Tag Archives: belief

Uncovering the unknown unknowns in life…

27 Mar

icebergI once heard that life is like an iceberg where our current knowledge (what we know we know and what we know we don’t know) is above the surface, while a huge amount of missing knowledge (what we don’t know we don’t know) is like the area underwater.

I’m not quite sure I completely agree with this, but I do know that where I am in life today is so completely different from where I thought I’d be (it is wonderfully better!)

I’m learning that my belief system was (and is) built on what I know from what I’ve experienced thus far in life.  Most of us go through life one day at a time and seldom question just how much “knowledge” is outside of our current situation.  This means that we spend our lives believing that our past and our present are indicators of what our future will look like – and this is like putting blinders and limits on what our future can be.

I’m also learning that “what I don’t know I don’t know” can be absolutely wonderful and can deliver experiences beyond what I once couldn’t even imagine.  These new experiences come about when my mind is open and receptive to people, places, and opportunities I might have once rejected — even before they were presented.  When you turn down a potential opportunity – that has yet to become a real opportunity – you effectively (in my humble opinion) short-circuit the full extent that your life can become.  In other words, when your mind is closed by your current belief system, adventures and opportunities stop before they reach your door.

When I was going through a divorce seven years ago, I had no idea that my life could transform and that I could emerge as a happy, single, midlife female.  I left home directly into a marriage at 22, I thought I was madly in love, and I experienced life with a husband who was much like my father (who has to be right.)  Before my divorce, I had never lived alone, had never selected an apartment, had never taken care of myself, had never nurtured an extensive group of friends, and had little time for myself aside from taking care of my then-husband and children  (now grown) to pursue hobbies or personal interests.  I remember sitting in a counselor’s office before the divorce and she asked me whether I could see myself happy as a single person.  At the time having experienced an adulthood only as a wife, I replied “no” as I truly could not envision the happy, enriched life I enjoy today.

I have to say I didn’t know what I didn’t know – my blinders were on.

parachute

I realize now that I turned down possibilities and opportunities simply by not recognizing that I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  Today I remind myself and friends “don’t say no to something or someone who has yet to present it/him/herself.”

If you’ve ever done any of the things I used to do (out of habit) – it could be that you might be blocking opportunities (and discarding the unknown unknowns) like I did:

– I used to say that I’d never move to another country. Thankfully, I had abandoned this before the opportunity to move to Florida presented itself  or I would have missed out on living 18 years where I do now (and love!)

– If you pre-judge people you don’t know based on their outward appearance which I used to do all the time – I would not have met some of the most wonderful people in my life today.

– If you say you’d never try a particular type of restaurant based on a single food (I used to think I was allergic to curry based on a single type – yet since trying Indian and Thai restaurants have discovered an incredible array of curries I love!)

– If you believe in stereotypes about particular cultures or religions or ethnicities based on what you read in the newspaper or see on a partisan TV show… you may miss out on meeting people who turn out to be lifetime friends.

– If you think that you would never do… (camping, bar-hopping, motorcycle riding, running a marathon, wine-tasting – pick anything that is outside your current experience) – you might miss out discovering a great interest.

– If you think you’ll be rejected if you do/try/think something different from your family (I was raised in a ultra-religious home where it was almost taboo to think beyond the religious dogma!) – try it!

Once I realized that I had some of these self-limiting (and unfounded) beliefs, I discovered that there is so much in the world I didn’t know I didn’t know. Choices Today there are so many choices (especially choices that have yet to present themselves) that I feel like I am running out of time!  I have no idea what countries I might still want to visit, and my “bucket list” is growing by the day as I experience new adventures along life’s journey.

I know I still have a ton of biases, beliefs, and preferences that limit my future – but they are growing less and less as I resist resisting!  There are so many diverse ideas, diverse people, and new ways to view the world (that were beyond my imagination) that my world is expanding.  This is a wondrous thing to find out at mid-life!

Wishing you an uplifting and expansive week!

p.s., I was a guest host on Carmen Brower’s blog talk radio show this week to promote our upcoming True You Discovery retreat (I’m a featured speaker!) at the Tradewinds Resort in St Petersburg Beach, FL May 3-5, 2013.  Won’t you join us?  Here’s the link to the website and promotional FaceBook page.  It will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Carol

If YOU believe it, it is so…

10 Jun

All of our power of creation is invested in our belief, and because we believe it, that’s the way it is.
– don Miguel Ruiz

No truer words were ever spoken!

All one needs to do is to watch any elected politician (even if you do not agree with them), passionate preacher, evangelist, terrorist, judge, etc. to know passion does not lie.  What we believe to be true is the bedrock of our very foundation – and, even if such belief is based on total malarkey or fiction, if we believe it, it is so.  Passion and perception (in the absence of facts to the contrary) become reality.

What does this mean in the grand scheme of our lives?

It all comes down to another quote:

“Whether You Believe You Can, Or You Can’t, You Are Right
Henry Ford

My biggest learning in life to this point (I am at middle age) is that it is only your own opinion that matters in life.  (This is absolutely a polar opposite to how I was raised (and in my long-term now defunct marriage) where my opinion (and intuition) were secondary to others who “knew better” and would love me if I agreed with them.)

This is my three-part (big) piece of advice to anyone who will listen:

Trust YOUR instincts and your intuition first – no matter what others in your past (yesterday and before) told you to do! 

Love yourself for who you are (even if it means that others withhold their “love” from you.) 

If you realize that your intuition is dormant (it may have been squashed or never allowed to grow) – start today to listen to your higher being.

When others (whether they love you or not, and whether they are well-intentioned or not) cast judgment on your life..

or your behavior or your plans or your thoughts (heaven forbid!) – it is up to you and you alone to close the screen door and not allow such negative energy to enter your being.  Negative energy will always be a part of life, but it doesn’t need to be a part of you!

Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know… because you never had the chance (until now!)

Sometimes when you’ve grown up under the influence of others who insisted they knew more/better that we about what was best for us, you never realize that there is any other way.

If you were born into judgment, you learned to give away power and control early – maybe even before the age of reason. Why? Because it was easier to agree than fight. (In the typical “fight or flight” situation, if we are too young to fly, have nowhere to fly, and no way to win the fight without being rejected, we learn to override our intuition.) Then by the time we are four or five, we are already conditioned to believe that one choice (submit and agree) results in love, while others do not. We gain approval, acceptance and hopefully, love, when we agree with the dominating (and usually well-intentioned) mother, father, grandparent, or another.

I am probably a very slow learner, but up until six years ago (my divorce) I never realized this. I spent my life seeking a personal path that would please (or at least not raise the ire) of my husband, my parents, and often, emotionally abusive friends.  Because I am an independent thinker, an individualist, and a survivor, I faced a constant internal battle between my caged intuition (which did not agree with the martyr behavior of taking care of everyone else’s needs first) and keeping the peace (and being “loved”.)

How does Submission and People-Pleasing become a(n unhappy) Way of Life?

For me, submission began with a strict religious upbringing where one choice was possible – ever.  My parents would love me  if I followed their dogma, their interpretation of organized religion, their path in life. Opposition was considered an affront and rejected outright.  In my marriage, when there was disagreement, my spouse’s way of dealing with things was similar “your perception is wrong, that is not the way things are … and I can bring in witnesses who will prove me right.” End of discussion.)

For years, I sought approval (which equated to love and affection) by agreeing and acquiescing to “mandatory” church attendance, strict partisan beliefs, my spouse’s views and choices, and generally squashing down my intuition.  I was woefully unhappy, but felt that I was “loved.” I believed this all to be true, and therefore it was.

And I believed it was so, for so many years…

Looking back, I don’t know why it is remains difficult to forgive myself for being asleep — for the years where I overrode my intuition and higher power in exchange for feeling loved.  In the process of giving first to others and seeking to be loved, I neglected loving myself.  I believed then that I would never know love unless I put others first (even at my own expense.)  Thankfully, I could be myself in my business – and ultimately this freedom to be me led me to find a new path (and new beliefs).

Today I believe that the only authentic true-love (without conditions of any kind) can be attained through self-love. (Because I believe it, it is so!)

I believe the best choices for me come from my higher power and my intuition, not from others who purport to love me if I agree with them.  I also believe that inner peace, free from conflict, is the path to happiness (and I am happy!)

What do you believe (that might hold you back?)  Are your beliefs truly yours or are they beliefs you agreed to long ago as dictated by others?

Wake up to a New Life and New Beliefs!

My awakening, to the realization that I gave up my power and control to others, was life-changing.  While my road to authenticity and living with integrity is like climbing a mountain, (my daughter once told me after my divorce that to “reach the other side, you have to go through a lot of fire”) – I am grateful to finally have my intuition firing on all cylinders and directing my life.

As I continue to wake up even more to being under my own control (instead of the Stepford-like control of others) – life gets better. I believe in the power of the Royal We (me, myself and I), and… life is good!

What do you think?

(While I may not choose to allow your opinion to influence my life, I still like to hear how my readers think!)

Carol

Getting rid of clutter? Start inside your head…

10 Jan

Are you surprised at the title of this post?

I was when a friend of mine suggested it to me one day this week when I mentioned how I want to simplify my life.  We were talking about how I felt disillusioned by someone I knew when she remarked “there’s so much clutter inside your head that I don’t know how you can see anything objectively.”  At first, I didn’t know how to respond but then I realized that there was probably truth in her statement.  When I asked her to explain, she responded by saying that my mind was filled with so many contradictory beliefs that she said it must be oppressively crowded inside my head!

That’s when reality hit… I realized that I am a hoarder of beliefs – what I mean is that new ideas and opinions enter my mind (like buying new clothing for my closet) and none ever leave.  As such, I carry around a motley mismatched collection of childhood learnings, adult beliefs, truisms from experience, and “truths” imposed on me by others.  Maybe you are like me – you take in new ideas but don’t make room for them by discarding beliefs that no longer serve you well.  By now, there is so much clutter that it is difficult to distill things objectively into knowledge and truth.  It is time to take inventory of what I keep in my head!

I know today that there are NO RULES OF LIFE (outside of legal or societal norms) – except inside my head which means that anything can be removed from my belief inventory without consequence.  To de-clutter my life, I realize that I must first discard flawed beliefs and childhood “rules” that no longer apply.  To do this I compiled two lists: the first is the list of “momilies” (things a mom tells you) that I ingested growing up (that now contradict what I know t0 be true) and other beliefs I can abandon; the second is the list of beliefs I choose to embrace.  This inventory exercise helped me to separate what I can discard (the first list) from my reality and experience beliefs.

List #1:  Momilies…

  • The Golden Rule – “do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you”  – a motherhood and apple pie servitude that is a good idea, but it can imprison those who are “givers” in life. I have held on to this belief for far too long and it has bitten me many times. Most of our society does not adhere to this “rule”  and instead opt to walk all over those who upheld it.  It is an altruistic but unrealistic rule intended for an ideal world.  I let it go.
  • Think of others before yourself (Girl Scouts remnant) also called “The more you give, the more you receive adage” – This is one of the cornerstones of organized religion and enlists people to servitude (which works for some people).  After years of giving unconditionally and getting doormat treatment in return, I’m ready to let this belief go.  In reality, we must give first to ourselves, and if there is anything left over, then give to society and others.  Certainly giving can be virtuous and good for society – but should never at the cost of one’s best interests or self-preservation.   The truth is that we should remember the airline practice:  Put on your own mask first before assisting others!
  • Share and share alike. Another motherhood and apple pie teaching that works to discourage narcissistic children, but it doesn’t apply in adult life.  Not every child in a playground will share and this makes the idea of sharing inequitable.  The takers of the world quickly learn how to take advantage of those who do share.  In our capitalistic society of “grab as much as you can while you can”, anyone who follows the share and share alike will be quickly left behind.
  • Life is fair. I have no idea why this misguided idea was still stuck in my head.  I can only surmise that it resembled truth while growing up in a family where everything had to be absolutely equal (even to the extent of cutting up two fruit cocktail cherries to be equally divided among 5 siblings).  Life is not fair or equal – and it never was.  I banish this one from my head!
  • What goes around comes around (or the rule of Karma). Okay, I cannot completely let go of this one – even though it is unproven and may be “new age”.   If you are like me, you have seen many people cheat, lie, steal and otherwise mistreat others to get ahead in life with few negative consequences.  However, I still believe that one cannot cheat and pillage others indefinitely – without Karma “what goes around comes around” catching up.  Call me naive.
  • Money can’t buy happiness. What a bunch of bs it was to believe this one!  Money buys comfort, relief from stress, financial freedom and independence.  While this may be a good adage to guide kids careers towards service, it simply is untrue.  Just look at the family struggling month-to-month to pay a mortgage or feed their loved ones – and then suggest that money doesn’t buy happiness.  Quite the contrary – a lack of money can definitely result in stress and unhappiness.

Since childhood, I’ve also amassed a surprising amount of new (and often conflicting) beliefs that took up battle with the misguided beliefs above.  In light of the realities of life, I am willing to discard the unrealistic beliefs above.  In so doing, the mind battles will diminish so that peace and kindness can prevail inside my head!

Sunset

List #2: Truisms that I will keep

  • Don’t give away anything that you might need someday (especially money!)  When I had employees, I paid them the highest and most generous salary I could afford (far above the industry average) because I believed this was fair and the right way to run a business with high ethics (they were doing the work after all).  This was an altruistic and misguided choice as my employees abandoned me when the workload lessened, joined my competition, and I was left with a business without financial reserves.
  • Trust, but verify. This Ronald Reagan adage is a prudent way to protect your own interests from pillage.  I discovered the truth of this following a financially damaging divorce where I trusted the wrong people (without verifying) and I will pay for the oversight for years to come.
  • The best investment is you. This truism delivers a guaranteed high ROI.  School children should be taught self-preservation and self-love first. With so much negative thinking in our society today, a healthy self-image can be difficult to keep up yet it is a pre-requisite for success in life.
  • You are the best you’ll ever have – and that more than enough. You are whole, complete, and perfect just as you are – and deserve to be accepted and loved unconditionally just as you are.  In life, the only love you that you can be assured of reciprocity is from yourself. Everyone else is a risk.
  • A mother’s love is unrivaled. I would never have believed how much love I could have for my children and no matter their behavior, I will always love them unconditionally.  I would never change the experiences of the past because they are the rock of my life.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. I know that this defies the Disney or “Dream the Impossible Dream” wishful thinking, but if it is too good to be true, it usually is 99.9% of the time.  Sure it can be fun to dream big, but believing people or promises that contradicts our intuition usually bites us. Everywhere we read about ripoffs, opportunists, cheats, and yet we so often hope that we cad defy the odds in spite of our intuition telling us otherwise.  We need to trust our intuition to tell us the truth and listen — instead of listening to people who make promises to which they cannot deliver.
  • If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it is yours, if it doesn’t it never was.  This is so true in life.  While  typically applied to unrequited love, it also applies to friends, jobs, opportunities.  When WE love someone or something, it can be difficult to let go of the wish to keep them in our life. The only person or situation where we can be assured that will come back to us in love is oneself.

Clearing out the clutter between my ears is my first step to simplifying my life.  It is a journey I am ready to take this year, what about you?

p.s., My bookshelf find:  See you at the Top by Zig Ziglar is going to be a keeper!  Zig opens the book with several chapters exploring the 15 steps to a healthy self-image.  He asserts that success in life starts a healthy self-image but due to an overwhelming abundance of negative beliefs we hold about oneself (imposed by others over many years), we have a lot to overcome.  See You at the Top is definitely a book that I will keep in my collection – one can never have too many positive reinforcement books on a bookshelf!

Wishing you a clutter-free week!

Carol
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Living Keywords – The Top Five

14 Jun

Google ranks websites by keywords, search engine optimization (SEO) maximizes keyword provisioning, we remember concepts by keywords… and business coaches rely on keywords to transfer knowledge and concepts.

As such, there’s a recurring theme to keyword selection: make them memorable. I’ve found five top keywords that reoccur no matter what book or guru or model I come across.

LighthouseThe top five keywords are (in no order):

1. Present: as in the current state.  Focus on today’s results, moods, plans, accomplishments because they are all we ever really have.  It is said that today is a present (a gift) which is a play on words but tells the true meaning.

2. Self: as in self-love and making sure that you take care of yourself first.  While many of us bear other roles in life (mother, father, son, daughter, caregiver, partner, friend, etc.) we can never truly give our best in these roles unless we truly love ourselves.  In some models this is called “Integrity” and means that we should always treat ourselves as we’d like others to treat us (a bit of a twist on the golden rule!)

3. Trust: as in trust that others carry their own baggage and do things based on their own perspective. Some advocates call this “never assume” or “don’t take things personally” because others only speak from their own point-of-view — never ours.  This also translates into trust ourselves and our intuition.

4. Flow: as in life is a continuous flow of energy – positive and negative – and is constantly changing form. Nothing that exists in this moment will be the same again. This means that we can celebrate the positive moments, and also know that negative ones can change for the better in the future.

5. Belief: as in the universe is plentiful beyond our belief.  The Law of Attraction, The Secret, religions, etc. all support that there is an ever-expanding capacity that the universe will support more love, energy, prosperity, finances, success, happiness, money, than we can even imagine.  Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and many other popular models hinge on the premise that what we envision we can achieve – without limits.

What are your living keywords?

Wishing you a successful and prosperous week!

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Copyright Carol Dekkers 2010…

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