What the Mind Can Conceive and Believe

I used to have quite an ongoing debate with my father about what I could – or could not – accomplish. The conversations almost always went like this:

              Me: “Hey Dad, I’m going to do X.” or “Dad, I’m so excited that I’m going to get Y.”
              Dad: “No, you’re not. You can’t do that” or “No, that’s not going to happen because …”
              Me: “Dad, you’re wrong. I AM going to do that.” Or “That IS going to happen.”
              Dad: “No, it’s not. Things never work out that way.”

Fortunately for me, my father was almost always wrong!

Why? Because I believed in myself. I BELIEVED that what I wanted to happen not only could but WOULD happen.
The times when Dad was right … Yup, you guessed it. Those were the times that I didn’t believe either.

But I’ve realized that it actually went deeper than belief because belief can often be an intellectual exercise. You can believe that something is true without having an emotional attachment to it, without being committed to it. 

What I really had was FAITH in myself. Faith implies a higher degree of trust, believing AND trusting “in something for which there is no proof” to quote Merriam-Webster.

In 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote of Thomas Edison “He knew that the mind could produce ANYTHING THE MIND COULD CONCEIVE AND BELIEVE, and that knowledge was the thing that lifted the great Edison above the common herd.”* 

So, did Edison conceive of new things and believe them in his mind? Or did he conceive and HAVE FAITH in the things he invented?

He could have believed that a device for recording the human voice could be produced, but still not have produced it. After all, Leonardo Da Vinci conceived of the idea of a helicopter and probably believed it was possible but didn’t produce one.

I would assert that Edison had faith in producing the phonograph. Because he had to trust the idea, trust himself enough to put in the time and effort to make it happen – and – trust enough to be open to the creativity and innovativeness needed to get the job done, to receive not only the concept but also the way to implement it. 

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with Marilyn Barefoot about creativity. She has a process that helps organizations brainstorm and develop creative products, among other things. It revolves around helping them tap into their subconscious minds.

We chuckled at how her process was similar to the work I do with leaders around clarity, vision, and purpose. We just use different language.

Because I believe that the subconscious mind is actually the universal mind or universal consciousness. People have different names for that level of consciousness, depending on their familial and cultural backgrounds and life experiences. It doesn’t matter what you call it – The Universe, the Higher Self, Source, God – the bottom line is, well, having Faith in it.

In my debates with Dad, I had faith in myself and what was unfolding in life, most of the time.

Being a leader, author and entrepreneur requires even more faith. Faith in myself, faith in what I’m doing, teaching, writing, and faith in the unknown source of co-creation.

When you have Faith, you are aligned with universal consciousness, the co-creative force in the universe, or whatever you name it, it makes all of life and business much easier.

Here are three ways having faith and being in alignment help me:

  1. Eliminating (or reducing) fear and anxiety. I trust that things will work out if I am committed, diligent, and open, so I don’t have to worry or be afraid.
  2. Writing interesting and inventive fiction. My characters show up and point me in the right direction.
  3. Communicating more effectively and influentially. Even though I’ve worked on my communication skills, what’s behind the communication always shows through.

So, my question for today is: Do you believe or have faith? And in what?
I love to hear from you …

*1937 Hill, N. Think and Grow Rich, Fourth Indian Edition, from Chapter 15: How To Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear, Page 368; D. B. Taraporevala Sons and Company, Bombay, India.

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