Can We Really Think And Grow Rich?

In the Victorian era success was believed to be about hard work, serious effort, application and persistence, and maybe a slice of privilege or good luck.

Later Deepak Chopra and other ‘New Age writers taught that by raising our consciousness we achieve everything while doing nothing, and it doesn’t matter what our background.

Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, writing in the 1930s, laid one of America’s most influential and barely recognised authors, Dr Napolean Hill.

I first came across his seminal work, Think and Grow Rich, in the late 80s. At that time I taught in the business department of a university. One day, the secretary of the students’ association invited me to attend a talk given by a former professional footballer who had gone on to make a fortune in the insurance industry. The subject was Think and Grow Rich.  At first, I wasn’t attracted to what I thought (wrongly) was just another book preaching ‘greed is good’. Remember, in this was the Thatcher era. Government ministers showed little empathy for the poorest in society, and every week on TV Harry Enfield’s comic character ‘Loadsamoney’ could be heard mocking the lowly paid as traditional industries collapsed around them.

But I attended. An hour and a half later I was convinced that this was exactly what we should be teaching our students. This was the missing link between academic and vocational success and in many ways the key to happiness at all levels.

Napolean Hill was just starting out on his career in journalism when he met the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, at that time reputedly the world’s richest man. Carnegie, a Scot, had arrived in the USA penniless. He was convinced that the formula for success could be identified and expressed in simple terms that anyone could apply. They made a deal. Carnegie would introduce the young journalist to five hundred of America’s most financially successful men. Hill would interview them and publish his findings. No money would change hands since Carnegie reasoned that once Dr Hill had completed his task, he would need no payment from him.

TAGR was first published in 1937. It was an immediate success. The first five thousand copies quickly sold out despite there being no advertising. Another ten thousand copies were printed, then another twenty thousand, and all sold out within a few weeks. To date, more than fifteen million copies have been sold.

What is the formula that Dr Hill so eloquently articulated? It is based on two sets of ideas – The Six Steps to Riches and the Thirteen Step Programme to Wealth and Success.

Here are the Six Steps:

  • Fix in your mind precisely what you want. ‘Know what you want’, wrote Dr Hill, ‘and you’ll generally get it.’
  •  Determine what you intend to give in exchange. You have to give before you can get, and nothing comes for free.
  •  Establish a definite date by which you intend to have it.
  •  Make a plan and start right away. If the plan isn’t working, amend it, but never give up.
  •  Write a statement of intention on a small card and place it where you can see it. This keeps your goal permanently etched in your mind.
  •  Read the statement several times a day. Let your subconscious mind absorb it.

These Six Steps are complemented by thirteen action points and principles:

  • Desire is ‘the starting point of all achievement, and the first step to riches.’ Dr Hill wrote, ‘All success starts with selecting a definite purpose, the desire to achieve it, and commitment to it.’
  • Faith: ‘a state of mind which may be induced or created by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind through the principle of autosuggestion.’ ‘There are no limitations other than those we impose on ourselves,’ wrote Dr Hill, ‘because both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.’
  •  Auto-suggestion: self-administered suggestion in the form of affirmations to be used morning and night and frequently in between.
  •  Specialised knowledge: Contrary to the well-known maxim, knowledge is not power, but potential power. It only becomes power when it is organised into plans of action and directed to a definite end
  •  Imagination: Everything starts out as an idea waiting to be brought into expression. Imagination may be cultivated through relaxed visualisation, which also strengthens belief in attainment.
  •  Organised planning is the crystallisation of desire into action. To be sure of success, argued Dr Hill, you must have plans that are faultless. You also need a Plan B (and a Plan C and maybe D).
  •  Decision: Lack of decision is a major cause of failure. It causes procrastination, ‘a common enemy which practically all must conquer.’
  •  Persistence: Dr Hill had much to say on this subject. ‘Persistence is to the character of man what carbon is to steel,’ he wrote. ‘No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.’  And ‘every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.’
  •  The Master Mind: No individual has sufficient knowledge and experience to succeed massively without the cooperation of other people. The Mastermind is the harmonious coordination of knowledge and effort between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.
  •  Sex Transmutation: Sex energy is the creative energy of all geniuses, but it must be channelled into constructive activity.  This means the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression to thoughts of some other nature.
  •  The Subconscious Mind:  Dr Hill wrote that the subconscious is ‘a field of consciousness in which every impulse of thought is classified and recorded and from which thoughts may be withdrawn as letters may be taken from a filing cabinet’. It receives and files impressions or thoughts, and draws upon the forces of Infinite Intelligence for its power.
  •  The Brain: Every brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought being released by other brains. ‘Our brains become magnetised with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds,’ and ‘the circumstances of life harmonise with the nature of our dominant thoughts.’ Dr Hill was teaching the ‘Law of Attraction’ long before it entered the popular imagination.
  •  The Sixth Sense (or intuition) can be understood and assimilated only by mastering the other twelve principles.  This is the receiving mechanism by which ideas, plans and thoughts flash into the mind, and the medium of contact between the finite mind of the human being and the Infinite Intelligence.

So what made Think and Grow Rich the runaway success that it became? Well obviously it offered hope at a time of great economic hardship and was based on thorough research and experience. ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve,’ became his most famous phrase. Since we all have the ability to desire, to think, to imagine, our destiny is in our own hands. Moreover, since the Infinite Intelligence does not play favourites, riches are within everyone’s reach.

But there’s more. Far from being a mere formula, it is a profound work of practical and spiritual philosophy. Hill believed there were universal forces beyond our intellectual understanding and identified the blockages that prevent most of us rising above the daily grind, most of which exist only in our limiting thoughts and imagination. He drew on ancient wisdom, that we accomplish nothing without the Power (or ‘Infinite Intelligence’) that works within us. And he gave us tools that anyone able to think and act for themselves could use.

There’s little doubt that virtually every Western success coach and motivational speaker owes Dr Napolean Hill a huge debt without necessarily acknowledging his influence. Most of the self-help books that I have read merely regurgitate his ideas using modern, NLP-influenced terminology and up to date examples. Many of today’s motivational gurus are slick, polished performers well versed in the persuasive arts (take a look at the YouTube clips of Napolean Hill and you’ll see he was none of these things), but scratch beneath the surface and you soon discover that they add little to Dr Hill’s original work.

But here’s the rub. On the surface, TAGR appears to be about financial success, but look a little deeper and you realise it’s much more. ‘Riches’ do not just consist of money – they are anything just and worthwhile that your heart desires. Dr Hill said so himself.  Health, happiness, friendship, peace of mind, love… all are ‘riches’, subject to the same principles of acquisition.

Can we think and grow rich? Certainly. And as Dr Hill concluded, ‘when riches begin to come, they come so quickly and in such great abundance, that you will wonder where they have been hiding during all those lean years!’

 

© David Lawrence Preston, 22.2.2018

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Buddhist Economics

One of the greatest statements on living simply is to be found in E. F. Schumacher’s book, ‘Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered’. The chapter entitled Buddhist Economics pointed out that consumption is merely a means to an end. Our aim, he argued, ‘should be to obtain the maximum well-being with the minimum of consumption.’

Using clothing as an example, he suggested that the most economically efficient approach would be to provide warmth, comfort and an attractive appearance for everyone, with the least amount of effort and minimum destruction of natural resources. Collecting clothes we hardly ever wear simply doesn’t make sense. We could choose to toil less and have more time for other pursuits. This would also put less pressure on the environment.

When we go for maximum well-being with minimum consumption, we help to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and it doesn’t mean depriving ourselves because we’re gaining much more than we lose, including time for ourselves and our loved ones.

©David Lawrence Preston, 22.7.2017

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Buddhist Economics and Good Work

One of the greatest statements on living simply is to be found in E. F. Schumacher’s book, ‘Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered’.

One chapter, ‘Buddhist Economics,’ points out that consumption is not the purpose of life but merely a means to an end. Our aim, he argued, ‘should be to obtain the maximum well-being with the minimum of consumption.’

Using clothing as an example, he suggested that the most economically efficient approach would be to provide warmth, comfort and an attractive appearance for everyone, with the least amount of effort and minimum destruction of natural resources. Collecting a wardrobe full of clothes we hardly ever wear simply doesn’t make sense. We could toil less and have more time for other pursuits. This would also put less pressure on the environment.

When we go for maximum well-being with minimum consumption, we help to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and it doesn’t mean depriving ourselves because we’re gaining much more than we lose, including time for ourselves and our loved ones.

Good work

Another E.F. Schumacher book, ‘Good Work,’ spells out the two main purposes of work – to provide for our needs and, just as importantly, to express our gifts and powers. This is equally important because if we work only for money, we never be prosperous regardless of what we earn.

If your work is unfulfilling, change it. Find work that you enjoy, uses your talents and allows you to make your best contribution. When you do what you love and put your heart and soul into it, providing it benefits others and not just yourself you will be taken care of according to Spiritual Law.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.2.2017

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How to Books, 2007

 

Is it unspiritual to be poor?

Some religious people and theologians believe that it is unspiritual to be poor. They argue that poor people are unaware of the spiritual principles by which our wants and needs are satisfied. Wealth, they say, is a cosmic ‘thank you’ for our contribution to the world. If we have plenty, it’s because we give plenty. If not, it’s because we don’t give enough.

What nonsense! Do cosmic ‘thank you’s’ only come in material form? Does every wealthy person offer above average service to humanity?

What about those who inherit wealth, hoard it, or make their money by trading arms, child pornography, tobacco products, illegal drugs or people trafficking and so on? What about those whose businesses or investments pollute the oceans or destroy the rain forests? And isn’t this insulting to the millions who work hard to provide for themselves and their families without ever becoming rich, many of whom are far more spiritually attuned than the mega-rich?

Spirituality and wealth are not related. You can be poor and unspiritual or rich and unspiritual; you can be rich and spiritual or poor and spiritual. What matters is the consciousness with which you approach life.

However, spirituality and prosperity are related. Spiritually aware people manifest what they need, use it wisely, share it with others and feel good about what they do. That should be your aim too. Enjoy what life has to offer, but don’t get so caught up in worldly matters that you lose sight of the bigger picture.

Do you have to be poor to be spiritual?

Most of the great spiritual teachers (including Yeshua of Nazareth, Prophet Mohamed and the Buddha) had few possessions. Some gave up great wealth to spread their teachings.

So do you have to live in poverty to be spiritual? Not at all. There is nothing inherently spiritual about living on the bread line. Even the Buddha, who turned his back on inherited wealth to live as a humble monk, taught that it is not necessary to deprive ourselves. It is selfishness and greed – not material sufficiency or comfort – that clash with spiritual values.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.2.2017

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Prosperity theology

It is popular in some religious circles (especially in the USA)  to argue that accumulating wealth is not only a worthy pursuit but also a spiritual activity. I disagree.

I attended a seminar some years ago given by a minister of a ‘prosperity church’ from the USA. She argued that it is OK to acquire as much as you can because when you take more, supply expands and there is more to go round.

This argument contains a glimmer of truth; it’s true there is plenty for everyone’s needs (although as Gandhi pointed out, not for our greed). The universe teems with energy and intelligence, all capable of manifesting into physical form. However, until we harness it and use it to provide for all in an equitable manner, we risk ignoring the less well-off, squandering resources and destroying the life support systems of the planet, all of which are consequences of pursuing narrow self-interest.

Today, half the world’s population is undernourished while the other half suffers from excess. Every year, more people are born into absolute poverty and ever-increasing areas of land become infertile due to soil erosion and global warning. Poverty breeds crime, violence and war – they’re the price we all have to pay.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 4.2.2017

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How to Books 2007

The Joy of Simplicity

‘There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment and it’s because you’re thinking or focussing on what you don’t have.’

Anthony de Mello

There’s a paradox in matters of prosperity and spirituality. We live in an abundant universe and yet most of the great spiritual teachers were exponents of the simple life, shunning wealth and status. Do we have to deprive ourselves to get in touch with our spirituality?

Absolutely not! But there is a balance to be achieved between seeking material possessions and pursuing spiritual goals. Modern life appears complex and busy, but our needs are really very simple.

Socrates, a leading proponent of the simple life, loved going to the market in Athens. When asked about this, he replied, ‘I love to go and see all the things I’m happy without.’

Once we have a steady supply of the essentials, a little for pleasure and some put aside for a rainy day, extra money and belongings make very little difference to our happiness.

When we live simply we discover, like Socrates, that there are pleasures that do not depend on possessions and countless things we’re content to live without.

‘It’s the preoccupation with possessions more than any other things that keeps us from living freely and nobly.’

Professor Bertrand Russell

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.2.2017

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Prosperity is a state of consciousness

Prosperity is a way of living, being and thinking. It comes from aligning ourselves with Universal Law and turning inner supply into outer riches. To bring what you need from the quantum world of invisible waves and particles into the material world of the five senses, first build the consciousness for what you desire, and second, put in the effort to make it happen.

The feel-good factor in prosperity then comes from being of service, having a clear conscience and having the right attitude towards the results.

Money

Prosperity consciousness

Have you noticed how some people always have enough, no matter what’s going on around them? They open their minds to prosperity. They know at some level that they have the ability to attract. They have a prosperity consciousness, and so can you. Plant the seeds of prosperity in your mind and allow them to take root. Water them daily with positive affirmations and creative imagery.

Prosperity expands or shrinks to match your thoughts: thoughts of plenty create plenty; thoughts of shortage create shortage. Every time you find your mind wandering to ‘Why don’t I have enough?’ or ‘I’ll never be able to afford that,’ stop the thoughts and repeat to yourself, ‘I refuse to give energy and attention to poverty. Instead I give energy to prosperity. I think abundance, not lack.’

Poverty consciousness

The opposite of prosperity consciousness is poverty consciousness. If you believe that prosperity is out of your reach and ‘just getting by’ is the most you can hope for, you will always find life a struggle. You take a small container to the well of prosperity and half fill it. To go through life with poverty consciousness is like having a huge inheritance without realising it.

Poverty thoughts must be eliminated quickly. As soon as you allow yourself to think, ‘I could never have…,’ you’ve created resistance to the flow of prosperity and inadvertently created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The raw material from which all wealth comes (i.e. the quantum world) is never depleted. There is no lack of substance, but there is thought of lack, and the thought of lack produces the appearance of lack. Scarcity consciousness is accepting the appearance of lack as real. Something in our minds is creating a block which can only be overcome by changing our attitudes and beliefs about prosperity.

Economists estimate that if we were to total the monetary value of all the wealth in the world – including publicly owned assets like roads, health facilities, buildings and open spaces etc. – it would amount to at least £10 million for every man, woman and child alive today. If there is all this wealth in the world, then why are some people poor? Obviously it’s unequally distributed, but if we all raised our consciousness, prosperity would be shared and poverty would cease to exist.

If all the wealth in the world were gathered up and distributed equally, without a change in consciousness it would soon be back in the same hands. Frankly, poverty will only be eradicated when everyone learns to think and behave like a prosperous person.

Do not worry

Worry is a characteristic of poverty consciousness. It numbs the mind, extinguishes creativity and clear thinking and keeps you focussed on what you don’t have. Unless you stop worrying, you’ll continue to attract more of the same.

If you are a worrier, set aside a fixed time each day to reflect on what you worry about. When you find your mind distracted by worry, tell yourself to wait until your special time and let the worry thoughts go. Research has shown that people who regularly allocate ‘worry time’ worry less.

Worry is another form of resistance to the flow of prosperity. Relax! Let it go! Everything you need is here and available to you. Get in tune with your Source, and it is yours.

What are you thinking and doing to be prosperous?

Is prosperity a problem area for you? Are you struggling financially? Do you lack the resources to do and have everything you wish? Then ask yourself, ‘What am I thinking and doing to create this, and what do I need to change?’

If you need practical help, my book, ‘365 Ways to be Your Own Life Coach’ is full of ideas for finding your purpose, making an action plan and putting it into practice.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.12.2016

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Prosperity and the Law of Giving and Receiving

Prosperity comes from both giving and receiving. Giving increases the flow of prosperity, but for giving to take place, there also has to be a receiver.

When we give we may appear to have less than before, but this is deceptive. Giving is a cause; it sets up a chain of events which lead to the giver receiving something in return. This doesn’t necessarily happen immediately, from the same person, nor in the same form.

Be careful though – if you give only to get, with a consciousness of selfishness and greed, all you’ll get back from others is selfishness and greed.

Receiving is equally as important as giving. If you don’t allow others to give to you, you are denying them an opportunity to contribute to the flow of prosperity. This doesn’t mean grabbing everything you can – sometimes it’s right to say ‘no’ and let others receive. Be guided by your conscience and intuition.

What do you have to offer that can make you prosperous?

We all have a contribution to make if we develop and use our talents wisely. Find something that you enjoy and takes you where you are needed or can give pleasure. You don’t have to do everything yourself – set the Law in motion by laying down the right causes, let others add their contribution in their own way, and leave the rest to the process of Life.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.12.2016

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In-ITIA-te Prosperity

Eric Fromm wrote that many people spend their lives never achieving what they want because they have it the wrong way round. They try to:

 Have money and things so they can

Do what they want, so they can

Be happy.

Instead, Fromm wrote, first you need to:

Be, then you can

Do, so you can

Have what you want.

Fromm correctly identified the root cause of prosperity – start by going within, finding your purpose, knowing your strengths and using the gift of mind to the full. Here’s the recipe. It has five ingredients:

  • Self-awareness

Plus I-T-I-A:

  • Intention
  • Thinking
  • Imagination
  • Action

The I-T-I-A Formula applies to every area of life. To create anything, tangible or intangible, you must commit yourself to it, practise right thinking and beliefs, have a clear vision or imagination of the desired outcome and take persistent action to make it so. It works because it establishes the chief causes that shape your character and your life.

Self-awareness

Do you want to be prosperous? Are you sure? What does this mean to you? How hard are you willing to work? How can you contribute to the greater good? Can you handle it?

Intention

Make prosperity a firm goal and commit yourself to the necessary mental and physical discipline it involves. Remember also that we become prosperous by helping others become prosperous too so Include others in your prosperity thinking.

Thinking

Your beliefs about prosperity are like the thermostat that regulates your central heating. Set the thermostat high, and the system maintains that temperature. Set it low, and it switches itself off as soon as that point has been reached. If you don’t feel you deserve to be prosperous you are like a magnet that repels rather than attracts.

Imagination

Your imagination helps shape your world. Using your imagination intelligently gives your mind the ammkunition to accept that you are prosperous. Once inner prosperity is established, outer conditions can be brought into line. Imagine what you desire as already yours. Picture yourself surrounded by the conditions you wish to create. The more you imagine, sense and feel something, the more likely you are to get it.

Action

Make it happen! Your mental work kick-starts the prosperity process, but you must do what needs to be done. Act as if your aspirations are already there in non-physical form, on the way to being actualized. And never, never give up. Every challenge, every difficulty is simply a stepping stone on the way to success.

What are you thinking and doing to be prosperous?

Is prosperity a problem area for you? Are you struggling financially? Do you lack the resources to do and have everything you wish? Then ask yourself, ‘What am I thinking and doing to create this, and what do I need to change?’

If you need more help, my book ‘365 Ways to be your own Life Coach’ has lots of tips to help make your vision a reality.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.12.2016

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All wealth comes from nature

To be prosperous means having an abundance of good so we may live a full, satisfying life.

What you need to be prosperous already exists in the invisible world of waves and particles. It’s just a question of bringing it into manifestation by working with the resources you have to hand to make it a reality.

Where do these resources come from? Only one source.

All wealth ultimately comes from nature.

 

It comes from transforming the raw materials that nature provides into something we desire.

Nature is abundant. It gives, gives and then gives more. An apple seed can produce thousands of apples; a single grain of wheat can multiply until it fills a prairie; a few fish can populate a lake. Left to its own devices, nature’s growth is exponential, and this is not confined to our planet: the entire universe is constantly expanding.

Imagine a million pounds, euros or dollars in the bank but no fruits of nature! Life would cease immediately.

In his famous speech of 1854, the Native American leader Chief Seattle articulated this: ‘What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected…. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth.’

It is our responsibility to take care of nature and hold our politicians and business leaders to account. For when nature is degraded, so are we.

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.12.2016

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