When is the last time you heard someone say something like, “You know how it is…” and you nodded in agreement?
Please stop doing this.
To get a good understand of how agreement can hurt us, read the first chapter of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, about “domestication” of the planet. Here’s an excerpt:
“As children, we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our beliefs, but we agreed with the information passed to us…by other human beings. The only way to store information is by agreement. The outside… may hook our attention, but if we don’t agree, we don’t store that information. As soon as we agree, we believe it.”
Our belief creates 100% of our reality and results in life. Nodding in agreement when someone makes a statement that is limiting is a habit that has you actually enter information into your subconscious as a belief. Oh no!
“Oh, but it is so hard to get clients, you know?”
Nod, yes… Uh-oh! A new belief – a new reality.
“In this economy I can’t expect people to pay for __(insert your service)__”
Nod, agree – new reality.
Here are 5 highly damaging “agreements” that I see people nod to, and therefore take on for themselves and keep alive:
1. Being an entrepreneur is hard.
2. People aren’t willing to pay for ____(service they need)____ even though they need it.
3. You can’t make a living doing ____(thing you love)____.
4. That’s just the way _____(person, circumstance)_____ is.
5. ___(Type of person)____ are ____(negative descriptor)____.
Which of these types of statements have you agreed to recently?
Now, you may have lots of EVIDENCE that a statement is TRUE. Take, for example, “Teenagers are difficult.” This a common agreement people take on in our society.
What might be different if we took a stand and started agreeing to something like “Teenagers are creative.” “Teenagers have great ideas.” “Teenagers are energetic.”
What about these? “Being an entrepreneur is a fun adventure.” “People are willing to pay for something when I help them see the value.” “We are designed to make a living doing work we love.” Etc.
How do I reject an agreement?
What do you do when faced with another individual in your life who wants you to store information by agreement that does not serve you?
1. Simply take in the information. If this is a non-primary relationship in your life, you may choose to simply hear them, without nodding or agreeing. Allow them to say what they will, and let the information bounce right off of you.
2. State and reaffirm your own opinion. If this is someone you find yourself spending time with regularly, at minimum you want to take this route. “Actually, I choose to believe ________.” And then let it go.
3. Challenge their thinking. If this is a primary relationship in your life, or someone important enough to you to risk being uncomfortable, please challenge their thinking. (Also if they are speaking about something that will directly affect the “agreement” about your line of work.) This would look like. “I’d like to challenge your thinking here. I’m sure it makes sense to you, but where did you get that idea?” And even, “In my experience, ________ is actually true.” Or, “I choose to believe ____________, because my beliefs influence how I operate in this world. You are welcome to have that opinion, and I love you, but I request that you don’t share it around me.”
Does that third line of conversation make you squirm? Yes, because, by agreement, we don’t generally speak that directly in our culture. By agreement, we tend to get on board with each other’s pain, rather than take a stand for something different.
Be the change!
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Challenging status quo thinking really is the first step. You may influence someone to rethink old patterns. But at minimum, you are actively choosing the beliefs you agree to store. When your beliefs literally create your reality, this is a pretty important choice to make.