At its foundation, the nature of reality continues to confound pretty much everyone interested in learning about it. We can explore other levels of life for decades, discovering new stuff and having regularly scheduled epiphanies; but the only people acting like they have it all figured out pretty clearly don’t have it figured out at all. The rest of us find our reasons to live happily, and make some kind of peace with the fact that we may never know just how or why this world we live in came to be.
Strangely enough, as soon as we start to examine what it means to make your way in this world as an individual, the same sort of thing keeps popping up in one way or another. We can put aside all those half-baked philosophies that rely heavily on the kind of platitude we’re here to talk about today, but this ends up being one of the few truths that get spoken at some point in any conversation about examining or developing the self.
Of course, the words we use aren’t always the same.
If you were to ask me what it takes to develop a productive writing routine, I could give a pretty good answer. You need to figure some things out about your innate writing style, like whether you work better with a schedule or if you can be productive pounding out some pages whenever you can carve out a little time. Before that, though…you need to figure out if this is really the thing you are most passionate about. If you don’t have the fuel to burn, the type of engine you build won’t matter at all; and the vehicle you have chosen will never take you where you want to go.
Really, I’d be saying you have to believe for it to be true; I just wouldn’t say it like that, because too many people seem to think they can just sit down and decide what they believe and wait for it to manifest. That’s like buying one of the ingredients you need to make bread, putting it in a bowl and waiting for it to turn magically into a delicious loaf. Belief is necessary, but it generally only creates results when all those other essential ingredients are added to complete the recipe.
So I’d give you some methods to check in with yourself and make sure you haven’t romanticized something you aren’t truly passionate about, and some ways to make writing a regular part of your life if it turns out that it really is your thing. It would be up to you to follow that advice, or reject it; and somewhere along the way a certain thing would either happen or it wouldn’t.
Before you asked my advice, or after you got it, or when you began following it…you would start to believe you could actually write a book at some point. In most cases it won’t happen, not at a person’s core; but let’s take the example of when it does happen. That click went off in me, pretty loudly; which resulted in me writing my first book. It had to happen again, for the second book to get written; but after that I really believed I could write a book start to finish, whenever I had an idea I wanted to write about.
Part of you has to believe you can write that book, for you to even open up a notebook or program to start writing in. The fact that the vast majority of people who start a book never finish it comes into play in this argument, of course; but it does’t negate the reality that some part of them believes they can do it. It may be a small part, and my further advice to the aspiring author would be to nurture that part of themselves until it began to grow; but the beginning would never happen if that belief wasn’t there.
You can apply this to anything, from flipping burgers to the highest levels of scientific inquiry. If we don’t have people and situations around us affirming that we can do something, it can be hard for us to imagine doing it completely on our own. The first person who ever wrote a book was really coming up with a whole new concept; without that influence and inspiration, all the rest of the people who want to write books don’t exist.
The nature of time makes it impossible to pursue all of our proclivities and interests; but the ones we do involve ourselves in require our belief on some level if we’re going to stay involved. Many students attend university for a while, then leave it behind to follow another path. Perhaps they believed they could make it through, in the beginning; and maybe they figured they were doomed to fail from the start. I’m sure plenty of people drop out of college who feel as though they could have made it all the way through, yet didn’t for whatever reason. The result may be the same no matter what level of belief all those folks had, but it just isn’t the same kind of belief you’ll find in the ones who actually make it to graduation.
Self-confidence may play some role in all of this, but it isn’t the whole of the subject. Plenty of us know what it’s like to feel like we’re good at something, and at the same time feel awkward in all sorts of other situations. Learning a whole bunch of stuff may make us feel more well rounded, and thus perhaps more confident in ourselves; but we may still approach learning something new with a trembling spirit, as we remember the harshness of some of the lessons that came with learning other things.
Belief is one of the most vital elements of making each of us who we are; and as we know, the most important things are hard to define. We still have to wonder what makes some people believe they can do anything, while others get stuck believing they can do very little. Most of us might find ourselves living somewhere in between, but I think it’s safe to say we’d all like an opportunity to hack our own belief system to some degree. We can’t just say we believe something and have it be true, any more than we can just say we love something and have it be true. Belief may be vital; at the same time, the work it does can seem subtle.
On the other hand, professional hypnotists show us a much more stark example of how our beliefs determine how we see the world. Some people don’t believe in this phenomenon, but the truth is that we’re all masters of hypnosis. Anyone who has been put under says they could see both the reality of the situation and the way their temporary beliefs were driving their actions; the beliefs won out, even when they knew they were believing in a wall that wasn’t there or someone they would never interact with in real life. They may have been embarrassed to be doing some silly thing in front of a crowd of people, but they had no choice in whether or not they quacked like a duck when they were told to.
Our subconscious minds might be a blueprint for how our lives play out, and we may be able to see only what we have been conditioned to see; so where does that leave us when it comes to controlling what we believe? Are we behind the wheel of that ship, or are most of us just passengers in a world defined by our own unique system of beliefs? How much can we make true just by believing it, and how do we turn on the switches inside of us that change the way we view ourselves and the world?
I don’t pretend to know the answers to these questions, but I certainly think they are worth asking. Even if we can never build a complete map of the inner workings of people, some of us just can’t stop wondering about and poking at these concepts. Belief alone doesn’t create reality, but it goes a long way in making it possible for someone to create the reality they put their time and energy into.
But, hey…what do I know?
All I have are my beliefs, most of which are only true for me.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,