How Starting A Business Feels

In 24 hours, with less than $8 in start up costs, Noah Kagan earned $1000 in profit.

He did this by creating a new business. A subscription jerky service.

Meat snacks by mail.

And, since these are subscriptions, in 3 months he’ll start getting approximately $300/month in recurring revenue on top of the $1000 he’s already collected.

Amazing results.

A continuous $300/month income for 1 day of work.

How many “days of work” would you need to do to completely replace your income?

At that rate, 28 days would be $8400/month…or $100k/year.

A month of work and you’re set with a $100k salary…not just for that year, but for multiple years after that.

That’s the power of creating a business.

Tell Me How!

How he did this is detailed in the AppSumo Jerky post.

A further analysis and commentary of the methods he used can be found at shoestring 101.

Is That The Whole Story?

The “how” is obviously interesting, but it misses a key piece.

I want to look at how this FELT.

When doing something that requires persistence like starting a business, it’s a good idea to accurately set your expectations. That way when it gets hard, you’ll be expecting it, and you won’t give up.

Just reading the AppSumo post, the actual actions he took sound pretty easy.

But he says he worked harder than he has in a long time, and that he was surprisingly tired afterward.

Worked hard?

He made some social media posts, sent some emails, and made some phone calls.

He probably does that every day.

YOU probably do that every day on TOP of your regular job.

Why so tired?

I’m willing to bet (from personal experience) that the exhaustion had something to do with the emotional drain of pushing through after being rejected.

He doesn’t go into detail about rejections in his write up, but he has a link to the spreadsheet where he tracked his progresss.

The Pain Behind The Numbers

To get to $1000 in profit, he needed about $3000 in sales.

So let’s dig in to that spreadsheet and see if we can recreate some of the exhausting pain he went through while getting that $1000 in profit.

And hopefully, we can inoculate ourselves to that pain, and be able to push through when it shows up in our own businesses.

Friends and Family

Look at lines 20, 21, 32…aka Brother, Parents, and “good friend”.

ALL 3 were flat-out rejections. $0 in sales.

That’s the holy triumvirate of rejection.

If you can’t count on family and “good friends” to back you up…who can you count on?!

Notice this is about $100 in purchases he was probably CERTAIN he could get.

Think about how that feels.

Oof…bit of a gut punch.

Remember though, he did get to the $3000 in sales, and $1000 in profits. He kept pushing through this pain.

So even if right as you get started, you hit some particularly deep potholes, just shake it off, and keep rolling. It doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Social Media Meat Market

In the AppSumo post he mentions that he posted to Twitter and Facebook and then replied personally to anyone that showed any interest.

I’m going to assume that the “0 sales” in those rows means that the results from these show up as “People” some where else in the spreadsheet, since all of the revenue is accounted for in this spreadsheet.

It looks like he did get some sales from 2 FB (Facebook) Groups that he posted to…but much less than he was hoping for.

Projected $540…got $180.

$180 is still good…but if you were thinking you could get $540, then $180 is kind of a slap in the face.

At this point, it probably feels like no one likes you. I mean you do have some support, some interest, but dang, that’s a lot of rejection to overwhelm the pittance of good news.

In this case though, the rejection isn’t too bad. He never experienced directly the rejection of most of the people in those groups.

Maybe they didn’t understand what he was offering?

Maybe they just didn’t see the post?

Mainly the pain here is he just didn’t see the revenue he was expecting.

This was probably disheartening, and didn’t help him to stay motivated, but it wasn’t that bad.

But these were the easy ones. These were the “post and relax” moves.

Now we come to the “IN-YOUR-FACE-NO!”s.

“Friends”

There are 38 “People” in the spreadsheet.

These are people he contacted by some kind of personal direct contact (email, messaging, etc).

14 of them actively rejected the offer. About 37%.

This is a totally different situation than the social media posts. These people actively said “NO” when he personally directly asked them.

There’s no room for fooling yourself here that they misunderstood or didn’t see the post.

That hurts.

Also, about 90% of the people he contacted were people he knew…aka friends. Ouch.

The other 10% were people who were referrals or new people he didn’t know.

I don’t know the split of who bought and who didn’t on known vs not known, but think about that.

You go through your entire network, and ask a bunch of people you know to help you out. You have likely done something for these people in the past. People who are supposedly your friends, and a huge chunk of them (37%!!!) reject you.

Now, even if you are doing a soft ask like “hey, do you eat jerky?”, you’re likely going to be feeling some doubt and want to stop.

This kind of thing gets really uncomfortable, really quick.

But again, he did hit his goal.

He pushed forward. He kept contacting people.

So even though it was uncomfortable, persistence won out.

Also, this category accounts for $1720 of the $3000 in sales that he eventually got.

Going through all that pain got him about 2/3s of the way to his goal.

So if he wanted to get to his goal, he couldn’t just “skip” this part.

Companies

The last category of sales in the spreadsheet is “Company”.

Just from the numbers in the spreadsheet it looks like they all bought exactly what he had projected.

That seemed a little fortuitous given the other results, so I asked. He said companies definitely did not buy at the level he wanted, some bought more and others bought less.

Still, the companies accounted for $1170 of sales, or about 1/3 of the goal.

But something to note here is that he was probably calling these companies on the phone.

The “People” were all mostly done by email or messaging (I’m guessing), but here he was on the phone with the person at the company as they accepted or rejected the offer.

And these aren’t people he necessarily knows. These are probably cold calls or “referral” calls.

Either way there’s no familiar voice on the other end.

This is REALLY HARD WORK.

You get done with one of these calls and you are exhausted…even if it only took a few minutes of actually being on the phone.

The Silver Bullet

There wasn’t one.

2/3s of the sales came from individuals, but he had to trudge through at least 38 contacts to get that.

The other 1/3 of the sales came from companies, but that’s at least 7 phone calls. Phone calls are harder and take longer than emails (no cut and paste). And you have to make a list of companies to call on.

One thing to note though is that “no silver bullet” might be a blessing.

If you have one customer that makes up the bulk of your sales, then that customer owns you, and you could lose your income at any moment if they decide to cancel their subscription.

So, although it was hard work building up this $300/month income sale by sale, it’s probably a more stable income than if he had one home-run sale that got him all the way to his goal.

Also, going through this taught him how it would feel to go get more sales, instead of giving him false expectations that getting more sales would be just as easy as a home-run.

Rejection is Exhausting

Noah built a new business that is generating $300/month for him.

He did it with hard work and persistence.

The hard work was pushing through and continuing to look for customers even after others had said “NO”.

Starting a business is well worth the work…and the pain.

And if you know to expect the pain, you’ll have a better chance of pushing through to your goal when the pain shows up.

Think And Grow Rich – Chapter 3: Faith

Continuing my analysis of Think and Grow Rich.

This is for Chapter 3, Faith.

(Go here to start from the beginning.)

First I’ll go through a bunch of quoted text from the book and give thoughts on those specifically. And then after that I’ll mention some ideas that occurred to me while reading this chapter.

Quote and Analysis

“Faith: Visualization of, and Belief in Attainment of Desire”

This is the opening title of the chapter. I specifically wanted to call out “visualization”, just like Barnes was visualizing his meeting with Edison. Another word for this is imagining or “imagination”, another of the chapter titles, or principles.

And then also that “Faith” refers to “Belief in Attainment of Desire”, not a religious connotation. Belief/Confidence that you will get what you want.

Quote and Analysis

“When FAITH is blended with the vibration of thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.”

This is the reason that Faith/Belief/Confidence is needed. Your belief in the thought causes the subconscious to take it as truth. Then Hill is saying that the subconscious passes this “request” on to Infinite Intelligence. A little further down we find out that Infinite Intelligence is the source of the “inspired plans” that he keeps mentioning.

Quote and Analysis

“The emotions of FAITH, LOVE, and SEX are the most powerful of all the major positive emotions. When the three are blended, they have the effect of “coloring” the vibration of thought in such a way that it instantly reaches the subconscious mind, where it is changed into its spiritual equivalent, the only form that induces a response from Infinite Intelligence.”

This is saying that tying emotions to our thoughts will make them happen faster.

The emotion of Faith is belief or certainty that what you are thinking is true.

For an example of how belief feels, think about how you feel when you think about whether or not you have a computer (you’re reading this so I assume you do).

Now, what if you left the room, and couldn’t see the computer anymore?

Do you still believe just as strongly that you have a computer even though you can’t see it?

I do.

Even if someone took the computer while you were out of the room, you would still believe just as strongly that you had one and that it was back in that room.

Think about how that feels. “Of course my computer is in the other room.”

That’s the kind of belief we are talking about with regard to the Definite Chief Aim that you want your subconscious and Infinite Intelligence to help you achieve.

I’m not sure how the emotions of Love or Sex would look, or what examples might be.

Quote and Analysis

“FAITH is a state of mind which may be induced, or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of auto-suggestion.”

We can create Faith/Belief/Confidence simply by repeating something to ourselves over and over.

Note that this can cut both ways. If you repeatedly tell yourself bad things, then you will believe those. If you repeatedly tell yourself good things, then you will believe those.

Same for what other people repeatedly tell you, like your parents, spouse, kids, or anyone else that is around you often enough to repeatable tell you something.

Quote and Analysis

“…you may CONVINCE the subconscious mind that you believe you will receive that for which you ask, and it will act upon that belief, which your subconscious mind passes back to you in the form of “FAITH,” followed by definite plans for procuring that which you desire.”

Here it is. The part where he says your subconscious mind is going to pass you the plans for procuring that which you desire.

All you have to do is convince the subconscious mind (by repeatedly telling it) that you believe you will receive what you want.

Then you really will feel confident that you will get what you want. (This is the “FAITH” passed back.)

And then you will receive the definite plans.

Note, none of this happens immediately. First you repeatedly tell yourself you will get what you want, until you feel confident that it is true, which can take some time to finally take hold. Then at some point after that, you will receive the plans.

Quote and Analysis

“Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith. Perhaps the meaning may be made clearer through the following explanation as to the way men sometimes become criminals. Stated in the words of a famous criminologist, “When men first come into contact with crime, they abhor it. If they remain in contact with crime for a time, they become accustomed to it, and endure it. If they remain in contact with it long enough, they finally embrace it, and become influenced by it.””

This is a hint at how important our environment is. And how much we can lean on it to reinforce what we are telling our subconscious minds. Here we see the negative side, but the positive side can be just as powerful. If you hang around people who are succeeding, and you have people telling you that you are doing well and that things are going right for you, then it will make you believe that this is true. And that belief, or faith, will induce your subconscious to give you the plans to make it true.

Quote and Analysis

“Not only thought impulses which have been mixed with FAITH, but those which have been mixed with any of the positive emotions, or any of the negative emotions, may reach, and influence the subconscious mind.”

This is a repeat of the warning to think only positive thoughts. And why you want to focus on success…become Success Conscious. If you focus on Failure, and you feel emotional about it, and/or believe it will happen, then it will.

Quote and Analysis

“There is nothing to hinder you from “deceiving” your subconscious mind when giving it instructions through autosuggestion, as I deceived my son’s subconscious mind.

To make this “deceit” more realistic, conduct yourself just as you would, if you were ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MATERIAL THING WHICH YOU ARE DEMANDING, when you call upon your subconscious mind.”

This is kind of the whole point of the autosuggestion. You’re telling yourself something that you WANT to be true, but that you don’t think is true, in order for it to become true.

I’d also like to point out that it could go the other way. Your environment could be contradicting something that you already know is true, and eventually convince you that it’s not true, and then it won’t be true.

Quote and Analysis

“Surely, enough has been stated to give a starting point from which one may, through experiment and practice, acquire the ability to mix FAITH with any order given to the subconscious mind.

Perfection will come through practice. It cannot come by merely reading instructions.”

Practice makes perfect. You don’t have to do it perfect the first time, or even the hundredth time. Just be “persistent”, and continually try it.

Quote and Analysis

“THOUGHTS WHICH ARE MIXED WITH ANY OF THE FEELINGS OF EMOTIONS, CONSTITUTE A “MAGNETIC” FORCE WHICH ATTRACTS, FROM THE VIBRATIONS OF THE ETHER, OTHER SIMILAR, OR RELATED THOUGHTS.”

Here he may be referring to the plans again. Or he may also be referring to a later part of the book where he talks about telepathy, and the ability to “tune-in” to thoughts in other people’s subconscious minds.

Quote and Analysis

“We are what we are, because of the vibrations of thought which we pick up and register, through the stimuli of our daily environment.

Resolve to throw off the influences of any unfortunate environment, and to build your own life to ORDER. Taking inventory of mental assets and liabilities, you will discover that your greatest weakness is lack of self-confidence. This handicap can be surmounted, and timidity translated into courage, through the aid of the principle of autosuggestion. The application of this principle may be made through a simple arrangement of positive thought impulses stated in writing, memorized, and repeated, until they become a part of the working equipment of the subconscious faculty of your mind.”

Faith, belief, confidence, self-confidence. And the way to create self-confidence if you don’t have it, is to repeat the formula he lays out titled “SELF-CONFIDENCE FORMULA”. I didn’t copy the formula here as I didn’t have any commentary on it, other than to say I will be trying it out.

Quote and Analysis

“The subconscious mind, (the chemical laboratory in which all thought impulses are combined, and made ready for translation into physical reality), makes no distinction between constructive and destructive thought impulses. It works with the material we feed it, through our thought impulses. The subconscious mind will translate into reality a thought driven by FEAR just as readily as it will translate into reality a thought driven by COURAGE, or FAITH.”

This idea of autosuggestion working on positive or negative thoughts is really pounded on over and over in this chapter. But here he mentions that FEAR is an emotion that can drive the subconscious mind to translate a thought into reality, just as readily as FAITH (belief/confidence).

Quote and Analysis

“A man may commit suicide through negative suggestion, just as effectively as by any other means.”

Again, negative thoughts result in negative situations. I called this one out specifically because it is related to the body. I did an experiment on myself that showed a positive application of this idea. I “thought” myself stronger.

Quote and Analysis

“If you fill your mind with FEAR, doubt and unbelief in your ability to connect with, and use the forces of Infinite Intelligence, the law of autosuggestion will take this spirit of unbelief and use it as a pattern by which your subconscious mind will translate it into its physical equivalent.”

This is slightly subtle point. He’s saying if you don’t believe that this autosuggestion stuff will work for you, you’re right…except that you are actually using autosuggestion to make that happen.

Quote and Analysis

“It is a known fact that the emotion of LOVE is closely akin to the state of mind known as FAITH, and this for the reason that Love comes very near to translating one’s thought impulses into their spiritual equivalent. During his work of research, the author discovered, from the analysis of the life-work and achievements of hundreds of men of outstanding accomplishment, that there was the influence of a woman’s love back of nearly EVERY ONE OF THEM. The emotion of love, in the human heart and brain, creates a favorable field of magnetic attraction, which causes an influx of the higher and finer vibrations which are afloat in the ether.”

From above, I’m not sure I fully understand what he means by the “emotion of LOVE”. But, I’ll give it a go.

From this it sounds like he’s saying that being in love makes you feel good (“influx of the higher and finer vibrations”), which attracts more good feelings.

However, he also says “a woman’s love back of nearly EVERY ONE OF THEM”. This implies that the love here is not your feeling of love, but someone else’s feeling of love for you. Which would likely translate into a belief on their part in you. And having them believe in you, can make you believe more in yourself.

Quote and Analysis

“HE CREATED IT OUT OF HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRINCIPLE OF FAITH, AND THROUGH HIS ABILITY TO TRANSPLANT THAT FAITH INTO THE MINDS OF TWO HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE.”

Here he talks about transplanting faith/belief/confidence to others. Hill did this with his son.

This is one of the benefits of having a coach, or mentor, or as I mentioned above, a lover. They can transfer their belief in you to you.

Quote and Analysis

“Because of the need for faith and cooperation in operating business and industry, it will be both interesting and profitable to analyze an event which provides an excellent understanding of the method by which industrialists and business men accumulate great fortunes, by giving before they try to get.”

The Definite Chief Aim is supposed to mention what it is you intend to give in return for what you want. Here we are seeing that we need to give this first, rather than expecting to give after we get. We need to give the fire wood to get heat, instead of saying “give me heat, and I’ll give you wood.”

Quote and Analysis

“In other words, Charles M. Schwab’s IDEA, plus the FAITH with which he conveyed it to the minds of J. P. Morgan and the others, was marketed for a profit of approximately $600,000,000. Not an insignificant sum for a single IDEA!”

Again, conveying FAITH to someone else. One point here is that it strengthens your faith/belief/confidence if you can convince someone else that what you are saying is true. Meaning, you actually believe it more if you can get someone else to believe it.

Quote and Analysis

“RICHES begin in the form of THOUGHT! The amount is limited only by the person in whose mind the THOUGHT is put into motion. FAITH removes limitations!

Remember this when you are ready to bargain with Life for whatever it is that you ask as your price for having passed this way. Remember, also, that the man who created the United States Steel Corporation was practically unknown at the time. He was merely Andrew Carnegie’s “Man Friday” until he gave birth to his famous IDEA. After that he quickly rose to a position of power, fame, and riches.

THERE ARE NO LIMITATIONS TO THE MIND EXCEPT THOSE WE ACKNOWLEDGE

BOTH POVERTY AND RICHES ARE THE OFFSPRING OF THOUGHT”

In this day and age, we all know Schwab’s name quite well. But here he is telling us that Schwab was a nobody…an “unknown” at the time. So there is no limit to what you can achieve…except the limit you put on it.

Other Ideas

This section starts the other ideas that were inspired by this chapter, but aren’t necessarily specifically mentioned in it.

Power Posing

There’s this great TED Video on Power Posing. Basically you stand in a certain body position (like a Wonder Woman or Superman pose) for two minutes. In the study, this resulted in an increase in testosterone.

It also resulted in an increase in confidence, also known as belief or faith. And the participants felt like they were more likely to win, even at games of chance.

So perhaps while you are reciting your Definite Chief Aim, strike a Power Pose.

Mettle Forger

In the vein of crafting one’s environment, I created this tool to randomly send myself messages that make me feel good.

I loaded it up with compliments that people have given me, reminders of cool things I’ve done that I somehow keep forgetting about, motivational messages, and phrases from my Definite Chief Aim.

The randomness gives it a little serendipity, so it seems to mean more.

Try Mettle Forger out for yourself if you’re interested.

“Assume the same feelings as if you were already in possession”

I found this phrase interesting. I’m trying to think of it like I would ordering food at a restaurant. I expect the food to arrive. I have virtually no doubt that it will. I just need to distract and enjoy myself while I wait and it will feel like it arrives all that much faster.

Confirmation Bias

The Confirmation Bias is our tendency to look for information that confirms our beliefs and to discount information that contradicts our view.

Generally, this is seen as a bad thing. Consider for example a doctor who decides that you have a particular disease, and then starts ignoring symptoms that don’t fit that disease. And paying more attention to symptoms that do fit that disease. He may be treating you for a disease you don’t have, just because some of the initial symptoms looked like that disease. And as he sees more symptoms that support that disease he’s getting more and more confident that you do have that disease, and more and more confident that he should ignore those other symptoms.

However, in light of this chapter, you could use this bias to your advantage. The more “small hints” you can find, or lucky happenings you notice, the more certain you will become that your desire is coming true. The more you will believe, be confident, and have faith.

Coaches, Guides, and Mentors

I mentioned this above, but I want to talk about it more deeply.

One of the benefits of a coach, guide, or mentor, is that they can tell you that you are going the right direction, even when you can’t tell. And more importantly YOU BELIEVE THEM. They’ve been this way before, so they know what it looks like.

Another way to look at this is to call it “invisible results”. Stuff is happening, things are going in the right direction, but you aren’t familiar with how it should look so those things are invisible to you.

The coach, guide or mentor:

  • Can tell you that you are on the right track, even when you can’t tell if you are or not.
  • Has been this route and knows the path, so you feel confident that they know where they are going.
  • Has no doubt about where the destination is.

Think about it like driving somewhere for the first time. It feels far. It feels like it takes a long time. You’re not quite sure if you passed it up, or if you still have a ways to go.

The second time you drive there, it’s much quicker. You have no doubt you’ll get there or where it is. And it doesn’t feel nearly as far.

Employees As Environments

I mentioned that the people around you can also be repeating messages to you, which shape your beliefs about yourself.

It occurred to me that this might be an interesting reason to hire employees.

An employee can often believe more in a business than the owner, since the owner knows about all the finances that the employee might not be privy to. And at the same time the employee BELIEVES that the owner is going to pay the employee and that the job will be there for the foreseeable future.

This belief, faith, confidence could then be transferred back to the owner.

Think And Grow Rich – Chapter 2: Desire

Continuing my analysis of Think and Grow Rich.

This is for Chapter 2, Desire.

(Go here to start from the beginning.)

Quote and Analysis

“WHEN Edwin C. Barnes climbed down from the freight train in Orange, N. J., more than thirty years ago, he may have resembled a tramp, but his thoughts were those of a king!

As he made his way from the railroad tracks to Thomas A Edison’s office, his mind was at work. He saw himself standing in Edison’s presence. He heard himself asking Mr. Edison for an opportunity to carry out the one CONSUMING OBSESSION OF HIS LIFE, a BURNING DESIRE to become the business associate of the great inventor.

Barnes’ desire was not a hope! It was not a wish! It was a keen, pulsating DESIRE, which transcended everything else. It was DEFINITE.”

Here is an example of how definite the desire needs to be. Barnes is actually visualizing how his meeting with Edison is going to go. He sees himself, and hears himself doing what he plans to. He’s actually thinking through it in his head. He probably went so far as to seeing Edison giving him that chance.

Quote and Analysis

“The desire was not new when he approached Edison. It had been Barnes’ dominating desire for a long time. In the beginning, when the desire first appeared in his mind, it may have been, probably was, only a wish, but it was no mere wish when he appeared before Edison with it.

A few years later, Edwin C. Barnes again stood before Edison, in the same office where he first met the inventor. This time his DESIRE had been translated into reality. He was in business with Edison. The dominating DREAM OF HIS LIFE had become a reality.”

A description of the level of desire we’re talking about. Not a wish, but the dominating dream of his life.

Also another example of how success coming looks. It looks like nothing is happening for a long time, and then suddenly, success comes all at once.

Quote and Analysis

“Barnes succeeded because he chose a definite goal, placed all his energy, all his will power, all his effort, everything back of that goal. He did not become the partner of Edison the day he arrived. He was content to start in the most menial work, as long as it provided an opportunity to take even one step toward his cherished goal. Five years passed before the chance he had been seeking made its appearance. During all those years not one ray of hope, not one promise of attainment of his DESIRE had been held out to him. To everyone, except himself, he appeared only another cog in the Edison business wheel, but in his own mind, HE WAS THE PARTNER OF EDISON EVERY MINUTE OF THE TIME, from the very day that he first went to work there.”

Another example of how success looks. There might be no hint that it’s coming, but maintaining the desire is what is pulling it toward you.

Also here we see Barnes was assuming in his own mind that he was the partner of Edison every minute of the time. He saw himself as that, even if it wasn’t yet true. This is the kind of belief Hill is talking about. Barnes chose to hold this vision of himself.

Quote and Analysis

“…he BURNED ALL BRIDGES BEHIND HIM.”

“Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success.”

Burning bridges is a way to focus your attention. If you remove all sources of retreat, or alternative options, then you remove distractions. You remove sources of doubt. You remove things that could take away from your persistence, and distract you from keeping this one thing as your primary goal.

Also, he mentions again “state of mind”.

Quote and Analysis

“When the going was hard, and the future looked dismal, they pulled up and went where the going seemed easier.

Mark well this difference between Marshal Field and the other merchants, because it is the same difference which distinguishes Edwin C. Barnes from thousands of other young men who have worked in the Edison organization. It is the same difference which distinguishes practically all who succeed from those who fail.”

A reiteration of the idea of Persistence.

Quote and Analysis

“Every human being who reaches the age of understanding of the purpose of money, wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”

Interesting point that every person who understands what money is wishes for more money. But wishing is not strong enough. Desire of the level of obsession is required.

Planning definite ways and means, which he later seems to say will come to you if your desire is strong enough.

And backing those plans with persistence, and ignoring failure as a reason to stop. So once you have the plans, just keep implementing them until the goal is fulfilled. Persist.

Also, again “state of mind”.

Quote and Analysis

“The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, viz: First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want plenty of money.”

First. Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological reason for definiteness which will be described in a subsequent chapter).

Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.)

Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.

Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.

Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ-SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.

It is important that you follow the instructions described in these six steps. It is especially important that you observe, and follow the instructions in the sixth paragraph. You may complain that it is impossible for you to “see yourself in possession of money” before you actually have it. Here is where a BURNING DESIRE will come to your aid. If you truly DESIRE money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want money, and to become so determined to have it that you CONVINCE yourself you will have it.”

This is the 6 step plan. I think it’s better explained in a later chapter, so I won’t spend too much time analyzing it now, and will just note a few things.

“Definite” is mentioned again and that there is actually a psychological reason for it.

The idea of giving something for what you want. In this case, I think he means some service or product that you will provide.

Again, the plan, which I think he says will come to you through your subconscious in a later chapter. So you don’t need to try to create the plan.

And the idea of visualizing yourself in the circumstances you want. Like Barnes visualized himself in Edison’s office, and then visualized (or saw himself as) the partner of Edison.

And we see what the purpose of a burning desire is. It gives you the ability to convince yourself that you will acquire what it is that you want. So if you aren’t convinced that your desire is coming true, the desire needs to be intensified.

Quote and Analysis

“The steps call for no “hard labor.” They call for no sacrifice. They do not require one to become ridiculous, or credulous. To apply them calls for no great amount of education. But the successful application of these six steps does call for sufficient imagination to enable one to see, and to understand, that accumulation of money cannot be left to chance, good fortune, and luck. One must realize that all who have accumulated great fortunes, first did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, DESIRING, and PLANNING before they acquired money.”

Again, no hard labor. No difficult work. Just an intensifying of desire.

Also, he makes the point that all who have accumulated great fortunes, first did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, desiring, and planning before they acquired money. So it would be time well spent to start doing some of that dreaming, hoping, wishing, etc if you are just starting out and don’t already have this burning desire.

Quote and Analysis

“If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.”

Another vote for visualizing what you want.

Quote and Analysis

“If the thing you wish to do is right, and you believe in it, go ahead and do it! Put your dream across, and never mind what “they” say if you meet with temporary defeat, for “they,” perhaps, do not know that EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT SUCCESS.”

Reiteration of “ignore impossible”. Determination. Persistence. And another way of talking about using failure as a stepping stone…a seed of an equivalent success.

Quote and Analysis

“Practical dreamers DO NOT QUIT!”

More persistence.

Quote and Analysis

“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.”

This caught my eye because of the difference between an oak and an acorn. Let’s say your desire is an oak. And you are not aware that acorns turn into oaks.

It’s not immediately obvious. Acorns look very little like oaks. And for much of the year oaks don’t even have acorns on them. So it’s a leap of faith (belief/confidence) to associate receiving an acorn with receiving an oak.

This is the same leap of faith that needs to be made from what you see in everyday life to the idea that your desire is coming. The small hints that your desire is coming may not look at all like the final desire fulfilled will look.

Quote and Analysis

“A BURNING DESIRE TO BE, AND TO DO is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off. Dreams are not born of indifference, laziness, or lack of ambition.”

Another calling out of indifference. And also associating it with laziness or lack of ambition. Another word for ambition…desire.

You need to be deliberate in choosing a definite specific desire.

Quote and Analysis

“You have been disappointed, you have undergone defeat during the depression, you have felt the great heart within you crushed until it bled. Take courage, for these experiences have tempered the spiritual metal of which you are made-they are assets of incomparable value.

Remember, too, that all who succeed in life get off to a bad start, and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they “arrive.” The turning point in the lives of those who succeed, usually comes at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced to their “other selves.””

More temporary defeat and failure inoculation. And more of the idea that failure brings with it stepping stones to success.

Quote and Analysis

“Strange and varied are the ways of life, and stranger still are the ways of Infinite Intelligence, through which men are sometimes forced to undergo all sorts of punishment before discovering their own brains, and their own capacity to create useful ideas through imagination.”

This is the first mention of Infinite Intelligence. In a later chapter we find out that Infinite Intelligence communicates to us through our subconscious and imagination. So here he’s actually giving a hint as to those ideas. These are those plans that he keeps telling us we’ll need.

Quote and Analysis

“…and this, because most people never learn the art of transmuting their strongest emotions into dreams of a constructive nature.”

The phrase “art of transmuting” sounds very similar to “art of changing minds from FAILURE CONSCIOUSNESS to SUCCESS CONSCIOUSNESS” and also to “art of converting defeat into stepping stones to opportunity”. Both of which I think are related to his “secret”.

So this ability to turn strong emotions into dreams of a constructive nature may also be related.

Quote and Analysis

“Before passing to the next chapter, kindle anew in your mind the fire of hope, faith, courage, and tolerance. If you have these states of mind, and a working knowledge of the principles described, all else that you need will come to you, when you are READY for it.”

Again with “states of mind”.

And also here he says you need a working knowledge of the principles (the chapter titles), and all else that you need will come to you. Which includes plans, people, resources, etc.

Quote and Analysis

“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. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief.”

And here he defines what “being READY” means. You must believe that you can acquire it. Not just hope or wish, but believe it is possible. And so you need to be open-minded about what is actually possible for you.

Quote and Analysis

“Remember, no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty.”

Another point about “little effort”. And also kind of one about “indifference”, since you would be “demanding” abundance, but indifferently “accepting” poverty.

Quote and Analysis

“Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds.”

Another admonition to ignore those who say something is impossible. If you don’t believe it will happen, you are right. If you do believe, you are also right.

Quote and Analysis

“…DESIRE BACKED BY FAITH knows no such word as impossible.”

Again, ignore impossible. And pulling in “faith” (belief/confidence), which is the next chapter.

Quote and Analysis

“I soon discovered that the child enjoyed bedtime stories, so I went to work, creating stories designed to develop in him self-reliance, imagination, and a keen desire to hear
and to be normal.”

This is a practical example of instilling both desire and faith. He finds out what the child likes, and then uses that as a way to install the desires and beliefs he wants to pass on. In this case he is using stories.

We could use anything to do this. Pictures on the wall. Songs. People we spend time with. TV shows we watch. Radio programs we listen to. Book/magazines/blogs we read. Things other people say to us. Objects that are around our living or work spaces or cars. The towns/cities we live in. The foods and drinks we eat and taste. The background noises. The clothes we wear. The smells we have around us. The feel of our furniture, bed, chair, and other things that touch our skin. And the attitudes of the people around us.

Now, consider that each of those can also “indifferently” affect us if we don’t take steps to craft them to support our desire and faith. So we should stay away from people that make us feel we aren’t able to achieve our desire. Ideally we would be able to ignore those people’s opinions even in their presence, but why not slant things in your favor.

Look at the environment that you are in, and ask if each thing is supporting or detracting from your desire and your faith in attaining that desire.

You could even go so far as to build habits or skills into your life that you will need when your desired goal arrives. Every conceivable way that you can tell your brain that you are expecting this thing to happen.

Quote and Analysis

“…EVERY ADVERSITY BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT ADVANTAGE…”

More stepping stones. And a subtle hint that any failure will be replaced with a success that is at least as good as the failure was bad.

Quote and Analysis

“…handicaps can be converted into stepping stones on which one may climb toward some worthy goal, unless they are accepted as obstacles, and used as alibis.”

More stepping stones. And also a warning about using these handicaps as alibis and accepting them as obstacles. It’s a choice that you can actively make, or indifferently accept.

Quote and Analysis

“…he had come into possession of a Changed World.”

I like the calling out of “Changed World”. It reminds me of the hockey stick arrival of the desired goal. Nothing happening for a long while and then suddenly the world changes and riches rush in to you.

Quote and Analysis

“DESIRE had commenced to pay dividends, but the victory was not yet complete. The boy still had to find a definite and practical way to convert his handicap into an equivalent asset.”

More stepping stones. And also a little stronger. He says it wasn’t enough to get something from the handicap or failure. You have to keep pushing to convert that failure into an equivalent asset. Something that completely wipes out the disadvantage of the initial failure.

Quote and Analysis

“It consisted of three very definite facts; first, I MIXED FAITH with the DESIRE for normal hearing, which I passed on to my son. Second, I communicated my desire to him in every conceivable way available, through persistent, continuous effort, over a period of years. Third, HE BELIEVED ME!”

3 definite facts.

Mixed faith with desire. You want this, and you will have it. Or “you get what you want.”

Communicated in every conceivable way. As above, every conceivable way can even involve the many facets of your environment.

He believed him. I’ll push on this in the next chapter, but consider how powerful it was for his father to be telling him this stuff. The son wasn’t just telling himself it, his dad was saying it. A person of authority. I think this is one of the greatest benefits of having a coach or a mentor. They are an authority that you get to borrow faith and confidence from. They tell you how the future is going to look and you believe them because they are the expert, and so your faith is that much stronger for it.

Quote and Analysis

“…all achievement, no matter what may be its nature, or its purpose, must begin with an intense, BURNING DESIRE for something definite.”

Back to definite. Specific.

Quote and Analysis

“Through some strange and powerful principle of “mental chemistry” which she has never divulged, Nature wraps up in the impulse of STRONG DESIRE “that something” which recognizes no such word as impossible, and accepts no such reality as failure.”

So your desire needs to be so strong that it ignores impossible, and moves forward through failure to success.

Think And Grow Rich – Chapter 1: Introduction

Continuing my analysis of Think and Grow Rich.

This is for Chapter 1, Introduction.

(Go here to start from the beginning.)

Quote and Analysis

“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.”

Here we have the formula stated somewhat plainly. Thoughts are translated into riches (whatever that is to you) when you:

  • Have a definite focus (a specific thing you want).
  • Are persistent about keeping that focus (not letting other concerns, information, options, objections, setbacks, or opinions distract you from that focus).
  • Have a strong desire for this to happen.

Quote and Analysis

“It was what he THOUGHT that counted. If the significance of this statement could be conveyed to every person who reads it, there would be no need for the remainder of this book.”

The purpose of the book is to convey the Carnegie “secret”. Conveying the significance of this statement removes the need for the remainder of the book. So the significance of this statement is the essence of that secret. So “what you think” is some key piece of the secret. Not surprising given the name of the book…Think and Grow Rich.

But the question still remains…exactly what to think.

Quote and Analysis

“Months went by. Apparently nothing happened to bring the coveted goal which Barnes had set up in his mind as his DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE. But something important was happening in Barnes’ mind. He was constantly intensifying his DESIRE to become the business associate of Edison.”

Here we have the first mention of the “DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE” or later, the “DEFINITE CHIEF AIM”. That one goal / aim / purpose that is your focus…and is definite and specific.

We also have a description of what it looks like to pursue that focus, and how it will look. It will look like nothing is happening, possibly for a long time. Months, maybe years.

But during that time, our job is to keep persistently intensifying desire. Not to become discouraged. To expect that this goal will eventually become reality.

Quote and Analysis

“When the opportunity came, it appeared in a different form, and from a different direction than Barnes had expected. That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.”

Cautioning us to look at defeat differently. If we think we didn’t get what we wanted…maybe look again. It might actually be the path to what we wanted.

Also this is the first mention of “temporary defeat”. The point is made later in the book that defeat is only permanent if you decide it is permanent. If you give up on your goal. This is a reiteration of persistence. Of maintaining that focus even when it appears that it won’t be possible.

Quote and Analysis

“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.”

Again, “temporary defeat”. And another way of saying “be persistent”. Persist in pursuing your goal.

Quote and Analysis

“The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.”

This kind of jumped out at me. And it brings up three points I want to highlight.

The first is to seek expert counsel before giving up a possible route to your goal. Note, never give up the goal itself. But if you are feeling discouraged, see if you can’t get someone who is an expert in what you are trying to do to give you some advice or counsel.

The second is much more subtle. Who is an expert? Many people will give you advice that you shouldn’t take. Ignore it. They aren’t experts. And if the thing you are doing is so new that no one else is more expert than you, then take no one’s advice. In a bit, he talks about Ford’s engineers saying the engine Ford wanted couldn’t be built. They were expert engine builders, but not experts at building this engine.

The third point is that just because expert counsel tells you to give up, doesn’t mean you have to. Hill is just suggesting that you seek the counsel in case the expert can tell you something that you missed and can use to move forward. The expert can tell you what is possible, and how to get there, but the expert can’t tell you what is impossible. It used to be impossible to talk to someone on the other side of the world, and now it happens so often we get annoyed with it (call centers in India…).

Quote and Analysis

“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. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning.

It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.”

Again with the “temporary defeat” and the persistence to keep going.

Also…if it feels like you’re failing, you might be just around the corner from success! Keep at it. Persist.

Quote and Analysis

“He profited by these two dramatic experiences, because he analyzed them, and found the lesson they taught. But what of the man who has neither the time, nor the inclination to study failure in search of knowledge that may lead to success?

Where, and how is he to learn the art of converting defeat into stepping stones to opportunity?”

Again with “temporary defeat” or in this case “converting defeat into stepping stones to opportunity”.

We’re being inoculated to the idea of defeat. He’s building up our immunity to defeat. And giving us a plan for when it does happen, so we’ll know what to do instead of becoming frazzled and discouraged. He tells us defeat is likely to come, but it’s just a step on the path to the success. Look for that path when defeat comes. Defeat is not a reason to stop. Persist.

Quote and Analysis

“In answer to these questions, this book was written. The answer called for a description of thirteen principles, but remember, as you read, the answer you may be seeking, to the questions which have caused you to ponder over the strangeness of life, maybe found in your own mind, through some idea, plan, or purpose which may spring into your mind as you read.

One sound idea is all that one needs to achieve success. The principles described in this book, contain the best, and the most practical of all that is known, concerning ways and means of creating useful ideas.”

He mentions the “strangeness of life”, which I think is a reference to a story in this section about a little girl using a “strange power” over a grown man.

And a reference to the odd paths that life takes. Back to the idea of success slipping in the backdoor, or failure actually being the stepping stone to success.

And then he tells us one sound idea is all that we need. And that the principles in this book (the chapter titles) are the best and most practical ways to create those ideas. We only need one.

Quote and Analysis

“Before we go any further in our approach to the description of these principles, we believe you are entitled to receive this important suggestion…. WHEN RICHES BEGIN TO COME THEY COME SO QUICKLY, IN SUCH GREAT ABUNDANCE, THAT ONE WONDERS WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN HIDING DURING ALL THOSE LEAN YEARS.

This is an astounding statement, and all the more so, when we take into consideration the popular belief, that riches come only to those who work hard and long.”

Two things here.

First, the “WHEN RICHES BEGIN…” part is another attempt to show us what the path to success feels and looks like. It’s not a steady increase. It’s not one good occurrence after another leading steadily to the goal. It’s like with Barnes above…months or years of nothing apparently happening, nothing visible happening, and then boom, everything starts to happen all at once and to a great degree. So persist. Keep at it even when things appear to be not happening.

Second, “hard and long”. I’ve already mentioned in the previous post where he mentions that “but little effort” is required. And here he’s reiterating that idea, and saying that the amount of riches you receive are not related to how hard or long you work.

Quote and Analysis

“When you begin to THINK AND GROW RICH, you will observe that riches begin with a state of mind, with definiteness of purpose, with little or no hard work. You, and every other person, ought to be interested in knowing how to acquire that state of mind which will attract riches.”

Whoa. He brings in “state of mind”. And then says that the “state of mind” will attract riches. And then says there is a way to acquire this state of mind that attracts riches.

So perhaps the “secret” is what specifically this particular “state of mind” is that attracts riches, and how to maintain it?

He further says that with the “state of mind” you also need a definiteness of purpose. Again this is just another way of saying a specific goal. Something detailed.

And then a reiteration of the idea of “little or no hard work”. So again, if what you are doing, or the plan you have feels like hard work, then it’s probably not right. I will note however that he doesn’t say “no work” and he doesn’t say “no easy work”. So it’s possible that some work will be required, but you might very much enjoy that work when you are doing it. For example, I’m “working” when I’m writing this, but I’m enjoying it, so it’s not “hard work”.

Quote and Analysis

“Just as an electrician in a theatre raises the lights so gradually that darkness is transmuted into light before you realize it, so did the spell of fear in the minds of the people gradually fade away and become faith.”

Two things.

He mentions “faith”, but he doesn’t mean religion. He means belief in good things. Confidence that things will or are getting better. A belief even in the face of little or no proof.

Also, this is another attempt to tell us how it will look and what to expect on the way to success…so we won’t get discouraged, and will persist. The lights are raised so gradually that it’s light in the room before you realize it. Again back to wondering where the riches had been, or apparently having nothing happening for months or years. When things are going right, and heading toward your goal, it’s not going to feel like it until right there just before it happens. It’s not a nice logical measured progression. It’s more of a hockey stick like progression.

You might be able to further take this and say that there will be hints. The lights are raising, they’re just not raising quickly. So the hints will be small. So small you might not even notice them. So faith/belief/confidence is helpful to keep you persisting even when you don’t see those hints. But you might also use this and look for tiny hints that your goal is being achieved…and even if you can’t find them, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Your goal is still coming.

Quote and Analysis

“Observe very closely, as soon as you master the principles of this philosophy, and begin to follow the instructions for applying those principles, your financial status will begin to improve, and everything you touch will begin to transmute itself into an asset for your benefit.”

A way to know if you have mastered the 13 principles…the chapter titles. Also another way to look at how the path to success looks and feels. While you are studying and learning and mastering the principles, nothing apparent is happening, but then once you get them all in place, the engine roars to life. Just like building an engine in fact. You don’t get any power from it until all the pieces are in place and working in the correct timing. Before that point it’s all just some dull inanimate hunks of metal.

Quote and Analysis

“One of the main weaknesses of mankind is the average man’s familiarity with the word “impossible.” He knows all the rules which will NOT work. He knows all the things which CANNOT be done.”

Back to what I was saying about “impossible” with experts. Here Hill is just telling us to ignore other people that don’t support our goal. Their opinion will distract us from our success. Persist…even when others say it’s impossible.

Quote and Analysis

“Success comes to those who become SUCCESS CONSCIOUS.

Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to become FAILURE CONSCIOUS.”

Remember the “state of mind” that attracts riches? Maybe “success conscious” is it?

“Success conscious” I think is just being focused on successes. Paying attention to things that are working, and ignoring things that appear to contradict the idea that you are on the way to success. Like looking for the stepping stone to success in an apparent failure…you’re ignoring all the bad parts, and just pulling out that one gem of good in the experience, and using it to move boldly forward.

If you always think that everything is working in your favor…then maybe it is. If you see everything as a “small hint” on your path to success…then maybe it is.

Also here there is a warning sign. The word “indifferently”. This implies that “failure conscious” is the default way that we are. If you don’t make a conscious effort to be “success conscious”, then you will by default slip into a “failure conscious”. And failure comes to those who allow this.

Quote and Analysis

“The object of this book is to help all who seek it, to learn the art of changing their minds from FAILURE CONSCIOUSNESS to SUCCESS CONSCIOUSNESS.”

Whoa. We know from the preface that the object of this book is to convey the “secret”. And here we’re being told that the object of the book is to help all who seek it to learn the art of changing their minds from FAILURE CONSCIOUSNESS to SUCCESS CONSCIOUSNESS.

I think he just told us the secret. The secret is this “art”, this skill, this habit of changing to, or maintaining, the success consciousness. Of only paying attention to those parts of our experiences that feel like stepping stones toward our goal, and letting the rest just pass by unheeded and unnoticed.

Quote and Analysis

“Perhaps one person in every hundred thousand knows the secret of Ford’s success, and those who do know are too modest, or too reluctant, to speak of it, because of its simplicity. A single transaction will illustrate the “secret” perfectly.

A few years back, Ford decided to produce his now famous V-8 motor. He chose to build an engine with the entire eight cylinders cast in one block, and instructed his engineers to produce a design for the engine. The design was placed on paper, but the engineers agreed, to a man, that it was simply impossible to cast an eight-cylinder gas engine block in one piece.

Ford said, “Produce it anyway.” “But,” they replied, “it’s impossible!” “Go ahead,” Ford commanded, “and stay on the job until you succeed no matter how much time is required.”

The engineers went ahead. There was nothing else for them to do, if they were to remain on the Ford staff. Six months went by, nothing happened. Another six months passed, and still nothing happened. The engineers tried every conceivable plan to carry out the orders, but the thing seemed out of the question; “impossible!”

At the end of the year Ford checked with his engineers, and again they informed him they had found no way to carry out his orders.

“Go right ahead,” said Ford, “I want it, and I’ll have it.” They went ahead, and then, as if by a stroke of magic, the secret was discovered.

The Ford DETERMINATION had won once more!

This story may not be described with minute accuracy, but the sum and substance of it is correct. Deduce from it, you who wish to THINK AND GROW RICH, the secret of the Ford millions, if you can. You’ll not have to look very far. Henry Ford is a success, because he understands, and applies the principles of success. One of these is DESIRE: knowing what one wants. Remember this Ford story as you read, and pick out the lines in which the secret of his stupendous achievement have been described. If you can do this, if you can lay your finger on the particular group of principles which made Henry Ford rich, you can equal his achievements in almost any calling for which you are suited.”

Long quote, but it’s a hefty chunk of meat. First we are told that the “secret” is in there. I’m assuming he’s talking about the same Carnegie “secret”.

We are told that the secret is too simple or modest for people to speak of it. So when we find it, we should be prepared that it might appear “simple”…so simple it might not look like it will or should work.

We see Ford decide specifically what he wants…an 8 cylinder engine cast in one piece. He is being “definite” in what he wants.

We see him ignore the “experts'” claims of “impossible”. He persists in what he wants.

We see a chunk of time pass with apparently nothing happening. Success doesn’t have a measured pace plodding toward the goal. It’s often an illogical progression. But he persists.

We see him affirm that “I want it, and I’ll have it”. He has faith/belief/confidence that what he wants will happen.

And then suddenly “as if by a stroke of magic” the engine is created. No hard work required.

This is labeled “DETERMINATION”, but I think it’s better to view it as selective hearing. He’s ignoring the declarations of “impossible”, and just continuing on with the vision of success that he has in his mind. He is “success conscious”…only conscious of the success that he’s going toward and ignoring any apparent failure, or “temporary defeat”. Or another way to look at it, delays in his success arriving.

Quote and Analysis

“When Henley wrote the prophetic lines, “I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul,” he should have informed us that we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts.”

“The power to control our thoughts” sounds very reminiscent of “the art of changing their minds from FAILURE CONSCIOUSNESS TO SUCCESS CONSCIOUSNESS”

Quote and Analysis

“…the ether is filled with a form of universal power which ADAPTS itself to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our minds; and INFLUENCES us, in natural ways, to transmute our thoughts into their physical equivalent.”

So basically, our thoughts are what shape physical reality. If we are only conscious of success (and ignore the parts of our experience that feel like failure) then those are the thoughts that will be transmuted into their physical equivalent. Success thoughts attract success. And failure thoughts attract failure.

There’s a piece here that I don’t want to gloss over. Specifically “and INFLUENCES us”. I’m not sure I understand the importance of that statement. Later in the book there is the idea of receiving “inspiration”, ideas, and plans from Infinite Intelligence. Maybe that’s the “influence” that he’s referring to here.

Quote and Analysis

“…this power makes no attempt to discriminate between destructive thoughts and constructive thoughts, that it will urge us to translate into physical reality thoughts of poverty, just as quickly as it will influence us to act upon thoughts of riches.”

Back to consciously choosing your thoughts and being aware that the failure/pessimism side of things is the default. If we want to consciously make the choice, then we can, but if we don’t make the choice, it’s made for us in favor of failure and poverty.

Interestingly though, he says “just as quickly”. We know that success doesn’t come quickly, and can sometimes look like nothing for months or years. So on the flip side, failure could look exactly the same. We might be sitting there dwelling on the idea of failure for a good long while before it actually shows up. So don’t assume you’re “safe” if you have been pessimistic a while and still nothing really bad has happened. Consider switching it around and looking for some silver linings.

Quote and Analysis

“…our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by means with which no man is familiar, these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.

He should have told us, that before we can accumulate riches in great abundance, we must magnetize our minds with intense DESIRE for riches, that we must become “money conscious until the DESIRE for money drives us to create definite plans for acquiring it.”

Back to “state of mind”, “success conscious”…the “dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds”. These are magnets that attract those things to us. Failure attracts failure, success attracts success.

Keeping these thoughts of success…the things that are going right for us…in mind will bring more of them. The forces, people, and circumstances which harmonize with the nature (success-focused or failure-focused) of your dominating thoughts.

“Forces” is an interesting choice of word. There might be something more there. I’m not sure.

People will show up and be willing to help without you needing to go looking for them. They will be attracted to you.

Circumstances will just work out in your favor. Lucky timing. Flukes. Coincidences. When these happen, notice them…become conscious of them…they are small hints…successes.

Then, we have again “money conscious” also known as “success conscious”. And the idea that our desire (our want, our need, the thing we are thinking constantly about) is strong enough WHEN we create definite plans to acquire our success. Again the word “definite”.

Later in the book he talks about receiving those plans from Infinite Intelligence through your subconscious. So you don’t need to work on coming up with the plans. You just have to continually intensify your desire to the point that this happens on it’s own.

Think And Grow Rich – Preface

I recently joined a discussion group for the book “Think and Grow Rich”. I’ve read this book at least a few times in the past, but it seems like this time, I’m reading the book more deeply and paying more attention to the message he is trying to convey.

My plan, beginning with the Author’s Preface, is to create a post for each chapter and to detail any insights I can glean from them. As well as registering any points I want to come back to later on.

If you want to reference the full text of the book, it is available for free (since it’s out of copyright):
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The Secret

“IN EVERY chapter of this book, mention has been made of the money-making secret which has made fortunes for more than five hundred exceedingly wealthy men whom I have carefully analyzed over a long period of years.”

That first line of the book introduces the idea of the “secret”. The popular book “The Secret” is referring to this same “secret” (or at least that is my understanding…I haven’t read The Secret).

“It has not been directly named, for it seems to work more successfully when it is merely uncovered and left in sight, where THOSE WHO ARE READY, and SEARCHING FOR IT, may pick it up.”

So Hill has intentionally not labeled, or explained the secret blatantly, for our own benefit. But this line contains some other hints.

If it has not been directly named, then none of the chapter titles are the secret.

The statement that it works best when someone is searching for it implies that the secret when told directly might be scoffed at or discounted.

And finally he says that you have to be “READY” and “SEARCHING FOR IT”, which implies that want and desire might be important for the secret to work. The first chapter is all about Desire, so that’s not exactly a stretch to assume.

He also gives some further hints to help us find it.

“The secret to which I refer has been mentioned no fewer than a hundred times, throughout this book.”

So it is mentioned really often. There are only 235 pages in the book (as per the text at the link above), so if it’s mentioned 100 times, then it’s mentioned on pretty much every other page, or multiple times on the same page. This means the secret can be stated shortly.

“If you are READY to put it to use, you will recognize this secret at least once in every chapter.”

It’s in every chapter, but from above, the chapter titles are not the secret. So we should be able to remove all information in each chapter that refers to the title of the chapter, and the remaining concepts or ideas that occur in every chapter are the secret.

Alternatively, we could pick the shortest chapter, ignore the content related to the chapter title, and try to find the secret in the remaining text.

“The secret to which I refer cannot be had without a price, although the price is far less than its value. It cannot be had at any price by those who are not intentionally searching for it. It cannot be given away, it cannot be purchased for money, for the reason that it comes in two parts. One part is already in possession of those who are ready for it. The secret serves equally well, all who are ready for it.”

This section gives us a hint at the character of the secret. It has a price, but it can’t be purchased for money. And it cannot be had at any price by those who are not intentionally searching for it.

This implies that it is not a particular piece of knowledge. Knowledge can be purchased.

It might be a skill, as you would have to put in work (the price) to master the skill, but you couldn’t pay someone else to learn a skill for you.

Another related possibility is a habit, since you have to build habits and others can’t do that for you. Or closely related, a habit of thought, a way of thinking, which again, others couldn’t do for you, but does take concentrated effort and attention to build.

Further, he mentions that it comes in two parts. One of the parts appears to be just being “ready” for the secret, which means that the secret won’t work for you if you are just told what the secret is and weren’t ready to use it.

“Education has nothing to do with it.”

Reiterating that it is not a piece of knowledge, and that you can use the secret without being educated.

“You should have the answer before you finish this book. You may find it in the very first chapter, or on the last page.”

He’s already told us that the secret is mentioned in every chapter, so the mention of the “very first chapter” is not much help. But then he says “on the last page”.

So the secret is mentioned on the last page of the book. So if we haven’t found it by then, we should be able to study that last page and dissect each concept on it to find the one that is the secret. [This is something I’ll come back to in a later post.]

One thing to note here is that we don’t know the format of the original publishing, or what Hill’s “last page” was in his manuscript when he wrote that statement. So it might be prudent to give a little leeway and look at the last few pages rather than just the last page.

“Remember, too, as you go through the book, that it deals with facts and not with fiction, its purpose being to convey a great universal truth through which all who are READY may learn, not only WHAT TO DO, BUT ALSO HOW TO DO IT! and receive, as well, THE NEEDED STIMULUS TO MAKE A START.”

We know from this preface that the purpose of the book is to convey the secret, which he is here calling a “great universal truth”. I don’t know that this adds anything to our hints, but it might further hint at the character of the secret, so we can rule out what it is not.

“As a final word of preparation, before you begin the first chapter, may I offer one brief suggestion which may provide a clue by which the Carnegie secret may be recognized? It is this-ALL ACHIEVEMENT, ALL EARNED RICHES, HAVE THEIR BEGINNING IN AN IDEA!”

The secret is the key to achievement and wealth according to this book, and those have their beginning in an idea.

Ideas are thoughts, and the title of the book is *Think* and Grow Rich, so it might be that the secret has to do with a way of thinking, or a particular type of thinking, which goes back to the habit of thought idea above.

“If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it, therefore, you will readily recognize the other half the moment it reaches your mind.”

Here he again mentions being “ready”, and that this is half of the secret. If you are ready for something, you want it. You desire it. You feel a need for it. You are prepared to receive it.

Maybe this means you have to be willing to accept the secret, and be open to how simple, or inconceivable, the secret might be.

Definite

“…a fair idea of what the reading of this book may bring to you, provided you KNOW WHAT IT IS THAT YOU WANT.”

The idea of having a definite or specific goal is mentioned multiple times throughout the book.

It is not enough to vaguely want. Desires must be specific. Which interestingly, means the desires can’t be negatives.

If you say you don’t want to be alone, then you aren’t being specific about what you do want because anything else fulfills that request.

Not being alone could be sharing a jail cell with someone, having 15 cats, being schizophrenic, being dead, … or being married. And even each of those could be further specified to state clearly and positively what it is that you do want.

Little Effort

“A peculiar thing about this secret is that those who once acquire it and use it, find themselves literally swept on to success, with but little effort, and they never again submit to failure!”

The idea of success not requiring great effort is mentioned multiple times.

This is interesting because generally we think we have to “work hard”. This implies not.

In fact, it says we would be swept on to success if we were using this secret.

“There is no such thing as SOMETHING FOR NOTHING!”

So we do need to do something. And a “little effort” might be required, but not a lot of effort.

So if we are doing a lot of effort, it might be time to step back and see what we are doing that is not in alignment with this secret. Or if we come up with an idea or plan that does require a lot of effort on our part, then it’s probably not the right idea or plan to go with.

Requirement

“I have never known anyone who was inspired to use the secret, who did not achieve noteworthy success in his chosen calling. I have never known any person to distinguish himself, or to accumulate riches of any consequence, without possession of the secret.”

So, at least from his experience, the secret is pretty much required if you want to accumulate riches.

So you could ignore the idea of the secret, and just read the book as it lays, but if your goal is to accumulate riches, then you need to concentrate on finding that secret.

“Riches”

“The problems arising from one’s endeavor to earn a living, to find hope, courage, contentment and peace of mind; to accumulate riches and to enjoy freedom of body and spirit.”

I think he refers to “money-making” in the first sentence as a way to excite us. But here he is expanding the definition of “riches” to basically include anything that you could want. Abundance in all things, whether that be your bank account, heath, relationships, self-image, or anything else.

What Is Your Brain Really Capable Of?

Consider…

Mere thoughts of an upcoming public performance, or important meeting, can cause sweaty palms and an increased heart beat.

Mere thoughts of a naked female form can cause an erection.

Once the 5 minute mile was broken, multiple other people broke it shortly thereafter.

Depressed people are more likely to get sick.

After overweight maids were told that they should be thinner due to the amount of manual labor they performed in their jobs, they started losing weight.

Basketball free throw shooting skills can be increased by thinking about going through the motions of shooting a free throw, even without physically performing the skill.

In The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin said he prevented atrophy of the muscles of his broken arm by working out the unbroken arm, and then visualizing the workout passing to the other arm.

Inspiration

I came across each of those anecdotes while reading various articles and books.

When I started considering them all together, it made me wonder…what is my brain really capable of?

How much unrealized non-conscious control does the brain actually have over the body?

Sure, Waitzkin was able to stave off atrophy…but maybe that was just due to the amount of natural Human Growth Hormone that working out in general causes the body to produce.

Sure the basketball study showed an increase in skill at hitting free throws…but maybe that was just the effect of a more entrenched nerve pattern firing in the brain to cause the right actions to flow in the right sequence more consistently.

Sure the maids lost weight…but maybe once they realized how active they actually were, it changed their self-image, and they started eating healthier too.

Sure depressed people get sick more…but maybe that’s why they are depressed.

Sure the five minute mile was broken multiple times once it was shown to be physically possible…but maybe that was just the effects of shared training methods making everyone better.

Sure a naked female form causes an erection…but…okay you got me there. I’m not going to be consciously thinking an erection into happening. I can fantasize, but I can’t “flex” one into being.

So I decided to try an experiment.

The Experiment

I’m really lazy. I’m not athletic at all. I’m not fat, but I get winded really easily. I have no endurance, and I generally don’t like to stand up for too long.

Needless to say, I really REALLY don’t like working out or physical exertion. But…I still wouldn’t mind having the muscled body from doing it.

So, I thought, given all of the above anecdotes, that maybe if I visualized doing pull-ups, I could cause my brain to build muscle in my body without doing anything.

I believe this might be the definition of “crazy lazy”.

On Day 1, I took my baseline.

I did 6.3 physical pull-ups.

I was not able to pull myself up any further. These are 5 seconds up, and 5 seconds down, no pausing at top or bottom. So 63 seconds of exertion. Blech!

Then, for the next 7 evenings, in the shower, with my eyes closed, I visualized doing 8.3 pull-ups.

I actually took 83 seconds to do it.

I visualized grabbing the bar, pulling my chin up above the bar over 5 seconds, and lowering myself back down over 5 seconds.

I imagined looking over at my arm and watching my bicep flex and contract as I pulled up, and unflex and lengthen as I lowered down.

I did not move any part of my body while I was doing the visualization.

And, yes, I was sitting…83 seconds is a long time to stand for no good reason.

Results Day

On Day 8, I did the real physical pull-ups again. (Blech!)

A week previous, I was able to do 6.3 pull-ups.

This time I did….8.3!

Exactly what I was visualizing!!!

NO actual physical exertion and a week later, I could do 30% MORE pull-ups!!!

Score one for the lazy guy!!!!

Okay, wait, could there be an alternate explanation that didn’t have anything to do with the visualizing?

I have actually tried to work out before. And I did increase strength and size, and at a certain point, it did happen that I would work out a group of muscles once a week and still get stronger over that week.

Now I was working out other groups of muscles at the same time, so it’s possible that the HGH in my blood from those workouts was improving all muscles at the same time.

So from a strict perspective, this run of the experiment was inconclusive…but still very encouraging.

Rinse and Repeat

I decided to perform the experiment again. But this time for much longer.

This time I would do it for 21 days.

Because when I did the working out in the past, and built muscle, that’s how long it took to have the muscle disappear again when I stopped working out.

So if I didn’t do any physical exertion for 21 more days, not only should I not gain more pull-up ability, I should actually lose ability, and go back down to 6.3.

For the next 21 days, in the shower, every night, I visualized doing pull-ups.

But now I was doing it for 21 days…3x the time I had done before. And I had gotten 2 more pull-ups out of that…so I figured I should expect 3×2…6 more pull-ups on top of the 8.3.

So I was visualizing 14.3 pull-ups in the shower every night. 143 seconds. All mental. No physical.

Results Day…Take 2

I stepped up to the bar, grabbed, and started my 10 second pull-ups.

I had my heart and mind set on 14.3 pull-ups.

I was cranking them out 10 seconds at a time…until about 10 where I started to feel the pain.

Then it got worse and worse pretty quickly.

I was only able to eke out 12.1 pull-ups.

I was really dejected.

I thought I might have found this awesome body hack, and now, it had slipped from my grasp.

I had told a buddy of mine about the experiment, and the 1 week results, and that I was going to do the 3 week run and see what happened.

So the next day we met over donuts (if you’re going to be lazy…gluttony is a nice add-on).

I broke the bad news. My pull-ups only increased from 8.3 to 12.1 over the 3 week period without my doing any physical exertion…instead of the 14.3 I was visualizing. (The first week I got the 8.3 I visualized on the dot!)

He got excited, and said “So you got what you wanted!”

At first, I was confused. I didn’t understand what he couldn’t see…I didn’t get 14.3?

He actually had to walk me through it and point it out to me…I increased my pull-ups 45% (8.3 to 12.1) without any physical exertion over a period of time when my pull-up ability should have gone DOWN!

How cool is that?!

I told multiple people about this. Some were excited. Others were skeptical.

I even gave a speech on the experiment to my Toastmasters group.

Then, something REALLY amazing happened.

“Inconceivable”

I forgot.

I forgot I did that. I forgot how cool it was. I forgot how cool I was for trying it.

I even, somehow, didn’t document the speech that I gave to my Toastmasters group.

I gave it as an impromptu speech and have no notes from it, and no one was recording videos that day.

Herd Memory

So how can I be telling you about it now if I forgot?

I was at a meeting recently and one of the people I had told prompted me to tell the story.

And as I told the story, it came back to me, and I remembered how awesome it was.

And I felt really good about myself.

But, how could this have happened? How did I forget that I did something that cool?

And more importantly…what other awesome things have I done that I still don’t remember, and am not giving myself credit for?

Scratch The Itch

My forgetting this was a tragedy. A tragedy I want to avoid in the future.

And I am pretty sure that other people have the same problem of forgetting what awesome things they have accomplished.

So I built something to help.

It’s called Mettle Forger.

Load it up with short phrases.

Things you’ve accomplished, compliments you appreciated, and goals you are working toward.

It will send these short phrases to you, randomly, and give you a little shot of happiness, and a reminder of your awesomeness, so you don’t forget.

Enjoy.