This is the secret to Hill's approach. You have to name what you are going to do and then align everything you can to achieve it. That's the simplicity of it all. But getting from where you are currently to that single-minded approach is why this book is written.
I'm assuming that you have read Hill's Think and Grow Rich. (If not, I've supplied an edited version from the public domain version in the appendix). Hill is a classic, because he wrote it to bring people out of the Depression by helping them eliminate their fears of poverty and concentrate on becoming rich. He gave them the tools to do so and as such became one of the first (following Haanel, his mentor) to enable people to reprogram themselves.
Let's dissect Hill's second chapter, quoting liberally as we analyze why this is so:
The starting point of all achievement
“Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success.”
Hill starts out by telling you to put everything on the line. You must dedicate yourself completely to accomplishing this one goal. You must change your life to follow this one, single light in front of you, your own personal “BURNING DESIRE”.
“Every human being who reaches the age of understanding of the purpose of money, wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”
Key points here:
- State of mind = obsession.
- Non-recognition of Failure
“The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, viz:
“First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want plenty of money.” Be definite as to the amount.
“Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.)
“Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
“Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
“Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
“Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ—SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.“
Here you have the whole book in six steps. Plan your work, work your plan. The trick is in the last step – always “thunk” your ideas in the past tense and add in plenty of emotive content to ensure it works. This is where the BURNING DESIRE comes in -
“Only those who become “money conscious” ever accumulate great riches. “Money consciousness” means that the mind has become so thoroughly saturated with the DESIRE for money, that one can see one’s self already in possession of it.”
Let's now look into how you “plan your work”:
“The steps call for no “hard labor.” They call for no sacrifice. They do not require one to become ridiculous, or credulous. To apply them calls for no great amount of education. But the successful application of these six steps does call for sufficient imagination to enable one to see, and to understand, that accumulation of money cannot be left to chance, good fortune, and luck. One must realize that all who have accumulated great fortunes, first did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, DESIRING, and PLANNING before they acquired money.
“You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches in great quantities, UNLESS you can work yourself into a white heat of DESIRE for money, and actually BELIEVE you will possess it.”
There you have it: “cannot be left to chance, good fortune, and luck”. Most of the habits we have gotten into revolve around building our worlds are based on accepted norms. We have accepted behavioral patterns, customs, and social responses as “automatic”, never reviewed or adjusted. Below I explain how these have created a “zero-sum” society where no-one truly wins.
“If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.
“Never, in the history of America has there been so great an opportunity for practical dreamers as now exists. The six year economic collapse has reduced all men, substantially, to the same level. A new race is about to be run. The stakes represent huge fortunes which will be accumulated within the next ten years. The rules of the race have changed, because we now live in a CHANGED WORLD that definitely favors the masses, those who had but little or no opportunity to win under the conditions existing during the Depression, when fear paralyzed growth and development.”
Here we have the purpose for this book. Hill had already written a voluminous work called the Law of Success. Here he laid out in extensive detail the 16 steps to achieve any amount of riches or success. Think and Grow Rich was specifically written to address this particular situation where the playing field was truly leveled. Almost the entire country was in the same situation – nearly flat broke, because the economic (banking) system had been collapsed. People could work, people could invent, people still had their ability to create. What people didn't have was readily available money – but did have their fear of dying poor.
In today's world, the Internet has again leveled the playing field. Many, many thousands of people have gotten rich through simply arranging the sales of their items internationally over this medium. Millionaires have been created in months simply because they applied themselves. What they applied is still within these same principles Hill outlined – which he learned from the hundreds of successes he studied, as well as other authors such as Judge Thomas Troward and Charles F. Haanel.
“We who are in this race for riches, should be encouraged to know that this changed world in which we live is demanding new ideas, new ways of doing things, new leaders, new inventions, new methods of teaching, new methods of marketing, new books, new literature, new features for the radio, new ideas for moving pictures. Back of all this demand for new and better things, there is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning DESIRE to possess it.”
Here's the rise of Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Michael Dell, Ray Kroc, and numerous others. The principles these successful people used are basic to this world and our operation in it. Anyone who finds and applies these data as Hill lays it out will undoubtedly become a success. Any success you read about or witness has used these principles, wittingly or unwittingly. If they continue as a success (not the flash-in-the-pan lottery winners), they are continuing to apply these principles.
“Tolerance, and an open mind are practical necessities of the dreamer of today. Those who are afraid of new ideas are doomed before they start. ...
“In planning to acquire your share of the riches, let no one influence you to scorn the dreamer. ...
“If the thing you wish to do is right, and you believe in it, go ahead and do it! Put your dream across, and never mind what “they” say if you meet with temporary defeat, for “they,” perhaps, do not know that EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT SUCCESS.”
Two key points here:
- Suspend disbelief
- Disregard those who don't.
Live your dreams, live them large. Never mind if people don't believe in you. Just go ahead and get it done anyhow. Be very independent in your thinking, doing, and achieving. Be willing to examine things about you with a clear and open mind. Use what can be used to improve your solutions and operations. But don't worry about what people think or say about you.
“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.”
Again – live your dreams.
“Remember, too, that all who succeed in life get off to a bad start, and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they 'arrive.' The turning point in the lives of those who succeed, usually comes at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced to their 'other selves.'"
Here you can see your earlier patterns holding you back – all the failures you may encounter are laid in through other belief-systems and habits you've accepted through your life to this point. A point here is to treat every “failure” for the lesson within it. There is some non-optimal solution at the base, which needs re-examination and sort-out.
“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. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief.”
Another key point is belief – also known as faith. You have to have confidence in yourself, which comes back to your own personal BURNING DESIRE. Get ready, 'cause here it comes, ready or not...
“I believe in the power of DESIRE backed by FAITH, because I have seen this power lift men from lowly beginnings to places of power and wealth; I have seen it rob the grave of its victims; I have seen it serve as the medium by which men staged a comeback after having been defeated in a hundred different ways... I wish to convey the thought that all achievement, no matter what may be its nature, or its purpose, must begin with an intense, BURNING DESIRE for something definite. "
Here, in the wrap-up of this chapter, he concludes that your desire, backed up by faith, brings anything to fruition. You must first have an “intense, BURNING DESIRE for something definite.
Key Points to Desire
To recap the key points here:
- State of mind = obsession.
- Planning – plan your work, work your plan.
- Non-recognition of Failure
- Live your dreams
- Suspend disbelief
- Disregard those who don't.
Your desire, backed up by faith, brings anything to fruition. You must first have an “intense, BURNING DESIRE for something definite.
Now let's see how you get your mind to cooperate with your dreams...