“Think and Grow Rich”, by Napoleon Hill (first published in 1937)

It’s not a book about stock picking or market analysis. It’s a book that shows you the way to create massive wealth for yourself, in whichever profession or trade you choose for yourself. It is a book that was first written some 80 years ago, but its 13 key principles continue to resonate even today – such is the timelessness of its wisdom. “Think and Grow Rich” is indeed a must read for every financial advisor, every investor, every professional, every businessman – every individual who makes wealth creation his goal.

Setbacks toughened him

Napoleon Hill was the archetype of inspirational writers. He wrote many books and articles listing the steps individuals should take to achieve success in their own lives. Yet, his own life was a roller coaster ride which he rode with aplomb. Every time ‘Life’ knocked him off a hard-won and comfortable perch, and threw him a challenge, he clawed his way back. There was one time when depression nearly did him in. However, he fought back and came up with his immortal book ‘Think and Grow Rich’. Financially and professionally he never looked back.

Oliver Napoleon Hill was born in Virginia in 1883. The first setback of his life was when his mother passed away when he was just ten years old. The impressionable youngster went about packing a six-shooter gun, much to the annoyance of his neighbors. But then his father married again and his stepmother persuaded him to give up his gun for a typewriter. She encouraged him to use his hyperactive imagination and bubbling energy to become a writer. This became a huge game changer in young Hill’s life.

20 year project with no remuneration

He got his first job at age 15, as a freelance reporter for a group of rural newspapers. After a few years, he was hired by the Bob Taylor’s Magazine a periodical that focussed on advice for generating wealth and power. His big break came when he was asked to interview Andrew Carnegie, the steel tycoon and then the richest man in America. At the end of the interview, Carnegie suggested that what the world needed was a philosophy of wealth achievement. He wanted to distill the wisdom of the world’s richest businessmen and compile it into a set of principles. It was then he threw Hill a challenge. Carnegie offered to introduce Hill to all his millionaire friends, provided Hill worked on the project for twenty years without remuneration. Hill’s job was to record the experiences of all the successful businessmen he was introduced to. Hard up as he was, Hill jumped at this chance and accepted. Over the next several years he interviewed many rich persons and accumulated a wealth of material.

Pay-off after 20 years was a timeless classic

It was from this raw material that he wrote his 1937 bestseller ‘Think and Grow Rich’.In that book, he outlined thirteen points which, according to Hill, were crucial for achieving success in any field; not just in amassing wealth. According to personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi, “Mastering your money has more to do with psychology and mindset than anything else.” (Businessinsider Kathleen Elkins July 3, 2015). And mastering your mind is what these principles are about. Of course, you will pile up a lot of wealth along the way!

1. Desire: You have to want it – All achievers have dreamed of doing something big. Then they sat down and planned on how to achieve their dreams. According to Hill, “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.

2. Faith: Believe that you can achieve your goal – This is a key factor in reaching any target that is set. Becoming rich begins first with the right mindset. Says Hill, “riches begin in the form of thought! The amount is limited only by the person in whose mind the thought is put into motion. Faith removes limitations!” Self-made millionaire and author Steve Siebold writes, “Being rich isn’t a privilege. Being rich is a right. If you create massive value for others, you have the right to be as rich as you want.” (Businessinsider Kathleen Elkins July 3, 2015)

3. Auto-suggestion: Use affirmations to reach your goal – The next step is to bombard your subconscious mind with phrases that aid your goal. Perhaps even repeat out loud, so that the mind becomes attuned to achieving the established goals. Your ability to use the principle of autosuggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire, until that desire becomes a burning obsession.

4. Specialized knowledge: Gain experiences and continue learning – Knowledge confers great power. But it becomes potent only when it is organized and properly applied to life’s problems. Winners never stop learning and challenging their minds. “Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession. Those who are not successful usually make the mistake of believing that the knowledge-acquiring period ends when one finishes school,” writes Hill.

5. Imagination: Come up with ideas and visualize your success – “If you can imagine it, you can create it,” says Hill. “Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes. Ideas are products of the imagination. Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination. Don’t be afraid to come up with, and develop ideas. Whoever you are, wherever you may live, whatever occupation you may be engaged in, just remember in the future, every time you see the words ‘Coca-Cola,’ that its vast empire of wealth and influence grew out of a single idea,” Hill writes. (Businessinsider Kathleen Elkins July 3, 2015)

6. Organized planning: Take action – This is a crucial step. No amount of willpower, ideating, visualizing will help unless concrete actions are taken with enthusiasm and dogged persistence. According to Hill, “opportunity has spread its wares before you. Step up to the front, select what you want, create your plan, put the plan into action, and follow through with persistence. Most of us are good “starters” but poor “finishers” of everything we begin. Moreover, people are prone to give up at the first signs of defeat. There is no substitute for persistence.”

7. Decision: Defeat procrastination with decisiveness– A characteristic feature of successful people is decisiveness. These are people who know what they want and also get what they want. Writes Hill, “people who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often. Decisiveness is not just a trait of the wealthy, but one of the most important qualities a leader needs to possess. At the end of the day, making a bad decision is better than making no decision at all.”

8. Persistence: Don’t stop until you get what you want – This is a very important trait for success. “Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence, says Hill. The most successful people tend to have dealt with, and overcome failure. “I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed,” Mark Cuban told Smart Business. “You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.” (Businessinsider Kathleen Elkins July 3, 2015)

9. Power of the Master Mind: Surround yourself with the best – this is an important method to help you crystallize and check new ideas. Several intelligent and smart minds acting together is a very powerful force, and certainly much better than just one. No individual may have great power without availing himself of the “Master Mind”. A group of brains coordinated (or connected) in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought-energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery,” according to Hill. “Exposure to people who are more successful than you are has the potential to expand your thinking and catapult your income,” says self-made millionaire Steve Siebold. “We become like the people we associate with, and that’s why winners are attracted to winners.”

10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation: Choose a compatible partner– Hill writes, “Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times.” Having a supportive partner acts as a big benefit for career success.

11. The Subconscious Mind: Master positivity and dismiss negative emotions – For achieving success one must become obsessed with one’s goal. One must implant the desired goal and the plan to achieve it into the subconscious mind. There is no room for any negative thoughts. According to Hill, “the subconscious mind will not remain idle! If you fail to plant desires in your subconscious mind, it will feed upon the thought which reach it as the result of your neglect.Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. One or the other must dominate. It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind.”If you want to be successful and grow rich, it is critical that the positive emotions dominate any negative ones that arise,” Hill says. He was on to something. Today, research shows that positive, happier people are more likely to perform better at their jobs and are less likely to be unemployed.

12. The Brain: Associate with other smart people and learn from them – This rule is a further application of the Mastermind Principle. While surrounding oneself with smart people one must take care to pick their brains for good ideas. “Our brain is a “transmitter and receiver of thought vibrations” – it absorbs thoughts from other individuals surrounding us – making it even more important to associate with intelligent, creative, and positive individuals, says Hill. “Every human brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought which are being released by other brains. The Creative Imagination is the “receiving set” of the brain, which receives thoughts released by the brains of others. Hill calls this “blending of several minds into one,” and suggests sitting down with a small group of people and diving deep into the problem at hand.

13. The Sixth Sense: Trust your gut – This final step can be mastered only after you have imbibed the previous rules. This principle was included only because the book was designed to be a guide for a complete philosophy to help individual attain whatever they want in their lives. According to Hill, “You’ll experience a sort of mind-shift. Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impending dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.”

The practise of these rules will lead to a tectonic shift in your life. Embrace the above principles sincerely and your career will grow effortlessly.