Does It Matter If You Believe?

Does It Matter If You Believe?

“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford 

So this post goes along with one I wrote on doing versus trying. I’ll do my best not to make this a snooze because there’s some science. I think it’s incredibly important, though ~ it changed the way I approach my life ~ which is why I’m writing about it.

A few years back, I was lucky enough to hear a neurologist speak. She’d been studying the brain for 30+ years and talked about the importance of words and how the language you use and the thoughts you have can impact the actions you take and the success you have in your life.

One thing she discussed was belief: in yourself, in your dreams, in your gifts and talents, in the future you want to have. According to my layman’s understanding, believing you can do a thing actually creates a biochemical reaction in the brain. It’s both a chemical and an electrical reaction at the cellular level. That reaction drives the mental processes that actually create behavior and motivation.

Why it matters if you believe

All that to say: if you believe you can do something, you are physiologically changing the odds greatly in your favor that you’ll accomplish your goal. The reverse is also true: if you believe you can’t, you’re creating negative chemical changes in your brain that will hinder you.

It’s a matter, she argued, of controlling your thought life. You, and only you, have the ability to accept or reject your thoughts. She went on to say that you must pay attention to what thoughts you’re letting take root because whatever they are ~ believe or don’t believe, positive or negative ~ they’re going to grow.

And the point is:

So, the next time you catch yourself thinking or telling yourself that you can’t do something, you don’t believe you have it in you, you won’t be able to achieve that, make a conscious choice to reject those thoughts/words. Replace them with thoughts & words that build up your belief in yourself instead.

Do you think it matters if you believe? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.

22 thoughts on “Does It Matter If You Believe?”

  1. Thank you for a rational blog post as opposed to the “law of attraction” drivel that has people believing that “the universe” will “deliver” if we only think positive thoughts.

    Believing in ourselves and our ability to learn and grow is a motivator to action and makes us alert to opportunities that have been there all along.

    I’ve been trying to tell people this for years. It’s pure and simple logic.

    1. Hi Denise! *waves* Yes, I agree that the whole “The Secret” thing got to be a little annoying, especially that you should think positive and sit back and wait. I love this because it’s so true: “makes us alert to opportunities that have been there all along.” Cheers!

  2. Pranjal Borthakur

    Read your blog liked it very much.. I absolutely agree with your views. Positive thinking and to think new with confidence will give succes. But yes! SHELLI still there are some person who could not succeed in their own ventures, it was upon them they didn’t analyze and rectify and went back for another fight.. So here comes negative reaction, negative reaction is that he took his/her one failure as granted positive would have been analyzing and rectification…. If I have said anything wrong then I apologise, Shelli. Regards to you.. (Pranjal)

    1. Hi Pranjal! *waves* Thanks for the fab compliment. The most important thing, IMO, is going back for another fight. You’re right, staying in the negative won’t help you succeed. 🙂

  3. Good post, Shelli. You’ve helped reinforce the importance in the value of positive reinforcement; a great thing to remember when we fall into self-doubt.

    Belief I can do it works wonders while doubt promotes failure.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Rich! *waves* Some days it’s easy to fall into self-doubt. And you’re so right, that just promotes failure. Belief does work wonders. Cheers my friend!

  4. Hi Shelli! This relates to Claire’s post this morning on procrastination! Yes, we need to step out of our comfort zones and say, “I can do this!”
    I’ve been guilty of the procrastination and the, “I can’t do this” thoughts the past few weeks. Great post! Now I need to change my thought processes. I Can do this!

  5. Thanks Shelli, and thanks Denise – talk about hitting the nail on the head! I do think the biochemical changes that occur are detectable by others, and this may explain the so-called “law of attraction”. I also agree that simply thinking positive thoughts isn’t going to do squat. However, for me, replacing negative thoughts with “thoughts & words that build up your belief in yourself instead” doesn’t help because words are too easy to say and thus have little value.

    Sometimes I can eliminate the cause of the negative thoughts, like ignoring “hit counts” as you suggested in an earlier blog, but I can’t do that when my writing is causing the grief. What I do instead is break my focus on the negativity by doing something else entirely – fix the pool umbrella or plan the summer vacation or walk the dog: anything to starve the inferno of negativity of fuel. And just like a forest ravaged by fire, once the flames die and the smoke clears, life in renewed confidence and belief in myself emerges from the ashes.

    Whatever works for you is what matters, but ultimately, we all need remember just one cold, hard truth: you quit, you fail – guaranteed.

    1. Hi Richard! *waves* I never thought about the biochemical changes as creating the “law of attraction” but that may very well have something to do with it. Thanks for pointing it out. I so agree with you that getting rid of the cause of the negative thoughts can help by leaps and bounds. I change the focus by doing something, too, when I find myself in a downward spiral; like you said, something totally unrelated usually breaks the negativity. Glad I have kids who always seem to need something, keeps my focus elsewhere. 😀 Thanks for the reminder, too: “you quit, you fail – guaranteed”

  6. Good Morning Shelli (sun) lol
    I think you are psychic, this is exactly what I needed to read [particularly this morning]. Thanks so much for sharing your insights. Have a beautiful day!

    1. Hi Sandy! *waves wildly* I wish I were psychic then I could charge money to tell people their futures & win the lottery. Glad this post helped out. You have a great day, too. (heart) 🙂

  7. Excellent post, Shelli. I’m not surprised by the neurologist’s findings. My husband won two Pulitzer Prizes when covering the psycho-neurological revolution back in the 1980s (his prediction of a substance like Prozac was met with disbelief). I wonder, in fact, if ones language and thoughts not only affect the brain’s chemistry, but also the wiring of neurons. More reasons to believe.

    1. Hi Lynn! *waves* Wow, congrats to your husband! It was my understanding that language and thoughts affected at the cellular level, so yes it changes the wiring of neurons. She talked about how negative thoughts/language made tangled clusters of neurons as opposed to simply branching neurons (the graphic she used actually showed darker spots in the brain when people were being negative). So, yes, more reasons to believe. 🙂

  8. I love that belief affects us neurologically. Can’t say I’m surprised.(Isn’t it awesome when great notions turn out to be true? LOL)

    Believing in ourselves and work is so important for creative artists. We all have occasional insecurities, but rationally believing that we can accomplish our goals can go a long way toward shaping our behavior and moods, making success practically inevitable. Thanks for the inspiring post!

    1. Hi August! *waves* You’re so right that, especially for creative artists, we need to believe in ourselves and our work. I love this: “making success practically inevitable.” Amen to that! 🙂

  9. Hey Shelli! I haven’t stopped by in a while. Glad I did today. Great post. Have you read “The New Psycho Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz? It’s all about this idea of how self image molds and shapes us. Very fascinating stuff, and along the lines of your post here. Keep up the great writing!

    1. Hi Paul! *waves* Nice to see you again. I haven’t read that book, but I agree that what you think about yourself molds who you are. Thanks for the fab compliment. Cheers!

  10. Hi, Shelli. I loved your post. We’ve used positive thinking to help compete at rodeos. It works, however finding the right way for you makes a difference. Barbra Schulties writes for equine disciplines, but her workbook, The Gift, is a great way to improve your positive thoughts.

    1. Hi Stephanie! *waves* Glad you enjoyed the post. Makes me smile to hear that. 🙂 I love this because it’s absolutely true: “finding the right way for you makes a difference.” Amen to that! And I think it’s fabulous that you compete at rodeos. How awesome is that? Thanks for the book suggestion, too. Cheers, darlin.

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