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Napoleon Hill’s “Law of Success” is a philosophy for personal achievement, and the book Think & Grow Rich explains how to prepare the mind to receive it. It begins with a burning unstoppable desire to accomplish what you want, and throughout the book, Hill discusses in great detail the steps to accomplish desire and the laws of success.
He believed that there was one quality that every single one of us must possess in order to win: Definiteness of Purpose. You need to know what you want and have a burning desire to achieve it. Think & Grow Rich is a psychological guide to success.
Napoleon Hill’s lessons on personal achievement, shared in the book Think & Grow Rich, were developed after he interviewed more than 500 self-made millionaires, people like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. This is not a book on investing or starting a business like Rich Dad Poor Dad or Be Fearless. Instead, the focus is on identifying and overcoming the psychological barriers that prevent people from realizing their dreams and attaining their fortune.
Napoleon Hill was initially inspired by Andrew Carnegie who suggested he had a master power that explained his success. The master power was a psychological principle on which his personal success was made possible. Success is defined as anything a person wants – riches, prestige, power, influence, position, money or enormous wealth. Drawing upon the idea of a magic law of the human mind, Hill developed a Law of Success philosophy. The philosophy is explained in 13 steps with a chapter devoted to each step. Another book with a success philosophy of its own is Drive.
Achievement begins in the mind and not with actions, and that is the underlying principle of the whole book. You have to desire something so much that you refuse to allow anything to stand in your way. Failure is not allowed to be an option, in other words. The book Antifragile would argue that the way you deal with failures big and small is what makes the success possible.
Successful people do come across obstacles that interfere with their plans. The difference between successful people and those who give up is they keep their mind on what they want. Nothing deters them. This is the main point made in the book GRIT, and is driven home through many well researched examples.
The desire is not a simple wish for something. It is a driving desire backed by purpose. Following the principle of desire is the principle of faith or belief - that what is desired will be attained. The deep beliefis developed through daily affirmations to the subconscious.
The principle of auto-suggestion also addresses the subconscious. Auto-suggestion refers to using self-directed communication to channel the conscious thoughts to the subconscious to create positive and productive thought patterns. Something Chet Holmes was a huge advocate for in his book The Ultimate Sales Machine.
The following principles continue through a series of steps a person must take in order to reach the pinnacle of success. Some of them are developing the specialized knowledge related to your business or to attain goals, developing an organized practical plan that can be put into action, avoiding procrastination, reaching definite decisions that are not swayed by the opinions of others and being persistent in the face of obstacles. Hill advocates for organized planning to translate desire into goal achievement. There is an entire book dedicated to this called the Checklist Manifesto.
There are other principles that are not so obvious at first glance, but upon further reading also make sense. For example, one principle is called the “Power of the Master Mind: The Driving Force.” It advises forming a Master Mind group of people with different perspectives and strengths. The alliance of people brings economic, psychological and emotional benefits. We would call this networking today and there are endless resources to join: LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit, and more.
The other principles of personal achievement include learning to increase the mind’s receptiveness to sensory stimuli and recognizing and developing the subconscious mind as the link between Infinite Intelligence and the finite minds of people. The book Stumbling On Happiness has much more on the subconscious and what leads to success in life.
Hill even suggests that people take the energy and emotions of carnal desires and channel them into creative ones. The deep ideas in this book are a fascinating exploration of how people can use their minds to get what they want out of life. Another book to this end is Ready Fire Aim.
Despite its age, Think & Grow Rich remains very relevant. In fact, some of the principles are precisely what businesses are addressing today. For example, numerous research surveys have found that most successful businesses continuously innovate. To innovate, they need a workforce made up of people who are imaginative, creative and open to new ideas. One of Hill’s principles is “Imagination: The Workshop of the Mind.” The book Range is all about how creativity is not just important but necessary.
He distinguishes between synthetic imagination and creative imagination. Synthetic imagination involves taking old ideas, plans and concepts and rearranging them into new combinations. Creative imagination, driven by strong desire, picks up thought vibrations from other people and develops new ideas. The businesses with employees who have strong creative imagination are the most innovative today. The book Perfectly Confident talks about avoiding Rules of Thumb and considering new ideas in spectacular detail. This is also what the book Nudge refers to as the "Automatic System".
The 13th principle is “The Sixth Sense: The Door to the Temple of Wisdom.” This is the principle in which the creative imagination intersects with Infinite Intelligence. You must first master the first 12 principles to reach this apex of the Law of Success philosophy.
Today’s most successful entrepreneurs follow most of the principles of Think & Grow Rich, even if they did not read the book. The self-made millionaires hone their mental skills, persist through failure, have creative imagination, see opportunity that flows from the people around them and connect with others who have experienced success and created enormous wealth. It goes back to principle one in which there must first be a burning desire to achieve before achievement becomes reality. Certainly something Ilana Griffo would support in her book about growing your passion into a full time gig: Mind Your Business.
This book has been updated by Arthur R. Pell, Ph.D. to include anecdotes of how today’s millionaires and billionaires have achieved their wealth. However, reading the original book first is recommended because it is the words of the man who understood what makes a winner. Two other books to read about success and Definiteness of Purpose are The ONE Thing & Essentialism.
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
“Happiness is found in doing, not merely possessing.”
“A quitter never wins-and-a winner never quits.”
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
“Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say.”