Beliefs are important in life. And I don’t necessarily mean just religious beliefs. One can hold a belief about how society works, whether a company has a profitable future, or what my neighbor thinks. They cannot necessarily be explained rationally.

We are not machines or computers, and to do anything in the world, we need to make assumptions. These are also called heuristics or rules of thumb. In some areas, however, we need more than that. Travelling across a vast ocean without the option of turning back, as Columbus did, is only possible if one has a strong belief about another continent on the other side. There was at the time no scientific proof for it. If you help other people to make the world a better place for all of us, you also do not have any scientific proof that what you do will work. Even scientific evidence rests on assumptions. So, without belief, much of the achievements of humankind would never have happened.

But beliefs have also very individual effects. A belief can make you do things which you otherwise would not do. Beliefs can be powerful motivators, getting you through times, when circumstances seem difficult or even hopeless. It provides you with something to hold on to in difficult times. This may also be a reason why people have great difficulties giving up beliefs.

So how does one find a belief? We are often not aware of the many beliefs we hold. They seem to come so naturally to us that we may not even identify them as beliefs. Throwing your bag on the office desk, when you enter your office, without even having seen the office desk, is acting on a belief. It is a belief you would share with most of humanity that desks do not move overnight, but it is a belief nonetheless. Even staying within accepted physical laws, there could have been an earthquake at night, someone cleaned up the room, or a colleague happened to need an extra desk (very unlikely). So we need beliefs to make our life easier and simpler so that we do not have to visually scan a room every time we enter it.

On a more psychological level, beliefs can help us that we do not need to rethink something a million times. But most importantly, they have an impact on how we feel, on our emotions. Having beliefs that are helpful can make you feel better, be happier, while unhelpful beliefs can have the opposite effect. So, should you choose beliefs that are helpful to you and others? It may not be as simple as that, but yes, why choose beliefs that do not benefit the world?

The right beliefs will be in line with our needs and values and aspirations. Since these should also include other people, the right beliefs will make the world a better place. Why they should include other people? Because if you think about it, you need to, value, and aspire to live in a world that is peaceful and where we all help out one another. What the world will really be like depends on the beliefs we all hold. Our reality depends on our beliefs.

Picking beliefs is not like going to a grocery store and picking them out. But you can adjust the ones you have, and you can identify where your beliefs disagree with your needs, values, and beliefs. This can lead to a process which yields beliefs that work for you and the world.

© 2021 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All Rights Reserved. For more articles, see To contact me, please see or I am also a guest on These are just my thoughts. I may be wrong.

Christian Jonathan Haverkampf

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