Episode No. 109
  •  April 6, 2023

Your Beliefs Shape the Way You Experience the World

...and how you interpret every situation

What you decide is “true” in the world shapes how you experience every single situation you encounter. It also impacts your happiness, health and your job. New research helps explain why this is true; why we interpret situations in such vastly different ways; AND how to change your outlook.


Crina and Kirsten find it endlessly entertaining to consider why people arrive at certain conclusions.  We have all been in a situation where we have said something and two people who have heard it interpret what we say entirely differently – and maybe even differently than we intended.  This is true of so many things – i.e. is the email my boss sent supportive or is it a threat.  Kirsten is consistently surprised by employees who think they are being fired and pack up their office when their boss has no intention of firing them.  Why is this?

At first, our hosts thought that it was about family or origin and experiences, but new research suggests our beliefs may be more about what we decide is true versus what we actually experience as true.  Our hosts are quick to point out that trauma and adverse childhood experiences are not addressed in this research – at least not yet – and we should be cautious about applying this new research to those situations.

 Our beliefs about whether the world is a good place stem from three main questions:

Is the world safe? 

Is the world beautiful and interesting? 

Do I have the ability to influence the world around me? 

Jer refers to these beliefs as Primal Beliefs – and they shape our experience of the world. Our duo explores what each of these questions is about. If the world is not safe, then it is unsafe.  If the world is not beautiful and interesting, then it is dull and boring.  If we do not have the ability to interact and influence our world, then it is just mechanistic and our efforts are futile.  These beliefs do not necessarily control everything we do, but research indicates these beliefs nudge our experiences and fill in the gaps when we do not have enough information.

The research is exciting because it concludes that experiences do not necessarily shape belief.  For example, people who live in relatively wealthier neighborhoods do not see the world as more abundant than people who live in poorer neighborhoods – and the same is true for safety.  People who live in safer neighborhoods do not believe the world is safer than people who live in more dangerous neighborhoods. The experiences of these people do not match their beliefs.

This research is new and there is more coming out in the next several years.  It is an exciting proposition that we can decide what beliefs we hold – and even work to increase our positive beliefs to improve our experience with the world.