What is a Belief?
Belief is a subjective truth, one’s world view. An alignment of our heart and mind. A lens through which we make a sense of this world in our own way. Belief is what helps a person to decide what is good and bad, right and wrong. It plays a key role both in our lives and business. It influences the choice we make and propel the decision of buyers, sellers, regulators etc. Belief system helps to understand what motivation is and why an individual does what he or she does.
Mostly people do the right thing as per their own framework of right and wrong, though many others see it wrong. The definition of ‘Right things’ is a personal perception referred as beliefs. What is right for me may or may not be right for the other person I am dealing with.
It is universal that always there has been, is and will be an another contrary view which balances the first. A commonly known proverb in Hindi “har cheej ka ek doosra pahlu hota hai”.
Many believe that their subjective truth is the objective truth and clings to it firmly. A belief that only our beliefs are true and all others are wrong, i.e., lack of empathy to belief system of others, leads to arguments, ego and challenges. A root cause of conflict and even wars. Truth is always subjective and a personal perspective as there is no universal truth.
Belief has significant impact on our lives. Hence, it makes a lot of sense to learn how beliefs are formed.
At the most basic level, a belief system is a collection of memories. From the early age, information is taken in and stored in the brain as “memory.” Memory can be thought of as “thinking” that has been “permanently encoded” in the brain and can be retrieved in the process of “remembering.”
From birth, sensory inputs (sights, sounds, smells, feelings, tastes) are recorded and used by human beings to begin to make sense of our world. Sensations, such as hunger, are experienced, crying ensues, and (usually) feeding takes place. A rudimentary thought is registered: “Crying results in feeding.” And so it begins. As the process repeats itself, the belief is beginning to form that: “Crying is an effective way to get one’s needs met.”
Nearly every waking moment, information is streaming into the human brain. The brain is busy organizing and categorizing this information, constantly scanning the ever-growing collection of information to guide subsequent thinking, decision-making and behaviour. This “systematic” way of developing a method for making sense of our world is known as a belief system.
Belief systems are clusters of thoughts which have an external source of origin, usually, a part of our surroundings, which constantly sends out specific information regarding the understanding of life and everything it encompasses. Beliefs are communicated through generations in the forms of stories, symbols and rituals.
The belief formation process starts when a seed is implanted in the person’s mind. This seed could be a small remark made by an authoritative person, an advice given by a close friend or even a phrase you heard from a complete stranger. The more clues a person collects, the stronger the belief becomes until it reaches a point where the person believes that it’s a fact.
The beliefs you hold about life, yourself and people is what’s responsible for who you are, how you behave and who you will become.
Organisational belief system:
Any interaction between two people or organisations is meeting of two belief systems. Every organisation is collection of people and thus multiple belief systems exists.
Head of the organisation should evolve an organisational belief system. A system which would be deployed in the organisation to judge the right and wrong, good and bad behaviour and decisions. This will help alignment of mind and heart. Alignment of thoughts & behaviours leading to consistency of behaviour and experience to its customers.
Trust and confidence helps in constructing a shared belief system in a team or company or company.
Training is a corporate intervention to improve business with the intent of enhancement in behaviour. Participants are told ‘what’ of behaviour but not ‘why’. People follow the new behaviour without understanding the Why! Hence only partially effective and short-lived. Instead the focus during the trainings should be ‘Why’ of right behaviour, thus, enabling the participants to improve their understanding of organisational belief system.
There is a lack of empathy not only in the corporate world but world in general, and we need to reclaim it. Fanatics and fundamentalism are nothing but complete lack of empathy.
Relationship can be designed for:
- Win – win [Collaboration & co-operation]
- Lose – Lose [Most fights in the teams are of this variety]
- Win – Lose [Wishful thinking; Both parties land up in lose-lose]
- Lose – Win [Surrender to the elements; give up]
- Make it win-win for organisations you belong to because when the organisation succeeds in their pursuit of their stated goals, all the members stand to gain else all stand to lose.
- Have empathy and respect for each other, respect the colleagues as individuals,
respect their view, empathize with the difference in views and find ways to work together