Faith, Hope, and Love

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“And now abide Faith, Hope, and Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

Let’s just assume that you operate from a point of view of love like I do.  I love my mission in life (to help people), I love the methods I have chosen to do so (writing, teaching, consulting, and planning), and I love the people that I invest my time into (or else I wouldn’t give of myself, my experience, and my soul as I do).  Even if it is tough love to help them overcome their internal obstacles to achieve what they truly want and might need a pat on the back (or a bit lower) to achieve them, I love what I do and who I do it for.

Hopefully you love what you do enough to get through the inevitable rough patches and work hard to be excellent at it.  And that you love the people that are the beneficiaries of your efforts, as it is tough to bust your butt for someone uncaring or that you despise; this is unsustainable.

So given this baseline assumption of loving, let’s explore the differences between these first two legs of the great triad: faith and hope. defines faith as “belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.” and hope as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”.  They are related yet there is a subtle but huge difference between these two traits: an internal versus external source. 

Hope is buying a lottery ticket.  Faith is writing and executing a business plan.

Faith is training hard every day, so that your skill set and will set are fully developed.  Hope is getting the shot to use them, like Rocky being picked to face Apollo Creed.  He had never gotten a shot at the big time before (and remember, he goes the distance but does not win the title), but he had trained and had a better plan and coach (Mickey) and ultimately Rocky did become a legend because of the faith in what he did every day preparing and the guts led to the glory, once given the shot at the title.  I hope I get my shot someday to go with my faith in my training.

Hope is based on the external.  Luck, God, Karma, Providence, Fate.  Call it what you will, hope is based on something beyond your capability and fully outside your control.  The cavalry arriving in time, the unexpected gift or donation, the windfall no one saw coming and can’t be planned for.  The chance meeting with the person that changes your life.  Hope is not a good strategy, but sometimes it is all we have.

Faith is internal.  It is the buy-in to the planning you have done, the practice you have invested in, the coaching that has pushed you.  It is knowing that if you do x, then the outcome should be y, and then if you do the right things you probably get z.  Faith is trusting the process, be it your sales system or the marathon training plan.  Faith can tie to hope in that if you follow your code (Code of Ethics, The 10 Commandments, etc.) then the results will turn out right because of the congruity of actions with beliefs and standards, so process in a non-physical space that you buy-in to because it will produce superior results.

Hope is generally dependent upon an instant: pulling the right numbers, that you get the lucky draw or paths cross.  Faith is longer in time, and requires work and discipline over an extended period.  Think of hope as an ancient hunter, praying for a large animal to appear so that they could slay it and eat.  Faith is a farmer, tilling and sowing and waiting and watering and weeding and finally reaping.  The farmer hopes for good weather, and the hunter has faith in their skills and weapons so in neither of these scenarios can hope and faith be fully separated from each other, as is almost always the case.

Hope is short cycle, faith is the long grind.

Hope is dreaming for Prince Charming or the White Knight to come and slay the dragon and give you your freedom.  Faith is making a plan and training so that you can defeat the dragon and liberate yourself on all levels. 

Hope needs Faith and vice versa.

Hope and Faith are as separate yet intimate as the Yin and Yang that ever cycle but hold aspects of each other, the balanced dance of discipline and chance, purpose and passion, masculine and feminine that when in balance allows Life to flow.  When supported by Love, you have all the elements of excellence.  Embrace Faith, Hope, and Love and all things are possible.

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