Faith: a firm belief in a yet-to-be-proved, positive outcome.
Fear: a painful emotion excited by an impending negative outcome.
More often than not, life is a choice between faith and fear. At any point in time, our thoughts and actions reflect either our fears or our goals.
Faith in an outcome (and actions based on that faith) is the only antidote to fear, and the best path to reaching our goals. Fear, while not necessarily bad (it can sometimes save your life), is responsible for more lost dreams and misgivings than bad luck or rotten breaks.
In regard to creating a successful existence for ourselves, it’s important that we recognize the incredibly powerful ways that fear governs our lives.
Many Decisions Governed by Fear
It’s true that most of our decisions are governed by fear. Think about it. Do you spend most of your day asking, “What would I do right now if I were to create the life of my dreams?” Most people don’t. Instead, most of us quite often resign ourselves to choosing some compromising course of action determined, in large part, by our fears and insecurities.
Rather than making choices that reflect our goals, we more often make choices that reflect our fears. Rather than living our lives as a “grand experiment” — working to create the life of our dreams, most of us will live a life of “grand compromise” — dancing to the static of our fears more often than to the music of our goals.
In “The Little Minister” (1891), J.M. Barrie wrote, “The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”
Life will always be full of unexpected challenges and hidden lessons, but it won’t be our challenges and problems that will determine the quality of our life. It will be the way we choose to respond to them. And the choice will be driven by either our faith or our fears.
I once heard someone say, “whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.” The power of the truth behind this statement isn’t mere “positive thinking” to the fundamental way our actions (and, to a large degree, our circumstances) are driven by either our faith or our fear.
Faith in an Outcome is Forged in the Heat of the Moment
Faith, like character, is forged in the heat of the moment. It can’t be bought or sold. It can’t be given or traded. It is ours alone to build, moment by moment one choice at a time.
Like fear, it must be nurtured and fed to become strong. And once it has been sufficiently nurtured, it can grow powerful enough to support us even in our weakest moments.
I encourage you to take a serious and candid assessment of the driving forces behind your daily decisions. And then, if you choose, commit to building your faith in positive outcomes through regular practice.
Teach yourself to allow your faith to govern your thoughts and actions more often than your fears. The reward for your consistent efforts may just be the life of your dreams.
(c) Joe Caruso and Caruso Leadership. Share freely using social media links above. Reprints available with permission.