By January 4, 2012 Read More →

The Leap of Faith

imageEditor’s note: This is a guest post by Paul Enfield on how you have to take risks, to get the rewards. I’ve worked with Paul for many years at Microsoft, and he was one of my early mentors. I’ve learned a lot of life wisdom from him, and I thought this particular nugget was especially useful. It’s about taking a leap of faith.

The big idea is that for so many things in life, there is no way to be 100% certain before we act. We have to take risks. We can spend all our time trying to make things certain, know the unknowables, and wait for the perfect conditions, or we can dive in a little more.  We can do more big things and act on more windows of opportunity.  This is the heart of bold action.

Without further ado, here’s Paul on the leap of faith …

Some life decisions we face can seem colossal. Some seem so large that we can get stuck attempting to reach our decision and fail to ever act. I found myself in one of these situations when I came upon a revelation that empowered me make my decision.

Quite a while back, I was faced with a decision on whether or not to propose to my wife. While pondering the decision, I realized that no matter how much I thought about it, I would never be 100% sure that I was making the right choice. It was at that time that I also realized this correlated to a concept I had learned in college Statistics class called “degree of certainty.”

In a simplistic form, degree of certainty indicates how likely it is that the decision is the correct one. You can be fairly sure of your choice, and therefore have a high degree of certainty.

I also realized that different people will need to achieve different degrees of certainty before they will act upon their decisions. However, the commonality would always be that you can never achieve 100% certainty on your decision. Therefore we are always faced with a “gap” we must jump to reach 100% certainty. I chose to name this gap the “leap of faith.”

I was 90% sure I should make this decision to propose, but was forced to realize that I must make this leap of faith if I were ever to make my decision.

Being armed with this truth is empowering. Once you realize you must be willing to take a chance no matter what your decision, you can move forward and evaluate other factors.  Other factors might include what is the opportunity cost for not making the choice. IOTW, what will I lose if I fail to act?  Also, what is the benefit I can obtain by making the choice?

Empower yourself to make tough decisions. Recognize your personal needs to support your decision and when you reach your threshold, jump. Make your decision and take your leap of faith.

Photo by Hunterrrr.

6 Comments on "The Leap of Faith"

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  1. Alik Levin says:

    Paul, nice writeup!
    Resonates with previous “The Value is in the Change”

  2. Great post Paul. Faith is CRITICAL to success in anything – relationships, financial, personal, etc. We have to move with intuition and faith and believe in the process.

  3. It says, “No risk, no gain.”
    But, Apostle Paul said, “For by the grace give me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

  4. Paul Enfield says:

    @ Alik

    Yea, JD was telling me about his post and I told him this story in response, which led to the article. :)

    @ Bryan & Larry

    Oddly I was more focused on the “leap” part of the phrase and skirted right over the “faith” component. Now that you point it out; indeed, it is the critical component to pull it all together. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. Shilpan says:

    Excellent post Paul. The word risk wouldn’t exist if outcome can be predicted with 100% certainty. It’s better to take risk and fail than not to risk the failure.

    Shilpan

  6. Excellent post Paul. As a small company owner, I had experienced your description – there is no way to be 100% certain before we act. It’s really a writeup, I resonate the essence behind your entrepreneurship.

    To a novice, he/she should be encouraged – be strong and courageous! After 19 years on “battlefield”, I still have this warning around ears, “The race is not for the swift
    or the battle to the strong,
    nor does food come to the wise
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
    but time and chance happen to them all.”

    PS. I’m from Taipei, English is not my mother tongue.