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How to Think and Grow Rich in Twelve Steps

One day, while hunting through the stacks in the library, I stumbled upon a book called “How to Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

If you haven’t read the book lately, I’d like to offer you my interpretation of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich in 12 steps

1. Burning Desire


Unless you’re super lucky, like stumbling-upon-a-suitcase-full-of-money lucky, everything starts with your desire and ability to visualize what you want.

Once you’ve got a burning desire to achieve your goal, you can persist despite setbacks and challenges, even when it seems you’re making no progress.

It’s your burning desire that drives you to achieve the impossible. Think of Beethoven, who, despite being deaf, composed works that are still performed and loved today.

Or consider Milton, who becomes a great author despite being blind. They were able to achieve their dreams despite their challenges because of their passion for their craft.

No matter what you’re doing, see if you can work up a burning desire to see it through. Then, as you progress in life, aim to choose only those projects that set your mind and heart on fire with passion. If you can do that, you’ll never work another day.

2. Absolute Faith


Faith is believing in what you do and trusting your capability to achieve your goal.

Seeing your result before it happens, feeling what it’s like to have achieved it before you even start, and knowing that you will indeed accomplish your goal are all faith-driven and allow you to perform feats that seem like miracles to others.

Faith is KNOWING in advance that what you want will come to pass. Your mind isn’t divided between “This will happen!” and “What if it doesn’t happen?” because you know that it will, and you can rest easy knowing it is just a matter of time before you achieve the desired result.

With faith, you can stand firm no matter the obstacle or challenge and know it doesn’t matter because success is inevitable. Faith isn’t a frenzied mantra repeated repeatedly (“I hope it happens, I hope it happens, I hope it happens) but rather a calm, confident knowledge that, because you can see the end result you seek, it will come to pass.

3. Self-Talk


Our self-talk can determine how happy, healthy, and prosperous we are. Positive self-talk is another great tool we use to achieve our aims and fulfill our destiny in life.

Whether your words are spoken in your head or aloud, finding good things to say about yourself and your world sets you up for happiness and success. In many cases, you’re creating positive prophecies that do indeed come true.

As Napoleon Hill said, "We are the prophet of our own life, and our visions about our life do come true." Learn to love yourself in a positive, healthy way. Work on encouraging yourself (I can do this!”) and telling yourself that you can achieve your dreams.

4. Specialize


Specialization is an almost required ingredient to success because it gives the universe a clear vision of what you want and desire.

Be specific in naming your goals, career, achievements, relationships, or anything you want to be in your life.

Focus on precisely what you want, including other things.

People lose their destiny because they don’t define their purpose. We all want to achieve great things, but we can’t all be great at all things.

Choose what you want to be known for. Be persistent in working towards that goal, and your greatness will be inevitable.

“But what about people like Richard Branson? He’s started all kinds of different businesses, and many of them have been successful. He didn’t focus on just one thing.”

And yet, he did. He focused on building a business empire and letting others more knowledgeable in each business make the day-to-day decisions.

For example, his goal wasn’t to start an airline but to look for business opportunities and find experts who specialize in each chance, such as people who knew how to run an airline and build his empire that way.

He also built those businesses one at a time and not all at once.

The key is focus. Choose one thing. Make it a success.
Then, if you want, move on to the next goal and do the same thing.

5. Imagination

Your imagination is your power. It is the invisible ability to attract outstanding achievements and prosperity to you.

That’s why Steve Jobs said, "Imagination is everything; it is a preview of life’s coming attractions."

Imagination is the power you wield to create your future life.

If you imagine bills, loneliness, and despair, that’s what you’ll have. If you imagine that you're met with resistance each time you attempt something new, then that’s what you will have.

But if you imagine your life as you wish, you can create the life you want. See your new achievement in your mind’s eye as though you are viewing it in the present tense.

It’s simultaneously already happening (current tense) and already happening (past tense). Yes, you can imagine both at once. Your goal is coming to fruition, and it’s already happened.

Think of a deposit coming to your bank account. It’s not there yet, yet it is there. Properly you cannot access the funds until tomorrow, yet they are already yours.

Think of what you want to have, achieve, and become in the next 6 months, the following year, and the next 5 years.

Make it as clear as can be in your mind. Write it down lest you forget it.

Continue to see it simultaneously in your imagination as if it is coming true and is already true.

Imagine your plan for achieving what you want.

See yourself executing that plan, then get busy making it come true.

The better you can see the result, the easier it will be to achieve.

6. Plan


I already mentioned the need for a plan in the previous paragraph, but you knew you needed one, right?

You don’t get to the moon or Mars without a plan, and you don’t (usually) achieve your highest goals without one.

If you plan to start a business, part of your plan is to choose your business and then take the steps necessary to start and run it.

Your plan is your roadmap on how to get from where you are to where you want to go.

Planning is the act of strategizing and creating a formula for executing and working toward achieving a goal. With no plan, you will fail.

One note: Plans get you started and guide you along the way, but they’re not written in stone.

You may need to revise your plan as you progress toward your goal. That doesn’t mean you don’t need a plan or that your plan was wrong. It’s simply how planning vs real life works, and that’s okay.

You can have a plan and be flexible.

The plan will get you started, and the process will show you.

Where can you update your plans for a better outcome?

There’s an old joke that goes something like this:
“God, I pray to you every day to win the lottery. I’ve been praying for 30 years without fail.
I pray and pray and pray, and you still have not come through for me.”
God: “Could you meet me halfway and buy a @#$% lottery ticket??!”
If you plan to win the lottery, part of that plan is to buy a ticket. The next step is to take action, follow the plan, and purchase your ticket.

7. Take Massive Action

Take Massive Action

Once you’ve used your imagination to see what you want to do and planned out how to do it, it’s time for action on a massive scale.

Many people fail here, and understandably so. “Massive Action” sounds like a full-frontal assault by an army. Not so. For you, massive action might simply be setting aside one hour every day to work on your goal.

If you can’t sustain your action, then you’ll fail. That obese and out-of-breath person who begins the new year thinking they will exercise vigorously for an hour a day is doomed to fail because the action they’ve chosen is not sustainable.

For someone who hasn’t exercised in 20 years, massive action this week might simply be stepping out the front door every day at 8 am to walk around the block. Next week, maybe they walk two blocks, and next month, perhaps they’re doing a mile a day. For them, that is a massive and sustainable action.

There will be times when minimal action is necessary. You see yourself getting a raise. You know it’s going to happen. Your contributions to the company are well known.

The following week, the boss will call you into the office to say you’ve got the raise. These things happen all the time. Our thoughts direct our world.

But in many cases, massive, sustained action will be needed. Think of your action-taking as a marathon rather than a short burst of activity. Plan to invest a certain amount of effort each day to
reaching your goal.

8. Be Persistent

Be Persistent

Persistency means working when you don’t feel like it or when you’d instead do something else.

When you’ve had a bad day, and the last thing you want to do is anything but veg out in front of the television, and yet you still work on your goal – that’s when you’re being persistent and consistent.

Challenges will happen. Enthusiasm might wane before you get back on track.

 But if you expect from the very start that not every day will bring a busload of motivation, you’ll be ready for those days when you just don’t want to bother, but you do the work anyway.

I suspect the lack of consistency and persistence causes the most regret in life. If only you had kept going. If only you had acted on your idea. If only you had gone after your dream.

If we only get one shot at life, then maybe we better get moving and make the most of it. Take a step every day to get where you’re going. Don’t quit, don’t give up, and don’t take a break longer than two days, even if you get sick.

Everyone has challenges. However, only those who work consistently and persistently will overcome the obstacles to success.

I'm sorry if I sound like a motivational mouthpiece, but you know everything I just said is true. The question is, are you living it?

9. Rebound from Failure

Rebound from Failure

Failing doesn't make you a failure, but quitting does. Every time something goes wrong, ask yourself, “What’s good about this?” Keep asking that until you find the answer.

Since I began this practice, I have found something good or even great in nearly every bad thing that’s happened.

Remember you only have to get up one more time than you fall down.

Yet so many people quit after their first setback. “Oh no, I feel so stupid; this isn’t for me.”

Expect bumps in the road along the way. Just let go of your ego and enjoy the ride.

Your ability to rebound from failure can bring out your best because every failure can lead to an equivalent or greater success if you simply keep moving forward.

10. Collaborate


Collaboration is like magic. Just think about how powerful it can be to utilize the skills and knowledge of other people to reach your goals.

The great steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, self-admittedly didn’t know much about his business, but he didn’t need to.

He found the best and brightest minds in the steel industry and hired them. 

Carnegie wasn’t afraid to hire people who were more knowledgeable and intelligent than himself; he bragged about it.

Because of his skill at collaborating with others, he became one of the wealthiest people in the world in his time.

If you can't work with people, you will have difficulty achieving your dreams, no matter your goals. Your ability to collaborate and work with others can be your most incredible power, bringing all your dreams to fulfillment.

If you make a list of everything you need to do to achieve your dreams, you will likely find that you need a lot of different skills. You could spend several months mastering these many skills, and you might be ready to proceed in a few months or years.

Of course, by then, some of what you learned will be outdated, and you’ll need to go back and learn some more.

You can also find people who are already masters of the skills you need and allow them to help you.
Yes, this does mean compensating other people. But imagine you’re building a business. Your goal is to grow it into a six-figure income within six months.

Suppose you have to take time to learn how to build the perfect website, write the perfect sales copy and blog posts, become a pro at social media, create a great product, and recruit affiliates. In that case, you could be looking at months of trial and error while learning from your many mistakes. If it happens, then it might be a year or two before you get your business off the ground and profitable.

But if you pay professionals to help you, you can probably launch your business in a month or two. You’ll have a greater chance of reaching six figures in six months.

You will have saved immeasurable frustration, not to mention time.
And if going alone means you earn six figures three years from now and collaborating means you earn six figures starting in 6 months, that’s a minimum of $250,000 you’ve lost by doing everything

“But I don’t need help.” If you genuinely don’t, then great! Go for it. But if that’s your ego talking you might want to ask your ego to sit on the bench while you recruit your star line-up to help you win the game.

Why I just launched into a sports metaphor, I’ll never know. But you get the point. Amateurs think that outsourcing and collaboration costs money. But professionals know it’s the fastest, easiest and
smartest way to get where you want to go in life.

11. Take Calculated Risks

11-Take Calculated Risks

I hope you’ll take note of the word “Calculated.” If you want to change anything in life, there is a risk you’ll need to assume, however slight it might be.

And sometimes the risk simply feels too great, not because the consequences could be dire, but because, as humans, we tend to be incredibly risk-averse.

Let’s get something out of the way here: If you want to make major changes in your life, then you’ve got to be ready to look like a darn fool.

Anytime anyone takes on a new task, they’re probably going to look silly. They’re going to make dumb mistakes. Everything about them might scream, “AMATEUR!” So what? It’s all part of the process.

When you learned to walk, I guarantee you were terrible at it. You fell down all the time. You clung to furniture to stay even a little bit upright. You wobbled around like a tiny drunk and had trouble going in the right direction. Sometimes, you were so tired of falling that you went back to crawling because you already knew how to do that.

Now just imagine if you had given up because you didn’t want to look foolish. You’d still be crawling today.

That’s why you got up one more time than you fell down, and this is the attitude to take when starting on your new ventures. You might be somewhat clueless now, but you’ll learn as you go and you’ll get better and better.

Feeling embarrassed and foolish is risk number one, and it’s simply the ego worried about what others think. Who cares what they think? You’re following your dream and that’s all that matters.

Now there’s another kind of risk, and it can assume all sorts of shapes and forms. Do you choose this person or that person to do your writing? Is paying for advertising going to bring in business or
waste your money? Is this the right niche or is it too saturated? Is your persona too over the top and going to frighten away prospects?

Everything is a risk, including not getting out of bed in the morning.
And sometimes you’ll have to make big decisions about what to do next. You’ll feel like you’re taking a big risk. Others will tell you NOT to do it. Pay close attention to whether or not these ‘others’ have experience in this. If not, and you want some counsel, find someone who’s already done what you’re attempting to do.

There is a reason people use guides and sherpas to help them climb mountains. These experts know the best paths, the places that are too dangerous, and all the little tricks to use and pitfalls to

Life is a risk. Make friends with risk, enjoy risk, but not too much. Your business and your life aren’t gambling tables in Las Vegas. They’re much more important and deserve your thoughtful calculation
before making any big decisions.

12. Self-Improvemen


Voracious readers have a definite advantage in business because they naturally get more ideas.

Finding out what’s working for others can dramatically shorten your own time to success.

 For example, in business, what works in one niche might be used in an entirely different selling arena. Or someone who has the same personal challenge as you may have found a way to turn that problem into a real asset.

Improving your own skills can work wonders, too. Some folks think that the moment they graduate school they never need to crack a book again.

Those people are stagnant, stuck in whatever year they graduate, and they quickly become obsolete.

But the person who is always interested and curious about what’s new, what’s working for others and keeps up with changes and innovations will be well ahead of these folks who think reading is a plague set upon them by disgruntled teachers.

Stay curious, keep learning, and take notes. Have you ever read a book and, six months later, have no idea what you read?

Here’s a great little trick for always remembering the very best of what you read: Whether it’s an article or a book, write down the 3 most important ideas or lessons you’ve read.

This information can be used in your life and business. Write it down and then reread it every morning for several days, and you can have it for life.

Also, if possible, implement at least one of those ideas as soon as possible to start reaping the benefits of your reading.

And there have it… my take on Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. While the book itself is dated, the concepts still work as well today as they did all those years ago.

And while most of us are familiar with these steps, it’s also true that nearly all of us can improve on at least one or more.

We’ve only got one shot – let’s make it a good one.

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