The Happiness Connection  

Updating your beliefs

New environments are always full of surprise sounds and noises.

The first time someone rang my doorbell, I was surprised by how loud it was. That may be because I had been living in a house with a broken bell.

It didn’t unduly bother me when I awoke on the seventh morning in my new home, to hear a beeping sound. I thought it might be a low battery in the smoke alarm. That wasn’t the case.

I walked into every room and even went outside to see if the beep was coming from somewhere else. It wasn’t.

As I stood in my laundry room wondering where else to look, I spied the trap door to the crawlspace.

The minute I opened the door, the noise increased in volume. As I peered down, I could see that the floor was wet.

After a camera inspection of the pipe and consultation with a specialist, I discovered that the waste pipe that leads from my house had been blocked up by the roots of a massive maple tree in my front yard.

I decided that my best action was to remove the tree that was causing the problem. I figured that I might as well take out the two behind my house as well.

I love mature trees, but the massive canopies were keeping my patio shaded and the grass from growing. The leaves and keys were constantly falling into my coffee, and the roots were snaking over the ground toward my foundation.

Because my home is in a gated community, I need permission from the strata to make changes even though the land is mine.

I hadn’t met many of my neighbours yet, but it only took a conversation with one of them for everyone in the vicinity to know the situation.

If you read my column regularly, you will know how much I love people watching. As I discussed my dilemma with neighbours and community members, I was fascinated by the wide range of reactions and advice I got.

Some of them shook their heads and assured me that the strata council would never give me permission to remove the trees. They thought I was wasting my time and should get used to having my pipe cleaned out regularly.

One person suggested I take the trees down first and ask for forgiveness later.

Another neighbour assured me that if there was a good reason for cutting them down, I would have no problem getting permission.

The estimated price of removal also varied significantly depending on which neighbour I was talking with. Some informed me that it would cost a few hundred dollars a tree including stump grinding.

On the other end of the extreme, I was told I would be looking at $7,000 a tree.

How can there be so many different opinions and beliefs by people who live in the same strata?

I thought about that question for a while. I suspect the advice anyone gives relies heavily on perspective and experiences.

Apparently at one time, the strata for my community was reluctant to give people permission to remove trees or make changes of any kind. Residents who applied during this time and had their requests turned down, may think nothing has changed.

If you’ve developed a tendency to believe what people tell you as being true without questioning it, you might well decide it isn’t worth asking for something you don’t think there is any chance of getting.

People who are rule breakers do what they feel is right and then deal with the fallout later. If the trees have already been taken down, there isn’t much anyone can do to put them back.

I wanted to share this situation, because it started me thinking about beliefs. Too often we hold on to them forever, without questioning whether what was true ten years ago, is still true today.

This is something everyone is prone to doing. Do you always shop at the same stores, or stop at the same coffee shop?


Maybe you feel the products are better quality, or that the clothes fit you better. Perhaps you like the ethos of the company or believe that the coffee is superior.

If you came to these conclusions a few years ago, are they still true today? The longer you’ve held a belief, the more chance things have changed.

Don’t let your opinions fall into a rut. Be aware that nothing stands still. Your experience five years ago may not be an accurate reflection on the way things are today.

Be aware of longstanding beliefs and values. Give them a fresh look with your 2019 eyes. What might have been true in the past, may not be accurate today?

Take time to reassess your beliefs on a regular basis. They may not have changed, but there is every chance that they have morphed as you’ve matured; especially if you are a life-long learner.

Beliefs and values don’t have to be forever; often they are only for now.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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