Back in the 19th century when it was acceptable to name your child Napoleon without being reported to child services, a boy was born who would write one of the best-selling books of all time.
He was the father of modern personal development and his books examined the power of personal beliefs in relation to personal success. His name was Napoleon Hill and his success was so immense that he became the advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. His book was called Think and Grow Rich.
There’s a rumour going about that you can’t be anything you want to be. It’s tricky, because on one hand this lays the onus on you to achieve the impossible (if you are dreaming really big) which means potentially holding yourself to horribly high standards and treating yourself as a failure, but of course on the other… if you don’t dream it you definitely won’t be it.
Personal belief systems count. But so do circumstances and choices…yes it’s that old chestnut privilege. Some of us have really hard circumstances and really hard choices to make. Others don’t.
Think and Grow Rich has recently been reincarnated by Rhonda Byrne in The Secret (ugh) and I’ll tell you frankly if it wasn’t obvious by my interjection. I’m not a fan of The Secret.
Not how The Secret is constantly capitalized (it’s not the bible which I don’t think merits capitalization either), nor how positive thinking is reframed into wishful thinking, not how The Secret makes little mention of how aligned actions are needed to accomplish your goals (as opposed to just sitting around staring at a falsified cheque made out to YOU for a million dollars).
Visualisation is a great tool. As are affirmations. As is the power of positive thinking. But you also need to get off your arse and take aligned action. You need to live your beliefs. Those with privilege are far more able to do so, than those without.
Yet Think and Grow Rich is – for me – a far better proposition than The Secret. It’s not, as the title suggests, just about thinking. Napoleon Hill himself spent 20 years interviewing over 500 successful men (with the benefit of a personal introduction from Andrew Carnegie) who had privilege but did get off their arses. That’s right, he studied, analyzed and researched. He got off his arse and got very rich as a result. Depending on your circumstances, there culd be a good few tips in there.
Like The Secret though, The Secret isn’t actually revealed explicitly in Think and Grow Rich. Fortunately, Napoleon did reveal it in one of his other books The Law of Success (luckily laid out on wikipedia because I haven’t bought it or read it, nor do I intend to).
Only by working harmoniously in co-operation with other individuals or groups of individuals and thus creating value and benefit for them will create sustainable achievement for oneself.