Episode 036: How Did You Come to Form Your Beliefs?
How are you influenced? And how did you come to form your beliefs?
Our beliefs form the basis of our mindset and as I now know, our mindset is everything in life. Mindset determines how we approach our health, our work, our finances, what kind of attitudes we have, how we treat ourselves and others, what diets we follow, even what we consider to be real food.
Continuing with a behind-the-scenes mini-series, in this episode, I share how these two questions completely changed my mindset and how I make decisions about every aspect of my life.
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After I got my health coaching certification, I was feeling a little less satisfied. I really thought it was going to go deeper into where food meets physiology but it stayed pretty high level. It was all great and relevant information, but I wanted to get meaty.
So I enrolled in Full Body Systems at the Functional Nutrition Alliance, where we studied just that - where food meets physiology. And every month, from February to November, we had a different intensive that focused on different systems of the body - these were month-long intensives on the digestive system, immune system, urological system, cardiovascular system, endocrinological system, neurological system and reproductive system.
And we went deep into how all of the functions of these different systems in the body are connected, and how food, stress, toxins, exercise - how all these impact how these systems function and work together.
It was exactly what I wanted to learn. The problem was, it was so high level, that I was learning all these great things, but didn’t know how to speak about them. Part of the problem was that I lacked confidence in being a teacher on these things, but I also just didn’t have the practice - the experience to feel comfortable doing so.
Now, I’ve been a listener of the Balanced Bites Podcast for a long time and I loved how Liz and Diane speak about health topics with ease and confidence, so about a year and a half ago, when they opened enrollment for the beta version of their practitioners masterclass, I jumped at the chance to learn from them!
I distinctly remember wanting to anxiously to get into learning about food and superfoods, digestion and supplements - all of it!
But, before we started learning about what is real food, we started with a module on mindset about true health, and how we came to form our beliefs.
Admittedly, when I first saw a module on “mindset” I was like “bleh” - I wanted to get to the good stuff. I wanted to learn more about digestion, and real food, and poop! I didn’t want to hear about mindset.
But as I listened to this module, the seven factors of influence really hit me like a ton of bricks, and and it turns out, had the most impact on me.
So I’m going to briefly, very briefly talk about six of the influential factors, then I’m really going to dig into one particular, the one that made me step back and really, changed everything about my attitude towards my decision-making and how I approach things.
So first, there’s AUTHORITY, and being influenced by authority means when we listen to to someone in a higher position who we respect. This could be a parent, a teacher, a doctor, an attorney, or even a religious or political leader.
Next there’s CONTRAST and this happens when you’re making a comparison between multiple options. An example of how contrast shows up for me is when I’m making my produce selection for the week. I recently started using a food delivery service called “Imperfect Produce” where they deliver fresh produce to your front door. As it sounds, the produce isn’t necessarily “pretty” looking, meaning it may have scuffs and therefore, discarded by retailers but they are still perfectly good produce. Brilliant business idea, if you ask me. So every week I get the reminder to customize my Imperfect produce box and most of the time I have a choice between a conventional piece of produce versus an organic one. A conventional cucumber versus an organic one. And as you may guess, I pretty much always choose organic.
Number three is SOCIAL PROOF which is just a fancy way of saying “a referral from someone else.” I know that I get a lot of my clients by word of mouth referrals from past clients or acquaintances. I know that I choose to work with different vendors, or buy different products based on referrals from someone I trust.
I’m currently reading a book by Rachel Hollis called, “Girl Wash Your Face.” It’s not a book that I had heard or, or even would have caught my attention, but a podcaster that I listen to regularly and absolutely love, recommended it so I had downloaded it to my Audible app because she even concluded talking about her recommendation.
It’s the same way that I decided to work with my particular personal trainer. I asked my former Pilates instructor, who works at the gym, who I unequivocally trust, how she thought we’d work together and he came highly recommended so I signed up to work with him.
Social Proof is a strong influencing factor, which is why direct retail businesses, like Beautycounter, do so well. It’s a person-to-person business.
Number four is YOU JUST LIKE IT. Perfect example - I watched General Hospital every day because I like it. I get a lot of flack from a lot of people for watching a soap opera, but I don’t care. I’ve watched it since I was five years old, with my Grandma and I love it. And I’m going to keep watching it because I like it and it really doesn’t matter what anyone says to me.
Number five is HABITS. We do things because they’re habitual to us. I get up every morning, wash my face and brush my teeth, change my clothes and take my dog out for her morning walk. Every night I take a shower, brush my teeth and wash my face before bed. These are my habits.
Eating a bag of chips every day when I got home from school was a bad habit that I had to break. We all have good habits and bad habits, but the point is, we do things because they are habits.
Number six is RECIPROCITY - so when someone does something for you, you return the favor and do something back for them.
An example of this was, if someone came out to my race to cheer me on, I’d definitely be out there for their race, cheering them on. Not really ideal since most races start really early in the morning, but that would be an influencing factor in my decision making process.
And finally, the last influencing factor that I want to spend some time discussing is SCARCITY.
Scarcity is the only factor that I believe is deep-rooted in fear which is what made it stand out to me. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that most of my habits and decision-making were made from a scarcity mindset.
So scarcity is when you have a fear that you’re going to run out of something or miss out on something. FOMO, or “the fear of missing out” is a scarcity mindset.
I grew up on the tiny island of Molokai in Hawaii. Till this day, the island only has 7,000. It doesn’t have any shopping malls, fast food restaurants, or stores. In fact, I think the only “franchise” thing it has is Chevron. It doesn’t have any movie theatres and the community purposefully blocks a lot of tourism and development from invading the island because they see how commercialized Oahu, Maui and the other islands that have attracted a large amount of tourists have become. It’s depleted the natural resources and beauty of those areas and loss some of its native culture.
Because it doesn’t have the stores and shopping malls and fast food restaurants, when I was growing up, we did school shopping once a year, in August. And that, pretty much, was the only time that we got to go shopping for toys and clothes, saw movies or even got Happy Meals from McDonalds.
Once that school shopping trip was over, we pretty much had to wait until the next big trip that our family took to enjoy those things again. It’s not like how it is where I live now in the Bay Area, where the mall is five minutes down the street and Target is around the corner and I can have takeout delivered to my front door from my favorite restaurant.
So whenever we got those special things, I remember always wanting to “save it” because I didn’t want to run out of it. Save the lead on my favorite mechanical pencil, “save” my Lisa Frank stickers, “save” my Lipsmackers chapstick.
Fast forward to college. Back then I didn’t have a car, and we didn’t have Uber or Lyft, we didn’t have Amazon Prime to deliver stuff to us. I always had to bum rides off of roommates or friends, or take public transportation (gasp!) to go grocery shopping. Waiting at the bus stop in the dead of winter with a handful of grocery bags is not ideal.
So whenever I did get a ride to go grocery shopping, I stocked up on everything because I had a fear of running out of something and not being able to get to the store to replenish it.
And you guys, this pattern of behavior and decision making is something that I still carry with me today, and I had no idea.
So in the last Episode, Episode 035, I shared 10 lessons learned from being a health coach and the parallels between entrepreneurship and health. And I ended that episode talking about self-awareness because I knew it would carry over into this topic.
Every since I listened to this lesson from the Balanced Bites Masterclass, I’ve been paying super close attention to how I came to form my beliefs and how I make decisions. This is a level of self-awareness that I’ve never had before.
And I realized that this scarcity mindset carried over not just into “saving” things so I don’t run into them. It’s really a major role into my relationship with food, with money, really every aspect of my life.
For example, if I have a 4-pack of toilet paper, I will buy two more as soon as I’m only down to two packs. Mind you, I live around the corner from Target and could have it replenished in 10-minutes, but I never want to be “out of stock” on something so I overcompensate not just be replacing it, but buying more than I need so make sure I never do.
I fill up my gas when it gets to half tank, and the amount of food in my fridge could feed a family of 10. Seriously.
So what does this do? It creates clutter in my home. Space is a commodity in the Bay Area, and I have very little of it, so having an oversupply of things creates clutter, which is in turn weighs me down and I believe has a direct impact on my well-being. When we declutter, we feel light and free, and having clutter feels heavy and burdened.
I’ve bought things that I didn’t need because I feared that I’m be missing out on something; I’ve run races even though I knew I was overtrained and exhausted because I didn’t want to be left out.
I’ll never forget one year, during our annual trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for Spring Training baseball, my cousin and I were at the mall. And they had this “spend $200, get $20 cash” special so we went crazy, all because we didn’t want to “lose out” on $20. It was ridiculous because we spent so much more money than we ever intended.
This is how having a scarcity mindset influenced me, my entire life. In retrospect, I can see how it limited my mindset and beliefs when it came to my health, my self-esteem, my confidence to be open and try new things, how it created money blocks that definitely affected business decisions I made in the first year of my business.
Of all of the courses and programs and trainings I’ve taken, not only in my pursuit to becoming a health coach, but in all of my educational and professional trainings in my 22-year career, these two questions:
- How are you influenced?
- How did you come to form your beliefs?
Have been the two most powerful questions that have changed every aspect of my life for me.
So let me ask these questions of you:
How are you influenced?
Are you someone who will do whatever your doctor, or nutritionist or practitioner have to say, no questions asked? Do you take their word as the only word? Or do you stop to wonder and ask, “Well why are they recommending this?”
Or are you someone who is influenced by social proof - by what a celebrity recommends? You see a celebrity on tv or on social media promoting something and you have to get it? I got that pink facial sponge, I forget what’s called, to put makeup on because the makeup artist who tried it on me told me it’s what Kim Kardashian uses.
I signed up for Imperfect Produce because I saw someone on social media recommending it. Social proof is strong and its why influencers are making a lot of money on social media because brands recognize that its more powerful than running a print ad in a magazine or a commercial on television. People make decisions on recommendations from people they know, like and trust.
Or are you someone like me, who makes decisions based on a scarcity mindset? Remember in Episode 035 when I said that I learned that time was my most valuable commodity. Previous to that, I wouldn’t invest in the things that thought was a waste of money but had the convenience of saving me time. When I made the connection that time was my most valuable asset, that broke the habit of a scarcity mindset in that situation.
2. How did you come to form your beliefs?
I do free consultations for anyone interested in working with me one-on-one. In fact, you can’t work with me one-on-one unless we have a free consult because I want to make sure that I’m the right fit for you, and you’re the right fit for me.
And in a lot of these consults, prospective clients will share their goals and what’s standing in their way and what things they’ve tried. And when I ask them, why they’ve tried what they’ve tried, a lot of times its come down to the three things I listed above:
- Authority because someone told them to do it
- Social influence because they’ve seen someone else do it
- Scarcity because they’re afraid to try something new
For example - a lot of people tell me that they’re gluten-free. While I’m also gluten-free and advocate that most people be gluten-free, I always ask, “Why are you gluten-free?” And most people can’t tell me why, they just went because its the trendy thing to do.
I won’t get into the why’s now, but that’s how they’ve come to formed their beliefs.
So let me ask you - how did you come to form your beliefs?
I’m not asking you this to question your beliefs or to debunk them, I’m simply asking you to get your mind thinking, about how you’ve come to form yours?
I grew up in the 80s and 90s, a time when were taught to fear fat. And, as we discussed in the Balanced Bites Masterclass, that belief came from a Time Magazine article that was published in the 80s that said cholesterol was deadly and they put a photo of bacon and eggs on the cover. And ever since then, everything that was low fat or fat free was all the rage. We bought egg whites from a carton because we believed that the yolks were bad for us. Never mind that it has healthy nutrients like choline.
Well years later, that article was since retracted, because article presented information completely out of context. But how many people still believe it?
So again, let me ask you, how did you come to form your beliefs?
If you eat animal protein, how did you come to believe that’s good for you?
If you are a vegan, how did you come to believe that way of eating is good for you?
If you follow
If you think that energy drinks like Rock Star and Red Bull are good for you, how did you come to form that belief?
If you think that running marathons or doing crossfit, or lifting weights, is healthy, or is not healthy, how did come to form that belief?
You might be thinking, “Naomi, you’re not a shrink, why are you talking about this?”
Well, because your beliefs form the basis of your mindset and as I now know, mindset is everything in life.
It’s how you approach your health, your work, your finances, what kind of attitude you have, how you treat yourself and others, what diet you follow, even what is considered to be real food.
I can, and I have shared what I think, and how I’ve come to form my beliefs, primarily based on my personal experiments and experiences, and by some of the seven factors that I’ve shared today.
But it doesn’t matter what I believe, it matters what you believe and how you came to it. Remember, I’m not here to question or debunk your beliefs, I just want to get you thinking so you can start to build some of that self-awareness that I’ve been talking about.
Do you come from a place of abundance or scarcity?
Come over to the show notes at www.livefablife.com/036 and let me know.
Interesting question, isn’t it?
I’ll be back next week with another behind-the-scenes episode for you. See you next time!
Naomi Nakamura is a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, programs, coaching services and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop!
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