The Unbelievable Power of Belief
"The Unbelievable Power of Belief" - (Originally published in April of 2019. Reposting March 2021)
What makes something true?
The sky is blue. Yes, that is true.
It’s a beautiful day. Well, that depends.
Anytime something can be impacted by belief, it will be impacted by belief. That law should be up there with Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
My fascination with belief is that it can be so powerful that we often treat opinion as fact.
Automatically, I think about politics and political parties...BUT let’s go a different route. Let’s go to Shallow Hal. Yes, that Shallow Hal starring Jack Black circa 2001.
If you haven’t seen the movie, my man Tony Robbins gives Hal (Jack Black) the power to believe all the girls he sees are perfect 10’s if they truly are a great person behind their appearance. In the end, Hal’s hypnosis wears off but he stays with the girl he fell in love with because he couldn’t not see her as perfect. He knew what he had come to believe in his heart and nothing was going to change that.
If you’re wondering how I’m going to tie this into health and fitness...hold onto your weight belts.
During this year’s CrossFit Open I had a similar feeling. I’m entering my score as a Master’s athlete for the first time ever. I turned 35 on March 29th. (That still feels weird saying out loud.)
We had just finished 19.2, a repeat workout from three years prior, 16.2. I was incredibly happy with my effort and had the entire gym screaming at me for each, very heavy rep at the end.
When my score got approved and factored into my overall score it put me at 65th in the world after two workouts for the 35-39 age group. I thought for sure something had to be wrong with CrossFit’s leaderboard. There was still a bunch of scores to come in since it was only Sunday night and the deadline is Monday, but I never imagined a double digit standing next to my name, ever.
I felt so great from the validation of a number. I noticed the rush of great hormones I was getting from seeing this result. I had a feeling of accomplishment. A feeling that I didn’t want to end, but I knew it would once I started to rationalize how many scores weren’t submitted yet or how this was only week 2 of 5 weeks in the Open.
I thought to myself, what if I don’t let myself rationalize my euphoric feelings back down to Earth? What if I held onto this belief that I was good enough to be the top 200 in the 35-39 age group and qualify for the next stage of competition? What if I don’t look at the leaderboard again yet act and compete like I’m 65th in the world, always?
That was a powerful thought.
It wasn’t powerful because all of the sudden my head got big like I was some great potential Games athlete.
It was powerful because for one moment, I STOPPED thinking I could never be a great athlete. All the limiting beliefs that I always kept for myself suddenly flew away.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
We create beliefs about our limitations that almost become fact to us. It’s bad when we do it to ourselves, but worse when we do it to others.
There’s a great scene from Shallow Hal (yes, we’re back there again), where Hal is angry at his friend Mauricio for reversing his hypnosis and making him see the “facts” that his girlfriend Rosemary isn’t a perfect ten.
[after Mauricio broke Hal's spell]
Hal : Let me ask you something. Who is the all-time love of your life?
Mauricio : [ponders] Wonder Woman.
Hal : Okay... let's say Wonder Woman falls in love with you. And everyone else in the world didn't find her attractive.
Mauricio : It wouldn't matter. Because I know they'd be wrong.
Hal : See! That's what I had with Rosemary! I saw a knockout, I don't care what anybody else saw!
Mauricio : You're right. I guess I really did screw you, huh?
That is what’s amazing about belief. The only person that has to believe is you. That’s all who really matters. If you see yourself as a great athlete, or you see yourself as someone who has double unders, or see yourself 20 pounds lighter...who cares what anyone else sees?
As a coach and parent, I try my best not to project my limiting beliefs onto my athletes or kids. It’s also my job to help them breakthrough their own limiting beliefs. I’ve learned through the years that athletes are going to come to you with enough limiting beliefs for the both of you.
Lately when an athlete comes to me with a limiting belief, “I will never be able to do double unders” or “I can never get above 135 pounds on my clean”, my response is simply, “Well, not with that attitude.” It’s supposed to be funny but it’s true, if you can’t see it for yourself, how do you expect someone else to?
That’s my favorite part about our gym. Even when you don’t believe in yourself, you’re surrounded by people who are willing to believe for you.
Throughout each workout of the Open, I had my fit family cheering for me that I could do it. There was only one voice in the entire gym that doubted my abilities, and it was my own voice in my head.
It’s always a work in progress as I coach myself and coach others. It’s important I realize what’s really fact and what’s only a belief, and know the beliefs can always be changed.
What's a limiting belief you're going to change the story around?
"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." -MARK 11:24 NKJV