As an avid reader of books on personal development people often ask what is the one book I'd recommend. The answer is "Think and Grow Rich" by Napolean Hill. Its a business and life classic.
Napolean was introduced by Andrew Carnegie to the most successful people at the time. He studied what principles they all had in common and came up with 17 principles which I'll list below.
1. Definiteness of Purpose
Develop Definiteness of Purpose. Success and progress towards achieving your goals in life begin with knowing where you are going. Any dominating idea, plan, or purpose held in your conscious mind through repeated effort and emotionalized by a burning desire for its realization is taken over by the subconscious and acted upon through whatever natural and logical means may be available. Your mental attitude gives power to everything you do. If your attitude is positive, your actions and thoughts further your ends? If your attitude is negative, you are constantly undermining your own efforts. The starting point of all human achievement is the development of a Definite Major Purpose. Without a definite major purpose, you are as helpless as a ship without a compass.
2. Mastermind Alliance
Establish a Mastermind Alliance. A mastermind alliance consists of two or more minds working actively together in perfect harmony toward a common definite objective. Through a mastermind alliance you can appropriate and use the full strength of the experience, training, and knowledge of others just as if they were your own. No individual has ever achieved success without the help and cooperation of others. The value of “gathering together those of a like mind” is self-evident. A group of brains coordinated in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery.
3. Applied Faith
Use Applied Faith. Faith is awareness of, belief in, and harmonizing with the universal powers. Faith is a state of mind which must be active not passive, to be useful in achieving lasting success. Close the door to fear behind you and you will quickly see the door of faith open before you. Fear is nothing more than a state of mind, which is subject to your own direction and control. Faith will not bring you what you desire, but it will show you the way to go after it for yourself.
4. Going the Extra Mile
Go the Extra Mile. Strength and struggle go hand in hand. Render more and better service than you are paid for, and sooner or later you will receive compound interest from your investment. The end of the rainbow is at the end of the second mile. The quality of the service rendered, plus the quantity of service rendered, plus the mental attitude in which it is rendered, equals your compensation. The more you give, the more you get.
5. Pleasing Personality
Assemble an Attractive Personality. A Positive Mental Attitude is the right mental attitude in any given situation. Courtesy is your most profitable asset… and it is absolutely free! Emotions are nothing but reflections of your mental attitude, which you can organize, guide, and completely control. Your personality is your greatest asset or your greatest liability because it embraces everything you control …your mind, body, and soul. To be happy, make someone else happy!
6. Personal Initiative
Create Personal Initiative. It is better to act on a plan that is still weak than to delay acting at all. Procrastination is the archenemy of personal initiative. Personal Initiative:
succeeds where others fail
creates the future
Procrastinators are experts in creating alibis.
Personal initiative is the inner power that starts all action.
7. Positive Mental Attitude
Build a Positive Mental Attitude. A Positive Mental Attitude is the single most important principle of the science of success, without which you cannot get the maximum benefit from the other sixteen principles. Success attracts success and failure attracts more failure. Your mental attitude is the only thing over which you, and only you, have complete control. A Positive Mental Attitude attracts opportunities for success, while a Negative Mental Attitude repels opportunities and doesn’t even take advantage of them when they do come along. A positive mind finds a way it can be done… a negative mind looks for all the ways it can’t be done.
Control Your Enthusiasm. To be enthusiastic-act enthusiastically! Enthusiasm is to progress toward success as gasoline is to a car’s engine. It is the fuel that drives things forward. Enthusiasm stimulates your subconscious mind. By feeding your conscious mind with enthusiasm, you impress upon your subconscious that your burning desire and your plan for attaining it are certain. Enthusiasm is a state of mind. It inspires action and is the most contagious of all emotions. Enthusiasm is more powerful than logic, reason, or rhetoric in getting your ideas across and in winning over others to your viewpoint.
Enforce Self-Discipline. Self-discipline is the process that ties together all your efforts of controlling your mind, your personal initiative, positive mental attitude and controlling your enthusiasm. Self-discipline makes you think before you act. The subconscious has access to all departments of the mind, but is not under the control of any. If you don’t discipline yourself, you are sure to be disciplined by others. Without self-discipline, you are as dangerous as a car running downhill without brakes or steering wheel.
10. Accurate Thinking
Think Accurately. Thoughts have power, are under your control, and can be used wisely or unwisely. Accurate thinkers accept no political, religious, or other type of thought, regardless of its source, until it is carefully analyzed. Accurate thinkers are the masters of their emotions. Accurate thought involves two fundamentals. First you must separate facts from information. Second you must separate facts into two classes? The important and unimportant. Accurate thinkers allow no one to do their thinking for them.
11. Controlled Attention
Control Your Attention. Keep your mind ON the things you want and OFF the things you don’t want! It is much easier to focus your attention on something you believe will happen than on something you believe is unlikely. Controlled attention is the act of coordinating all the faculties of your mind and directing their combined power to a specific end. Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy your mind at the same time. Independence starts with self-dependence.
Inspire Teamwork. There is no record of any great contribution to civilization without the cooperation of others. Enthusiasm is contagious and teamwork is the inevitable result. A good football team relies more on harmonious coordination of effort than individual skill. Most people will respond more freely to a request than they will to an order. Helping others solve their problems will help you solve your own.
13. Adversity and Defeat
Learn From Adversity and Defeat. Everyone faces defeat. It may be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced. Failure and pain are one language through which nature speaks to every living creature. You are never a failure until you accept defeat as permanent and quit trying. Edison failed 10,000 times before perfecting the electric light bulb. Don’t worry if you fail once. Every adversity, every failure, and every unpleasant experience carries with it the seed of an equivalent benefit which may prove to be a blessing in disguise.
14. Creative Vision
Cultivate Creative Vision. Creative imagination has its base in the subconscious and is the medium through which you recognize new ideas and newly learned facts. Synthetic imagination springs from experience and reason; creative imagination springs from your commitment to your definite purpose. Imagination recognizes limitations. Creative vision sees no limitations. Your imaginative faculty will become weak through inaction. It can be revived through use. The man who dipped a chunk of ice cream in chocolate and called it “Eskimo Pie” made a fortune for the five seconds of imagination it took to create the idea!
15. Maintenance of Sound Health
Maintain Sound Health. To maintain a Positive Mental Attitude and develop a healthy mind and body, you must conquer fear and anxiety. Anything that affects your physical health also affects your mental health. A Positive Mental Attitude is the most important quality for sound mental and physical health. Exercise produces both physical and mental buoyancy. It clears sluggishness and dullness from body and mind. If you haven’t the willpower to keep your physical body in repair, you lack the power of will to maintain a positive mental attitude in other important circumstances that control your life.
16. Budgeting Time and Money
Budget Your Time and Money. Tell me how you use your time and how you spend your money, and I will tell you where and what you’ll be ten years from now. Take regular inventory of yourself to learn how and where you are spending your time and money. The secret of getting things done is: DO IT NOW! Time is too precious to be wasted on arguments and discontent. Some mistakes are able to be corrected, except the mistake of wasting time. When time is gone, it is gone forever.
17. Cosmic Habit Force
Use of Cosmic Habitforce. It takes a habit to replace a habit. All of your successes and failures are results of habits you have formed. The orderliness of the world of natural laws gives evidence that they are under control of a universal plan. For every result there is a cause, and results are brought about through the use of cosmic habitforce. First you create a habit, then it creates you.
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