Beliefs Explained Simply

Beliefs – All You Need To Know

In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about beliefs, defining exactly what they are, their role in evolution, how they how to leverage them and more.

What Are Beliefs?

Beliefs are convictions about our internal and external world. They are assumed “truths” inform our decisions and influence how we perceive, experience and interact with the world around us.

The Evolutionary Perspective

From an evolutionary perspective, beliefs evolved as an adaptation as mental shortcuts to help guide our behaviour and quickly make decisions.

For our ancient ancestors, beliefs allowed them to quickly assess situations, predict outcomes about threats and opportunities which ultimately enhanced their ability to survive and reproduce.

Beliefs & The Brain

The brain is ultimately designed to keep you alive, so it does two things; it predicts and it protects. It predicts what’s going to happen in your environment and then it initiates behaviours to protect you.

Thus, the brain is a pattern recognition machine. It’s constantly making associations about what leads to pain and what leads to pleasure so that it can better make predictions and better enhance your survival. These associations become beliefs which collectively form our Model Of The World ― a mental map for how reality operates. Based on these associations, the brain initiates behaviours that move us towards pleasure and away from pain.

Facts Versus Opinions

Human perception evolved based not on how accurately it mirrors reality. Human perception evolved based on how effectively it enhances survival.

Therefore, it is important to recognise that our beliefs are not always based on the facts of our experiences, but more often than not they are based on our interpretation of our experiences.

Beliefs & Certainty

Certainty refers to the confidence we have in our beliefs. It is that ‘sixth sense’ that something just “feels right.” It ignites energy and is the catalyst that turns our attitudes into action.

The more emotion that you attach to a belief, the more certainty and energy it will provide you with and the greater the influence it will have on what you do.

“If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.” — Tony Robbins

How To Leverage Beliefs

There are two key ways to leverage beliefs.

The first way to leverage them is to generate those that align with our goals and the quality of life we desire.

The second way to leverage them is to ensure that your beliefs reflect the truth of reality. The more accurately they reflect reality, the more accurate predictions you can make about the future, the more effective your results will be.

The Power Of Belief

In an experiment conducted in 1979, eight elderly men lived in a residential retreat that recreated an environment of 1959.

After just one week in this retreat that influenced the eight participants to think and feel as though they were living in a time 20 years earlier, all eight men observed improvements in their hearing, memory, appetite and general well-being. Even more profoundly, they looked younger to outside observers who saw photos of them before and after the experiment.

In another study on middle-aged adults, research revealed that those with more positive beliefs around aging lived on average 7.5 years longer than those with negative beliefs of aging. Your mindset can prolong your life! That is the power of belief.


Beliefs are the stories we create about our internal and external world. They evolved as an adaptation to help us make quick decisions and guide our actions.

The keys to leveraging beliefs is firstly to generate them in a way that aligns with your goals and the quality of life you desire and secondly to ensure that they reflect the truth of reality.


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