Most people ... faith as the belief that ... totally ... will ... happen to them to improve their lives. Some of them use faith as a ... excuse for ...
Most people misinterpret faith as the belief that something totally unforeseen will miraculously happen to them to improve their lives. Some of them use faith as a disengaging excuse for procrastination by internalizing a mentality such as, "I hope things will work out for me," or "Things will get better for me tomorrow."
These viewpoints relegate the empowering attributes of hope and faith to nothing more than dumb luck. But faith isn't something external or future-based. Faith is internal and fully grounded in the present. It's the belief that you have the power to control your actions within the current circumstances and that what you do or create today ultimately impacts your destiny.
Examples from History
In order to better help you distinguish the inherent differences between internal and external-based faith, let's take a look at two real-life examples:
1. America's first commercial jet service began with a Boeing 707 flight in 1958. The next month, according to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," a passenger on a nearly obsolete propeller-driven DC-6 airliner struck up a conversation with another passenger who happened to be a Boeing engineer.
The curious traveler asked the engineer about the new jet aircraft. The engineer spoke convincingly about the rigorous testing Boeing had completed on the cutting-edge model. He went on to explain Boeing's extensive experience in designing jet engines. Then the passenger asked the most critical question: "Have you flown on the new 707 jet?"
The engineer's testimony, which had been grounded in external faith, crashed and burned with his reply. "I think I'll wait until it's been in service awhile," he said.
Although the Boeing engineer believed a great deal in his company and in the aerodynamic principles of jet flight, until he actually flew on the Boeing 707 his faith would lack credibility.
2. In the late 19th century, Susan B. Anthony, a delegate to the Sons of Temperance Meeting in Albany, NY, was denied the right to speak from the platform due to her gender. She put her faith into action by organizing a group of like-minded advocates. Together they formed the Women's State Temperance Society of New York, an organization dedicated to the pursuit of securing a Constitutional Amendment that established a woman's right to vote.
Anthony's campaign to include women in the 15th Amendment failed and she was never to cast a vote herself. However, her dream was realized just before her death in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Unlike the Boeing engineer, Susan B. Anthony had the courage to act on her faith rather than waiting for happenstance or for someone else to get the ball rolling.
Putting Faith into Action Today
Once you realize that true faith is a present-moment activity, you'll see procrastination in a whole new light. Putting off an action until tomorrow robs you of an opportunity in the present moment to start creating the future you want. Here are some tips for putting your faith into action right now:
* Create tomorrow; don't maintain yesterday.
Abandon anything that doesn't support what's most important to you. For example, when my clients come to me for help in landing their dream job, they are making a statement to themselves that this is is one ofthe most important aspects of their lives and should be treated as such.
* See your challenges as opportunities.
We often procrastinate because a challenge or obstacle in our path causes us to freeze up and say, "Not today." Viewing what's presented to you as an opportunity is a gift that will enable you to learn, grow, evolve, and create the amount of change necessary to stop procrastinating.
* Use resources wisely.
Resources come in a variety of forms, including energy, money, and time. Instead of procrastinating, always question how you can best use your resources in each minute of the day.
* Take action today for what you want tomorrow.
When you procrastinate, you aren't remaining focused on what you truly want. Taking action today is about actively embracing the concepts of discipline, motivation, and pursuit.
* Plan, then act.
When you decide to take action, your steps should be specific, achievable, realistic, and timely. But "careful planning" is no excuse to procrastinate. Plan first, then act on your plans.
By taking action today, in the present moment, you are tangibly demonstrating that you have faith in your future. You are proactively making decisions to align your current status in life with what you want to achieve in the long run. John Dryden once said, "They can conquer who believe they can." And I say that those who act on their faith today rather than putting it off until tomorrow will conquer the future.
Copyright 2004-2005, Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.
Joel Garfinkle helps individuals transition into their dream jobs and leads managers and executives to higher levels of professional and personal achievement. Visit Joel on the web at Dream Job Coaching (www.dreamjobcoaching.com) and Garfinkle Executive Coaching (www.garfinkleexecutivecoaching.com).