Questions always lead somewhere. A question mark is like a “what next?” in our minds. I’ve written about the power of questions before. Lately I’ve been thinking about the power of one particular question. It’s a question you can use to challenge your beliefs. Some beliefs are useful, others form a mental prison around us. Our prisons often look real to us and mighty puzzling to others. Other people are rarely confined within the same mental walls we are.

The powerful question I’m talking about is: Is it true? What I believe is true for me. Could I believe otherwise? Can I find evidence to the contrary?

So, let’s look at one of my limiting beliefs: I can’t make a living as a writer. Is that true? Not really. People do make a living as a writer. Lots of words are written and read every day. The written word has come naturally to me since about age 5. I like writing, a lot. So what’s really behind this?

  • It’s scary to try because it matters to me
  • I don’t want to fail
  • If I succeed I will have a new unfamiliar identity
  • I don’t know how
  • I may have to try lots of things that don’t work
  • I might look foolish
  • I will need to face uncertainty
  • I may fall on my ass, publicly
  • I may not be any good at it
  • I don’t know anyone who is a writer
  • My words might stir up strong reactions and criticism
  • Secretarial work is easier, even though I hate it

It looks to me like my little mental prison is a bit of a farce. It looks like the truth might be that it’s only fear. I need to be willing to try and fail and also to succeed. I need to be willing to back myself, pick myself up again, decide it matters, give it my all. “Can’t” is a lie. Am I willing to commit to doing this? What would help?  What happens if I don’t?

What happens if I don’t try?

If I don’t try, if I don’t commit to this, what will happen? Not doing anything about this honestly means wasting the working hours of my life. No matter how much I achieve externally, if I don’t care about it, if I don’t think it is worth doing or a good use of my abilities then all that life energy, all those hours are wasted. I am scrunching up the page of my life and chucking it in the bin.

What happens if I do this?

If I commit to growth, I recognise that it will be wildly uncomfortable but it will expand my world, it will be enlivening. If I’m honest, squatting in my little prison, my  chosen small life, isn’t actually comfortable, it’s just familiar. In fact, it gives me cramps, a sore neck and digestive problems. A person needs to stand up tall and use their strength sometimes, a person needs to move and test themselves.

Challenge a few of your beliefs

Use that question, “Is it true?” to challenge a few of your own beliefs. What do you believe? What’s keeping you stuck? Is it true? Is it a convenient lie because you don’t want to admit the truth? I’m not saying that everything is easy to change or that all limitations should be changed. It’s just that if you want to think freely, if you want to act freely, you need to get to the bottom of things. Know that you’re making choices, be honest about that, be real.

What’s true for you? Are you sure it’s true? Could you look at it differently?