For centuries Protestant Christians have argued that you can reach heaven through faith (belief) alone while Roman Catholics have argued that both faith and works are necessary for salvation. However, both groups agree that faith and works are essential in the life of the true Christian.
This truth applies not only to religion but to all of life. Whether you want to be a true believer or just to succeed in achieving your dreams, you need both faith and works or, in more modern language, belief and action.
Believing that you are a writer is not enough. You have to do some works i.e. take action. You have to actually write something and it helps if you write every day.
I am writing this article at 5 a.m. on a Monday morning. I will finish it today and then write another one. I have been doing this since December 1st 2004 and have now written well over a hundred articles. Daily action or work (whatever you like to call it) has achieved this. I also believed that I could write an article a day.
A necessary part of any action is to keep going until you have finished whatever you are doing. What isn't finished is as useful as a two legged chair. Robert Louis Stevenson failed to finish 9 novels before he completed "Treasure Island". The action has to be persistent as well as daily.
Big dreams about being a top guitarist won't cut it. Hourly, daily practice is essential. This practice has to be focused. Trying to be a classical guitarist and a rock guitarist does not usually work unless you are just playing for your own pleasure.
I learned this lesson the hard way by trying to learn flamenco guitar, blues guitar, bottle neck guitar and rock guitar not to mention banjo, blues harp, drums and bagpipes all at the same time. Not surprisingly I never achieved a high standard at any of them though I was paid to play some of them!
Who loses weight? Is it the person who longs to lose weight or the one who walks a few miles every day and eats at least one apple or orange a day?
Again, specific daily actions rule. This cannot be stressed enough.
Who achieves their black belt? Is it the one who watches all the Bruce Lee movies and sees himself in the hero's role or the one who turns up at the training hall in cold and wet weather and trains hard on a daily basis?
Chris Widener, whose article inspired this one, gives some cogent examples of the contrasts between the dreamer and the doer:
"Who retires early? The one who dreams of a house on the beach, or the one who invests $300 a month?"
"Who has the best marital relationship? The one who knows how much spending time with their spouse can improve their relationship, or the one who sits down and talks with their spouse every night?"
Of course, belief is also very important. Unless you believe you can achieve your goals, you are not likely to take the necessary daily actions to achieve them. However the quickest way to increase your belief is to take action and see the progress you have made.
If you do not believe you can rid your desk of the mountain of paper work start by filing at least one piece of paper a day. Before you know it your desk will be clear. As you may guess, I am staring at a cluttered desk right now!
Believe and take daily action and you may surprise yourself with your own achievements.