A man wearing a black T-shirt and a dark green wooly hat, standing in a field with long brown grass, with his arms outstretched to the sides and his head bent forward, facing away from us. Disbelief

The Art of Disbelief

Seeing is Believing

During my time in the army I had wondered how certain people got promoted as fast as they had. There were plenty of theories and opinions, but I wanted to know the truth behind it. I asked one of my seniors who told me there was a “secret” to it; he never expanded on that. Regardless of what he meant, those words stayed with me and got me wondering why some people seem to succeed in life were as others struggle through life. There had to be an art to this and disbelief in the process was not a part of it. Earl Nightingale had asked the same questions decades before I was even born – if only I knew.

After leaving the service, my learning journey started. What I hadn’t accounted for was not only how much I didn’t know or was aware of, but how much of it was based on disbelief.

By disbelief I’m referring to our stubborn hold on ideas and beliefs, that tell us that something cannot happen for us, does not exist or doesn’t work – because we don’t know any better.

For example, the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. There are people that will tell you that reading the book changed their life. At the same time, there are others who will tell you that it did nothing for them, that it’s “a load of rubbish” or “hog-wash”.

I’ve heard of a story of a man who made his success and riches, by reading “The Book of Solomon”, which is “Psalms” in The Bible.

All books are words and it’s the meaning that those words give us and what we understand from them, that causes us to make a change. But they are just words. They cannot have an effect on us unless we choose those words to have an effect on us – it is our choice.

So why were some people being affected by those books and others not?

“Tous les jours…”

“Tous les jours, à tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux” translates to, “Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better”. This is one of the most known affirmations in the Western World. It is called the Coué method, named after its founder Émile Coué.

This method of affirmation, or auto-suggestion, depends solely on the person saying the words; It depends on whether they believe that they will get better or not.

If you say the words, but you don’t believe their meaning and that they will have an effect on you, they won’t.

As Orison Swett Marden said, “He can who thinks he can”. If you think that by saying the words they will have an effect, then they will. But if you don’t, they won’t. If you think you can do something you will, but if you don’t believe you can, you won’t.

The Secret

Another example of disbelief is the Law of Attraction (LoA). Also called cause and effect, the law of sowing and reaping and more commonly referred to as, “you get what you give”.

There are those who “have tried it and it doesn’t work”. Then there are those who say that the law of attraction change their lives.

Just like the books and their words, I found it odd how “it worked” for some but not for others.

It’s like saying that if you give two different people a seed from a lemon, then the seed “will work” for one and not the other. The only reason a seed will not germinate is because the conditions are not right for it to germinate. Nature has set laws and they do not change. The same laws apply to one person as well as another, regardless of age, colour, race, height, weight or any other difference you might want to add. As for the seed, having “green fingers” is down to a bit of knowledge on what nature needs for something to grow.

If we change the outlook on “you get what you give” and say that people get what they truly believe in, things become more clear. Isn’t that what the law of attraction says after all?

It’s a law and whether you believe in to or not, it exists. It’s not something that only comes into existence as soon as you hear of its existence or recognise it. It just is.

Same as gravity – it just is. It’s a universal law. Just because you first heard about it when you went to school didn’t mean that it didn’t exist for you before then. It always did.

Whether something will work out or “work for you”, is all down to whether you believe in it or not.

And the obstacle is our disbelief in their existence.

The Obstacle Course

In the military there are physical tests that we had to pass to get a fitness pass, one of which is the obstacle course. Not every obstacle course is the same. Some have more obstacles, some less. The weather can also affect how difficult or easier the course will be.

Teamwork is key to overcoming some of the obstacles – thats how they are designed. Our mindset had to be right, ready to overcome difficulty and finish the course as a team. Failure was not an option. Infact, it never entered your mind.

(Incase you read through that passage as a group of words and paid no real attention to their meaning, read through it again and realise how much that has to do with your life – your obstacles, your environment, difficulties and goals.)

Each obstacle had to be overcome one at a time. I couldn’t, obviously, overcome the last obstacle before I had got through the first one. The same goes with the obstacles, the biases, the beliefs, the disbeliefs in your own mind.

The first and biggest obstacle is believing in the idea and not the environment. Thomas Troward referred to these as the “first cause”, the mind, the idea and “secondary cause”, the environment.

Most people believe only in what they see; the environment, the “secondary cause”.

First the Idea

You are now being asked to view the environment that you live in as a result of your ideas, your mindset and your way of thinking, as well as the result of others’ ideas, mindset and thinking. They also played a part in what you see, but, what they think you have no control over. You do have control over what you think.

Everything began as an idea. When you look at historical facts and the way that you have lived your life, you’ll realise it is true. For example, you wouldn’t have gone shopping if you hadn’t thought about going shopping. The necessity for food was the drive behind the idea, but the idea had to form in the first place. Always the idea first.

Disbelief is what holds you back from believing this to be true. You have to assess this by yourself first to see if this is true or not.

Only then can you begin to move from disbelief to belief.

Nothing will work until you believe it will, until you think and believe you can.

You have to go from disbelief to belief – belief in yourself and believe that there is a universal source, an energy that responds to you in your life. You get what you truly believe you will get.

Knowledge and Understanding

It’s easy for me to tell you to believe in a universal energy that responds to you in such a way that you ALWAYS get back what you truly want. But what you want is proof and to experience it before you can believe.

When it comes to our brains there is plenty of scientific evidence, throughout the web, on how our minds work and how the mind is a goal seeking mechanism. That we only have conscious control of our actions and thoughts for a fraction of the time (2%-5% of the day), the rest of the time being on automatic (thanks to our subconscious beliefs).

Universal energy and the law of attraction are not so easy to convince and give proof of. Science has shown that everything is energy (read my previous article for a bit more on this).

Only by gaining knowledge and understanding by reading, listening, experiencing and criticising what we read, do and hear, can we gain the knowledge and understanding we need to believe.

Disbelief to Belief

This has been the hardest part for me. Ive always wanted evidence, facts, what my five senses tell me, to believe in anything. A bit of a “doubting Thomas” at times.

It’s a matter of searching and, the key for me, understanding how things work, especially how our brain and mind work.

When it comes to the universal laws, they are much like my chilli plant on the balcony. I planted the seeds, watered them and after a period of time, which is out of my control, they grew to provide me back with what I had planted – chillies. And more than I had expected. That’s nature. Each seed provides more of what was planted and in abundance.

And since we live in this same environment, it is only a single step away to realise that our nature cannot be any different. You could say that it requires a leap of faith.

Except that we need to see to believe instead of believing to see.

It’s like the lake district in the North of England. On clear days you can see the lakes. When the fog and rain move in, you can’t. If someone told you that there’s a lake a fifty metres in front of you, you’d doubt it until you saw it with your own eyes.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when we need proof and it is a necessity.

But the life we want or striving for, is like the lake – it’s there, but you have to believe that it’s there before you can see it and it’s always been there.

We just need to start to believe. To believe before we see it in front of us.

Our belief has to be like our belief about the sunset and the sunrise. We know that the sun will rise in the East and set in the West – it never changes.

We need to believe as much as we do in this process. When we do, belief carries us down the stream, to the life we seek. And disbelief becomes a by-word for what used to be.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
John 20:29

We are accustomed to judge only by external appearances and by certain limited significances which we attach to words; but when we begin to enquire into the real meaning of our words and to analyse the causes which give rise to the appearances, we find our old notions gradually falling off from us until at last we wake up to the fact that we are living in an entirely different world to that we formerly recognised.
Thomas Troward

Photograph by: Alex Woods on Unsplash

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