A viewer on my youtube channel asked:
Curious if you’ve ever read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. I’ve always enjoyed the book, but am a bit conflicted with their advice of working yourself up into a white heat of desire for money…
As a teenager, I tried to read Think and Grow Rich. And again, post-college. Each time, I don’t think I got past the first few chapters.
The strength of the book is its simplistic path to financial wealth, illustrated by inspirational examples. Each time, I got so inspired by the 2nd chapter that I tried for a few months afterwards to follow its principles and suggestions.
Maybe because I never finished the book, I didn’t find it helpful to reach my financial goals. However, the first 2 chapters did get me incredibly focused on a specific money goal. As I look back, I see that it choked my creativity, in terms of adding real value to others.
I became hyper-focused on the transaction of exchanging a product/service so that I can get the money.
If you’re curious, you can download a free copy of Think and Grow Rich.
I’ll share with you my thoughts on what may be the most famous part of the book — Chapter 2, about 2–3 pages in, where it lists:
The 6 steps to manifesting money?
The first step is to fixate your mind on an exact amount of money that you want.
This should already be a red flag. Any kind of mental fixation will turn you into a single-drive robot that knows only to get to the goal “by any means necessary” no matter how it damages one’s health, one’s relationships, and one’s environment.
What we need in our complex world today, and for our own mental health, is flexibility of the mind, not fixation on any one goal.
The second step? Define exactly what you will give in exchange for the money.
The way business actually works in our fast-changing world today is to continually tweak, based on your ongoing conversation with your audience, and continual expansion of your skills, what you will offer in exchange for money. To define it at the beginning will prematurely narrow your options based on limited understanding. It will choke your creativity.
The third step? To define an exact date for when you’ll have the money.
Can you imagine someone saying “I must have this exact amount of money by this exact but arbitrary date that I set!”
This is the control-hungry, egoic mind talking.
When you force the world to attend to your desires, you may get them in the short-term, but you’ll damage your long-term life experience, eroding everything that a deeper version of you actually wants.
The fourth step? Define an exact plan and start taking action right away.
Again, my concern here is the illusion that in the beginning you are wise enough to define an exact plan that is supposed to get you to the exact $ amount at the exact time.
Planning is a process of increasing clarity. No one plan will get you there, and certainly not the one you “define” at the beginning. It’s the continual re-planning from your continual learning, that will bring you into a future you actually like.
The fifth & sixth steps: To write out a concise statement of what you came up with in the first 4 steps, so that you can read your concise statement, out loud, at least twice a day. And each time, AS YOU READ — SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.
The ALL CAPS above is literally how it shows up in the book. The author wanted to emphasize this very much.
That is the fatal flaw that I see in Think and Grow Rich, and the many “law of attraction” teachings that have sprouted from this famous book:
When you focus first and last on Money, you create a singular desire for money that blinds you from its effects on your own health, relationships, and the environment.
You end up worshipping money.
What the world needs today is a healthy relationship to money. It’s also what we individually need for mental health.
This means becoming sensitive to marketing offers and business opportunities that are tapping into our greed, or fear of insecurity.
Any teaching that tries to motivate us primarily from money, is missing the mark. It chokes our creativity, blinds us to negative effects, and doesn’t add sustainable value to others, nor to our future.
Instead, focus on serving wisely in your business, continually adapting your goals to your growing knowledge of how you can add more real value to others.
By focusing on building an authentic business, the money will follow.