Think and Grow Rich has been called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” It was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?”
The man who asked and listened for the answer, Napoleon Hill, is now counted in the top ranks of the world’s winners himself.
The most famous of all teachers of success spent “a fortune and the better part of a lifetime of effort” to produce the “Law of Success” philosophy that forms the basis of his books and that is so powerfully summarized in this one.
As the story goes, Napoleon Hill began as a journalist for a magazine – a job that led to his meeting steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie believed success could be distilled into principles that any person could follow, and urged Hill to interview the greatest industrialists of the era in order to discover these principles.
Hill took on the challenge, and over the next 20 years analyzed hundreds of well-known men to discover a set of common strategies that each of them used to achieve success. Those men included Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Schwab, and J.D. Rockefeller.
The most important lesson and focus of this book is that “You are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul, because… you have the power to control your thoughts,” hence the title – THINK, and grow rich. Riches, financial or otherwise, begin with a state of mind.
There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.
Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought
Hill breaks the secret strategy down into 13 steps:
Step 1: Desire
Burning Desire. You must be in love with your goal.
There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. Desire it with a state of mind that becomes an obsession which does not recognize failure. You must work yourself into a white heat of desire and actually believe you will possess it.
Step 2: Faith
Absolute Faith. No matter what.
Desire backed by faith knows no such word as impossible. Faith is one of the most powerful of all positive emotions. Conduct yourself just as you would if you were already in possession of the material thing which you are demanding.
“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but soon or late the man who wins is the man who thinks he can!”
Step 3: Auto-Suggestion
Self-Talk. Say your goal to yourself twice daily in the present tense.
The subconscious mind is like a garden, in which weeds will grow if the seeds of more desirable crops are not sown. Auto-suggestion is how those seeds are sown.
One comes to believe whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement be true or false. Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind will voluntarily develop the emotion of faith, and give you the certainty that your reward is already waiting for you.
Step 4: Specialized Knowledge
Become the expert in one narrow focus.
Knowledge is not necessarily power – it’s potential. Knowledge will not attract money unless it is organized and intelligently directed to that end.
The chapter explains that it is not essential to have general “miscellaneous” knowledge in your own mind. It is more important to know where to get specific knowledge when you need it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action.
Step 5: Imagination
What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.
Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination.
“If you are one of those who believe that hard work and honesty, alone, will bring riches, perish the thought! It is not true!” Ideas can be sold where merchandise cannot, and the creator of ideas sets his own price, and he gets it.
Step 6: Organized Planning
Make a plan. Work the plan.
The most intelligent man living cannot succeed without plans which are practical and workable.
If the first plan does not succeed, replace it with a new plan. If the new plan doesn’t work, make another, and keep going until you find a plan which does work. Temporary defeat only means that there is something wrong with your plan – Build other plans.
Step 7: Decision
Make lots of decisions. Decide quickly. Take action.
“Worry is a form of sustained fear caused by indecision.”
Procrastination is the opposite of decision. In his analysis of several hundred millionaires, Hill found that every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and changing these decisions slowly, if at all.
The major weakness of all educational systems is that they neither teach nor encourage the habit of definite decision.
Step 8: Persistence
Never give up. Ever.
Lack of persistence is one of the major causes of failure. The price of ability to influence your subconscious mind is everlasting persistence. It is the sustained effort necessary to induce faith, and is essential in the process of turning your desire into its material equivalent.
Weak desires bring weak results, so if you find yourself lacking in persistence, build a stronger fire under your desires.
Be persistent, no matter how slowly you mat have to move at first – no one enjoys any great achievement without passing the test of persistence.
Step 9: The Master Mind
The driving force.
The master mind is the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” No two minds ever come together without creating a third, intangible force like a third “Master” mind.
Economic advantages may be created by any person who surrounds himself with the advice and cooperation of a group who are willing to support you wholeheartedly. And people take on the nature and habits of the 6 people they spend the most time with.
Step 10: Sex Transmutation
Transform sexual desire into fuel to achieve your goal
The men who have accumulated great fortunes and achieved outstanding recognition were motivated by the influence of a woman. The men of greatest achievement had highly developed sex natures, and learned the art of sex transmutation.
The “emotion” of sex is usually associated with the physical, and has highly biased the mind. Sex transmutation means switching the mind from thoughts of physical expression to thoughts of some other nature. Desire should be given an outlet through forms of expression which enrich the body, mind, and spirit – if not, it will seek outlets through purely physical channels.
“The emotion of sex contains the secret of creative ability.”
Step 11: The Subconscious Mind
Reprogram your beliefs
The mind is like a man riding an elephant. The man sits on top with his plans, and tries to direct the elephant where to go. The elephant is the one with the power, and it goes where it wants. The man feels a sense of control because he has influence over the elephant, but if the man and the elephant disagree, you’ll see just how powerless the man is.
If you want to direct your mind, you’ll have to influence the elephant – the subconscious mind. You can feed it any plan, thought, or purpose through the use of emotion, auto-suggestion, and habit, and through persistence and repetition, it will get you what you want.
The subconscious mind is also your source of creativity, and it, alone, is the medium through which prayer may be transmitted to the source capable of answering prayer.
Step 12: The Brain
Listen to your gut feelings
Hill describes the brain as a broadcasting and receiving station for thought. By stimulating your mind, you will be able to “receive” thoughts for your creative use. Operating this “broadcasting station” is done by applying what we learned about the subconscious mind, imagination, and auto-suggestion.
Step 13: Sixth Sense
The door to the temple of wisdom
The sixth sense is your link to a higher power – the universe, God, infinite intelligence, or whatever you want to call it. Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impending dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.
Hill describes his method of using the sixth sense through his cabinet of invisible counselors – people he admired, living or dead, which he would imagine communicating with in his own mind. By assembling this cabinet and meeting with them, he received advice, warnings, and ideas from the men he imagined talking to.
The point is not whether he actually received messages from the beyond. By pretending as if it was so, he received enormous benefits.
The 6 Ghosts of Fear
Outwit the Ghosts standing in your way
Hill closes with a chapter on the 6 ghosts of fear, from which every human suffers at one time or another:
- The fear of Poverty
- The fear of Criticism
- The fear of Ill Health
- The fear of Loss of Love
- The fear of Old Age
- The fear of Death
Fears are nothing more than states of mind – and state of mind is subject to control and direction. So analyze your mind carefully, as you would search for an enemy you knew to be waiting to ambush you, and deal with your own faults as you would with a more tangible enemy. Set up habits for the purpose of counteracting all these fears, and deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to think and act for yourself.
If you fail to control your own mind, you may be sure you will control nothing else.