The Secret Formula by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich

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by Jayaram V

In his book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill proposed what he termed a "magic formula" which would help people to make a "stupendous fortune" by turning their dreams into riches and achieve, peace, prosperity and abundance. It was a revolutionary effort on his part as he interviewed 504 rich people of his times and garnered their secrets to know how they made their money. Since it was research-based effort, his work is considered an authoritative and reliable source of information for people to follow the methods he suggested and achieve peace and prosperity.

Because of the foundational research he had done in the manifesting powers of the subconscious mind, His work is still considered important both for inspiration and practice. Napoleon Hill named his book, "Think and Grow Rich," thereby suggesting in the title itself the powerful connection between thinking and manifesting. He discovered a process through which one could make miracles happen, using thoughts, dreams and desires, mixed with positive emotions, and reinforced by a clear vision and repeated affirmations. He declared in the opening chapter that "thoughts are things," and suggested that with "definiteness of purpose, persistence and a burning desire, "anyone could translate their thoughts into "riches and other material objects."

Most of the ideas presented by Napoleon Hill were well known to the sages and seers in the Oriental world for millenniums. They are reaffirmed in the Upanishads and many Hindu scriptures as internalized Vedic rituals and yoga practices to manifest the powers of the mind, connect to the universal consciousness, and unravel the transcendental truths hidden in creation and within oneself. The Jainas used them to conquer their minds and bodies and reach omniscience. The Buddha employed them to transform the human consciousness and arrest its modifications.

They are also suggested in Christianity and Islam to reach out to dreams and visions not of this earth. Before Napoleon Hill, many western philosophers, theosophists and writers referred to such powers. By relating them to business and commerce and to worldly success, Napoleon Hill clothed them in a language which most people understood. Therefore, although he was not a pioneer in this field, a lot of credit goes to him for making those ideas popular in the western world.

Thought is a powerful factor in shaping our lives. People may complain about not having this and that, but none can complain about the scarcity of thought. People may not know how to think correctly or effectively, but everyone has the potential to think and form ideas and opinions. Napoleon Hill stated that people were able to realize their dreams using their commonest asset, their own minds. It was not wealth which created wealth in the first place, but a mind enriched with the power of purpose, desire, emotion, determination and affirmation. To quote his famous words, "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." Again, "There are no limitations to the mind, except those we acknowledge."

In the following discussion, I present, in my own way, a few factors identified by him which he believed would help people, irrespective of their present financial conditions, to achieve "money, fame, recognition and happiness." Ever since, he published the book, countless people read it and benefited from it. Most of the books written later on abundance and thought power are mere reassertions of what he originally stated. Therefore, here I decided not to reinvent the wheel, but rather present his ideas in my own words and according to my own understanding and interpretation. For a more detailed study, I would recommend his book.


Just as everyone can think, everyone can desire. Desire is a powerful and natural motivating factor. In fact, it is very difficult not to have any desires. However, not all desires are conducive to our Wellbeing. Some desires are positive and constructive, while some are negative and self-destructive. With the help of desires we can either turn our dreams into great riches or succumb to temptations and fall down.

Therefore, we have to be careful what desires we entertain in our minds and think mostly. We can turn our desires into dreams and with sustained effort, purpose, determination, organized effort and precise goals, we can turn our dreams into riches and reality. According to Napoleon Hill, it is not sufficient to have a mere desire, but "a burning desire" to achieve what you intend to achieve. To achieve success, you must mix your desires with determination and turn them into "concrete action." It means you should have well-defined goals with clarity of purpose, and well laid out plans.

Once you identify your purpose and goals, you must put all your energy and effort into achieving them. Napoleon Hill proposed a six step method to turn your desires into gold. They hinged on the central idea that you should have a well-defined goal, coupled with a concrete plan of action to achieve it, and you should remember it frequently until it is firmly planted in your consciousness. With burning desires you can overcome insurmountable difficulties and achieve the impossible.


If desire is the initiating power, faith is the sustaining power. We may begin our actions because of desires, however, we may not continue in our effort unless we have faith and the conviction that we have chosen the right course of action and our actions would bear fruit. We need faith to adhere to a disciplined effort and implement our plans to fulfill our desires.

Napoleon Hill suggested that when we blended our thoughts (or desires) with faith and other positive emotions, our subconscious minds would pick up those vibrations, as in case of a prayer, and change them into their spiritual equivalents before transmitting them to the Infinite Intelligence, or the Universal Mind for their manifestation.

In other worlds, with faith you can transform your desires and dreams mixed with positive emotions into powerful prayers and infuse them with the tremendous power of the Almighty so that they would bear fruit almost miraculously. Napoleon Hill believed in the miraculous powers of the subconscious mind and its affinity with the Divine Mind. He proposed that when an idea was presented to the subconscious mind repeatedly, mixed with powerful emotions, it would accept it eventually and materialize them into their physical counterparts.

The same principle holds true with regard to both positive and negative thoughts and emotions. Whatever thoughts and emotions people entertain in their minds and eventually accept them influence their behavior and destinies. What we call bad luck or misfortune is actually the result of negative thoughts and emotions we entertain in our minds repeatedly. If we focus upon the negative, we invite negative events into our lives and surround ourselves with negativity.

Therefore, Napoleon Hill suggested that it was important to entertain only positive thoughts and emotions and let them dominate our minds. Thoughts mixed with faith and positive emotions would become a magnetic force and great motivating factor. They gather strength by attracting similar thoughts, and when favorable circumstances are presented, they would materialize into reality.

Auto suggestions

The mind has its own way of thinking and framing each experience. The way our conscious minds work depends upon the mental habits we form out of our learning, knowledge, experiences and beliefs. Although we can control and regulate our conscious minds, in most cases we do not exercise proper control. Hence, most people "go through life in poverty." If we do not send proper thoughts to our subconscious, then we will let destructive thoughts to settle in our subconscious and interfere with our dreams and destinies.

Therefore, Napoleon Hill suggested that we should write down our intended goals or desires on paper and read them loudly and repeatedly, mixing them with positive emotions, until they were firmly implanted in our subconscious minds. To quote his own words, "Your ability to use the principle of autosuggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession."

It is important not only to think about your desires and goals frequently but also to use your imagination and visualize them as if they already happened. Using this trick you can persuade your subconscious mind to go into action and transform your desires into practical and actionable solutions, which you may perceive in your conscious mind as inspiration, creative ideas or intuition. When it happens, you must instantly begin to act on the idea until it becomes a reality.

Specialized knowledge

By specialized knowledge, we mean the specific knowledge that is required to achieve the desires and dreams or the specific goals a person aims to achieve. It refers to the knowledge acquired not only through education but also through experience, intelligence, observation and understanding. In the words of Napoleon Hill, "An educated man is not necessarily one who has abundance of general and specialized knowledge."

According to him an educated person develops the necessary skills and faculties to get whatever he wants, without violating the rights of others. As in case of Henry Ford, whom he quoted as an example, he may not have the necessary technical knowledge but he knows from where to get it and how to organize it into "definite plans of action." To achieve your goals, you need specialized and organized knowledge. You do not have to possess such knowledge, but you must know from where to get it and how to make use of it.

Therefore, you do not have to worry that you do not have the required education or technical qualifications to perform certain tasks that are vital to your success. You should apply commonsense and seek the help of those who posses such knowledge and make use of it. If possible, you may also acquire it through self-study, by going to an evening school or college, or through distance learning. You may use such knowledge to implement your plans or, if you do not have the wherewithal, you may sell your plans and ideas to others, who have similar goals.


Apart from these, Napoleon Hill mentioned other factors which contribute to our success and prosperity, namely imagination, organized planning, decisiveness, persistence, mastermind, transmutation of sexual energy, subconscious mind, the hidden potential of the human brain, sixth sense, and eliminating fear and doubt. He believed that armed with these principles anyone could realize their desires and goals. Due to the scope of this article, I am not elaborating upon these remaining principles. If you have not read the book "Think and Grow Rich," and if you want to unlock the secrets of your own mind, or at least for inspiration, I strongly recommend to find a copy and read it immediately. This essays merely introduces you to the subject. There is a lot of useful information in the book, which needs to assimilated and internalized for best results. It will open your eyes to many truths regarding the powers of your subconscious mind and your potential to be the master of your life and destiny. You will realize and even know by experience, if you try hard, how you may realize your dreams using the most powerful resources you have within yourself, namely your thoughts, desires, faith and determination.

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