“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” This is the Profound law that provides the means to achieve our own desires in life according to Napolean Hill. This saying can sound like a quick fix for hard work and success. However I don’t believe this way of thinking is supposed to be coupled with laziness but rather a right mind mixed with hard work can truly help one achieve all kinds of success in life, not just financial success.
So who is Napolean Hill anyways? He was born in America in 1883 into a life of poverty. However he didn’t let poverty define him, he worked hard and eventually became an attorney and journalist. Napolean was asked to interview Andrew Carnegie (a wealthy steel magnate) on his success. As a result of their interactions, Andrew Carnegie got Napolean Hill to interview over 500 millionaires in order to find a formula to their success and over a 20 year period this research resulted in the book “Think and Grow Rich.” This book, “Think and Grow Rich” is considered one of the most influential and popular personal growth and finance books out there. Napolean’s book contains 16 lessons for success.
Recently I came across a video on youtube where Napolean Hill himself recorded his lessons on video for “Think and Grow Rich.” I must admit I have not read the book so I’m not sure how much the 17 principles for success provided in the video differs from the 16 lessons provided in the book. If there are differences, it might just simply be in the set up and delivery as opposed to the overarching ideals being conveyed.
The information I gleaned from the videos were pretty fascinating so I am writing a two part post sharing some of the lessons I have learned. This first post focuses on the overall idea behind “Think and Grow Rich.” The idea centres around one’s ability to control and direct their mind which is the first of the 17 principles vocalized in this video.
Below, I have written out the majority of what Napolean Hill has said for the first 6 minutes in this movie version of “Think and Grow Rich”.
First- Control and Direct your Mind
“Let me call your attention to a great power which is under your control. A power which is greater than poverty, greater than the lack of education, greater than all of your fears and superstitions combined. It is the power to take possession of your own mind and direct it to whatever ends you may desire.
When you speak of your poverty and lack of education you are simply directing your mind power to attract these undesirable circumstances because it is true that whatever your mind feeds upon your mind attracts to you. Now you see why it is important that you recognize that all success begins with definiteness of purpose with a clear picture in your mind of precisely what you want from life.
Everyone comes to the earth plain blessed with the privilege of controlling his mind power and directing it to whatever ends he may choose. But everyone brings over with him at birth the equivalent of two sealed envelopes. One of which is clearly labeled the riches you may enjoy if you take possession of your own mind and direct it to ends of your own choice. The other is labeled the penalties you must pay if you neglect to take possession of your mind and direct it. And now let me reveal to you the contents of those two sealed envelopes. In the one labeled riches is this list of blessings
- Sound health
- Peace of mind
- A labour of love of your own choice
- Freedom from fear and worry
- A positive mental attitude
- Material riches of your own choice and quantity
In the sealed envelope labeled penalties is this list of the prices one must pay for neglecting to take possession of his own mind.
- Ill health
- Fear and worry
- Indecision and doubt
- Frustration and discouragement throughout life
- Poverty and want
- A whole flock of evils consisting of envy, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred, and superstition
Now my mission in life is to help you and everyone who needs my help to open up and use the contents of the sealed envelope labelled riches. And the starting point from which you must take off if you wish to write your own ticket from here on out, for the remainder of your life, I will describe for you in these simple instructions.
- Procure a neat pocket sized notebook and on page one write down a clear description of your major desire in life. The one circumstance or position or thing which you will be willing to accept as your idea of success and remember before you begin writing that your only limitations are those which you set up in your own mind or permit others to set up for you.
- On page two of your notebook write down a clear statement of precisely what you intend to give in return for that which you desire from life. Then start in right where you stand now to begin giving.
- Memorize both of your statements. What you desire and what you intend to give in return for it and repeat them at least a dozen times daily. And always end your statements with this expression of gratitude, for the blessings with which you were gifted at birth. ‘I ask not O Divine Providence, for more riches but more wisdom with which to accept and use wisely the riches I received at birth in the form of the power to control and direct my mind to whatever ends I desire.’ If you are not too successful or self satisfied to accept and express this profound prayer, if you accept and express it in the same spirit of humble sincerity in which I pass it on to you and you and the better world will reveal itself to you. A world in which you will see reflected the circumstances and the things in which you yourself have created.”*
*Ideas from this riveting video on youtube, in which I have written out most of the first 6 minutes of the dialogue you will encounter if you watch this video. The first part repeats twice and then continues on to the second point around 17 minutes in.
My take away
Now the video quality is pretty shabby and the audio is horrible but the information was well worth the 2 hours. I watched the video several times in order to take as many notes as I found worthwhile. I will share those notes on the remaining 16 principles in my second post on this youtube video.
My thoughts so far on the first point provided by Mr. Hill are those of intrigue, surprise, confusion and enlightenment. I’m a hard worker and have always put a lot of value on a person’s actions. I always felt that if you work hard you’ll be successful. That is true but if you couple that with a sound mind, a positive mind and a mind that is clearly deciding what it wants in life, that’s a combination for immense success. Napolean doesn’t just tell people to think about becoming successful and it will happen. The suggestion where he tells you to write down what you’re willing to give in return for what you want out of life clearly highlights that Napolean agrees that you have to work for what you want. Time, money, pleasures and free time are factors that you might have to give in return for the goal that you have set your mind to achieving.
Action without a proper plan or an attitude that will keep you going during the difficult times will not take you very far. However if you take the time to:
A) Believe in yourself and not be bogged down by your outward limitations such as location or current financial status
B) Really consider what true success means to you and be willing to acknowledge that it will take time, effort and sacrifices to achieve it
C) Be consistent and purposeful about your goals and efforts you’re going to take to achieve such goals
D) Be grateful, positive and unwilling to accept defeat
You will see eventual success. It may not be attained within the first set time frame, it may come with some setbacks and it may look like failure at first. But if you truly believe in your desires and goals, accept that you are responsible for taking control of your life and get to working on what you want, you can “think and grow rich.” And a quick note for the naysayers and money haters, rich doesn’t always have to be financial gains only, it can mean different things to different people. Regardless, you can become “rich” if you believe and then set out to work and achieve.
I have not followed Napoleans advice on writing down the goals and actions and memorizing them as yet because I’m honestly still searching within myself to figure out what purpose in life would I be willing to go all in for. I don’t think it will necessarily involve making a lot of money but Napolean’s advice has made me more aware of what I value and perhaps what direction I want to take in life.
I hope you’ll come back for part 2 when I share the other 16 principles. I also hope this post helps you to take control of your mind, really consider what you want out of life, set your mind to achieve those desires and get to working like you’ve never worked before.