No. 50

One of the many things that affects each of our lives on a daily basis is something we call faith. But what is faith? The Bible says that "faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen." I especially like the definition of faith used by my former business partner, the late Bob Gannaway: "faith is the bird that feels the dawn and sings before the darkness is gone." From the time we first open our eyes in the morning till we drop off to sleep at night, we exercise our faith in a variety of ways. When we get on an airplane these days, it takes a great deal of faith and when we eat at a restaurant, we have faith that the food is clean and not contaminated. There are countless other examples and of course there is our religious faith, which is a very important part of life.
What I want to share today however, has to do with faith, but from a little different perspective. I want to discuss faith as it relates to the good ideas that come into our lives. It has been said that the world runs on good ideas and I personally know this is true. With few exceptions, every single invention or product we see about us at one time was just an idea in someone's mind. Just think of the thousands and thousands of products in a discount chain store and it will help you visualize more clearly what I mean. In a much larger sense, our overall success in life will depend, at least to some degree, on the quality and quantity of the good ideas we develop an put to productive use.
One of the key ingredients to developing any good idea is our faith. Whatever the need or the problem, our faith goes through at least five different states from the original idea to the final outcome. The first stage is called the "nesting" stage. This is when the idea first comes into the mind and like a bird setting on her eggs in a nest, it merely sets there for a while. Just as it takes time for a bird egg to hatch, it's important to understand that any great idea takes time to develop.
The second stage is called the "testing" stage. After the idea has incubated a while, during this period of time we begin to test the idea to see if it's sound and has any real merit. The third stage is called the "investing" stage. If the idea has gone through a systematic series of tests and proves to be sound, it's time to invest more time, energy, money and other resources to move it closer to becoming a reality. Now I want to warn you: the fourth stage is where "the rubber meets the road", and this is called the "arresting" stage. This is the period of time when you will encounter more obstacles than you ever dreamed possible. You'll doubt yourself a million times and feel like you have made a big mistake. It's right here that most people fail, because they quit and never make it to the fifth and final stage. This is the "cresting" stage, and it's reserved for a very small group of people, those brave souls whose faith kept them on course until the idea became a reality. These are the people who received the payoff, reached the mountain top and took the victory lap.
Now a personal application: whatever you set out to do, if it requires some measure of faith, large or small, just remember the five stages the idea must go through if it's to prove successful and become a reality. Again, these are the NESTING, TESTING, INVESTING, ARRESTING AND CRESTING stages. Why not repeat these to yourself several times and as you visualize them, they will become very clear. However, to place things in perspective, just remember, genius is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)