Excerpted from Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy.
Decision: The master of procrastination
In the original Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill noted that the 500 successful people he interviewed firsthand reached decisions promptly and changed their decisions slowly. Indeed, an overarching theme of success throughout the ages is decisively hammering a stake into the ground, declaring your intent to the universe and then defending it at all costs.
Early in her career, billionaire Oprah Winfrey was unceremoniously dumped from her role as television news anchor. Refusing to let the failure define her, Winfrey hammered her stake in the ground and stayed in the media industry. As the years wore on, she developed her skills and was eventually given her own program. The Oprah Winfrey Show ran for 25 seasons and remains the highest-rated talk show in American history. "It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from," Winfrey believes. "The ability to triumph begins with you, always."
Had she listened to the advice of executives early on that she wasn't fit for television and cast her dreams aside, the world would have missed out on one of the greatest philanthropists of our time.
Only you can determine how the counsel of those closest to you can help or hinder your mission, but be very careful with the priority you place on different sources of opinion. Give first precedence to your inner voice because you are the only one who can truly and completely lead your burning desire through to reality. Second, heed the wisdom of a well-comprised mastermind group who can multiply your abilities and influence. The healthy counsel of these two sources cannot be overstated.
It is also vital to decide who not to listen to. There will always be people trying to force their negative, or simply mindless, opinions on you. You must ignore them. Those readily moved by the opinions of others have no desire of their own. Decide what you want, and then make it happen.
Persistence: The sustained effort necessary to induce faith
Simply continuing is one of the surest paths to success, just as quitting is one of the surest paths to permanent defeat. Winners look for any reason to advance and in doing so bring themselves ever closer to glory.
An excerpt from the ethos of one of the world's preeminent special forces teams, the U.S. Navy SEALs, embodies the principle of persistence: "If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight." On the battlefield -- where the stakes are highest -- well-constructed plans are carried out by people obsessed with mission success who refuse to give in, no matter what circumstances arise.
The starting point of all achievement is desire, but it is the intensity of desire that determines persistence. An honest self-audit will show your level of persistence, and any shortfalls must be overcome by stoking the flame of desire; every principle and anecdote in my book offers both clues and tangible strategies on how to do this. Pay close attention to your physical and mental health, too. If you are not feeling a sense of achievement at the end of each day, perhaps you need healthier food, better sleep, more exercise, better use of your time, more positive friends or to eliminate distractions that chip away at your energy. There are no valid excuses for permanent defeat.
Spanx founder Sara Blakely once drove to North Carolina to find a manufacturer for her unique shapewear garment. The 29-year-old visited numerous hosiery mills to explain her idea and see if they could help make it, but she was continually turned away. Blakely persisted, spending the rest of the week meeting with as many manufacturers as she could. The mission appeared to be a failure, and she returned home to come up with a different plan to make her dream a reality. Two weeks later, one of the mill owners phoned to say he had shown the concept to his three daughters who had raved about it. A single idea, backed with persistence, made Blakely the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
Remember, poverty consciousness will voluntarily seize the mind that is not occupied with wealth consciousness. Champions in any industry know this and give themselves the best opportunity to win. They persist, even if temporary failure requires plans to be recalibrated -- they do not quit. Through this principle, temporary failure is forged into long-term victory.
Auto-suggestion: The medium for influencing the subconscious mind
Once you understand and can apply the power of the mind, you wield a truly infinite force. You can bend the rules of the game to your advantage, not only controlling the present, but the future and the past, too. Since the subconscious mind is not inspired by indifference, it stands to reason that any success we want in our lives must be packed as a burning desire delivered through the emotion of faith to our subconscious. Auto-suggestion is the agent between the conscious and the subconscious, which can be manipulated through the right stimulus.
All humans have control over what reaches our minds. We experience life through five senses, generating thoughts in our consciousness, which we can then reject or accept to enter into our subconscious. But, the great majority of people do not exercise this control, going through life without any filter over what enters the mind -- the most sacred of possessions. However, the few who do, experience prosperity beyond the wildest imagination.
Visualizing the object of your desires -- whether that's a full bank account, a successful business or a loving marriage -- is not enough. Clearly state what you want, see it already in your possession, feel every associated emotion and outline what you are willing to do -- the price you are willing to pay -- in exchange for its attainment. At least twice daily, confidently read the written statement of your desire out loud.
A challenging lesson for today's generations, who live in an increasingly fast-paced world, is learning and appreciating that there is no such thing as something for nothing. Success appears only to those who have paid the price, in advance and in full.
Through the process of auto-suggestion, you must convince your subconscious that it's a simple choice: win or perish. Demand success, expect it and let the universe show you the way forward.
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