The lore of this book stems from an assignment given to Napoleon Hill. (He was an investigative reporter.) He was tasked to interview Andrew Carnegie and discover the reason for the divide between the extremely successful tycoons and the common worker. Carnegie told Hill that the secret to this success cannot be condensed into such a short interview but had to learned through experience and observation. Through Carnegie, Hill could interview and shadow other great tycoons of the day. After 20 years, Hill had enough information to have the answer, which turned into Think and Grow Rich.
According to Hill there are 13 Steps to the riches you can desire. (Riches in this case can also be more than monetary.) Once you have mastered the steps, you will have the successes and riches you desired.
Achievement Starts with Desire
This desire is not just an “I think I want this or maybe that desire,” the desire that Napoleon Hill’s referring to he calls a Burning Desire. Would you be willing to die for your path? This is the type of desire Hill was referring to. It is life or death, the willingness to sacrifice all the unnecessary pleasures and even relationships to reach your desire.
Not only do you need burning desire, but you need tangible specifics. Hill is very fixated on the specificity of your desires. Loose desires are no good. You must know what you want? How much do you want? When you want it? Why you want it? And…..not for getting philanthropy, how much are you willing to give back or add value to the world?
Have Faith in Yourself
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are correct.” This statement by Henry Ford sums up this point. Hill noticed that all the titans he interviewed and researched harbored a near other worldly belief in their abilities. All the interviewees were certain they could achieve their Burning Desire Goals.
This is not to say they were the best and never had setbacks. Or were always perfect or never had moments of fear or doubt. That was not the case. They are human and have the natural tendencies, but Hill determined that the titans never let those negative emotional state linger because they are toxic. To achieve, you must take the necessary action steps within the belief of yourself. If you allow the negativity of self-doubt creep in your belief in your ability, you won’t make decisions wisely. Or at the very least take chances that you would take when you 100% believe in yourself.
Remind Yourself Why?
We believe the stories we tell ourselves… Hill used the word Auto-Suggestion. Hill noticed that the elite had daily routines that would remind them of WHY they were pursuing their dreams. Hill believed that this daily habit impregnated the subconscious to always believe the goal was important. Hill suggested for the reader to write you goals and read it aloud twice daily. Once when you wake and again before you sleep.
Specialize Your Knowledge Towards Success
Hill realized, that with all the titans, as brilliant and a well versed in multiple disciplines some of them were, each had a specialty skill; almost a divine skill that they mastered. This mastered skill led to diversification in other areas. Pick a specialty and strengthen it. Edison was an inventor; Carnegie was an entrepreneur; Ford was an industrialist.
Hill believed that even if you are not a tycoon and a common worker, becoming a master and/or expert in your field will earn you more money than if you just had general knowledge.
Take Action – Imagination
“The more active the imagination, the more opportunity a person has to change the world” -Unknown-
Hill observed that the elite displayed an a near youthful imagination. They didn’t use their imaginations for mystery and fantasy, they used imagination for creative and innovative ways for creating plans to accomplish their goals. The elite believed anything was possible but only if given the correct amount effort and right amount of time. Because of this belief, the elite actively worked to strengthen their imagination with brainstorming.
Brainstorming is synonymous to thinking and Henry Ford summed up the power of thinking the best. “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
Take Action – Planning
The elite rarely perform without a focused plan or sets of plans. These plans take into consideration those involved, the direction of where they are going, any problems that have arrived in the past and possibly in the future and what steps it takes to get to the end.
The elite also use planning to actively seek becoming better leader. They read books, go to leadership seminars and workshops, meet with mastermind groups, etc. The have a vision on who they are and who they desire to be in the future. With this vision the plan out steps to again reach the end goal.
Make Effective Decisions
Hill realized successful people make decisions quickly and effectually. The utilize the pressure of procrastination. They don’t procrastinate but the most successful utilize what the active mindset of the pressured situation can bring. How do they accomplish this? Hill notices that the tycoons do those things immediately, that most us put off for another day. This always puts the mind in a place of urgency; always in a place to decide; always in a place where the mind tries to find a place of relaxation. This also put the elite in a place where they can handle more and more pressure.
The mind works beautifully towards reaching a place of comfort. It either resists the tendency to change at all costs or it quickly adapts once there is a realization that the past way of doing things is no longer beneficial or safe. Whether through happenstance or through concerted effort, the success has adapted and mastered this phenomenon.
It is the small things that the elite do every day that is the difference. They never rest on their heels and are satisfied with what they accomplished in the past. They understand that past successes do not project future performances. Hill notices that the elite are persistent and this persistence comes from forming habits. Habits that are self-correcting and eliminate excuses.
The more you do a task, the better you become and the less brain power it takes to perform. The elite form the habits and use this “excess” brain power to discover flaws and plan ways to correct them. They take the necessary actions to fix the flaws and perform those actions enough to form habits. Again… Habits that are self-correcting thus eliminating excuses.
Who’s Inside the Inner Circle
There is a common saying among entrepreneurs “I can tell who you are from the 5 people whose advice you accept.” Hill discovered the power of a strong inner circle with his research on Henry Ford. Henry Ford had an inner circle consisting of Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh. With this type of friendship circle, success is guaranteed.
Hill’s suggestion is to surround yourself with intelligent creative people, the proverbial “iron sharpen iron.” He also insisted on developing a mastermind group to coordinate knowledge and effort.
Develop Social Intelligence
Always work to better yourself. Hill wanted the readers to understand that the elite were always looking to better themselves not only in finances but in the social circles they fancied. This involved working to maximize your handshake, the impact of your voice, working on your appearance and posture, working on confidence.
Hill also ironically saw the elite harnessed the power of sexual cravings and pleasing their romantic partners as a means develop a social intelligence and motivate towards success. Hill concluded that the power of sexual craving is one of the most powerful motivators known to man.
Be Clear of the Plan You Taken and Your Desires
Hill attributed success to being able to visualize your plan working and being able to do this repeatedly. He saw this as a means to keep your goals and desire on you mind, but to also keep your plan in the subconscious also. The more you think about your plan, the clearer the path becomes. The clear the path become, the better you can see if the path you are taking is best towards your destination.
Use Your Power – Brain
Hill saw the best weapon we possessed against poverty and mediocrity was the human brain. He insisted on multiple occasion to strengthen the mind, strengthen the ability to think. Visualize the outcome. The strategy he prescribed to grow the brain’s capacity was brainstorming and thought experiments to produce ideas. Whether these ideas were good or bad are not important. It’s the act of thinking abstractly that Hill saw importance. The ability of a person to think deeply and connect seemingly unrelated information into new ideas is where innovation resides.
Trust Your Gut
Hill’s final attribution to the success of the elite was their “Sixth Sense.” Hill calls this Infinite Knowledge, but this is your instinct or your wisdom. This as Hill says is only built through much learning, thinking, self-awareness, and experience. As you grow in all areas, the universe begins to open the door little by little to “Infinite Knowledge.”
Think and Grow Rich is the grandfather book of the now popular business self-help and motivation genre. When you read Think and Grow Rich deeply and have read any self-help business book in the past 25 years, you can see influence. I highly recommend this book.