Break Free

They can because they think they can

You have probably heard or read Henry Ford's (1863 ~ 1947) famous quote, "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." This powerful truth is hardly a new idea. About 2,000 years ago, the Roman poet Virgil expressed the same thought when he wrote, "They can because they think they can."

Both men were simply stating that we are molded by our beliefs.

The beliefs I'm referring to are not our conscious ones, such as which political party is the best or which philosopher is closest to the truth, but the subconscious ones that are formed in early childhood. These beliefs more than shape us; they create us.

This explains why people find it so hard to break bad habits or eliminate personal weaknesses. You probably know people who procrastinate, lack confidence, or are always angry and want to change. They may read self-help books, attend seminars, and practice various exercises, but all to no avail. Why can't they change? It's not because they're lazy or are not trying hard enough, but it is because they have become what they believe. For example, if a child is indoctrinated into believing they are helpless and incapable of doing anything right, they become a creation of that belief. That is, they grow up to be helpless. As adults, they may have the wish to change, but how can they when they are helpless? Do you see the contradiction?

Does that mean we cannot break free from the prison of our self-imposed beliefs? No, we can free ourselves, but to do so, we need to eliminate self-limiting beliefs from our subconscious. Over the years, psychologists and therapists have developed several methods to help do so. Today, I wish to introduce you to one such technique. It was developed by Morty Lefkoe and is called the Decision Maker Process®. You can learn all the details in his book, "RE-CREATE YOUR LIFE, Transforming Yourself and Your World with the Decision Maker Process," DMI Publishing, 1997.

I will begin with an outline of the 7 step Decision Maker Process® and then follow that with an example of a practitioner working with a client.

1. Select problem or issue that you wish to change.
2. Identify the belief (there may be more than one) that caused the problem.
3. Identify the source of the belief (what happened as a child that led you to accept the belief).
4. Name other ways you could have interpreted the events that led to your belief.
5. Was your belief real? Did it exist in the real world or just in your head?
6. Do you still have the belief or is it now gone?
7. After releasing your belief, you are no longer its CREATION, but are the CREATOR of your life.



Practitioner: Hello. Ralph. After you've made yourself comfortable, tell me what issue or problem you wish to work on.

Ralph (a retired man): I find life stale.

P: What do you mean by stale? I need you to be more specific.

R: Life is no longer zestful. I don't feel excited or enthusiastic. I lack energy.

P: Have you seen a doctor to make sure you don't have physiological problems?

R: According to my doctor, I'm in average condition for my age.


P: What belief could you have that would make your life so "stale"?

R: Well, I'm getting old. I suppose it's natural for old people to lose their enthusiasm.

P: Do you believe old people lose their enthusiasm for life?

R: Well, yes. Yes, I do.


P: Ralph, what did you experience as a child that led you to believe old people lose their enthusiasm for life?

R: Well, I remember my aunt talking to me about my grandfather.

She was complaining about how listless he had become. He simply dragged himself around the house, more like a zombie than a human. The way she described him, his life was sucked right out of him.

P: How old were you at the time?

R: About six.

P: Do you think her vivid description and disparaging remarks painted a picture in your mind that old people find life "stale"?

R: Yes. I remember the event clearly. I had forgotten all about it. I haven't thought about it for years. I can see how I came to believe getting old would be terrible.


P: Considering you were just six at the time, I can see how the conclusion you made about old age was quite logical. You didn't know any better. And a child of six doesn't possess analytical skills, so you came to your own conclusions as best as you could.

But you are no longer six. So, I would like you to reexamine what your aunt told you and try to give me four alternative interpretations. Your first interpretation was that old people grow "stale." Give me four different ways you could have interpreted the same remarks you heard from your aunt.

R: Well, I sense that my aunt and grandfather didn't get along.

So, perhaps her description of my grandfather was tainted by her prejudice. Also, if she was mean toward my grandfather, that may have caused him to behave as he did.

P: Good. Give me three more alternative explanations.

R: He could have been ill. Illness strikes at any age. And not every old person gets ill.

P: Do you know any old people who are healthy and enthusiastic about life?

R: Yes, I have a lady friend that gushes with enthusiasm and loves to dance.

P: How old is she?

R: She is in her 90's.

P: I see. So, perhaps old age is not a condemnation to misery.

Perhaps we can enjoy it after all. Give me two more alternative explanations.

R: Well, perhaps what my aunt said was true for my grandfather, but that doesn't make it true for every one.

P: That's a good answer. Give me one more alternative explanation.

R: Well, come to think of it, the type of behavior my aunt described isn't limited to old age. I've seen people in their 30's and 40's acting the same way. I guess it has more to do with attitude or beliefs than age.

P: What would you say would be closer to the truth, the interpretation you made as a six year old child or one of the four other ones you just made?

R: It's obvious to me that the one I made as a child is incorrect.


P: That may be obvious now, but until we met, you have been living your life as if it were true. Isn't that correct?

R: Yes, it is.

P: Until recently, the belief that old people lose their enthusiasm was as real to you as this desk or this pen. Isn't that true?

R: Yes. Absolutely.

P: This desk and this pen exist in this room. Where did your belief about old age exist?

R: In my mind.

P: My desk and pen are real. Was your original belief about old age real?

R: Well, it was real to me at the time.

P: Let me rephrase the question, was your belief truthful?

R: No, it is not true that all old people lose their enthusiasm for life.


P: There is no point in holding on to a belief that is not true and hinders our happiness, is there?

R: No, there isn't.

P: So, are you willing to give it up and let it go?

R: Okay, I'll try.

P: I didn't ask you if you would try. I asked if you were willing to give it up.

R: Yes, I'm willing to give it up.

P: Good. Give it up now. Let it go. Release it. Did you let it go?

R: Yes, I think so.

P: Repeat after me, "Old people lose their enthusiasm for life."

R: Old people lose their enthusiasm for life.

P: When you said that, did it seem true to you?

R: No, it didn't. I can see that I let go of that idea.


P:  When you believed old people lose their enthusiasm for life, where did that idea exist?

R: In my mind.

P: How did it get there?

R: My aunt put it there.

P: Your aunt never said old people lose their enthusiasm for life. That is just an interpretation of what she said about your grandfather. Who was the interpreter?

R: I was.

P: How did it get into your mind?

R: I interpreted what my aunt said and formed an opinion. I put it there.

P: So, you created the belief. In terms of how you behaved in old age, would you say that the belief created you?

R: Yes. That's true.

P: When you were the creation of that self-limiting belief, how did it feel?

R: I felt debilitated, diminished, powerless.

P: Now that the false belief is gone, how do you feel?

R: I feel free, more powerful.

P: Which is more exciting, to be the CREATION of a negative belief or to be the CREATOR of your life?

R: To be the creator of my life.

P: Do you feel like the creator of your life?

R: I'm beginning to realize that I'm the creator of my life.

P: How will you feel when you eliminate all your other negative beliefs?

R: Very powerful.

P: Elaborate on that.

R: I will be able to do anything I want to because all hindrances, all roadblocks will have been removed. Now that I think about this I realize that my negative beliefs are like a wall, which after being knocked down will reveal unlimited possibilities.

P: How do you feel now?

R: I feel like a powerful creator.

P: Congratulations, that's exactly what you are. And you will grow even more so with each passing day.

Well, readers, what do you think? Did you find the Decision Maker® Process intriguing or possibly useful for you? If you want to learn more, be sure to visit this web site:

© Chuck Gallozzi
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