I think it’s safe to assume that, according to strict interpretation of mainstream religions, most people I know are probably not going to heaven. Religion has never played a big part of my life, nor has it in those of most of my friends. We don'teachother and I think we’re perfectly happy living our lives the way we see fit. I’m going to take a leap of faith (no pun intended) and assume that a lot of people on this site feel the same way.
However, I’ve noticed a sort of strength within amongst some of the more religious people I’ve met over the years… a strength that I’ve found translates very well – at least at the analyst level – into finance.
I saw hints of this in college; I had a couple of religious friends that were not over-the-top preachers or anything of that sort, but genuinely laid back and agreeable guys. But when it came to Friday night pregaming, or any drinking for that matter, they were out. You could see the conviction in their eyes; they wouldn’t drink it even if their life depended on it. I didn’tthem, but on some level (perhaps due to my ignorance, perhaps not), I felt that they were missing out. But they were also more sure about their decision to stay at home than I was about whether the party/night out would ultimately turn out to be fun.
It was during mystint that I began to fathom the long-term career benefits of having this sort of attitude. Financiers love Mormon analysts, and now I see why. The bank was full of them, and though they were a couple of years “behind” due to them spending a couple of years abroad on missions and they couldn’t participate in any of the mixers… they didn’t need to. They had the maturity, focus, and overall tenacity to compensate for it. I would even call it confidence.
To be fair, the most devoutly religious guys I’ve met haven’t necessarily been the most creative. Some were repulsively close-minded, and by generally being unwilling to associate with anyone that didn’t share their set of beliefs, some of them were rather boring. Some of them tried really hard to convert me and they all married at a terrifyingly early age. But these guys could fucking grind, no question about it. And I know they weren’t on addy.
Some of my more focused and ambitious friends tell me that if they could take a pill and wake up devoutly religious… they would. Otherwise, they simply wouldn’t be able to give up premarital sex, alcohol, and recreational drug use on their own. And until they could do so, those habits would always get in the way of their greater goal. Mitt Romney, Tim Tebow, and Jeremy Lin seem to be doing perfectly fine without any of the ‘vice’.
My question to you is: would you take that pill?