Think and Grow Rich examines the psychological power of positive thought. Napoleon Hill delves into the importance of our thought patterns for our success. Napoleon describes how most successful people from the past combined these positive thought techniques with a combination of persistence, education, and supportive colleagues. We will all fail when seeking to obtain our life goals, but those who are willing to keep trying who will be successful.
About Think and Grow Rich
Think and Grow Rich was published during the Great Depression in the US. However, it was highly successful. To date, Think and Grow Rich has sold more than 15 million copies. This makes it one of the top ten best selling self-help books of all time. Even in 2007, BusinessWeek ranked Think and Grow Rich as the sixth best-selling paperback business book.
About Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill was an American self-help author. The focus of each of his books was the importance of adopting specific principles to achieve personal and financial success. As well as writing self-help books, Napoleon toured the US and world, giving lectures on personal success.
Achievements Require Detailed Planning and Attainable Goals
“Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.” – Napoleon Hill
The only way to become successful is to know what you want to achieve. Without clear goals, we cannot start our journey towards success. Therefore, Napoleon Hill recommends that people start their journey towards success by defining their personal goals in as precise terms as possible. If you are looking to become rich, you should be defining exactly how much money you want to make by a certain age. Monetary- and time-specific goals will allow you to have a good understanding of how much you will have to invest to accomplish this goal.
After identifying a goal and giving it a timeframe, you will then want to outline a plan. This plan should incorporate a step-by-step approach to attaining your final goal. Then, once you have this plan, you need to act. Start straight away and do not waste a minute.
These recommendations will help keep you motivated and focused on the next goal you need to focus on to obtain your overall goal.
Desire is the Starting Point of All Achievement
Napoleon explains that you can attain what you seek as long as you hold onto your desires. However, this does not mean you should just desire the outcome. For example, merely wishing for money will get you nowhere. Instead, you must desire to become rich by way of becoming obsessive about producing effective plans and attainable goals that will help you with your desired outcome.
Napoleon provides an outline that can help you to systematically plan your way to becoming wealthy:
- Decide exactly how much money you want to make. This should be very exact (even to the final dollar)
- Determine what you are willing to give to receive this amount of money
- Choose a date by which you aim to have obtained all of this money
- Create a detail plan of how you will reach this goal and consider what you can do right now
- Write all of the above in a clear statement
- Finally, make sure that you read this statement aloud twice a day
Successful People Have Faith in Their Abilities
“There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief.” – Napoleon Hill
Unwavering faith is a fantastic asset to have. According to Napoleon, individuals who have an unwavering faith are generally those who will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. This is because you cannot achieve success without self-confidence.
Napoleon gives the example of Mahatma Gandhi to support the power of faith and self-confidence. Gandhi did not have access to the typical instruments of power: money and the military. Instead, he had an unwavering belief that he could lead his country, India, to freedom from British colonial rule. This belief allowed him to develop a significant influence over his fellow countrymen and subsequently spark a change.
We are no different from Gandhi. If we can harness an unwavering belief in ourselves and our ability to attain our goals, we can achieve anything.
You Cannot Have Faith Alongside Fear
Napoleon states that faith cannot coexist with fear. Therefore, once we have mastered all fears, we can have an unwavering faith to grow rich. Napoleon divides fear into six subtypes:
- The fear of poverty, embodied by indifference, indecision, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.
- The fear of criticism, embodied by self-consciousness, lack of poise, an inferiority complex, extravagance, lack of initiative, and lack of ambition.
- The fear of ill health, embodied by hypochondria, poor exercise, susceptibility, self-coddling, and intemperance.
- The fear of the loss of someone’s love, embodied by jealousy, fault finding, and gambling.
- The fear of old age, embodied by slowing down and developing an inferiority complex around the age of 40, referring to oneself apologetically as “being old,” and killing off the habits of initiative, imagination, and self-reliance.
- The fear of death, embodied by focusing on dying rather than living, lack of purpose, and lack of suitable occupation.
All fears fall under one of these bullet points. All fearful thoughts can never result in acts of significant financial fain. However, we can easily redirect our minds away from fearful thoughts. Therefore, you can control your fate by controlling your mind and, thus, overcome fear and accumulate all of your desired riches.
Napoleon described fear as being a state of mind. As we have control over our state of mind, we can decide not to be controlled by these fears.
Our Subconscious Can Influence Our Behavior
Unwavering faith is not something we are all born with. However, we can learn to develop this faith over time. Napoleon describes auto-suggestion as the most effective way of developing one’s self-confidence. Auto-suggestion involves thinking particular and purposeful thoughts to influence your own behaviors.
Auto-suggestion works by fueling your subconscious with positive goals and thoughts. As your subconscious impacts on your reality, these positive messages will increase your self-belief. Subsequently, you will start to accept that you can reach your goals. Auto-suggestion is synonymous with self-suggestion. Napoleon described it as the bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind. Therefore, as well as reading important goals out loud, you also need to attach emotions to these words. When reciting affirmations, you should encourage your desire to consume you. Your subconscious mind will only instigate action when emotions are attached to thoughts.
Napoleon recommends using auto-suggestion as often as you can. The more often you utilize auto-suggestion, the more likely that you will achieve success.
Adding to the chapter on desire, Napoleon also recommends the following steps toward becoming rich:
- Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Repeat aloud the written statement created from the desire chapter. Then, make sure you also visualize having that money
- Repeat this action every morning and night until you have a clear image in mind of all the money you wish to make
- Keep visualizing these desires until they are committed to your memory
Knowledge Is Power
“An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.” – Napoleon Hill
Napoleon sees knowledge as one of the most critical skills for achieving your life goals. However, he does not mean knowledge in the traditional sense. He recommends that you throw out your preconceived ideas of how important education is. Being knowledgeable isn’t tied to the degree you have. Henry Ford is a perfect example of a person who lacked traditional education but was filled with valuable knowledge.
Being successful doesn’t require too many facts. Instead, it is more important to acquire the right experiences and knowledge. Combining experience, knowledge, and your personal strengths will help you to develop substantially. Although experience is more important, we should always be willing to learn more. It is easy to feel we already know enough. Still, those who are genuinely successful are the people who continue to expand their knowledge and experiences as they age. You can easily do this by trying new experiences or going to university, attending evening courses, or acquiring practical experiences.
Additionally, you should always try and surround yourself with people who are also knowledgeable and have had a wide range of experiences. We do not want to be the most knowledgeable person in our professional and friendship groups. Instead, we want to surround ourselves with people who can help us learn new skills and ideas.
Imagination Will Turn Your Dreams into a Reality
Each and every success story begins with an idea. Ideas spawn from people’s imagination. Therefore, our imagination is like the creative workshop of our minds. We can utilize our imagination to turn dreams into ideas. Then, these ideas can be turned into reality. Within your imagination is where all plans are created and formed. The only limitation you face depends on how much you develop your imagination. According to Hill, there are two types of imagination: synthetic and creative.
- Creative Imagination – This type of imagination is what helps us come up with new ideas. This type of imagination starts from nothing and creates something unique. This type of imagination can only be reached when your conscious mind is being stimulated through desire. It’s a muscle that must be trained
- Synthetic Imagination – This type of imagination utilizes old ideas to create new concepts. For example, the developers at Sony used the technology from journalists’ dictaphones to create the first portable music player: the Walkman. Nothing is created in this form of imagination because it works with existing mental material
These two types of imagination complement each other. Ideas are the starting point for all fortunes, and they are the product of the imagination. Napoleon gives the example of Asa Candler. Asa was the founder of Coca-Cola, which was ultimately formed from a headache medication approximately 140 years ago. Candler took the recipe from a pharmacist and, through marketing, turned the product into a huge success. Indeed, a truly wise salesperson will know that ideas can be traded where tangible merchandise cannot. Nearly all considerable fortunes begin when an individual with a great idea meets an individual who sells ideas. When matched with desire, ideas are unstoppable forces. They are more powerful than the brains that created them. Thus, you must listen, cultivate, and develop a desire to see them through.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is all about self-awareness. If we are aware of our weaknesses, we can challenge them and prevent them from impacting our goals. Some of the most common weaknesses are vague goals, lacking ambition, procrastinating, and lacking resolve. Once we understand which weaknesses we have, we can improve our skills or account for these weaknesses through our strengths.
A thorough and honest self-analysis is required to fully understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. To do this, you can set up a checklist of questions. The questions that Napoleon recommends are:
- Have I achieved my aim for this year?
- Was I always friendly, courteous, and cooperative?
- Did I make all decisions promptly and firmly?
After answering these questions, you should then compare your subjective self-analysis with somebody’s objective evaluation of you. Hence, sit down with somebody who knows you well and ask them to discuss your strengths and weaknesses honestly.
Reinforce Your Positive Emotions
Our subconscious can shape us positively by providing us with strength and resilience. However, it can also shape us negatively by making us pessimistic. Therefore, we must train our subconscious to identify our desires and goals. We can do this by feeding our subconscious with positive and constructive feedback. Hence, we should always adopt a positive mentality irrespective of our current circumstances. We can reinforce this by surrounding ourselves with optimistic and positive people.
Successful People Are Resilient
If you consider those who fail, it is often due to a lack of determination. Comparatively, those who are successful are often supremely resilient individuals. Multimillionaires are individuals who can make split-second decisions. Still, they are also able to back these decisions until they come good. They are not scared of losing money and take losses with a pinch of salt.
Successful people stick to their original plans despite the obstacles that arise. Essentially, they give their dreams the space to blossom into reality. Despite this, Napoleon does not recommend avoiding precise corrections that have to be made. For example, if an easy price correction will have a huge impact, you should make this change. As long as you keep your overall goal in sight, you will make the right changes at the right time.
Napoleon outlines specific rules you should abide by to make persistence and endurance habits in your life:
- Produce a concrete goal that you are deeply passionate about
- Create a highly detailed plan that can support you in achieving smaller goals that will help you towards your concrete goal
- Do not let negative opinions impact on your thoughts or behaviors
- Develop a strong relationship with an individual or group who can support you through a difficult time and celebrate with you in your success
Strength of will is integral to persistence. Once you are able to combine desire and willpower, then you are likely to achieve your goals. How easily you are able to persist depends exclusively on how much desire you have to reach your goal. Napoleon also explains that your Mastermind group can be crucial in encouraging you to persevere through difficult times.
Napoleon Hill also provided an eight-stage approach for cultivating persistence:
- You need to know exactly what you want as your ultimate goal. Napoleon calls this a definiteness of purpose
- Having a genuine desire for your goal means that you become obsessed with amassing a monetary fortune
- You must believe that you can follow your plan and achieve each of your goals. Napoleon calls this your self-reliance
- Your plans should be organized and thorough, so that they are unambiguous when things get tough. Napoleon calls this definiteness of plans
- Your plans and the corresponding goals should always be based on fact. Napoleon calls this accurate knowledge
- Your and those around you, including you mastermind, should encourage you to persist when things get tough. Working with these individuals to obtain your goals is described as co-operation by Napoleon Hill
- You should always concentrate your attention on seeing your plans through to completion. Napoleon calls this your willpower
- Persistence is based on developing a positive habit. Your daily behaviours will become a habit and then become who you are. Therefore, by making courage a habit you can easily overcome fear
The Mastermind as a Driving Force
Accumulating money requires you to have power. Without power it is not possible to put your plans into actions.
Napoleon Hill outlines three ways to accumulate power:
- Infinite intelligence
- Accumulated experience
- Experiment and research
Your mastermind group is formed of members who have knowledge that you do not. It is not possible to acquire sufficient knowledge alone. This knowledge can be converted into power by organizing it into definite plans. Napoleon explains that every great fortune throughout history was developed through cooperative alliances, as a collection of minds produces results greater than the sum of the parts.
The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
Transmutation relates to transforming one element of energy into another. Napoleon argues that sex is our most primal and powerful drive. It is the most influential energy. Sex is such a powerful desire that individuals often put their livelihoods and reputation on the line to indulge in it. However, sex can be extremely useful if you redirect this energy into other pursuits. This may take significant willpower, but it will have a positive impact.
Napoleon Hill is not arguing that we should repress our sexual drives. Instead, he is advocating for giving this sexual energy an alternative outlet when it is needed. For example, using this energy to complement your creative abilities.
Surround Yourself with Smart People
To become successful on a large-scale, you will need smart people who can support you. Napoleon describes this collaboration as a brain trust. A brain trust is a union of like-minded intelligent people. The brain trust should have a common goal, be willing to develop their competencies, and have a system of checks to keep each other accountable.
For brain trust to work, you will need to develop a synergistic effect. This effect occurs when two people’s skills combine to accomplish a shared goal. The results are better than the sum of the brain trust’s parts.
Napoleon recommends meeting these people at least twice a week. Plus, you must maintain harmony with each individual in the group. The individuals within your group must be equally persistent, and they must be happy to be led by you.
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