The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Changing Beliefs

In a recent exchange with a fellow altMBA Alumni, we looked at an arch connecting intuition and attitude. The glue seemed to be worldview and beliefs. All of it creating and transforming experience.

It’s an endless cycle, as beliefs tend to seek confirmation. The cycle works by using beliefs as filters through which we analyze the experience. We’ll pay more attention to evidence confirming our belief and use this information to strengthen our experience. Which in turn also strengthens the belief we have seen confirmed. Once we’ve integrated this experience, beliefs integrate into intuition.

The cycle’s stability is influenced by our attitude towards these beliefs. The ability to be flexible when beliefs are being questioned is key. The trap is how much we identify with these beliefs. The more important it becomes that beliefs are right, the more we’ll do our best to avoid seeing them as wrong.

On an unconscious level, being right enables confirmation of our identity. Survival then seems to be at stake when being wrong. It becomes visible in a rigid posture towards others, the world and sometimes oneself. It’s based on a combination of the beliefs that there is something like being right, that being right is important and that it confirms our identity.

With such a stack of beliefs, it becomes difficult to impact the cycle. A friend shared an interesting recipe to deal with the beliefs. It consists of asking oneself two questions:

  • When was the last time, you were asked a question making you think?
  • When was the last time, you were dead wrong?

That’s how being wrong can become interesting.  It’s replacing right and wrong with curiosity.

Instead of holding on to the stack of beliefs we start to fuel our learning.


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