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Your mental beliefs are your starting point

«Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right» – Henry Ford

Whether we have seen it in cartoons like Dumbo, or in a circus when there was one, the image of the huge and majestic elephant tied to a wooden stake stuck in the ground was amazing. A strong and powerful animal that could uproot a tree, deprived of freedom by being tied to a small stake. Why doesn’t it escape? Incredible as it may seem, it does not escape because it believes it cannot escape. They say that when they are little, they are tied to those same stakes, and no matter how much they stretch and writhe until they give up, day after day, they do not manage to free themselves. They try and try but they can’t get loose and in the end they give up. The stake has won and they have resigned themselves to being tied down. And the years go by. The elephants grow up, become powerful and strong, but the belief that they cannot free themselves from the stake keeps them imprisoned.

What are your stakes?

 »I am not good enough/intelligent/cute/sympathetic…»; «he/she will say no»; «I can’t do that», «I am not good enough», «I am not capable», «I am too much ….»; «it is impossible that…»; «I am not lucky»; «I can’t make a mistake»; «I will never be happy»; «life is hard»; «she or he is better than me»; «he/she will make fun of me» …». 

These beliefs have been forged over the years, fruit of our experiences, our environment, our family, our culture…. In fact, many of our beliefs are not our own, we have internalized them without questioning them and they have become part of our way of being. Beliefs of our family regarding money, work, politics, relationships… Cultural beliefs, of which the proverb is a great example: «think wrong and you will be right», «a bird in the hand is better than a hundred in the air», «early mornings don’t mean early mornings», «don’t believe in dog’s lameness and woman’s tears» or generalizations: «all men/women are the same», «men don’t cry», «love can do anything», «in life you have to suffer and work hard to fulfill your dreams»…». 

My mental beliefs are my starting point, the glasses through which I see the world. They are my thoughts and the basis of my attitude towards life. The beginning of everything. Life is a crossroads where you have to choose, and beliefs lead us to choose one path or another, often unconsciously. Faced with a job interview, an important appointment, a crucial conversation, a desire to ask for forgiveness, I can choose two paths: if you believe and validate «I can’t», it will lead you to a destination; and if you believe and validate «I can», you choose another path that will lead you to another result. We don’t go into right or wrong. It will be different. The important thing is that it is freely chosen by you.  

Beliefs can be negative as the metaphor of the stakes, or positive: «everyone is good», «in bad weather, good face», «he who has a friend has a treasure», «to want is power», «do good and do not look at whom» (this is a precious legacy of my mother). 

The key issue here is for us to be conscious and give ourselves the power of choice, being the protagonists of our own play in this life. It is widely documented that on our deathbed we all regret what we didn’t dare to do. What if you try it and it works, bingo! What if it doesn’t turn out the way you hoped? No big deal, see what life brings down that road, you never know. A learning experience, something better? «Good luck, bad luck». At least you have chosen the path.  

The challenge is to know what my beliefs are. There are some beliefs that I can easily identify because I put words to them in my thoughts. If they are empowering and you have an optimistic bias then go ahead with them. If they are negative, maybe it is worth hitting the red light, stop, question them and choose avanti or delete.  It is a work of self-knowledge, self-observation, and questioning of that thought to be able to choose. It is not easy (or it is). It is necessary to train and muscle the brain, to reprogram the beliefs, which are the starting software that we now consider that no longer helps us. There is a trick for me that is very powerful. Add the «what if…» «What if I can?». If I insist on that path, the mind will show me scenarios and resources that confirm that positivizing hypothesis.  

The topic of note is to discover the beliefs of which I am not aware, nor do I have obvious clues to pull the thread. And they are the ones that unconsciously determine my life the most. They are deep in my onion layers. They are the ones I don’t know that I don’t know. They usually come from childhood emotional wounds that when embraced with love and understanding give us immeasurable inner strength and freedom. Stand in front of a mirror, smile at yourself and say «I love myself». «I am worthy of love.» «I deserve the best.»   


It is a great journey, a process. Of putting light, step by step. If you want to. Because as the great Santiago Ramón y Cajal said: «every human being can be a sculptor of his own brain, if he sets his mind to it». There is nothing that saddens me more than when I hear: «that’s just the way I am».

What if we pooled our resources and flew like Dumbo? «He did it because no one had told him it was impossible.»  

And again, don’t believe anything, experience it. I a few months ago freed myself from a deep stake. I sensed it was there but I couldn’t get a hold of it, couldn’t identify it clearly. It was slipping away from me. It took me fifty years but it is never too late. And those who are still out there, get ready, I have the flashlight ready. 

What do you want to be, what do you want to achieve? Allow yourself to do it, CARPE DIEM, «life is two days!😉

Learn more  my experience as a Coach 

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