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 7: Decisions
“People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.”
Decisions and the ability of making them swiftly and sticking to them is one of the key aspects of a successful person and also leadership ability. In this chapter, Mr Hill (again) refers to Henry Ford and his ability to make prompt decisions and then sticking with them. The story told here is about Mr Ford being very determined and stubborn about not changing the T-ford production when that was exactly what his designers wanted him to do. He stuck to his guns and continued and it turned out to be hugely successful and ended up earning him a massive fortune.
Procrastination has to be conquered, almost by any means, because if we don’t learn how to make it a habit to conquer it, procrastination will conquer us. Making decisions swiftly and then slowly changing them is what successful leaders do. They don’t stick with their choices at any cost but instead adapt. Main point is that they continuously make decisions quickly and hence make things happen all the time by keeping momentum and procrastination at bay.
When to alter your decisions
The only ones who should have any impact on your decisions are the members of your mastermind group. You have formed it for a reason, you have chosen those individuals for a reason, they are there to help and guide you so that you can reach that goal of yours as fast and efficiently as humanly possible. You are aligned and working in a spirit of harmony. You want to listen to this group as that was the purpose why you put your mastermind group together in the first place.
Family and friends are great to have but rarely when you have important decisions to make. The love you, they care for you and they want the best for you but they might not have the vision, the desire, the drive and understanding that you do. If they are not on the same page and part of your mastermind group (which they rarely should), try to love them, care for them but not listen too much to them when making important decisions. They might be very risk averse, only seeing problems etc. and that will not motivate you, nor help you reaching your goals faster. Well, sometimes it can actually be a great motivator as you want to prove yourself but most of the time, family is holding us back.
Use your organized plan, discuss it with your mastermind group, evaluate and re-adjust. Do this continuously to make sure you are on track. When your goal is clear and big enough, there will be very few, if any, doubts about the decisions you make. For sure, there will be some bumps along the way, but if you have the right people around you and never lose momentum, that is all they will ever be, small bumps on your part to success.
We should all practice our skill of making decisions swiftly so that we don’t get stuck in indecisiveness and just do what others think. Living our lives and making our decisions based on other people’s opinions is a sure way to conformity and a mediocre live, lifestyle and for sure quality of life. By practicing the five second rule (just google it), we will make instinctive decisions and most of the time they are the right ones and if we don’t spend too much time on all the small decisions in life, we have more brain capacity for the decisions that will really have a significant impact on how we live our lives.
Of course, some decisions are more important than others and then we need to spend more time considering different alternatives in order to find the best solution. When we do, we should be able to stay course and not easily be affected by other peoples opinions. If we do, we will spend loads of time thinking about whether or not it was the right decision instead of just keeping momentum and making sure we are making progress!
My reflections and take on the principle of Decisions:
We are making numerous decisions every day, many small and rather irrelevant ones and some more important ones. The more decisions we make, the firmer we are in our beliefs and trust in our own ability to make good decisions. There have been many studies looking at our daily capacity when it comes to decision making and there are limitations as to how many decisions we can make before that part of our brain is getting tired (and hence less focused). This is one of the reasons why Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook always wears the same cloths, he doesn’t want his decision making capacity to be spent on non important decisions like what clothes he should wear!
If one of the richest people alive today is doing this, do you think it would add value to you and your capacity of making great decisions? I for sure do.
Creating great habits frees up brain capacity for those more important decisions. This is one of the main reasons why it’s so important to have great routines around daily tasks. They will then happen automatically (in a great and pre-determined way) and you won’t spend any energy on those decisions.
The more decisions we make and the swifter we can make them, the more decisions we have capacity to make “accurately”. Think about a friend of yours who is successful, does that person normally form an opinion fast, make decisions fast and have things happening all the time? I would guess yes, that is how my friends work. No wonder then why they get so much done. They don’t dwell on mundane tasks, they just happen automatically and their decision making capacity is used for important decisions.
The more great routines we create, the less capacity is spent on these insignificant things. The more momentum we will have and more things will be happening. This is a positive loop because the more things we make happen, the more comfortable we will become with our own decisions making capabilities. If we make 100 decisions every day but spend hours thinking about them, worrying about them afterwards, what do you think that will do to your self confidence?
If you make 1000 decisions every day, 900 of them just happen because you have created great routines and then you consciously make another 100 decisions. How comfortable do you think you would feel about yourself and you capability in making good decisions?
Dwelling on decisions made or not made will just give you a headache. Instead, try to create great habits and use the five second rule. Then you will spend less time and energy on non important decisions. So when it’s time for the important decisions, you can handle them with a switched on brain and not a tired one…
Actions to take:
- Set your visions and goals
- How to create great habits – follow these steps
- Habits of the successful – do what they do
- Burning Desire – why?
- 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 daily process