Why Having Faith in Yourself is so Damn Important



Wherever you go in life, whatever you want to do, you must have faith in yourself.

This is not the same thing as believing in yourself – faith means a lot more than that.

Belief is an opinion or judgment in which a person is fully persuaded based upon some reason or piece of information.

For example, you might believe you can run a marathon because you’ve been able to run a half marathon.  You believe in your ability based on experience.

Faith is a little different.  It’s similar to believing in yourself, but it’s more than that.  Faith is when you think something without being able to point exactly to a specific reason why.

Faith is stronger than belief.  Faith is when you struggle towards something even if there is no justification or proof that you can make it happen.

When I first started blogging, I knew no one online.  No one.  Other than my wife, I had no support network.  My parents didn’t even know about this blog until about a year after it was created.

I can’t point to a specific reason why I thought I could write for so long and build an audience – there was none.  The last time I had written anything was about a year prior to my first post.

I remember trying to get my name out there.  I would try to form relationships with other bloggers but it got me very little.  I was new so they were justifiably reserved about getting to know me.

No one online was encouraging me.  No one sent me emails telling me to keep going and how much they loved what I was writing.

The only thing that kept me going was faith.  I had faith that I would eventually hit my stride and find an audience.   I had faith that I would eventually write enough engaging content to get attention.

It’s amazing to me how much the situation has reversed after all these years.

I don’t seek out other people very often anymore.  In fact, people come to me a lot more than I ever reach out.

I remember when getting others to read my blog took time and effort.  Now others ask me to read their blog and engage with them.  I have a bookshelf full of books from publicists and bloggers sending me free copies of their work.  In one case, someone wanted to send me a copy of their documentary.

We all start, more or less, from the beginning.  No one starts off at the end.

Leonardo da Vinci didn’t start off with all his paintings and creations finished.  He had to painstakingly work his way through each one.

Charles Dickens didn’t start off with an entire library of work.  He had to sit down and write every single day until eventually he had a stack of books to his name.

No one paid attention to Charles Dickens when he wrote his first sentence.  There was no reason to think he would make it big.

When Leonardo da Vinci was young, no one told him that he would one day be a famous artist.  No one told him that his work would be beloved for ages after his death.

It was probably the opposite.  He probably had more people tell him to give up painting and get a “real job”.  In fact, when he first started out, many people shrugged off his work – there wasn’t very much encouragement.

This will go for you too.  Whatever you want to do, there will be a lot more people around to tell you that you can’t do it.  You won’t get very much encouragement – no one will tell you that you’re destined for greatness.

Whenever you set out for something big – something bigger than you’ve ever done – you’ll face the same critics.  For every person who supports you, you’ll find a dozen who try to knock you down.

People will be indifferent.  You’ll tell them your goals and dreams and they’ll shrug it off as if they aren’t a big deal.

Every great person starts off with nothing.  Many great painters and actors had to work part-time jobs for years under the faith that they’ll find a way.

I always try to keep that in mind.  I started off in the blogging world with nothing and have been working my way up.  I have a much larger audience than I could have hoped.

Weirdly, sometimes when I’m out at the movies or a restaurant, I let my mind wander on the subject.  I imagine one of the employees is an artist or musician trying to make it big.

Then I imagine they offer to show me their art or music.  As hard as it is for me to say, I have to admit that my first instinct is to say no.

It makes me feel a little bad about myself.  For all I know, this person is the next Picasso or Macklemore.

But then I remind myself that we all start at the beginning.  One day that person serving me in a restaurant could write the next Harry Potter or become a huge actor or create clean energy.  We all have to start somewhere.
Chris Lofqvist

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  1. Steve, excellent post. I’m glad that you kept going and had faith in yourself to build this blog and community that inspires us all. Having faith in ourselves is probably one of the most important rules in life, right? If we believe in ourselves, we can do anything. We don’t really need the approval or support of anyone else if we relied on our inner faith and belief in ourselves. But it sure is nice to have someone, anyone, support your journey and believe in what’s possible.

    You’ve given me a whole new way to think about struggling artists and novice musicians. Enjoyed this one!

    • I’m glad you like it, Vishnu. It’s great to have outside recognition, but it’s not always there – especially in the beginning. You have to have faith to keep going, that’s what will get you places. It’s a weird rule of life that you only realize how far you can go once you actually get there.

  2. Great. This is what I need to hear. Thanks.

  3. Love this post Steve! You’re such a talented writer and I wish you’d write more! Keep going with this blog :) Makes my heart sing when I see you’ve posted something because it’s always worth a read!

    • Oliver, thank you for such great feedback. It makes my heart sing to hear you say that.

      I want to get more posts out too. After taking some time off, I’m ready to get a lot more out there.

  4. This is such an important message. I’m sure you went through a lot of trial and error before you found your audience.

    And that’s the thing about faith – you keep trying different things until something fits, and not keep pushing for the same thing that isn’t working.

    • Oh yeah. There was a lot of trial and error. You think one thing is going to work and then it doesn’t. But then something else suddenly works that you didn’t expect. That’s life though – it’s all about seeing what works.

  5. I’ve just published (minutes ago) a post about personal philosophy. Such internal drive must come from somewhere in your mind. You can cultivate beliefs and convictions which will support your ‘blind’ faith.

  6. Steve, you’re right – it’s essential to have faith, an inner certainty, in yourself. It’s something to be nutured as there are always so many knock backs. And from faith comes action and the more we do the better we become and our faith is rewarded.

  7. Hey Steve,

    It’s funny that you write about how you perservered with your blogging and writing for a long time and built an audience. Funny because I just wrote about the same thing myself, and I just read you article now. I find these kind of synchronous events interesting.

    • I find it funny too. I’ve had that happen a few other times. I wrote a post about a year ago and found out later that it was published on a huge site the same day – it had nearly the same title and similar points were covered. It was coincidence, but it’s just weird when that happens.

  8. This is so true and something I am working to remember every day:
    Faith is when you think something without being able to point exactly to a specific reason why.
    Faith is stronger than belief. Faith is when you struggle towards something even if there is no justification or proof that you can make it happen.
    I’m in the process of launching what I believe and hope will be a great new beginning. I’ve had one or two supporters. I’ve had more than one or two naysayers – even if it’s not in direct statement, sometimes you can just feel the lack of support someone holds in their mind. What I’m planning is nothing I’ve ever done or imagined I would. I have no proof that it will be a successful effort – but I’m going on the hunch that it’s right because it just feels that way – and that’s the only explanation I can offer. So, we’ll see, I suppose. Only time will tell, as they say!

    • That’s the thing about people. When you’re first starting out, you’ll have very few supporters, but a lot of naysayers. For some reason, people are more willing to show their disapproval than their support – most will just keep it to themselves. I don’t know exactly why, but that’s how I’ve seen it happen.

  9. This is my favourite post of the year so far, I think. Love this! And very timely and encouraging for me. Thanks for writing this, Steve! Greatly appreciate it.

  10. sirisha says:

    I have a small doubt…whether believing and having faith in ourselves builds over confidence??I feel as such because when ever i have faith in one thing and when i feel that i would definitely get it,it turns out to be null i mean i wont get what i want…

    • Faith doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want. It helps you work past setbacks and obstacles to keep pursuing the things you want. When no one is telling you that it will work out, faith will be the thing you hold onto to keep going.

  11. It is an awesome post Steve. Glad that you continued blogging. Yes, it is very essential to have faith as the world is full of criticizers. The post is so true. Thank you so much.

    • I’m glad you like it.

      The more I’ve looked into this, the more I’ve realized just how many successful people had to deal with nay-sayers and criticizers. The ones who eventually persevered were the ones who had faith in themselves.

  12. Steve,

    This was an incredible article that gives me hope that anything is possible if we simply put our minds to it. I am on a similar path as you were, and I must say it is difficult to keep faith in yourself. But luckily I want to succeed more than anything, so faith in myself has not been too hard to maintain. Even if the situation is not ideal I know I will make it through and become a better person because of it.

    Faith is one of the hardest things I had to learn though. I thought I had faith until I was tested and didn’t have control of my situation. I just had to suck it up and stop trying to be in control of my life. When I did that everything began to change much faster than I was able to keep up.

    -Cody Mann

    • Hi Cody, I’m glad that you got so much out of this post.

      That’s the thing about faith – it’s constantly tested. What I’ve learned is that when you want to reach great heights, you’ll constantly be tested. There will be way more thoughts or people telling you what you can’t do. But with enough faith that you’ll somehow find your way, you just keep sucking it up and going.

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