The following are approximately the first 1000 words from Chapter 4 of Jonar Nader’s book,
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People.
Believe it or not:
Are you ready to sacrifice your life?
So many supposed gurus speak about ‘belief’ as if it is a choice. They say things like, ‘You must start to believe in yourself.’ This is incorrect, impossible, and damaging because it confuses a lot of people and misleads them into thinking that ‘belief’ is something they can choose to have.
You cannot choose to believe something that you do not believe. It is that simple. No matter how much of a ‘positive thinker’ you might be, optimism has nothing to do with belief.
Therefore, if people speak about the need to believe, and they are sincere in their communication, they are speaking about a matter of fact. They are saying that if you do not believe, you will be unable to progress. They are not asking you to believe, because that is impossible. You cannot choose to start believing, any more than you can choose to feel satisfied when you are famished. You cannot believe that you are not thirsty when you are. In the same way, you cannot choose to believe in something that you do not really believe in.
Belief manifests itself to you through supreme knowledge and faith. Belief is not blind. It is not hope. It is unequivocal, unshakeable knowledge that what you hold to be true is true — or what you seek will be found.
Here is an analogy. Supposing someone walks up to you and insists that you are carrying ten dollars in your pocket when you know that you are not. Notwithstanding trickery, you know the truth. This means that you believe that you do not have the money. Do you hang on to your belief in the hope that the more you believe it the more likely it is that you will be right? Of course not. It is pointless to even engage in such brain activity because you know the facts. You are steadfast in your belief. That firmness gives you conviction which, in turn, is powerful. That is what is meant by the ‘power of belief’.
The power of belief
Many people can only believe when they know something to be true through evidence (either past or present). When something has not yet happened, people find it difficult to believe. They might have doubts because they reason that no-one can be sure of the future. Well, anyone who thinks that about any issue is entitled to do so, and that simply means that they do not believe it, no matter how much they would desire it to happen. Still, if you believe, such doubt would never enter your mind because you would have as much conviction as knowing that you are now alive.
Conviction alone does not help you because it is merely there as a question for you to answer. It is part of the checklist that helps you to determine the truth. Ask yourself if you believe in your project, or in your art, or in your idea. If your answer is uncertain, the answer is ‘no’. And you cannot do anything about it. However, the truth will set you free, and you will know in your heart the secret of your conviction or lack thereof. If your answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’, that too is your secret. The state of ‘believing’ is for your knowledge, not for others to understand.
Having determined where you stand, you can make decisions that will help you to progress. If you choose to sit back and not do what you ought to do, nothing will happen. Believing in something that requires intervention from you will not progress without your input. Therefore, your desire to see it happen rests with your decision to take the necessary action.
If you encounter failure, it is up to you to rectify the issue. Failure cannot be called ‘failure’ if it is in something you believe. It is merely an obstacle or a delay. It is up to you to observe, learn, and try again. Your setback will not shake your belief.
You’ll know when it happens
No-one can tell you what belief means until you experience it. When you believe in something, you will know it, and you will know what I mean. Until then, have hope in the power of belief, and stand at the ready.
To believe is to give all you have. When you have given your all and seem to have nothing else, you are left with one thing — your life. If you believe in something, and go after it with passion, you will give your life also. Passion is like rocket fuel. You will not know what hit you — nor would it matter.