THE BLOG
10/24/2014 01:49 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2014

Belief: An Underutilized Tool

Yuri Arcurs via Getty Images

There are many life lessons taught every day, such as ways to deal with others, subject matter expertise, and learning basic survival skills. However, there isn't enough time allocated to teach individuals about the power of belief. This is surprising because belief is often a cornerstone of success. Moreover, if individuals don't believe in themselves, then the reason that others should believe in their activities or causes might not be as great.

Belief is a thought, feeling, or an internal drive that can be used to overcome an obstacle, advance toward a goal, or move beyond past challenges --- sometimes in spite of overwhelming odds. Belief isn't required to move forward; although, it's an important tool to help summon the energy to persevere during difficult moments or challenging times. Furthermore, the biggest benefit of possessing belief is that it supports something that is significant to someone --- even if nobody else agrees with it.

Belief is something that is true to an individual, very personal, needs to be developed, and can be a powerful tool for personal development. It's also a characteristic that can help individuals move forward, solve an issue, or to achieve a goal. Nevertheless, everyone doesn't have belief in themselves or may choose not to leverage their belief system to maximize their potential. Some reasons that belief might not be fully utilized are: self-doubt, fear, others' opinions, etc. Notwithstanding, a significant reason that belief isn't used more often is that life experiences greatly influence an individual's ability to "believe."

Things that happen during someone's lifetime effect their perspective and outlook. If an individual has had positive experiences associated with their beliefs, then their outlook is usually more positive. Conversely, if an individual has had bad experiences associated with their beliefs, then their outlook might be more negative. Although, a single bad experience won't always impact someone's future outlook, unless an individual learns to SEE; that is, the individual experiences a (S)ignificant (E)motional (E)vent.

Once an individual begins to SEE, there is a realization -- temporary or long-term -- that something that was once believed to be unimportant is actually important or something that was believed to be important might not be as significant.

There are several components of belief:

  • concept - an individual envisions a way to accomplish a task, activity, or project, which doesn't need to be fully understood for an idea to be developed;
  • consideration - something is evaluated as a possibility, but hasn't been selected as a viable option;
  • convenience - something that is used, done, or believed only if there is a potential benefit to an individual's position, situation, or desired outcome.

Oftentimes, belief might not be used sufficiently because of a lack of confidence, questionable arrogance, or a negative roadblock. Therefore, belief must be developed and maintained to achieve an internal balance that will support their goals, which includes an ability to be positive in their actions, to not be confident in a condescending manner, and to prevent any self-defeating activities that might prevent themselves or others from making forward-progress.

Belief can be a challenge because no matter the amount that someone wants something to be true. There aren't any guarantees that a belief is correct, achievable, plausible, possible, reasonable, or viable. As a result, belief requires faith in something that -- many times -- cannot be proven to be achievable or attainable at the time it's pursued.

Other challenges with the development of belief are that individuals:

  • have doubts;
  • don't have others' support;
  • aren't confident in their own capabilities;
  • have a need for approval;
  • haven't solidified their belief;
  • have a fear that prevents a pursuit of something that might be true.

Belief helps to provide energy to complete something that someone wants to achieve; however, anyone who doesn't believe in something that is thought, done, or pursued can give-up long before the desired outcome is achieved. For this reason, individuals must understand that belief isn't required to accomplish something; although, belief can be a significant factor between experiencing success or failure.

Activities that can help develop belief:

  • Work on a dream despite fears, which sometimes requires moving past personal limitations and barriers to develop an idea or to achieve a desired outcome.
  • Consider an idea to be in-progress and build on it.
  • Act as if there isn't a possibility of failure.
  • Continue to be self-motivated --- even if there are setbacks.
  • Minimize doubts and worries to maximize opportunities for success.
  • Learn a lot from each effort --- even if the outcome isn't as desired or expected.

Beliefs might not always be realized; however, individuals who don't pursue their positive beliefs can limit opportunities, options, and possibilities for a better future for themselves and others.

Remember ... no matter the length of your journey, always be your best.

Additional information on the development of belief can be obtained from Mr. Young's presentation about "belief" and his solution-oriented book "Management Spotlight: Belief".

This post originally appeared on S. L. Young's blog on his website at: www.slyoung.com