“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.” – Napoleon Hill
In sales, we follow the strategy of ABC – Always Be Closing.
As business leaders, however, we should ABL – Always Be Learning.
One of the most important habits you can build in this regard is to read daily.
Leaders are readers. Leaders are learners.
Whether you prefer to read a good old-fashioned book or magazine, scroll through materials on a tablet or mobile device, or even “read” via audiobooks, the most important habit is to consistently fill your mind with new information.
As I stay on the green, growing edge of my own learning, I’m able to assimilate new information to expand my vision, improve my performance, and create ever-greater results. To help you accelerate your own journey of expansion and grow your leadership abilities, I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 favorite, most impactful books.
In this article, I’m going to share the 4 biggest lessons from Book #2 on my list, Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich.
“Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.” ― Napoleon Hill
For high achievers, Think and Grow Rich is a foundational work — almost a Bible of success. Bob Proctor has studied this book daily for more than 55 years. Although I can’t match his track record, I can share that I’ve read this book 20 to 30 times in the past 25 years – and I’ve taught from this powerful book for more than 15 years.
To understand why Think and Grow Rich is a must-read book for anyone who is serious about removing any self-imposed limitations on their success and igniting their innate ability to create dreams, it helps to know how the book came to be.
As the story goes, steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie, who was the richest man in the world at the time, invited Napoleon Hill to visit.
Carnegie issued Hill a thrilling invitation and challenge: “I know all the most successful people. I believe there’s a code or a reason why they’re successful. I also believe most of them don’t know what it is. They couldn’t really tell you what they’ve done to create success, but I know there’s a code and I want you to find that code and then share it with the general public. Because I believe that my success and the success of all of the most influential people that I know is something every single person can put into action. If they just knew what the steps were, if they just knew the code.”
Carnegie continued, “I won’t pay you for this research, but I will open up my Rolodex and introduce and connect you with the most successful people.”
Carnegie’s Rolodex was as impressive as he promised. Presidents like Franklin Delano Roosevelt … exemplary business leaders such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Wanamaker. All told, he introduced Hill to more than 200 of the most successful people at the beginning of the last century.
Hill spent 20 years studying their success. In 1937, he codified all that he had learned in Think and Grow Rich.
The book contains 17 timeless success principles, each of which taken alone can make a massive difference for you. Here are the 4 principles I’ve found to be most powerful.
““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.” – Napoleon Hill
1. Have a burning desire.
The critical word here is “burning.” Having a lukewarm desire won’t have the same effect. As you move through life, notice what speaks to you – what lights you up enough that you’re committed to creating that result in your life – no matter what. Notice when you say things like, “I have a burning desire to serve this community. I have a burning desire for this level of success in my life. I have a burning desire to help this particular individual.”
The first appearance that I found in my own life was at the age of 24. I found out I was going to be a dad, and my burning desire was to be a good father and to be a provider. A burning desire is what ignites the creation of your dream.
2. Create an organized plan and then be willing to refine that plan.
A dream without a plan is just a wish. It’s nice to think about, but the chances of you being able to turn it into a reality are slim to none. Creating a dream requires more than desire. It requires action, and the way to ensure you are taking the right actions at the right times is to create an organized plan. Think and Grow Rich includes lots of powerful information about how to create an organized plan so you have a roadmap for creating your success.
“A quitter never wins – and – a winner never quits.” – Napoleon Hill
3. Prepare for adversity
No matter how good your plan is, problems will occur. It’s an inevitable part of human life. The question is … how do you handle adversity?
In Think and Grow Rich, Hill talks about the adversity all of the successful people faced and their ability to do one really important thing: To see the good in whatever “problem” they were facing.
As Hill articulates this principle, “Every adversity has within it the seed of an equal or greater opportunity.” Highly successful people find the good in every situation – no matter how “bad” it is. I practice this skill constantly and believe that it is hands-down one of the most important steps you can take to increase your success.
4. Create a great team.
No person has ever amassed great wealth without the help of others. You simply must have good people around you. You can’t possibly do everything on your own, nor can you know everything you need to do. You need other people to create your dreams
If you are reading this, I consider you part of my team. And it’s my pleasure to be part of your team – if you will have me. Thank you for being part of my team. And thank you for letting me be a part of your team.
Think and Grow Rich contains 17 life-changing principles. The four key lessons I’ve shared here — find a burning desire, create an organized plan, be willing to find the good in whatever problems occur, and then surround yourself with good people — have had the greatest impact on my life.
I highly encourage you to get your own copy of this classic book — or if you already own it, to re-read it.
Then add your voice to the comments below. Let me know what impact these principles have had in your life – or if you’d rate Hill’s other principles as more powerful.
By the way, next week, I’m going to be in a special location. Check back and see what I am up to.