Think And Grow Rich – Chapter 6: Imagination

Continuing my analysis of Think and Grow Rich.

This is for Chapter 6, Imagination.

(Go here to start from the beginning.)

Quote and Analysis

“SYNTHETIC IMAGINATION: – Through this faculty, one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. This faculty creates nothing. It merely works with the material of experience, education, and observation with which it is fed. It is the faculty used most by the inventor, with the exception of he who draws upon the creative imagination, when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination.”

Hill defines two types of Imagination. This version, the Synthetic Imagination, is the logical one. It’s the one that allows you to see two things and put them together to create something better than the two by themselves.

For example, if you saw an eraser and a pencil, and realized that they were always used at the same time, so you put the eraser on the end of the pencil.

Quote and Analysis

“CREATIVE IMAGINATION: -Through the faculty of creative imagination, the finite mind of man has direct communication with Infinite Intelligence. It is the faculty through which “hunches” and “inspirations” are received. It is by this faculty that all basic, or new ideas are handed over to man. It is through this faculty that thought vibrations from the minds of others are received. It is through this faculty that one individual may “tune in,” or communicate with the subconscious minds of other men.”

Here he is saying that Creative Imagination is the ability to receive new ideas directly from an outside source, Infinite Intelligence, or the minds of others.

And by new ideas, he means ideas that are not just combinations of previous ideas or concepts, but new concepts not yet before known.

He uses the word “basic”, meaning something that would be a law of nature, but that we hadn’t yet discovered. The idea of this unknown law of nature would be handed to someone as a hunch, and then that person would go try an experiment and find that the hunch proved true.

He’s also saying that this same ability is the basis for telepathy, communication between humans through thought alone.

Quote and Analysis

“The creative imagination works automatically, in the manner described in subsequent pages. This faculty functions ONLY when the conscious mind is vibrating at an exceedingly rapid rate, as for example, when the conscious mind is stimulated through the emotion of a strong desire.”

The Synthetic Imagination is something you can use anytime you want. You see two objects or ideas, and you can attempt to come up with some combination of the two.

The Creative Imagination is different. The way you use it is to be open to receiving a message from Infinite Intelligence, or another mind. In this way it works “automatically”. He explains more about how it works in later chapters.

The way to be “open to receiving” is to be focusing on a strong emotion, like desire. So when you focus on and cultivate your Burning Desire, you are more likely to receive flashes of insight, hunches, and inspirations that give you a new idea on how to achieve your goal.

Quote and Analysis

“The creative faculty becomes more alert, more receptive to vibrations from the sources mentioned, in proportion to its development through USE. This statement is significant! Ponder over it before passing on.”

Vibrations in this context are thoughts or ideas. They are the communications from Infinite Intelligence and other minds.

The more often you practice being open to receiving these vibrations (or ideas), the better you will get at receiving them.

Again, being “open to receive” is to be focusing on a strong emotion, so practicing being open to receive means practicing a strong emotion.

This means thinking about and emotionally feeling your desire, and trying to intensify that desire.

You can also practice faith/confidence/belief. This is another “emotion” that he discusses. The Self-Confidence formula from Chapter 3, Faith, is an exercise in practicing faith/confidence/belief.

What this means is that the more strongly you cultivate the feeling of the desire, and the stronger your faith in your desire, the more likely it is that you will receive an inspiration that will show you a better path to that desire.

Quote and Analysis

“Keep in mind as you follow these principles, that the entire story of how one may convert DESIRE into money cannot be told in one statement. The story will be complete, only when one has MASTERED, ASSIMILATED, and BEGUN TO MAKE USE of all the principles.”

This book is a presentation of a philosophy. The philosophy allows you to take a desire and transform it into riches (whatever that is to you).

To use the philosophy, you must master, assimilate, and make use of all the principles of the philosophy.

All the principles are the chapters of the book.

We master them by knowing what they are and practicing them, actually taking each principle and practicing it in our daily lives.

The Self-Confidence Formula is a daily example of practicing Faith, the second principle.

And the morning and nightly repetition of the Definite Chief Aim is an example of practicing Desire.

To assimilate the principles means to understand how each interacts and supports the others.

This seems like a good place to give a quick overview of how the principles covered so far interact and support each other.

Desire is the starting point. It’s what you want to achieve by using the philosophy. It’s also an emotion that can stimulate your Imagination to bring you help from Infinite Intelligence.

Faith is confidence that you can achieve your desire, which keeps you pursuing that desire. It’s also an emotion that can stimulate your Imagination.

Auto-Suggestion is a method for training yourself. You use it to train yourself to have more Faith, more confidence, and more desire by repeating your Definite Chief Aim to yourself. You train your subconscious mind to automatically feel good about what you are working toward achieving.

Specialized Knowledge is an ingredient. Your Synthetic Imagination uses it to create new combinations of ideas to move you toward what you desire.

Imagination is where ideas and plans come from, new ideas from outside of yourself, or new combinations of ideas you already know. These are the plans you will follow to achieve your desire.

Quote and Analysis

“Both the synthetic and creative faculties of imagination become more alert with use, just as any muscle or organ of the body develops through use.”

This has already been stated above, but I want to call it out specifically.

The more you practice using the synthetic imagination, the better it will get. One way to do this is to daily make a list of 10 ideas related to one thing.

The more you practice using the creative imagination, the more receptive it will get. The way you practice this is to intensify your desire and faith, and then sit quietly and listen. Listen for a small hint of what will get you to that desire, a hunch or inspiration. Usually we have too many things going on to notice these small voices.

Quote and Analysis

“While the synthetic imagination is the one which will be used most frequently, in the process of transforming the impulse of DESIRE into money, you must keep in mind the fact, that you may face circumstances and situations which demand use of the creative imagination as well.”

He gives us a little hint that we will likely most often use the synthetic imagination (recombining existing ideas), but that sometimes, our only way forward will be to use the creative imagination (ideas that come from outside of us). To sit quietly and listen for a new idea, hunch, or inspiration that has never occurred to us before, and that will move us past the circumstances or situation we are facing.

Quote and Analysis

“Transformation of the intangible impulse, of DESIRE, into the tangible reality, of MONEY, calls for the use of a plan, or plans. These plans must be formed with the aid of the imagination, and mainly, with the synthetic faculty.”

Desire is turned into money through plans. Plans come from the imagination. Mostly they will come from the synthetic imagination, but that means that sometimes they will come from the creative imagination too.

Quote and Analysis

“Read the entire book through, then come back to this chapter, and begin at once to put your imagination to work on the building of a plan, or plans, for the transformation of your DESIRE into money. Detailed instructions for the building of plans have been given in almost every chapter. Carry out the instructions best suited to your needs; reduce your plan to writing, if you have not already done so. The moment you complete this, you will have DEFINITELY given concrete form to the intangible DESIRE. Read the preceding sentence once more. Read it aloud, very slowly, and as you do so, remember that the moment you reduce the statement of your desire, and a plan for its realization, to writing, you have actually TAKEN THE FIRST of a series of steps, which will enable you to convert the thought into its physical counterpart.”

The whole point of this philosophy is to change your desires (non-physical thoughts) into physical things.

Say you want a $1M, but it’s not yet in your possession. You desire $1M, but it’s not yet a physical reality.

This philosophy is saying that the desire for that $1M can be turned into that $1M being in your physical possession.

And this quote says that a step toward changing the desire into an actual $1M is to write out a plan to get there.

When you have written down the plan, you will have changed your intangible idea into something physical. You will be holding in your hand an actual physical item (the piece of paper) that can lead to $1M. You will have made the intangible tangible. You will have turned your thought into something physical.

One further point about making a plan is that it makes you be definite. It makes you get specific about how you will go about getting your desire. Which means you will become more aware of opportunities around you that can lead to achieving your desire.

Quote and Analysis

“Moreover-and this statement is of stupendous importance-this earth, every one of the billions of individual cells of your body, and every atom of matter, began as an intangible form of energy. DESIRE is thought impulse! Thought impulses are forms of energy. When you begin with the thought impulse, DESIRE, to accumulate money, you are drafting into your service the same “stuff that Nature used in creating this earth, and every material form in the universe, including the body and brain in which the thought impulses function.”

This is really just meant to give you faith/confidence/belief in the process. He’s saying that you CAN turn your desire, your thought energy, into something tangible because that’s how nature already works. It’s a “natural” process and has been done before.

Quote and Analysis

“Assimilate that which you understand, as you read this philosophy for the first time, then, when you reread and study it, you will discover that something has happened to clarify it, and give you a broader understanding of the whole. Above all, DO NOT STOP, nor hesitate in your study of these principles until you have read the book at least THREE times, for then, you will not want to stop.”

This is true of anything you read. As you pick up the basic concepts, you’ll begin to understand the more complicated concepts.

I can attest that I’ve read this book at least twice in the past, and don’t even remember some of these chapters being in there before. And even now, I’m picking up nuances that I didn’t notice before.

So read it 3 times. Do the exercises it says to do. And see what happens.

Also interesting to note that this is an admonition to be persistent, which is one of the later chapters. And that doing something over and over (like reading 3 times) is an application of auto-suggestion. The book not only tells you what the principles are, but it also tells you what actions to take that will lead you to use those principles, even if you don’t realize that’s what you are doing.

Quote and Analysis

…destined to yield great wealth to many people
…destined to bring to the South the most far-flung benefit since the Civil War
…paid, and still pays huge fortunes to men and women all over the world
…providing jobs of a permanent nature to thousands of men and women
…providing jobs to huge numbers of glass workers
…gives employment to an army of clerks, stenographers, copy writers, and advertising experts
…brought fame and fortune to scores of artists
…converted a small Southern city into the business capital of the South, where it now benefits, directly, or indirectly, every business and practically every resident of the city.
…now benefits every civilized country in the world, pouring out a continuous stream of gold to all who touch it.
…built and maintains one of the most prominent colleges of the South, where thousands of young people receive the training essential for success.
…has done other marvelous things
…through the world depression, when factories, banks and business houses were folding up and quitting by the thousands, the owner of this Enchanted Kettle went marching on, giving continuous employment to an army of men and women all over the world
…thrilling tales of romance in every language
…romances of professional men and women who are daily being stimulated by it”

This section discusses Asa Candler and how he bought the recipe for Coca-Cola for $500 (his life savings), and went on to create a huge empire from that because he had the imagination to see it’s potential. And the doctor who sold it only had enough imagination to pay off his own debts.

What struck me when I read this was the focus of the benefits of Asa’s imagination. I don’t see anywhere in the description where it says that Asa became rich. I don’t see anywhere that it talks about how all of the gold from the kettle flowed to Asa.

On the contrary, all the excerpts above are examples of the results of Asa’s imagination (and risk of his life savings) benefiting tons of other people.

This philosophy is not a selfish one. It’s a philosophy of abundance. The more you create and provide for other people, the more you will receive.

This philosophy says to focus on what you are giving, what you are providing, not what you are getting.

When you are thinking about what you want and desire, put it in terms of what you are giving or providing to someone else.

Quote and Analysis


This is referring to Dr. Gunsaulus’ story about wanting to start a college.

The story talks about a feeling of assurance, or faith/confidence/belief, that he would get the money once he made the decision to get it.

Maybe that’s a way to know if you are on the right track for you, a way to know if you have actually made the decision. If instead, you don’t feel that assurance that it will work out, then maybe you haven’t actually committed yet.

Also, in this case, his sermon was a description of his plan, which is very similar to Schwab’s speech where he laid out a plan for combining steel companies. In both cases, the plan was created and it inspired people who had money to fund the plans and make what the plan creators imagined come to life. It was a very short step from making the tangible, physical representation of their ideas (the paper on which they wrote the plans) to having those ideas be swept on to becoming reality.

Just an aside, the Gunsaulus story was about him wanting to start a college to benefit other people. He didn’t want the $1M for himself. So it’s the same idea from the Coca-Cola story above about focusing on the benefits to others.

And in the case of Schwab, he highlighted how they could bring down the cost of steel and benefit everyone.

Quote and Analysis


Be definite. Definite purpose. Definite plans. A vague idea doesn’t count. And as I pointed out before, negative, “I don’t want…” is not definite. Say what you do want, what you do desire.

Quote and Analysis

“If you are one of those who believe that hard work and honesty, alone, will bring riches, perish the thought! It is not true!

Riches, when they come in huge quantities, are never the result of HARD work! Riches come, if they come at all, in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles, and not by chance or luck. Generally speaking, an idea is an impulse of thought that impels action, by an appeal to the imagination. All master salesmen know that ideas can be sold where merchandise cannot.”

Again, “no hard work” doesn’t mean “no work”. It could still be work, but you will probably enjoy it because it will be work leading you to what you desire.

An idea “impels action”. The idea is so enthralling that it makes you want to work on it. It makes you imagine how awesome the results of your work are going to be and you share that vision with others who get excited as well. And those others help you themselves, fund you, or talk about you to someone else that can help you.

The “idea” sells them on getting involved. It impels, or inspires, them to act.

Quote and Analysis

“The moving picture industry created a whole flock of millionaires. Most of them were men who couldn’t create ideas-BUT-they had the imagination to recognize ideas when they saw them.”

Reminded me of the Specialized Knowledge chapter where he talks about building a Master Mind group. You don’t have to have the ideas yourself; you just have to have the imagination to recognize a good one. And a good one is one that inspires you and gives you an emotional jolt.

Quote and Analysis

“If the foregoing comment on the opportunities of radio has not started your idea factory to work, you had better forget it. Your opportunity is in some other field. If the comment intrigued you in the slightest degree, then go further into it, and you may find the one IDEA you need to round out your career.”

So if you are considering something, and after a little research you don’t find yourself swept along and generating lots of ideas, or excited about them to the point that you can’t stop yourself from working on them, then maybe keep looking.

He also states that you really only need to come up with ONE idea.

Quote and Analysis

“Never let it discourage you if you have no experience in radio. Andrew Carnegie knew very little about making steel-I have Carnegie’s own word for this-but he made practical use of two of the principles described in this book, and made the steel business yield him a fortune.

The story of practically every great fortune starts with the day when a creator of ideas and a seller of ideas got together and worked in harmony. Carnegie surrounded himself with men who could do all that he could not do. Men who created ideas, and men who put ideas into operation, and made himself and the others fabulously rich.”

Again, a reminder of the Specialized Knowledge chapter and the Master Mind principle discussed in a later chapter.

Also, I just particularly like comment that great fortunes are built when a creator of ideas and a seller of ideas get together and work in harmony. The harmony is crucial.

Also, he made himself and the others fabulously rich. He shared the wealth. He provided the benefits he wanted for himself to others as well.

Quote and Analysis

“It was no ordinary DESIRE that survived disappointment, discouragement, temporary defeat, criticism, and the constant reminding of “waste of time.” It was a BURNING DESIRE! AN OBSESSION!

When the idea was first planted in my mind by Mr. Carnegie, it was coaxed, nursed, and enticed to remain alive. Gradually, the idea became a giant under its own power, and it coaxed, nursed, and drove me. Ideas are like that. First you give life and action and guidance to ideas, then they take on power of their own and sweep aside all opposition.”

Here’s a reminder of how high you need to pump the desire up. It needs to be so great that it can withstand the external onslaught of nay-sayers and setbacks.

But once it’s there. Once you have built it up to that point, it will then turn around and support you. And others will be inspired by your idea and the tide will turn to help you instead of hindering you.

Quote and Analysis

“For example, take the power of Christianity. That began with a simple idea, born in the brain of Christ. Its chief tenet was, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.””

I did a little research on the tailor mentioned in the Preface, Arthur Nash. It appears that the unique experiment that he did was to make his “sweat shop” a co-op and to give his employees a share in the profits. And to give them Saturdays off (instead of just Sundays), but to still pay them the same amount for the week. And all of this giving ended up in them all doing much better for it.

That mirrors a lot of the giving in this chapter that benefited other people as well as the giver.

That’s a pretty good example of “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, or rather “give if you want to get”. Focus on what you can give.


2 thoughts on “Think And Grow Rich – Chapter 6: Imagination”

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