Evidence Gathering

Nope! This title isn’t a suggestion that anyone reading this should become a detective in order to earn their living. It is however a suggestion that it might be useful to examine the conclusions you are drawing from the experiences you are having.
What we humans appear to be pre-programmed to do is to come to a conclusion, about lives, our own abilities, or the world, and to not only stick with it come what may, but to actively collect data that supports that conclusion, even when it is no longer true.
The conclusion, the belief that we carry, may have been absolutely true for once upon a time. But as time passes and circumstances change (& the one thing we can be certain of is change!), it renders these old conclusions redundant. They are obsolete, they no longer serve us. some of these beliefs actively cause harm to our progression in the world. They can cause stuckness in our work and huge frustration on our personal and professional lives….. That is an incredibly powerful effect from something that no longer actually exists!
So why would we hold on to these limiting beliefs. Primarily because we are more comfortable with what we do know that that which we don’t. We are so much more at ease with what we do know, be it useful or not, that we continue to prop up that belief by sieving information so we only acknowledge that which supports our beliefs.
This is ‘evidence gathering’. This is examining our daily lives and pulling out only the information that supports this foregone conclusion that was set long ago. Reading this it probably also sounds like a barking way to behave. It is however only possible to choose to change it when the behaviour has been recognised for what it is….. An exercise in self-limitation.
Ever had those repetitive thoughts such as ‘ I can’t spell’, or I cannot do public speaking’ or ‘I’m rubbish at swimming’. Well these are examples of limiting beliefs.
One of my own exercises in evidence gathering lies around numbers. ‘I have discalcular’ I told myself for years. I have asked others to text me their mobile numbers saying ‘I can rearrange numbers at will & then you’ll be left wondering why I never called’. On the back of this belief, I avoided writing down a string of numbers as often as possible. How does one ever get good at anything If you don’t practise it? And secondly, if I did attempt it, I was so fearful of getting it wrong, I rushed, and then did just that. This inevitable error created the evidence I needed to back up Belief that I was rubbish at numbers. No nobody could disputed it, the facts spoke for themselves, every time ……. Having had an acute head injury in an RTA I had ‘lost’ my ability with numbers….
About a decade ago I began to question all of the above. There was a fellow professional I wished to impress, and. as she gave me her number, I took a deep breath, and I SLOWLY wrote it down…. And I took the time to read it back to her, and it was accurate. Oh! A kind of chink in my reality appeared….
Henceforth instead of saying ‘I’m crap with numbers’, I substituted the thought with ‘take it slowly and it will be fine’. And do you know what? It has indeed been just fine. The more I practise, the better I have got. This way the evidence I can collect supports the belief that I’m ok with noting down a string of numbers correctly. This has been very useful.
So that is a tiny glimpse into a limiting belief that I was perpetuating in order to collect the evidence that it was true. It was an exercise that, had I continued to evidence it, would have made it very difficult to coach, to supervise, to network and build a business. Glad I changed it.
So what evidence gathering have you been indulging in? And are you ready to think in a new way to free yourself of self imposed limitations. What might you then be free to achieve?
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