Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is widely acknowledged as a classic in management literature. Over 25 years, Hill interviews some 500 of the most exceptional people in history like Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation. He wanted to understand how these people became successful – what attributes they had. He, himself was an advocate of believing in yourself. In fact, he apparently once bought a dictionary and the first thing he did was get a pair of scissors and carefully cut out the word “impossible” and he advised others to do the same. He wanted to live in a world where anything was possible.
The combined experience of the people Hill studied point to the idea that there are four primary components of exceptional performance; the ‘want to’, the ‘how to’, the ‘chance to’, and the ‘clarity of purpose’.
The ‘Want to’
It’s not enough to want something. The secret ingredient, according to Hill, is that you need to want it.. with a passion. You need to want it enough to do whatever it takes to get it. As Hill says in his book; “a burning desire to be and to do is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off. Dreams are not born of indifference, laziness, or lack of ambition.”
Many of us want to be successful or wealthy, for example, but we lack the action we need to take to reach for the stars and achieve our dreams. We tend to procrastinate, make excuses… when the hard work begins, our nerve or drive will often fizzle out. Most dreams and goals require unrelenting commitment, action and hard work. They need a passion to push through and drive you into action.
Action requires taking risks. If you want to achieve your dream of owning multiple properties, you have to bite the bullet and take the risk. Instead, so many of us, wait for the market to soften, spend too much time researching the right area to buy, wait to save more of a deposit, to do it sometime soon, to wait for the right property to come along, to wait for the universe to align better, the list goes on and the longer we procrastinate, the longer it takes. But the best time to start is right now. Too often our fear stands in the way. Passion will cut through this fear.
The ‘How to’
Unfortunately having the passion is simply not enough. Suppose you are on a desert island and need life-saving surgery, immediately. Would you hand yourself over to your unskilled companions? Probably not. They might want to see you well again with a passion, but they lack the ‘how to’, the plan.
In order to achieve your dreams and get results, you need sufficient skills, knowledge and expertise.
The ‘Chance to’
One of the key differences between success and failure is the level of persistence. Persistence is the building black that takes you from the desire stage to the achievement of success. Many, if not most, give up after one too many road blocks, but success requires persistence for as long as it takes. The very few who keep going despite the obstacles, until they attain their goals are the Carnegies, the Fords, and the Edisons. As Hill reflects; “one of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.”
The Clarity of purpose
“There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. You are never ready for a thing until you believe you can acquire it.”
Set your mind on your goal and observe how quickly the world makes way to let you pass.
In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl wrote of his experiences in concentration camps during WW II. What he noticed, both in the camps themselves and later as a psychologist, is that the people who survive great stress and tragedy in their lives, the ones who have left a great mark on this earth, are not necessarily the richest or the most ‘successful’. They are those who have something significant they are yet to achieve. They are not ready to die, they are not ready to give in, they have not yet completed their mission here on earth. Purpose is powerful, and another essential ingredient to success. As Hill puts it “what a different story people would have to tell if only they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession.”
So, there it is folks, the ingredients for success. Seems simple enough? The trick is you need to hold all of them to a high, consistent and unwavering level – until the right state of mind becomes a fixed habit. You need to have the passion, the persistence, the belief and the burning desire to achieve your goals. Occasional effort is of no value and a lack of persistence or a lack of passion can only be conquered only through the intensity of the desire.
How do you measure success? Could you and your leadership team do with one of my tailored workshops? I’d love to share my experience and fool-proof leadership techniques with you. Don’t hesitate. Get in touch today.