Scott Mills, Ph.D.
Our country is excited about change. We love to think about creating new lives for ourselves. We read self help books and try to think new thoughts. We do this with our bodies as we try diet after diet, our relationships, families and even money. And yet, very little of this energy translates into lasting change in people’s lives. So almost always one of the first questions that clients voice when they work with me is, “Why can’t I seem to get what I want in my life?”
I have a few “simple” answers that allow me to help clients create the changes they want in their personal lives and in their businesses. And I’ve been working on a way to explain these for years. It turns out that it can be difficult for people to easily see the ways in which we are all getting exactly what we want right now and how we might get something different. But here are five of the most basic concepts that underlie the changes I’m supporting in my clients. Try them on in your own life and let me know what you think.
First, we always arrange for whatever we actually believe to be at least mostly true in our lives. Yep, I said it. Whatever you have going in your life right now is an example of the deepest beliefs that you actually hold. These might not be your conscious beliefs. In fact, they’re almost certainly remnants of old childhood patterns, family obligations and survival strategies. These beliefs will define how you arrange your life.
Maybe you’re the one who has escaped this particular way of arranging human experience. I’ve not met anyone whose managed it yet whether they come to me struggling with issues of love, health or relationships. At the heart of their concerns is always a set of beliefs that keeps them locked into their current pain.
Note: If we are really clever, we leave enough examples of how our limiting beliefs are not true so that we can find a way out. We have to be a little subtle about these so they can be hard to spot without assistance but there does seem to be a way out if we know where to look (or get help from someone who does.)
Second, if we want change in our lives we have two choices. We either change our beliefs or we change our circumstances. Another way to say this is that we can either change the world around us or we can change the world inside us. I tried for years to change the world around me. Sadly, most of the people in my life were trying to do the same thing. So as soon as I’d get something adjusted just the way I wanted, somebody else with their own agenda would change whatever I was doing.
The even bigger kicker in this strategy is that even if we work really hard to get everything we want changed with one person or situation, along will come another situation or person that we’ve recruited to confirm those same old beliefs, and we have to get to work on changing them too. Being somewhat concerned about time management in my life, I decided this strategy doesn’t work so well. Hence…
Third, the easiest way to change your circumstances is to change your beliefs. What a relief it was to find out that if I stopped believing that I didn’t deserve having lots of love and abundance in my life, I could stop making sure their were people in my life to confirm it. I could breathe a lot easier and life got way more fun.
Of course, changing your beliefs, especially the ones that have been around keeping you safe most of your life, is hard to do on your own. Their even kind of hard to see – of course, that’s part of the brilliance in this design. Wouldn’t you want to keep the beliefs that most keep you safe to be as inaccessible as possible to easy change? What would happen if one of them got changed accidentally and life got unexpectedly easier? We’d be convinced that something was wrong!
Fourth, change will be as difficult or as easy as you arrange for it to be. What will it take to convince you that you are actually already done with all that you’ve been struggling with so that you can notice that what you want is within arms reach even now? You’ve worked really hard to get to this point, haven’t you? A lot of folks are convinced that change has to be really, really painful. And, of course, they will be right. But what if beliefs about change are just like everything else? What if we arrange for whatever we believe about change to be mostly true in our lives? That means if you change what you were believing about change you could stop, even now, and begin to see how much easier change can be than you’ve made it out to be.
And finally, fifth, miracles, even if they work, must be rejected. This is just common sense to me and yet most people I know are searching high and low for the lucky lottery ticket, the dream man to fall into their arms or the pill that will make them thin forever. Look, all our life learning takes effort. When we are learning to walk we fall down a lot, we cry some and finally we get up on our feet, still wobbly and begin to move forward in life. We follow this same process over and over and eventually come to believe that there is a certain amount of effort that is required for change to be real. (If you look at the people around you, you might notice that different people actually have different meters on this one.)
Wouldn’t it be much more useful to acknowledge all the work and effort you’ve already done, the distance you’ve already gone on this journey and allow all of those learning to support the changes that you’re ready for now? When you are able to look back at all the actions, small and large, that you have already taken to move yourself forward to the place where you can imagine having what you want, isn’t life more of what you want it to be?
My commitment to my clients is to make the work we do only as difficult as it needs to be so that you won’t notice how easy it actually is to have what you want in your life. Then whatever effort you need to notice, whatever struggle that you had then, can be useful in the life that you want to create now!