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We’ve all heard the adage that you can’t solve problems with the same consciousness that created them. However, we don’t hear enough about how to move to a consciousness that would solve the problems currently plaguing our businesses and societies. The movement has to start with examining our beliefs, as everything else flows from beliefs.
Belief as the Foundation of Our Experience
By way of definition, a belief system is an encapsulation of how a person or organization thinks about the world and their place in it. My interest is in economic thriving, at the business and societal level, so let’s explore how our beliefs determine whether or not our societies thrive economically.
An economic belief system starts with thoughts about physical security, such as who is worthy of having money and physical comforts, as well as whether these things are abundant in the world. It also reflects how people think about relationships with others, such as who is worthy of partnership and who is considered competition. And finally, it includes self-esteem and respect, including whether people are confident in their abilities to gain wealth and whether having more money makes people worthy of more respect.
These beliefs about money drive our economic behavior and experience. They determine how much effort we’re willing to exert and if we’re willing to cheat others to make money. They also establish who we’re willing to benefit if we have excess material wealth, as well as how we’ll care for others if we’re in a position of power. Beliefs shape whether we have a predisposition to compete with or collaborate with others, as well as who we’ll accept as a colleague. And they dictate whether we pursue wealth with confidence or fear. There’s even evidence that beliefs impact the very form of matter.
Our beliefs are programmed in our subconscious and even in our body, so that they shape our behavior and experience without our conscious awareness. We make choices all the time, always conforming to our beliefs, and usually without even being aware that they’re driven by subconscious beliefs. The first step to moving to a consciousness that addresses our problems is to become aware of our subconscious beliefs and determine if they serve us.
The Content of Our Beliefs
Many of our beliefs in Western society originate from our interpretation of the Judeo Christian doctrine. Although this has created a lot of beneficial beliefs, it has also generated some beliefs that don’t serve our goal of creating societies that thrive economically. Let’s take a closer look at the beliefs that don’t serve us.
We have been taught that God has all the power, and we are at his mercy. This leads to us having a lack of confidence that we’re strong enough to ensure our own welfare, much less being able or responsible to help others. We therefore must rely on a (big) government to ensure the wellbeing of the people.
We’ve been lead to believe that God’s love is conditional, so we have to prove that we’re worthy and only the worthy have the right to life. Because God is selective about who is worthy, we must compete with others to prove that we’re the most worthy. Therefore, we are predisposed to competition, and we believe it’s okay if the losers perish.
We are told that God created an ideal world, but immoral people cause the problems, and they must be punished to create a decent society. From this, we’ve formed the belief that some person is at fault if bad things happen, and we must set up rules to keep society in order and be quick to punish those who don’t follow the rules. Therefore, we’ve become a litigious society.
It doesn’t serve our businesses or our societies to be burdened with a big government, to be quicker to compete than collaborate, and to be constantly wary of litigation. Contrary to what we’ve been historically taught, I believe we have the power to control our experience of life, we don’t have to prove we’re worthy to have the right to life, and we’re not naturally immoral. I’m not asking to engage in a religious battle, but I propose there’s a preponderance of people who believe similar to me. Yet we’ve allowed mis-guided beliefs to form the foundation of our societies. Let’s become aware of our unconscious beliefs and then consciously determine if we want to accept or change them.
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I could not suggest and cannot accept that we have an economy that's being held back, that is a victim. Thus, you lose me with the title of this piece.
Some have an economy that they made the only game in too many towns. They devised it casually and manage it poorly, getting the results -- natural consequences, to use your term in a separate post -- we observe.
I agree about beliefs and consciousness, but many more beliefs are influential than the ones you chose to highlight.
I believe a healthy and resilient economy is an expression of people on whom an economy is not imposed.
David, I agree there are many more influential beliefs that I didn't mention. The ones I mention are the primary ones that don't serve our desire to thrive economically. I'm all about moving out of victimhood and into empowerment, which is why I'm prompting people to examine limiting beliefs.
When I say our economy is held back by limiting beliefs, I mean that our economy is not thriving to the degree it could be. As I state, it's being held back by big government, an obsession with competition rather than collaboration, and our propensity to sue each other. These things arise from our beliefs and keep us from generating and distributing wealth in a healthy manner.