How Do You
by Victor Daniel and Elizabeth Zaborowska
(Tool #1 from the Choose-Your-Own-Reality Kit.
Ask yourself: "Are my beliefs created based on
my experiences? Or, do I experience what I
believe, the belief having come first?")
Did you ever notice that the people who never
get sick seem to always say "I never get
sick," while the ones who always get sick are
always to be found saying "I always get
sick"?. And how about those "lucky" people?
They tend to be the ones always saying how
lucky they are. Think about athletes who get
injured and then make a huge comeback, often
winning, despite others' disbelief and
discouragement, or cancer patients who "beat
the odds" because they so strongly believe
that they can. How does this happen? These are
real people, just like you and me, who become
exceptional when they choose beliefs that
serve their greater good, just like you and
"Hmmmm?What do I believe?"
It sounds like an easy-enough question to ask
yourself, doesn't it? You might easily answer,
"I believe that I always get colds; that dogs
are mean; and that it's very easy for me to
find parking spots."
But do you believe that you always get colds
and find parking spots based on the
experiences you've had? Or do you, actually,
get colds all the time, find dogs to be
frightening, and effortlessly find parking
spots (to your friends' total disbelief and
amazement) because you have these beliefs? In
other words, ask yourself: Are my beliefs
shaped by my experiences, or do I experience
what I believe? Does it even matter?
Yes!!! You see, if you listen between the
lines, you'll realize that asking what you
believe leads to that other all-important
question: "Does how I believe have anything to
do with how I experience the world?" And since
it does, how you answer that question has the
power to change your life. With that one
answer, you can choose to either give up
control over your life or take control.
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This is how it works:
you believe that your experiences determine
your beliefs-as most of us are taught to do so
from the start-you keep yourself disempowered,
living your life reactively and at the mercy
of outside forces creating your experiences.
You basically allow yourself to be a helpless
victim of what life throws at you, because you
believe that you are. This is great if you
just like to have lots of places to point your
blaming finger at when you don't like the way
your life is going, but, frankly, it does
nothing to help you achieve real happiness and
However, if you believe that your beliefs come
before your experiences, all you need to do to
change your experiences is to change your
beliefs about them. That's very exciting! This
way, you choose to live your life proactively,
and you create the forces shaping your
experiences. You'll notice that this also
throws blame right out the window. To be
realistic, that's not something we're used to
in our culture of lawsuits and "It's His or
Her Fault" talk shows. The good news, however,
is that although you're now going to take
credit for the lousy things in your life, you
can also now take real credit for the
fantastic things you create in your life. And
since you can create whatever it is that you
choose to create, there's nothing stopping you
from choosing to make the lousy things better,
or even extraordinary.
If the way that you're experiencing the world
isn't serving you in some way, if you don't
like how things are going, change your beliefs
and watch the world change around you. It's
that simple, and ANYONE can do it. With
practice, it becomes second nature. The world
is a reflection of you. Go ahead and write
that down on a sticky-note and post it on your
Case history: Ms.
Here's a little story I bet most of us can
relate to in more ways than one.
I recently went on a date with Catherine, a
super-successful, intelligent, busy, very
beautiful woman, who, at only 36, has two of
her own businesses. And this
woman-who-seems-to-have-it-all was dejectedly
telling me that her experience was that she
"always meets the wrong guys." (I guess she
was hoping I was an exception? Anyway?)
So, being the metaphysical guy that I am, I
asked her the magic question: "What belief
might someone have in order to experience
meeting the wrong guys all the time?" (I
firmly believe, as you can tell by now, that
beliefs precede experience.)
And she told me, "I don't trust anybody."
Trying to get to the bottom of her problem-the
underlying core belief-I continued, asking
her, "What other belief might someone have in
order to experience meeting the wrong guys?"
And she was almost at the point where she
didn't want to answer. "I don't know, Vic. I'm
tired?" she said under her breath, looking
around the sushi bar and ready to change the
subject. Suddenly she turned around and
blurted, "I just want to be alone."
I said, "Ah, so you really wish to be alone...
Let me get this straight, you get involved
with a guy, but then you hit a point, and you
just detach yourself, right?"
Catherine nodded "Yes."
"So," I said, "the reason why you meet these
wrong guys is because you actually want to be
alone. You subconsciously seek to attract the
wrong guys, you proceed to dump them, and
then, presto, you're alone. You get exactly
what you wished for; you get exactly what you
say you believe!" At first she didn't think it
could be that easy, but ain't that the truth
"You say you want to be alone," I continued,
"but then you're also telling me that you want
to be with somebody-somebody to whom you're
attracted, who doesn't nag, has his own life
and doesn't jump right into your life, and
doesn't get all needy." I pushed her a little
further: "But do you really want to be alone?"
She sighed like there was no avoiding this
anymore and said, "Well, I do want to be
alone. But then there's a part of me that
doesn't want to be alone?" She shook her head
at her own contradiction.
"What belief might someone have in order to
experience an ambivalence about being alone?"
I could see the big "Aha!" spread across her
face and then she stated flatly, "If I'm not
with anybody then I am nothing." Remember,
this was coming from a woman who has
everything she has strived for, who is very
much "somebody" in and of herself.
Then I asked her, "How is that belief
She stared at me not knowing exactly what I
meant, or maybe even glared a little-the way
that people do when they know they're about to
get to the bottom of something they've been
sweeping under the rug for way too long.
So I explained, "You see, beliefs are adopted
in one of three different ways: 1) Beliefs can
be deliberately created, irrespective of any
prior experiences, as in someone deciding, 'I
now choose to believe I have good luck,' and
the person starts to experience good luck. 2)
Beliefs can be indoctrinated. For instance,
Scott's mother said he'd never amount to
anything, so that is what he believes and that
is what he experiences. Most people, mind you,
are products of their parents' beliefs. They
are carrying around their parents' outdated
and inaccurate beliefs like a big sack of
potatoes! In this way, the experiences of the
father and mother become the beliefs of their
sons and daughters. The cycle goes on and on.
3) Beliefs can form out of resistance to
another person's beliefs. Take my imaginary
friend Danny, for example. 'You'll never
amount to anything,' his dad constantly
mutters, but Danny becomes the president of
the U.S. Danny attempts this and succeeds not
so much because he always wanted to president
but rather because he chose to fervently
resist what his dad believed about him. I'm
sure you can think of times when you did
something, for better or worse, just to prove
Catherine looked away for a minute and stared
at the sushi chef slicing up tuna at breakneck
"That's my mother's belief," she finally
I touched her hand sincerely and said, "Okay,
you want to be alone but you don't want to be
alone, so you wind up being upset when you're
alone and upset when you're not."
She explained to me how she always winds up
staying with someone even if from the get-go
her gut tells her that it's not right or not
worth it. So this is really messed up for her,
she complained: she wants to be alone, she
wants time to herself, but she's got this
indoctrinated belief from her mother rumbling
around in her head that she's nothing unless
she's with somebody. She's experiencing this
(Can you think of cases such as this in your
life? Your gut tells you one thing, your mom's
or dad's or teacher's voice screaming the
opposite in your head? Who do you listen to?
Yourself or your mom? How old are you,
So I asked her, "Do you wish to arm yourself
with someone else's beliefs, beliefs which are
NOT serving you, and are causing you dis-ease?
Or, do you now choose to create a belief that
it's okay to be alone, and that you are
something even if you are alone?"
And Catherine replied with an increasing
smile, "Well, Vic, that sounds easy enough. I
think I could do that."
I know that she still seemed somewhat
skeptical-after all, all of this is not only
new to most people, but it's so powerful
despite its simplicity. Maybe she holds the
belief that it's too good to be true-but I
sure hope not, because if she does, that will
be her experience. So, if I can give you and
her any advice at all, never ever believe that
something is too good to be true. Believe that
if something is good it must be true!
The moral of the story is that life is a
product of your beliefs. After all, everything
you think or say is a belief. That's right,
everything! There's no such thing as a fact.
So, your perspective on the relationship
between your beliefs and your experiences has
everything to do with how you experience your
life, i.e. the combination of events and being
that your reality consists of. The funny thing
is, even if you did believe that your
experiences precede your beliefs, even that
would be just a belief! As Harry Palmer says,
"You experience what you believe, unless you
believe you won't, in which case you don't,
which means you did."
If that made your head spin, don't worry. The
bottom line is that everything is a belief,
and that's great to know, because that means
you have the power to change anything. Talk
about unlimited potential! And every one of us
has it. You can choose to believe anything,
and so you can change anything/have
anything/be anything/do anything you choose.
So if we do create our reality by our beliefs,
why don't we always experience it that way?
The answer is time. Like a boomerang returning
to its origin place, it takes time for the
energies we send out to the universe to come
back to us. The interim of passing time gives
the illusion that an experience we are having
is somehow separate from the belief that
created it. During the passing time, it seems
like the world is happening to us, instead of
us happening to the world. This is how a
person sees him- or herself as a result of the
world, perceiving him- or herself to be a
victim. We forget that we threw the boomerang
in the first place and we don't see that that
created our experience.
Picture this: we are like satellites sending
out signals every moment of our existence
through our thoughts, words and actions. These
signals get sent out into the ether and
attract like signals. We call these like
signals our "experiences." These experiences
which return to us are nothing more than a
reflection of our own beliefs. So what you are
being, you are creating. Your beliefs manifest
your reality in physical form.
Faith is the most important element involved
in the recipe for creation. Take a look at
everything you see in your surroundings. It
was once a thought in someone's mind, invested
with enough faith and time to create it in
their reality. The formula for all creation is
intention + attention = creation. Many people
have incredible ideas but lack the faith to
manifest them into their lives. You must
supply enough attention to your dreams to make
them real. Faith is the glue that connects all
of your attention particles and makes them
Take a look at some of the world's greatest
creators, Thomas Edison, Jesus Christ,
Copernicus, The Buddha, Moses, Albert
Einstein, Harriet Tubman. They all created
without having had prior experience. Each had
no previous evidence to prove their beliefs
true. Faith is the common denominator in their
beliefs becoming their reality. The level of
one's conviction is the level of one's
creation. Conviction means that all doubts
have been overcome.
Life is a choice for each and everyone of us.
Ask yourself: "Do I wish to live my life as a
fully creative being, or do I wish to live my
life as a fully reactive being?" If you allow
yourself to view yourself as someone whose
experiences are creating his or her beliefs,
you are living defensively spiraling your way
backwards towards the past. You are powerless
to change your reality. However, if you allow
yourself to be someone whose beliefs are
creating his or her experiences, then you're
living your life proactively. You are as
powerful as you believe yourself to be. It's
victim versus victor. How do you believe?
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Useful beliefs (Do's)
Change your belief, change your reality
There is opportunity in every difficulty,
hardship, or loss
There are no obstacles, only stepping stones
Useless Beliefs (Don'ts)
It's too good to be true.
Victor Daniel and Elizabeth Zaborowska
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004,
2005 & 2006.