Where Do Our Beliefs and Values Come From?

As I search for a new role as a Learning and Development Professional one of the things I have been reflecting on is how important it is for me that there is an alignment between my values and beliefs and the type of organisation I want to work for. That has set me pondering on where our beliefs and values come from.

The AISLES Framework

An aisle is a passageway. The AISLES framework is a useful model that helps explain where our beliefs and values come from and how they set us on certain paths in life. AISLES stands for:

  • Authority – an authority figure tells you what to think: parent, teacher, religious figure
  • Intuition – your subconscious or gut instinct, based on your observations of the world
  • Science – information, verifiable facts and data
  • Logic – the conclusions you draw in relation to observations, information, and various data
  • Emotion –your feelings about yourself and the world around you
  • Senses – the data you are given by your five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch), and your personal experience of the world

You can also say that some of these sources are internal, coming from within you, while others are external, coming from others and forming and shaping your ideas, feelings and perceptions.

The Importance of Our Beliefs

Our beliefs are important because they have a direct impact on the path we choose to travel and in particular, whether or not we will be successful on that path. If we are to feel happy in what we are doing then our beliefs and values have to be compatible with what we do.

For example, imagine that you have very pushy parents who really want you to become a doctor. You study hard at school to please them and you get high grades, but deep down you know your passion lies elsewhere. Being a doctor is a very worthy calling but it is not for everyone. Your inner as well as outer truth need to be in alignment in order for you to give yourself fully to what you are doing and draw real satisfaction from it.

Parental Influences

Our parents or those who bring us up during our childhood have a direct impact on our beliefs from a very young age, for better and for worse. A hypercritical parent will make their child feel they can never do anything right. An overindulgent parent will make their child feel they can never do anything wrong. A happy medium is best – telling your child when they have done wrong so they learn from their mistakes and don’t do it again.

Social Pressure

Society also places pressures upon us that shape our beliefs and values. They can make it hard going if we don’t conform to what is expected of us. For example, from talking to many American friends there is a general consensus that lots of people in the US believe they should live in a lovely house with a white picket fence and 2.4 kids. So what happens to those of us who want to travel the world with just a back pack, have a different sexuality, want to stay single, or simply don’t want children?

Many people face the pressure to get a 9 to 5 job, though that is changing a lot thanks to the internet. Having said that, most parents, friends and family would probably try to talk you out of touring the world with a rock band or becoming a novelist. These careers don’t seem like “real” jobs. They are also too financially uncertain. Yet when you are on stage, you feel as though you are your best self, living your best life. Or you love to write and your heart sings as you write your novels.

Family and social pressures can hold us back from manifesting the life of our dreams. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Challenge Your Beliefs

The person you were when you were 5 is not the same person you are at 25, 45, or 65. Humans constantly grow, change, adapt, and strike off in new directions. Challenge your beliefs and see what a difference they can make to being the happy person you want to be.