Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.
– Fred Gailey (John Payne), Miracle on 34th Street
We all have doubts.
Doubt that we are good enough to accomplish our goals. Doubt that our goals are even realistic or rational.
And sadly, most if not all of us have had or currently have a long line of people who are more than willing to feed those doubts with their own. Often, their superficial motive is to be supportive, to help cushion the blow of failure, to save you from certain doom. But more likely, their motive is to take comfort in the belief that your doubts make it okay for them to have doubts about their own lives.
But, if you’re lucky, you have those special few in your life who have absolutely no doubt in your future success. They’re the ones who listen to your ideas with a smile, an eager nod, and perhaps some sage constructive advice to help make your goals even more realistic.
The latter group are the people you need to heed, for they see the potential of your efforts in the absence of your fears and just as importantly, in the absence of their own.
I am not a religious man—although I have become quite spiritual—so faith has never been top of mind for me until recently. It’s not that I didn’t have faith, in hindsight, but rather that I had a very narrow definition of it. And, like my friends for me, it was easy to have faith in things external. It was faith in myself that I lacked.
More recently, however, I have realized that faith isn’t about rejecting the possibility of failure. Rather it is about accepting the possibility of failure but with the further understanding that failure does not mean your journey has ended.
Failure does not put your destination off limits. It is merely a diversion from your original path to that destination.
I know I am a good writer and story teller, but I also know I have challenges ahead in translating those skills into the money I need to make to continue writing and story telling.
Faith comes in telling myself (and believing) that through hard work on my part (e.g., networking, classes, practice) and unknown forces outside of my control and understanding, those challenges will dissipate at the appropriate time.
Like those well-intentioned naysayers, drawing a line in the sand about giving up (e.g., going back to my former career) only gives voice to my doubts. I will not allow myself to do that anymore.
I have faith that I will endure failure and that I will succeed at whatever it is I am to accomplish, no matter what street I live on.
I wish you that faith as well.
For an interesting piece on questions about talent and faith therein, check out this post from Plotting Bunnies: The ingredients of Writing: Talent…?
(Image is property of owner and is used without permission because I have faith they’ll get my point.)