“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
JK Rowling is one of my all-time favorites. I find her to be very down-to-earth and inspirational, and have written about her before in Failing Your Way to Success. Just recently, I was watching her interview with Oprah and was struck by a comment she made about when she was writing the first Harry Potter book. The conversation went like this:
Rowling: [After writing The Sorcerer's Stone] I had this moment where I suddenly thought – It was like another voice speaking to me and the voice said “the difficult thing is going to get published. If it gets published it will be huge.”
Rowling: And that is exactly what it was.
Winfrey: So there was some hint that – the voice had said to you –
Rowling: Well, the thing is you’ve got to believe, haven’t you?
Rowling: You know – I was not the world’s most secure person. I wasn’t someone with an enormous amount of – in fact, I’d say I was someone with not much self-belief at all and yet in this one thing in my life I believed. That was the one thing in my life. I felt ‘I can tell a story’.
In Professional Destiny, I’ve written about the importance of having a vision and about having “fearless faith.” Another way of saying this is that in order to achieve you must have 1) a burning desire, and 2) 100% belief that you can do, or have, what you desire. Belief is where many of us fall short. Usually it’s why things don’t happen, even when we want them. We have to believe that it will happen even if we don’t see the evidence right in front of us. At any given point, we only see a fraction of the possibilities, but there can be something great looming just off our radar screen. In fact, most great things come as surprises. As I wrote in my book, “you don’t get to know how it gets done. You don’t get to know what is going to happen either. ‘How’ or ‘what’ are not the questions—you just need to know that you are going to do it.”
Rowling said that story telling was the one thing she absolutely believed she could do and look what happened… she became the first self-made billionaire author with over 450 million copies of her books sold. It’s a great reminder that the combination of conceiving and believing truly leads to achieving.
To watch the full 40 minute JK Rowling interview with Oprah, click here.
Leave a Comment January 26, 2011