“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” – Saint Augustine
There is a story I like to tell… It’s a rock climbing one but it’s a true one and it goes like this:
At the rock climbing gym I used to go to, there was a group of climbers who used to set “project” boulder routes. They would then take it in turns to see who would be the first person to be able to climb that route. One day, they set a route so difficult that no one could climb it. They tried and they tried without success. One by one, they started dropping off, muttering that it was “impossible”, “too hard”, and “cannot be done”. But one climber stayed on. He continued to work on it when all the others had quit. Finally, he succeeded. Within minutes after he succeeded, the others returned to attempt the route and they could climb it, too.
It is easier to do something once you can see it has been done before. The challenge is having the belief and vision to do it when no one else has succeeded before.
What’s in the power of a belief? I find the story of George Dantzig to be an inspirational example of the power of belief:
George Dantzig, while studying in college, arrived late to one of Neyman’s graduate math classes. On the blackboard there were two problems, clearly the homework problems assigned for the week. Dantzig copied them down, and worked on them for days and days. Fully a month later, Dantzig finally turned the problems into Neyman, remarking that they had been a little harder to do than usual.
About six weeks later, at 8 am on a Sunday morning, Dantzig and his wife were awaken by the sound of Professor Neyman banging loudly on their apartment door. Bleary-eyed, Dantzig opened the door, through which Neyman rushed in carrying papers, clearly excited: “I’ve just written an introduction to one of your papers. Read it so I can send it out right away for publication.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Those problems on the board weren’t homework problems. They were famous unsolved problems in statistics!”
Would George Dantzig have solved those problems if he had known they were famous unsolved problems? I wonder…
Some individuals seem to be born with that ability to see what others do not – that, I believe, is your 50% nature. What I want to know is how would you cultivate that ability and nurture it in a child that isn’t naturally able to “see”?
“You see things; and you say Why? But I dream things that never were; and I say Why not?” – George Bernard Shaw