The writing of Think and Grow Rich was preceded by twenty years of interviews with corporate leaders and visionaries who, still to this day, rank among history’s most successful entrepreneurs. Isolated and analyzed in great detail by Napoleon Hill, the secrets those masters disclosed to him then remain supremely relevant today because then, just as now, the origins of every success can be traced to one thing: a thought.
But how do you create the thoughts that lead to successful endeavors? In speaking with the many entrepreneurs featured in this book, it became clear that the origin of thought is unique to each individual. But there’s one point on which all these leaders agree: Thought alone does not determine success. It’s the action taken as a result of that thought that creates real results.
Taking Action on Your Thoughts
When an actionable thought hits you, you know it—and it can happen at any time. Sometimes a great idea comes in the middle of the night and hits you so suddenly and mightily that you bolt out of bed and grope around for a piece of paper and a pen to jot it down, for fear it will be gone by morning.
For David Neeleman, the cofounder of WestJet and JetBlue airlines who is charting new territory in Brazil with Azul Brazilian Airlines, the best ideas consistently come to him in a very specific time and place.
“I think of things in the shower—that’s my time. I think about it, and I can’t wait to get out of the shower to make it happen.”
Some of the things David has “made happen” during the course his extraordinary career have been quite amazing, a fact he attributes to his unique way of looking at the world.
“How do I go from a thought to something that becomes a reality? I don’t think it’s luck. I have a lot of deficiencies, but I do have the ability to take a situation and look at it completely different, say that it can be done another way, and ask why it can’t be done differently. Then I make it happen.”
Keeping It Simple
People who work with David often say he makes it look simple. His reply?
“It is that simple. It’s as simple as one, two, three. Do that and get it done. It’s the ability to create something in your own brain. . . . You have to think through every single aspect of it and create it in your brain, maybe as many as one thousand different aspects of it. . . . You have this picture in your brain of what something will be, and you have to somehow paint that picture to investors and people who can help or work for you. You get them to believe in it, and with their help, you create it. People ask me if I’m surprised about the success of JetBlue, and I say no. It’s exactly how I thought it was going to happen.”
If you’re looking for a motto to motivate you through your workday—or your next shower—David’s straightforward recipe is one well worth trying: “Think about it, think about it, problem solved, make it happen.”
The Road to Real Riches
Many people hear the title Think and Grow Rich and immediately connect it with the idea of acquiring material wealth. Yet, interestingly enough, Napoleon Hill doesn’t devote a lot of time in his book to the actual making of money.
For Hill, rich had a different meaning or, at the very least, a much broader one. Riches, in the context of Hill’s philosophy, are the abundance of rewards that inevitably result when you harness and activate your thoughts in order to achieve your goals—they are not the goal itself.
Through his approach to work and life, David Neeleman has grown rich in the truest sense of the term as Hill meant it. JetBlue and Azul have created tremendous financial wealth for him, so much so that he doesn’t have to work. Yet he does . . . not for the money, but for the opportunity to help others.
“My definition of wealth is happiness and bringing happiness to other people. ‘Rich’ to me means creating a company that changes the most lives possible and leaves the world a better place.”
That is what inspires David, what stimulates his mind to continue generating great thought and what keeps him motivated to manifest those thoughts through action.
Motivation and desire are what ultimately determine success and inspire entrepreneurs to generate new goals and take action toward them. Like David, when you define your “why,” the “how” will appear through inspiration, faith, and collaboration. And so will the riches . . . of all kinds.
©2014 by The Napoleon Hill Foundation.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin,
a member of Penguin Group (USA). www.us.PenguinGroup.com.
Thoughts Are Things: Turning Your Ideas Into Realities
by Bob Proctor and Greg S Reid.
About the Authors
Bob Proctor, a speaker, author, consultant, coach, and mentor, was already a legendary figure in the world of personal development long before his appearance in the hit film The Secret. For more than forty years, Bob Proctor has been one of the biggest names in prosperity and personal development, delivering talks throughout the world that help people achieve success and prosperity. Through his work with the Proctor Gallagher Institute, which he co-founded, he has transformed countless lives with his message of prosperity.
Greg S. Reid is a filmmaker, motivational speaker, and bestselling author. He is also an entrepreneur and the CEO of several successful corporations, and has dedicated his life to helping others achieve the ultimate fulfillment of finding and living a life of purpose.