What if I told you that truth comes in two forms?

The first, and most obvious, is facts. Facts are the truth of now. Don’t believe in gravity? Jump off the roof and find out how little gravity cares.

Your broken leg is the form of truth that most of us (I wish I could say all of us) take for granted. That kind of certainty is rare in business especially, so a certain truth that we do not even need to see to believe in is a powerful thing indeed.

Excellence derives from the second form of truth; a truth that stands at odds with facts, and yet is just as valid on a personal level.

That truth is belief.

There will be many that disagree. They’ll say belief is subjective, a placebo created from confidence rather than proof. And they’d be right.

But why are we so skeptical about the value of confidence? Have propaganda, pseudoscience and wilful ignorance made us so wary that we must look for measurable proof  in everything before we are willing to trust?

I doubt it.

When we think of placebos, we generally think of sugar pills prescribed as part of medical experiments. The reality is much more subtle. The placebo effect is what happens when you decide one song is better than another, or that a meal will be better at one restaurant when compared to another. What makes them true is our belief.

The same goes for business. The next sales call will only go as well as you believe it can. The next training event will make as much difference as you allow it to make.

Most importantly, belief is what fuels the courage to break boundaries. To innovate. It’s what allows us to challenge convention when others mistake traditional belief for fact.

In the wrong hands, belief is manifested as a wall between fact and fiction. In the right hands – in your hands – confidence is a hammer. A hammer than can smash that wall, and prove that with enough strength and determination, we are capable of brilliant things.

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