Think And Grow Rich – Chapter 15: How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear

Finishing my analysis of Think and Grow Rich.

This is for Chapter 15, How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear

(Go here to start from the beginning.)

Quote and Analysis

“Take Inventory of Yourself, As You Read This Closing Chapter, and Find Out How Many of the “Ghosts” Are Standing in Your Way. BEFORE you can put any portion of this philosophy into successful use, your mind must be prepared to receive it.”

The interesting thing here is that this chapter is the last chapter of the book, but to use the rest of the book, I have to first use this chapter to identify my fears and prepare myself to receive the philosophy.

Quote and Analysis

“The preparation is not difficult. It begins with study, analysis, and understanding of three enemies which you shall have to clear out.


The Sixth Sense will never function while these three negatives, or any of them remain in your mind. The members of this unholy trio are closely related; where one is found, the other two are close at hand.”

The entire purpose of this book is to bring me to where I have access to the Sixth Sense: knowledge that comes to me through my imagination in order to tell me how to be successful at my endeavors.

So, if I am indecisive, doubtful, or fearful about anything, then I will close down, and I won’t have access to this knowledge.

Quote and Analysis

“INDECISION is the seedling of FEAR! Remember this, as you read. Indecision crystallizes into DOUBT, the two blend and become FEAR! The “blending” process often is slow. This is one reason why these three enemies are so dangerous. They germinate and grow without their presence being observed.”

So, as long as I can avoid indecision, I will short-circuit the creation of doubt, and that short-circuits the generation of fear.

Note that indecision also leads to inaction. “I’m not sure what to do, so I’ll wait for more information (and do nothing in the meantime).”

Thus one of the ways I can stomp out fear is to keep moving, and not to allow myself to get stuck. I can try something. If it doesn’t work, I can try something else.

Quote and Analysis


There are six basic fears, with some combination of which every human suffers at one time or another. Most people are fortunate if they do not suffer from the entire six. Named in the order of their most common appearance, they are:

The fear of POVERTY

The fear of CRITICISM } most of one’s

The fear of ILL HEALTH } worries


The fear of OLD AGE

The fear of DEATH

All other fears are of minor importance, they can be grouped under these six headings.”

I’m listing these here for reference.

Kind of interesting that he says they are listed in order of their most common appearance. In the list, all of the fears are above the fear of Death, meaning that Death is the least feared.

I’ve heard it said before that most people fear Death LESS than they fear Public Speaking (which would be a manifestation of a fear of Criticism). If that’s you, and you’d like to be able to master your fear of Criticism, consider trying out Toastmasters.

I used to DREAD public speaking, but after participating in Toastmasters for a few months, I lost that fear. And now, after a few years of participating, I actually enjoy public speaking. It’s a very supportive and growth-oriented environment.

Quote and Analysis

“We are here laying the foundation for the presentation of a fact of great importance to the person who does not understand why some people appear to be “lucky” while others of equal or greater ability, training, experience, and brain capacity, seem destined to ride with misfortune. This fact may be explained by the statement that every human being has the ability to completely control his own mind, and with this control, obviously, every person may open his mind to the tramp thought impulses which are being released by other brains, or close the doors tightly and admit only thought impulses of his own choice.

Nature has endowed man with absolute control over but one thing, and that is THOUGHT. This fact, coupled with the additional fact that everything which man creates, begins in the form of a thought, leads one very near to the principle by which FEAR may be mastered.

If it is true that ALL THOUGHT HAS A TENDENCY TO CLOTHE ITSELF IN ITS PHYSICAL EQUIVALENT (and this is true, beyond any reasonable room for doubt), it is equally true that thought impulses of fear and poverty cannot be translated into terms of courage and financial gain.”

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind of man can achieve. That’s the “secret”. This section is saying exactly that, in the negative sense. If I conceive that I could fail. And then believe that I could fail. Then I will fail.

On the other hand, if I conceive that I will succeed, and then believe that I will succeed, then I will succeed.

He’s saying success has nothing to do with ability, training, experience, or brain capacity. These are all things that I generally assume are needed, and that I must build up first before I can achieve some particular desire. But it turns out I don’t need any of those. I only need to keep thoughts that are negative out of my mind, and then create and support in my mind thoughts that are positive. I only need to control my thoughts, and thus create a positive State of Mind, which is directly opposed to a fearful State of Mind. So this chapter is meant to help me remove the possibility of a fearful State of Mind, so that I can then create a positive State of Mind, and receive insights from the Sixth Sense.

Quote and Analysis

“Fear of poverty is a state of mind, nothing else! But it is sufficient to destroy one’s chances of achievement in any undertaking, a truth which became painfully evident during the depression.

This fear paralyzes the faculty of reason, destroys the faculty of imagination, kills off self-reliance, undermines enthusiasm, discourages initiative, leads to uncertainty of purpose, encourages procrastination, wipes out enthusiasm and makes self-control an impossibility. It takes the charm from one’s personality, destroys the possibility of accurate thinking, diverts concentration of effort, it masters persistence, turns the will-power into nothingness, destroys ambition, beclouds the memory and invites failure in every conceivable form; it kills love and assassinates the finer emotions of the heart, discourages friendship and invites disaster in a hundred forms, leads to sleeplessness, misery and unhappiness-and all this despite the obvious truth that we live in a world of over-abundance of everything the heart could desire, with nothing standing between us and our desires, excepting lack of a definite purpose.

The Fear of Poverty is, without doubt, the most destructive of the six basic fears. It has been placed at the head of the list, because it is the most difficult to master. Considerable courage is required to state the truth about the origin of this fear, and still greater courage to accept the truth after it has been stated. The fear of poverty grew out of man’s inherited tendency to PREY UPON HIS FELLOW MAN ECONOMICALLY. Nearly all animals lower than man are motivated by instinct, but their capacity to “think” is limited, therefore, they prey upon one another physically. Man, with his superior sense of intuition, with the capacity to think and to reason, does not eat his fellowman bodily, he gets more satisfaction out of “eating” him FINANCIALLY. Man is so avaricious that every conceivable law has been passed to safeguard him from his fellowman.”

I wasn’t sure what the “Fear of Poverty” was until I read this part. The “Fear of Poverty” is a “scarcity mindset”. It’s the belief that there isn’t enough to go around, so I need to hoard or take from someone else. It is the belief that there is NOT an over-abundance of everything that I or anyone could want. It’s the belief that I need to grab my share, rather than the belief that I can create a greater share for myself and everyone if I want.

Quote and Analysis

“Self-analysis may disclose weaknesses which one does not like to acknowledge. This form of examination is essential to all who demand of Life more than mediocrity and poverty. Remember, as you check yourself point by point, that you are both the court and the jury, the prosecuting attorney and the attorney for the defense, and that you are the plaintiff and the defendant, also, that you are on trial. Face the facts squarely. Ask yourself definite questions and demand direct replies. When the examination is over, you will know more about yourself. If you do not feel that you can be an impartial judge in this self-examination, call upon someone who knows you well to serve as judge while you cross-examine yourself. You are after the truth. Get it, no matter at what cost even though it may temporarily embarrass you!”

This is hard to do. I think it almost has to be done with someone else. When I do it by myself, I’m able WITHOUT EVEN NOTICING to skip the ones that are really important to me. The questions that hold the key to what is holding me back the most. Writing down my answers is an important piece of the process because it requires clear thinking, honesty, and completeness.

If I don’t write it down, then I can kind of fudge in my mind and skip over it without actually thinking through the answer.

One other thing that tends to focus my thinking is to require that I write down a specific example of a time I did the positive or negative side of the question. A specific example is one that I could put a date to. Not something general.

If I do this, then I can start to root out these fears and switch to a positive State of Mind…even if I thought I was already in a positive State of Mind.

Quote and Analysis

“The greatest of all remedies for the fear of death is a BURNING DESIRE FOR ACHIEVEMENT, backed by useful service to others. A busy person seldom has time to think about dying. He finds life too thrilling to worry about death.”

Note that one remedy for a fear of death is SERVICE TO OTHERS.

Quote and Analysis

“This fear is useless. Death will come, no matter what anyone may think about it. Accept it as a necessity, and pass the thought out of your mind. It must be a, necessity, or it would not come to all. Perhaps it is not as bad as it has been pictured.”

Interestingly, I think this might be a limiting belief in the author’s mind. It cannot be that “death will come, no matter what anyone may think about it” and that “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind of man can achieve”. Both cannot be true.

It should be just as effective to remove the fear of death to believe that death will never come, as it is to accept and believe that death will always come. The “trick” is to believe whichever way I choose, and not to doubt. I must make a decision one way or the other, but I can’t sit in the middle and worry.

Quote and Analysis

“Decision can also prevent one’s acceptance of undesired circumstances. The six basic fears become translated into a state of worry, through indecision. Relieve yourself, forever of the fear of death, by reaching a decision to accept death as an inescapable event. Whip the fear of poverty by reaching a decision to get along with whatever wealth you can accumulate WITHOUT WORRY. Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision NOT TO WORRY about what other people think, do, or say. Eliminate the fear of old age by reaching a decision to accept it, not as a handicap, but as a great blessing which carries with it wisdom, self-control, and understanding not known to youth.

Acquit yourself of the fear of ill health by the decision to forget symptoms. Master the fear of loss of love by reaching a decision to get along without love, if that is necessary.”

These are decisions I can make, beliefs I can decide to believe, to eliminate these fears.

Quote and Analysis

“The release of destructive thought impulses, alone, without the aid of words, produces also a “kickback” in more ways than one. First of all, and perhaps most important to be remembered, the person who releases thoughts of a destructive nature, must suffer damage through the breaking down of the faculty of creative imagination.

Secondly, the presence in the mind of any destructive emotion develops a negative personality which repels people, and often converts them into antagonists. The third source of damage to the person who entertains or releases negative thoughts, lies in this significant fact -these thought-impulses are not only damaging to others, but they IMBED THEMSELVES IN THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND OF THE PERSON RELEASING THEM, and there become a part of his character.”

So, if I think “negative” thoughts, thoughts that support the 6 basic fears, thoughts of lack, or worry, then I am damaging myself in these 3 ways.

I am damaging my connection to the thing that is going to make me successful, my creative imagination, my connection to the Sixth Sense.

I am damaging myself by creating a negative personality that will make others want to work against my desires instead of for them.

I am damaging myself by training my mind to think these thoughts as a matter of habit and thus become my character.

Quote and Analysis

“In addition to the Six Basic Fears, there is another evil by which people suffer. It constitutes a rich soil in which the seeds of failure grow abundantly. It is so subtle that its presence often is not detected. This affliction cannot properly be classed as a fear. IT IS MORE DEEPLY SEATED AND MORE OFTEN FATAL THAN ALL OF THE SIX FEARS. For want of a better name, let us call this evil SUSCEPTIBILITY TO NEGATIVE INFLUENCES.

Men who accumulate great riches always protect themselves against this evil! The poverty stricken never do! Those who succeed in any calling must prepare their minds to resist the evil. If you are reading this philosophy for the purpose of accumulating riches, you should examine yourself very carefully, to determine whether you are susceptible to negative influences. If you neglect this self-analysis, you will forfeit your right to attain the object of your desires.

Make the analysis searching. After you read the questions prepared for this self-analysis, hold yourself to a strict accounting in your answers. Go at the task as carefully as you would search for any other enemy you knew to be awaiting you in ambush and deal with your own faults as you would with a more tangible enemy. You can easily protect yourself against highway robbers, because the law provides organized cooperation for your benefit, but the “seventh basic evil” is more difficult to master, because it strikes when you are not aware of its presence, when you are asleep, and while you are awake. Moreover, its weapon is intangible, because it consists of merely-a STATE OF MIND. This evil is also dangerous because it strikes in as many different forms as there are human experiences. Sometimes it enters the mind through the well-meant words of one’s own relatives. At other times, it bores from within, through one’s own mental attitude. Always it is as deadly as poison, even though it may not kill as quickly.”

In particular, I want to note here that he’s saying this “susceptibility to negative influences” is MORE often fatal than all of the six fears. So even if I root out all of the six fears, I still need to deal with this.

And the way that I can do this is by using the self-analysis questions in the book. I know for myself, that I have to write down my answers, and try to think of specific examples, dates/times, of when I did the positive side of the question. If I can’t think of examples that specific, and I can’t write them down, then I have found one of the hiding places of my enemy, and one of the chief obstacles to my positive state of mind.

Quote and Analysis

“Recognize that you are, by nature, susceptible to all the six basic fears, and set up habits for the purpose of counteracting all these fears.”

The habits he’s talking about are sprinkled through the book. The habit of reading my DCA in the morning and in the evening is an example of these habits.

Other habits that I have are avoiding news in all forms…newspaper, TV, radio, internet, twitter, etc.

Quote and Analysis

“Recognize that negative influences often work on you through your subconscious mind, therefore they are difficult to detect, and keep your mind closed against all people who depress or discourage you in any way.”

Keeping my mind closed against all people who depress or discourage me could mean that I avoid these people, but it doesn’t have to mean that. Sometimes I can’t avoid them. So it means that I need to put anything they say in a different light. I need to view their statements as fiction or as a viewpoint that is coming from false information.

I can try to influence them and show them my own viewpoint and the more positive perspective, and often this works and they brighten. But sometimes it doesn’t and they choose to stay in their negative state of mind. That’s fine as long as I don’t allow them to affect my positive state of mind.

Quote and Analysis

“Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to


So, I don’t have to ignore ALL external influences. I can allow in the positive ones, the ones that support my beliefs. I just have to reject the negative ones.

My Master Mind group has been a great source of this kind of influence.

Quote and Analysis

“To aid those who wish to see themselves as they really are, the following list of questions has been prepared. Read the questions and state your answers aloud, so you can hear your own voice. This will make it easier for you to be truthful with yourself.”

As I said above, I find it even more useful to write the answers down instead of just stating them aloud.

Quote and Analysis

“How much time have you devoted to studying and answering these questions? (At least one day is necessary for the analysis and the answering of the entire list.)”

Here’s a helpful reminder of how long this kind of deep introspection should really take. It’s not going to be something I can just zip through in a few minutes. I need to seriously consider each question and make sure that I’m not skipping over the hiding place of a weakness.

Quote and Analysis

“Study the questions carefully, come back to them once each week for several months, and be astounded at the amount of additional knowledge of great value to yourself, you will have gained by the simple method of answering the questions truthfully. If you are not certain concerning the answers to some of the questions, seek the counsel of those who know you well, especially those who have no motive in flattering you, and see yourself through their eyes. The experience will be astonishing.”

I need to come back to these questions once a week for several months. So, I need to spend a full day, once a week for at least 3 months…or approximately 12 times of going through this full list of questions and answering each one specifically.

And I need to seek the perspective of others. I don’t have to adopt their viewpoints, but it would be helpful to see if there is a perspective that I am missing by a habit of not looking in that direction.

Quote and Analysis

“Mind control is the result of self-discipline and habit. You either control your mind or it controls you. There is no hall-way compromise. The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is the habit of keeping it busy with a definite purpose, backed by a definite plan.”

Again, the importance of habit is being affirmed. I can control my mind or let it control me. And the way I can control it is to keep it busy with my DCA and a plan to achieve that DCA. Even if that plan needs to change in the future, making a decision and taking action toward the plan is the key to stomping out fears.

Quote and Analysis

“Remember, too, the philosophy presented in this book makes every one of these alibis obsolete.”

So, even if I find my particular pet belief in the list, I don’t get to believe that I’m stuck. The philosophy of stomping out my fears, locking in a positive state of mind, and following the 13 principles will lead me to my success.

Quote and Analysis

“The Master Key is intangible, but it is powerful! It is the privilege of creating, in your own mind, a BURNING DESIRE for a definite form of riches. There is no penalty for the use of the Key, but there is a price you must pay if you do not use it. The price is FAILURE. There is a reward of stupendous proportions if you put the Key to use. It is the satisfaction that comes to all who conquer self and force Life to pay whatever is asked.”

In the end, this book is about conquering self. And self is all that is standing in the way of my success, my riches. There are no other real obstacles.