The Most Important Question In The World

I have discovered the single most important question you can ask yourself on a regular basis. It applies to any problem, any situation, any time.

It is that important.

The mysterious question is, as you might suppose, very simple. But don’t let your familiarity with it prevent you from reading on, because I’m digging deeper. There are subtle concepts within this of such profundity and reach that it makes the rest of personal development topics seem…less important or something.

So, the question is…

What Are My Beliefs?

You have thousands, if not millions, of beliefs. You hold beliefs about the best way to use a garden hose, when it’s a good time to take out the trash, your level of intelligence, the usefulness of blenders, and the existence (or not) of the supernatural.

You’re probably thinking, “too broad to be useful?” No, because context provides specificity. If you’re in a mall shopping for clothing, your beliefs about clothing styles and how many pants you need come into play.

The significance of belief is self-illuminating because you have beliefs about every single thing there is. Your beliefs and perception of reality are married to each other. Add the fact that beliefs can be altered and you can see that beliefs are a major hinge of life change.

  1. Beliefs will either cripple your mind or energize it to live your best life possible.
  2. Beliefs are the difference between long-term success and failure.
  3. Beliefs determine if you’re generally happy or sad, optimistic or pessimistic.

The applications are infinite, so I’ll give (perhaps) the most poignant one and let you muse over the others.

A Dangerous Belief – My Life Is Stagnant/Boring/Dreadful

It looks like an observation, doesn’t it? But actually, it’s a very dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here’s why…

My life is stagnant” is a present tense statement alternatively translated as “my life is stagnant in this very moment.”

As someone very young would say, BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD!

The Truth: The present moment is 100% neutral ground. Good or bad things can happen from this moment in time.

Look at it this way…

If your life is stagnant right now – it is a problem that you have to get out of before you can make progress. But if you believe the present moment is neutral (as it truly is), you’re simply free to move forward.

Imagine you’re driving east and suddenly you realize that your intended destination was actually south. Do you backtrack and travel due west? No, you should head south-west to reach your destination.

LifeTruck

Note: public criticism of Stephen's art is awkward and unacceptable.

In the same way, regardless of where we’ve been and what we have believed about our missteps and mistakes – the present moment is always a neutral moment of opportunity to pursue our dreams recklessly.

If you’ve been having a tough time with something, you’ll be glad to know that you’re on neutral ground right now and can focus on thriving from today forward instead of expending mental energy to overcome an expired problem.

Empowering Beliefs Create Life

Pessimists have to overcome stagnant life that they believe reaches them in the present. Optimists believe that every moment is new and that the future is promising.

The past can only weigh you down if you believe it will define your present and future (and if you believe that, it will happen!).

Empowering Belief – I am thriving in life. 

A smart, positive thinker won’t even accept that the present is neutral.

They will choose to believe that they are thriving in the present moment (regardless of their recent past). If you believe you’re thriving, you’re going to have a great day and a great life. You’re going to do everything better, happier.

The present moment is ALWAYS neutral. But let’s cheat a little and make the present moment positive by default. 

Have you decided?

What will your default belief be?

Also, how did your life truck manage to pass emissions testing?

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Stephen McCoy

Very simple, but not always obvious philosophy. I have observed this in various forms throughout my life, but I was never able to articulate what I was seeing. Thank you for the insight.

Hugo Martins

You are right. Being stagnant is not always a dreadful situation, it might be in fact a turning point on one’s life.

Obviously depending on one’s perspective of life but I believe whether we are optimists or pessimists is always a great time for reflection. Following your thinking, if now is always a neutral moment and neutral moments are great for reflection, now is the perfect time to think and reflect and just now your blog made complete sense. 😀

Thanks for the reading!

Patricia Troyer

Outstanding post, my friend. Beliefs are such tricky little critters. They can hide even better than your spider. And providing Beliefs with more force is another good one — our old friend Assumptions. Beliefs just naturally and automatically create assumptions, and usually way below conscious awareness. I bump smack into several on a daily basis. Best not to beat yourself up over it; just look it over and say, “Well, look at that one!” Another great job, Stephen. Best, Patricia

Jessica Flory

I love this post. It’s based on such a simple idea, but it really is something that more people should stop and think about. It’s always amazing to me what an effect our beliefs and our thinking patterns can have on our lives.

Martyn Chamberlin

Dude you need to fix the onfocus for the footer subscribe box. Right now it looks like this:

onfocus="if (this.value == 'Please Enter Your Email Address') {this.value = '';}" onblur="if (this.value == '') {this.value = 'Email Address';}"

You need the two entities to match or else it won’t work. In other words, you need to change it to this:

onfocus="if (this.value == 'Email Address') {this.value = '';}" onblur="if (this.value == '') {this.value = 'Email Address';}"

P.S. I love that artwork! You’re turning into a regular Thomas Moran. What program did you build that in?

Stephen Guise

My pleasure Stephen. It has helped me out already. 🙂

Stephen Guise

Reflecting is important! I think the best type of reflecting is that which identifies your current life path and your desired life path. Once those are identified, you can close the gap.

You’re welcome Hugo. Thank you for reading it!

Stephen Guise

Thank you Patricia. 🙂

I don’t know though…I never saw that spider bite me. It was classic bite and run.

You’re right about the relationship of beliefs and assumptions. That’s an important insight! Isn’t it interesting when you uncover an invalid assumption and trace it back to an ancient belief you’ve had? It is my goal to be very flexible and “liquid” in my beliefs so that I can adapt to new information and ideas.

Stephen Guise

I love that you love this post!

I’m with you on that! I too am amazed at how the smallest mindset shift can awaken an avalanche of change. This post falls under that category. When every new moment is full of hope and optimism, there is less resistance to living a happy and fulfilling life – which is what all of us want.

Thanks for your thoughts Jessica.

Stephen Guise

Haha, Thomas Moran’s art is *gasp* better than mine on a technical level.

I will fix that! I meant to do it earlier, but I forgot. Thank you for the reminder, kind sir.

Tom

Thanks for another great post Stephen.
It has taken me a few readings to really grasp what you are trying to say here. Considering the present as neutral is such an empowering believe for self improvement. The key is the self awareness to stop, assess and question everything particularly the underlying assumptions in your beliefs.

I would take your question (is that important?) further by being more specific and replacing important with ‘in allignment with my values and progressing me towards my goals’.

Cheers,
Tom

Martyn Chamberlin

Much better now! It’s not bugging me any more. 😉

Chris Jones@soundspott

That was a nice thought- simple but hard to workout. The question is good- ‘What Are My Beliefs?’ I never thought that this simple question can rule the life. I like to be a positive thinker -even though it’s a philosophy. I’ll try my best to be one.

Your art wasn’t that awkward (It’s better than my masterpiece, ha ha ha)

Thanks for the post man
Chris

Karin (Joy in Motion)

This is an excellent way of framing reality. I love the idea of neutrality, and I like the art you made to go with it :). Thank you, Stephen!

This reminds me of a quote I just love (not sure who first said/wrote it): “Don’t get in touch with your feelings. Get in touch with the truth, and you’re feelings will change.” This belief has done more than any other to change my emotional life and my choices for the better. It’s amazing how fluid and changeable our emotions really are. Such a game-changer.

Stephen Guise

Thank you Tom.

Honestly, I’m always having to wrestle with how much to say and how deep to go. So many of my ideas intersect so that when I reach that crossroads I often go off on a related tangent. I have a partially written post that was originally a part of this post.

I could have taken this much further. I could probably write a book on it! So in other words, I’m still learning and exploring the best way to go about this blogging thing. 😀

I appreciate your suggestion.

Cheers! (I wish more Americans said “cheers”…it is my favorite greeting/salutation)

Stephen Guise

It’s awesome you enjoyed it Chris.

Where can I see your masterpiece? 🙂

Stephen Guise

Hello Karin!

You’re complementing my art? There must be some kind of mistake. 😉

Oh wow, that quote is amazing! There is so much depth to it. I think of that concept all the time and whoever said that described it succinctly. Sometimes I get jealous of quotes because of how deep and poignant they can be despite their brevity.

Thanks for chiming in and sharing that brilliant quote.

Tom

Hi Stephen,
I think what you are doing is working pretty well. You always manage to touch on couple of ideas in every post that are worth exploring further. The discussion in comments does some of that exploring and it seems like for every post you share there are another three you can write to follow up and expand. It feels like we are exploring these ideas with you rather than the ‘This is how you …’ type posts where the writer speaks at you.

Cheers,
Tom

Chris Jones@soundspott

I was just kidding man. It must be the ugly portrait of my friend.

Glynis Jolly

Most of my beliefs change with each season. It’s gotten to the point where I feel anything is up for grabs, which gives me plenty of choices.

Is It Down

As for the art, believe it or not it’s better than anything I could probably do! And as for the message, you are so right. It’s pointless to dwell on the past since it cannot be changed or undone, and better to instead live in the present and do what you can to live the life you want, 100% of the time.

Laurie

Stephen Guise

I was just thinking today about living in the present. Your comment serves as a great reminder. Another post I wrote was precisely about taking life one day at a time. I think you’d like it.

http://stephenguise.com/2011/04/the-currency-of-life-28726-days/

roylon

When my eyes danced over the line, It is that important, I thought I had read “Is it that important?” And I was sure that was the most important question. 🙂

I enjoyed what you wrote and I think your second question, the one I thought you wrote, Is it that important?—is intriguing as well. Thanks for the positive note!

Roylon—www.kabbaloney.com

Stephen Guise

Yeah, that is a good question! Thanks Roylon. 🙂

Tresor Paris Crystal Jewellery

That’s a good article. Thank you for sharing it with us. Just keep it up!

alfa 4c

Learning from your past mistakes is useful. But bllaming yourself for them is not. If it’s in the past it’s gone. Let it there. Every single day is a new begining.

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