Learning and Trust LO13315

Edwin Brenegar III (brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu)
Sat, 19 Apr 1997 22:01:35 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13289 --

On April 17, Duru Ahanotu wrote in replying to LO13126 --

>In retrospect, the thing that struck me about this experience was could I
>really call this faith in my abilities or a blind trust in my capacity to
>learn enough to handle the necessary tasks?


Faith as you refer to it is a confidence in yourself to handle a
challenging situation through both performing well, and learning as you

I think there is another aspect which is important, and what I identify as
faith more of the time. And that is the faith as commitment in the face
of a lack of hard evidence to move forward. There are different levels of
faith here. Using my proposal situation as the example. Just to submit a
proposal is a venture into the unknown. Getting the job is venturing even
further. I trust that my knowledge, experience and ability to adapt will
serve me well. But I don't know what I will face because I have
experienced it yet. In a sense it is like beginning a round the world
trip with only your hometown road map as a guide. It is an adventure, one
where your abilities and capacities for learning will be tested.

There is a story about faith which I often tell when the issue of
commitment is there. It is about a trapeze artist who stretched a
highwire across Niagra Falls, (a spectacular waterfall on the New
York/Canadian border for all those non-North American readers.) The
artist asked the crowd gathered if they thought he could walk across the
wire and return. The crowd roared their support. The atmosphere was
electric as he walked with his long balance beam across and back. Next he
asked them if they thought he could ride a bicycle across and back. And
the crowd went crazy with affirmation. And he did ride across and back.
Next he asked them if they thought he could ride his bicycle across and
back with a person on his back. They yelled yes, yes, yes. He turned to
them and said, "Any volunteers?" The crowd went quite and noone stepped
forward. It is one thing to imagine what it takes to step out in faith,
even believe that it is the right thing to do, but it is another thing to
actually do it. To climb on the trapeze artist's back would require not
just intellectual ascent to his ability, but a personal commitment
demonstrated in action.

I find that this story reminds me that it takes more than self-confidence
to venture off in faith. It requires commitment and the exercise of our
wills to test the character of that confidence. I think that is why these
experiences are so challenging, so envigorating and potentially so
rewarding. Self-confidence which is based only on our personal belief and
not on experience fast because arrogance expressed in fear.

The attractiveness of the LO perspective is that it requires actively
learning, where we test what we believe by how we live and work each day.

Thanks for your comments Duru.

May your challenges always lead to you to a life of active faith.

Ed Brenegar


Edwin Brenegar III <brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>