Thinking that people simply go from input to behavior is fantasy. There are a couple steps in between input and their behavior that make a huge difference in understanding other people’s behavior or feelings. The solution is called “REBT” (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy).

The steps people take in reality are:

  1. Stimuli – input or things they experience from the outside world
  2. Beliefs – the faith they place in observations (theirs or others)
  3. Feelings – the emotional response to the implications of their beliefs
  4. Response – the behavior they tend to exhibit as a response

Occasionally when helping some of my coaching clients to grow their businesses by 5-10x (the success is the stimuli) as a result of the things I’ve shared, and while I’m happy and excited for them, they’re angry or frustrated! This used to be greatly confusing because I didn’t understand the full cycle they go through and how much it altered their response from what I expected it to be.

When digging deeper into those cases, I found they would become angry because of beliefs like “I believe that if I earn more money, I’ll have to work more, and working more means I spend less time with my wife, and spending less time with my wife means our relationship will degrade even further”.

So it actually makes some sense that they would feel angry in response to the implications of those beliefs based on that stimuli, even while I was happy for them. Because my beliefs are that “I believe earning more money allows for more systems and hiring, which means more delegation, and more delegation means less work and more value creation”.

Hence the difference in our reactions to the same input (stimuli), because of the different beliefs that the input was being filtered through which was drastically changing the feelings, and the response.

Imagine other’s beliefs like a prism. The prism may be made of glass and difficult or impossible to change without causing friction or even damage to the relationship. But depending on the angle of the incoming light and the intensity, it changes the output.

Now I focus even more on understanding their religion (system of beliefs), so that I can slightly pivot my input and communication to hopefully cause improved feelings based on existing beliefs that leads to improved behavior (turning into improved results).