“’Cause I gotta have faith
I gotta’ have faith
Because I gotta have faith, faith, faith
I got to have faith, faith, faith”
Remember the scene in the holiday classic, Miracle on 34th Street, when young Natalie Wood, having not received her Christmas wish on Christmas morning, is sitting slumped in the back seat of the car? She is quietly and without any conviction repeating, “I believe. I believe. I believe.” Of course, she really did not believe…Until she did. Once she saw the house, and the yard, and the swing – just as she had imagined and just as she had wished – then, and only then, did she believe.
Earlier in Miracle on 34th Street, Fred Gailey (the lawyer defending Kris Kringle) states one of the greatest lessons for business and life – “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
Let’s revisit “Doubting Thomas”. His “co-workers” had all seen the new “business plan” the “CEO” had presented to them. “It is going to be huge”, said one. “Totally scalable blue ocean with a long runway”, said another. “Completely disruptive”, stated a third. However, Thomas wanted to “see the numbers” and review the “focus group data” for himself. It took no less than a one-on-one meeting with the CEO before Thomas would support the plan. As the “original CEO” said then – and this “former CEO” says now – “Blessed (with eternal life from the “original CEO” and/or a nice promotion from the “former CEO”) are those who have not seen but believe”.
Last month, as Penelope was asking me “Why?” my mom was in heaven, she reminded me of just how important the concept of faith is in our lives. It made me realize that it is a fundamental part of every day and almost every decision. How can you get on an airplane? Ask someone to marry you? Start a business? Root for the New York Jets? Hit a driver off the deck over water to a heavily bunkered green? (OK, that last one should really be in the next blog on “Stupidity”)
We are a “big data” world these days (just ask Common; he is on TV every other commercial telling us how AI is changing the world). There is a comfort in data. There is security in numbers and equations. There is nothing wrong with that. Cold, hard facts are the foundation of faith. Numbers and facts are the stairs. Faith is the high diving board. You need both in order to perform the perfect cannon ball.
Once there was a man trapped on the roof of his house during a great flood. Another man came by in a rowboat and offered him a ride. The man said, “No, thank you, my faith will save me.” Then, a helicopter flew overhead and dropped down a rope to the man. He rejected the rope and said, “No, thank you, my faith will save me.” The water kept rising and, ultimately, the man drowned. As the man arrived in heaven, God greeted him and the man said, “I put all my faith in you. Why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “What are you talking about? I sent you a boat and I sent you a helicopter!”
Tony Robbins, the ubiquitous “life coach”, says that the reason most people don’t fundamentally change their lives is because their lives are “OK”. What that means is that most people assume that making any change – to their life, their relationships, their business – has a higher probability of generating a negative outcome than a positive outcome. They don’t want to take the chance that the outcome will make them worse off. They don’t have faith.
Faith does not guarantee a positive outCOME to any specific decision. Faith does guarantee a positive outLOOK for any specific decision. I believe that the aggregate impact of a positive outlook across the totality of life’s experiences creates a life worth living and a life worth sharing – with family, friends, and colleagues.
So, we have looked at these wonderful examples of how faith impacts our business and personal lives. But what is my definition of faith, you ask? It is very simple – that moment, the very instant, that I die and pass from this world, I will be able to do what every athlete who ever played does when the TV camera finds them…