Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" is one of the most influential self-help books of all time. The book, which is based on the teachings of Andrew Carnegie, teaches its readers the secrets of the wealth-building mindset. The book's main idea, that success starts with your mental attitude, has influenced countless self-help writers throughout the years.
The first few chapters in "Think and Grow Rich" deal with desire. In these chapters, Hill talks about the importance of clearly defining what you want and what you don't want. Hill says that most successful people have clear goals in mind, and that the best goals are those that are measurable or tangible, such as a gold medal or $5 million. In these chapters, Hill introduces the idea that "thoughts are things," the Carnegie-inspired ethos that ideas can be wealth-building assets.
Training the Mind
The middle chapters of "Think and Grow Rich" describe various strategies for training the mind and influencing the subconscious to work toward obtaining goals. Hill recommends using "autosuggestion" to get yourself focused on your plan. He also advocates building up reservoirs of specialized knowledge to increase your business competence. The greatest emphasis, however, is placed on imagination, because this ability allows us to come up with wealth-building plans. Hill recommends brainstorming and note-taking for people who are not overly imaginative by nature.
According to Hill, once you have visualized your goal and made a plan, you need to start taking action. The actions taken on the path toward success are frequently repetitive and sometimes emotionally stressful, so success involves installing the habit of disciplining yourself to behave consistently. Hill advocates writing specific plans that include actions to be taken every day. He then advocates making a conscious decisions every day to carry out that day's plan, whether or not you feel like it. Over time, this builds self-discipline.
Dealing with Emotions
The road to success is not an easy one. Invariably, there are setbacks along the way. The final chapters of "Think and Grow Rich" describe strategies for dealing with negative emotions resulting from setbacks. Hill says that indecision, doubt and fear are the most destructive feelings, because they can lead us off of even the smartest and best-laid path. Hill says that while most emotions are healthy, the feeling of fear only hurts us, and that we should eradicate it by thinking positively and focusing on the process of success rather than the outcome.
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