The principles in this series are loosely based on the Principles of Wealth, written by Erik Hamre, and featured in the novel The Last Alchemist.
Before anyone runs away, let me specify that this principle does not necessarily center around a religious faith. For me personally, and for my family, it does. That doesn’t mean that a belief in God is required. I am going to talk about my beliefs, though, so if that’s upsetting to you, you might just want to skip over the next section.
In Hamre’s novel, this principle came second. After some introspection, I came to the conclusion that before you can start thinking about what you want to do, you’ve got to iron out your beliefs. The Last Alchemist goes into a mini spiel discounting religion and any belief in God; focusing on the belief in one’s self over the belief in a higher power.
Why does it have to be one or the other?
I will admit, for a while in college I totally thought I was too smart to believe in God. I thought that believing in a higher power was a crutch for people who weren’t strong enough to get through life on their own.
The entire time I believed this I was miserable.
I had no idea why. I felt so strong and independent and intelligent, but I was empty, too. Nothing I did mattered. I created things that had no purpose, so everything I did felt worthless. Then, one day I realized that the reason I have the skills and opportunities that I do is because God gave them to me. This knowledge gave me a purpose, which has truly made my life richer.
I can believe in myself because God has given me the tools to be successful.
The true lesson of this principle has nothing to do with religion. Whether you believe your talent and ability come from God or a rock, the point is this:
You cannot be successful if you’re held back by fear.
For my husband and I, this fear is for our children. The main fear, of course, being financial. How are we going to be able to provide for them when we seem to be back at rock bottom so frequently?
The answer is so simple I felt a little dumb when I realized it.
We’ve already figured it out. We’ve done it before. We’ll get out of it, because we already have. Each time we’ve experienced a financial setback, it’s been incredibly stressful, but we’ve learned to plan for them. Because of this, we’ve never had the same setback twice. Needing a major repair on our only car a few years ago rendered us nearly destitute, but now we budget for automotive surprises. Although this was different from the time we had a major health bill to deal with, the principles for getting back to security were the same.
Chances are, the fears that you have are over obstacles that you’ve already overcome.
Let go of the fear of failure. I know it can be awful to get on Facebook and see all of your friends doing great when you’ve just found out that you’ll be eating peanut butter for the next month. That stuff is going to happen. Life isn’t a steady ride to the top, it’s a series of successes and failures. Some days will suck and others will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
It’s easy to believe in yourself when your day is going exactly the way you want it to. It’s on the days when your worst fears are realized that you need faith. You are capable of surviving. You already have.
Believe you can do something and you’ll do it.
Now, I’m not saying that working toward a successful, joyful life isn’t difficult. It is. It takes planning, sacrifice, and persistence. No one’s going to hand you the key to happiness on a silver platter. God will provide the door, but you’ve got to get up and walk through it. Faith in your ability will simply make the process that much easier and more enjoyable.