Can you really think your way to wealth and success? After over twenty years of extensive study of many of America’s magnates of industry, Napoleon Hill concluded that within the power of the mind lies the “secret” to wealth, happiness, and success. In 1937, he published his findings in one of the first of its kind, a philosophical, self-help book titled, Think and Grow Rich. In it, he outlines 13 key principles gleaned from his study of successful individuals, which if consistently applied, could bring success to the common man.
Hill uses entertaining and inspiring real-life accounts throughout the book to demonstrate the effectiveness of the various principles. Most, if not all of the principles espoused by Hill have stood the test of time and in the past few years there has been something of a renaissance of his ideas in modern forms. Some of these include: The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. As I read the book, I recognized what I consider to be absolute, or eternal truths.
Timeless principles such as, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he:” (Proverbs 23:7) and President David O. McKay’s wisdom, “We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny. ” These principles translate to Hill’s, “TRULY, ‘thoughts are things,’ and powerful things at that, but when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence and a BURNING DESIRE for their translation into riches, or other material objects. (p. 9)
While Hill focuses these principles on the attaining of material success; many can be applied to other measurements of success such as spiritual and philanthropic pursuits. Recognizing these truths is part of the “secret” Hill refers to that one can find in each chapter of the book. While the book contains principles and philosophies, it also outlines specific steps one needs take on the journey to wealth. This journey begins with desire and six important steps to implant it within your mind.
Building on desire you exercise faith (much like Alma taught in the Book of Mormon). Along the way you will utilize various techniques that build-on and reinforce your desires and beliefs such as: autosuggestion, positive influence on the subconscious mind, accessing creativity through intuition, blocking fears and negativity, and visualization. Key elements needed along the path are: specialized knowledge, imagination, organized planning, decision making, and persistence. Additional power is gained through associations with other positive, like-minded individuals.
Modern thinkers now identify this as synergy. While | recognized many truths in the book, there were some elements that brought out some skepticism in me. One of these dealt with what Hill calls sex transmutation. He describes this as, “converting sexual energy into creative energy. ” (p. 161) My feeling is that intimate relations with your spouse are beautiful and sacred and need not be curtailed in the pursuit of the material. Another is the way Hill describes what I would call God as, “the Universal Mind” (p. 193) and “Infinite Intelligence. ” (p. 93)
Recognizing a higher power can be an important step to developing faith in our Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ. However, if attaining a connection to the higher power is just a step towards materialism and secular humanism then it can and will halt or slow ones spiritual progression. If one were to just read the title and conclude that they could think their way to a life of luxury; they would probably not be the type that would not have the desire or determination to read the book in its entirety, let alone put into practice the principles taught.
I truly believe that with a firm gospel foundation and an understanding of the admonition of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, “But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. ” (Jacob 2:18), those who follow correct principles of work, honesty, and integrity can also be highly successful in business and career. I believe our Father in Heaven created us in his image and likeness. This includes his attributes and abilities, even though ours are less experienced and developed.
Part of this mortal experience involves developing and mastering our bodies, minds, and spirits. As we learn our capacities and capabilities, we grow to direct and control them to be more in line with the Fathers will. The true principles in Think and Grow Rich, if correctly applied, can be a blessing to me, my family, and all within my sphere of influence. They can be used to improve a person’s place in the world, to create innovation and opportunity, to build character, and greatest of all, bring glory to the Creator of all and build up His kingdom on the earth.