When Napoleon Hill published what is now considered the “Granddaddy of Motivational Literature” in 1937, the concept of becoming a millionaire was a far-flung, distant goal that many couldn’t imagine. With memories of the Great Depression in the United States still fresh in everyone’s mind, many were just hoping to get by day-to-day. With the publication of “Think and Grow Rich,” however, the concept seemed a little more real to many.
Combining the outlook and opinions from forty respected millionaires, including Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and more, Hill used their experiences to draw conclusions on some of the ways the richest people in America at the time used their brains to gain riches.
Since 1937, the book has gone through a bit of refreshment. Subsequent publishings have been edited with more modern references, methods, and interviews with contemporary millionaires and billionaires from around the world, including Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Dave Thomas, and Sir John Templeton.
Regardless of which version you choose for your own review, Hill has clearly laid a foundation not for “how to get rich quick,” but how to set your mind upon monetary goals, and how using your mind will lead you to the behaviors that will make your goals, reality.
The Power of the Mind
According to Napoleon Hill, if you are to experience any success in your quest to become a millionaire, you must first harness the power of the mind. Before anything, you must have a burning desire to make your dreams become reality.
Hill is very adamant about the power of this desire. This is not a vague hope, or a wish. This is a true white-hot desire to bring your dreams to fruition. Hill gives the example of a battle commandeer, telling his troops to burn their ships so that there is no possibility of retreat. He encourages his audience to put everything on the line, so that they’ll have no choice but to pursue their dreams with everything in their power.
In Hill’s text, he notes that there is infinite intelligence in our universe; that what we define as “impossible”, is only so because it hasn’t been done before. The knowledge that will lead to the power to do the alleged impossible is available, but unless we harness the power of our minds, we have no clear focus on a goal. Once the goal is in focus, the path through the infinite intelligence to possibilities and a solution will be revealed.
How Does One “Harness the Power of the Mind?”
According to Hill, there are two very clear and powerful components that help us gain the vision we need to achieve our goals. The concept is that if we can conceive a plan, and we believe in the plan, surely, we can achieve our goals.
Hill recommends each person create a written statement of around five to six sentences that sum up your purpose in life. Include in this your plan for achieving your dream. Hill advises us to be very, very specific, and include in our plans:
- The amount of money you want to make
- What you are willing to sacrifice to receive that money
- A definite date by which you are going to make these dreams come true.
As you can see, there is no “maybe” or “hope” or “want” in these plans. These plans are to be committed to as strictly as brushing your teeth every morning!
The written statement and plan should be read aloud every single day. In doing so, you’re feeding the subconscious with this information. You will achieve this goal. You will do these things to make it happen. It will happen by this date.
How can you Think and Grow Rich?
According to Hill, a thought is a piece of the brain. A strong, relentless thought, powered by unwavering passion and the knowledge that the path to success must truly exist, will require the brain to rewire all possibilities around it.
Consider a time you’ve changed your mind, or revisited an opinion about something less significant than your entire life. Say, you changed allegiances to a sports team, or found a new favorite brand of mayonnaise.
Sure, these may be trivial in the grand scheme of things, but what other things about your life changed around those alterations? Hill argues that if we program our brain to believe in our passions, our actions and other thoughts will follow along, leading us to truly harness the power of our minds!
Create Your Mastermind
In “Think and Grow Rich”, Hill does not suggest that you follow this path on your own; instead, he recommends surrounding yourself with people who can help your idea blossom.
If one powerful idea meets another powerful idea, together, they have both individual ideas and the sum of the parts, leaving them with three powerful ideas. Imagine gathering a group of individuals, all with inter-related ideas that share the same power, focus, and burning desire. Imagine how much knowledge each brings, and how much they can accomplish!
Hill recommends that you surround yourself with people who reflect and aid you in your purpose.
Think of the five people you spend the most time with. Do they help you work towards your goal? Do they provide you with information you might not already have? Henry Ford is credited with recommending people not fill their brains with information they can outsource to others.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean letting your brain go on vacation because you an ask someone else, but rather, as a team, a bunch of brains focused in the same direction can accomplish incredible things… perhaps even the impossible.
If you want, you can
One truly inspiring feature of Napoleon Hill’s timeless book, “Think and Grow Rich” is that while he certainly provides the motivation to become a millionaire, he also encourages his thought process to be applied to any dream you may have.
Perhaps being a millionaire isn’t your ultimate goal, but you do have a specific list of accomplishments you’d like to achieve in your lifetime. The same principles of desire and persistence apply to these, as well.
No matter what the end goal, Hill encourages us to focus on our dreams with endless passion, to cut ties to retreat, to learn from defeat, and discover own own paths through the infinite wisdom that will lead to success.