Friday, February 25, 2011

The Importance of Belief

Among the factors that affect the outcome of anything, the biggest to me is belief. To believe is to make it come true and almost everything in this world seems to support that. If we wholeheartedly believe in something, it is quite likely that our belief does become our experience. But if our belief wavers then it all falls flat.

If the Indian team captain believes he will win the World Cup, he will. If he doubts, he will not. Simple as that. The biggest wars have been won not by those with the stronger armies but by the ones who believed and desired a win. A belief that stems out of great commitment to a higher cause normally - a family, a person, an idea, a state, a country, a cause.

I think the best products, companies, ideas, victories and lives are built with this belief. All inventions, new ideologies, countries are built on the belief of one person. There cannot be anything other than belief that can sustain an idea when all else around you say that it is completely mad. To fight a freedom struggle with an idea of non-cooperation, to wish for racism to end, to fight for equality or justice, to build great corporations and nations - one needs to believe firmly that what one has done is right. Even if the whole world thinks its crazy.

It is amazing how many times mediocre ideas and products do extremely well while a finer product falls flat. To me the difference is belief. If one believes that everything has gone into that product, that it could not have been better, that all avenues have been explored - then you do start believing that 'yes, we have given it our best shot' - the product will do well. Because somewhere the owner of the product has gone from giving his best into a realm of surrender.

At the same time, if a person has a product that is superior, yet does not believe that it is not good enough, then this product will fall flat. How will anyone appreciate a product like this when even the maker has no belief in this product? Not even God can help such a product that has been made with no belief - despite it being a great product. All marketing experts will say that (despite not mentioning it in their books) that one of the biggest contributors for the success of anything is the mad belief or desire behind that product.

It is the same with humans. There are those with exceptional skills who believe they are pretty useless and they stay there in the realms of uselessness, and then there are those with very average skills who rule millions like these. CEOs, leaders, ministers, sportsmen, artistes...take your pick, the talented ones are not really the ones at the top. There are any more at the bottom doing mediocre things. Because they believe that they are mediocre.

Somewhere, somehow we must believe in a greater cause. Our very existence on this earth has some purpose. For those who find no purpose it will remain so - but even then they can see for themselves a set of things they are affecting by just being, by existing. There are people who are happy to see them, to have them. If we can connect ourselves to a greater cause, we do seem to fly beyond the reaches of the mediocre. We must believe that we are here  to change the world - with an idea, a word, a story - and it surely will. In the lives of all great men there are but few things we all remember. Maybe for them it was some small incident, a word - but those small incidents, words, remain in human consciousness, inspiring millions to follow.

As with many things belief is also borne out of habit. In people, in ourselves, in what we do. It also pushes you to a state that we normally do not like - surrender. To action first, and then to surrender. That opens up several doors and all one has to do is accept each opening as a step to the higher good. Belief is but everything and total belief is what miracles are made of.

I went to a workshop many years ago where I first saw this connection between Belief and Experience. It was a fascinating experience to me to see how I had experienced all that I believed in my life and was continuing to do so. And then I understand even till today how much my beliefs play out in my experience. The awareness itself is empowering.

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