The Most Important Discovery I’ve Made In The Last Decade
I am constantly learning; whether it is from great books (thank goodness for audio books) or great people who I have the privilege of interacting with.
Today, I want to share with you one of the most important discoveries I have made in the last decade.
It has revolutionized my life, reduced my stress, and made life incredibly more enjoyable.
It is called the ‘Belief Matrix’ and it was taught to me by my friend and mentor, Paul Anthes, of R3 Coaching.
Here’s how it works:
Knowledge & Truth lead to our Beliefs, which in turn direct our Actions, that lead to the Results we experience. If we want to experience a different result, we need to change our belief and not just our actions.
The reason lasting change does not occur most of the time (e.g., New Year’s Resolutions) is we focus on changing our actions, rather than changing our beliefs. For example, most of us want to live more healthy lives, so this time of year we are tempted to join, more than likely rejoin, a gym. We focus on changing our actions (go to the gym) to achieve our desired result (be healthier).
So why are we still not going to the gym in two months’ time? Our belief system has not changed.
Our belief system is telling us, ‘I can neglect exercise and it won’t really matter. More rest will be just as good, or I’ll go to the gym tomorrow and make up for not going today’.
The key principle to recognize is: Long term we cannot act in a manner inconsistent with our beliefs. Our belief that we can ignore proper exercise controls our action and we stay in bed. If we want as healthy a body as we can have and we want an active, full lifestyle, then we need to go back to our beliefs and rewrite them.
I need to change my belief to, ‘Yes, it might be cold and dark outside. It may take more effort to get out of bed and exercise than staying in this cozy spot. However, it’s so worth it to be fit and healthy, to feel great about me, to set my day up for success and to enjoy my long-term preferred future of being active and healthy to the end of my life. Neglecting exercise does matter’.
Another key point is the foundation upon which we build is critical. Regardless of what our foundation is, it will develop our Belief system, which will drive our Actions and lead to the Results we experience.
This process is easily seen with money. When we begin working with a new client, we ask to hear their story about what money was like growing up and how they ended up where they are financially. This helps us better understand the foundation for their beliefs, their beliefs and what will drive how they manage their money.
I recently heard of someone who, as a very young girl, watched her father running into their family business when it was on fire to grab the cash register, burning his hands in the process. She was too young at the time to understand what money was, but the lesson that was scorched into her mind was money is very valuable, it is worth risking your life and health for.
She has lived her life with that belief system, which has directed her Actions and Results.
What I do find alarming is what happens when the foundation upon which we build our belief system is not accurate. There are many fallacies promoted by our culture that are simply not true.
For example, many believe that to acquire financial wealth you need to be lucky, have rich parents or win the lottery.
All of our clients have financial wealth. When I hear their story, I find all spent less than they made, took some risk by investing some of the extra in a business and/or other investments, did this for many years and grew their assets. Each of you have your own nuances to your story and most have also overcome many challenges along the way.
I also recognize that there are no guarantees. Many others followed a similar belief system but had misfortune to the extent that it prohibited the financial wealth accumulation that likely otherwise would have occurred. Regardless, much of society believes they have limited influence over their financial future. However, history has shown we can take steps to help improve the chance of positively influencing our financial future.
Here are 3 vital questions and an important application:
What does your family believe?
Do your children/nieces/nephews know how you accumulated the financial wealth you have or is society influencing their beliefs more than you are?
They have likely caught some of your principles from your unconscious modeling, but have you intentionally discussed the principles you have found to work, the places you failed, what you learned from your mistakes, and how you got to where you are?
Typically, they were not around in the early days to see your financial struggles and your modest situation. As a result, they may feel they should be able to skip the “modest” part of the journey. Do not limit your discussion just to your financial success/failure experiences. Share the lessons you have learned about relationships, business, life, etc. It’s important to get their perspectives as well. They may have a healthier belief about money because they saw you pay too high a price for your financial success. Or maybe they watched you burn your hands on the cash register and you need to help them adjust their belief system because you have now adjusted your belief to a healthier position because of your blisters.
90 percent of a high-net-worth family’s assets will never reach the fourth generation because heirs receive the assets but not the wisdom from which it was created. If your family is going to be different, you need to do something different.
It starts with having proactive discussions with your family members to transfer your values before you transfer your valuables. We give our family a massive advantage by sharing with them what we have found works and what does not, as a result of our decades in the school of hard knocks. If we do not do this, each generation will start out from scratch without the advantage of building on the foundation that has been laid by those in the prior generation(s).
Imagine the compounding effect of even two to three generations of wisdom, values and life experiences being taught to the following generation. That would truly be a rich, life-altering inheritance. The few families that have a multi-generational impact are intentional about giving the next generation this advantage.
The Belief Matrix has caused me to re-examine my beliefs and what they are based on: My Knowledge & Truth. In this endeavor, I found it disturbing that often they are not as accurate as I thought they were.
For me, I have found the Bible to have great wisdom and when I follow that wisdom, I have not regretted it. What I have found disconcerting is that what I often thought of as principles from the Bible have actually been based on traditions, fads, religious practice, etc. that were masquerading as if they were from the Bible. I have spent considerable time analyzing what my belief system is and whether it was based on a source of truth I can trust or simply something pretending to be a source of truth.
I have found many part-truths that I have mistakenly followed. Once I identified a belief that was not accurate, I searched to find what the Bible actually said about the topic. It’s been a very enlightening and liberating exercise. Those nuggets of wisdom allowed me to re-write my Beliefs which changed my Actions. The Results have been spectacular: More peace of mind, less anxiety, more confidence and conviction and more clarity about how to create and enjoy wealth in each currency (intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, and financial).
Your foundation for Knowledge & Truth may be different and come from a different source than mine but I expect, if you make the effort, you will find, like me, that many of the partial truths you live by are different from what your source of truth actually says. I would encourage you to re-examine, question and test your beliefs. It is a rich process that I believe will lead to refined beliefs and much better results.
The Belief Matrix is a powerful tool that contains great wisdom, I hope it impacts you like it did me. If you would like to learn more about how to capture your values and success principles or how to begin transferring them to your family, please schedule a conversation with us today.