Probe Core Beliefs in Self Improvement Programs

Core beliefs may be limiting your personal growth. Learn why and how to incorporate challenging your core beliefs in your self-improvement program.

An effective self-improvement program requires close examination of one’s core beliefs as these play a dominant role in a person’s behaviours and growth. Honestly evaluating cultural and racial stereotyping and the urban myths and legends held deeply in the subconscious may be difficult but will provide personal growth.

What Are Core Beliefs?

Beliefs are simply thoughts that people have about something. Core beliefs imply thoughts about some topic vital or fundamental to one’s life. All beliefs are simply thoughts that are held to be true which are stored deep in the subconscious where they are available to support rapid and easy decisions. You can find out more about core beliefs at

Core beliefs — like all beliefs — are not ultimate truths but are simply the truths a person holds dear. Since they are dearly held to be true, differing core beliefs can result in serious disagreements between individuals, groups, and even countries.

Cultural and Racial Stereotyping

Cultural and racial stereotyping are two forms of beliefs held about other people who are of different racial or cultural background. Stereotyping assumes that some readily differentiable characteristic, such as race, age, or gender, will suffice to describe or predict a person’s behaviour or beliefs.

Stereotyping is a mental shortcut, allowing a person to reach conclusions about another without expending the time or effort to know the person as an individual.

Urban Myths and Legends, Adages, Proverbs, and Old Wives Tales

Popularly held core beliefs are also known as urban myths and legends, adages, proverbs, and old wives tales. All of these are simply beliefs – stories, or condensed sayings held to be true.

The following are some popularly held beliefs which appear to have no scientific basis in fact, yet they are held as true by many people.

Failing to wait one hour after eating before swimming will result in cramps which could cause drowning.

Gangs attack drivers who flash their headlights as warning to turn on lights.

The gender of an unborn child can be determined by observing the mother’s profile – carrying high means a girl, carrying low, a boy.

Shaving hair on legs or upper lip will cause it to grow back darker and thicker.

Though these myths are relatively harmless in terms of someone’s personal growth, they are examples of core beliefs that are widely held to be true and therefore result in automatic behaviours by those holding them.

People seeking strong personal growth will benefit by examining and reflecting on the subconscious core beliefs they hold to be true. Until one is aware of subconsciously held beliefs, behaviours and thoughts will continue to be automatic and may be limiting desirable personal growth.

Personal Growth by Challenging Core Beliefs

Include the conscious effort to challenge your core beliefs as an important component of your self-improvement program. There could be some discomfort associated with this self-reflection, but personal growth often involves overcoming the discomfort resulting from serious self-examination.

The following exercises will help structure self-examination of deeply held core beliefs:

Write a two-hundred-word essay titled “This I Believe.”

Finish the sentence beginning with “Life is…”

Examine each belief stated in the above exercises and ask why you believe it and how you know it to be true.

Watch for strong reactions you have to topics in the news or discussions you have with others. When you have a strong reaction, whether in support or opposition to something, it may indicate a core belief is at issue.

Spend time getting to know other people with whom you have never associated. Getting to know people of a different race, culture, gender, religion, or political affiliation will expose you to beliefs held to be true by others which may be in direct conflict to your beliefs. Examine the reasons behind conflicting beliefs.

Personal Growth in a Self-Improvement Program

Include the self-improvement step of closely examining core beliefs about life, yourself, and other people. Become aware of your strong reactions and judgments of other people, especially those different in appearance and culture. Testing your beliefs and allowing yourself to see other viewpoints is an important component of self-improvement.