by David Truman

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Positive faith is the essential ingredient for a beautiful life.
But faith alone will not do the trick. We also need to bring effort -- effort born from our faith. That is what living faith means.

What is faith?

Faith is the power of our convictions and expectations. Like the wind, we can't see faith, but we can feel it, and we can see its effects on our lives. And, just as the direction and speed of the wind determines the weather, the nature of our faith shapes our destiny.

What faith prevents/allows

Here's one way our faith shapes our destiny: Out of all that might be possible and desirable for us, we only pursue what we believe in. Negative or insufficient faith prevents good things, because no sane person would invest effort trying to do something considered to be impossible. And, even if we think it's doable, we won't do something we feel is foolish or otherwise dangerous. For example, a woman won't get married if she believes she's just going to get hurt.

Positive faith is a "go" button; and negative faith is a "no go."

Every person who ever worked for a dream had the confidence that if they did so, they would succeed. Lacking such confidence, we won't try for our goal, or we'll load our attempt with so much doubt that we'll sabotage our efforts. As you know, a man who believes he is unworthy of the woman he loves will either fail to pursue her, or he will pursue her in an insecure, half-hearted spirit -- practically ensuring rejection. He would need much more positive faith if he wants to win her love.

We often approach our goals with an attitude of unfaith and hopelessness -- pulling our punches, cutting corners, and then getting disappointing results. Of course, we're not surprised when that happens -- after all, isn't that what we expected?

What faith alone can't do

Nowadays, many people understand that you get what you expect. Teachings like the Law of Attraction have been distributed so broadly that people in many parts of the world are familiar with the concept. But often this crucial fact goes untold: positive faith is only part of what it takes to create a beautiful life. Once you believe that good things are possible for you, you still have to go forth armed with your positive convictions, and do what it takes to create beauty and goodness in your life.

For example, we all know that an athlete needs faith to win the Olympics; but it's silly to believe that anyone could win the Olympics due to faith alone. To win the gold also requires discipline, regular training, a good diet, an excellent coach, etc.

Faith opens the door to every kind of success, but
we still have to pick up our feet and walk through.

Faith in things unbeen

True faith is not blind faith. It would be insane, not faithful, to believe that something good will happen when we're not fulfilling the preconditions for that thing to happen. Positive faith is the first precondition we must fulfill to succeed in anything, but it is certainly not the last.

Listen to this story:

Two brothers immigrated to America. One believed that once he got to America, he would certainly prosper. The other believed that if he came to America AND worked hard there, he would prosper. Which one do you think is more likely to succeed?

People often say things like, "If I only believe, I can succeed." But that is misguided. It does not take into account that there are plenty of things to do and be if you want to succeed in any endeavor. That's why I criticize "faith in things unbeen." That kind of faith makes no sense at all. Faith without works is foolish.

Doing What It Takes ("WITS")

Some preconditions for success are found not just in effort, or even smart effort, but also in character and attitude. People often ask, "Does marriage work?" Presumably, that is a general, philosophical question. But, you see, a useful answer can't be generalized. The realistic answer is: Marriage can work -- if the partners are willing to do what it takes for marriage to work. If you are loving, ego-transcending, caring, loyal, forgiving, and compassionate, then most likely marriage will work for you. But what if you are intolerant, impatient, and selfish? Then, of course, it won't.

The odds of success in any given endeavor are not the same for everybody -- it depends on how well each aspirant fulfills the preconditions. All things are, in that sense, conditional. And therefore, all reasonable faith is conditional -- not non-conditional.

So then, does faith work? Yes -- if it is reasonable. When you are willing to fulfill the requirements for what you desire, then you have every reason to have faith -- and your faith will work.

Example of faith without what it takes: unconditional entitlement

The idea of faith without doing what it takes is expressed in the idea of entitlement without appropriately fulfilling the preconditions.

For example, a son is naturally entitled to inherit his father's corporation. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't learn the business -- or that he doesn't need to. In fact, if a son doesn't prepare adequately for the challenges of taking over the business, his father has a responsibility, to everyone involved, not to give him the business. Here we can see how entitlement and effort are not contradictory; in fact, they are interdependent, and perfectly harmonious.

Similarly, as human beings, we are entitled to perfect fulfillment, and every kind of joy; but the prerequisites must still be met.

Avoiding what it can't take

Sometimes, success depends on what you don't do. A case in point: A naive young girl falls in love and gets married, full of hope that she and her new husband will create lasting happiness together. And why not? She loves him tremendously, and puts huge energy into the relationship. But, at the same time, she indulges in moodiness and self-centeredness, and too often, she loses her temper, and insults him terribly. Before long, their joy is lost, and so is the marriage: he leaves her.

She had all the faith in the world, and she even did many truly positive things, but she was sloppy when it came to the don'ts -- the sabotage. Doing the don'ts can easily cut a long story short -- and make an otherwise happy ending unhappy. So, obviously:

Where success is concerned, it's crucial to not only
meet the positive conditions, but also to avoid the rule-outs.

We must do what it takes, and we must avoid doing what it can't take.

Give yourself a chance

I say, give yourself a chance. Fulfill the preconditions and avoid the rule-outs for what you want. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for failure.

No creature is exempt from this principle. Every year, countless sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Two months later, dozens of baby turtles emerge. They have a vital agenda: they need to get back to the sea where they belong, to swim freely and happily in the cool blue waves.

Similarly, we have an agenda. We are here to live a life of love, integrity, consciousness, joy, compassion. In our hearts, we never forget that agenda.

And, like the little sea turtles, if we want to live that life, we have to go for it. If the baby turtle just stays there on the beach, it loses its chances of living out the beautiful life it was born for. Most likely, it will be lunch for a bird or a crab instead. Similarly, if we fail to exercise positive faith or to meet the other preconditions for a truly beautiful life, we are condemning ourselves to an unfulfilled life and abandoning our heart's true dreams.

Give yourself a decent chance. Otherwise, the only faith that is justified for you is faith that things won't work. Life can't work if you don't work. And it can't work right if you don't work right.

What kind of chance at fulfillment do you want to have? You get to decide. You could give yourself a 2% chance or a 98% chance, as you wish. It all depends on how well you take care of the WITS. Have mercy on yourself; don't ruin your chances.

So: what is the minimum requirement for success in whatever enterprise is near and dear to your heart? Do you know what it takes? If not, get busy and find out. Then do it!

You've got what it takes to succeed

As a parent, you wouldn't want to send your child into the world without What It Takes: without self-respect; without an education; without manners or morals; without a dime to get them on their feet. And you can be sure that God isn't that kind of parent, either; He wouldn't send off His kids without a fighting chance.

You have been given plenty to work with -- all the essential tools you need. You have your Selfhood, your sensitivity to what is right, your natural lovingness, your inborn attraction to truth and beauty. And so much more. And to top it all off, you have God to work with. God's love, God's moment-to-moment guidance, Divine wind, constant companionship.

You've got the right stuff! But now, to succeed, you have to use what you have. Then you'll have extremely high chances for success, and a real basis for strong, positive, living faith.

This is what living faith means and is: to both faithfully expect success and faithfully invest in the achievement of it.

Your soul knows what it wants, and it also knows what you have to do to make that happen. So listen to your soul, have faith in its wisdom, and live your faith -- you can't fail that way.

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