Life Is Everything You Believe It Is

An open road representing the power of belief
An open road symbolizing the journey of life.

One of the biggest things that separates human beings from animals is the future. As human beings, we visualize about the future non-stop. We plan, we organize, we create expectations, we worry, and we get excited. If you’re anything like me, you often take your age and evaluate your life by societal or personal standards. In middle school I would think, “I can’t wait until I’m 16 when I can drive and have more freedom. Then I’ll truly be happy.” In high school I would think, “I can’t wait until I’m 21 when I have a college degree and am financially independent. Then I’ll truly be happy.” When I turned 21, I continued the same habit of imagining myself at some future date, married, working my dream job, and living my best life. Spoiler alert: none of those expectations ever materialized, at least according to the image I had created in my mind.

Happiness depends solely on the beliefs that we hold about our life circumstances. Beliefs about the present are the most reliable because they are based on actual reality. We are simply too far removed from the distant future for our brain to make accurate assessments on which beliefs rely. And so what we create in our minds about the distant future is an illusion. Maybe that illusion fulfills some psychology purpose, like distracting us from the present moment. But it always gets exposed for what it is as we get closer to it. Our brain eventually realizes that the assessment fueling the illusion was surface-level and deeply flawed. What’s even more sad is illusion often robs us of joy in the present. It is driven by the belief, present and deep-seated, that we can’t be happy today living our current lives. That something must change in our external environment. Instead of focusing our energy on revising this flawed belief about the present, illusion gives us the false sense that things will eventually change with no immediate effort on our parts.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7

Many thoughts pass through the mind on a given day, but only the ones that are believed can powerfully impact the emotions, and ultimately the course of one’s life. I’ll say it again because it’s worth repeating: Happiness depends solely on our beliefs. The inability to be happy in the present moment is a failure of belief. If we think of our lives as a wolf pack heading in a particular direction, then it can be said that beliefs are the leader of that pack. As beliefs go, our imagination–and ultimately the course of our lives–inevitably follows.

The inability to be happy in the present moment is a failure of belief. If we think of our lives as a wolf pack heading in a particular direction, then it can be said that beliefs are the leader of that pack. As beliefs go, our imagination–and ultimately the course of our lives–inevitably follow.

I leave you with a challenge: Stop postponing your happiness to some future day because that day will probably never come. The truth is you already possess everything you need to be happy in the present moment.

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Author: Ben Peters

I'm a 20-something year old from the American Midwest passionate about using knowledge and the power of the mind to improve the quality of life. I enjoy researching, traveling, and connecting with people from around the world. I started this blog to share the discoveries that have improved my life and to learn from readers with access to this page.

4 thoughts

    1. That’s a great metaphor. In ancient Arab culture, reaching the horizon was a feat that only the divine/supernaturally endowed could achieve. Dhu’l al Qarneyn’s (Alexander the Great’s) doing just that was a big part of his mystique. In reality the goal posts never stand still.

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      1. Wow, I can see some links to the idea of enlightenment here. I once heard that only the enlightened can read scripture, then I realised once you are truly enlightened – one does not need scripture.

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  1. That sounds a lot like an Islamic belief. The language of the Qur’an is dressed up in eloquence, the letters are highly stylized, and the text is ambiguous requiring a lot of background knowledge to make sense of. Most people who read the Qur’an have no idea what it means. In Christian history, this was also a common belief before the reformation — scripture wasn’t for the common man to interpret, although lack of access to the text prior to the printing press played a big role as well. As a protestant Christian, I definitely believe there are levels of spiritual consciousness or awareness depending on how close one is to God. I would measure progress in terms of relational closeness with God, but the imagery of light is used throughout the Bible (1 John 1:5). The end goal of relationship with God is oneness (John 17:21), at which point I suppose all important truths will have been internalized and scripture would be redundant. I’m doubtful this state can be achieved in this life with all the mental and physical limitations, but it’s definitely a goal worth striving to. It’s corny, but I had a poster on my wall growing up “Shoot for the moon because if you miss you’ll still fall among the stars.” It takes courage to set lofty goals, which is a prerequisite for ever achieving them.

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