Think and Grow Rich is one of the most celebrated, and often, recommended books on the topic of self-help and business development. Andrew Carnegie commissioned this book, and it includes interviews of 500 of the greatest men of the early 20th century, including Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilbur Wright, and W. Howard Taft. First published in 1937, it has now sold more than 70 million copies, giving it the distinction of being the all-time bestseller in the personal success category.
I certainly don’t agree with everything in this book, but it stands to reason that uncommon success must come from uncommon thoughts and actions. If some of this advice seems a little “out there,” or too intangible, vague and short-lived to be useful, remember who it’s coming from, and suspend judgment until you’ve tested it for yourself. But, I feel like there is a strong connection to many of the building blocks discussed in Hill’s book and the concept of attraction in general. After my review and detailed reading of the work, here are the top ten concepts that directly relate to The Law of Attraction:
1. Desire: The Starting Point of All Achievement
It may be stating the obvious, but growing rich starts with the desire to do so. The desire discussed here is not simply wishing, but is an intense, burning obsession, which must be coupled with both a plan and persistence in sticking to the plan. The author presents a six-part method to ensure that this is the type of desire you are starting with:
a. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire.
b. Determine exactly what you intend to give for this money.
c. Establish a definite date by which you intend to acquire this money.
d. Create a definite plan to acquire the money, and take the first step immediately.
e. Put the four items above into a clear, concise sentence describing each part.
f. Read the statement aloud twice daily, in the morning and at night.
The principle here is that desire has ways to “transmute” (transform) into its physical equivalent. This is the beginning of the key principle of the book: that the subconscious mind acts beneath the surface to accomplish what it is directed to accomplish. This is also the premise for an idea like the Law of Attraction. You have to visualize that which you want to achieve.
2. Faith: Visualization of, and Belief in Attainment of Desire
Of course, the subconscious mind must believe that something is possible in order to act on it. Faith is an interesting concept, but in this context the author defines it as “a state of mind which may be induced, or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind. It is by this practice that you can convince your subconscious mind to “translate that impulse into its physical equivalent, by the most practical procedure available.”
The author attributes both good and ill fortune to this practice. In other words, someone who lets himself believe negative things has communicated to his subconscious to act upon those negative beliefs and translate them into reality. Someone who neglects this practice, and allows his subconscious to go where it will, risks being set up for failure by the operation of the subconscious that will continue regardless.
3. Autosuggestion: The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind
The author asserts that exercising this control requires both conscious attention, and the mixing of emotion (a word the author uses interchangeably with “belief” or “faith”) with what you tell yourself. He presents repetitive visualization as the best method of accomplishing this mixture — actually picturing the appearance of a specific amount of money, consistently over time. Eventually, this will cue your subconscious to “hand over” specific plans to begin to make it happen. Simply put, autosuggestion is the practice of communicating to yourself using your conscious mind for the purpose of convincing your subconscious. As humans, we can exercise complete control over what reaches our subconscious mind (through our five senses), but most people don’t often exercise that control.
4. Specialized Knowledge: Personal Experiences or Observations
In this chapter, the author makes a down-to-earth assertion — that general knowledge itself is useless in accumulating wealth. You must have specific knowledge and skills (how to fix a leaky faucet, diagnose a disease, build a financial model, etc.) in order to add value and be paid for it. While this is a commonly misunderstood principle, it should be evident to anyone that general education does not correlate with wealth; instead, specific knowledge applied to specific tasks is what actually leads to money. That is, the Law of Attraction requires that you take active steps to position yourself for success.
5. Imagination: The Workshop of the Mind
Mr. Hill separates imagination into two conceptual types: synthetic imagination, which simply rearranges existing ideas into new concepts, and creative imagination, which creates something from nothing. Transforming desire into money requires specific plans, which come most often through synthetic imagination. The author scoffs at the idea that riches come from hard work; more often, he contends, riches of great quantity have come “in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles…when a creator of ideas and a seller of ideas got together and worked in harmony.” The ideas that come from imagination are the forces that cause things to come into being. You must add imagination to specialized knowledge to grow rich.
6. Organized Planning: The Crystallization of Desire Into Action
This next step toward riches requires an alliance with a group of people for the purpose of carrying out your plans. To succeed, you must be sure to compensate these individuals in some manner, meet with them at least twice a week, and maintain harmony with each individual in the group. Faultless plans are essential for the growing of riches, and only the abilities and imaginations of multiple individuals will allow the creation of plans that are perfect, or as near so as possible. Process of planning must be continuous and persistent, since failure will often come before success despite your best efforts. You must select individuals who are likewise persistent. In addition, you must develop the qualities of a leader if you expect to lead such individuals in any endeavor. That said, this principle plays in perfect harmony with the Law of Attraction, as it requires you to begin the process of planning your ultimate goals in order to better reach them.
7. Decision: The Mastery of Procrastination
The lacking of an ability to actually make a decision often separates those that reach the pinnacle of success and those that do not. Hill claims that without exception, all successful people have the habit of making decisions promptly, and of changing them slowly. People who have no desire of their own are heavily influenced by the opinions of others, and are not likely to succeed. Great accomplishments come from courageous decisions. The ability to decide quickly comes from knowing what it is you want, and it is that ability that defines leaders. As the author states, “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.” The Law of Attraction requires that you consider what you want…and then act on it. Thought without action keeps you at the starting gate.
8. Persistence: The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith
The addition of willpower to desire is the basis of persistence, which must be applied to the other principles in this book in order to grow rich. Persistence is a state of mind that can be cultivated by having definiteness of purpose, desire, self-reliance, definiteness of plans, accurate knowledge, cooperation, willpower, and habit. It is often easy to actually say what you want — it becomes much more difficult to then maintain that belief system and persistence when the going gets tough. To attract anything into your life, you have to continue to focus on it, hold a deeply felt faith, and preserve it even during times of great challenge.
9. Power of the Master Mind: The Driving Force
The Law of Attraction requires that you surround yourself with same-minded people. In this chapter, Mr. Hill delves further into the necessity and power of the master mind, discussing both the economic and “psychic” features of having such a group of individuals to support you. The economic is simple; as discussed earlier, the combination of experience and brainpower is a serious economic advantage. However, despite the pages devoted to discussing the psychic feature of the mastermind, that particular component is more difficult to pin down.
10. The Subconscious Mind: The Connecting Link
Specifically addressing the central subject of this book, the author reminds us that directing the subconscious mind via the other principles discussed throughout this book is something that can be done only through habit. To grow rich, you must continually draw upon the positive emotions, rather than allow your mind to dwell on the negative ones. Faith cannot coexist with fear. This is a fundamental principle that controls the Law of Attraction. You have to plant the seeds of positivity into your inner-being, so that you actually default to what you want in a subconscious manner.
“You create your own universe as you go along.” — Winston Churchill