Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill became a publishing sensation over eighty years ago and is still one of the all time best sellers in self development to this day. It should be studied by everyone that wants to become more successful in life. However, today I want to focus on the secret contained in the book.
Napoleon Hill clearly stated that the secret is mentioned at least once in each chapter of Think and Grow Rich and we can only discover it when we are ready for it.
If you are not ready for it, even if somebody tells you the secret, you will simply ignore it, perhaps dismiss it as too simple or too good to be true.
Indeed, each chapter has plenty of mentions of the secret. In fact, we only need to look into the first two chapters in order to get a clear view of the secret.
We will first look at some passages from the original 1937 edition of Think and Grow Rich, in order to get a better understanding.
I will then direct your attention to the most practical formula that is contained in chapter 2, which will allow you to make the magic happen.
In the Author’s Preface to the original 1937 edition of Think and Grow Rich we read (with words capitalized as per the original text):
“The secret to which I refer has been mentioned no fewer than a hundred times, throughout this book. It has not been directly named, for it seems to work more successfully when it is merely uncovered and left in sight, where THOSE WHO ARE READY, and SEARCHING FOR IT, may pick it up. That is why Mr. Carnegie tossed it to me so quietly, without giving me its specific name.”
Then, a few paragraphs later, Hill follows with a big promise:
“A peculiar thing about this secret is that those who once acquire it and use it, find themselves literally swept on to success, with but little effort, and they never again submit to failure!”
“The secret to which I refer cannot be had without a price, although the price is far less than its value. It cannot be had at any price by those who are not intentionally searching for it. It cannot be given away, it cannot be purchased for money, for the reason that it comes in two parts. One part is already in possession of those who are ready for it.”
The secret comes in two parts and, according to the author, if you are ready for it you already possess the first part.
I strongly believe what Napoleon Hill is talking about here is an idea. This is the first part of the secret.
This will become clearer in a minute. But for now, Hill assures us that:
“I have never known anyone who was inspired to use the secret, who did not achieve noteworthy success in his chosen calling. I have never known any person to distinguish himself, or to accumulate riches of any consequence, without possession of the secret.”
Let’s remember that Napoleon Hill, up to that point, spent more than 20 years studying and analyzing more that 500 successful men and women, as well as several thousand of people that have not been very successful. Therefore his statement above should not be taken lightly.
The secret in Think and Grow Rich consists of two halves
The Think and Grow Rich secret consists of two parts.
In the last paragraph of the preface we get a confirmation what the first part of the secret is:
“As a final word of preparation, before you begin the first chapter, may I offer one brief suggestion which may provide a clue by which the Carnegie secret may be recognized? It is this — ALL ACHIEVEMENT, ALL EARNED RICHES, HAVE THEIR BEGINNING IN AN IDEA! If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it, therefore, you will readily recognize the other half the moment it reaches your mind.”
An idea is the first part of the secret. It’s actually the first half of the secret, to be more precise. Although Hill did not name the secret explicitly, he has named both halves and made it very easy for us. We will come to the second part of the secret shortly.
The last paragraph quoted above was the last paragraph of the preface. The very next paragraph, which is the first paragraph of the first chapter states very clearly that:
“TRULY, “thoughts are things,” and powerful things at that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a BURNING DESIRE for their translation into riches, or other material objects.”
Do you think this was a coincidence that those paragraphs closely follow each other (with only a chapter title between them)? I’m sure it was deliberate on the part of the author. By the time we reached the first paragraph of the first chapter, we have been already given both halves of the secret. It’s almost as though Hill wanted to tell us that the secret is hiding in plain sight.
Yes, a desire is the second half of the secret. Not just any desire. It’s got to be a burning desire, according to the author. He emphasizes it by capitalizing the phrase, so there is no doubt in the reader’s mind. Observe also that the word idea has also been capitalized in the previous paragraph.
If you just had a light bulb moment reading this, then you ARE ready for the secret as conveyed to us by Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill. (Andrew Carnegie was Hill’s mentor and the richest man in The United States at the time.)
Now, let’s look what is in the next chapter. The second chapter is called… desire. How about that?
Here Napoleon Hill explains that
“Every human being who reaches the age of understanding of the purpose of money, wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”
Think and Grow Rich 6 steps template for achieving any goal
Hill graces us in the second chapter with a definite six step template for turning a desire into reality. The steps that follow are exactly as they appeared in the 1937 edition of Think and Grow Rich:
“The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, viz:
First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want plenty of money.” Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological reason for definiteness which will be described in a subsequent chapter).
Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.)
Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ—SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.
It is important that you follow the instructions described in these six steps. It is especially important that you observe, and follow the instructions in the sixth paragraph. You may complain that it is impossible for you to “see yourself in possession of money” before you actually have it. Here is where a BURNING DESIRE will come to your aid. If you truly DESIRE money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want money, and to become so determined to have it that you CONVINCE yourself you will have it.
Only those who become “money conscious” ever accumulate great riches. “Money consciousness” means that the mind has become so thoroughly saturated with the DESIRE for money, that one can see one’s self already in possession of it.”
So, clearly he talks about burning desire again. But notice something else: We must actually “see and feel and believe” ourselves already in the possession of our goal (whether it’s money, or something else).
Hill then continues:
“To the uninitiated, who has not been schooled in the working principles of the human mind, these instructions may appear impractical. It may be helpful, to all who fail to recognize the soundness of the six steps, to know that the information they convey, was received from Andrew Carnegie, who began as an ordinary laborer in the steel mills, but managed, despite his humble beginning, to make these principles yield him a fortune of considerably more than one hundred million dollars.
It may be of further help to know that the six steps here recommended were carefully scrutinized by the late Thomas A. Edison, who placed his stamp of approval upon them as being, not only the steps essential for the accumulation of money, but necessary for the attainment of any definite goal.”
This six step formula can be used for attainment of any goal, not just money, as confirmed by Edison – the greatest inventor America has ever seen and one of the greatest inventors of all time.
Hill assures us that
“The steps call for no “hard labor.” They call for no sacrifice. They do not require one to become ridiculous, or credulous. To apply them calls for no great amount of education. But the successful application of these six steps does call for sufficient imagination to enable one to see, and to understand, that accumulation of money cannot be left to chance, good fortune, and luck.”
“You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches in great quantities, UNLESS you can work yourself into a white heat of DESIRE for money, and actually BELIEVE you will possess it.”
Some people get fascinated by the above formula, but do nothing with it. Others shrug it off in disbelief (it couldn’t be that simple). Yet others (a very small group), quietly apply the formula (or a formula like it) in their daily lives and attain goals perceived by the masses to be unattainable.
Hill said quite clearly that the sixth step is the most important one. You must mentally SEE yourself there, you must FEEL yourself there, and you must put yourself in that mental state often. He also stated in many places that you must back up your goal, with burning desire, with a feeling, with emotion. Otherwise it’s not going to do you any good.
The feeling, the emotion, is also the reason why some people argue that positive thinking works like magic while others say it it doesn’t work at all. For the positive thinking to work, the thoughts must be backed up with feeling and emotion.
If it was all just a matter of thoughts alone, we would all be successful, rich and happy. However, our thoughts become powerful only when backed up by feelings and emotions. Desire is such an emotion. And so is belief. Perhaps positive thinking should really be called positive feeling, but that’s a topic for another day…
In the chapter called Faith, Napoleon Hill states that even if you repeat a lie to yourself over and over again, over time you will start believing it.
“It is a well known fact that one comes, finally, to BELIEVE whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement be true or false. If a man repeats a lie over and over, he will eventually accept the lie as truth. Moreover, he will BELIEVE it to be the truth. Every man is what he is, because of the DOMINATING THOUGHTS which he permits to occupy his mind.”
The last sentence above is not to be taken lightly. The thoughts that the majority of us allow to occupy our mind most of the time are thoughts of lack, limitation, fear. No wonder most people do not feel like they are wildly successful in this experience called life.
To overcome this state of mind is very simple (but no necessarily easy, because of our natural propensity to focus on doom and gloom). Napoleon Hill gives this advice:
“Thoughts which a man deliberately places in his own mind, and encourages with sympathy, and with which he mixes any one or more of the emotions, constitute the motivating forces, which direct and control his every movement, act, and deed!
Comes, now, a very significant statement of truth:
THOUGHTS WHICH ARE MIXED WITH ANY OF THE FEELINGS OF EMOTIONS, CONSTITUTE A “MAGNETIC” FORCE WHICH ATTRACTS, FROM THE VIBRATIONS OF THE ETHER, OTHER SIMILAR, OR RELATED THOUGHTS. A thought thus “magnetized” with emotion may be compared to a seed which, when planted in fertile soil, germinates, grows, and multiplies itself over and over again, until that which was originally one small seed, becomes countless millions of seeds of the SAME BRAND!”
Hill also explains further why the six step formula can work so well:
“Now, let us go back to the starting point, and become informed as to how the original seed of an idea, plan, or purpose may be planted in the mind. The information is easily conveyed: any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought. This is why you are asked to write out a statement of your major purpose, or Definite Chief Aim, commit it to memory, and repeat it, in audible words, day after day, until these vibrations of sound have reached your subconscious mind.
We are what we are, because of the vibrations of thought which we pick up and register, through the stimuli of our daily environment.”
Even if you never practiced the six steps as laid out by Napoleon Hill in this classic book, I’m sure you can recall times in your life where you practiced the most important part of the formula. And that is to “feel and believe yourself already in possession of” your goal. Just recall any significant achievement in your life up to this point and it’s likely, almost certain, that there was a good deal of “feeling, seeing, and believing yourself already there” involved in the process. I know I did that in the most significant points of my life.
But what about the other important Think and Grow Rich principles? What about mastermind, sex transmutation, specialized knowledge and other principles discussed in the book?
They are all important topics to explore of course. All can play their part in achieving success. However, I personally believe that, unless we have a concrete idea and back it up with a burning desire (and other positive feelings and emotions), these other topics will be of little use to us.
So, where to from here?
There are many ways you can now make the six steps a deliberate practice in your life. You could start with a very modest goal, something relatively easy to get, and practice this formula as your sixty or ninety day challenge. This might be particularly useful if you are still skeptical that it actually works. Or you can right away start using it to achieve the biggest, most significant goal you have. It’s entirely up to you.
However, only work on one goal at a time, keep focused.
Most importantly, don’t make a mistake of relegating this great technology to the bottom drawer of you desk, not to be seen again. Don’t waste it. Don’t ignore it. It helped countless others to become wildly successful in their endeavors and it can also help you and me and anyone that is willing to put it into practice. Put it to good use, starting today.
As Napoleon Hill said, the steps don’t require hard work or education. You just need to use the steps consistently.
Don’t dwell on “what is” and use that as an excuse for your current lot in life. Focus on “where you want to be” and practice the six steps diligently every day. The Law of Attraction will bring into your life that on which you put constant attention on.
Until next time.