The Method: exercise in new beliefs

The Method’s steps 2 and 3 have you conceive of new emotions, environments, beliefs, and behaviors for emotional cycles you want to change.

The challenge

How do you pick the new beliefs to crowd out the old ones?
Choosing the opposite to existing beliefs rarely helps. You end up debating yourself in your head.


I find complements to beliefs crowd out existing ones more effectively. For example, I found an effective alternative to rising anger is not to try to be calm, but to be curious about the situation causing the anger. The curiosity crowds out the anger and I get calm anyway.
I’ve found effective complements to many emotions, though curiosity works well for many situations for me. When I feel frustrated, impatient, angry, or similar emotions based in conflict between elements in an emotional cycle, I assume I misunderstand something in my environment, usually a person’s motivations. I assume they aren’t trying to frustrate, anger, or whatever me, even if it looks that way to me. Then I become curious to understand their motivation, which means understanding the elements of their emotional cycles.
An effective tactic for finding complements is to use “Don’t look for blame but take responsibility for improving things to the extent you can”. That strategy gives you power to improve things on your own. It also gives you the responsibility to. Dwelling in blame looks to the past, which you can’t change. Taking responsibility looks to the present and future, which you can change.
Besides, people don’t defer to others for leadership for their ability to allocate blame. People can do that on their own. The look to others for leadership for their ability to create better futures, which taking responsibility for improving things to the extent you can does. If you do so, people will consider you leadership material. You don’t have to lead if you don’t want, but you’ll better win friends and influence people.

The exercise

What are candidate alternative beliefs to the following situations? What behavioral strategies do they lead to?

  • Someone isn’t calling you?
  • Boss is a jerk?
  • My job sucks?
  • I just can’t lose weight?
  • There is so much work, I can’t do it all?
  • Other situations you’ve had with counterproductive beliefs?

More discussion

I talked before about different models or beliefs you might have for someone not calling you so let’s look at the second point.
Believing your boss is a jerk will not likely help your career. If you don’t think you can change your beliefs, you won’t change them, trapping yourself in a belief leading to counterproductive behavior. On the other hand, you probably won’t easily digest believing your boss is your best friend.
How about “my boss is under a lot of pressure” or “my boss wants the best for me but doesn’t know how to deliver”? Those will probably lead to more productive relations.
More effective still is to apply the strategy “Don’t look for blame but take responsibility for improving things to the extent you can.” That strategy might lead you to believe “I can develop a great relationship with anyone.”
You can apply this strategy to the other points too.

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