Whatever your mind can conceive and believe it can achieve. – Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is probably the definition of a timeless book. Published in 1937, by Napoleon Hill, even 80 years after being published, it remains on the must-read list of most leadership and personal finance gurus. The book was commissioned by the business magnate Andrew Carnegie who asked Hill to interview 500 millionaires and derive a success formula from their history which could be used by a common person.

Personally, I managed to read the book in my second attempt as the language can take some getting used to. There were a lot of instances where I tended to get lost or where the book veered off into the route of extreme spirituality. However, on reading, I realised there were quite a few valuable lessons.

So, I distilled out those lessons from the book and decided to put them down here:

You need to be specific in your thoughts

Imagine you are on a journey but you have no idea where you want to go. Even if you have a vague clue, you don’t know the specific location of your destination. What will you end up doing? You would either be meandering around in circles or end up somewhere and realize that’s not where you wanted to go.

In our lives too, unless we have a specific destination in mind, we are bound to be lost. We wouldn’t know where to find the map for it or how to traverse that distance. Click To Tweet

So, Hill gives a simple solution to it. Write down and decide where do you want to go or where do you see yourself. Be specific when you do this. “I want to be rich” is definitely not the same as “I want to have a net worth of Rs. 100 Crores in the next 5 years.”

Just start even if not ready

The importance of starting is something most productivity or leadership experts harp on. Off late, I understand why that’s the case.

We all have the ability to come up with great ideas and dream about those. However, there is many a slip between dreaming about it and really putting things together to do something. You might not know everything when you start (honestly, you never will). But, it is only once you start that you can keep making tweaks to it to make it better.

In this context, I heard a really cool quote which is said to be popular in the Silicon Valley

You can’t optimize what you don’t ship!

Think about it…

Power of visualization

The first time I came across the concept of visualization was the book – The Secret. My first impression was that it is mumbo jumbo. But is it?

Visualisation refers to imagining yourself and your life after achieving your dream. So, if you dream of becoming a best-selling author, visualization would involve you imagining your name on a best-selling author list, your book in bulk stacks in stores and you signing autographs in book signings.

When I think about this scientifically, it is really about detailing your goals more. Visualisation is like filling colours into the pencil sketch of your dream. It is a great motivation tool which where the thought of the benefits will keep the flame of inspiration burning.

You need to really want the money

Specifically to the idea of being rich, unless you really like and want money you will not end up being rich. If you believe money is distasteful or that it builds barriers or makes people selfish and arrogant, try as you may you will not really attract it to you.

Those thoughts and feelings of distaste then become imbibed in your subconscious and unknowingly you will sabotage your actions. Your brain will want to ensure you don’t become one of those “rich” people with whom you associate all these qualities.

You will need to work or sacrifice something in order to get rich

Ever heard the phrase – “there is no free lunch in this world”?

Well, it holds true for money as well. It’s all well and good to imagine and visualize your goal. But those tools are a waste if they don’t end up pushing you to work and do whatever it takes to reach there.

As Hill puts it, “there is no such reality as something for nothing.”

Be open to new ideas

There is nothing permanent in life except change. If you remain stuck to a particular way of thinking or a mindset, it is not going to help.

You need to be open to new ideas and embrace them. To me, two things really help to do that.

Firstly, try to ensure you are constantly learning. Today there are various digital avenues that provide you with an opportunity to do just that. Seeking new ideas keep the brain stimulated.

Secondly, venture out and travel more. In my experience travel is another thing which pushes you out of your comfort zone but in a good way 🙂

Power of thoughts and the subconscious mind

Sub-conscious is the layer of brain quietly working in the background. There are some thoughts of yours which you do not even realize at the time of formation.

Sub-conscious is that part of the brain which solves a riddle or a maths question while you sleep at night. Don’t believe me? Give a tough maths question to my father just before his bed-time. He might not be able to solve it that time, but next morning he will tell you the solution.

What most of us don’t realize is that sub-conscious is a very powerful tool. It’s power truly depends on what we feed it. If we limit ourselves and our beliefs telling ourselves about something not being possible, our subconscious will probably magnify it bringing us down.

However, the more positive affirmations or statements we feed our sub-conscious, higher the possibility of the entire brain making more of an effort to work towards our goal.

So, in my case if I tell myself that the personal finance space is already too crowded and I have nothing new to say, my sub-conscious will increase it multiple times to eventually lead to inaction. However, if I tell myself that every money story is unique and I will be able to unleash a personal finance revolution in India, my sub-conscious is going to pretty much push me to do whatever it takes to get there.

Decision-making is a necessary skill

I have seen so many people lacking in this one attribute. Somewhere you need to go for the kill and just take a call. Decision paralysis and overthinking lead to inaction.

Quick decision is not the same as a hasty decision. In case of a big decision, as I mentioned in my life lessons, make a list of pros and cons. Give yourself a timeline to mull over it and then just decide.

Any decision has gotta be better than inaction.

Persistence is important in order to succeed

It is extremely rare for something or someone to succeed in the first instance. Look at most successful entrepreneurs around you and everyone will have a few failures under their belt.

I have thought of and worked at starting a wedding accessories business. I learnt product photography and even met some suppliers before tagging it unviable.

Having scored a 740 in GMAT, I went a step further and started a web site with the intention of giving tuitions for GMAT. There was barely any movement.

If you are serious about something, you need to be at it irrespective of the number of times you fail. You must tweak things in every attempt because there must be something going wrong. However, giving up something entirely could mean dropping a probable good idea for the sheer lack of persistence.

Good books can end up shifting your mindset towards a better life. Think & Get Rich is certainly one of them. Let me know what you think in your comments below or email me at aparna@elementummoney.com

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