Napoleon Hill wrote his book “Think and Grow Rich” almost 100 years ago (1937) and his principles are still as valid today as they were back then.
It is one of the best books ever written and if you want to be successful in life, this is THE ONE to read!
This book was written during a period of 20-years (before internet and cheap flights etc….), whilst Napoleon was researching and interviewing 500 of the most successful people in the world. The likes of: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Charles M. Schwab, Andrew Carnegie etc. Andrew Carnegie was the inspirational source behind the idea but unfortunately he did not live to see the finished work of Napoleons great efforts.
My intention here is to give you a short summary of what his principles are but also my personal reflections followed with some action points, but before we start, let’s read one of Hill’s famous quotes on success:
“No one may achieve success without first knowing precisely what he wants. Study any person who is known to be a permanent success and you will find that he has a Definite Major Goal; he has a plan for the attainment of this goal; he devotes the major portion of his thoughts and his efforts to the attainment of this purpose.”
– Napoleon Hill
Hill’s main principles for success:
- Burning Desire
- Specialized Knowledge
- Organized Planning
- Power of the Mastermind
- The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
- The Subconscious Mind
- The Brain
- The Sixth Sense
Principle 6: Organized planning
This is the most comprehensive chapter of this book and the key to success. In an earlier chapter Mr Hill described the process to success as taking the following steps:
- Make sure you fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire (for simplicity he uses the goal of money which is something most people can relate to). The goal has to be exact and clear.
- You have to decide exactly what it is that you will give in return for the money you desire. Something for nothing is nothing but dream, make sure you know what value you will offer in return for the money you wish to acquire.
- You need to set a date as to when you intend to possess the money you wish to possess. The importance of a fixed date shall not be underestimated (just think about how you work when you have a fixed deadline versus no deadline…).
- Create a definite plan for how you will reach that goal of yours and begin immediately. It doesn’t matter if you are ready or not but you have to get started asap to start gaining momentum.
This step towards your goal is the organized planning and is of course instrumental to your success. Use your burning desire and your imagination to create a plan of action as to how you will go about it. Take this plan to your mastermind group (make sure you have chosen the right members) and use their experience and accountability to take action.
5. You also have to write a clear statement of the amount you intend to acquire, the date for its acquisition, what you will give in return and the plan of execution (basically write down the above four steps).
6. Read your above statement out loud several times per day and especially first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed.
By taking this last step, you are enhancing the impression in your mind so that it will be working for you without you realizing it. Your subconscious mind and your reticular activating system respond extremely well to this type of autosuggestion and you really want to imprint your goal into your subconscious as deeply as possible. Anytime during the day when you have a moment you should read your statement out loud again. The cool thing today is that you can have it on your phone as a background picture or text until you know it by heart. A perfect supplement to your vision board (they should of course convey the same message).
“Your value is established entirely by your ability to render useful service or your capacity to induce others to render such service.”
– Napoleon Hill
In this chapter, Hill also spends quit a bit of time on leadership skills and the most important traits according to his findings are listed below. Have a look at them and think about which ones you possess and which ones you might want to work on. Remember that you don’t have to aim for certain leadership positions to find these skills useful in your life.
- Unwavering courage
- Self control
- A keen sense of justice
- Definite of decision
- Definiteness Plan
- The habit of doing more than paid for
- A pleasing personality
- Sympathy and understanding
- Mastery of detail
- Willingness to take full responsibility
Conclusion on the leadership section is that we will always be needing leaders who can make sure we are moving forward towards our goals, at work as well as in our private lives. No leader = no captain of the ship and we all know what will happen to that ship…
Some of the most common causes of failure of living life on our terms and/or becoming a leader according to Hill are stated below and I encourage you to go through them impartially:
- Unorganized in details
- Unwillingness to render humble service
- Expectation of pay for what you “know”
- Fear of competition from followers
- Lack of imagination
- Emphasis on “authority”
- Emphasis of title
What stands between you and success?
Based on Hill’s extensive work he found approximately thirty major causes of failure (what stands between you now and success).
Below is the list of these and if you go through them honestly and sincerely you will most likely realize which ones would need some more attention from you (I sure did):
- Unfavorable Hereditary Background (this is still relevant but not to the same extent because of the availability of the internet where anyone with any background can reach millions of people with their message and where background is less significant)
- Lack of a Well-Defined Purpose in Life
- Lack of Ambition to Aim above Mediocrity
- Insufficient Education (again, here I would say that because of the internet and the availability of information for free, anyone can learn anything, it’s just up to us to prioritize)
- Lack of Self-Discipline
- Ill Health
- Unfavorable Environmental Influences during Childhood
- Lack of Persistence
- Negative Personality
- Lack of controlled Sexual Urge
- Uncontrolled Desire for “Something for Nothing”
- Lack of a Well Defined Power of Decision
- One or More of the Six Basic Fears (poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age and death)
- Wrong Selection Of A mate In Marriage
- Wrong Selection of Associates in Business
- Superstitions and Prejudice
- Wrong Selection of a Vocation
- Lack of Concentration of Effort
- The Habit of Indiscriminate Spending
- Lack of Enthusiasm
- Inability to Cooperate With Others
- Possession of Power That Was Not Acquired Through Self Effort
- Intentional Dishonesty
- Egotism and Vanity
- Guessing Instead Of Thinking
- Lack of Capital
- Any particular cause of failure you have suffered
If you find any of these hitting home, why not print them out and put them on your fridge and on your phone. Remind yourself of these consistently and when you have your plan of action, scrutinize it using these points and scrutinize yourself and eliminate any of these from standing between you and your success!
“Plan your work and work your plan.”
My reflections and take on the principle of Organized planning:
Almost everyone who ever accomplished anything of value had a plan and I believe that the result was significantly impacted by how well organized that plan was. Anything I want to accomplish in life is planned, not always (maybe even rarely) to the extent it should have been but still. Regardless of which area one is interested in, organized planning will make all the difference (as long as one also has effective and efficient execution along with continuous evaluating and reviewing).
Every sports star will for sure know what I’m talking about, they are planning their training sessions in minute detail in order to reach that goal of theirs. It’s most of the time about what they eat, how they sleep and the details of their training sessions that combined will make them a star (or not).
There are always exceptions, once in a while inventions occur by chance but most of the time it happens because someone has been working intensely and extensively on something. Still, an invention without a proper marketing plan being well organized is nothing more than an invention which will never make it to the market place.
Mr Hill has so many interesting observations and makes so many good points. Therefore I find it extremely important to read his book several times as there seems to constantly pop up new information the more I contemplate and digest it.
Contemplating and ruminating around his questions make me observe myself better as most of those questions are spot on. Learning from my mistakes and realize how I can adjust and adapt even more to my environment, will make me a better person and a better servant to others.
Organized planning is probably something we would all benefit from had we practiced it more frequently and in a more well thought through manner. Every large organization has plans, goals and visions and is trying to organize themselves (their staff) so that they can reach their goals as fast as possible. That is not by chance, they know that organized planning has a massive impact on their business.
If athletes and corporations are using organized planning to become the best version of themselves, then it is clear to me that we should all do the same in any and every area of our lives. Especially if we want to make a difference in our lives, experience and see the world and who knows, potentially even leave a mark after we are gone.
Your legacy and the impact it will have on future generations will most likely depend on how well you execute on a very organized plan. So if you are one of those who really want to make a difference in this world, I suggest you read this chapter of the book over and over again, take it all in, use your mastermind group and then start to execute.
Now I need to revisit my own plan and give it another round of evaluation using the SMARTER technique and the input from Mr Hill. Perhaps you should do the same?!
Actions to take:
- Set your Visions and Goals
- Burning Desire – why?
- Vision Board – a complement to the written statement you should have
- Mastermind group – what and why?
- Daily Focus – how you create massive results and discipline
- Modeling – learn from the best!
- Create momentum by using this simple process on a daily basis