You will find this book on various websites as it regularly makes it to best self help books lists. Like with Rich Dad Poor Dad, I am sharing the lessons found in this book so that you may get a better idea of what this book is about. As ever, this article cannot serve as a substitute to the book and I would suggest reading the book to understand the ideas thoroughly.
Napoleon Hill says that he studied 500 successful men and found the following 13 steps for their tremendous riches and success:
Step #1: Desire
A burning desire is the stepping stone for success. Unless you are 100% sure that you want something, you’ll always find ways to chicken out. Whether it is money or career or something else that you want to succeed in, you need to have the courage to put everything aside and put in 100% of your effort. People like Gandhi, George Washington, Nelson Mandela,Elon Musk and other people who made it to the top had a burning desire and they followed their desire no matter how tough it was. They made huge sacrifices but at the end they triumphed.
The author suggests the following steps for converting your desire into its monetary equivalent:
- FIx an exact amount of money that you want. Saying that you want a lot of money won’t do the trick.
- Determine exactly what you wish to do in order to get this amount (eg business, services etc).
- Establish a date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
- Create a plan for carrying out your desire and put it into action wheter you think you are ready or not.
- Sum up the above steps in a clear concise statement and write it down.
- Read this statement every day.Read it before going to bed and once after waking up. Read it aloud and imagine yourself in possession of the money.
What this practice helps to achieve is the creation of the desire for money and developing confidence that you’ll get it
Step #2: Faith
Faith is critical for starting out on your journey for success.People who succeed in life are those who have faith in themselves and their ability to cross their limits. Faith can be developed by recalling examples from your life when you failed at something but trying again helped you succeed. Once your burning desire unites with faith, your goals engulf your mind completely and this obsession later materializes as success.
Step #3: Auto suggestion
The author believes that your subconscious mind keeps picking up thoughts from its environment. Most of these thoughts are negative since usually people discourage others from doing anything brave. However by feeding positive thoughts into your subconscious mind by thinking about them, you can harness the power of the subconsciousness.
The instructions mentioned in step #1 help create these thoughts. However, simply saying these sentences without any emotions won’t do you any good. These thoughts will only grow roots if the seeds are watered with emotions.
Step #4: Specialized Knowledge
In order to become great at your preferred trade, you will need specialized knowledge. This knowledge can be obtained through experience, observation, formal education, courses, and partnership with other specialists. For example, Ford assembled a team of specialists who helped him create one of the biggest companies that the world has ever seen.
Facebook, iPhone, Coursera, and internet are some of the most used products in today’s world. All these successful ventures started off as ideas. Ideas are critical to your success. The use of creativity to devise products and services using available technologies or introducing newer ones is the route to success.
Look at Uber and Airbnb. Study them and you’ll understand the power of ideas.
Step #6: Organized Plan
You will find this everywhere. Wanting to do something is one thing but unless you have a plan, you won’t be doing as good as you can. The author suggests writing your plan and assigning deadlines to tasks. You can read about SMART goals on the internet. By following SMART plans your chances of success increase manifold.
Step #7: The Mastery of Procrastination:
Procrastination is the opposite of decision. Successful people are able make prompt decisions and change them slowly. Other people tend to take a lot of time reaching a decision and then change it quickly.
To be successful, you will need to decide upon something and stand by it through thick and thin. The author illustrates this principle through the independence of USA. The people who fought for its freedom staked everything for what they believed in. The firmness in their decision and resolve helped them win their war.
Step #8: Persistence:
People fail because they give up hope on the first signs of failure. Successful people do not give up. It is as simple as that. Persistence or grit is essential to achieving success and achieving your goals. Weakness of desire and fear of criticism are obstacles. These must be removed from the path to reach the destination.
According to the author, persistence can be developed by having a definite purpose backed by a strong desire, a definite plan in writing, confidence and faith in your abilities through auto suggestion, and encouragement of a friend who can help you maintain the habit of persistence.
Step #9: Mastermind
Successful people surround themselves with smart people and can use them to achieve their goals. A mastermind consisting of people with diverse background and a single purpose helps bring creative solutions to the table. This idea was also discussed in Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Step #10: Power of sex transmutation
The author believes that by harnessing the desire to impress the opposite sex, a person can think on a higher level than ordinary people. He quotes several examples where people challenged themselves to do better for the love of their beloved. He says that the love for your beloved can be a very powerful motive force for achieving your goals.
Step #11/Step #12: The Subconscious Mind/ The Brain
The author advises the readers to remove the negative emotions of fear, jealousy, hatred, revenge, superstition, and greed to make space for positive emotions like enthusiasm, desire, and love. The power of thought is illustrated through various examples.
Step #13: The Sixth Sense
This was a very different chapter. It is very philosophical and spiritual in nature. According to the author, the mastery of the previous 12 steps helps connect a person to the Universal Mind or Infinite Intelligence. This sense will notify you about opportunities and warn you of impending dangers. The author illustrates this with his example.
He used to hold a meeting with famous men like Lincoln and Darwin among others in his sleep for guidance. He says that with the passage of time, these characters became real and gave him useful advice about the various decisions in his life. He expanded his council afterwards. The author genuinely believes that we can connect with Infinite Intelligence through faith and effort and he advises us to do the same. However, he cites 40 as the age by which people tend to develop this ability and that through serious thought, self-examination and meditation.