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We love to talk about what we believe in.
Positive, enlightened posts are incredibly in vogue right now. Even your uncle is doing yoga, and you only dream of joining all the other dreamers at Burning Man.
It took long enough for the #LawofAttraction to catch onto mainstream media—and into everyday conversation—but how many lives have actually been transformed?
Part Two of the equation is the Law of Action; too bad most of us operate on “tldr” and don’t quite make it there. Reading is underrated these days.
We all have that friend who talks the talk. Relatives too, especially around the holiday dinner table. I feel odd saying “holiday,” because it’s only September, but I’ve literally—already—gotten my first Christmas holiday event invite, so I’m already thinking of ways to shield off the talkers. Every gym fills up in January and empties out by March. You get my point.
I know great talkers. I mostly know them as ex-boyfriends. My stance is pretty clear—words have tremendous power. If anyone tells you words don’t matter, they’ve just insulted every writer, speaker, philosopher and all their lives’ work. But words are not enough. Knowledge alone is futile, except to ignite existential vacuums. When what’s been said and what’s happening don’t match up; there is a litmus test to confirm the true belief, and that’s not always pretty.
Talk can get you far. Talk can trap you in a stale and dying relationship (any relationship). Talk can be the reason of #whyshestayed, because talk can be deceptive. So talk to resolve talk doesn’t really work. I’ve tried that too many times, and I’m not too crazy about trying more of the same.
In more naïve days, I used to ask for promises. I thought by asking someone to say something—to promise something—that it would actually happen. We all make mistakes. We are also not designed for, “I’m going to change my life from now on,” or anything that requires a persistent amount of willpower or self-discipline—with the exception of Olympians and a rare percentage of elite performers.
The truth is, most of us are designed to support the lifestyles of therapists and life-coaches. Another truth? Most of us are too smart for our own good, and too lazy for real behavioral change. So even after, say, seven years of therapy, talkers can still be talkers. I speak from experience, so if you want to hold someone accountable to their words, or if you’re into self-diagnosing the way I am, it really comes down to two things that show our true colours.
1. Our calendar.
How are you spending your life? What do you spend time on? What do you repeatedly do? Where are your hours spent? On what? With whom? Doing what? We are creatures of habit, so our routines and priorities are concrete proof of our beliefs in action. You can Instagram #healthylunch that one day after the gym, but if most of your intake is white bread and fried everything, then you are being delusional. Beliefs go beyond hashtags. Beliefs are reflected in your behaviour, which is confirmed by your schedule. Time is money, we are repeatedly told. Follow the money.
2. Our bank transactions.
Follow the real money, too. It’s true for most mysteries in life, and it’s true if you’re trying to figure out what’s real. Where are you spending your money? What are you paying for? What are you buying? Who are you paying? Because there’s no indicator that’s more accurate than your bank transactions—which is a damn honest way of showing what you value.
Ultimately, it’s not about what we say we believe in. Preaching is easy, but practising what we profess is not quite the same.
True beliefs actually cause us to make different decisions and take different actions.
True beliefs are exercised through behaviour and confirmed through our choices.
True beliefs are revealed through how we spend our time and money—the most valuable, expendable, limited things we have in this life.
So, what do you believe in? If you don’t know (and many of us haven’t figured that out yet), just look at your calendar and at who’s got your money.
Author: Xiren Wang
Editor: Travis May