Ep #140: Lessons Learned from Napoleon Hill
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
It is time again for another “Lessons from” show about one of the teachers who had a great impact on my life and teachings of my own.
Today, we’re taking a look at the work of Napoleon Hill, an American author of personal-success literature who has written one of the greatest success books of all times – Think and Grow Rich.
Tune in as we take a deep dive into Napoleon’s Think and Grow Rich by looking at some of the best ideas and quotes from the book and discuss those concepts in detail.
This introduction to Napoleon Hill’s work is full of incredible wisdom on the topics of success and achievement and is sure to help you take full possession of your mind.
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Listen to the show
What You will discover
- The starting point of all achievement and why it’s so important to understand it.
- How to get an audience.
- Napoleon’s ideas on defeat and failure.
- Quotes about success, goals, and achievement.
- How the concept of holding a “council” with the most influential experts you can imagine can change your life.
- And more amazing ideas and quotes from Napoleon Hill.
Featured on the show
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, hello, hello. How are you, my friends? I get in trouble when I don't say "my friends". Hello, my friends. How are you guys? I'm doing great. I am so excited about my upcoming program that I am going to share with you and it will be in the next episode that I will share with you all of the details if you are interested in joining me. Please be ready if you want to join me for some more intensive scholarly-type coaching. I've been talking about this for the past several weeks and I will have it all ready for you next week. I'm looking forward to that.
In this episode, we are going to talk about Napoleon Hill. Specifically, we are going to talk about his book Think and Grow Rich. One of the things that's interesting about me is I've always been attracted to self-help books, always loved reading self-help, and I'm really into any kind of self-help that talks about the mind and spirituality and emotions. I've read pretty much everything. I am a voracious reader. I love reading. I read very quickly. I read a lot of really deep stuff.
Napoleon Hill's work is kind of the other side of the reading that I do, which is business. I've always been attracted to business books and building businesses and entrepreneurship and corporate finance books, all sorts of heavier books that talk in a much more male world tone. I've always wanted to understand that side of the world as well. I feel like Napoleon Hill is kind of on that side. A lot of people that I recommend Think and Grow Rich to or Napoleon Hill to, think that his stuff is a little heavy and a little dry. I think his stuff is magnificent. Even listening to his recordings are very funny because of the way he talks and some of the really politically incorrect non-feminist things that he says, but I'm still totally on board with his ideas and his concepts and what he teaches. I'm going to share some of that with you here. I highly recommend you pick up Think and Grow Rich. Be prepared that it might be a little heavy and thick to get through, but it's absolutely worth it.
I'm going to read one of his quotes and then I'm going to discuss it briefly. You can check out TheLifeCoachSchool.com/140 to get the link to Think and Grow Rich and you can buy it on Amazon. Let's get started.
"The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat." I love this quote especially because I've been talking so much about desire lately. I talk about desire as it applies to overdrinking. I talk about desire as it applies to overeating. I talk about desire as it being a conscious choice and also an unconscious habit. Understanding desire is one of the most important things that you can understand because it will help create momentum towards the things that you want to achieve. If you haven't built up enough desire for something, you won't be able to achieve it because the weaker your desire, the less ambition, the less energy you're going to put towards your commitment and the less your commitment, the less you're going to achieve anything.
Here's the thing. When I tell my students for Overeating or Overdrinking ... I actually just met with my coach and there was a man that was in our group that we were meeting with. One of the things that he said that he wanted to do was lose weight. That's what he wanted to do. He wanted to focus on losing 100 pounds. I told him that I thought I could help him. I know that I can help him, but one of the most important things before he ever even attempts to lose weight is to find out what his compelling reason is. Why does he want, why does he desire, to lose weight and how big is that fire?
We need to make that fire like a runaway brush fire. That fire needs to be so intense and so strong that nothing will get in its way. You see this in the movies all the time like when someone's kid gets kidnapped. It doesn't matter what the task is in front of them, when their child's life is at stake, they will do anything. They're not like, "Well, I'm a little busy today. I have all these things on my to-do list. I don't think I'm going to be able to do that. It's not going to work out for me. I'll to have to save them another day." They're like, "I've had a really rough week. I think I'm fatigued." No, the desire for something like that is so strong and so deep there are no excuses. If you imagine putting more and more kindling on a fire, more and more wood on a fire until it gets bigger and bigger, then and only then do you want to take action. The starting point of all achievement is desire.
His next quote is, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." It's a very interesting thing to consider. In my last course, I was talking to my students and I told them, I said, “One of the privileges I think of being a human being is that we can decide what we want to believe. We can believe whatever the hell we want. No one can take that away from us. We get to believe whatever we want about ourselves, about the world, about other people. No one can take that away from us. If your mind can come up with it and you can decide to believe it, then you can achieve it.”
Here's the thing that I love about this quote. It's very subtle but it is mind-bendy. "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." I think a lot of times when we achieve something, we don't give credit where it's due. The credit always goes back to the mind. Our thoughts create our feelings, which create our actions, which create our results. Sometimes we like to credit our actions but the ultimate source of all of our achievement is our mind first. “Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.”
"You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct, and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be." We talk a lot about this on this podcast and it seems very obvious, but I really want you to let that sink in. You can make your life what you want it to be. Do you know what you want it to be? Is that desire strong enough?
"When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound. Rebuild those plans and set sail once more towards your coveted goal." A lot of times we make it mean that we shouldn't achieve that goal or we shouldn't try to achieve it because defeat comes and we think, "Oh, that's over." Just means our plans aren't quite right. Re-plan and redirect.
"If you can't do great things, do small things in a great way." This is huge. I think a lot of us feel like because we can't be Oprah Winfrey, because we can't have a huge audience or a huge impact, that we shouldn't have any impact. Marianne Williamson used to talk about this story where people would always come up to her in the audiences of her big churches that she would go speak at and they would ask her, "How do I get an audience? How do I get a following? How do I get a platform?" She was just like, "Find someone who needs help. You already have it. You don't need to have thousands of people. You need one person. You need you and then you need someone else. That's all you need. That's the biggest audience you need." Do great things in a small way.
"Before success comes in any man's life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and perhaps some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than 500 of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them." I love that. The most logical thing to do is quit and most men do. You have to be illogical. You can't trust your brain to tell you what's logical because your brain is only at one level and you're trying to suppress the level of your brain. You can't rely on it to tell you what is logical.
"Do not wait. The time will never be just right. Start where you stand and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along." That's a good one.
"Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass." I think this is like step one, putting your mind on a goal, getting your desire up, building that fire, that momentum. Setting your mind on that goal and be willing to commit to it, that's where I'm most challenged with most of my clients. You know what happens once you make that commitment, once you set that goal? Then all the reasons why you can't achieve it are going to come out in front of you. That becomes the journey. That becomes the path. When you're focused on a goal, there is nothing more powerful. Things come that you need and people get out of the way and you're able to create that if you stay focused and you keep your momentum going with your desire.
"You may be hurt if you love too much but you will live in misery if you love too little. Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit."
"The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge." That's true for me, I think. For me, it's always wanting to learn more. My desire for learning, my desire for growing is so voracious and I think that really helps with evolving. I think that helps with my growth because I'm always wanting that brain to stay active and learning new things and new concepts and new ideas. I don't ever want it to rely on itself and what it knows so far.
"Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds." I mean, remember that his book is called Think and Grow Rich. We think being rich depends on something happening outside of us but what if being rich, whatever that means to you, only depends on your mind?
"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does." I love this one. As a woman who runs a business and as someone that is in service to my students and my clients, I have found that this is extremely true. The people that come into my life that over deliver to me and my team always get that and double back. The people that are always in it for themselves and wondering what they're going to get out of it and only do what they're paid for don't get as much for themselves. It's not because of me. I just watch it happen. When you have the spirit of giving and doing much more than you're paid for, you get paid so much more. That has been so true in my own life and I watch it be true for people that work for me and even my associates.
"Cherish your vision and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements." It's so beautifully said.
"A goal is a dream with a deadline." Make sure you have a deadline for any dream that you have.
"More gold has been mined from the mind of men than the earth itself." Isn't that the truth?
"An educated man is not necessarily one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed to the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants or its equivalent without violating the rights of others."
"If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it."
"When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity, regardless of what others may do, you are destined for greatness."
"Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind's eye and you will be drawn towards it."
I want to share with you a concept that I learned from Napoleon Hill that has been incredibly powerful for me. I think that I use it in different forms. I'll tell you a kind of a concept that I learned from him and I'm going to tell it to you in my own words. He talks about having what I call a council. If you were going to have a board meeting with a group of people that were the most able to help you achieve your dreams, like of all the people in the world that could help you get where you want to go, these are the people that you would ask to help you. You put them all in an imaginary room with yourself. You sit down and when I very first did this, it was before I had even started my coaching business. I imagined sitting in a room with Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson, Martha Beck, and Byron Katie, and I think it was Jim Collins, whoever else I was probably reading at the time. I sat down with them and I went through this visualization of what I would ask those people for help with and what they would say to me. I did this on a pretty regular basis and it was amazing the insight and the advice and the structure and the knowledge that I got from doing this visualization.
One of the other ways that I use this visualization, I introduced this in my book If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight, is the idea of asking your future self for advice. Your future self who has already achieved the dream that you want to achieve, what would she say to you? What advice would she give you? What I noticed more than anything when I do these visualizations is that the people are just offering me mostly encouragement and telling me that it's totally doable and that I can do it and it's not that big of a deal and that they approve of me and that they like the idea, what I need to hear and what I them, "me", telling myself is that it's all going to be good. It's rarely a knowledge gap that prevents us from our dreams because we can figure stuff out. We can learn how to do something. What keeps us from doing it is all of that doubt, not stoking that desire fire.
I want to encourage you guys to take this idea from Napoleon Hill, he talks about it in Think and Grow Rich, and create kind of your own boardroom of experts and then sit down with a pen and paper and ask each of them what they would recommend you do and then do that. You might blow your own damn mind.
"Put your foot upon the neck of fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say." I love that he talks about just making a decision. I'm going to make a decision that I don't care what other people think about me.
I was talking about this with one of my students and she was concerned that if you don't care what other people think, that you'll end up being curt and rude and dismissive of them. I thought that was a really important question because I think the difference is that a lot of us act based on what other people think, say, or do and our attempt to control what they're going to think, say, or do. That's very different than not taking into consideration what other people are thinking. We just don't use it as an excuse to be afraid. We don't use it as an excuse to doubt ourselves. Whenever we're using someone else's opinion for good, then it's a good thing. When we're using someone else's opinion to hold ourselves back from our dreams, that's what he's talking about. Don't do that.
"I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism by developing love for all humanity because I know that a negative attitude towards others will never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me because I will believe in them and myself." That's pretty powerful.
"There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it. This state of mind must be belief, not mere hope or wish. Open mindedness is essential for a belief. Tell the world what you intend to do, but first, show it. This is the equivalent of saying deeds, not words, are what count most."
Here's the last one. This might be one of my favorites. "A genius is simply one who has taken full possession of his own mind and directed it towards objectives of his own choosing without permitting outside influences to discourage or mislead him. If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self." Take full possession of your mind. It is yours. Take full possession of it.
I'll see you guys next week.
Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School Podcast. It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like-minded, wanting to take their life to a deeper level with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to TheLifeCoachSchool.com/howtofeelbetteronline. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application where you'll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It's one thing to learn it intellectually. It's another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.