Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill’s classic from 1937, Think and Grow Rich, aims to teach you how Andrew Carnegie and other millionaires utilize the “Carnegie secret” to get rich. This secret seems to have been repackaged with step-by-step instructions by T. Harv Ekert in Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, and, I’m sure, by dozens of other authors in the self-help and success genres over the decades. Solid advice should get recycled.
I’d summarize the topical chapters of Hill’s book as such:
Thoughts can materialize into wealth
Desire fuels success
You have to have faith in yourself and your ideas
Autosuggestion can be used to convince yourself of the value of yourself and your ideas
You need specialized knowledge in a field to succeed, in addition to the above
Use your imagination to come up with business ideas
It also helps to be organized at planning to succeed
Build a master mind group of folks you can use as support and resources
Channel your sexual energy towards wealth (beware the sexism of this more than all other chapters – though its present in all of them)
Cultivate the appropriate emotions to channel your subconscious mind towards success (this chapter was a little unclear to me)
Train your brain for success
Cultivate a sixth sense: your creative imagination
Defeat the common fears that hold people back.
This sexy, fun little book is energizing read. But herein lies the rub: if you don’t put words into action, they’ll only ever be words on paper. Inspiring, but useless.
I’ve started 5 businesses in my life. When I was about 6 or 7, I hustled my way into cash for walking my neighbor’s dog. When I was in middle school, I made friendship bracelets with embroidery floss and sold them to my friends at school. At 25 cents a piece this got me enough to buy snacks, which was cool. I also started a law firm in 2015, which never got off the ground and failed. And now I’ve started this blog. While it’s a fun exercise, it remains yet to be seen if folks care enough about what I have to say - and if I can develop the necessary marketing and branding skills – for The Jaded Environmentalist to earn me any income.
So I haven’t hit the jackpot yet when it comes to business ideas, and yet, I’m convinced that all these *successful* authors with self-help advice can’t be wrong, because I’ve followed the advice of many authors that actually HAVE paid off for me. The advice is usually right, you just have to do it. Though I’m not rich yet – I’m still in the process of implementing the skills and tools I’m learning as a go - I’ll give you a few examples of ideas put into action that HAVE paid off for me:
1. Negotiating a raise. A lot of finance and self-help books talk about the importance of salary negotiation, and I’ve started to put it into play. It works! And, it can actually help you improve your relationship with your boss. I was able to negotiate a midyear raise that brought me up 5%. I did this by leveraging another opportunity that was offered to me, presenting my current estimated worth on Glassdoor.com, and leveraging an excellent performance record to reach this compromise. (I was going for about 10%).
2. Haggling. Yes, this works. Especially in countries where it’s expected of you like Turkey, China, and Guatemala. But it also works with your phone and TV bills. The trick the gurus tell you that actually works: don’t give up when the first person says no. Call back multiple times if you have to, or go right to the cancellations department. Sometimes they won’t start bargaining until you’re walking away. This can also work for group vacations: I was able to negotiate a much lower price on a tour package in 2016 because I brought 6 friends with me on the tour. Granted, I also did the heavy lifting of coordinating the whole thing!
3. Invest in the stock market. I’m not a financial advisor, but sometimes it’s a no-brainer when a company is destined for success. Hot stock picks sometimes pay off. In 2012, I picked YUM brands (now up over 100%), Netflix (now up 3,654%), and Amazon (now up 934%). It’s a shame I only held on to YUM, but you can’t win if you don’t play. Investing and keeping a diversified portfolio has paid off big time for me. If your money is sitting in a checking account with a 1-2% annual interest rate, you’re missing out on major opportunities to let your money make more money for you.
Based on these and many more experiences, where I’ve personally put advice into action and it’s paid off, I’m hopeful that books like Think and Grow Rich actually can and do inspire folks into the mentality necessary to take risks and start their own businesses. Based on my experiences, you can’t just think and grow rich, you have to think and then put your ideas into action to succeed! And don’t give up until you get where you want to go.