What do you believe?

Everybody knows that a 72 year old grandmother can't do 55 pushups, right? Somebody forgot to tell Wanja Sjödin.

72 year old Wanja Sjödin was a bit disappointed when she only managed 55 pushups; she was aiming for 56, a new personal record. ("I think I was a bit nervous because of the cameras," she comments.) Not to worry, she concludes: she's still getting stronger so she'll no doubt pass the 56-pushup mark soon. Maybe when she's 73.

Is Wanja just a genetic oddity? I don't think so. I think she illustrates the power of beliefs. Notice the implicit beliefs in her pushup feat: "I can do 56," and "I am still getting stronger at 72 years old." Beliefs are one of the most fundamental "communication keys" - the building blocks of all human activity. And they can be consciously changed in order to reach the results you want. (Read more here:

In my experience, our beliefs define what is possible. If I don't believe I can run a marathon, I certainly won't run a marathon. If I do believe I can run a marathon, then the way is open for me to do the things that will allow me to run the marathon. If I believe I can become an exceptional leader, then the way is open for me to do the things I need to do to be an exceptional leader. And so on.

There are, presumably, some physical limitations to what is possible. I'm pretty sure I cannot fly without assistance. Then again, 100 years ago, manned flight was "impossible." The airplane flying by my window as I write these words is its own commentary on that belief. In any case, the limiations that we believe in will, without doubt, define the outer limits of what we achieve.

Beliefs - conscious and unconscious - shape every decision and action of our lives. Everything we do is constrained and enabled by underlying beliefs. What happens if we choose to expand our beliefs? What happens if we assume that we're capable of a little (or a lot) more - or different - or better for us? And what happens if we change our beliefs about other people?

If we expand our beliefs, maybe nothing new will happen. However, I am certain that if we do not expand our beliefs, we have guaranteed that nothing new will happen.

What do you believe?

Cheers /Peter

2009-03-08 Peter A