Where I Put My Faith and How To Keep Going
What’s the point of living if you’re not doing anything?
A subscriber recently asked me about faith – specifically, that in a lot of countries now people are not religious and a lot of people even within religious countries are no longer religious, but the aspect of faith serves some kind of a purpose.
He concluded with the question:
What is your advice for keeping moving forward, keeping your head cool, for dealing with anxiety and for, ultimately, having faith that things will work out if you are not religious?
I want to share what works for me. There’s really no point in me commenting on the million different kinds of faiths people can have and what works for everyone else, but I can tell you what works for me.
Let me get this out of the way. I am not religious.
I grew up in Canada, where my mom does the whole cross her heart thing. Growing up sort of Catholic and being Anglo culture, there are references to God and everything.
But the first time I really went to church was because there was this cute girl in my boating team and she went to church and I was like:
Oh, this might make sense to do!
Then they tried to recruit me into a youth group and then I ran away.
So personally – not a very religious person.
And I will not say: But I am deeply spiritual, because I do online yoga classes twice a week.
Keeping Your Head Cool
There are two things that work for me to keep anxiety down, keep my head cool, and to keep moving forward.
If you think about it, that is a big part of faith, this aspect of faith – things will work out.
Because if you ask yourself where the world is going and think the world is going to be really bad in the future, then why would you do anything? Why would you start a business?
If you think:
Well, things are going to be really bad in a couple of years! or We’re going to be at war, or whatever else, you wouldn’t do anything.
And then what’s the point of living if you’re not doing anything?
I was thinking about this recently. I’ve had the thought about having kids in terms of where the world is going, where there are phone addictions or artificial intelligence, or our future Chinese Communist Party overlords, which – seriously, we need to stop that really, really, really quickly.
I’ve had those thoughts and then I reminded myself:
Yeah, there could be truth to that or there might not be. We’ll see where the future goes.
It’s definitely true that if people will follow that way of thinking, no one would have had kids around World War One or The Great Depression, or World War Two, or any time in under Soviets.
Basically, there’d be a lot of periods of history where no one was having kids and we probably wouldn’t be here.
I was born in the 80s, and I believe there was hyperinflation in the 80s, things were pretty crazy. Everyone was on cocaine.
There’s been a lot of different times where it really wouldn’t make sense.
If you look at, say, America, the way black people were treated for a long time and followed that same way of thinking, you’d be like:
Do I want to have a kid to be born into this world?
And I’m probably not the only one who’s had that thought, but I reminded myself that, ultimately, humanity goes on.
It doesn’t always go on for everyone and it’s not necessarily always better.
But it’s very, very easy to dwell on what is wrong and it’s made especially easy for us with things like the Facebook algorithm and news media, which focuses on what’s terrible.
I was looking on BBC today – which I hate that I do. I really hate that about myself.
And in one of the columns they were talking about COVID-19 in the article and there were like the five other catastrophes going on in the world right now.
Just in case you’re not anxious enough with COVID-19, they’re just going to bullet point at war in Yemen, genocide here, Arctic melting, penguins dying, polar bears hungry… blasted in your face.
I didn’t click the article, but my guess is those probably are what they would have covered.
It can be very easy to get this perception that things are going really badly.
If your perception is things are going really bad, you’re going to have more anxiety and more fear.
And ultimately, that’s what I think in many cases makes us crave some kind of faith, someone telling us things will be better.
It’s why people are also drawn to great leaders. If you’re a terrified soldier or business person and there’s a leader standing above you saying:
We will do this! Things will be great. Come with me.
Even if that person is pissing their pants behind the scenes, they project that and get people around them faith, which we all need in tough times.
But if you can feel times are better, then you will have less of a need for that. And I would say that even with what’s happening right now, times are better compared to the vast majority of human history.
Except that I’m a big Chris Ryan fan and per his book, Civilized To Death – highly recommended, I would say perhaps before civilization, we were actually happier and having a better time.
But in terms of civilized history, now is probably one of the best times for the vast, vast majority of people around the world, so that’s a good thing to remind yourself of.
Focus on Solutions
I also will try to remind myself that there are many good players, as much as there are a lot of, let’s say, evil corporations, your oil companies, tobacco companies, and looks like a lot of the social media and tech companies are going down this route as well.
There are also a lot of good people for everyone like that. There’s Elon Musk, who’s like really thinking about what they can do to improve the world.
There are so many cases where we can really, really stress about what could happen, forgetting that people will solve those problems.
So there’s the plastic island in the ocean. You think about that, you look at all the plastic, you’re like: This is terrible. This is so messy!
And then – and I’m forgetting his name, but there’s a guy who started this and he’s very successfully working on a contraption to clean up the plastic ocean.
I think his timeframe is 50% within five years. And now don’t throw your water bottles into the rivers, okay? We still have to stop the flow!
But my point is:
There are solutions for these things and the news and – maybe even our own brains – love us to forget that.
I’m in Valencia, Spain right now and I’ve been thinking about buying something here because I really love this city.
I was reading this article that basically a lot of the city will be under water by 2100.
And it showed this, just a projection with water over the whole city and everything and it’s really freaky – this city is screwed then! And they’re taking predictions and data from different sources, which may or may not be the most accurate, right?
They probably want the most terrifying source, but even assuming the data is right, what it’s forgetting is all of the Netherlands is below the sea level and the Netherlands is doing alright.
Where I lived and grew up in Canada. below the sea level, it always has been!
So people do figure things out.
And it’s like saying:
Okay, New York is going to be under water.
Do you really think they’re not going to figure that out and build some walls to protect something worth like over a trillion dollars in real estate alone?
This is one of those things when you just read about the problem, but not about the possible solutions.
It can really terrify us.
I was sending messages back and forth with Alex, who sent me the question originally. He mentioned the younger generation, which he is part of as well and having some faith in them.
That’s another good point.
From what I’ve gathered, there are younger people who are now 15 to 20 year old and younger who are learning so much more about the environment and how the world works.
I really hope are being able to see through BS and other things as some other people can’t. I think older people probably are used to people being honest and news publications being trustworthy and stuff like that.
So that’s another aspect – having faith in the younger generations.
Having Faith in Yourself
I gotta say, for me – the number one thing that allows me to keep going without anxiety and take actions, take risks, and keep moving forward is faith in myself.
It really is, and not in some God complex way, but in a way where I’ve been through difficult situations, I’ve had failures. I’ve had tough times.
I’ve lived in seven countries. At this point, I’ve dealt with bad things that have happened and had a lot of good things happen.
And I filmed a video on this when I was in Ukraine last year about this way of thinking. Of just saying:
Okay, here’s the problem, boom. What’s the solution? What do I do next?
Some of that thinking comes from going through tough times and then developing faith in yourself and realizing that whatever happens – you can deal with it.
Okay, the economy changed. Great. What do I have to do? Do I have to pivot my business? Do I have to double down? Do I have to change how I’m doing things? What do I do now?
For us ENFPs, but really – for everyone else on some level, who know a lot of different things, having some shiny object syndrome and having a lot of experiences good and bad – is really, really important for our own development, because it helps us create our faith in ourselves.
So when you have faith in yourself to handle something, not only do you have a lot less anxiety and more confidence, but you will also do a lot more.
And it’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, right?
If you start a business, but you’re really timid, because you don’t believe in yourself. so then you don’t tell anyone you’re doing it because you’re thinking:
Well, I don’t want to tell them because maybe I’ll fail and then it would be really embarrassing.
And then three months later, you’re like:
No one’s trying to buy from my business!
Because no one knows about your business!
Because you didn’t tell them because you didn’t have faith in yourself to succeed in your business.
It’s this wonderful, wonderful cycle…
Whereas, when you do have faith in yourself, you take bigger risks. But not only that, you just make bold moves, you ask for what you want, you take action, and if you really assume you’ll succeed not in a really arrogant, delusional way, but in a way of thinking:
I will find a way to make this work. Maybe I’ll pivot a bit, change a bit, but I’ll keep moving towards this goal.
I think your chances of succeeding go up multiple folds because you just will not stop. You will find new ways to get where you want to go.
#1 – Change Your Inputs and Your Perspective
If you think the world is going to come to a terrible end, you might need to read a little more history and stop watching so much damn news and reading hysterical people on Facebook.
#2 – Pay Attention to All the Good People Finding Solutions
They are not getting enough attention and if you spend time reading about the people making the world better, you’re going to have hope.
There’s a charity I support called the International Anti-poaching Foundation. When you look into poaching in Africa – and I’m not saying it’s related to the Chinese Communist Party or Chinese culture, but if a country could just figure out Viagra and stop killing rhinos, maybe we wouldn’t need this charity…
Anyhow, what they do, which is so amazing, is only hire women for the Rangers. They did this because they found the men would be more corrupt and they would take all their money and then spend it at the bar and it just wouldn’t be very good, while the female Rangers were more reliable. There was a better sense of a connection with protecting things and they would also take the money and invest it back in their communities, so it’s it’s a win-win situation.
So this charity is not only reducing poaching across the board, but it’s also improving the communities which will gradually bring more prosperity, which will lead to less poaching.
Something like an organization like this one brings me real hope.
#3 – Develop Your Faith in Yourself
I do have some videos, articles, and books on confidence and, in a way, confidence and faith in yourself are quite related, but they’re not the same thing.
It’s ultimately an ongoing process and some of that does involve trying and failing things. Some of it does involve being a little naive and just going for it and thinking:
I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!
So what I’d love to know from you in the comments is:
What do you do to reduce anxiety and keep faith?
If it is part of some really creepy cult or standard religion, you don’t necessarily need to share that. I’m looking for more outside the box solutions to this.
What are some mental activities you do, ways of thinking, or other approaches you can do that you’d want to share with other people to help them have less anxiety and, basically, have faith in the future so that they can take more positive action today?