The power of feedback and creation of negative beliefs
Buddhist abbot Ajahn Brahm gave the example of a monastery wall he built in Australia. The wall had two “bad” bricks sticking out at an angle. He was embarrassed about the appearance of the wall until a visitor pointed out that only two bricks were deficient out of 1,000.
The morale of this story:
Whenever we give feedback it is always important to put deficiencies into context. Talk about the 998 good bricks, as well as the two bad ones, otherwise they may feel you are attacking their entire wall.
When feedback is levied at a person’s identity rather than behaviour, this can create or reinforce limiting beliefs. Henry Ford, once said ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right!’ He was making reference to the fact that what’s going on in our heads has an effect on the way we behave.
A belief is a thought in your mind that causes the power of your subconscious mind to effect your thinking habits. During childhood adults – usually parents and teachers – give us information and because we have no frame of reference or experience against which we can validate this information, we tend to believe it as being true. If they are negative, we can carry this negativity into our adult life and allow it to affect the way we think and limit what we believe we can achieve. A large number of our thoughts are negative and as many are repeated, this only serves to reinforce the negativity.
These are known as limiting beliefs, which can be changed relatively easily and once changed can have major benefits to our mental health. Limiting beliefs arise from filtering information as there is so much information reaching our brain. For much of what we do we operate on autopilot like getting out of bed. Whilst these traits are often required for efficient working, they can create powerful limiting beliefs that are not useful or appropriate. We delegate, generalize and distort massive amounts of information. These internal processes function automatically in the subconscious. In road accidents, investigators find that, were witnesses are highly stressed, they produce wildly different accounts of the same event. If you hold a negative belief what can you do? The first step is to recognize it, because only then can you begin to change. Often people fear failure or success, fear of the unknown, I don’t deserve it, I’m not good enough, It’s going to take a long time.
Beliefs are like software, it’s no good if the computer’s great, if you’re running on the wrong software, you won’t get the right results. The right beliefs lead to the right action. You are what you think.
“I praise loudly. I blame softly.” Catherine the Great