Create your own reality. That mission has supplied a steady stream of self-help gurus and books—from Napoleon Hill, who wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937, to more recent initiatives like the documentaries The Secret and What the Bleep!?. The experts in these movies eagerly embrace quantum physics to “prove” that we create our own realities. But most people have found a substantial gap between what happens at the level of elementary particles—where energy indeed can turn into matter—and everyday life. In other words: Despite the success of The Secret and What the Bleep!? and the fact that millions of people have read Napoleon Hill (Business Week listed Think and Grow Rich as the sixth-best-selling business book ever, 70 years after publication), surprisingly few people created the reality they wanted.
So why would I write this story about a businessman from England who wrote a book about how to create your own reality?
Because Trevor Blake did it.
Blake grew up in very poor circumstances in Wales and literally and actively thought himself from a young boy with very limited opportunities into a financially independent multi-millionaire. That track record sets him very much apart from the authors of the self-help books and the smooth-talking coaches in the documentaries that surprisingly often are not so successful themselves. It seems Blake has discovered a missing piece in the “create your own reality” theory.
At the basic level, Blake’s story is not special at all. We all create our own realities. Science has proven that our thoughts produce tiny electrical charges in our brain. Our thoughts are energy and as we know from Einstein’s equation, E=mc2, energy and matter are related, interchangeable forms of the same thing. So the energy of a thought has the potential to become its material equivalent, to become an experience in your life.
But here’s the problem. Our thinking, our messaging, is not very consistent. We dream about the beautiful things we are going to do and then we (sub)consciously sabotage ourselves with other thoughts that we will never be able to succeed or that we don’t deserve to experience our dreams.And in that quagmire—Trevor Blake speaks about “quicksand”—of thoughts, we don’t make much progress at all. That’s why few people—despite all the self-help books—experience themselves as able to make their wishes come true.
Trevor Blake claims that his three small steps—also the title of his book—will make everyone effective in creating the reality he or she wants. He discovered his methodology as a young boy in a library in Wales where he was escaping classmates who were bullying him because he was an “immigrant” from England. While he sat in the reading room hiding from his mates, he started to read biographies. He read about Madam C.J. Walker, the first black woman millionaire in the U.S., about Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and many others. He discovered the same elements in these successful lives. “After I’d read a dozen or so of those biographies I started to see the same mental behavior. I noticed that they had found a way to protect their mentality,” says Blake over lunch in Seattle on a rainy day in early 2013.
He had a powerful teacher at home, too. When he was 8, his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she was told she only had six months to live. Audrey told her doctor, “Sorry, that’s not long enough. I’m not dying before my children are grown up.” She fought for 14 years. Says Blake: “My mother taught me that my thoughts and reactions are my own responsibility, and that only I can decide how to feel about anything. ‘No one can make you feel sad or angry,’ she would say.”
Protect your mentality. That’s Blake’s Step No. 1 and his critical contribution to the “create your own reality” movement. “I don’t think it is possible to change your thinking at all,” he says. “That’s why positive thinking doesn’t work. It is impossible to control your thoughts because they happen at the speed of light. But I would say that the one thing you do have control over is how you then react to the thought you just had. You can create in your mind a better set of outcomes; you can imagine something more positive. You do control your response to a negative thought.”
So, Blake tells me, when Henry Ford wanted to make a car for the common man, but he had already lost two companies and and his investors were telling him that he was not capable of being a business man, Ford went to his farmhouse and sat in his rocking chair. And Madam Walker went into the woods when her life was falling apart; she sat under a tree, and there she got the idea that made her successful. They protected themselves from the negativity around them and developed an unshakeable belief that they could control their lives, says Blake. And that kept their creation alive.
“As a boy, I started copying their behavior and I got an almost immediate benefit from it,” he says. During his walks to school he started practicing affirmations about his schoolwork and about the bullying. “I changed thoughts of expecting to fail to ones anticipating success.” Then at school, he noticed that his schoolwork improved and the bullying stopped. “Was it luck? I have repeated that behavior so many times that I now know. I changed my own life pattern the very moment I changed my own thought process,” says Blake.
“That’s why I wanted to write a book for people who feel trapped in the quicksand. That’s how I felt. And I know this helped me get out. Once you get out, you can do almost anything. It is a recipe for life,” he says.
“You cannot become self-made if the decisions you make are based on opinions of other people of you. You are not going to get anywhere. When you have a dream it is usually much higher than your current capability. And the people around you always see you as you are. You have to go back to the individual you were born to be. You have to find that pioneering spirit again. That has to be the first step. When you have a great idea, and the first person you meet is saying, ‘Are you crazy?’ you have to be able to control your own mentality. Not just protecting yourself from negativity but also building confidence in your intuition, your individualism.”
Blake argues it is essential to “control” the input you receive. He doesn’t watch any news programs; he doesn’t listen to the news on the radio; he doesn’t read newspapers or magazines—except for The Intelligent Optimist—but he does read autobiographies of self-made men and women. “You are not happy in your job and you get the idea to start your own company. Then you watch television and there is bad news about the economy. The next item is about a billionaire going to jail because of fraud. If you let all that stuff in, your enthusiasm vanishes completely. You have a dream. You must try to give that dream some fuel. And don’t keep putting things in your brain that extinguish that dream. That’s the mistake people keep making: They want to change their lives, but they don’t change their thought processes.”
This is an excerpt from a longer article, of the same name, about Trevor Blake that appeared in the May/June 2013 issue of The Intelligent Optimist.
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