The turning point for me, the moment I began my spiritual awakening, was when I read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. For those not familiar, this book was written way back in the 1930s following the American depression and was one of the world’s first “self help” books, going on to sell millions of copies worldwide. Originally intended to help Americans find a way out of the appalling economic mess caused by the Wall Street crash, which left millions of Americans homeless, penniless or in dire straights, it has become the grand-daddy of all self development books and is touted by nearly all the big names in the self development field today as one of the key aids in their success.
The over-riding principle of this book is that the power lies within any person, no matter what their circumstances, to build the life that they want and achieve absolutely anything they put their mind too. In essence, by thinking in the right manner, you can become rich. Rich doesn’t necessarily mean in monetary terms (although that is possible and a top reason why people are attracted to the book) but also rich in terms of every aspect in life; relationships, health, work etc.
Most people attempt to find success by looking outwardly; to external factors such as other people and circumstances. Or they believe that they cannot change their own circumstances and use this is an excuse not to. I believe that the main factor in how successful someone is in life has little to do with talent. It’s about how much the person is willing to do to become successful. “Think and Grow Rich” really backs this up with a series of anecdotes (based on 20 years of research) about famous as well as ordinary, unknown people, who found success using the basic principles outlined by Napoleon Hill. Every one of them, whether consciously or unconsciously, adhere to the 4 main principles of success:
DESIRE, FAITH, ACTION, PERSISTENCE
Hill states that you must possess not just desire for what you want to achieve, but a BURNING desire. That might seem like a trivial difference but in reality there is a crucial difference. The vast majority of us, for example, have a desire to make a lot of money and/or be successful professionally. But I can guarantee you that it is only the ones who have a BURNING desire who actually succeed. Most people are stuck in jobs they don’t like, are in debt or struggle financially. Which means the desire isn’t strong enough. If it was (according to Hill), they WOULD be successful. No ifs, ands or buts. Well, that’s not quite true actually. Because you also need to believe you can be successful.
I know people who have that burning desire, usually because they are driven by their current circumstances not being good and really want to improve their life but deep down, they don’t really believe they will succeed. They have a negative mindset. When that is the case, it usually means that the first sign of failure (and in anything major you are trying to achieve, that is a 100% certainty to happen at some point) they give up.
“Well, I didn’t think I would be successful anyway and this loss just reinforces that, so why bother?”
Every successful person at first had to have faith that they would succeed. Not “might” or “maybe” but “definitely”. It’s OK to have doubts, perfectly natural that you will but you still have to believe for the majority of the time, that you will ride through the rough times and definitely get there eventually. I believe that I will be a successful writer and trader. I don’t know at what point it will happen. I know there will be setbacks and tough moments (and I do get down about them some days) but I always have an overall faith in myself and that it will all work out in the end.
This faith, twinned with desire, then makes it almost a certainty that you will be driven to action. This is the real meat of it all, where you make plans and get to work on them to produce the results you want.
In today’s popular parlance, it’s where you grind and hustle every single spare hour you get. But unfortunately, most people will be beaten by the 4th and final stage: persistence. In other words, they will give up.
That just leaves a small but hardy band. The ones who refuse to give up. The ones who always find a way to keep going through the tough times and the failures, no matter how long it takes. The ones who never blame other people or their circumstances. The ones who only say;
“How can I improve? How can I learn from my mistakes?”
The ones who tweak their plans till they get the desired outcome. The ones who have absolute faith in themselves. The ones who have a burning desire to succeed. The ones who understand that they control their own destiny.
Of course, it’s not as simple as just applying those 4 rules. Most of us have limiting beliefs in our subconscious (which I will come to in a future post) which make it very tough to make headway in life. These are habits and negative patterns that we’ve picked up through life experiences which inhibit our ability to achieve what we want. These would include common limiting beliefs such as:
“I’m not good enough”
“People of my race/colour/background/class/age can’t succeed at that”
“Only bad or lucky people become wealthy”
“Money is the root of all evil”
Napoleon Hill talks about how this can be overcome and uses concepts which at the time were revolutionary but that today are widely used yet still often frowned upon as being “new age” or “woo-woo”. I’m talking primarily about hypnosis and meditation (which he refers to as “auto-suggestion”). I consider the two inter-changeable and that it’s actually visualisation that is the most important aspect of both. It’s something I do every day and I can only speak from personal experience (although if you read about pretty much every well known successful person in the modern era, they almost all meditate/visualise regularly) but it does work. More on this in a future post.
What this book personally did for me, was firstly, give me hope. It made me stop making excuses for my current situation and start taking real ACTION towards creating a better life. Secondly, it opened my eyes up to the power inside us; the power of the subconscious mind and the idea that everything starts with a thought. And that thought will eventually become a reality if we focus on it correctly. Thirdly, it made me start to believe that there is more going on with this reality, this existence, than most of us understand.
I was initially put onto this book several years ago by someone who mentioned on his blog what an important factor this was in his success. Unfortunately, I only skimmed through it, believing I was doing fine and some of the concepts inside were a bit too weird for my liking. A few years later, I came back to it, read it thoroughly and crucially with an open-mind and it has changed my life. Don’t make the mistake I did! If you haven’t read it yet, you can download a copy free online as it’s part of the public domain. It’s the best value book you’ll ever read.