What Do You Believe in?

The other day as I was heading out to the city and walking to the station, two youths on mountain bikes stopped me in the street. They were dressed in black windbreakers and wearing helmets. It was obvious they weren’t from Japan or at least not completely Japanese because nobody wears helmets. One young man was Japanese and the other was from Utah. At first I thought they were tourists or someone looking for directions, turns out they were missionary volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m not going to switch religions on a street corner but it came at a time when I was thinking about the power of conviction and belief. They believed in what they were doing and believed it would be good for others and that’s what gives them the confidence and courage to approach strangers and try to convert them.

Do you believe in what you’re doing? Do you have conviction? I think happiness is over-rated. Important but over-rated. There’s a word for people who pursue happiness out of context, drug addicts and dilettantes. And you’ll find them amongst the filthy rich as well as the dirt poor.

Being happy all the time probably means you’re not pushing hard enough. Most people are going to have miserable moments during the course of getting things done, moments when you don’t want to go any further, moments when you want to give up, moments when you just want to run away. The only things that can keep you going are conviction, drive, ambition, belief, and confidence. That isn’t to say that we should all be burned out and depressed every day of the week. We must have satisfaction in what we do. That’s really the key. Yeah, it was a tough day and it sure had some difficult moments but I got through and I got something done, something important to me. That’s the quality that will keep you going and some day you’ll have your moment when the hard work comes together.

The missionaries drove home a lot of important things that I’ve forgotten lately a lot of things that you don’t realize you’re missing as you accumulate a jaded outlook on life. The power of conviction is what makes terrorists so dangerous because they actually believe in what they are doing. They aren’t violent lunatics as the media or Department of Homeland Security will have you believe. They are simply fanatics who are willing to kill and be killed to change the world and achieve what they believe is right. You simply can’t fight that unless you have conviction and belief in something that will stop them. Of course, the saving grace is that terrorists are a niche, they are destructive and negative so they can only appeal to the angry, disenchanted and forlorn.

You simply can’t perform at your best unless you believe in what you’re doing and are excited about what you want to accomplish. Success and failure can both lead you down the dreaded path of complacency, apathy, and depression. Why? Because you lose your future. We’ve all seen both ends of the spectrum. People who were wildly successful suddenly lose their bearings and drift endlessly, cruising on past merits. They may still be more successful than the average but they lose their shine. Or maybe we’ve seen someone weighed down by a lifetime of failure never realizing what they are capable of or even trying to see what they can do, a lifetime of lost opportunities and misery. It doesn’t always have to be that way as long as you’re constantly keeping your eyes on what really matters to you as a person, still it can be the hardest thing in the world, but even when you face the most difficult moment in your life and lose everything you got, the scariest moment will be when someone shatters or shakes your belief. Take a moment to think about that.