Sunday, January 16, 2011

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve -

One of the best selling books of all time is a book called “Think and Grow Rich”. It was written by a man named Napolean Hill, and was published way back in 1937. I’ve read it several times over the last 40 years, and I gave my son a copy for Christmas this year.

Since the publication of the book, there have been countless people who have accumulated amazing wealth purely because of their belief in an idea. Recent examples are Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). The MOST recent example is a story that was published in the January 16, 2011 edition of Parade magazine.

Cynthia Stafford, a single mother of five children, started to lull herself to sleep at night in 2007 visualizing that she had won the lottery, and she pictured the EXACT amount - $112,000,000. In her dreams, she not only saw the amount on the check, she also could see the clothes that she would be wearing when she learned that she had won.

As crazy at it sounds, her dream came true less than six months later!

The amount that she won in the lottery was EXACTLY $112,000,000, and she was wearing the same lime green blouse with a leaf print that she saw in her dreams when she learned that she had won.

The MOST remarkable story about achieving what the mind can conceive occurred almost 600 years ago, and had absolutely NOTHING do with accumulating wealth.

The video below will give you a a quick summary about an important historical figure, but the facts that surround this individual are even more remarkable.

Joan of Arc on YouTube

Joan of Arc was born to a poor French peasant family in the year 1412. Her family lived in a portion of northern France that was controlled by England, during a period of time that was known was The Hundred Years War.

At the age of 12, she was out alone in a field when she saw visions of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret, who told her to drive out the English army, and restore the rightful king of France to the throne in Rheims.

At the age of 16, she petitioned the garrison commander for permission to visit the royal French court at Chinon. Although her first attempt was not successful, her second attempt was. On that visit, she predicted that the French would achieve a military victory over the English at a town called Orleans.

Less than a year later, the acting king of France put her in charge of the French army, a remarkable move in view of the fact that she was 17 years old, illiterate, and that she claimed that she was motivated by the belief that the voice of God was instructing her to take charge of her country’s army and lead it to victory.

Amazingly, she soon led the French army to a series of victories, and reversed the side of the war.

Ultimately, she was captured by the opposing army, and was brought to trail, where she was accused of heresy. She was condemned to death by burning at the stake, and she died on May 30, 1431. Although the Hundred Year War continued for 22 years after her death, the French ultimately prevailed.

After the war had ended, Pope Callixtus III authorized a retrial due to the urging of the Inquisitor-General, Jean Brehal, and Joan’s mother, Isabelle Romee. At the end of the appellate trial, she was declared innocent on July 7, 1456.

She became a symbol of the Catholic League during the 16th century, and in 1849, the Bishop of Orleans declared a fervid panegyric on Joan of Arc. His act attracted attention in both England and France, which eventually culminated in her beatification in 1909, and her canonization on May 16, 1920. Along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Teresa of Lisieux, she is considered to be a patron saint of France.

For a lot of reasons, the accomplishments made by Joan of Arc would be impossible to achieve in today’s world. However, that doesn’t diminish the fact that, even today, a single individual with a compelling vision can accomplish impossible acts.

Before you put your head on the pillow tonight, repeat the sentence in the title above. You may never win as much money as Cynthia Stafford did, and you’ll never change the course of history as much as Joan of Arc did, but at some point in time, your tomorrows are going to be a lot different.

To quote Moya Brennan, you’ll change your world.

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