Saturday, 14 May 2011

How our beliefs impact our behaviour....

Of course I hear you say - Doh! And think about it... when do you sit down and get conscious of all those beliefs? I just did some work with Rick Carson the author of Taming you Gremlin (an amazing man and an amazing book the strap line of which is, a surprisingly simple method of getting out of your own way. The point being that Rick says that beliefs are just opinions that we have become attached to. Think about that, just an opinion that you have become attached to.

Here are some very common beliefs;
Fast is good and slow is bad. More is better. Less is better. Guilt has value. Being busy means I'm valued. If I'm dedicated and work hard they'll look after me. If I am honest and open then everyone else will be too.

Now, there is nothing wrong with these as opinions or even positions to take at some point in our lives about some circumstances. However, the issue arises when these opinions become a 'way of life', when we make rules up, that define this is the way it is, and this is how we act and react to all circumstances we are faced with and that these beliefs are 'the truth'.

In conjunction with the Rick Carson work, I have also being doing lots of work around the 'Adult stages of development' and strangely enough this work talks about the strategies we deploy as children in order to stay safe and be loved. So, lets explore that for a while before coming on to what those strategies are. See and

As children we are born into a 'land of giants', we are at their mercy and there is no doubt that they are in charge. The adults in our lives can give us too much love, not enough love, they can involve us in arguments that don't involve us, or ask us to take sides. They can give us too much responsibility or not enough. Too much freedom or not enough freedom and so on and so forth.

At a very young age we decide on 'typically' one of three strategies to survive in this 'land of giants', where the adults make all the rules. Controlling, Protecting or Complying are all reactive strategies we use to respond to external circumstances or influences and we all do some, or all of them as children and habitually we bring some of that behaviour into our adult lives.

Controlling is about being the best, knowing what needs to happen and taking action, it's about getting the job done, it's about being as good or better than the adults who are in charge, so that we will be accepted and therefore safe - they will admire and appreciate us, if not look up to us.

Protecting is about being the expert and keeping it to ourselves, so we distance ourselves and we look on from afar, knowing the answers, knowing what needs to happen and being unwilling or unable to engage. If we keep our distance then we are safe and no-one can hurt us.

Complying is about being in relationship, its about moving towards people, focusing on people, its about wanting to be liked and connecting with the people who have power without wanting to have the power oneself. So that the powerful people will take care of us.

So, I am going to stop my output here for now.... and ask you to do some work....

1) Take a moment to write down your beliefs, and the behaviours they create. Try not to get into analysis, simply notice what they are.

Once you have done that, take a break and when the time is right then come back and
2) have a think about what reactive strategies you learned as a Child that are still present in your behaviour today.

More to come.....