My job was temporary.
I helped soldiers leaving the army at the end of the Vietnam War in the late 1960’s figure out what they would do in their post-military lives.
The Interest and Preference tests they took, which showed what areas of work and life best fit each person, were scored before I called each soldier in for a meeting and shared their results.
Not supervised closely, I had the option to share those results in whatever way I chose. Instead of just giving the results, I decided to first ask them about their dreams, before I shared their results.
And they did have dreams!
Everyone’s dream was different. One wanted to get married and live in a house with a white picket fence. Another wanted to pursue advanced education. Another wanted to buy a ranch stocked with horses and cows. Some wanted jobs in insurance, in helping fields, or in business. Most of them had clear ideas of what they would most love to do after leaving the military.
What surprised me was that to a person, each one enjoyed their dream only about five minutes. After that, they reversed direction and began to tell me all the reasons they could not ever have their dream: too old, too young, not pretty or handsome enough, not enough money, not properly qualified, not enough education, previous mistakes, or parental expectations. Immediately after sharing their dream, they talked themselves right out of it.
This behavior was stunning. What was causing all these people to do such a quick and comprehensive reversal on their dreams?
I discovered it was their beliefs about themselves and their world.
They believed they were too old or too young, too uneducated, or too poor. They took away their dreams by acquiescing to those beliefs.
I’ve learned we all live our lives based on what we believe. Furthermore, we often have no clue what those beliefs are.
In my book, “Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System,” (www.emotionalmasteryforlife.com) I tell the story of a young woman who never learned to cook. She believed that every man she dated had to cook because she couldn’t. While most of the other women looking for relationships with whom I worked struggled to find a man who could boil water, all of this woman’s partners cooked. Some were chefs. What was the difference? This young woman believed men could cook and that’s the type she must have. The others believed that men could not cook and men who cooked could not be found. In both instances, those involved were following their beliefs. For most, those beliefs were killing their dreams.
Unless we become aware of what we’re doing, each one of us can kill our dream(s) for our life, based on beliefs that often work against us and may be incorrect.
Where do we get beliefs?
- We inherit them from parents and significant adults
- We form them based on our experiences and resulting conclusions we draw. Any message, frequently repeated, is taken as “true” by our subconscious mind, staying there as a belief that guides our choices and behaviors
- We’re told what to believe
- We learn them from our culture or religion
- We decide what we choose to believe
Beliefs come from everywhere.
Not only can we unknowingly adopt the beliefs of others and assume they’re our own, we can run our lives with absolutely erroneous beliefs.
Puzzling about the military personnel systematically robbing themselves of their dreams, I realized I frequently talked myself out of my dreams. Based on beliefs I held, that my dreams were “too big,” that I wasn’t entitled to dream, that I wasn’t smart enough to create them, that I didn’t have the knowledge or backup I believed I needed to create my dreams, I robbed myself of amazing dreams. Right now, ask yourself, Are you robbing yourself of dreams that would improve your life? If “yes,” you’ve got work to do!
Realizing that there were many issues and tasks that lay between me and those dreams, it finally dawned on me that the real work in creating my dreams was in doing the “one foot in front of the other” work of removing all that stood between me and that dream!
Before I could create my dreams, I needed to work on what was occupying the in-between. What I found there were self-deprecating beliefs which were truly destroying my dreams.
I needed to handle the detritus from my beliefs: that I didn’t deserve what I wanted, that I was greedy or self-centered, that other people could realize their dreams but I couldn’t, that I was a woman in a world where only men could create their dreams.
It took a while to do this work. Things were sped up when I learned and applied this principle:
“Pay attention, not to what you want to overcome, but to what you want to become.”
The beliefs I held focused on the problems rather than the solutions. On my limitations rather than on my capabilities and talents. On my history, rather than on the possibilities.
Sit down today and examine what you believe. Know the beliefs you find are running your life. Decide which ones to eliminate and which to keep. Adopt new beliefs (repeat what you want to believe over and over until it coalesces in your subconscious mind).
Get in charge of creating your dreams. It’s what we’ve all come to earth to do.
Know your beliefs, choose your beliefs, and create the best life you can possibly have.
We’ve all come to earth to create and explore our dreams. Don’t let anything get in your way.
Find great products and services for your well-being from members of The Wellness Universe!
Ilene Dillon, MSW, has dedicated her life to helping people resolve personal challenges once and for all, then design life to be what they want it to be. A Transformation Specialist, she has worked 50 years as a psychotherapist and 15 years as a coach. She is a global speaker, Amazon International Best-selling author (The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, Volumes 1 and 2), podcast guest, and plans to give her first TEDx speech (on Anger) later this year. Ilene is also the author of Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System and End Manipulation: Stop Being Jerked Around by Toxic, Energy-draining People. With her little dog, Pi, Ilene lives and travels full-time throughout North America in her RV, writing, teaching, and speaking along the way.