8 Lessons From “Think And Grow Rich” By Napoleon Hill
“Think And Grow Rich” is one of the universally recognized personal development masterpieces (more than one hundred million copies sold worldwide, according to recent estimates). The book‘s philosophy centers around the idea that success, in any endeavor, can be reached through mental visualization and imagination. To put it in simple terms, you can become anything that your mind deems possible; as a result, your mind becomes the one thing that can either stop you or propel you toward becoming the best version of yourself.
1. Thoughts are powerful things.
The man that “thinks” he can accomplish something is already a step forward toward the finish line. But thinking in itself might be a too general term. Failure is also taken into consideration, being considered a necessary part of the learning process, but it gets us closer to the end goal only if we take it the right way and decide to persist nonetheless, no matter what it is that might show up on our journey. Now, there’s another prerequisite that must be beared in mind: being clear about the goal that we want to achieve. George Harrison once said “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”; even before making sure that you’re determined enough to take the high road, make sure you properly pave the way.
How bad do you want it? Of course all of us has different goals and dreams for ourselves, but have you ever asked yourself this question? It might seem superfluous at first, but it is only when we really, really want something, that we’ll do whatever is necessary to achieve it. Therefore, in an hypothetic, overall scheme, desire is the one stage that links thoughts and actions together: Thoughts →Commitment (or Desire) →Action
One must be resilient enough to overcome other people’s critiques and repeated failures in their attempts. Second, one must have a vision that is clear enough and that, with the combination of a burning desire, inevitably leads the individual to success. Therefore, it is only when you completely burn all the bridges that are holding you to the past and start thinking in a different way that you can win in life. You can have either excuses or results, not both. Hence, be willing to cut them off before they become a real impediment to your personal growth.
Faith, in Hill’s words, means convincing yourself that your goal is achievable. And faith can be trained and improved through self-suggestion. If you believe in something or have a specific end in mind, practice convincing your mind of the opportunity to realize that goal, and after a while, your mind will start to subconsciously act on behalf of your belief system. In a nutshell: you become what you think about. Purposefully avoid negative emotions and focus all of your energy on positivity; this world is now more abundant than ever, and we have no excuses — none — for not realizing our fullest potential. Hill also mentions the importance of writing your goals down, repeating them day in and day out for thirty minutes a day, and promising yourself that you’ll be relentless in their pursuit. Actually, Napoleon Hill suggests a detailed process for injecting both ambition and faith into your goals.
This process includes:
- Going into a tranquil place, where you know you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and repeat out loud your affirmations;
- Repeat the affirmations every day and night;
- Put a copy of your affirmations in a place where you can see them every day, and read them both before going to bed and when you wake up. However, half-heartedly repeating your affirmations doesn’t make any sense; make sure that, while you do repeat, you can feel and sense your goals as already accomplished. Stretch your imagination to the max, and put emotion into your thoughts.
4. Specialized knowledge.
Hill proclaims that there are two types of knowledge:
- General knowledge, which is definitely more popular, especially among university professors. It is, though, not very useful for the accumulation of wealth (that’s why professors, in most cases, are very intelligent yet not particularly rich). Hill himself says that there’s no such thing as “Knowledge is power”. Rather, he calls it potential power. It becomes actual power only when intelligently directed through specific plans of action and a well-defined purpose.
- Specialized knowledge, necessary for success. If you’re not specialized about the products or services you sell, chances are you’re never going to be wealthy or successful (or even happy?) in any endeavor. Education doesn’t stop on graduation day, and those who believe that are eternally condemned to mediocrity.
If there’s one quote that completely reflects the theory upon which this books is based, it would certainly be that of Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” As men, we can translate thoughts into things. We can create anything that our mind conceives and deems possible. Our mind can be both a blessing and a curse; our greatest ally or our worst enemy. While, if properly directed, our mind can function as a catalyst for progress and development, a contaminated one will surely harm us and make us victims of our own existences. Hill states that imagination can take the shape of:
- Synthetic Imagination →Through synthetic imagination, our mind works mostly through our past: experiences, successes, failures, and the like. Its job is just limited to finding new combinations with “past material”;
- Creative Imagination →This is the form of imagination in which impressions and inspiration take place, and it works only when our mind vibrates at an higher rhythm. Creative imagination can be stimulated by a strong desire and a clear and well-concocted plan (preferably written). When we think about the future in terms of opportunities, sketching the various outcomes that our actions might drive us towards, we discover a source of inner energy that will almost instantly make us more prone to work the plan and stick with it through and through. As this volume recurrently points out, ideas can be turned into wealth pretty easily if accompanied by great strategies and rigorously organized plans.
6. Are you a decision-maker or a procrastinator?
Procrastination is probably one of the main reasons most people aren’t satisfied with their lives. Procrastination means giving up on yourself, it means paying too much attention to other’s opinions about you and the possibilities in your life, it means looking at successful people and asking yourself “What if?” when it will probably be too late to change something. Well, I’m here (wait, Mr. Hill is here) to tell you that taking action equals making decisions. What you want your life to look like? Go out there, draw your ideal life on a piece of paper, and, after comparing your potential life with your current one, provide yourself what’s currently lacking, be it more resources, more positive associations or more powerful routines and habits. Spend the rest of your natural life waking up and going after your goals. Go out there and do something, then excuse yourself. Not the other way around. Listen to everybody’s opinion; be respectful to them. But remember they’re just opinions. Take them with a grain of salt: smile, thank the people who expressed them, and do your things regardless. Make decisions and stick with those decisions no matter what (besides, change them by yourself if you really need to).
7. Mastermind Alliance.
So you have vision, desire, faith, knowledge, and imagination: what’s next? At this point is pivotal that you surround yourself with like-minded people, people whom you know you can trust on an intellectual perspective and that can give you noteworthy insights and sparks which you can draw inspiration from. The combined effort of multiple, high-performing minds, is what allowed new ventures and once-upon-a-time garage businesses to thrive and become established realities in today’s world. Once two or more minds get together, a third, way more powerful mind is created; one that can push itself way further than any individual’s could do on its own. Obviously, you should assess your strengths before creating or thinking about creating a mastermind alliance. What could you bring to the table? Do you have the knowledge, influence or resources to accomplish the end goal? If not, make sure you put yourself in a position where you can actually make your contribution to the cause. Remember that a Mastermind Alliance is not about completely outsourcing your idea, waiting for its resolution and taking credit if it succeeds; you have to do the grueling and arduous work, which includes assuming responsibilities for yours and your team’s efforts.
8. Subconscious mind.
The subconscious part of your brain is like an archive: it receives and contains your thoughts and impressions, regardless of their nature. It registers everything, and it acts based on your predominant thinking patterns. So if you feed your brain with the vision of wealth and success, it’ll work its way through making those aims a physical reality, and it works just as intensely with negative beliefs and convictions: it just does what you tell it to do. Make it a habit to implant positive thoughts into your mind and mix them with vision and faith. Then, “communicate” these plans to your subconscious through self-suggestion. Knowing that pessimistic impulses are much easier to create and a lot harder to destroy, try (as much as you can) to shut them off nonetheless, or at least distract your mind whenever you find it wandering around them. Again, don’t expect it to be easy: if you grew up in the same settings the vast majority of the current human population did, chances are you’ve been brainwashed for years with a lot of false beliefs such as “money is evil”, “the economy is worsening”, “having goals is egoistic”, and the likes. Understand that people who talk this way never experienced a meaningful and rich existence, and they probably never will; do yourself a favor and shield your mind from them; protect your spirit from contamination at all costs.
False evidence appearing real! Here comes the toughest of your opponents in the road to financial, mental, and spiritual success. Fear stops a lot of people from becoming their best selves, and it will try to stop you too — if you let it.
- Fear of poverty →Poverty and wealth can’t coexist. You either want one or the other, so if your desire is that of becoming wealthy (or even financially stable), decide how much riches you’d like to accumulate and make it a point to completely refuse poverty in your mind.
Remember: Desire + Skills x Faith = Success!