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To Change What You Believe is An Act of Bravery

Bravery is not the absence of fear; it is being nose-to-nose with it and saying, “Watch me”.

When a graphic designer feels stuck and changes what she believes — that she doesn’t need to work for a company to survive, that she has enough freelance work to make even more money and have more time to herself — you’re witnessing bravery.

What she used to believe — that she needed to intern at a company to learn, take part in projects, and build hers skills — wasn’t wrong. It just became outdated. She accomplished what she had to accomplish, and now she’s realizing it’s time to fly higher. What she believes now: That she can make it on her own, that her heart is in doing work that she loves doing, and that she won’t run out of clients and go jobless and broke and die.

What stops us from adopting new beliefs so that we may move forward is the work of fear. That’s it.

Most kids who grow up in ghetto are surrounded by hip hop culture (I grew up with many of them) — the music, the attitude towards life, the clothes, the cars, the shiny things. Mass media, MTV and BET brainwashed an entire culture into believing that that’s the path they have to follow — that they need to wear Gucci belts or buy bottle service at clubs to be accepted and cool. But how can you blame them? The environment they’re raised in are enforcing those beliefs.

The desire to be accepted and understood and loved is rarely fulfilled, often to the point where people would do anything to attain it, for good or ill.

But when that kid finally changes what he believes — that success is not what he’s seeing on a screen, that he doesn’t have to follow the path of hip hop artists, although it does seem nice to live the way they do — you’re witnessing bravery. When that kid accepts himself for who he is, he is adopting new beliefs. Beliefs that may get him out of the ghetto and to live a life based on his own terms.

We don’t change what we believe because of fear. Feeling stuck is the result of fear; unstuck is a result of bravery, a change in our minds. It’s easy to accept our circumstances and to believe that we aren’t capable of doing more and being more. But do you see what happens when we accept certain beliefs?

“I want to be happy”

Do me a favor and define happiness. Write it down.

Don’t look at the person next to you. Don’t ask for other people’s opinion. Don’t look at the t.v. or the column in the magazine. No need to go on dictionary.com.

Look at yourself and define happiness. What is happiness to you? Define it and go attain it. Nothing can stop you from being happy but your own beliefs of what you believe happiness is supposed to be.

And if it so happens that what you thought was happiness wasn’t what you desired? Change your mind, again. There’s no wrong in doing so.

One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors:

“You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.” — Steven Pressfield

— PAUL JUN