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The Inner Dragon: Believing

We’re continuing our Unleashing Your Inner Dragon series with a discussion on the next belief in our manifesto: 

We believe in believing.

Believe in yourself, in others, in your inner dragon, in the power of an idea. Belief has a special power in and of itself. When you believe, you’re creating. Beliefs create possibility and positive thought, allowing us to see what we really want as a reality, not a fantasy. 

Belief is a big deal around here. In fact, it’s one of the stages of the Egg, the framework we created to help creatives track their progress on their journey toward “creating happy” in their lives. 

I see Belief as the “gateway to change.” If you’re going to change, if you’re going to start living a happier, more creative life, you have to believe that that new life is possible. You can’t just hope for it (though Hope, as the first stage of the Egg, is important too). Hope tells you that a new future might be possible; Belief convinces you that it is possible.

With that in mind, let’s break down our Manifesto statements on the topic.

“Believe in yourself…”

Self-doubt is impossible to work with when it comes to creating positive change in your life. As a hurdle to self-awareness, self-doubt keeps you from progress. When you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t try to change yourself for the better, because you believe it’s not possible. You might think you’re too broken, and no amount of effort could ever “fix” you. You might think that even if you could be fixed, you have no confidence in yourself to actually make the right changes and take the right steps. Or maybe, you think that your creativity is insufficient, or that what you have to offer the world simply isn’t good enough. 

Of course, none of these thoughts is true. What is true: you are not “too broken,” you are capable of change, and you have everything you need to get to where you want to go. Your creativity matters. You matter. I believe it. Do you?

“…in others…”

As human beings, we have a physiological need for connection. We need other people if we’re going to truly thrive in life. Connection inspires creativity and motivates our creative efforts. And if we’re going to have that meaningful connection, we need to learn to trust and to love. We need to encourage other people and lift them up. Like Anne Frank, we need to believe “that people are really good at heart.” (If she can believe that, anyone can.)

Believing in others will give us those valuable connections, but it can give us so much more, too: resources, cheerleaders, teammates, sounding boards, critique partners, and so on. Other people can bring fresh insight to the things we create.

“…in your inner dragon…”

Your inner dragon represents the fierce creativity that exists inside you. This dragon is bold, powerful, and beautiful. Most creatives have felt that inner dragon stirring at some point in our lives, maybe when in a state of flow, or when the first sparks of a new idea start igniting inside you. Too often, however, we keep our inner dragons at bay, fearing the risk that they present

Before you can unleash your inner dragon, you have to believe that it’s there. When have you felt it? What did it feel like? Recognize that there’s something inside of you that’s ready and willing to be free, if only you’ll let it out.

“…in the power of an idea.”

Everything in this world—every piece of art, every recipe, every garden, every technological gadget—started as an idea. Ideas are powerful. Your ideas are powerful. Only once you believe that will you be able to leverage that power and use it to “create happy.”

“Belief has a special power in and of itself.”

You might not be able to believe in all those things right now, but that doesn’t really matter. Because no matter what you believe in, there’s power there. Your beliefs ultimately dictate your actions, which add up to shape your entire life.

When you believe in something, you set yourself on a course. The things you believe in will dictate what that course is. When your beliefs change, your direction does, too. 

That’s why we say that belief is powerful in and of itself—because the mere act of believing in something will change what you do and who you are.

“When you believe, you’re creating.”

A new belief is a type of creation. As I said before: when you believe something, you become convinced that it is possible. Another way to look at this: belief creates a new reality in your mind. 

And beyond that: because beliefs shape your actions, they actually bring the reality inside your mind out into the real world. Your beliefs create your attitude, your life, your future. They create the world and life as you know it. 

“Beliefs create possibility and positive thought, allowing us to see what we want as a reality, not a fantasy.”

Everyone wants something. Creatives, especially, tend to want to make big, powerful changes in the world. But if you don’t believe in what you want, then it’s just going to feel like a fantasy. Those ideas you have are going to exist in the nebulous cloud of “someday,” never to be solidified into anything real. This lack of belief is negative; it keeps you away from what you want. It’s the chasm between who you are and who you want to be. But if you can build a bridge of belief, you can start moving toward that new reality. Belief allows you to move in a positive direction instead of being stuck in place. You can start to shape your world; you can start to “create happy.”

If you’re struggling with believing

Belief is much easier to talk about than it is to actually put into practice. You can recognize the importance of believing in yourself, for example, but struggle to actually internalize that belief. 

If that sounds like a familiar dilemma, ask yourself these questions to help you start to develop some useful and powerful beliefs:

  • What do I unquestionably believe in? (It doesn’t have to be one of the things we mention in the Manifesto. Do you believe in music? In science? In daily naps? Even minor beliefs like this will give you a glimpse into how your beliefs shape your life.)
  • What do I wish I believed?
  • What do I trust myself to do reliably? (This is another way of asking what beliefs you have about yourself. Who do you believe you are?)
  • How do the beliefs I have relate to the beliefs I wish I had? Are they complete opposites? Are any of them on the right track?
  • What’s one crazy thing I can choose to believe that might change my life? (Even if it doesn’t make any sense right now, remember: there’s power simply in believing it.)

Unleashing your inner dragon takes belief. You have to believe that your beliefs can shape your life and ultimately take you where you want to go.

Do you believe me?

Believe in your power to “create happy,” with Design.org.

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