Within you is the power to do things you thought impossible. As cheesy and new age-y as this sounds, it’s true. Let me explain without overcomplicating things.

At 30,000 feet it looks like this. The power to do things, things you might have only dreamed of, becomes available to you when you change your beliefs.

A belief, meaning the acceptance that a statement is true or is reality. It often comes about after you have uncovered evidence to support something you’ve been feeling, a perception, or something you’ve been drawn to.

Your perception of the truth doesn’t make it true, but that doesn’t stop you from doing things others see as impossible.

Tom Petty believed so strongly that artists were getting hosed by record companies, that he bankrupted himself. He changed his belief around the importance of money.

My beliefs changed a few years ago surrounding animal welfare. Specifically animal agriculture and how I saw the animals suffering. What felt impossible previously, such as not eating cheese or sushi or ice cream, became more than possible. In fact it became easy. My beliefs changed and as a result my actions changed. To others, that seemed impossible, while for me, it was and remains easy.

Elon Musk believes that fossil fuels have to be eliminated. This resulted in a $45K, 100% electric car. An impossible dream ten years ago, one that had very, very few believers. Today, Musk has many new jaw dropping beliefs, one of which is that it should be illegal for humans to drive cars.

Often beliefs are so strong they push fears aside. Rosa Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Her belief was that a bus seat was a bus seat was a bus seat, and she deserved the seat as much as anyone else. Something today that seems obvious, but in 1955 it took an incredible amount of bravery.

Throughout his career, Tom Petty made headlines for defying his record company and pioneering new strategies within an industry dominated by high-powered executives. When Petty’s label, Shelter Records, was sold to the much larger MCA, Petty voiced his concerns about the deal and how it impacted him and other artists. He complained about the way his contract was to be transferred, claiming he didn’t want to be bought and sold like an object.

When MCA wouldn’t surrender the contract, Petty took action. He financed his next record himself, racking up over $500,000 in studio costs. Then he refused to release it. He declared bankruptcy in order to force the label to void his contract, which it did. Shortly afterward, Petty signed back on with MCA under more favourable terms.

His message was clear: Treat artists well, or else. His beliefs were so strong he was willing to give up everything.

A few years later MCA wanted to charge $1 more for his album than the standard $8.98, with none of the increased profits going to him or the band. So he named the album $8.98. Eventually the record label acquiesced.

Even today, Petty’s groundbreaking bankruptcy claim stands as a benchmark for artist’s rights and as an example to the music industry. The musician’s defiance inspired several other artists to demand better treatment and to take creative action against unfair contracts.

The simple formula for change only involves you believing strongly enough in something. As a result, the change has far more meaning behind it and becomes easy for you to execute.

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