Do the Deed: Believe
We all have heard the phrase “do or die.” How do you think it came about? It sounds like somebody was facing a dilemma: If I do not do this deed, I will die. The death can be physical, or metaphorical. Losing a game, or failing an exam, qualifies as a deadly experience. Have you been in this situation? Most of us have. Do you remember what helped you cheat death or defeat? Most likely, it was your belief that you could do the deed.
There are more dead dreams in the world than stars in the sky. The reason they die is because we let them. We do not believe that we are capable of doing what’s necessary to make them come true. We give ourselves thousands of excuses not to do the deed: I do not have money, I’m in a wheelchair, I’m not that smart, I’m not a man/woman, I’m out of shape, I do not have a business degree, I have no connections, and so on. Excuses are part of life. They serve a purpose like everything else. What we need to understand is that there will come a day when we will not be given a chance to think of an excuse. Death will arrive, and not only will it take our breath away, but our unfulfilled dreams with it.
The problem is that we do not know when that last day will come. It could be tomorrow. For some of us, it will be tomorrow. Since we lack this crucial piece of information, we must, at all cost, do the deeds we want to do before we die. This is what life is all about. Believing that our dreams will come true gives us a purpose to live. Dreams make our lives meaningful. There’s no point in following a dream if it has no meaning to us.
Once we die, game is over. Nobody cares any more that we did not learn to play the piano, or that we never flew in a hot-air balloon around the world. Why should people care? We did not care for our dreams while we were alive either. If we cared for them, if we believed in them, we would have done something to realize them. But we did not, and now we’re dead on top of it. What a waste of life!
We usually talk ourselves into five grades of believing:
1) My dream is possible: I completely believe in the successful outcome of whatever I want to do. There’s no doubt in my mind. I will go through fire and do anything to make my dream come true. Period.
2) My dream is often possible: Say, I’m a nurse and, at 43, I decide to become a trial attorney. I may know of people who have changed careers in their 40s. I realize that not everybody makes it in the transition, but it’s often possible. I could give it a shot.
3) My dream is rarely possible: I’m a jet pilot. From hundreds of candidates, only a handful of people are chosen by NASA to become astronauts. It happens very rarely. If they pick me, it would be like winning a lottery. I should not waste my time trying.
4) My dream is almost impossible: I make $200,000 per year, but I hate my job. My dream job, the one that will make me very happy, pays $30,000 per year. I cannot support my family and current lifestyle with thirty thousand dollars. I could sell my expensive toys, divorce my trophy wife, and be happy, but I cannot do it. It’s almost impossible.
5) My dream is impossible: Forget about it.
In reality, there are only two grades of believing: Possible, Impossible. Before we had the telephone, people thought that hearing the voice of a person who was in another town was impossible. Before we had the airplane, people thought that flying through the air was impossible. Before we had the car, people thought that transportation without animals was impossible. In all these cases, there were other people who thought that all these things were possible. They had a dream. They believed. They did it.
We may have a dream, or want to do something big, but when we appraise our skills, strengths, or talents, we may realize that it’s pointless to believe in it. We do not have the discipline, the mental or physical strength, the required education, or the looks to make it happen. Say, I’m overweight and want to be slim. I know that I need to exercise and eat healthy food, but I know that I do not have the discipline to do it. I have never had discipline, ever. Why bother? So I give up my dream of fitting in a pair of pants I love.
If we want to do something with other people as a team, we appraise each player of the team and the team as a whole. Say, I’m a soccer player in the Bulgarian national soccer team. We are playing tomorrow against Germany at the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Knowing that Germany is one of the best soccer teams in the world (winner of three World Cups), and that the Bulgarian team has never won a game against Germany, I do not believe that we can win. There’s no chance in hell. It’s impossible. Well, it is possible. It actually happened in 1994 at the World Cup in the United States. I’m glad the Bulgarian soccer players believed in their victory. If they had a negative soccer player like me, they would have lost for sure.
Believing in the positive outcome of a deed means only that and nothing more. Believing in God, who may work on your behalf to complete your deed, or make it easier, is not the belief I’m talking about. I’m also not talking about manifesting a wish by expressing it in words and believing that the wish will happen by itself. I have witnessed people manifesting dreams and wishes, from finding a parking space to conceiving a baby. Whenever the dream came true it was always because of an action done by a human being capable of free will. People inclined to manifest rather than to do wait for somebody or something to serve them their dreams on a platter. People who pray to God do the same. Both groups are wasting their time, as neither God nor manifestation is a reliable source of wish granting. The only reliable source is the person with the wish. He or she initiates the action, puts the pieces together, and makes an imaginary vision real.
Finally, we appraise the situation we are about to enter, in terms of danger, pitfalls, complications, and so on. I would love to jump off the George Washington Bridge in New York tied to a bungee cord, but what if the cord snaps? What if I hit the water by some stupid mistake? What if, while I’m flying towards the water, a small airplane flies under the bridge and kills me? I know, it sounds crazy, it is a Black Swan (a Black Swan is a surprising event with very low probability and big impact; see The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb), but it could happen. Depending on what kind of person I am, I could decide to jump, or not to jump. My psychological conditioning, my upbringing, and my outlook on life would determine my believing or not believing in the success of my jump. Then again, everything could scream DO NOT DO IT, and I could still jump. Why?