25/02/2015 8:02 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

How Positive Self-Beliefs Can Lead To Taking Positive Risks

Nemanja Sekulic via Getty Images

In my role as a mentor and advisor to many start-ups, I often meet entrepreneurs who are totally committed and believe in themselves and their ideas. I also meet an equal number who are still unsure but working hard at what they want to do. That set me thinking about beliefs and risk-taking.

Belief is a very powerful thing. Do you realise that your beliefs activate your responses? Your beliefs control what you do. They determine how you act and how you react. They govern the path you take, the choices you make, and how you look at life. In other words, your beliefs control your destiny.

The frightening thing belief systems, though, is that they do not distinguish between fact and fantasy, between truth and lies, or between reality and imagination.

Nonetheless, your beliefs are critical since they are the keys that unlock the winning or losing door, no matter what challenges you face. Since your beliefs rule your life, it is scary to realise that so many beliefs, particularly those about our abilities, have been formulated and reinforced by others.

Meanwhile let us go back to those untruths that are more personal in nature -- those untruths that can affect you deeply for the rest of your life; those untruths that can influence what you think of yourself, your aspirations, your plans, your expectations, your hopes, and your dreams. For example, some well-meaning friends or colleagues might advise you that you do not handle risk well and that you would not do well as an entrepreneur. Even if there is truth in this, it is for you to analyse and identify. It is not for others to tell you what you are capable of. I also meet many professionals who want to be entrepreneurs because somebody else told them that they were entrepreneurial in nature. Watch out for how others could be shaping your belief systems.

Make certain that what you have come to believe, especially about yourself, is self-created, positive, encouraging and non-restrictive. Successful people typically challenge assumptions and often make up their own rules and empower themselves.

So how do you go about building positive self-belief? A few tips:

1. Recognise the fact that you may have been made to believe things about your own capabilities that could be untrue. Understand that those beliefs may be keeping you from getting where you want to go.

2. Make a conscious effort to fight any negative explanatory habits that you may be harbouring.

3. Give yourself credit for things that go well. Try to expect things to go well. Think that good is the norm and bad is the exception.

4. Realise that parents, well-meaning relatives and business associates, perhaps to protect you from life's disappointments, may have planted a seed in your mind that made you think that you were not bright enough, savvy enough or astute enough to venture out.

5. Take calculated risks and evaluate the people you spend time with, because friends tend to share the same beliefs.

Start a new trend: Believe in yourself. Remember, belief turns into behaviour.