Belief is your superpower

use it!

Start-up founders are believers. They are the crazy ones who believe in a better future and task themselves to create it. The are constantly playing with the challenge of creating something new and then outdoing themselves.

Like all believers they start with ventures, like little kids learning to walk, they get reinforcement from someone who believes in them more than they believe in themselves. At the time of writing this I noticed an Instagram — a father’s day post from Jeff Bezos who credited his father for believing in him. For investors it presents the challenge in reverse. They want to believe that they will get a better than perfect outcome.

Believing is a crazy thing. More than a 5 trillion dollars change hands every day because the seller believes the price will go down and buyer believes it will go up at some point their believes cross path and trade happens.

Kid’s look up to their parents when growing up, readers believe in the research or stated facts and of course investors believe in the venture when they invest. Once our belief have taken roots in our mind we aim to reinforce that by looking for evidence to support it and validate it.

This is where beliefs are created, they are in our head. We toil our today for a better future. There are industries ( including coaches and motivators ) deeply involved in it. Irrespective of truth or falsehood behind these programs, beliefs change perceptions and outcomes.

Let’s dig in deeper.

Positive beliefs create certainty : I often hear — we are trying to raise money ( are you trying hard enough is an obvious question that is raised in the mind of listener), we expect it to become an industry leader ( what if your expectations are wrong) further I hear If, we hope, perhaps , we think …. and with these words the point becomes pointless leaving a room for uncertainty, ambiguity and potentially — failure. Why would someone believe in you when you do not believe in yourself ( apart from those who have emotionally invested in you and want you to succeed and…… if the ones around you do not believe in you; you may not have chosen well, as the damage caused by non believers can be ever lasting)

Beliefs are Strengths: Should you manage your beliefs well, they become your strength. Recently, I met a founder here in Melbourne and I was not certain on the numbers that were projected. As I always do, I asked lot of questions. He then showed me the list of prospects with the conversations they have had and a probability of success in each with reasoning to justify that. He was successfully able to create a belief in my head about the market based on the work that was done. I was sold. It could be same for TAM, SAM, SOM numbers which are not precise ( and can never be, however an understanding that everything is accounted for can strengthen the case ). Founders at times fail to account for market shift that their monopolistic product or service can cause. Perhaps they need to sift through assumptions and facts ( to believe in the numbers, if they stack up so that someone investing in their venture believes the same. If your estimates turn out to be conservative, you may be selling yourself cheap if your numbers are overoptimistic your risk exposure/cost is high ( like a belief that you will win a lotto).

Cadence and Anchoring: Your believe gives cadence to your statements that helps shape the conversations around it. You can anchor other people’s thinking around it. Irrespective of time required to develop a skill, it is now assumed to be 10,000 hours and the industry is now discussing if. The question now pivots to — if it takes longer or shorter to develop skill than 10,000 hours. The question we are asking is changed because of one person’s (or a handful) belief.

For example if you say I saw three elephants fly this morning next to the airport seems to be more believable than one day I saw some elephants fly. I am not professing that you lie through your nose however hiding the facts that improve the picture does more harm to the food chain that you can imagine. Perhaps if you are telling a story which talks about three elephants flying it will create enough interest in your audience to to ask what happens next, a belief that helps take the next step or create momentum. Same happens in real life belief creates momentum a desire to magnify the outcomes.

Fitting in not required: Belief can be right or wrong as someone wise once told me that in the company of thieves an honest person may feel guilty. If you are not subscribing to the collective belief you may feel out of place. Founders who try to fit in with average earthlings, fail to magnify their outcomes. ( more on this here — Fitting in is used to serve some vested self interests. Fear, religion, politics, philosophy and ideology they are all in action when it comes to beliefs. Fear of missing out of opportunity is something start-ups can create in an investor’s mind to get a commitment.

Belief = Benefit: the purpose of belief is to create a call to action that results in a positive outcome. A solitary belief is nothing more than exercising a mental muscle that no one can see. You can feel good about it but it changes nothing. Belief goes with action else you will only create a wannapreneur. I agree that there are crazy beliefs like winning a lotto, or going on a date with your celebrity crush, which have lower probability of success in a short time frame.

Right Vocabulary: Words create belief, choice of words can have a positive outcome. You can always teach action but you cannot teach belief unless it is based on positive outcomes that reinforce belief. Failed outcomes equally create limiting beliefs. Beliefs are internalised.

Massive Action is a must: When you take massive action, some of the action may yield positive result, like learning to walk as a child, that reinforces belief. Sometimes hard work pays off in the long run and not immediately, hence belief is vital. Even if it does not help you succeed, it will set you on the right course. It is like exercising and eating healthy improves fitness but only the outcomes can firm your belief. You can learn as many books on swimming but action only can teach you. All those who have been successful had strong belief systems and they took massive action.

Effort and Thinking go together: In order trigger action there is always a need a discomfort with status quo. As a person starting a venture, a positive outcome leads to a desire to magnify results, should the positive results bring resonance by involving others; the journey continues. We see impact that changes everyone all around. This when extended creates a mindsets with collective and shared beliefs that create new trends and reinforcing the beliefs. We may suddenly discover new ways of living.

Dangerous Road: The only danger when working with beliefs is they can be positive or negative, you can create negative beliefs and do not know until your beliefs are challenged. Sadly all the transformation that is created can have a detrimental impact on the world. Limiting belief can have a negative impact on the psyche. At a point in time when you have crated nothing, it is difficult to image spaceship that can take people to mars and you are the one responsible for it. That said those who do think like that are deemed crazy, and that’s ok.

Purpose to Propel: It is a known fact that 96% of start-ups fail (some Maths to prove the point and of the ones that go ahead 90% don’t see beyond 10 years. The ability to move from failure to failure till success shows up will require a belief the transcends failure.

Jeff Bezos had a decent VP job when he decided to sell books online in 1994. Elon Musk, Walt Disney’, Ingvar Kamprad’s ideas and/or actions were labelled crazy but they they believed in their journey and kept going. Perhaps the level of belief that others call crazy is necessary for the founders to keep taking mighty action to create a better future …… This is the key catalyst to reshape the future.

Your Associations: You have to make sure the ones you associate with, spend time with, engage with, believe in you or reinforce your beliefs, create positive or reinforce your vibes. If not, you have to quickly change who are you with; as bad associations will prevent you from taking right action and realising your visions.

Belief is your superpower: Belief will give you speed in execution and remove doubts. It will keep you going when you are not getting the desired results. It alone will give you a reason to serve a higher purpose. Hence be careful what you believe in. If you can Imagine a better future and use belief as a superpower to make a difference. You certainly will.

© Sameer Babbar

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Postgraduate Engineer and MBA. Advise startups, early stage companies and small businesses . Focus on decision support, analytics and scaling up.