The Magic Of Believing

Photo: Nic Gibson/Newspix/REX

Photo: Nic Gibson/Newspix/REX

I love Tony Robbins, I consume every piece of content I can find of his on You Tube.  Kelsey Humphries interviewed him a couple of weeks ago on The Pursuit.tv.  Slipped into that interview Tony mentioned one of the first triggers projecting him down the path he took in life was reading Claude M. Bristol’s, “The Magic of Believing”.  This was the first time I heard him refer to this book and the impact it had on his life.  I immediately downloaded this book published in 1948. 

Mr. Bristol recounts many stories of people who did great things from a place of imagination. He recounts an interview by Mildred Mesirow for Reach Magazine with Angela Lansbury, a Tony Award-winning actress of the stage and screen, now in her 90’s.  Here is a snippet from the interview retold in Bristol’s, “The Magic of Believing”. 

“I think I’ve learned how to tap the resource of the subconscious (read Imagination). Everyone knows that the subconscious mind (imagination) stores all sorts of abilities, memories, and aptitudes we don’t ordinarily utilize …What I’m trying to say is that, when you’ve learned how to draw on your subconscious powers, there’s really no limit to what you can accomplish.”

Angela had schooled herself in the technique of self-suggestion.  Since she first chose acting as a career, she has constantly held in her mind a picture of what she aspires to achieve.  From time to time she has even written down the goals she wants to reach. Obviously, she has tapped the reservoirs of creative material which few of us know how to use.  Within the subconscious lie the materials of genius itself; of powers which when properly recognized, may burst into the mental field of activity in patterns which surpass our conscious abilities …

“And how do you go about tapping your subconscious mind?” Mesirow asked.

“Heavens! I don’t want to sound stuffy and highbrow, but it’s really awfully simple.  If you tell yourself over and over again that there’s no limit to the creative power within you, that’s about all there is to it.  Honestly, I believe that’s true.  Whatever intelligence or creative force, or whatever it is, that reside in the world is like…” she waved a strong, beautiful hand expressively… “oh, like light or air, or something of that sort.  It doesn’t belong to me, especially.  It’s there, to be tapped and expressed by anyone who knows how to get at it.

“This isn’t a cut-and-dried formula for success by any means,” she continued. “It doesn’t let you off hard work.  You’ve got to keep plugging like mad, perfecting whatever kind of expression you’ve got; adding constantly to your skill, whether it’s in acting or painting, or even making a dress.  So that, when the chance for self-expression does come, when the time arrives for you to call on your subconscious power to express itself, you have a good set of tools for it to work with; a proper medium through which your creative urge can be portrayed … Catch on?” she added with humor.

“About the suggestibility of the subconscious?”  Mesirow prompted. 

“Oh that! Well, when you’re about to drop off to sleep, just tell yourself that tomorrow’s the day you’ve got to surpass anything you did today.  That, whatever demands are made upon you, all your abilities, all you’ve learned, perhaps things you’ve forgotten you ever knew – all these will be available to you…”

“Bearing in mind an actual mental picture of the situation is even better.  If you’re scheduled to do a screen test, for example, you see yourself acting–out that test better than anyone’s ever done it before.  Act it like mad in your mind!  Be Duse; Be Bernhardt!  In your mental picture, be the best there is!  And when the actual test comes off you find, often to your surprise, that you’re acting better than you know how. 

“The subconscious is a pretty dramatic factor in personality.  I believe.  It likes to act and sing and paint and express itself.  It likes to surpass in anything it’s called on to do.  Your responsibility is to equip it with tools for expression, to give it a chance, and then make it an ally behind the scenes…”