The Book That Started It All: Think and Grow Rich
Back in the first part of the 80’s I was a student at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Although not a good student, I knew that I had always wanted to do better in life than how I had grown up. For me, growing up was tough. It is your typical story of a divorced family with a mother on government assistance. Never enough food to eat, lack of guidance, and certainly a lack of money for anything beyond existing.
For some reason I was drawn to a different lifestyle and found myself hanging around people from the “other” side of town who had everything I did not. This experience provided me insight into the possibilities that life could offer. I just didn’t have the right direction, at least yet, on how to escape from where I was at. That was until I had the opportunity to do some house sitting in Corpus Christi, Texas. I mean who wouldn’t want to get away from the doldrums of Des Moines and soak up some sun and fun in Corpus. I know I wanted to.
In the summer of 1982 I headed south in my Datsun Honey Bee (bright yellow with a racing stripe and a picture of a bee on the hood - far from a sports car) and landed in Corpus to house sit in a beautiful neighborhood while the owner was on a tour with the Navy. After a few months of getting to know the lay of the land I found myself about a mile from the house on foot (have no idea why now), and started to hitchhike. After only a few minutes a guy about my age (he happened to live only a couple of blocks from me) offered me a ride and asked if I wanted to party. Of course I did…I was in college! When we got to his house I was in complete shock: there were at least 20 grocery sacks full of Thai Stick (pot for those of you not in the know) sitting around the living room. Apparently Bob (not his real name) had a successful mail order business selling cannabis across the country. This business would also be the same one that would create some legal problems for Bob and force him to move out of the country. But that is another story.
While indulging in some refreshments, yeah, refreshments thats what they were, I met Bob’s roommate who we will call Ted. He was in a very comfortable state laying on the couch and began to converse with me. It is important to note in this part of the story that what he was about to discuss with me would forever change my life - literally change my life. Ted had asked if I had ever read a book called “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill? Not being much of a reader outside of college books at the time (even that statement is a stretch at this point in time) I responded I had not. What I didn’t realize is that Ted was about to open a whole new world of opportunity for me with this simple statement. His commentary was enough to inspire me to go out and buy my first paper back of the book and begin my journey into the world of self improvement.
Think and Grow Rich was my guidebook to making my life better. The content just resonated with me and gave me hope that I could attain my goals in life with some of the proven principals outlined in the chapters. Below are some of the lessons that I have used as guiding examples in my life. To me, these are some of the key driving principals in a person’s road to success.
By picturing your goals, objectives, and actions of achieving, a person conditions the brain to think in terms of being successful. It would be the same as if one were to dwell on thoughts of failure; only you can decide on which thoughts to focus on. As Earl Nightingale explained: “you become what you think.” Put time and effort into thinking about the person you wish to become.
The key to fueling autosuggestion is having a “burning hot desire”, as Napolean puts it, to achieve your goal. You must believe in what you are trying to accomplish with all of the passion that you can put behind the idea. This will help you push through when things leak bleak and are tough.
Having faith in yourself and your abilities is necessary in moving across the goal line. This will eliminate the negative emotion of being critical on yourself. There is no room for thoughts that will drain your energy away from your main purpose: believing that you can live your dream.
This is probably my favorite topic of the entire book. Successful people need to surround themselves with other like-minded individuals who can provide counsel. I myself have a group of 5-6 individuals around the country that I call upon for advice on decisions or actions that I need input on. The key is to find individuals that offer different skill sets so that you can tap into various perspectives.
Let’s face it, if you don’t know where you are going and how you are going to get there, then the probability of you getting there may be slim. Make sure you take time to outline a plan of how you will achieve your goals. I usually take a couple of days before the new year to sketch out the skills, actions, and resources I will need to reach my goals for the year. These will be used to build over the years for my larger goals. I also do some refining throughout the year as I see fit.
I could go on and on about the gems found in this book, but find myself running out of time for this blog. One of my departing suggestions would be to check out the modern version of Think and Grow Rich. Brian Tracy has authored an excellent, and modern version of T&GR in his book “Flight Plan”. I highly recommend both books for your self improvement library.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I do look forward to seeing you on upcoming ones.