Your Beliefs and Perceptions Create Your Life


Therefore, you can change your life by changing your beliefs or perceptions.

First, I might need to clarify my definition of beliefs and perceptions and how I see them to be slightly different. A belief is something you hold to be true. It may or may not be accurate, but it’s part of your programming. The way you perceive something is how you interpret something occurring external to you. It’s the input you run through your programming. You may hold an accurate belief but misperceive something or you can perceive something accurately but your beliefs have a negative impact on that perception.

Your belief system and how you perceive a situation work together to impact your thoughts and feelings. Here’s an example. You hold the belief that “I’m a terrible public speaker.” Your boss asks you to talk in front of a group and you immediately get nervous. You heard something in your boss’ voice and start to think “She wants me to fail. She’s out to get me.” You start thinking about how badly this will go.

Your thoughts and feelings influence your behavior. So, you finally get up in front of the group. By this time, your thoughts have created a whirlwind of tension. You forget what you want to say and you stumble a lot. You’re so worked up that you drop your notes and, of course, you forgot to number them!

Your behavior drives how others see you and creates your life for you. Your performance was mediocre and the feedback from the audience reinforces your original thought that you’re not a good speaker. Your boss is disappointed. She really thought you were management material but now she has second thoughts about giving you that promotion. Your performance impacts how others relate to you. This, in turn, gets reflected back to you. You reinforce your beliefs and perceptions and the cycle continues, creating your life around you.

Now, what if you hadn’t misread your boss’ motives and had gone in with the belief that “I know what I’m talking about and I know there’s at least one person that’s going to find what I have to say interesting or valuable. I have a chance to connect with at least one person here.” See the difference?

I was talking with another coach recently and he brought up a Cherokee parable that reinforces this topic.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

So, which wolf are you feeding? How can you change your beliefs or the way you perceive the world to create a better life for yourself?

Photo credit: CarbonNYC / / CC BY

Leave a comment


  1. Nice post. The good wolf is hungrier anyway.

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