Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is considered by many to be one of the most influential business and personal development books ever written. Being the self-development junkie I am, I of course got myself a copy!
The first time I read it, however, I didn’t really get much from it. It was a few years ago and while I made my way through the book I did so without really engaging with it. While I felt inspired at some level, I didn’t put any of Napoleon Hill’s advice into practice, I quickly forgot everything I’d learned and was left believing that perhaps this book had been overhyped.
But a couple of months ago, I saw this book on my shelf when I was packing for a holiday and decided to take it with me. Mainly because I’d been learning a lot about the law of attraction and this book comes up a lot in that context too.
Long story short, it felt like I was reading a completely different book to the one I was the first time (even though it was the exact same copy) and took so many lessons away from it – many of which I’ve put into practice.
This book is challenging to summarize, as the magic of this book can really only by discovered by reading it cover-to-cover. So instead, I’m sharing the biggest lessons I learned from this book and how I’ve been applying them to my life. I hope you enjoy it!
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Hi, and welcome to Episode 35 of The Smart Twenties Podcast. My name is Sam Brown and this is a podcast where I share personal growth and life advice for women in their twenties.
And today, I am sharing the lessons and takeaways that I got from the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. If you’ve been listening to my podcast over the last few weeks you will have heard me mention this book in just about every single podcast episode. At some point, I read it, maybe about a month ago, now, and it has really been top-of-mind for me, so many of the principles in this book are just really… I don’t even know how to describe it.
I have really got so much from this book and I’m going to be sharing that to you in this episode, and actually, I found that I’ve been putting off recording this episode because I’ve just been worried that I won’t be able to do this book justice. And I think that if you do want to get the most from this book, it is best to get yourself a hard copy and to go through with a highlighter and tabs like I did, if you don’t know my system for reading non-fiction books, I will link that in the show notes, which will be at smart-twenties.com/episode35.
But I read this book initially a few years ago and I didn’t really get much from it, and I think it is because I just read it without highlighting and it is a book that you really do need to engage with. I know a lot of people say that they read it and they don’t really get what the hype’s about. This is one of the most recommended business books ever. I’m pretty sure it was written in 1937, so it’s really an original and it’s really refreshing to just read something that doesn’t talk about the Internet and all of the things we all seem to be talking about a lot. It’s obviously written before the Internet was even a thing, and it’s just really refreshing for that reason, but all the principles in this book still are definitely relevant today but I think the reason that some people don’t get much out of this book is because they just read it cover to cover or maybe listen to it on audiobook.
I think it would be a good one to listen to an audiobook once you’ve read it and studied it but I think this really is a kind of book that you need to study. So I have gotten a lot out of it, but I would just finish the point I was trying to make which is that I think when people don’t get much out of it, it’s because they didn’t study it or it just wasn’t the right time and place for them, if that makes sense.
Like I did read it a few years ago, as I was saying and I really just found the whole thing to be very confusing, I don’t know why but I just finished reading it and nothing from it stuck with me and I just didn’t get it. And then when I read it again this year, I started it at the end of April, and I was kind of taking forever to read it, and then I was like, “I gotta spend more time reading” and just whipped through the last three quarters of it really quickly but yeah, I just got so much more out of it and part of the reason that I did want to read it was because I knew it was relating to the law of attraction and manifestation and that kind of thing, though, if you think that’s too woo-woo for you, do not be put off.
I think the concepts in this book are really discussed by, basically anyone who’s in the personal development world, it’s all about creating the belief and the mindset before you achieve the goal. It’s nothing really woo-woo, I mean maybe some bits in this you might think is a bit, but I’m such a believer in being able to read something and then thinking of it more like a buffet than every bit of it has to be good. It’s so easy to be cynical and especially with a book like this, like what some people will do is they look for one floor in the theory and then discount the whole thing. And I think that’s just a very ignorant way to approach something like there’s so many gems in here and almost everything I read.
I don’t agree with the entirety of the theory, but I can always take something from it. So if you’re not already doing that with books and with lessons learned from different people, just start thinking of things like a buffet and that you just need to take what you like and you can leave the rest. If the theory isn’t a 100% airtight, do not just discount the whole thing and say that “Oh this thing is weird” that they said, so nothing else is right. I don’t think that’s a helpful way to look at it.
But anyway, yeah, this is one of the original business books. It’s talked about all the time, recommended all the time, and I’m so glad that I have gone and read it again and in the book, this is to my point that I think it needs to be studied in the book, Napoleon Hill, the author does recommend that you read this book at least three times, and I don’t think it’s because he just wants people to spend all that time on his book but because it is really consistent with his principles in the book about auto-suggestion and programming your mind, that repetition is a really important part. And I’ve spoken to other some previous episodes but anything I find that I absolutely love and get a lot out of, I prefer to re-read or re-listen to that rather than find something new because I always find on the second or third or fourth time that I go over it, I hear something, I didn’t hear the first time.
So I am planning to read this book at least once more, I’m planning to do it. I think once every two months at this point, it doesn’t take too long to go through, it’s not too thick, the book, and it’s got very big margins. So yeah, that is a little introduction on the book with Napoleon Hill spent 25 years, he said, gathering all the principles in this book, by researching, I think it was over a thousand successful people.
And I know the name of the book Think and Grow Rich might really deter some people because money isn’t important… but I would really encourage you, regardless of whether you have a good money mindset, or you still think money is a devil to read this book, because when he’s saying, “Think and Grow Rich” he is not actually just talking about money, but about any goal that you want to achieve. And a lot of the examples in this book have nothing to do with money. He has talked about in interviews, how he wanted to have a best-selling title and people buy the books for the title, so that’s why it’s Think and Grow Rich.
He does talk a lot about money. If you do have a job, you obviously think money has some importance… so yeah, regardless of whether you have a good money mindset at the moment, or not, if you don’t have a good money mindset meaning that you think money is evil, then it is definitely worth the read from that perspective as well. But definitely worth reading and I have really been feeling like I’m not going to be able to do this book justice because I can’t even articulate the lessons that I’ve learned.
I’ve tried to describe it to a few different people, and I just feel like I’ve fallen short every single time, but you guys know when I do this stuff, I’m not actually doing a book review or anything like that, I don’t think that that’s particularly helpful, but I am going to be doing what I got out of the book, the lesson to takeaways for where I’m at at the moment.
Of course, when I re-read a book, you’re processing it through your brain, and that means that I’m looking at it, through the lens of my current experiences what I’m working on at the moment and all of that kind of thing. And I think that’s why it’s so incredible to read a book multiple times. Like as I was saying, I had completely written off this book, but I read exactly the same copy that I had previously. I’m glad I hadn’t gotten rid of it and it was amazing. So if you have already read it before and you’re like… “No, that’s a shit book” maybe we reconsider because that’s my experience.
This is a book to be studied and there is also a women’s edition that I have seen that someone mentioned to me, but I really don’t think it’s necessary to read a women’s edition. Keep in mind though that this book was written in the 1930’s, which was a different time, he is usually using the word men, and referring to men, but I don’t think that matters as I was saying, it’s a buffet. Just replace the word men with women, he does talk about women a lot in this book as well and uses examples from women. So I don’t know, I just don’t see any need for the women’s edition though I haven’t read it, but I think just the normal edition, I also think it’s hilarious that it’s like the normal edition and the women’s edition, it’s not like man’s edition and women’s edition.
So I just like to keep reading the normal editions of things so that it’s not like perpetuating this thing that women are different. Anyway, that’s a different topic completely. So I’m just going to go over a few of the things that really stood out to me. Again, I’m going to suck at articulating it, but I’m going to do my best.
And the title as well, Think and Grow Rich, I think as I was saying it’s not just about money, and it’s really just capturing this idea that belief precedes the attaining of a goal which is like in my own words, what the book is about, and I really think that belief is so important. Usually what we try to do is achieve a goal and then believe it’s possible like we wait for evidence that it’s real, and then we believe in ourselves and that’s why a lot of us I think, struggle with self-confidence, because we’re waiting to act a different way and then we’ll believe with that way instead of believing with a different way, and then our actions followed.
So the first thing that he harps on about in this book, and it’s the importance of definiteness of purpose which is the term he uses to describe it, and by definiteness of purpose, he really means that you just have a target to aim and that a lot of people fail to achieve their goals because they don’t actually know what it is that trying to achieve. And I know I’ve definitely done this in my own life where I’ve just kept things super vague so that I can never flat out fail at it, but definiteness of purpose, in my opinion, requires a lot of courage and courage does not feel comfortable, it’s why I think a lot of us do keep our goals vague because if they’re vague, then we never really putting anything on the line but putting something on the line is what is really talked about in this book, that having that definiteness of purpose is one of the key ingredients to achieving any kind of goal.
And if you’re familiar with any kind of goal setting stuff you will know that everyone always talks about the importance of specificity and knowing exactly what it is that you want so that you can hit a target that you can actually pinpoint. So that was one thing he mentions it all the time throughout this book, and it was one thing that really stuck with me that I need to be a lot more specific with my goals and that it’s also really scary to do that.
He doesn’t say, in the book really that it’s scary to do that but that’s just my own little opinion. Lay it on top. So, definiteness of purpose, which is hard to say is definitely a key. A key thing to think about when you’re trying to achieve anything whether that’s money or any other kind of goal, and often, we really know what we don’t want. I think I was talking about this in previous episodes, but we spend a lot of time telling people, “I don’t want this, I don’t want that” And yet, when you ask someone… “Well, what do you want?” We’re completely stumped.
So if that’s something that you’re struggling with at the moment, this book, it doesn’t really give a formula for coming up with your purpose, from memory, but I did do a previous episode on it, on how to figure out what you want, so that might help you I’ll link it in the show notes. The next thing he talks about is burning desire and this was really helpful to read about, he mentions it again throughout the whole entirety of the book again and again, and I think the repetitious nature of this book is purposeful like that. And I’ll talk about in a second, but he talks about the importance of repetition for implanting something in the subconscious mind, and he does thread them the same things throughout the book though, it’s definitely worth reading cover-to-cover as he developed on the ideas, but there are a lot of things that I mentioned time and time again, right, this book, and I think it’s not by accident at all. So yeah, he talks about the importance of having a burning desire and distinguishes this from wanting, wishing and hoping.
And one of the quotes in the book was any person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat, only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win. And it’s something that I have been thinking about a lot, working towards my impossible goal and all that kind of thing. When it comes to this matter of burning desire having a plan B is said by some including Napoleon Hill to really reduce that desire because if you don’t achieve your goal, then you’ve got a backup plan, so you’re not as driven. There’s actually a thing, I don’t know if you guys have heard of it. I don’t think this is a scientific term, but it’s called the baby effect. People talk about a lot in business and it’s when you have a baby and you are really reliant on your business, that that’s when people actually start to be successful, because suddenly they’ve got another map to, they’ve got a burning desire to be successful. There’s no plan B they have to make it work. Whereas prior to that, they had maybe other ways to get money.
So yeah, I’ve been thinking about how I can develop that burning desire in myself, I think with my impossible goal I definitely have the desire but getting it to a burning desire has been really challenging and part of it is the repetition and conditioning my mind, to have that burning desire and I’ve been reading a few other books at the moment, that… talk about creating a burning desire not necessarily for the goal, but what that goal being achieved will allow you to do.
So it’s something I’ve been thinking through at the moment, and… yeah, I’m working on it, and I really got any advice in terms of that, but I have been really thinking about how to increase my level of desire for my impossible goal, which is to make $500,000 in my business in 2018 which I have spoken about it in previous episodes at an update episodes. And I did episodes at the beginning of the year when I was creating the goal and why I’ve created a goal it feels completely out of reach and all of that kind of thing.
So if you haven’t heard me talk about that then maybe go back to those episodes and have a listen because I talk about a little other goal setting stuff as well. But yeah, burning desire is something that Napoleon Hill site as being incredibly important and distinguishes that from hoping, wishing, wanting, desiring… it’s burning desire.
And he has a lot of great stories in this book which is why I think I’ve felt that I won’t be able to do this book justice, because there are so many great stories that he’s used to elaborate on the principles that really bring home the concepts in a way that is hard to describe without showing the stories. And I, of course, I want to just sit here and read you out the book and as I say, I think this is a book to get the hard copy even if you love audible, you’d still get something out of it. But for me at least, this kind of book I’ve needed to re-read so many different things for it to sink in, and I am really excited to read it again, because I know that I’m on now, that I’ve read the end of the book when I’m reading in the beginning, I’ll hear things, and I’ve had new experiences, I’ll hear things and get things that I didn’t get the first time.
So the next thing he talks about, one of the things I’m not going in order, there are 13 principles he talks about. I’m not covering all of them, but one of them is organized planning. Which I know you guys will love because like me, you love planning, especially because it’s the most productive way to procrastinate.
And he talks about the importance of a plan to back your burning desire. So you have a definite, definite purpose and a burning desire to achieve that purpose, and then you need to back that burning desire with persistent action by having definite organized plans. He uses the word definite. It’s probably half the book is just the word definite. He really talks about the importance of definiteness so much and it’s really powerful the way he does it.
So, having definite plans, but he says the plans need not be perfect. And that a lot of the time as well, we struggle. I spoke to this in previous at episodes. We struggle to believe we can achieve something before we know the how, but if you haven’t achieved it before then you don’t actually, by definition, really know the how, because you’ve never done it, and so you have to develop this faith and burning desire without knowing the how and that’s something we’re not really taught to do in school. It’s a skill that I think is completely important and yet I’ve never really been taught it except through the personal development world, and it is being able to believe in something without knowing how you’ll do it is absolutely necessary.
So I’ll just read out a quote that I’ve got from the book about organized planning, having definite plans but also changing your plans. So he said If the first point when you adopt does not work successfully replace it with a new plan if this new plan fails to work, replace it in time with still another and so on until you find a plan, which does work right here is a point in which the majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence and creating new plans to take the place of those, it fail. No follower of this philosophy can be reasonably expected to accumulate a fortune without experiencing temporary defeat when defeat comes accepted as a signal that your plans are not sound rebuild those plans and set sail once more toward your coveted goal if you give up before your goal has been reached, you are a quitter. A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.
So it’s probably something you’ve heard before, but he was really saying in that, that the purpose of organized planning, and having definite plans isn’t that you need to come up with a foolproof plan to be able to achieve your goal. What he talks about instead is, you have this definite purpose, you have a burning desire which is distinct from hoping, wishing, wanting and then you come up with a plan, the best plan you can but it’s a plan to achieve that. And then, if that plan doesn’t work, which is likely, then you adopt another plan and another plan and another plan until you find one that works, and if you give up at any point in time before a plan works you are a quitter… and I think that’s so powerful because what a lot of us do, myself included, is come up with a plan, it doesn’t work, you make it mean you’re a failure and I quit or you make it mean the next plan won’t work and you quit. And he really talks about the power of persistence and it’s so important to have faith, faith not in a religious way, at all, faith, meaning that it’s really believing without seeing it first, you just believe that you’ll be able to achieve your definite purpose and that you will eventually find a plan. You just need to keep going through them.
And I know that that’s something that I’ve really been required to do with my impossible goal that I’m working towards and when I was creating that goal through Self-coaching, which is Brooke Castillo’s online program through The Life Coach School. Her podcast is amazing, which you guys know I talk about her all the time, but she was really talking about this how you come up with a plan and the very best plan, you can but you have to expect not in a really pessimistic way, but you just need to expect that, not all of your plans will work and so what you’re trying to do is come up with the best plan that you can.
And then when it doesn’t work, you just simply come up with a new plan and follow it, come up with a new plan and follow it, a lot of the time when we can’t see exactly how we going to achieve a goal, we don’t even want to try any plan or we think we need the perfect plan. Because I’ve only got one shot, but that’s totally not the case, and I haven’t really had to develop a lot of persistence. It’s something that I did think that I had and working through this year, I have just realized that it’s really challenging for me to not make temporary defeat as he was talking about mean anything.
So he said, when defeat comes accepted as a sign that your plants are not sound rebuild those plans and set sail once more. And when I’ve experienced temporary defeat this year, which I have for sure, I have at times just made that mean that I’ll never achieve my goal that I’m not good enough to do that all sorts of things. And so reading that bit of the book, really stuck with me because he just talks about… you should have temporary defeat be part of your journey. It will happen if you are trying to achieve something you’ve never done before and you just need to make sure you don’t make that defeat mean anything and just come up with a new plan.
And yeah, it’s part of the reason I love this book is because he’s taking throughout the whole book about principles and not strategies, there are so many books that cover strategy and there is definitely a time and a place for strategy, which is basically a method to implement the principle. But this book, he’s really just talking about the principles and so he’s not saying, here’s how to come up with a plan. One, two, three, four, five….
Though he does have a lot of practical advice in this book, which is why it’s so important to study it, but he is saying, you find whatever method you want to for coming up with your plan, but you need to just be prepared for temporary defeat is why most people give up and it’s just when you need to make another plan.
So one of the other principles in this book, is auto-suggestion which is basically just making suggestions to your subconscious mind. I have been trying to learn a lot about the subconscious mind this year and I’m definitely no expert on it, but what I have heard and read and learned is that about 5% of our thoughts are conscious and 95% are happening on that sub-conscious, unconscious level. I still haven’t been able to see a lot of people use the word subconscious mind and unconscious like unconscious thinking they use them interchangeably, but there is a subconscious mind that sort of files everything away and has it there so that we can recall it.
And then there’s a conscious mind that is what we’re consciously thinking and often what is stopping people from achieving goals, is that, that consciously desiring something consciously thinking about it but they have these subconscious thoughts that are contradicting one of the quotes from the book he said, “You may voluntarily plant in your subconscious mind, any plan thought or purpose which you desire to translate into its physical or monetary equivalent, the subconscious acts first on the dominating desires which had been mixed with emotional feelings such as faith and he said, faith is the state of mind, which may be induced or created by affirmation or instructions and subconscious mind, through the principle of auto-suggestion.
So, in the book, he has in every chapter, he has a step-by-step process for applying it. It is a very practical book and I think the people who say this book is impractical have just read it without really engaging in it because there are so many journaling prompts and questions there are so many different processes, it’s really great.
Auto-suggestion is basically, if you have an affirmation or if you’re visualizing or anything like that, that is essentially, auto-suggestion. And as I was saying, that quote from the book mixing that with feeling is what then starts to have it actually creates your reality. So I’m not going to go into that too much in this one, but I have done in the past done episode on an affirmations and the law of attractions stuff and the other thing as well with older suggestion and with affirmations, is that negative ones work too… and a lot of the times we are negatively affirming negative beliefs to ourselves so we’re saying I’m not good enough, we’re looking at everything through that lens and making everything means something negative about ourselves.
And he talks a lot in this book about how negative thoughts and opinions, just the importance of guarding your mind against them. I think in my personal opinion, that’s impossible to completely eradicate but you can definitely suggest things to your subconscious mind, which I’ve talked about in those episodes, and the reticular activating system, you will begin to search for evidence to confirm your belief. So if you believe you’re not good enough currently and you keep affirming that to yourself by every time something should happen to… like I’m not good enough, then you are going through life looking through that lens.
Your reticular activating system is looking for evidence that you’re not good enough dismissing any evidence that you are good enough and interpreting everything in a way to be coherent with your beliefs, but if you suggest to your subconscious mind enough, a different belief and you mix it with emotion then it will take on that new belief.
So I talk about how I’ve done that in the past to success in the affirmations one, and it is a topic that I know some people don’t believe in, but as I was saying, just definitely go into that affirmation episode because I go into, like I used to not believe in it, but once I heard that there was a scientific explanation then I did start believing in it, and then it started, I started trying it and it worked and I was actually talking to my dad about it, and he was saying that he didn’t quite believe it. And that in the medical sphere, that people, there are people who believe they’ll be healed and they don’t, and the people who don’t think they’ll ever heal and they do.
And then after I had that conversation with him, I was thinking about the placebo effect, which is essentially, convincing people like you’re taking a medication that’s actually like a sugar pill or something, but people will leave that they are taking the medication that will heal them and they heal the same way that a person who’d taken the real medication would heal even though that person hasn’t taken. I’m obsessed with the placebo effect stuff. And it’s really just this kind of thing where you are creating a belief in a person that a sudden outcome will happen, and then that sort of materializes. I still feel definitely not in a place where I can really clearly answer questions on that and explain it but I have talked about it in that episode on affirmations.
And one thing he talks about his imagination which I won’t go into too much, but he just said, if you do not see riches in your imagination you will never see them in your bank balance and that applies not just money but to anything. And the importance of developing in your mind, the belief that you have it and when it comes to this stuff, as well, it’s really important that you don’t affirm to yourself, that you want something because then you just perpetuate the wanting, you need to affirm that you already have it, and this idea kind of that you have it and you’re just waiting for reality to catch up, so if you convince yourself that you have it, and there’s a whole system in this book for auto-suggestion and different habits that he recommends and all of that sort of thing, but if you convince yourself that you have it, then the idea is then you will create having it, but if you convince yourself if you keep it firmly like you want something, then you just continue to get the wanting of it, which means you don’t actually have it.
So I just thought that was really interesting, but he has a lot of good things to say about imagination, which I love and they’re in the book, so he mentions procrastination. This isn’t one of the 13 Steps To Riches or anything, but it’s something that comes up a lot. And I just wrote down a couple of things that he said about it. The first was, “Men who succeed reach decisions promptly and change them, if at all, very slowly. Men who fail don’t make decisions and if they do, they make them slowly and change them frequently, and quickly. Indecision and procrastination are twin brothers, where one is found the other may usually be found also.”
And I love that in this book, he talks about the opposite of procrastination being, decision, because often, it’s talked about the opposite of procrastination is productivity and being productive. But he talks about decision and procrastination, being opposite and I just thought that was really interesting.
And he gives a lot of examples in this book of how the people who are successful of course, he only gives the handful of examples and there is something to be self-evolving and adapting, and as I’ve already said, before, he said to keep changing plans, but it’s more so that you make a decision and you follow it through. Because what we do normally is make a decision and at the first sign that that might not be great, we change it and then we change it then retain it and we’re trying to avoid being wrong and we’re trying to avoid failing. But he talks about the importance of making a decision and if you change it, you change it very slowly. Once you fully tested that idea and that men who fail, including women rarely make decisions if they do, they make them slowly and change them frequently, and quickly.
So that’s something to think about if you’re indecisive. And I think that being indecisive, and confused is just like the sneakiest form of procrastination that there is… and that’s something that I learned about a lot from Brooke Castillo, The Life Coach School podcast as I was saying, she talks about confusion, being a way that we really avoid ourselves and avoid failing because if you never make a decision you always have an excuse not to be acting.
Another thing he said was about over-caution. The person who takes no chances generally has to take whatever is left when others are through choosing. Over-caution is as bad as under-caution both are extremes to be guarded against, life itself is filled with the element of chance. And I just thought that stood out to me because I think I have a tendency to be over-cautious more to than under-cautious and just having it laid out like that, that if you’re over-cautious like, the person who takes no chances, generally has to take whatever is left when others are through choosing that I think a lot of us have really grown up being over-cautious and always wanting to make the right move, especially if you’re in that perfectionist mindset, but to just have it explained like, “Well if you’re going to be that way you’re just going to have to choose what’s left” like, you’re really going to be behind everyone else that just kind of stuck with me.
So, he also talks about other people’s opinions and he says the majority of people who fail to accumulate money or these are goals, sufficient for their needs, that generally easily influenced by the opinions of others. They permit the newspapers and the gossiping neighbors to do their thinking for them, opinions of the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by opinions when you reach decisions you will not succeed in any undertaking.
He also said, close friends and relatives, while not meaning to do so often handicap one through opinions and sometimes, through ridicule which is meant to be humorous. Thousands of men and women are inferiority complexes with them all through life, because some well-meaning, but ignorant person destroyed their confidence through opinion or ridicule.
And he does talk a lot about the importance of having only a close– he’s the creator really of the mastermind concept and he talks about having a couple of people that you really trust and who understand your purpose, definiteness of purpose and all of that kind of thing and then not really considering anyone else’s opinion and just really developing your own strength of opinion and using– talking to other people about other people in your mastermind group to develop your ideas. It’s not that those people in the mastermind group do your thinking for you, but he says that when two or more minds come together, they create a third mind.
And you might have experiences when you’re talking about a goal with someone who is aligned with what you’re trying to do that or a coach that just by talking to them about it, it creates all of these ideas and things like that, that you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t been engaging with them.
So he does talk about the mastermind as well, a lot in this book. It’s one of his 13 steps and he does also talk about how he essentially created like a mastermind with his idols, he called it, I think an invisible, his invisible counselors and he thought of all the different men that he really wanted to be like different aspects of their personality. So what they were doing and every night before bed, he would imagine conversations with them like he would appeal to them for advice and he said that he eventually stopped doing this because it got too vivid, and it just took on a life of its own, and then after stopping for a while, he restarted and expanded it, so I think he said he eventually had over fifty invisible counselors that he would appeal to for advice and he really talks about having other people be part of your goals as well.
And if you don’t want to get specialized knowledge in a sudden area, engaging people that do have that knowledge. And, yeah, he talks about that a lot but I thought this as well, really relates to the Low-information Diet that Tim Ferriss talks about in The 4-Hour Workweek, which will be the next book I’m going to talk about in one of these episodes.
And I think, having a Low-information Diet which is something that I did adopt when I listened to The 4-Hour Workweek on audio like a few years ago. It’s basically just the idea that you only get new information on a need-to-know basis, and not listening to the news and really limiting the amount of input so that you have more creative energy and so that you can really guard your beliefs as well.
And I know a lot of people with reading the news a lot of people have opinions on whether people should read the news or not… and when I tell people that I don’t read the news people are very quick to offer their opinion and they say that it’s really important to know what’s happening in the world and all of that which I would agree with, if the news was actually good, like if the news did actually depict what’s going on in the world instead in my, perhaps cynical, but I think justified opinion, the newspapers and all of that are using fear to keep us watching.
And whenever I listen to breaking news, it’s just like robbery, death. That’s not keeping me up-to-date, and I find that if something big happens, I will always hear about it. And then I would go and do further research on it and all of that kind of thing. So, just something to consider. I know a lot of people love reading the news. And I used to watch Sunrise which is a show here in Australia, a morning talk show.
I used to watch it like religiously, I loved it but then I just realized that it probably wasn’t the best thing to be feeding my mind first of the day, particularly since it is very fear-based and there’s a lot of crime and I’m fascinated by crime but I think that hearing about all the people that die each day isn’t particularly the most helpful thing.
So instead of doing that I now listen to different YouTube videos, podcasts, and things that are actually more along those lines. So just reading that bit and Think and Grow Rich reminded me of the Low-information Diet that Tim Ferriss talks about in The 4-Hour Workweek as well. He talks about doing it for a week. I’m pretty sure. And then adjusting it after that. But it is something to play around with, especially if you use the news as something to distract yourself.
But I just found it really fascinating that when I stopped watching the news, like I don’t have this belief that the world is a horrible place, and I know a lot of people currently are talking about it like it is, but I think it really just comes from watching the news all the time, and they are selling us on the idea that it’s a horrible place because we don’t seem to be interested in good news. It doesn’t really sell the same way.
So anyway, now it’s a side topic but he does talk about the importance of guarding against other people’s opinions, and really developing your own. The next thing is symptoms of lack of persistence. And I’m just going to read out this bit of the book, not in too much detail, but I just thought this was really interesting. And there are lots of great little lists like this through the book so I just to choose one of them.
So this one is, as I was saying, symptoms of lack of persistence. And here are… how many are there? Sixteen. I think if you’ve been thinking you’re persistent. And as I was saying before, I really did think I had a lot of persistence and then I really chose a definite goal. Started going towards it, and the first time, one of my plans it at work, I found myself wanting to quit and it was really only because I committed to doing the goal through doing that online program. I committed to myself. But I’d also been talking to you guys about it and I don’t want to be a quitter basically, so yeah, going. back I found it really hard.
So anyway, here are the symptoms of lack of persistence… one, failure to recognize and to clearly define exactly what one wants, which we’re talking about before. And I think that’s so interesting, isn’t it? That that’s a symptom of lack of persistence. Most people wouldn’t even think that far that a symptom of like persistence is a failure to define what you want. But as I was saying, we often use that as an excuse not to have to go after something and not to risk failure, we just don’t even let ourselves dream about what we really want. Number two is procrastination with or without cause. He said in brackets, usually backed up with a formidable array of alibis and excuses.
Number three, like of interest in acquiring specialized knowledge. Number four, indecision the habit of passing the buck on all occasions instead of facing issues squarely, in brackets, also backed by alibis meaning excuses. Number five, the habit of relying upon alibis instead of creating definite plans for the solution of problems. Number six, self-satisfaction. There is but a little remedy for this affliction, and no hope for those who suffer from it, which I think is like giving in to your desires in the moment like watching Netflix and all those things we do to procrastinate instead of doing the challenging thing of working towards goals that are in our best interest. Number seven, indifference. Usually reflected in one’s readiness to compromise on all occasions rather than made opposition and fight it.
Eight, the habit of blaming others for one’s mistakes and accepting unfavorable circumstances, as being unavoidable. Number nine, weakness of desire due to neglect in the choice of motives that impel action. Number ten, willingness even eagerness to quit at the first sign of defeat. Preach, I can relate.
Number eleven, lack of organized plans placed in writing where they may be analyzed now. Number twelve, the habit of neglecting to move on ideas or to grasp opportunity when it presents itself. Thirteen, wishing instead of willing. Fourteen, the habit of compromising with poverty, instead of aiming at riches, general absence of ambition to be, to do, and to own.
Number fifteen, searching for all the shortcuts to riches, trying to get without giving a fair equivalent usually reflected in the habit of gambling, endeavoring to drive shop bargains. Number sixteen, fear of criticism. Failure to create plans and to put them into action because of what other people will think, do or say. This enemy belongs at the head of the list because it generally exists in one subconscious mind where its presence is not recognized.
So, sorry that I stumbled through that, jeez. But I just thought that was really interesting that those people, when you talk about a symptom of lack of persistence, I think a lot of us would only say, maybe giving up and procrastination, but he’s really gone through it all there and there’s just so many great lists like that in this book, that really give you a lot to think about or gave me a lot to think about and he also has so many great little set of questions to go through and very clear examples about what to do but as I said, this is a book about the principles and you need to apply them adapt them in your own way this isn’t a book about spoon-feeding and I think a lot of the time, people might say, a book like this isn’t practical, because he isn’t spoon-feeding and he actually says… guys looking over the book earlier to get some quotes out which was super challenging because I have literally like, I would say at least a hundred tabs. I’ve highlighted more than that and then I tab this stuff that I’m like, that’s extra good.
But he says in the introduction, the secret to which I refer which is like the whole principle that he’s talking about has been mentioned no fewer than a hundred times throughout this book, it has not been directly named for it seems to work more successfully when it is merely uncovered, and left in sight where those who are ready and searching for it may pick it up. If you are ready to put it to use, you will recognize this secret at least once in every chapter. I wish, I might feel privileged to tell you how you will know if you are ready but that would deprive you of much of the benefit you will receive when you make the discovery, in your own way.
And yeah, he really talks about in the book how you need to be looking for it and that this isn’t a book about spoon-feeding you really need to be thinking and maybe that’s why it’s called Think and Grow Rich but you really need to be thinking and analyzing. And I just absolutely loved going through this book. There were only a few sections that were kind of weird, there’s a chapter, one of the 13 steps is called “The Mystery of Sex Transmutation” and he’s really just talking about how sex and love and romance is just a really powerful emotion. But when I was reading through, I was like, “I don’t quite get this, like exactly what you’re saying, but I’m sure when I read through it, again, hopefully, it would make more sense.”
So there are other things I really got from the book, including, and this is kind of the overarching idea but responsibility, he said in the book we are where we are and what we are because of our own conduct and because of what we think. So I think that this book, it’s a really great one. I’m going to be re-reading it a lot, and I have been applying the processes that he talks about, though, in the last few weeks I’ve been really stuck with my affirmations. I handwrite them, you guys. I know if you’ve listened to me talking about it though I do say them, sometimes as well like in the car but I usually write them and I’ve just found what I’m learning at school, and at uni, things really seep into my mind through writing them out.
I know everyone’s slightly different learner but for me, writing them out, I would learn my French orals and stuff by writing them out and then, only once I’d memorize it that way, then I’d stop practice and saying it. So yeah, I’ve been slack in the last few weeks with doing my affirmations and I can totally feel it 100%. It’s so fascinating when I’m doing it every day, I just act a different way because I’m constantly with my goal and with the belief that I can achieve my goal at the top of mind and when I haven’t been doing them for a couple of weeks for one of those weeks, I was doing a reduced amount and then I haven’t done them for a couple of weeks. I can just feel that belief slipping and I am definitely going to be getting back into doing it and I really want to share this stuff with you guys because I think at least in my experience, habits really like… and when I’m in a habit, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I get it done every single day, it’s just that I do it the majority of the time.
I think it’s what we do most of the time that counts and that’s why it’s so important not to make it mean anything when you skip a day or a couple of weeks or just when life happens. So I’m definitely still in the habit of it, I would say. And my standard for habit isn’t 100% perfection, it would be, I would say about 80% of the time, more often than not.
I also… I think I mentioned this in a previous podcast episode, but just relating to habits. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jim Rohn and he talks about the things, the habits that really make or break creating the lives that we want. I think that it’s easy to do but they’re easing not to do, and I think affirmations definitely falls in that category, that it’s easy to do it literally you’re just writing a sentence 15 times super easy to do. You don’t even really need to think, because the sentence is already planned. It couldn’t be easier but it also means it’s easy not to do it, it’s easy to convince myself that it won’t make a difference, but I can tell from the last couple of weeks, not having done it that the belief in my impossible goal is slipping and when that belief is slipping I start acting differently as in I have stopped to some extent, taking as much action towards my goal and I know this is also like a super sneaky way that I self-sabotage or have in the past that I don’t blatantly quit, I just slowly give up, and I slowly just… so not even giving up, I would say, I just slowly withholding effort so that if I don’t achieve my goal, I can point to that and be like, “Oh well, but I didn’t achieve my goal, if I tried harder than I would have achieved my goal.”
And I know a lot of you guys can relate to that if you crammed for exams and did assignments in the last minute is exactly that, it’s very rarely being disorganized and it’s very likely that you’re just trying to save yourself an excuse that if you don’t do as well as you’d thought and you grow up getting told that you’re smart, so if you don’t want any evidence that you’re not smart, so what you do is you do everything in the last minute, you withhold effort, so you can say you didn’t try your hardest. Imagine how well I would have done if I had tried my hardest, withhold effort. Do it over last minute. And it has this two-way effect, if you achieve your goal or get the mark then you feel extra smart because you hadn’t tried your hardest and you get to live in this fairytale land where you had tried your hardest and you do even better, and if you don’t do as well as you planned then you have this excuse that you crammed, you did it at the last minute, and you can still live in the same fairytale land of… if I had tried harder like imagine how good I would have done and it’s something I did all throughout uni, I wasn’t really on to it throughout uni I think only towards my last couple of years, but now that I have my business and I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m working towards goals, I can see it coming up and a affirmations just really help me keep that goal top of mind, create the belief that it’s possible, and keep acting towards it, and I feel that this is like me being super sinking with myself and just slowly backing away from it.
And then at the end of the year, it leaves me room to say to you guys, “Well, I didn’t achieve it, but it’s because I didn’t try my best” and that makes me feel better than if I said, “I didn’t achieve it, and I try my hardest and I don’t know what else I could have done” which is a very vulnerable way to feel, but I really do want to get to the end of the year and be able to say, I did achieve it or I didn’t achieve it, but I gave it my all and it’s been a very interesting lesson in what it means to give it my all because I’m finding that it’s very challenging to do it for a whole year. At the time of recording, this is the third of July. So I literally… at the halfway point of the year, and I can feel myself or sharing. There’s no way you can achieve it.
And it’s because I have been neglecting my mind, I have been neglecting the daily habits that are easy to do, but are also very easy not to do so I’m getting myself back into those habits. I’ve actually had the last few days, I’ve just felt like really in a bit of a slump, I mean, I don’t want to label it as anything.
It was just two days of being quite tired and I did my Grow Your Blog workshop, which was amazing on Sunday morning, for all of you who were there, thank you very much for all of your feedback. And I’m loving the Facebook group. We have for it, The Smart Twenties Bloggers group and all of that.
But after it, I just was on a high and then very quickly, I just felt completely exhausted, I think as well it’s because I needed to– when I’m presenting a live workshop and there are people interacting with me, I need to be on. And it went for two hours. Forty I went a bit over time and I am just talking on a stuff, I mean I do it for podcast episodes, but it’s different because I don’t actually need to be thinking about how I look and I’m also just not doing it for as long and there’s no engagement, so it’s not requiring as much energy.
But anyway, the last couple of days, I’ve just been snoozing my alarm and all sorts of things and I’m just doing my best not to make it mean anything, and I’m getting myself back into my routines, including my affirmations and my personal development work in the morning and I’m at home today because I’m doing this podcast episode, I’m also getting prepared for the photo shoot, that I’m doing here on Thursday, so if you follow me on Instagram, my account is @smarttwenties. I’m having my photographer Kate, come over here and we’re taking some more photos so some of them have been on my Instagram for my last photoshoot that I did with her, and I’m getting some more taken just so I have a really nice photos to put on my blog and my Instagram and it’s just really fun.
So I’m at home today preparing for that, getting my outfits together. I also just want to quickly mention, I don’t know I have talked about this before, it’s not on the topic at all of Think and Grow Rich or anything like that, but actually, he did kind of mention it in here, I was reading it just before. Maybe I’ll flip through as I’m talking and see if you can find it, but I feel like with social media, at least from my perspective, there’s really this pressure to keep up with everyone, to always having your outfit and always be looking your best, and just always, I don’t know, be like fitting in and it’s been really interesting because with my photo shoot the first one, I needed about five different outfits and I was just like, “I have nothing to wear” ended up finding some stuff but then with this second one, some stuff that was already in my wardrobe and I think I got a couple of tops then in this one, I’ve been like, “I have nothing to wear, like I already used all my good outfits and I need to go out and get new stuff” and then I just had to catch myself and be like, “No, I don’t actually. And I don’t really want to be part of perpetuating this idea that we always need new clothes” and that there’s a problem, we’re wearing the same close or not being up with the latest trends or whatever it is. And I find myself like wanting to live up to that expectation. It’s not even like a set expectation, but I think you guys know what I mean.
And I’m not even like a fashion blogger or anything like that, but I still feel this need to have new outfits and so I’ve just been getting my clothes together and forcing myself, not forcing myself but actually just letting myself wear things that I already have, looking for new combinations of things which is good for just day-to-day life as well, but also just not telling myself this story that I need to just have a new outfit for it to be valuable, and I don’t know, I think it will be good.
Anyway, there’s a quote in here, actually, that I did read before, which kind of goes into this. He said, “The astute of manufacturers of clothing have not been slow to capitalize on this basic fear of criticism, with which all mankind has been cursed every season the styles and many articles of wearing apparel change. Who establishes the styles? Certainly not the purchaser of clothing, but the manufacturer. Why does he change the color often? The answer is obvious, he changes the style, so he can see all clothes.
I agree with that, and this is really interesting because this was written in the 1930s and I think it’s still definitely applicable but that’s just something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on the podcast, maybe I have it all kind of just blurs into one and I can’t remember what I’ve been thinking about and what I’ve talked about, but yeah, that is something that I’m not wanting to feed into this idea that we always need new clothes all the time. And that we’re only valuable if we’re always keeping up.
So I am… right after this just going to be going through my wardrobe and picking out the things and ironing them, the things that I’m going to be wearing on Thursday. So yeah, that’s what I’m… to, I hope you guys are having a lovely day also, just so you know if you want to get this book, I’ll leave some links at the show notes, smart-twenties.com/episode 35 but I have the edition that is Think and Grow Rich, the complete classic text, it’s black with this gold writing on it. There are quite a few different additions, but I got this one from bookdepository.com and yeah, so anyway, I hope this has been helpful.
I’m actually also going to a couple of other things. So Brooke Castillo from The Life Coach School podcast who at this point I have now mentioned three times, she did an episode on this book she goes through some of the books and just pull out quotes and certain things, and of course everyone has a different take on this book, and I think hers is quite different to mine, from memory, and I actually, I know it is because when I was listening to hers, I was like “Oh that’s really different stuff to what I got out of the book” So I haven’t really talked about any of the stuff that she talks about in that episode. So if you want to listen to that and hear a bit more about the book, you can go and find that I’ll link it in the show notes and there’s also this really great summary if you want to know more about what’s actually in the book but you don’t want to read it which I don’t recommend, I recommend you read it, but I get it, there’s lots of stuff to do.
So, Earl Nightingale, he did a talk that’s like a summary of this book. There’s a video of it on YouTube, it’s not of him talking, it’s just like, random images but you don’t need to watch it, you just need to listen. And actually, one of you guys did watch it, and it’s all… and I’ve watched it. It’s just like all these expensive cars, and all sorts of images like these really nice houses. Don’t think that the images have anything to do with what he’s talking about, that’s just what they’ve done because there is no video to go with it. So they’ve just made their own. So just listen to the audio. I converted it to mp3, I Googled like YouTube to MP3 and you can do that. I think it’s like literally youtubetomp3.com something like that.
And I just listened to it, I’ve listened to it, I would say at least 50 times and not exaggerating. I listen to things over and over again, and he really goes through the book, it’s about 45 minutes long from memory, and sort of captures a lot of the key principles in that. So I also recommend listening to that, but definitely pick yourself up a copy, it won’t take you too long to read. Once I got my act together and actually sat down and read this, I don’t think it took too long at all.
So yeah, that’s all for me, today. I hope you are well. Go and check out the show notes if you want to look at the things that I mentioned, and I will talk to you next time, bye!