Are you striving for a life filled with success…or a life defined by significance?

We’ve been talking about the 12 Laws – or Truths explored in my book, The Art of Significance.

Today, let’s touch on the Fourth Law: Trust Predictability Instead of Hope and Faith.

I know what you’re thinking…

How can I discount the power of hope and faith?

Well, because hope and faith are only meaningful when they’re rooted in trust. Here’s what I mean…

Learning to trust leads to a life of significance

Spiritual guides teach us that faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things. If we have faith, we hope for things that are not seen but are true.

But too many people live their lives hoping to be happy, and because they only hope, they never really take action…

Too many people of faith drop to their knees to pray and pray, forgetting to stand on their own two feet and do their part in facilitating an answer to that prayer.

Hope and faith amount to mere optimism and a positive outlook, without anything substantive to back them up.

So, hope and faith are relatively empty concepts.

By contrast, trust is a form of optimism that’s grounded in something – a deep and abiding knowledge of ourselves and the people we’re trusting.

No, our knowledge isn’t perfect, and we sometimes wind up with our trust betrayed.

But when we trust, whether in ourselves or others, it is because we have become aware, over time, of who we are. We can take assurance in the predictability and consistency of ourselves as a collective.

Learning to trust is a calculated risk

Unlike hope and faith, trust is earned – it means something.

Hope and faith allow us to speculate on the possibilities. Trust, founded on actual knowledge, will enable us to calculate the probabilities.

Hope is blind and, often, a reckless risk. Trust is a calculated risk.

To walk the path of significance, we must transcend mere hope and faith and embrace trust – in ourselves, in our colleagues, in our relationships, in our world.

We must dispense with many of the common myths we fall back on to hide and explain away our shortcomings when the going gets tough.

The Four Myths of Feeling & Five Theories of Action

Psychologists call our slavery to these tendencies the Four Myths of Feeling:

  1. I can make you feel good
  2. I can make you feel bad
  3. You can make me feel good
  4. You can make me feel bad

The logic is flawed, though. As Eleanor Roosevelt wisely observed: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

As soon as we hand our happiness over to an outside influence, we’re abandoning our journey towards significance. You have choices…there is a predictability to the actions you take and the results you’ll reap.

You, and you alone, make those choices, though. The power is within you…not some nebulous force beyond your control.

But here’s where we trip up…we fall into the trap set by the Five Theories of Action:

1. The “It’s Not My Job” Theory

If it’s not in your contract or someone hasn’t asked you explicitly, you’re not going to take action or contribute. You’ll only stay late if you’re getting overtime or a pat on the back.

2. The “Gene” Theory

Some people are “just born into success”…you can’t do anything about your genetic makeup. You’re stuck with a negative personality, lousy temper, slow motor skills, and lack of imagination simply because your parent’s personality is deficient.

3. The “Cosmic” Theory

The universe is unfolding, and life is just happening to you. It is what it is…

4. The “Astrology” Theory

You’re born under a particular sign of the Zodiac, and it’s imprinted irrevocable traits on your personality. The stars control your destiny.

5. The “Meant to Be” Theory

You have no free will, choice, or agency to affect the outcome of your life or your destiny. You are a pawn in our Creator’s chess game.

Are you pursuing significance or waiting for it to find you?

All of these theories have one key ingredient: you’re not in the driver’s seat.

As a motivational speaker, I can assure you that nothing of significance will change in your life if you don’t find your drive from within. You can’t blame outside forces for your lack of progress.

Here are four action steps you can take in your pursuit of significance. They hinge on learning to trust in yourself, your abilities. And they don’t leave room for excuses.

1. Find five people

Make a list of five people you trust and determine why you trust them. Commit to emulate their character traits, attributes, and qualities.

2. Find a platform

Look for, or solicit, and secure an opportunity to showcase your leadership skills so people can see that you are responsible, accountable, dependable, and trustworthy. And give those around you opportunities to prove they’re reliable, as well.

3. Practice thinking before you talk

I always tell people to take time to write down what they know and believe about specific issues before they are asked to share their views.

Focus on saying what you mean, meaning what you say, being consistent by always following through on every one of your responses, and always doing what you say you are going to do.

4. Do something that frightens you

That’s right. Leave your comfort zone.

Take a trapeze course, go bungee jumping, ride an extreme zipline, try sky-diving.

These high-adventure activities require that you have a total stranger strap you in a harness…you have to trust the person and the equipment.

After the adrenaline rush, you’ll understand that learning how to trust comes from predictability…you trust that you’re safe in someone else’s hands.

Now, you’ve transcended hope and faith.

Take the leap…but not a leap of faith

Learning to trust begins with unconditional love and nonjudgmental acceptance, which is how we put faith and hope into action. Don’t just close your eyes and toss yourself into the wind…

Learning to trust ourselves means becoming brutally honest in acknowledging who we are, even the parts of ourselves we might not like. We must know and accept the absolute truth regarding our origin, place, and relationship with the universe, staring our failures and shortcomings in the face.

If you want to lead a life of significance, you have to pursue it…and the drive to chase that life has to come from within.

Do you want to begin that pursuit? Contact me for executive coaching services. 

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you lead a life of significance:

Serve When and Where Others Won’t
Living with Integrity
Becoming Master Artists in our Lives


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