Leap of faith

The phrase as described by wikipedia:

A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence.[1] It is an act commonly associated with religious belief as many religions consider faith to be an essential element of piety, as well as scientists who take a great leap of faith when a new Idea is thought of, as well as the believing in the unprovable and the theoretical.

Why this post? While talking to someone this morning, the person mentioned this phrase. It’s not like I have heard it for the first time, but it kind of stuck in my head and got me wondering.

The phrase has its origin in religion.. there is even a movie by that title starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger… but that’s not what got me thinking… very unlikely that an atheist would think about faith…

The phrase today is about venturing into the unknown.. to run with an idea… to buy a new product… to buy a new brand… to hire a person. In arranged marriages it is perhaps most pertinent – Two people who hardly know each other decide to get into a relationship of a lifetime because they decide to take the leap (there is another phrase which is used here generally… they decide to take the plunge :P). Somewhere a point comes in that whole process where everything else is kept aside and they just do it.

Strangely enough… when we go ahead and decide to bind our lives “till death do us apart”… why do we spend endless hours on deciding many other things. The research that goes into buying a LCD TV… or rather LED TV… which handset to buy… (though in this case any brand other than Nokia is supposedly a leap of faith… I have a friend and have been telling her to consider  Sony Ericsson Xperia but she is hung up on Nokia!).

Which car to buy… nowadays all cars are pretty much the same if you remove the wrapping that is built around by advertising and paid PR but nope… I have seen the amount of dithering that people do before buying the car. I for one always bought the car I wanted… never thought twice.. never checked through all the auto magazines… never asked people. Maruti 800 to Wagon R to Accent Viva to Xylo… have never regretted the decision.

There are films after films that talk about the toothpaste to buy… the detergent… toilet cleaner… and we have the herd mentality religiously buying the brands and spouting the logic given by advertising… We don’t give a new brand a chance… after all the millions spent by Unilever, P&G and Colgates of the world have to account for something. Is their serious an impact.. using Colgate vs Pepsodent (nope don’t want paid testimonials from Indian Dental Association)

Of course the argument that would be doled out to counter my point would be – “But Samir… we have to spend money to buy these products so it has to be the a well researched decision… buying a car is like lakhs of rupees!” hmm right… for a person who decided on hitching with another person (an investment for a lifetime) is teaching about the value of money which as the saying goes is ‘easy come easy go’…

I think the problem is we get too stuck in the tangibles… black and white… cut and dry… our risk averse nature conditions our mind so much that unless there are enough statistics and more backing a product or a brand… we would not venture forth…

It’s the same when recruiting a person… he should have the right industry experience… he should come for the price I am willing to pay… I don’t want to know about the varied experience he can bring to my industry. I can’t believe what he is promising to deliver… to much of a risk.. what if he fails…

Relationships have a price today.. be it with a brand.. with spouse or a person being hired… and leap of faith is missing… Would Google do another Google? Would Apple to another Apple? Would Nike “Just Do It” now? Nope… because now they all are answerable to the their shareholders.. the bean counters… who are always wary that the leap might turn into a plunge…

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