In Every Belief is a Lie

Schermerhorn, Lisa B. (2022). In Every Belief is a Lie. Kendallville, IN.

As always there is more content and stories in the book than I present.  As a longtime educator, Mindset by Dweck, Multiple Intelligences by Gardner, and Reframing by Bandler & Grinder were familiar to me.  Lisa has exercises throughout the book as well for the reader to expand on.  Here is some of the information that got my attention. Parentheses are direct quotes from the book.

Even though I know this, I must be reminded from time to time. Our beliefs are our perceptions, and our behavior is based on our perceptions.  What if our perceptions are wrong? A question that percolated for me was, ‘am I willing to consider a perception is wrong?’  AND, ‘am I willing to create another possibility?’

According to Nassim Taleb, “The problem with experts is that they do not know what they do not know,” and Richard Messing also likes to say, “Just because something makes sense doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It really is the curse of knowledge.  When we understand something very well, alternatives are not as attractive.  As a teacher, I was good in math and science.  I don’t know why.  I wasn’t as good in English and social studies.  I don’t know why.  So, one problem was I had a hard time initially understanding why math was hard for student.

What is I really could draw, paint, write poetry.  OMG, I would have to change my beliefs.

Love this story Lisa included.  I remembered hearing a story of how eagles react when a storm is nearby.  Instead of flying away from the storm, they fly directly into the storm.  By flying into de storm, the winds lift the eagle up and raise it above the storm.  Eagles are the only birds who do this.  All other birds flee and hide.  I find this an amazing metaphor for life.  I now look at whatever I am afraid of and know that I must face it and walk towards it.

The brain is a pattern making organ.  It likes closure and consistency.  Fear drives us to the amygdala which is the emotional center.  The good news is the amygdala saves us from danger.  The bad news, we typically react emotionally first, especially the younger we are.  So, when parents say s/he always gets emotional.  My response is, “Duh.”  That is how we are structured.

We cannot see ourselves objectively.  How often are you shocked to hear what other people see in you? Reuven Feuerstein, one of my heroes, wrote a book called, “Please, don’t accept me as I am.  I hope I can get better.  I believe most people want to get better at their profession, life, and family relationships.

The Lie we often tell ourselves is that we will be successful and happy if we do the right things. Sometimes that works and some things are out of our control.  Marshall Goldsmith says one thing that keeps us stuck is the phrase, “I’ll be happy when…” Focusing only on the future can be a trap.  What are you grateful for today?  There are days it is hard to be grateful for situations but left alone to perseverate on issues keeps downward spiral in place.  We really do need people who we trust to communicate with.  My definition of a friend is, ‘someone I am glad to see, and they have no plan for my immediate improvement.’ Occasionally, I say, ‘don’t should on me.’ When people continue to say what I should do, I might become defensive.  I always like someone to ask me if I am open to another possibility.

Change makers influence the world.  They are incredible dreamers who are passionate about their cause.  They are willing to risk everything for what they believe in. This quote reminds me of the video, ‘Here’s to the Crazy Ones’ by Mike Frost.

Hard work can pay off.  At the same time our body and minds need rest.  In this fast-paced world it is hard to keep balance.  When we are in line with our passions our energy flows.  When I work with a client, speak on a stage or give workshop, I feel joy.  Times flies quickly and what I’m doing doesn’t feel like work.

“Three things cannot be hidden; the sun, the moon, and a lie.” Buddha

1: Be your own truth seeker. Find people who will tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear.

2: Go inward and discern what is true and what is not. A gut check is usually valuable, does it feel right?

3: What is true for some people is not true for others. Consultants have made lots of money selling silver bullets.  One way never fits everyone.  In education, here is my question.  ‘Do we really want standardized kids?’  I believe we need multiple silver bullets.  The more repertoire, the more options the person has when responding to diverse situations.

We stop people from coming close but at the same time long for intimacy and closeness. Being vulnerable and transparent can be difficult.  It does build trust.  Ken Blanchard said, “feedback is the breakfast of champions.”  I am quick to point out that, yes, we can learn from feedback, it is the concept of FeedForward coined by Marshall Goldsmith that leads to actions to deal with the VUCA world.  Learn from the past and take actions to move toward a better future.

The Power of Forgiveness.

Ho’oponopono an ancient Hawaiian forgiveness practice.  Ho’oponopono is a legendary Hawaiian healing and cleansing method that focuses on healing through loving yourself.  I first heard about this practice in David Perkins, Harvard, 2003 book King Arthur’s Round Table.  The round table does not have a power position.  All ideas are presented.  The person with positional authority must make the call only after all thoughts are heard.

“Happiness is not the absence of problems; it’s the ability to deal with them.” Steve Maraboli.  It is not what happens to you, it is how you respond to what happens to you that determines the value of the interaction.

The Truth in Knowing Your Why and Your Purpose.  Lisa, like me, is a certified Why.OS coach.  I highly recommend the process based on Simon Sinek’s work, Start with Why.  Knowing your WHY can help validate your passion and purpose.  There are nine WHYs, all good.  Knowing your WHY can help you choose the work you do that feels connected to who you are.

Daniel Dominguez, Chief Growth Officer of the WHY Institute, stepped me (and Bill too) through the different why’s and helped me discover my WHY, How, and What, also known as my WHY.os (WHY operating System)

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” Paulo Coelho. When your head, heart, and hands are focused together, work if more pleasurable. There is no failure.  If you want to manifest something, make sure you have an unshakable belief in what you want.  How about if we change the “F” word of failure to the “F” work of feedback.  When something doesn’t work, I have said, “Do Something Else.”

Eliminating the Lies in your beliefs allows you to create your dreams. One of the points in the book is that we sometimes lie to ourselves.  When we say, “can’t” do we really mean, “won’t.”  Or as Pfeffer and Sutton (2000) in their book, The Knowing-Doing Gap asks:

  • does talk substitute for action?
  • does memory substitute for action?

What didn’t work in the past, sometimes will work as the environment changes. Donald McGannon said, “Leadership is Action, not Position.” Richard Sheridan author of Joy, Inc. (2013) and CEO Menlo Innovations has a quote he says in operating his company Menlo Innovations, “Run the Experiment.”  Try something.  If it works, tell everybody.  If it doesn’t work, tell everybody.

Here are some tools that I use to help slow down and become more present.

Tools: Music is a powerful healer

  • Breathe:
  • Meditate:
  • Let it go:

In Lisa’s conclusion is the following quote.  Try it. You’ll like it.

When you quiet the mind, spend time alone in nature, and allow yourself to be at peace, that is where the magic happens.


Goldsmith, Marshall. (2022). The Earned Life. New York: Penguin

Perkins, D. (2003).  King’s Arthur’s round table – how collaborative conversations

create smart organizations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Pfeffer, J. & Sutton, R.  (2000). The knowing-doing gap: how smart companies turn

knowledge into action.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Sheridan, Richard. (2013).  Joy, Inc.  New York:  Penguin

Sinek, Simon. (2009). Start with Why.  New York:  Penguin.