Question Everything

Published on May 2, 2013 by

We have beliefs about everything, but not all of our beliefs are helpful or defensible:

  • Beliefs about self ("I'm not a risk taker.")
  • Beliefs about others ("He's an idiot!")
  • Beliefs about our future (I can't get a better job in this economy.")
  • Beliefs about money ("Money doesn't grow on trees." Technically true, but what are we really saying?)
  • Beliefs about employees ("We'd better not tell them everything.")

Beliefs--we have to have them, there's no way around that. But we don't have to believe them. We don't have to confuse our beliefs with facts. Facts are something we can prove over and over again and they're true for everyone. Beliefs are only true when we make them true for ourselves.

If we want something better at work or in life, we have to begin with our beliefs. If we want something to change, we have to change the beliefs we cherish so much. That can be challenging because we are often unaware about what we really think and believe about important matters.

The next time we're so sure what we believe is "right" and based on "reality," it might be good to look over this list of some very smart people who believed the following:

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
(Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943)

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
(Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977)

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
(Bill Gates, 1981)

“$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft.”
(IBM, 1982)

Prediction about the Internet: It “will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” Robert Metcalfe in a 1995 issue of InfoWorld.

On consumer buying on the internet: “Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop - because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.”  Time magazine, 1966

Maybe everything is perfect in your life or at your company. If not, for something to change, something has to change. That something will always include our beliefs.

Now it's your turn...leave a comment and I'll be sure to reply.


  1. TJ Trent


    Great point... We constantly need to challenge and refine our beliefs. A wise general once told me "Know yourself, Know your enemy, and know the battlefield." We must constantly refine examine and refine our beliefs based upon facts.

    • Alan Allard

      TJ, you are right, we have to "know" ourselves"--that's the place to begin--and to keep coming back to.

  2. Dan Black

    Great examples! We have to be willing to think big and have a big imagination. To get outside our own reality. Great post!

    • Alan Allard

      Dan, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I agree, getting "outside our own reality" would change everything.

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