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# 71 The garden of belief

Ever find yourself in a situation where you felt or acted in a way that you really regretted afterwards? Instead of beating yourself about it and moving on, the next time a person / situation / circumstance triggers an unwanted reaction, use it as an opportunity to become curious about your own beliefs.

(We will get back to this later, but a great new belief you could try to help you do this is, “I am curious about me.”)

The garden of belief

Throughout your life, you have been planting things in your garden of belief. These beliefs are your ideas about the world, yourself or other people that you — often unconsciously — hold to be true. Some are weeds, some are flowers, and some can become mighty trees if nurtured properly.

Whatever they are, none of those beliefs are inherently bad, but many are unhealthy or no longer serve you. Their job is to help you navigate life with as little friction as possible, protecting you from pain and effort. Unfortunately, they are also excellent at keeping you safe and comfortable.

The problem with safe and comfortable

Why unfortunately, you may be wondering? Safe and comfortable is static, has immense gravity and isn’t any indication of whether you are happy, flourishing or reaching your goals.

Safe and comfortable is automatically responding in a specific way to a given circumstance.

You know how to be that person in that situation, so that is what you default to every time, whether or not you like who that person is or how they behave.

When you’re stuck in a job you don’t like but can’t seem to leave, you’re in the safe and comfortable.

When you can’t get out of or keep ending up in toxic relationships, you’re in the safe and comfortable.

When you lash out at your partner or family at the end of a long day at work, you’re in the safe and comfortable.

When you have inspiring goals but can’t seem to take more than two steps towards them before procrastinating and ending back up at square one, you’re in the safe and comfortable.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Safe and comfortable is the familiar path of least resistance, and it is frequently an unhappy, quietly desperate place to be.

Weeding your garden

One of the tools I teach the Questers is the Tree of Clarity, which helps them get very practical with all of this. The important thing to understand here is that your current garden of belief is filled with weeds — to follow the metaphor — from your old belief system that hold you back, keep you stuck and prevent you from living the kind of life you want.

Those beliefs keep you safe and comfortable and sound like voices you’ll recognise if you’re honest with yourself:

  • “I don’t deserve this.”

  • “I am not worthy.”

  • “I am not allowed such happiness, such success, such freedom.”

  • “Reaching my dreams will take too much effort.”

  • “I am a people pleaser.”

  • “I am too old.”

  • “If I am perfect, I will be loved.”

  • “If I am nice to people they will be nice to me.”

  • “I’m not loving people if I’m not putting them first.”

The first step is learning to identify those voices and recognise them as weeds in your garden of belief.

The next step is to start pulling them out and replacing them with new beliefs that serve you and help you show up the way you want to in the world.

If you want to change how you show up in the world, you have to change what you believe.

Planting flowers

We spend a lot of time going through this in detail on the Clarity Quest because the specifics vary for each person, but the principles remain the same. If you want to show up differently in any given situation you need to be operating from a new set of beliefs, otherwise your efforts will be short-lived. And here is one of the most powerful unintuitive ideas will that make a massive impact on you when you grasp it:

It doesn't matter whether what you believe is true or not

It doesn't matter whether what you believe is true, good or right. What matters is that you believe it.

Let’s go back to the example I used right at the top. When you read that line about not beating yourself up you probably laughed at me a little. “Of course I’m going to feel bad, why wouldn’t I after messing up like that AGAIN?”

Here’s the thing; you’re going to continue messing up your whole life. It’s a given; humans are iterative-learning meat machines with an incredibly limited scope of perception, insight and capacity, which means that we need to get things wrong before we can start getting them right. And as things — and we — change, we have to recalibrate to get similar or better outcomes.

Where you can make a difference is in how often you make the same mistakes, and how you approach your failures when you inevitably get it wrong or don’t get the outcome you were hoping for again.

If your beliefs in that space are a spiralling cycle of negativity and self-admonishment, you aren’t giving yourself any tools to change your situation. But when you start pulling out those weeds and instead — to use the example above — make the first thing you think,” I am curious about me”, you open a whole new world of opportunities.

  • Curiosity is non-judgemental so beating yourself up is taken off the table.

  • You’re acknowledging that what you feel, think and experience matters, which can be very hard to do.

  • What emotions did you feel before you reacted?

  • What specific about that situation triggered you?

  • Have you ever reacted differently in a similar situation? If so, what was different?

  • What thoughts go through your mind in that situation?

What do I want to believe, think and feel?

You might get some answers you don’t like when you go through that process, and that's okay. You’re still a step further than you were before you asked those questions, and you have much more information to act on.

The next step is to ask yourself, “How do I want to think, feel and believe in this situation?”

REMEMBER, WHAT YOU BELIEVE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE TRUE. It just has to serve you in that circumstance. So planting flowers in that situation might look like:

  • "I am worth loving.”

  • “I do incredible work.”

  • “I lean into discomfort because that is where I learn the most.”

  • “I can do hard things.”

  • “I am a Powerpuff girl and sparkle joy wherever I go.”

Seriously though, if believing that you are a Powerpuff girl in your situation helps you show up the way you want to, GO FOR IT!


Go pull out your old weeds and disrupt the patterns of belief that are keeping you stuck in the safe and comfortable, and move towards a life of risk and adventure that holds so much more than you can even imagine right now.



Around what event, recurring situation or person do you often show up or react in a way that you dislike?

What are the unhealthy beliefs that are keeping you in the safe and comfortable — responding the same way as always — in that situation?

What new beliefs can you plant that will disrupt your pattern of reaction?

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