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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.

Continuing with the review of Think and Grow Rich, today we’ll be exploring the fifth through the ninth Principles of Success.

Imagination (the fifth Principle of Success)

The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man. The impulse, the desire, is given shape, form, and action through the aid of the imaginative faculty of the mind.

While desire acts as the catalyst in starting the process of achieving one’s aim, it is imagination which takes desire’s thought and impulse and begins to bring it into physical form. We exercise our imaginations by mentally forming and shaping the plan that we will use as the blueprint to build our desire.

Organized Planning (the sixth Principle of Success)

In this chapter, Hill seems to take a small detour in the usual manner of his writing style and instead offers a series of practical career helps. For example he explains the attributes of an effective leader, common pitfalls of leadership to avoid, how one can draft a “written brief” — what we refer to today as a resume — as well as how to land the exact position of employment that you’re shooting for. He then seems to ramble on about thirty-one causes of failure and throws in twenty-eight self-analysis questions for a thorough “personal inventory.”

As I was reading this chapter, I failed to see the correlation between “organized planning” and all this talk about leadership, resumes, job hunting skills, causes of failure on top of taking personal inventories. It all seemed to be haphazardly bundled together. At the end of the chapter, as I was struggling to make it through, I almost laughed when Hill finally attempts to bring some clarity to his descriptive mud:

In this chapter will be found an adequate description of every principle essential in planning the sale of personal services, including the major attributes of leadership; the most common causes of failure in leadership; a description of the fields of opportunity for leadership; the main causes of failure in all walks of life, and the important questions which should be used in self-analysis.

…This might have proved more helpful in the beginning of this chapter. ;)

Decision (the seventh Principle of Success)

Hill references an interesting study which took 25,000 men and women who have experienced failure, and discovered that one of the most common reasons they failed was their inability to decide.

In a related analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well beyond the million-dollar mark, they realized that “every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and of changing these decisions slowly, if, and when they were changed.” Compare this with those who fail to accumulate money, tend to, without exception, reach decisions very slowly and change these decisions quickly and often.

Those who fail to succeed in life are, according to Hill, easily influenced by the opinions of others. If you are constantly worried about what someone else might think or feel about you, you will never succeed in any undertaking.

Hill offers this pearl of wisdom, “Keep your own counsel…by reaching your own decisions and following them.”

Persistence (the eighth Principle of Success)

If desire is what supplies the fuel, and imagination the plan, then it is dogged persistence that allows the plan to be carried out until success is achieved.

It seems that most people are ready to throw their dreams away at the first sign of opposition. In the end, it is the few who manage to carry on despite all opposition, until they achieve their goal. Besides not being able to come to a decision, lack of persistence is one of the other major causes for failure. In the words of Napoleon Hill,

Sometimes it appears that there is a hidden Guide whose duty is to test men through all sorts of discouraging experiences…The hidden Guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the persistence test. Those who can’t take it simply do not make the grade.

Hill offers these four steps to develop persistence:

  1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.
  2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
  3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.
  4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.

Power of the Master Mind (the ninth Principle of Success)

“Power is essential for success in the accumulation of money.”

When I first read this, I was thinking in terms of power being the possession of control over others. If that’s what is required to accumulate wealth, I don’t want any part of that.

What Hill is actually referring to is “organized and intelligently directed knowledge.” This sounds a lot to me like wisdom. And there is no better way to intelligently direct knowledge than through working in concert with others on a common goal. Finding those special people to work with is what Hill calls assembling one’s “Master Mind.”

The Master Mind is the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” Stephen Covey would be proud, because this is exactly what he refers to as interdependence.

When we work together with others on a common goal, there is an enhanced ability that develops which is collectively greater than the sum of the abilities of each individual person. “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” This is the Master Mind principle in a nutshell and the basis of synergy.

If you look at any person who has accumulated a great amount of wealth, you may notice, as Hill did, that they have consciously or unconsciously employed the principle of the “Master Mind.”

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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