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What’s the Secret in ‘Think & Grow Rich?’

If you’ve ever read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” you know that he repeatedly alludes to “the secret” without ever stating exactly what the secret is.

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A quick aside here – I wonder if his book would still be popular to this day if he had simply STATED the secret, rather than leaving it a bit of a mystery? I don’t think so.

Some have said the secret is to, “Conceive it, believe it and then achieve it.” That is, you need to decide what you want, believe with all your heart that you can and WILL achieve it, and then take the action necessary to make it happen.

Others have said the secret lies in Chapter 2, where even Napoleon’s own son said he was able to identify the secret. That chapter is about “Desire: The Starting Point Of All Achievement.”

Chapter 2 reads, “The method by which desire for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent consists of six definite, practical steps…”

“First. Be definite as to the amount.” Desiring a lot of money or to be rich won’t work. Making a goal of $5,000 a month in income will.

“Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire.” You don’t get something for nothing – if you did, you could simply make a wish and your desire would appear. You’ll need to exchange your efforts for the money you desire, so what is it you can do? How can you give tremendous value to others?

“Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.” Never underestimate the power of a deadline, or the need to be accountable to someone. Tell the person you least want to disappoint of your deadline, and be sure they hold you to it.

“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.” Decide what you’re going to do, and then just do it. Don’t wait – procrastination leads to excuses which leads to more procrastination. Begin immediately.

“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.” You’ve heard this before – Write it down. Make it concrete. Make it REAL.

“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.” Twice a day? I would suggest several times a day. Keep your goal right in front of you so that it’s on your mind always, like a mantra. It should be the last thing you think about as you fall asleep, the first thing you think of upon waking, and your predominant thought throughout the day. As you think about it, BELIEVE it is already done – you are simply going through the formalities.


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You’ll notice that these 6 steps assume one thing – that you will take ACTION and do whatever it is you need to do to make it happen.

Six steps, plus action.

If we were to boil this down to its essence, what would it be?

Conceive it
Believe it
Achieve it

And there you have it – Napoleon Hill’s secret to Thinking and Growing Rich.

Famous sales person Ben Gay tells the story of being on an ocean going fishing boat with a very successful friend. His friend hooked a whopper of a fish on his line. The crew went crazy with someone shouting out “slow down, speed up, hard to port, etc.” Crew members were running around doing whatever they do and the entire boat had a feeling of total chaos while his friend was working on landing this fish.

But his friend was as calm as could be. When Ben asked his friend how he could stay so calm amid all this frenzy, his friend replied, “While the fish and the crew don’t know the outcome of this struggle, I do.”

His friend had already conceived and believed he would catch a giant fish. All that was left was to calmly and serenely land him.

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Source: hbio

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