The two previous articles in this series dealt with learning what it is you really want. In this article we'll get to something that was promised in part 1, the impact of your philosophy, that is what you know and how you let it affect you, on your decisions and subsequent results. For our purposes, we'll take this definition of philosophy a step further and expand what you know to include what you believe about what you know. Please note that although the author refers to “you” frequently, it is his belief and experience that these principles apply to all of us. A good part of the inspiration for this article comes from a business philosopher named Jim Rohn who greatly influenced the author's professional life. This article is the author's understanding and application of those ideas.
You know a lot. In fact, you probably know more than you think you do. Every day you are exposed to information. You take it in through each of your senses. Not only that, you get information from both internal and external sources and you make decisions about that information. So, not only do you read an article on, say, social media marketing and decide whether it's for you, but you might also notice that after eating a fast food lunch you don't feel so good and decide that's not something you want to do anymore. This intake of information happens throughout every day of your life.
You not only take in information, you take in conflicting information. Recommendations, suggestions, ideas...you're bombarded with them daily from a variety of sources and they're not all in agreement. Still, all this information adds to that staggering amount of what you know. Even if you were to consider the non-conflicting “stuff” you could hardly do everything you know. None of us can. There's just too much of it. It's here that you must decide what you believe about what you know. What will you accept and what will you reject? What will you act on and what will you disregard?
This decision about about you believe about what you know forms your values. Some of your values, perhaps the majority of them, are formed without conscious thought based on your experiences (there's that subconscious mind we've discussed earlier). So, if you have a goal and aren't reaching it, if you want to make a change in your life and seem to keep sabotaging yourself, then there's a good change it's your values that are in conflict with your goal. So, what do you do?
In part 2 of this series, we discussed ways to clarify just what our values are. You have to know these before you can make any meaningful life change. To put it another way, before you can change your life, you must know what your philosophy is. The reason is simple. It is your philosophy, what you know and what you believe about what you know, that underlies the direction your subconscious will let your life take. So, before you can change your life, you must change your philosophy.
This author knows a man who is a massage therapist. As an independent contractor, this massage therapist understands that he is in business for himself. He has said he would very much like to own his own spa. In fact, he came very close to buying an existing spa from one of his instructors shortly after completing his training. Here's the problem. He has stated that he “hates money”. Now, he doesn't have to want wealth to be a successful business owner. But, if he does indeed hate money as much as he says, it is very unlikely that he will ever own his own spa. And, if he does, it is unlikely to succeed. Conversations with him suggest he has no idea that his philosophy is holding him back. Until he sees the conflict between his philosophy and his desire to own his own spa there is little hope for him to change. Even if he does see that conflict, he will then have to decide to change his philosophy.
How do you change your philosophy? Well, remember the definition. Philosophy is what you know and what you believe about what you know. So, one way to change your philosophy is to change what you know. Make the investment of time and money to change both the quantity and quality of what you take in. Jim Rohn put it this way: “Don't spend major money on minor things. In the last ten years the guy has bought two tons of donuts and only two books - and the books are filled primarily with pictures.” The point, of course, is that the man hadn't invested in changing his philosophy, the thing that would give him what he wanted.
Not only do you change your philosophy by changing what you take in (the stuff you know), you also change it by changing what you believe about what you know. Here's where we get back to values again. If your goal is a vibrant and healthy marriage, but your belief is that marriages always end in unhappy people either getting divorced or living out lives together in misery, you will probably have to read a lot of books to change your philosophy to the point of being able to be half of a successful marriage. Fortunately, there are several things that contribute to what we know, to our philosophy.
Personal experiences(honest appraisal and review to see how they affect us)
Books, conferences, videos, dvds, etc
Honest evaluation by others (more honest review from people we respect...especially if they are successful in the area we're trying to change0
Other people' experiences, good and bad
Associations (with whom do you spend your time?)
These things are all ways to changing both what you know and what you believe about what you know. If your goal is to get what you really want, you should include each of them in your toolbox.
Finally, there is this. There are a number of things you can do to speed up this process. Posting, in places where you can't help but see them throughout the day, thoughts and quotes that get to the heart of the change you want to make can be helpful. If you're reading a good book, read it just before going to sleep so it makes it into your subconscious with less distortion than it might have otherwise is a good idea. Affirmations are helpful if combined with action (Jim Rohn again, “Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion”). Finally, consider hypnosis as a way of:
Helping you do the things you need to do to add to what you know
Reconcile conflicts between what you want and your philosophy
Achieve your goals more quickly
Your philosophy largely determines your success. The good news is that you can change your philosophy, you can change your life and you can get what you want!