What are Beliefs?
Beliefs are statements about reality that we assume to be true based on either our own conclusions or those of other people.

Our Core Belief System
The majority of our beliefs were formed when we were very young and learning how to survive in the world from the many influential people in our lives. Parents, teachers, friends, relatives and people in authority all had a crucial role to play in the development of our main beliefs; also known as our core belief system. Due to this fact, the majority of us are living our lives based on the beliefs of others that we accepted as truth when we simply didn’t know any better.
When we were young children learning about the world, we passively accepted the beliefs of others because we were convinced that they were correct. We could clearly see that everyone else around us knew more about the world then we did and because of this apparent evidence we assumed that everything they believed must be true.
This assumption was a perfectly natural conclusion for us to come to because as far as we were concerned everyone else around us did know more about the world then we did, so we were just doing our best to learn from the only resources that were available to us at the time. But the main problem with this was we had no way to assess the information we were receiving as we had nothing to compare it to so we just accepted it as truth without distinguishing whether it was actually true or not.

Negative Influences
It really is incredible to realise that most people spend their entire lives operating out of other people’s negative beliefs that they adopted when they were young simply because they didn’t know any better. You could say that most people are unknowingly running their lives based on the blindly accepted beliefs of a child. If I introduced you to a 4 year old and said “okay, this child is going to decide a significant amount of what you’re going to believe for the rest of your life” you would probably look at me like I was insane, but the truth is the majority of us are doing this without even realising.
The most fascinating thing about this is that when we were young we actually did have the power of choice to disagree with or reject those negative beliefs, but we didn’t because we had unconditional faith in other people’s knowledge and opinions. But the choice was still there nonetheless. The choice has always been there. That’s a pretty empowering realisation in itself if you think about it, to know that we’ve always had the power of choice with regards to what we believed but we just didn’t know about it at the time when we adopted our main beliefs about life.

The 2 Realities
You see, there are 2 main ways of looking at “life”, “the world”, “reality” or whatever term you wish to use for events outside yourself that you observe through your perception. There’s subjective reality; which is our perception of reality based on our opinions and beliefs powered by our emotional commitments to those opinions and beliefs, and there’s objective reality; which is a factual, neutral and emotionally disassociated perception without the bias of emotions, opinions or beliefs.
I’ll give you an example: You’re stuck in traffic late for an appointment with your dentist. You start stressing out and saying to yourself “this shouldn’t be happening” and you begin to panic. You drive much faster than usual and you take some chances that you usually wouldn’t. You honk your horn at any slow drivers in front of you in an effort to get there quicker, and you shout and swear at anyone who gets in your way. In general, you’re behaving as if it’s the end of the world because you’re late for an appointment. That’s looking at the situation through subjective reality. You’re opinion is: “this shouldn’t be happening” and your belief is “it’s a disaster if I’m late for an appointment” and your behaviour corresponds to both.
Now let’s look at the same situation more objectively: You’re waiting in traffic which is a normal everyday situation that you can’t control, and you might not arrive at the time you arranged. Based on previous appointments you realise that you usually have to wait between 15 to 30 minutes in the waiting room anyway, so that gives you a buffer of time to get there. It’s not a disaster as nobody’s going to die if you’re late, you’ll get there when you get there. That’s looking at the situation through objective reality. You don’t have any opinions and you aren’t operating from any beliefs. Therefore you have an emotionally disassociated perception of the situation which empowers you to respond from a higher place of reason.

Life: A Concept In Your Mind
The terms “life”, “the world” and “reality” are subjective concepts in themselves because they mean different things to different people, therefore there can be no definite awareness of any of these things in objective reality, they are all subjective concepts and as such are subjectively defined by you the observer through your own perception, a perception that’s ultimately governed by your beliefs.
The term “life is what you make of it” is a perfect statement that reveals the subjective nature of reality. One person believes that life is a struggle, while another person believes life is an incredible journey of insight and self discovery. Which person is right? Your answer in this case depends on what you currently believe life to be.
The most valuable question to ask in this situation is not “Which person is right?” but “Which person’s belief is more beneficial to their experience of life?” because the answer to the first question is opinion, but the answer to the second question is fact, and facts are objective.

Objective Advantage
Most people are unaware of objective reality and how to perceive things through it. Being able to see things through objective reality gives you an incredible amount of freedom because it gives you an alternative and empowering perspective which enables you to get a better understanding of an event or situation which you can then use to your advantage.
When we were young; the majority of people we were influenced by had no awareness of objective reality and were operating through a perception of reality that they believed to be fact, this perception was subjective and based on a foundation of uninformed conclusions and others people’s opinions which actually had no basis in objective reality; but because they believed it to be true, they told us it was true, so then we believed it to be true and that perception has been running our lives ever since without us even knowing it.

How Beliefs Affect Us
The fact is all of our beliefs and perceptions run our lives whether we’re aware of having them or not. For example: If someone forms the belief “I’ll never be rich” from a very early age based on external influences and/or uninformed conclusions, it doesn’t matter how hard they work or how hard they try, they will never be rich. This is because once we’ve adopted a belief consciously; we spend our whole lives proving it to ourselves unconsciously. Then as we prove it to ourselves repeatedly, it eventually becomes an automatic self fulfilling prophecy even if we’re totally unaware of having adopted the belief in the first place.
Think about this for a minute: Why do you think there are so many people out there in the world struggling to become wealthy and no matter how hard they seem to try, they just can’t seem to do it? They take courses, go to seminars, workshops. They listen to mp3s and watch DVDs but for some reason it never happens for them. I’ll tell you why: because their lives are still being governed by that one core belief they formed at an early age that they’ve forgotten about consciously but still prove to themselves unconsciously. The fact is they can be rich if they want to, once they remove the belief and acquire the required applicable knowledge to do so.
Take another example: the belief “life is hard”, if someone forms that belief from an early age based on external influences and/or uninformed conclusions it doesn’t matter how much that person tries to live a happy and carefree life, they will always find problems and obstacles to their happiness. Why? Because if they unconsciously believe life is hard, they will prove it to themselves over and over again and guess what? Life will be hard, as the self fulfilling prophecy continuously repeats itself in order to validate the belief.
What’s interesting about the belief “life is hard” is that it’s one that is widely accepted all across the western world, so the majority of us have adopted it from when we were young (I know I did). But it’s strange to realise that the majority of people in the western world have this belief and many make the statement all the time whereas many people in the developing world aren’t even aware of such a concept, to them life is what life is and they just get on with it.
This distinction would lead us to conclude that this belief must be one that was formed from word of mouth and not from self conclusion. So, if we’d never heard anyone say it, we’d never have believed it. And if we’d never believed it, our lives would never have been influenced by it and as a result we would have a much more empowered sense of ourselves today.
But fear not, it’s never too late to free yourself from the unwanted restrictions of negative beliefs. The trick is to use objective reality at times when your subjective point of view would usually work against you, and then change your point of view by changing the beliefs that created it in the first place. Doing this will automatically change your perception for the better. This means you will always be able to make the most of the power of choice in every situation instead of being run by unwanted emotional responses, even if you still have negative beliefs that haven’t been discovered or removed yet.
So you can take any situation you feel uncomfortable or resistant in, change your perception of it on the spot by looking at it objectively, take note of your original resistance to it, find the belief that caused it, find the source of that belief, remove the belief and replace it with a more beneficial one. This means you can quite literally reprogram yourself into the person you want to be and you can use every negative situation, perception and reaction to educate yourself about which beliefs to remove and how to see things more objectively!
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of "How to Remove Negative Beliefs and Free Your Mind" by Nigel Paul Miller

Author's Bio: 

Nigel Paul Miller was born in Dublin City, Ireland in 1982. He has travelled the world extensively and has spent a number of years living in various cities throughout New Zealand and Australia. He has a dedicated passion for personal development and spiritual growth, and actively enjoys inspiring others to live a better quality of life by sharing what he's learned along the way.