A few Sundays ago, after I finished my morning workout, I decided to drive to the gas station down the street to fill up my tank before heading home.
For some reason, I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that the stoplight in front of me had just turned green as I stared blankly ahead at the road in front of me…without moving an inch. Even worse, while I was daydreaming in my car, I was blocking a line of cars who were trying to exit from a nearby parking lot.
Within seconds, I was quickly reminded (in a not-so-gentle manner) to move, by a man who was trying to exit from that parking lot:
<Car horn honking loudly>: “Hey motherf—–, are you retarded?? Move your damn car!”
Whoa. I was shocked.
No, I wasn’t shocked that he cursed at me, or that he used the “r-word” (which I despise), or that his wife (presumably) and his two young kids were in the car and witnessed him go off on me.
I was shocked because that exchange took place as he was driving out of the church parking lot after Sunday service.
What Really Changes the World
I’ve noticed an alarming trend in the world lately, and this interaction demonstrates it perfectly.
It’s the idea that our beliefs actually matter.
They don’t. Not at all. I’ve never seen a belief alone that has positively impacted the world in any way.
It is the behavior that we demonstrate consistently that has the power to positively change the world–not our beliefs.
Behavior, by definition, is the way that one conducts oneself–especially toward others.
I’m not sure what was in the guy’s mind while he was cursing me out, but I’m going to guess that his behavior was not in line with the beliefs that were being discussed in the service that he attended a few minutes earlier.
But this is much deeper than the guy in the church parking lot–for all that I know, maybe he was in a desperate hurry to get somewhere (remain in curiosity, right?)
More importantly, aren’t we all at least a little guilty of behaving in ways that run counter to our beliefs?
- We believe that our families are our #1 priority, but we barely spend any meaningful time with them or tell them how much they mean to us.
- We believe in deeply impactful causes (e.g., caring for abused/neglected children), but we don’t devote any of our time or money those causes.
- We believe in kindness and positivity, but we engage in mindless gossip about coworkers, flip off people on the freeway, and let our mood determine our manners.
Let me ask you this–in any of those situations, do your beliefs really matter?
Nope, they don’t. You will be (and always should be) judged by your behavior.
Hiding behind well-crafted and positive-sounding beliefs will not change that one bit.
Your Actions Don’t Really Matter Either
Let me take this one step further–notice that I said that you’ll be judged by your behavior. I didn’t say that you’ll be judged by your actions.
Unfortunately, our actions don’t always tell an accurate story about us either.
Does it really matter if you go to church every Sunday, go to yoga three times a week and proudly say “Namaste” at the end of each session, or meditate on world peace each night before you go to bed, if you still consistently behave like a self-centered ass for the majority of your day?
You guessed it–no.
Going to church each week doesn’t make someone a “good and kind person” any more than wearing a Denver Broncos jersey from the mall makes a person a “Super Bowl champion.”
Our actions may look good on the surface, and they may even fool some people too. But in reality, it’s only our behavior that positively or negatively affects the world that we share.
And no matter how hard we may try, our consistent behavior is incapable of fooling anyone.
It always tells the true story.
What You Believe In Is Not A Secret
Make sure your video is in sync with your audio.” – Robin Sharma
There is something incredibly soul-affirming about behaving in a way that is consistently in line with our beliefs.
Besides making you feel good about yourself (which increases your self-esteem), it also attracts other positive people to you who can sense your integrity and authenticity.
If you’ve been reading The Positivity Solution for awhile, then you know that I’m all-in on this kindness and positivity stuff. This isn’t a game to me, or some cute fad that I can ride for a few years until I decide to shift my focus onto something else.
This is who I am.
But tell me–would you keep reading each week if I made a habit of getting into drunken bar fights each weekend, or if I made fun of people from different ethnic groups/religions/sexual orientations (etc.) in my Monday blog posts?
I hope not.
Just like the quote from Robin Sharma said above, my video (behavior) would not be in sync with my audio (words). And if you’ve ever watched a movie where the video and audio are not in sync, it’s an unbearable experience.
In my opinion, it’s even worse to watch a person in real life who is not in sync. Whatever you do, don’t be that person.
Regardless of whether you are in sync or not, here is the all-important truth that many people fail to realize:
It’s your consistent behavior that shows the world what you really believe in.
So, what do you believe in?
Actually, don’t answer that–the answer is irrelevant anyway.
The world will find out soon enough through your behavior.
Have you noticed the trend that people don’t align their beliefs with their behavior? Do you have any challenges aligning your beliefs with your behavior? Either way, jump into conversation in the comments below and make your voice heard!