“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
– Mark Twain
Over the years, we pick up all kinds of notions and beliefs about what is true and what isn’t. They hang out in our brains until some event jars them into action, thus affecting how we feel and behave. If one or more of our beliefs are faulty, they can cause problems for us and those around us.
I’ve housed my share of false notions that led to all kinds of problems. I went through a period where I believed I was more engaging and socially adept after consuming a few (often quite a few) alcoholic beverages. The notion was that individuals were enthralled with my clever banter and I often “stole the show.” Wow, was that a faulty belief! After receiving some professional assistance, I learned from good friends that I had come across as obnoxious and self-absorbed. My “show” would have closed the first night it played in Peoria. Thankfully, for all involved, the removal of this faulty belief changed my drinking behavior.
Then, there were years I felt older people – say, over 50 – had little to contribute to the progressive flow of life. They were to be tolerated, cared for when necessary, but never taken seriously. This faulty belief limited many natural opportunities for me to be mentored and educated. It took me several business misadventures to recognize that wisdom often was the result of experience honed over years. In fact, as I grew older, 50 in my eyes went from being aged, to middle-aged, to being a youngster.
Several years ago, I realized this former faulty belief had done a 180. Now, I had little appreciation for young, computer-savvy kids who only associated the word “tie” with the score of a ball game. This belief was recently challenged again when I discovered many of these youngsters came equipped with a unique capability for organizing, interpreting and distributing large chunks of data. And the future of The Change Companies® depends on these people and their marvelous and mysterious set of talents.
So now I am better at questioning the beliefs I have held for long periods of time. Whenever I want to challenge a particular notion, I ask “Is it true? Does it serve my best interest? How does it affect the events that are in front of me?”
Today, I recognize that beliefs need not be rigid or permanent. The notions I have in my head can be changed to make me feel and behave in healthier, happier ways.
About the author
Since founding The Change Companies® in 1988, Don has worked with approximately 150 agencies and corporations, tailoring Interactive Journals to serve those working and participating in the caring professions. His collaborative efforts in substance use, justice services, impaired driving, healthcare and education have consistently focused on helping individuals explore the process of positive personal change.
Earlier in his career, Don worked in many industries, including hotel management, publishing, higher education administration and healthcare business development. Along the way, he created numerous companies, experiencing both successes and failures. Many of these life lessons and joyous observations found their way into Don’s recent book, The Adventures of Binder-Man.
Don is most proud and appreciative of the outstanding employees who have shaped The Change Companies® for over two decades.
Word of the Week
The word thrall used to refer to a servant or slave, one subjugated to or held in the service of another. The roots of “thrall” trace back through Old Norse, all the way to a Proto-Germanic word for “runner.” Today, the captive nature of “enthrall” has evolved to define how an attention can be held in service instead. An enthralling performance, for example, is one that brings an audience running.