While working on this month’s Uniquely Cleveland feature on three well-known venues that helped establish Cleveland as a must-visit spot for artists on the popular music highway — and indeed as the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum — it struck me how having a vision made it happen.
Author Claude M. Bristol in his book “The Magic of Believing,” put it this way: “The person with a clear goal, a clear picture of his desire, or an ideal always before him, causes it, through repetition, to be buried deeply in his subconscious mind and is thus enabled, thanks to its generative and sustaining power, to realize his goal in a minimum of time and with a minimum of physical effort.”
In other words, people like Leo Frank of Leo’s Casino, Henry (Hank) LoConti Sr. of The Agora and Jim Swingos of Swingos Celebrity Inn were able to visualize their goals and bring them into existence. Swingos, in fact, was advised not to buy the former Downtowner Inn at East 18th Street and Euclid. He didn’t listen to the naysayers. Frank and LoConti both saw their venues destroyed by fire, yet they rebuilt.
Visioning is not a new discovery. People have been using it throughout history. One of my favorite inspirational stories comes from the 1950s when the late Norman Vincent Peale, a clergyman and author of “The Power of Positive Thinking,” told of how he learned the power of “positive imaging.”
Peale and his wife Ruth had started an inspirational magazine called Guideposts, which is still published today. While it was started on a shoestring, it grew in popularity. Then in 1947, a fire destroyed some office records, including the circulation list. Thanks to radio commentator Lowell Thomas and an article in Reader’s Digest about the incident, the magazine was able to re-establish itself.
The publication grew to about 40,000 subscribers before money ran out. The Peales called a meeting of the board of directors. They had also invited a patron who had once donated $3,000 to the magazine’s effort. Her name was Tessie Durlack.
She attended the gathering, but warned the group that she would not donate again — but she would give them something more valuable than money.
“The situation,” Peale remembered her as saying, “is that you lack everything — subscribers, equipment, capital. And why do you lack? Because you have been thinking in terms of lack. You have been imaging lack and therefore, you have accordingly created a condition of lack. What you must do now, at once, is to firmly tell these lack thoughts or images to get out of your minds. You must start imaging prosperity instead.”
By using Plato’s admonition to “take charge of your thoughts. You can do what you will with them,” the board visualized 100,000 subscribers. Soon, enthusiasm returned, and this brought renewed confidence and creativity. Bills began to shrink and the subscription list grew.
“Now that we see them,” Durlack had told the group, “we have them.”
Try it. Maybe it will work for your challenge.