Belief Is Action

Feb 10, 2023

My amazing Judo teacher, Olympic medalist and six time European Champion Brain Jacks, always said if you don’t believe you can do something you have already failed, even if you are taking action.

I used to look around me when doing martial arts and see the uncertainty, fear and lack of self belief in the eyes of other students and knew it was a matter of time before they quit and left. Even though they were in the training hall, they didn’t believe they could do it or that they should even be there.

It was only a matter of time before what they believed and constantly engaged in thought, would determine their action of permanently leaving the art.

They had made a common mistake of using validation as their goal instead of the character they were forging. Or, like I did too when I was younger, run away through fear created by misunderstanding my own physiological reactions to pressure. 

I’ve come to realise that belief is an action. It’s an action that facilitates behaviour across our entire life.

Belief is a mental attitude or conviction that something is true or exists. It is the realm of the possibility of all things even when it is unseen and yet to be manifested in the external world.

It’s worth spending time on your existing beliefs and to see if they really are aligned with what you wish to do. Beliefs are mostly steered by fear that keep you small and hidden whilst others come from a desire to be more.

If you are self sabotaging your goals, procrastinating, coming up with excuses not to do something, it’s worth looking at your existing beliefs.

In addition, it’s important to know exactly why you are pursuing something. What are you hoping to achieve? What are you hoping to become?

You need to be crystal clear on this because if you are not, fear and doubt will grow like a weed and soon it will obscure the view and make you quit.

A clear powerful goal can see you through the most difficult of times because it’s not about continuous fun and enjoyment, because nothing worth pursuing ever is. It’s about finding out who you really are beneath all of the fear you contain and the heavy conditioning we all acquire.

John Ruskin once wrote: 

“The highest reward for a persons toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.” 

We often forget this and instead focus on what we want. Many business owners create ‘vision boards’ of possessions and lifestyles they want as a preliminary phase of motivation. 

In a philosophy such as Stoicism, this is not a preliminary planning stage and instead, they create a clear idea of who the character they wish to be is and what is needed to become such a person. 

In the continuous, downward spiral of moral values in modern society, fuelled by self interest and the need for external approval, it has never been more important to decide to live by a code of courage and integrity. 

This is also where true belief comes from and at the end of our life, it is the only possession we will have really ever owned and this character as Heraclitus said, will be our fate. 

If you are tempted to look outside yourself for approval, you have compromised your integrity. If you need a witness, be your own. - Epictetus 





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