This is an article for anyone who is interested in belief change. In particular people that feel they have limiting beliefs that are keeping them from getting what they want out of life. It’s also for people that want to act in a certain way, but find themselves getting too much “internal resistance.”
In early 2012, myself and the other users of the #reddit-seddit irc (which you can access here) were turned onto a book called Sleight of Mouth: The Magic of Conversational Belief Change by Robert B. Dilts. It’s something of a “cult-classic” in the seduction community, shortly after we all read it Neil Strauss recommended it in his “Ask me Anything” on Reddit Seddit. It’s a wonderful book, that virtually all the “big names” in the community have read, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in hardcore self-development. One of the most useful parts of the book is the Belief Change Cycle.
What is a belief?
We’re all aware of beliefs, however we tend to limit the discussion of beliefs to religion and politics. “He believes in god,” or “He doesn’t believe in taxing the rich.” However, we have beliefs about virtually every subject, and our beliefs make up a bulk of our action. A guy who believes ballet is for sissies, and believes he himself isn’t a sissy, isn’t going to go take ballet lessons, whereas a guy who believes he is a good dancer and believes dance is worth study is more likely to do so. An Indian guy who believes white women don’t like Indian guys isn’t likely to start approaching white women. That’s why we call them “limiting” beliefs, because they limit our thoughts and actions to a certain range.
We don’t measure beliefs in right or wrong, rather by usefulness. The thing we all learned about beliefs is that we can find rationalizations and “proofs” for every belief. There’s people that believe the earth is flat and have books and books of arguments for it. People that believe Caucasian women are turned off by Indian men have hundreds of anecdotal horror stories, OK Cupid stats, and the like, and they hold to their guns no matter what evidence to the contrary they see.
The good news is, we can adopt useful beliefs as easily as we can limiting beliefs. That’s why it’s helpful to learn the belief change cycle.
The Belief Change Cycle Explained:
The belief change cycle as described by Dilts goes like this:
1) Wanting to Believe – We want to believe something, but are aware it’s not part of our belief system.
2) Becoming Open to Believe – This is when you start asking “What if this were true?” “What would life be like if I believed this?”
3) Incorporation – This is when we begin to add the new belief to our existing belief system. Sometimes this can happen quite rapidly, however if the new belief is very “radical” compared to our established belief system, we may have to adjust or even “retire” old beliefs in order to accommodate the new belief, which happens in step 4.
4) Being Open to Doubt – I bold this one because to me it’s the most crucial part of any and all belief change. Sometimes the simple act of doubting an existing belief can lead to rapid belief change. This is when we start examining our existing beliefs and think “Maybe it’s not true,” “Maybe there are exceptions,” “Well, that’s not always true.”
5) Refiling of the old belief – Dilts describes a “Museum of Personal History” where we store old beliefs, like the belief in Santa Claus. A more advanced tactic to belief change involves envisioning current limiting beliefs the same way we look back on being in Santa Claus.
6) Trust in the new belief. – You start gathering “proof” of the new belief
The only difference I’d make to Dilts belief change cycle is I’d put Being Open to Doubt at the front of the process. We’ve all seen the doubt cycle in practice, especially if you’ve ever met anyone that converted to a new religion, or went from being religious to non-religious. Virtually every conversion story you read begins with people beginning to doubt their existing belief system. A lot of overnight conversions happen in that way. Similarly, a lot of overnight personality changes begin in the same way, we just ask “What if our current way isn’t always true?”
A lot of people have similar “conversions” when they first learn about pickup. We learn that we can approach new women, and attract them to us by expressing our sexuality and masculinity. We begin to doubt our old models of the world, which were likely built on mainstream date night bullshit, and begin a process where we incorporate our new beliefs in with our existing belief system.
Being Open to Doubt is easy, we just have to pick something we believe and ponder what life would be like if it weren’t true. Being Open to Belief works in the same way, we just ask “What if it could be true?” Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.
The hardest step is incorporation. If you’ve spent twenty or thirty years thinking you’re a nerd that repulses women, it’d be a challenge to just up and say “That’s not true, I’m a confident alpha male.” There’s simply too many contradictions in the belief system. I call that incorporation dilemma, when your desired belief contradicts too much with your existing map of the world.
There are some ways we can get around the incorporation dilemma.
Let’s use an example of an Asian guy that thinks white women don’t like Asian guys. That’s a whopper of a limiting belief, but it’s a common one I see from new guys in our community. If he’s been told by society, his family, and his own rationalizations that white girls are off limits or unattainable for the last couple decades, and the belief has gone unquestioned, he can’t very well drop it overnight.
What he can do is build the new belief by starting with smaller beliefs. Maybe at first he can acknowledge that there are some white girls that like Asian guys. Or maybe he can acknowledge that there’s a category of Asian guy that Caucasian girls are attracted to. After all, in the entire history of modern society there’s had to have been at least one Caucasian girl that’s been attracted to an Asian guy, right? Similarly, he can jump start the belief change process by doubting individual pieces of the overall belief.
It’s amazing how fast one can “leap frog” beliefs when they start small. Take a guy who’s brand new to the community, and he believes it’s rude to approach girls on the street. Then it occurs to him there are situations where it wouldn’t be rude to approach a girl on the street; If she dropped some money on the street, it wouldn’t be rude to approach her. Then it may occur to him that there’s other situations where it wouldn’t be rude to approach a girl on the street, and eventually he can build up the belief that “I can approach whatever girl I want.”
After the belief has been established, it can only get stronger. In the same way we found “proof” of our old beliefs, we find proof of the new beliefs, and when the new beliefs stop serving us we can swap them out with newer beliefs.
Here are some steps to get started identifying and changing your own beliefs.
1) Identify your limiting beliefs. There’s two ways to do this, the internal way and the external way. The external method is to just look at your actions and results on a day to day basis, sometimes you can get a good read on what you believe just by how you act. The internal method is essentially paying attention to your thoughts and see what thoughts you tend to gravitate towards. That’s one reason why keeping a journal and meditating are such potent tools, they help you become aware of repeated thought patterns.
2) Once you’ve identified those beliefs, start doubting those fuckers. Poke holes in them. Find situations in your life and the lives of others where those beliefs aren’t true.
3) Start focusing on the new belief. Build it up. Find situations where the new belief is true. Make them for yourself, if they aren’t readily apparent. Get on the wavelength and stay on it. Act as if it’s true, imagine what it’d be like if your new belief were true, do whatever it takes. Hell, if you’re really hard off you can even play “make believe.” Eventually your new belief will incorporate into your belief system, then all will be well.
The Belief Change Cycle is a simple tool that we can all utilize. It works in seduction as well as every form of self development. We can use it to improve our life, as well as the lives of others. There’s really no telling how fast you’ll find yourself incorporating your new beliefs. It may take a while, it may happen overnight. It only depends on how radical the new belief is, and how you start to incorporate it. Remember, if the belief is radically different than your current belief system, you may have to prime your belief system for it first.
One last point I’d like to leave you guys with is to pick and choose the beliefs you want to incorporate carefully. When I was first starting I wanted to incorporate beliefs about the act of approaching women, and my results were just okay. When I started changing my belief system to be about what I wanted to get from approaching women, fun, love, sex and companionship, that’s when I not only started approaching more women but having better success.
This belief change process helped me in all aspects of my life, and I hope it helps you too. It’s also a process that never ends. Your life is always expanding, and just like the seasons change, the beliefs you need to get yourself to the next level will change as well.
– Duke Alan, the Free Love PUA.