Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Belief System Inventory

Sasha Cagen, the woman I previously mentioned whose blog I love, is having a to-do list contest. The winner gets a copy of her just released To-Do List book (pictured below).

I’m entering this contest and sending Sasha digital copies of 1994 work I did with Jane when I listed my beliefs on fun, money and sex. It’s hilarious what I used to think. (digital copies below).

If you are interested in sending Sasha your old lists, I have copied and pasted the directions for the contest from Sasha’s Monday, November 12, 2007, blog:

The Weirdest List contest.

To celebrate the book's release, I'm sponsoring a contest: The Weirdest List. Send in your weirdest to-do lists (real authentic lists that you wrote or found in the course of everyday life, please, nothing constructed for publication). I'm interpreting to-do list broadly for the contest, just as I do for the book. . . so this could mean life list, ideal mate list, possible goldfish names, etc. Weird can mean the entire list, the title, or a single odd item on it. Sometimes the most intriguing lists are entirely banal and mundane until the eye gets to that very cryptic item.

Here's how it works: Send a scanned jpeg of your list to todolistblog AT gmail.com by November 30. Please write "WEIRDEST LIST CONTEST:" in the subject line before the title you give your list. Readers of todolistblog.com will vote on the winners in the first week of December.

The top three vote-getters will win signed copies of To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us, and limited edition copies of To-Do List, the print magazine where this project got started. . . in addition to bragging rights for having written or found the weirdest to-do lists ever.

A brief LIST of the history on the how and why I did a Belief Inventory on 5/5/94 follows.
• I was confused and frustrated that I didn’t know what fun was for me.
• I was fighting with Ray all the time.
• I expected Ray to contribute more financially.
• I didn’t want to have sex with Ray.
• At one point Jane asked me to please call her before I allowed my list of resentments to total 24.
• My attitude was terrible.
• It was always everybody else’s fault.
• I WAS irritable, restless and discontent.

Jane called me. She had just gotten back from having attended a meeting at Radford. Jane excitedly related that in the meeting, she had just heard some, as she called it, “Nuggets of ‘94” shared. She heard someone share and describe that they had done a Belief System Inventory.

Jane then gave me directions on how to do this Belief Inventory by making 3 columns.
Heading for Column 1: A word that best describes what you want to inventory. … Areas of your life where you aren’t doing well. Examples: relationship, Work, Mom, Friend, Love, etc. Just make a list down column 1. When the listing of all the words in column 1 is completed, start column 2.

Heading for Column 2: My beliefs about ___________ are (beliefs from each word in column 1) …. Don’t think. Put the pencil to the paper and keep the pencil in motion vertically on down the paper until you’ve listed and are finished writing whatever dumb/embarrassing thoughts/beliefs come to you.

Jane actually only told me the first two columns and said, “Call me back once you have finished these columns.” (She probably knew I’d do the columns out of order and look up the word in the dictionary.)

Column 3: Dictionary definition of the word. She said, “Ok, now get a dictionary and lookup the primary/preferred definition of the word and list on down the page the definitions opposite each word you are inventorying.

Here are the photos (click on photo to enlarge it) of my work:

What Jane’s feedback was on my inventoried thoughts/beliefs were in the area of:

Fun: Jane said that fun is not a reward, it is an attitude.
I was to take time anytime to experience the joy and light side of any situation.
I can try and still have fun.
I can have fun even though I have things “to do”.
Have fun 1st.

Money: Jane said that I give power to $ that $ doesn’t have.
No where is having $ being responsible with $.
By August 1994 Jane wanted me to be handling my own $.
She said that I’d gain an appreciation of $.

Sex: Sex is about giving and playing/enjoying. She told me I needed to be more playful. She wanted to see me initiate sex.

Well. This exercise, this listing of my beliefs, really helped me back then see how very flawed my thinking was…..made me see that I’d been taking every action in my life based on these flawed beliefs…..that these beliefs weren’t true…..that these beliefs didn’t even help me get what I wanted….AND, most of these beliefs weren’t even mine – they were what I believed someone else believed. I’m not blaming these beliefs on anyone else.

My beliefs on paper looked silly.

My husband, Ray, said after I read what I was posting, “Maybe you should write out a list of your current day beliefs on these specific topics.” Good idea. But, tomorrow, not today!!!!

Do you have any old beliefs you'd like to share?


The Work Organizer said...

You're unbelievable - I'm exhausted! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow!!!! this sounds great....I think I should do a belief inventory on my carreer..but it scares the..!!!@# of me...which means that I will end up doing it...I like challenges...anyway...love reading your blog...Happy Thanksgiving to you and Ray....