This week, Life Training Online is reviewing Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, the ninth of fifty-two books in the 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks series.

As you begin reading, you’ll notice that the author uses language that sounds as if it were written early in the last century (that’s because it was), but despite that, it remains very easy to follow — partly because he uses a lot of repetition and overlap throughout the book. However, unlike The Millionaire Course’s distracting regurgitation, I found this repetition to be helpful in truly grasping the points that Hill sets forth. So enough with the intro, let’s get going…

Thoughts are Things

I wonder how much the authors of The Secret ended up taking from Think and Grow Rich. This first chapter is basically a summary of the Law of Attraction. There’s no doubt that Hill understood “the Secret.” Here are some of the quotes:

Success comes to those who become success conscious. Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to become failure conscious.

[Our] brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by means with which no man is familiar, these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.

Sound familiar?

Desire (the 1st Principle of Success)

In order to achieve any kind of success, desire is the first step. Hill is not talking about a mere wish or even a hope — these will never produce the needed energy required to achieve success.

For example, wishing doesn’t bring riches. It’s only when you desire riches with a state of mind that borders on obsession that you will ever come up with the plans and means to acquire those riches. And what’s more, you must be able to back those plans with the kind of persistence which doesn’t recognize failure.

Here are the six steps that will “turn your desires into gold”:

  1. Decide exactly how much money you desire to have
  2. Decide exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire.
  3. Decide when (an exact date) you intend to have this money.
  4. Create a specific plan for carrying out your desire and immediately begin putting this plan into action.
  5. Put all the previous four steps into one statement
  6. Read your statement aloud, twice a day (once before going to bed and once when you wake up). As you read it — see, feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.

According to Hill, it all comes down to being ready to receive what it is that you want. If you merely wish for something, you are not ready. Belief, plus a burning desire will cause you to be ready to receive.

Faith (the 2nd Principle of Success)

Faith can be defined as “knowing” something is true without having clear physical evidence of its existence. According to Hill, faith is an emotion which you can increase and develop through autosuggestion — the repeating of affirmations which take root in the subconscious mind. The more these impulses of thoughts are repeated, the more they influence and finally become accepted by the mind which eventually translates into its physical equivalent. To support his point, Hill quotes a famous criminologist:

When men first come into contact with crime, they abhor it. If they remain in contact with crime for a time, they become accustomed to it, and endure it. If they remain in contact with it long enough, they finally embrace it, and become influenced by it.

By learning to take your thoughts and adding to them strong emotion, mixed with faith, those thoughts will immediately begin to translate themselves to their physical counterparts.

Autosuggestion (the 3rd Principle of Success)

Autosuggestion is none other than the choice to communicate from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. Hill uses the example of your mind being likened to a fertile plot of land. If left unto itself, the weeds of negative thought will grow in abundance. However, we all have the ability and agency to determine what types of “thought seeds” — be they productive or invasive — enter into our minds. Autosuggestion is the tool whereby you can specifically plant those seeds of thought which grow into positive outcomes and eventual success.

The technique of autosuggestion is none other than reading aloud — with emotion and visualizing having it already in your posession — the statement you came up with in the section on Desire. Hill warns that if you just read the words, without emotion, they will not have enough power to manifest anything in your physical life. Your subconscious mind only acts upon and recognizes thoughts which are backed by strong emotion. This is the primary reason people fail to get results when they apply the principle of autosuggestion.

Specialized Knowledge (the 4th Principle of Success)

There are two types of knowledge — one general and the other is specialized. General knowledge is what we consider today to be a liberal-arts education. Hill claims that “no matter how great in quantity of variety it may be, [general knowledge] is of but little use in the accumulation of money.” Instead we should seek out specialized knowledge.

For a book that was written in the 1920s, the importance of specialized knowledge is probably more relevant today. It’s the engineers in their specific fields, the doctors with specialized skills, and the tradesmen with distinct talents that command not only a high demand but high salaries as well. Gone are the days of succeeding in employment with general knowledge. What the work force requires is expertise and if you want to move up within your chosen field, then you must specialize.

Think and Grow Rich is the ninth of fifty-two books in Life Training – Online’s series 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks.

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