Messages from the Masters
Belief Systems by Bob Burg

Typically, whenever addressing an audience on the topic of WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION, I begin with an explanation of an extremely important concept - "Beliefs."  I define "beliefs" as the truth, as YOU understand the truth to be, regarding the way life is. But what does that mean?

Truth is fact. It is neutral, without feeling. It may be good or may be bad, depending upon the people and situations involved, but mainly, it just is. For example, the truth is that gravity works. That's good when keeping you from floating thousands of feet into the air against your wishes. On the other hand, that's rather bad when falling out of a six-story building. Fairly simple conclusions at which to arrive.

Viewing most interpersonal situations as good or bad, however, isn't all that easy. What makes it even more difficult is that the honor of determining the "goodness" or "badness" of any specific event or situation falls to a very subjective part of ourselves known as our "Belief System."

Our basic belief system is formed at a very young age. (A good example of a "belief system" is, when I say, "A very young age," what are you thinking - three, four, eleven, fifteen?).

Many psychiatrists state that age as four years! Our belief system is first given to us by our family and then finely chiseled by our environment. Once formed, our basic beliefs are extremely difficult (though certainly not impossible) to change because they are carried primarily on an unconscious level.

Here's a very somber example: Someone grows up witnessing a very abusive relationship between his or her parents. This abuse may have been physical, verbal, emotional, or any combination of the above. Needless to say, it was a "bad" situation to grow up in.

I believe that would be "bad." You believe that would be "bad." And, in all likelihood, the person who grew up in that environment believes, on a conscious level, that that situation was "bad." And yet, why does it happen so often - certainly more often than not - that throughout their life, that person will go from one "bad" relationship to another?

Because their Belief System says that is the "truth" regarding how relationships are! Just as was mentioned earlier – a belief is the truth, as YOU understand the truth to be - regarding the way life is. On an unconscious level, that person will continually steer their way to the (their) truth, according to their belief system. Though they won't necessarily seek out a partner to fit that belief/truth, they will often sabotage the "good" relationships they find themselves in until finding the one that fits their belief system (for a deeper look at this, see "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Dr. Maxwell Maltz,

A lighter (and definitely ridiculous on my part) example is a disagreement I had with someone about 10 years ago. He was thinking about moving to this area and asked if a particular home a Realtor told him about over the phone was near the ocean. I said, "No, it's pretty far away." So he told the Realtor he wasn't interested. When he and his wife arrived they asked me to take them to that home just to see it. When we arrived he said, "I thought you told me it wasn't near the ocean!"

Me: It isn't!
Him: It is, too!
Me: No it isn't!
Him: Yes, it is!
(No, neither of us stuck out our tongue at the other and went "nyah, nyah")

Let's analyze this: The "truth" is that home was seven miles from the ocean. I, living in Jupiter, Florida and two blocks from the ocean, feel that seven miles is far away. He, being from the Midwest, feels seven HUNDRED miles from the ocean isn't too far away. I'd say our miscommunication had "something" to do with our belief systems. Yes, we are still friends. Why did neither of us think to mention the exact number of miles? I dunno.

Now, let's relate this whole thing back to the subject of our ezine. The typical belief system when dealing with a person from whom you want something is "For me to win, they need to lose." Or, "If I want a bigger piece of pie, I need to take his or her slice." The WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION belief system says, "For me to win, I need to also help that person win, or at least feel good about the situation." And, "If I want a bigger slice of pie, I'll get together with him or her and bake a bigger pie" (which would be difficult for me since I don't know how to bake a pie). In other words, "Both people win."

So let's look at an effective way to work with "Beliefs."

First, when in confrontation with a person you may be finding difficult to get along with, ask yourself four questions:

#1: How is my personal belief system distorting the actual truth of the situation?

#2: How is his or her personal belief system distorting the actual truth of the situation?

#3: What questions can I ask this person that will clarify my understanding of their version of the truth (their belief system)?

#4: What information can I give that will help them clarify their understanding of my version of the truth (my belief system)? As the saying goes, within conflict between two or more people, there are generally three truths - your truth, their truth, and the real truth. Through questions, as well as a caring exchange of information, the real truth can usually be discovered, generating understanding, peace, and respect. This leads to results in alignment with the WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION belief system in which "Both people win."

Bob Burg is author of "Winning Without Intimidation" and "Endless Referrals." To receive 20% off on Bob's products visit or call 877-929-0439.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International