Is A Belief A Fact or Choice.

At one time in history most people believed the world was flat. For most people at that time, the perception of a flat world was a fact- not a belief. It was only after Christopher Columbus came along, challenging that belief that the people began to see that the flat world “fact” was really a belief, and a mistaken one.

You need to let go of your strict beliefs and accept new information without fear. Beliefs are like rules, they are meant to be adjusted and changed. There are many of you who accept as fact the belief system taught by our society.

Belief system are choices, and most of what you take to be beliefs -about time, work, relationships, and your physical bodies, are just that- beliefs.

It can be helpful to remind yourself that they are not facts, only your interpretations, and that you really can choose what you believe and what you think, and to recognize that what you choose determines what you experience.

What beliefs have you chosen to consider as fact?

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. @DrJackKing

    09. Sep, 2009


    I so very much enjoy reading your posts; they enlighten and enrich our lives. Your latest post resonates deeply with my own beliefs about, well, beliefs. From my vantage point, humanity is swimming in belief systems. Beliefs permit us to be comfortable with the unknown as a means to be secure. Many beliefs promote goodness, perhaps under different names and concepts—while others herald contempt. Most are a conditioned response—a mechanism that deceives us into overlooking observations of the self because they are so generally accepted as being of great value. This casual neglect, oddly enough, detaches us. How can it be? If we are to believe something, must it not first contain truth? Yet others do not believe. Uh-oh. And, surprise of surprises, we do not always hold a fancy to another’s truth—to their belief. What’s up with that?

    If we hold something to be true and believe in it, does it not retain certain value? And, at least to us, it soon represents “fact?” Yet it does not take long for another to ask, “Why?” For them, our belief is not fact. Herein lies the conundrum: our explanation may be nothing more than a speculation. Believing our speculation is THE uniquely acceptable explanation makes it incumbent on us to refrain from questioning the veracity of the explanation, unless it’s okay to be banished from our intimate circle. Said differently, when an explanation is accepted as a belief, we are either loyal or disloyal to it at our own peril.

    Two notions come to mind:

    First, Wayne Dyer suggests: “What you see is evidence of what you believe. Believe it and you’ll see it.” Over the years, I have come to accept beliefs are highly dependent upon perspective and circumstance. Would we hold to our current belief structure had we been born in another part of the world? For example, isn’t it perfectly reasonable to expect a child born in a Muslim country to grow up loving Allah (God, Yahweh (Jehovah), Bhagwan, etc.) through an Islamic belief system? Of course, it is. The story is similar for children born in Shanghai, Tel Aviv, New Delhi, or Nashville. We are, to a large extent, products of our environment.

    Second, our beliefs typically are an outgrowth of societal norms and culture. As you point out, Lolly, society places a burden upon us—a very heavy burden—to accept what consensus says is so. Consensus, carefully considered, generally takes the appearance of fact; we know, however, it does little more than offer an explanation. Explanations have the tendency to engender tension. Do you recall the last time folks fought over hard facts? What about quarrels over explanations (in America, it is easy to recall quarrels over women’s suffrage and civil rights)? But a national platform is not necessary. We see them every day. Explanations must be defended because other people have their own explanation of the same phenomena—an explanation that requires a defense, too. When our belief systems are elevated to explanations of faith, we soon find ourselves in an arduous spiral.

    So, is faith and belief the same thing? It may help to ask two additional questions: What separates us? What brings us together? The answer, as I see it, is elementary. A great many things separate us and very little brings us together. Said another way, beliefs separate us and faith (not talking about religion here) brings us together.

    Sorry to go so long but I want to close with an observation I share with teens trying to assimilate our different beliefs to see just how much we are the same. The VERY abbreviated version goes something like this:

    Like a stack of homemade pancakes, man exists within a plane of planes: Earth (flat or otherwise), the Milky Way, a galaxy, a universe. What lies beyond is certain to nudge us out of our comfort zone and, perhaps, into a brand new belief. For example, the recent Hubble Deep Field image captured hundreds of galaxies in a single view while the scientists have come to the conclusion there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in deep space—we call it the universe. But is it really THE universe? If we could stand far enough away, would we see hundreds, if not hundreds of billions, of universes comprising, I don’t know, a mega-verse? As we take the time to learn more, our beliefs must change to coincide with our discoveries. And the only option to prevent our beliefs from being turned on their head is to stop discovering. But that is not really an option at all.

    The point is, if we become comfortable with our beliefs, we begin imposing them on others. When that happens, fear replaces faith and forces us to start all over again. I wholeheartedly agree, Lolly, we do, indeed, need to let go of strict beliefs imposed upon us. As we do, fear resides and faith moves in to bring us back together. When that happens, our world becomes better for it.

    Thank you for indulging me, Lolly. And thank you for another wonderful post!

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  2. Peter R

    09. Sep, 2009

    Having a personal belief is fine, believing it to be a fact is fine, pushing that belief onto others as a fact is not fine and trying to force others through politics to live by your beliefs is a form is simply abuse.

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