  11. Robin Easton November 9, 2009 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, I love these lines: “If we have created a map where opportunity is everywhere, that’s what we will see. When our map is based on opportunity, we won’t view challenges as obstacles because that wouldn’t harmonize with our map.” I really relate to that!! :)

    I think what changed everything for me was when I was in my mid twenties and through a series of intense life incidents I was forced to let go of EVERYTHING. Like I told you the BIG BANG of “let go(s)”. Where I came face to face with “Nothing”. I had nothing, was nothing…and realized that Life owed me nothing. It just IS. There was no cosmic law that said I should be born into the perfect life, infallible parents, perfect siblings, perfect job, husband, house, car and so forth….and somehow LIFE wasn’t giving me that. So it owed me! ;) There are no rules; anything goes, and blessedly when I hit that bottom-line reality, it struck me that I was born into the this world and I got what I got, things are what they are, there is no “other” that I was “supposed” to get. This IS “it” and now what do I want to do about it? What do I have control over and what do not have control over? From there I took charge of my life and set about forging that which I DID have control over, that which I loved doing and being, that which filled me with passion, love, joy and vitality. From there I created Robin. Although we may feel challenged and be challenged/invited/called to grow, there really are no challenges. It is all Life.

    • Jonathan November 9, 2009 Reply

      Hi Robin, you are probably the most “beyond the Map” person I know. I think the fifth article in this series will really resonate with you. The journey toward a “Beyond the Map” consciousness usually follows a certain path. First we become aware of how our beliefs direct our creative powers. Then we use that knowledge to reconstruct our map so it manifests a reality that truly serves us. Then, for a very few, comes the realization that we don’t really need the map, and we move past it.

      On occasion, someone has an experience, or series of experiences, that jumps the entire sequence. They go from wherever they were directly to beyond the map. I feel this is what happened to you Robin. The amazing thing about such a jump is that all the knowledge that would normally have been accumulated on the journey, is automatically understood from the new perspective “Beyond the Map.”

      This is the rarest of personal growth experiences. It’s a total revelation in simplicity. It moves into a world of awareness where knowing exists outside of thinking. This probably sounds crazy to some of my readers, but I think you know exactly what I am talking about. Am I right?

      • Robin Easton November 9, 2009 Reply

        Dear Jonathan, you have put into words that which I don’t know if I could ever put into words, unless I wrote a whole book. :) My second book tells much of this story. You are soooo right. This is EXACTLY how it happened in my life. For me it was ALL or NONE. I chose the ALL. I felt I’d waited my entire life for the ALL.

        You are so so insightful. Yes, there were no steps for me, no process, no gradual awakening, no reading, no religion, no concepts, no following. One day I was HERE, and when I saw what HERE meant for me (what I talk about above) I embraced it and my life was now over HERE and there was NO map. And…there was no going back. It was a one way trip and I KNEW that even then. It alters us permanently, physiologically, genetically, mentally, emotionally…on EVERY possible level. And we become “it” SO fully we don’t even have to think about it.

        It was such a vast leap, like some kind of time warp out of Star Trek. :) I might as well have flown to another galaxy. It was a clean sweep and I now live in the unknown, and yet, that “unknown” was more familiar to me than my own family. And yet, again, it was all new, vast, endless, magical, a great mystery that will NOT be harnessed, conceptualized, and maybe not even fully understood, by anyone…ever. I LOVE that. It is freedom and forces us to let go and trust in that which we cannot possibly grasp in it’s entirety because it is so vast. We can only BECOME it, experience it, love it, rejoice in it. THAT moves me to tears EVERY single day. When you said, “…where knowing exists outside of thinking.” YES! YES! YES!! Hugs, Robin

        PS You gave me a HUGE gift in your ability to see me and see Life on this level. Thank you. …and I realize that none of what I wrote here may make sense at all. But that’s okay; it was a thrill reading what you wrote, being seen, understood and getting to respond. Massive gift.

        • Jonathan February 23, 2011 Reply

          Sometimes the shortest path between point A and point Z is to simply skip B-Y, and what a ride!

  12. John Duffield November 10, 2009 Reply

    Hello there Jonathan. I’d like to throw in something here that might give your readers something to think about. Way back at the beginning of the 21st century a very famous physicist by the name of Werner Heisenberg discovered something he called the “Uncertainty Principle”. To make it relevant for your “reality series” I’ll just get to the beef at the center of this Principle. Here we go. Imagine you shot a tiny particle at a tiny brick wall, and bricks are scattered all over. You count bricks to estimate how much punch the little particle had. But then you discover something odd. If you figure out how much punch the particle had, you can’t…..ever….figure out where that particle was when the wall fell down. In fact, you can’t rule out the possibility that particle was IN FRONT OF THE WALL when it broke up. In other words, you can’t rule out the possibility the wall fell down BEFORE THE PARTICLE HIT IT. Hmmmmmm. That just doesn’t seem to make any sense at all does it? No it doesn’t. But Heisenberg’s Principle tells us it really is possible the wall fell down even before it was smacked by that little particle. So? So this. There are a hundred million reasons that wall shouldn’t fall down before getting hit. And Heisenberg’s Principle says all 100,000,000 could be wrong. Physicists realized right away that Heisenberg’s famous Principle might be telling us something we don’t want to hear. Namely…..we really don’t understand the way the world works at all. O.K., so here’s the beef I promised. Your series of articles about “changing our reality by changing our beliefs” should be taken very seriously. Some folks may think this kind of talk is….well….mostly talk. But physicists at the very outermost limits of our understanding of “reality” would disagree. They know it is entirely possible the entire universe could be changed instantly by changing our beliefs. Heisenberg is only one of many famous scientists who would applaud your efforts at “suspending our beliefs about the world” and striving to see things differently. Ciao Jonathan. John Duffield

    • Jonathan February 23, 2011 Reply

      Wow John, what a great comment. Obviously, I am not qualified to talk about the correlation between our beliefs and the structure of the physical universe. But when it comes to our personal perception of reality, (which is for all intent and purpose the same as our actual reality) I believe we have enormous creative ability. Now I am going to be thinking about what made that wall fall down if the initial assumption isn’t accurate.

  13. Igor April 2, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jon, every single article of yours is giving me more food for thought. This article accurately describes how I see it. Keep going. THANKS

    • Jonathan February 23, 2011 Reply

      Hey Igor, it’s a lot to think about, that is for sure!

  14. tommie June 15, 2011 Reply

    I’m sorry but I am not old enough to remember when people believed that the earth was flat but I do get the idea. : ))


  15. Brian September 2, 2011 Reply

    Once again great writing, kudos…And so the techniques to uproot these limiting beliefs that cause us to obtain undesirable results is mindfulness, getting to the root and understanding why we believe this, or why we have these views (that are utter lies) that disempower us and recognizing the habitual mind patterns that come up time and again and change them with mindfulness..Again I go back to the Buddha and his simple techniques that unpack these lies so we can fill the holes of the ripped out roots with seeds that will bare desirable fruits…Buddha did not preach religion or dogma, in fact he said don’t believe a word I say, try it and see if it’s truth for you. He was a scientist of the mind, the doctor who gave us the medicine and that medicine was meditation. Amazing techniques that still thousands of years later transform lives by dismantling limiting beliefs and allowing us to cultivate right view of the limitless unfixed self always in flux.
    Jon what are some techniques you recomend to change our beliefs? It is a great service to be teaching the world a path to happiness as you are. :)

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