What are your beliefs? Could you list them easily without having to think carefully about them?

Where have they come from? Have you always had them? Have they changed? Are they the same as your parents?


Inevitably, we grow up “inheriting” the beliefs of our immediate families. Some are what are known as global beliefs, such as the world is round, night follows day….these are based on evidence so we don’t have to think about them, just accept them. However, we used to believe the world was flat until the evidence proved otherwise.

Most of you reading this, did not grow up with a mobile phone, tablet or laptop and if someone had told you that one day you would be able to have a phone or computer in your pocket or small bag, would you have believed them? Probably not, as it sounded too farfetched but now we have the evidence, we have changed our belief.

Not all beliefs have evidence to support them – religious beliefs and many personal beliefs are not always supported by evidence. One could argue that religious beliefs are supported by faith but personal beliefs are not.

We probably all know the story of Roger Bannister who believed he could run a mile in less than four minutes. No one else believed him until he did it in 1954! Nowadays with the Usain Bolts of this world, that seems slow but it broke all records at the time.


Self-belief is so important – many famous people were left with self-belief to motivate them when others didn’t believe in them. Marilyn Monroe was told she would never make an actress, Elvis was told he would never get anywhere with his singing, Oprah Witney was told she was not suitable for television. There are many more examples of how self-belief can overcome the beliefs of others.

It works the other way too – when the beliefs of others carry you through. My favourite story is that of Thomas Edison who was sent home from school with a letter. His mother read it out to him stating that he was ahead of the other pupils and the school could not provide the education he needed so it was suggested he was educated at home. Many years later, after he was acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest inventors, he found the letter amongst his mother’s things. It actually said that her son was mentally deficient. (He was deaf).  and was expelled. Her belief in him to succeed was obviously better than his ex-teachers! Imagine life without light bulbs, sound recordings or car batteries!


What we believe, we can achieve. Equally negative beliefs can hold us back. I am not an inventor but like Edison, I am deaf. I was knocked down by a car at the age of three and lost 60% of my hearing. This was not confirmed until I was eight but by then I knew I was different but not why. I was given a hearing aid but was teased and tormented and wouldn’t wear it. Because other people told me that “I was deaf and daft”, I believed them. This was confirmed at eleven when I was told in an 11+ interview that “I couldn’t possibly cope with a grammar school education – because I was deaf”

Fortunately, my parents believed in me and they paid for me to get a good education but my negative self-beliefs were so strong that I blew my GCSE’s and struggled through retakes. I became a teacher and as children are not judgemental my confidence increased slightly.

I was a good lip reader and at the age of 32, I had some counselling as part of a course I was doing and a whole new world opened up for me. I wore my hearing aids and my self-belief soared.  It wasn’t really until I got my masters degree that the last shreds of doubt left me.

Yes, I am deaf but not so daft. I had a successful career in youth work and became Head of Service for very diverse London Borough, I was on the Boards of Middlesex Young Peoples Clubs, YMCA London South West, YMCA Training and was a tutor for Brunel University as well as Chair of the Centre for Youth Work studies for twelve years, I was  even a dreaded Ofsted Inspector!

So what is the point of this story? Limiting beliefs can cripple you. Don’t let them! Check out if they are your beliefs or do they really belong to someone else and they have been imposed on you?

It’s what you choose to believe that makes you the person you are –Karen Marie Moning ( American top-selling author)

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