I'm reading "Unlimited Power" by Anthony Robbins. I've read it before, but I'm not sure if I ever really finished it. At the time, I was concerned with making myself successful, healthy, smarter, etc. But we all know how that turned out, now don't we?

Actually, as I re-read this book I'm noticing what an impact it had on me. I read it at around age 25 or so, about the age that Tony was when he wrote it. At that time I had never even heard of the fire-walking self-help guru. In fact, the only reason I was reading the book was because the girl I was dating had read it and it "changed her life." Mostly, she read it because the boy she had dated just before me had read it and he was "oh so great." So, out of jealousy and machismo I bought a copy of the book, wrinkled a few pages, mangled the cover to make it look read and dropped it in the floorboard of my car so she'd have to notice it when I picked her up for our next date.

I guess after things went south with me and her I decided I'd actually read the thing. And I have to tell ya, it actually did have an impact on my thinking. Like I said, it wasn't really until I began re-reading it but I realize now that this book gave me a lot of the ideas I've run with over the years.

So I'm about half-way through it now. I read about 20-30 pages each morning, which is about typical for me. I used to read in much greater swaths, but the demands of writing and running my business have me occupied through much of the day. Still, since I'm a "bathroom reader," I probably pick up whatever book I'm reading about four times a day and read a minimum of 10 pages each time. So maybe 60 pages a day? The real question you're asking yourself right now is, "Wow, why do you go to the bathroom four times a day?" To read, ok? Sheesh! That and maybe I don't get enough fiber. Happy with that image?

It occurs to me that if I would WRITE 60 pages a day I'd have a book written in, say, a week. Man, wouldn't that be sweet? If I could churn out a book a week I'd be more prolific than Stephen King and Ernest Hemingway combined.

Anyway, I'm reading this book again. It's having an impact on my life. I'm not one to give myself over to self-help books or anything, so for me to endorse this is a big step. I think this Tony Robbins guy is on to somethin'.

For me, the key to all of this is "belief." Biblically, I think we've been handed the keys to success all along. It's up to use to get them in the lock and turn it. In the Bible God tells us that with just a small amount of faith we can tell a mountain to jump into the ocean and it will do it. Something like that, I'm paraphrasing here. It also compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed - an icon that has been used in yet another part of the Bible to describe the small amount of faith needed to perform a miracle.

There's a film called "What the Bleep Do We Know?" It is primarily about quantum physics and how we generate the reality around us by what we believe. In essence, our beliefs and expectations infect the quantum field and we can influence the environment, the outcome of an event, etc. Of course, EVERYONE is doing this all the time, so you end up with the world at large. But the evidence is mounting that you can actually CHANGE the world at large, just by what you believe. And it only takes a small amount to make a big change.

Sound familiar?

So how does this relate? Well, Tony's book is all about belief. It's not quantum physics. Instead, he's mostly telling you that your beliefs influence what your life will be. The phrase I like is, "Whether you believe you can do something or believe that you can't, you're right."

I think I'm getting to an elemental truth in the Universe. Belief = reality.

I read "The Right to Write," by Julia Cameron. In it, she occasionally goes "all hippy" (my opinion) and talks about ESP and other things. She's really talking about belief. She's talking about writing being the best way to focus your reality. How's that for a revelation? As a writer, I create reality all the time. In fact, I sometimes don't even have an opinion on something UNTIL I write it down! And yes, that means that my opinion is swayed by whatever I choose to write. If I'm smarmy and smart-mouthed, my opinion is swayed in that direction. If I'm negative on the page then I develop that negativity as part of my belief system.

So am I saying you can never be negative? Well... maybe you shouldn't. But that's not really what I'm getting at. I'm pointing out something I'm starting to see everywhere. I'm seeing a pattern in the Universe, and it revolves around belief.

Belief. Focus. Action.

Believe in something. Doesn't really matter what, to be honest. You just have to pick a coarse. When people tell you that you have to have a goal, what they really mean is you have to have "a belief." You have to have something defined that you will accept as your reality. Cool, huh?

Focus on that belief. Put energy into it. Kind of like watering and feeding a plant. You take care of it, nurture it, feed it, watch it grow. When you see dead leaves you pluck them so they don't detract from the nutrients that make the rest of the plant healthy. It's the same for belief. If you have OTHER beliefs that make this one sickly, weak, unweildy, then you have to cull them. Start making them smaller, focusing on them less. Focus on the belief you WANT.

Take action. "Faith without works is dead." If you believe something, you take action. You do things that tell you, your wife, your neighbors, your cousin joe and that stranger you met in the bathroom of Luby's that THIS is reality. If I say I'm a writer but I never put any words on the screen or put pen to paper or any of the things a writer would do, then I'm not really going to convince myself. I might fool someone else, but I'll never fool me. Not completely. So belief alone isn't enough.

Sorry, I got all self-help preachy there for a minute. But this seems so important to me that I have to talk about it SOMEWHERE. So, being me, I talk about it EVERYWHERE. If you read my column, my blog for the Chronicle or anything I else I write, I'll most likely mention this stuff over and over. May even quote some of it word for word. It's because I believe it. I'm focused on it. And writing about it is the action I take (one of, anyway).

I'd love to hear what other people think of this! I don't get much feedback with this blog, which is a shame. I put some of my best ideas here.

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.


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