Written by Napoleon Hill and his second wife, Rosa Lee Beeland, in 1937, Think and Grow Rich is foundational in personal success and self-help. Hill professed that his inspiration for the guide came from 20 years of experience and study, particularly of successful wealthy businessmen like Andrew Carnegie. (Though there is no proof that the two ever met, and Hill hadn’t mentioned their acquaintance until after Carnegie’s death.) He was able to take what he learned and turn that knowledge into laws one could apply to achieve success, ultimately creating the “13 Steps to Riches” guide.
Although Hill had several cases of bankruptcy in his business ventures and even a case of fraud, his inspirational book has helped many over the last 90 years. Published at the end of the Great Depression, it was an immediate best-seller and remained that way for decades. Contributing to its success are the upbeat, positive thinking and specific steps readers can follow to achieve their goals. Hill believed in manifesting thoughts into reality, which is the basis of the steps. And it all starts with a burning desire.
The 13 Steps to Riches per Napoleon Hill
1. Desire: Start with a strong desire or burning ambition to achieve a specific goal or outcome.
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
2. Faith: Have unwavering faith in yourself and your ability to achieve your goal.
“Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say.”
3. Autosuggestion: Use positive self-talk and affirmations to reinforce your beliefs and goals.
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
4. Specialized knowledge: Acquire the knowledge and skills needed to achieve your goal.
“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”
5. Imagination: Use your imagination to visualize your goal and see yourself achieving it.
“The oak sleeps in the acorn. The bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of reality.”
6. Organized planning: Develop a detailed plan of action to achieve your goal.
“The time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
7. Decision: Make a firm decision to follow through on your plan and never give up.
“If you give up before your goal has been reached, you are a ‘quitter.’ A QUITTER NEVER WINS AND A WINNER NEVER QUITS. Lift this sentence out, write it on a piece of paper in letters an inch high, and place it where you will see it every night before you go to sleep and every morning before you go to work.”
8. Persistence: Keep working towards your goal, even when faced with obstacles or setbacks.
“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
9. Power of the Master Mind: Surround yourself with like-minded people who support and encourage you.
“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.”
10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation: Use the power of your sexual energy to fuel your desire and drive.
“Disappointment over love affairs generally has the effect of driving men to drink, and women to ruin; and this, because most people never learn the art of transmuting their strongest emotions into dreams of a constructive nature.”
11. The Subconscious Mind: Tap into the power of your subconscious mind to help you achieve your goals.
“There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY to receive it. No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief.”
12. The Brain: Use your brain to analyze, plan, make decisions, and take action.
“The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is the habit of keeping it busy with a definite purpose, backed by a definite plan.”
13. The Sixth Sense: Trust your intuition and inner guidance to help you make the right decisions and achieve your goals.
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
If you are ready to achieve those goals you’ve been writing down, take Hill’s steps to heart and see where they lead you. Believe in yourself, expect imagination to become reality, set a plan into place, and work towards success. One failure doesn’t mean ultimate destruction; regroup when necessary, think positively, and bring helpful excited people in to help where needed. Success is not measured by monetary riches alone; personal relationship riches achieved through perseverance and positivity are just as important.
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