Has there ever been a time when you were so sure of something only to find out at a later time you were mistaken or misinformed about the truth involving the person or event? I know I have experience the many, many times. I have even argued in direct opposition to the truth for years some times to later learn I was actually wrong about the whole thing. I would like to think you and I are intelligent and view ourselves as a well-intentioned people. If this has happened to you too, how could this happen to us so many times before? What can we do to avoid this mistake in the future?
I have learned to ask one simple question that puts a safe guard in place and has helped me catch incorrect thoughts or beliefs I have held in the past. For the past several years I have been asking myself and others, “Is that true?” This is a simple and effective question. Now just because it is simple does not mean it is easy to use. One truth I learned several years ago is,
Let me first point out a few questions that are similar, but can lead us to some very dangerous places in our lives if we are not careful. Here are three questions I used to ask that are close, but miss the mark, “Does this sound true?”, “Do they believe what they are telling me is true?”, and “Does everyone else think this is true?”
Unfortunately there are lots of statements and beliefs that sound pretty reasonable. We may hear them said by lots of other people. Some individuals may every have deep passion about certain topics and be very convincing when they talk about them, but they are still not true. A great example is that for centuries many people believed the earth was flat and you could actually fall of the edge of the earth. Just because an idea is popular and at that time sounded like it made sense it was still not true.
Our beliefs (What we think) govern our actions which produce our results and create the world in which we live. Many of us have been exposed to countless self-imposed limitations we are often times completely unaware of that rob us of the fulfilling and meaningful lives God has called us to. When one of my mentors, Ron Reynolds (No relation), first shared this with me I was forced to make a decision. Would I continue on living exactly as I had always been and more or less continuing to get what I had always gotten? Or would I slow down and begin to take a mental inventory of my thoughts? As I started this process I began to discover several half-truths and outright lies that were stealing my better future from me. Here are a few lies I discovered I believed as I examined my thought inventory.
Rich people are evil
Money is bad
The only way to get rich is by being cheap and ripping people off
Rich and successful people got lucky
It is noble to be poor
I am a bad athlete
I eat this way because it is how I was brought up
I talk this was because it is how I was brought up
I cannot change my habits, that’s just how I am
All that matters in life is being a “good” person
I am not good at sales
I am always going to be overweight
I don’t like to read
I quit things that are hard
God can’t love someone like me
I am never going to find a wife
It is important to always be right
Other people are stupid if they do not agree with me
That is just a short list of the many lies and self-imposed limitations I was confronted with when I began to take an inventory of my thoughts and ask myself, “Is that true?” It was not easy changing them and I have a lot of work to do in many areas still, but it all started with asking myself that simple, but powerful question of, “Is that true?”. Are you ready to take an inventory of your thoughts? Are you ready to cast off your self-imposed limitations and align yourself with truth? Maybe it is time to review your thoughts and ask, “Is that true?”
Question: What is one thought or belief you discovered was not true and what did you do about it? Comment below.