The Belief That Can Take You Places
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
(Photo from the FA)
"They can because they think they can.” - Virgil
This past week, I got my first call up to the England Women's National Team.
At first, it didn't feel real since it had been a dream since such a young age - but then I realized, this was part of the reason why it was real... because I had been dreaming of it for years, imagining it, preparing for it. Believing it.
Beliefs are a little thing that can have a not so little impact.
A belief is any guiding principle, dictum, faith, or passion that can provide meaning and direction in life. It shapes who you are. It shapes who you become.
In short, you are who you believe you are. Then comes to question, but what do you believe?
This post speaks specifically to the way beliefs about our past can impact our future (who you become).
You may have heard it before, but a common belief, often thrown around is your past experiences dictate your future.
Since the future we wish to have is determined by the beliefs we hold - reading this common belief, I can understand why people believe things like I’ve failed in the past so I’m going to fail in the future. Or I haven’t achieved a dream before so I will never be able to.
To believe that the events of the past dictate the blueprint of our future is wildly limiting.
Instead, we should believe that “your interpretations of past experiences dictate your future.”
If we acquire the belief that our interpretations of the past can empower us for the future, then every past result - regardless of whether they were failures or successes, will serve us on our journey towards our dream.
I "failed" in the past - I have never been called into the England Women's National Team before now - but this did not dictate my future. I interpreted my lack of a call-up, into the need to develop more so that I am ready for when I finally get the call-up in the future.
This belief is based on the same principles of the man who broke the four-minute mile. A feat everyone believed was “impossible” - no one had succeeded at it in the past.
Roger Bannister got himself to achieve the impossible. He worked hard but more notably began to repeatedly run the event in his mind - attaching heightened emotional intensity to the action of breaking through the four-minute barrier, even-though he had never done it before; seeing his failures, and interpreting them through a lens as if he had succeeded.
This created strong beliefs and vivid mental references that became unquestioned commands to his body/nervous system as if he had already broken the time. This is what I was unknowingly doing through my whole childhood as I dreamed of playing in the England shirt with the seniors - commanding my mind and body to prepare for it.
Not only could he physically break the barrier, but mentally he had a compelling belief that he could run a four-minute mile.
Changing the meaning we place on a past event may seem little relative to the changing of a past event itself, but it can have a big impact on our future successes.
Holding this belief is like being able to time travel, or in my case, make a childhood dream become reality.
Bannister changed the beliefs about his past failures that were holding him back. I changed my beliefs about never being called into the England squad, into something that empowered me to believe I could achieve it.
With enough emotional intensity and repetition (constantly dreaming about it, writing about it, thinking about it, imagining it, walking through it), we can send commands to our nervous system that simulate a real experience - even if it hasn’t occurred yet - our mind and body believes it is ready to achieve it. So WILL achieve it.
It is this powerful belief that can bring power and control to our lives.
A belief is a little thing.
But it can have a not so little impact on your dreams, intentions, and goals - the places you want to go.