Think and Grow Rich

By Keith Varnum

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.
– Napoleon Hill

Before the now famous CD The Secret came Napoleon Hill’s 1937 motivational revelation Think and Grow Rich. The classic began the explosion of personal empowerment that continues unabated to this day. Hill prefigures the “Prosperity Consciousness” of present-day New Age thinkers. Think and Grow Rich is one of the best-selling self-help books of all time, having sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

Providing the origin for the CD’s name, Hill refers to the “Carnegie Secret.” This secret is an awareness which Hill purports is the foundation of all success. Hill writes that “the secret was brought to my attention by Andrew Carnegie,” who commissioned him to interview 500 of the richest people to learn how they created their wealth. By interviewing such individuals as William Wrigley, Alexander Graham Bell, Charles M. Schwab, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and Woodrow Wilson, Hill verified Carnegie’s premise that the key to wealth creation is that all wealth is created with the human mind.

Hill indirectly describes the “secret” in every chapter, but never states it plainly, believing that the secret “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.” (his capitalization)

A Blueprint for Bounty

Hill lays out 15 personal achievement “laws” that anyone can use to achieve success. He is adamant that we grow spiritually in order to lure wealth our way. He stresses the need to cultivate a burning desire, unwavering persistence, and the consistent use of autosuggestion in order to attain our goals. He also includes practical business advice: find new opportunities created by technological innovations, make a written plan, and don’t be afraid to fail repeatedly.

Food for the Soul

The information contained in Think and Grow Rich is pioneering and well defined, yet the genius to the effectiveness of the work is the majesty and clarity of Hill’s expression. Hill understands the turn of a phrase, the nuance of using very specific words and images, and the dynamism of real life examples. His vocabulary is rich and vibrant—and thereby emotionally moving and inspiring.

The brilliance of Hill’s masterpiece comes as much from how he states his wisdom as from what he has to say. He knows that the secret he wants to share cannot be captured in a single concept, and cannot be adequately conveyed in one catchy phrase. Hill wants us to absorb and integrate this awareness on a very deep level, so that we will be able to use it successfully in our lives. To this end, he fills his book with colorful and precise language that invokes the spirit of the secret. His words are to be tasted, savored, consumed, digested, and assimilated—not merely intellectually understood.

Think and Grow Rich is written for the soul, not the mind. Listen to his words with your heart—the part of you that already knows the truth of what he writes! His “secret” is a living being to be met with a playful willingness. In this way the power of this truth can be re-awakened in your daily actions—and the bounty of the truth can be fully manifest in your daily life.

To me, Hill’s secret is a space, a portal, that opens up in your world as you let in the essence, the energy, of his sharing. The secret is a sense of awe and wonder—and of birthright and ownership. It’s a coming home to the truth of our most natural potential.

Thoughts Beget Reality

At the outset of the book Hill asserts, “Thoughts are things, and powerful things when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence and a burning desire for their translation into riches or other material objects.” As he describes how to go about success: “He thought himself into a fortune!”

Hill graphically illustrates how all creation works: “The ether in which this little earth floats in which we move and have our being is a form of energy moving at an inconceivably high rate of vibration. The ether is filled with a form of universal power which adapts itself to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our minds and influences us in natural ways to transmute our thoughts into their physical equivalent. … Our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our mind. These magnets attract to us the forces, people, circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.”

And he warns, “This power makes no attempt to discriminate between constructive thoughts and destructive thoughts. This power will urge us to translate into physical reality thoughts of poverty just as quickly as it will influence us to act upon thoughts of riches.”

Pump Up the Passion

Realizing the crucial role of strong enthusiasm, Hill declares that “Desire is the starting point of all achievement. The first step toward riches. The desire is not a hope. It is not a wish. It is a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything else. … I had learned from years of experience with men that when a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.”

Definiteness with a Plan

He muses, “What a different story men would have to tell if only they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession. Ideas can be transmuted into cash through the power of definite purpose plus definite plans.”

Dogged Determination

Hill emphasizes, “He had nothing to start with except the capacity to know what he wanted and the determination to stand by that desire until he realized it. … Every person who wins in every undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, essential to success.”

Invite the Unexpected

Yet Hill cautions that “When the opportunity came, it appeared in a different form and from a different direction than he had expected. … That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in the back door and often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat. … Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.”

The Trickster of Failure

Drawing from his 500 interviews with successful people, Hill advises, “One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is what the majority of men do. Failure takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach. Learn the art of converting defeat into stepping stones to opportunity.”

Feel Your Goal as Achieved Now

With divine clarity, Hill shares the essence of manifestation: “See and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the goal. … Money consciousness means that the mind has become so thoroughly saturated with the desire for money that one can see oneself already in possession of it. You must be an intense dreamer who has the vision and imagination to see realities in their mental and spiritual form before they have been transmuted into their physical form. If you do not see riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.”

No Hard Work Required!

Surprisingly, Hill is not an advocate of struggle: “Riches begin with a state of mind with definiteness of purpose with little or no hard work. … These steps call for no hard labor, no sacrifice, no great amount of education.”

Harness Sexual Energy

Intriguingly—considering the era in which he lived—Hill also discusses harnessing Kundalini energy, manifesting psychic powers such as telepathy, tapping into higher consciousness, and getting in touch with the Great Minds of history. In perhaps the most revealing and valuable statement of the book, Hill writes, “The emotions of faith, love and sex are the most powerful of all positive emotions.”

Emotion Is Your Power

Recognizing the central purpose of feeling, Hill suggests “All thoughts which have been emotionalized (given feeling) and mixed with faith translate themselves into their physical equivalent. The feeling portion of thoughts give our thoughts vitality, life and action.”

The Key to Hill’s Secret

I would suggest that feeling is the key to being able to fully use Hill’s secret to attract outrageous abundance into your life. As you read his words here—and in his book—feel the meaning of his words in your body—and in your soul. Read each profound truth aloud. Feel the place within your body, within your being, where that truth resonates. That vibration, that energy, within you is the secret! And it is the secret to your success. From that knowing feeling space you can attract whatever you desire into your world.

Experience Fully these Truths of Napoleon Hill:

“Power is organized and intelligently directed knowledge. Power is organized effort sufficient to enable an individual to transmute desire into its monetary equivalent.”

“Success comes to those who become success conscious. Failure comes to those who allow themselves to become failure conscious.”

“Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success. Every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.”

Live long and prosper!