Recently, a friend of mine asked me what book has made the most impact on my journey. This was a tough question- I have never had to narrow it down to just one before… I thought for a while and had to choose “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. At first, this seemed sort of a copout because so many people use it as a book that changed their lives, but I truly think I made the right choice. I wanted to share the key concepts I picked up from the book and I hope maybe they can be useful to you.
Introduction to “Think and Grow Rich”
Napoleon Hill studied the rich and powerful for the better part of 25 years. He had access to Dale Carnegie’s personal friends and business acquaintances. Napoleon had an imagination second to none and is most likely the most self-confident person I’ve ever studied. If you’ve read the book, I’m sure you understand. Writing about imaginary meetings with the most powerful people in history and then telling the world about being an adult with these meetings, I’m sure people were ready to send him to the looney bin… As I will go through, these are not character flaws, these qualities are crucial to building the life you desire!
Thoughts are things- Thoughts are things and powerful things at that. Mr. Hill taught me it is not only ok to have an imagination, but it is necessary. Without an imagination to dream up the crazy stunts I pull and actually believing in my heart 100% I can do it, I would be the same old person I have always been. Mr. Hill also taught me it is ok to dream like a little kid as long as you take the action needed to make those dreams a reality. There is not better feeling than creating a dream so powerful in your mind that your body just starts taking action with only a vision.
“Truly, ‘thoughts are things,’ and powerful things at that. When they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches, or other material objects.”
Thinking Positive- Protect your mind from negativity to become successful. I wear a bracelet every single day that reads “Be Positive” “No Negativity Allowed”. It is a constant reminder to keep my head up and my eyes on the prize. I don’t have time for B.S. No time to watch the news or hear someone complain about politics or how bad the economy is. This may be very selfish, but 99% of what goes on in the news has no direct effect on me. Most of it is just put out there to get attention and create fear anyway. Walk away from the T.V., politics and bad news and watch your life transform in front of you!
“Until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy.”
Desire- The starting point of all achievement is desire. Darren Hardy has a saying “Does your ‘WHY’ make you cry?” Is what you are working for so powerful in your mind that if you fail you will cry? Is what you’re working for so powerful that if you succeed it will make you cry? If the answer is no, it is either a good idea to shift your focus or find out what it takes to create the desire in your goal. There is not a training run that goes by when I don’t imagine myself crossing the finish line in Leadville. The thought of not crossing scares me so bad, it wakes me up every single day well before 4 am most days and this morning, before 3… When you want something- have the imagination to see it, see yourself getting it and then create a burning desire so hot you can’t go without thinking about it every single second of every single day. Some people call this obsession, it’s really the starting point to accomplishing everything you’ve ever wanted.
“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
Action- Turn your burning desire into action. Nothing gets accomplished without taking action. I prefer massive action, but as long as you are taking daily consistent action, you will find the light. I can’t stress enough how important action is. It only takes one step taken to start a chain reaction. The chain reaction can lead you to your wildest dreams if you’ll just do it.
“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.”
Persistence- Take the action daily and don’t give up! Most men succeed right after a major failure. The universe is testing us to find out how much we really want what we are going after. I have learned to go for failure. Just start looking for rejection and trying to get someone to tell me no. The more times I hear no, the closer I am to a sale. The more times someone says it can’t be done, I know it isn’t because of my skills, but the limits they’ve put on themselves… If I can fail at something impossible, I know I will do extraordinary things! Don’t give up when faced when temporary defeat. Because that is all it is, temporary.
“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
Overcoming Failure- Just because something bad happens to us or we come up short on a goal doesn’t mean we have failed. Many of my greatest victories have come from overcoming failure. Don’t be afraid of failure, be afraid not to try. Making a mistake, coming up short on a goal, being held back by an event, these are all examples of opportunity to learn, make yourself better and try again. We only fail when we give up and don’t try again.
“If you give up before your goal is reached you’re a quitter. A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.”
Open Mind/Try New Things- This idea stems from all of the above. When all else fails don’t give up, try it a different way. I have used this concept in business, fitness, and with my family. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Don’t be insane, be flexible. I have gone about fitness in a much different way than most people. Everything I learned that made a difference came from business books. I truly think this is why I have been successful. I was looking for the ideas of discipline, persistence, flexibility, action, goals instead of calories, the type of food and the next fad of the week. As soon as someone told me success is not prepackaged and isn’t sold, it opened my eyes to a world of possibility. Success and accomplishment is a mix between trying, failing, experiences, hopes, dreams, actions and persistence. There is no one set way to get what you want. You have to try and fail until you find your way.
“I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them, and in myself.”
These are just a couple of the concepts I have learned from “Think and Grow Rich”. This is a book I read 2 to 4 times a year now. I study it more than I have ever studied a book (well more than I’ve ever studied anything really…). I listen to it in my car and will put it on while I run. I have never gone through more than 3 minutes without finding a concept that can make me a better person, father, husband, runner or business person. I hope this book does for you what it has done for me.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
Best Day Yet,