None of us enjoys being forced to do anything. None of us enjoys feeling helpless when things are taken out of our hands. Let’s face it – we’d rather face the consequences of our own actions any day, good or bad, than be handed a fate that we had nothing to do with creating.
Here’s the good news – when it comes to developing a lifestyle for ourselves, nobody else can force anything upon us. Sure, everyone can present us with information, options, opportunities, and even ultimatums, but none of those in themselves frame our lifestyles. It is not until we decide on what’s been presented and take action that our lifestyles begin to be shaped. We always have the option to do nothing; oftentimes that is the easiest option. For instance, when you get an electric bill, you have the choice to do nothing. But of course, there are consequences for a lack of action on your part.
All of us value survival, reproduction, and the pursuit of pleasure. These are simply ingrained in our makeup as humans. Those values will automatically cause us to choose certain options when we are faced with particularly pressing decisions (e.g. “Do I get out of the way of the charging rhino or stand here and see what happens?”).
However, there are other less reflexive decisions that we are faced with every day that we see and respond to through the filters of our beliefs – sets of internal rules created by what information we choose to accept as truth. Our beliefs govern the decisions we make, which generate our actions, which become our behaviors, which ultimately produce our lifestyles. This is why just believing “something” is not sufficient to create a well person’s lifestyle – it’s not just that we believe, but more importantly what we believe. Our choices are driven by our beliefs. They give us more control over our lives than even our genes do – what are we giving our genes the permission to express by our everyday lifestyle choices?
Sir Anthony Hopkins, in an interview with SUCCESS Magazine, shares that his innate values, his influences, and his choices moved him from “trouble child” to career actor of over 50 years. He had no choice but to believe something throughout his lifetime, but it’s what he believed that caused him to take the actions he did, which over time created the lifestyle he now enjoys. He could have chosen to believe that his problems as a youth would keep him out of touch with society forever, but instead he harnessed what was seen as his “problems” and chose to create productive expression out of them. We’ll notice also in the interview that the lifestyle he built includes the professional and financial life that many of us recognize, and also encompasses his physical and mental well-being that isn’t often publicized.
In examining our present beliefs, how they have produced our current lifestyles, and how we might modify them to obtain results we want, let’s ask ourselves questions such as:
• What exactly do I believe about eating, moving, and thinking, and their importance in life?
• Who taught me what I know and believe about them now?
• Are there people achieving better results in any or all of those areas who might have a different belief than me or the people I learned from?
• What do they know that I don’t?
• Will I accept what they know as truth, replacing what I believe to be true now, and incorporate it into my every day decision-making?
• Am I doing anything in my life that is in direct opposition to what I believe is my purpose for being alive?
• How can I better align my beliefs and actions with that purpose?
In achieving or maintaining control in our lives, let’s validate our beliefs against our purpose and, as Brian Tracy discusses, be true to ourselves and act as though it were impossible to fail.
We can all enjoy lifestyles of wellness if we will choose to believe what has produced wellness in those who are already living it!