How to Change your Beliefs: What’s Useful?

by | Jul 6, 2023

Last night I met my two JAX friends for a hang. There were two options: a Downtown Art Walk or adult coloring at a bar. We choose option 2. Now before “adult coloring” can be construed as something it’s not, it is, rather, exactly what you would imagine: sheets from coloring books pulled out with boxes of crayons and colored pencils. 

We grabbed a beer. Grabbed a table. Grabbed our supplies. And as a testament to our not-so-young-anymore-eyes, we grabbed our phone flashlights and started coloring away. 

Maybe it was the Crayolas. Maybe it was the pilsner. Maybe it was the deluge and lightning and thunder outside as is the go-to weather event this time of year in Florida. Maybe the three of us hadn’t had a hang in a while, but we had some GOOD CHATS about some hard things. We threw down some perspectives that might have been a bit hard to hear but were accepted and appreciated. We (OK I…) rambled on as I do about things that were on my mind that were seemingly surface but I knew were running deep. 

My story started with one event and then followed my normal pattern: interrupting myself, moving to a different event, bringing it back to the first one, describing all the details, going on another tangent, then giving some “much needed” back story, interrupting myself some more, then giving some more details and describing another event, all to bring it around to where I started. What a journey! 

When I get going, my stories can be a thing of beauty, or an event of mindblowing-make it stop-confusion. Luckily these ladies are used to me and at least pretend to roll with the “thing of beauty” option. 

“That’s just what’s in your head. That’s just a belief you have. You can be done with that.” 

Two of us looked up and gave each other the oh-shit-she-just-threw-down-look. Her comment was so spot on. So factual. So logical in delivery. So RIGHT didn’t even want to throw my colored pencil at her as you sometimes do when people say stuff you might not want to hear. She hit that nail on the head. Hard. 


If only it were that easy to “be done with that.” 

That’s the initial thought that popped up in my overactive brain. And then…

Why do I make it so hard? Maybe it can be that easy.

A line from a newsletter I’d read earlier in the day came back to me. 

Peter Cook wrote:

“Beliefs. What’s a belief that isn’t serving you? Change it. Choose your beliefs based on what’s useful rather than what’s true.”

Approximately zero of the thoughts I’d shared in that story were useful. Held up to scrutiny, most of them weren’t even true. 

Useful? Me flipping those beliefs on their heads and rewriting them into useful options. 

Guess what was pretty easy? Dumping down a lot of those thoughts in my journal first thing this morning. Turning them around into statements that are MUCH MORE useful than the horse poo that was dominating my brain for way too long. 

So simple. So straightforward. So few words compared to my so many. What’s useful? Choose it. Change it. 

I’ve felt a whole lot lighter today. Those old thoughts were exhausting and tired and stale and boring if they weren’t so all-consuming. I took out my own colored pencils and markers and wrote those new beliefs down and taped them in front of my face. When an old thought crept in, I said no we’re done and chose a useful belief instead. 

Give it a go yourself. What belief can you choose based on what’s useful, rather than what’s true?

Hit reply and let me know and I’ll gladly share one or two of mine for inspo. 

You don’t even need colored pencils or a beer…although a truth-telling friend or two might help. 


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