This Think and Grow Rich summary sketchnote utilised the notes of the Readitfor.me service. I’ve attempted to synthesise Hill’s main points with other content I’ve come across in recent times.
Included in each section are links to this other high-performers and some questions that you can ask yourself.
1. Desire: How to Create The Desire to Change
Desire. It can be a little dirty word at times. Often associated with craving and bad intentions.
But to start any kind of change from within, one must have compelling reasons to change. This boils down to desire.
In Personal Power II, Tony Robbins refers to this as leverage. In other words, we must have a burning desire to alter our situation. Without a compelling reason for change, our reasons are impotent and will fizzle out of momentum.
Hill breaks this down into getting clear about what you want. I see this as mission and refers to what actually matters to you.
What do you value? What identity do you wish to become?
James Clear has some useful content on this point when he writes about basing habits on the identity we wish to become over the goals we try to achieve.
What surprised me with Hill’s take, is that he asks his readers to define how they will serve others. What will you give in order for the return?
When you get clarity on what matters, then you devise some actionable steps towards it. I boil this down to taking consistent action that’s in alignment with your beliefs. You basically filter what you do against your beliefs. Change your beliefs, have the presence of mind when action is required, and base the action on your beliefs.
Belief in oneself. It seems to be such a powerful usher of efficacy. Think about that narrative or inner-monologue that you say to yourself.
Is it saying “I think I can”? Or is it saying, “I can’t!”
This point is also the first landmark in Richard Koch’s book Unreasonable Success and How to Achieve It. Koch claims that highly successful people have a sense of destiny about what they set out to do.
However, the precursor to self-belief is self-doubt that’s epitomised by isolation, neglect or abandonment.
I make links to James Clear’s Atomic Habits where Clear suggests that we focus on the identity we wish to embody rather than the goals we wish to strive towards. When we focus on our identity, the goals become a by-product of that pursuit.
The benefit of focussing on one’s identity is that you still have reason to push on even when goals are reached or dashed.
For whatever reason, I’ve recently been listening to Eminem’s song Lose Yourself. Right at the end in the outro, Eminem has a throwaway lyric and cliche that “You can do anything you set your mind to, man.” I think this line captures self-belief perfectly. If you feed yourself the narrative that you can then you will.
The reason is that you equip yourself with the awareness to to see the opportunity in your life.
Scott Adams, who is the author of famed comic Dilbert, is a proponent of affirmations and visualisation. He isn’t dogmatic about it, rather, he is pragmatic.
The pattern I’m picking up between these successful people and affirmations is that it directs our focus and attention onto these things that we’re visualising.
When we seed our mind’s eye with what we’re looking for, then during the experience of the day, we’re priming ourselves to see and respond to the opportunities that present themselves to us.
What’s this like in practice?
Well, I’ve been doing this for around 3 months. I certainly notice that my focus has shifted throughout the day-to-day. It helps with my decision making too. However, most of what I have visualised hasn’t manifested.
But that isn’t entirely true.
One of my affirmations and visualisations is:
“I will instil the habits and routines to ensure the health and longevity of the mind and body of a post-40 Brent.”
This affirmation is more of an identity than realising a goal. I must say, that I already do embody this. It has a great impact on my decisions and ensuing action.
So perhaps there’s some secret sauce in the type of visualisation. Are you visualising a goal or an identity?
4. Specialised Knowledge
Well, this one seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? Seems a bit daunting for someone mid-life who chops and changes around. Ahem. That’s not me, right?
Perhaps the lesson here is to stick with something, anything, that interests you and make a life out of it.
Chris Young, who is the founder of chefsteps.com, has commented that the interesting jobs are the ones that we’ll create. Follow your sparks and you’ll forge a career out of that.
Scott Adams also has some interesting thoughts on this subject.
Rather than specialise like insects, we can diversify and become around 80% proficient at a few things. The combination of these few things can be packaged up into a unique offering that becomes your specialisation.
Circling back to the wisdom of Hill, he suggests to “figure out the knowledge the market wants of you … and figure out how to acquire it.”
How do you figure out what the market wants?
You listen to what it wants and respond to it.
Who or what is the market?
It could be as simple as your group of friends. Listen to them and their needs and help solve their problems. It could be listening to your peers at work. It could be community-driven. Show up. Put aside your own agenda. Listen to the needs of the other and decide if that’s something you’re’ willing to engage with.
This very blog post is an example of the first kind of imagination: synthetic imagination.
Through sketchnoting and writing on the media I consume, I am beginning to see patterns and overlaps between these others who are are probably evaluated externally as successful.
Creative imagination is linked to intuition, which we’ll touch on below. I’ve loved Richard Koch’s comments on intuition in his book Unreasonable Success and How to Achieve It.
Koch says that we can’t operate on an intuitive level without a deep understanding of the domain in which we’re operating.
I interpret this as synthetic imagination preceding creative imagination.
This isn’t a truth because you can certainly be creatively imaginative without deep understanding. I just think that you’re more likely to deliver outstanding results when it’s deeply embedded in your consciousness. Then your asynchronous worker, the subconscious, can get to work on finding creative solutions.
6. Organised Planning
A man with no plan gets nowhere fast.
The delicate balance of planning. You can certainly over plan, which can lead to paralysis. Then you can have no plan, which can lead to unfocussed rubbish.
The art of planning lies in the balancing the bigger picture with the smaller details of that bigger picture.
The most important aspect of any plan is the action that you take. If your plan doesn’t have you taking action, then you have no plan.
It makes sense to model your actions on the others who have already had success. For instance, I am executing Tim Ferriss’ plan to bulk up in the 4-Hour Body called Occam’s Protocol.
How can you break up your larger projects into mini actions to take?
Can you model your plan on someone else who has done it before you?
I hear you, Napoleon.
You gotta know where you’re going in order to make decisions with conviction.
The question I absolutely LOVE when it comes to overcoming procrastination is “what’s the cost of inaction?”
In other words, what short-term pain are you putting off for longer-term pain?
When you really feel this in the present, it’s enough to whip your butt into action.
I also like some approaches such as ‘rigging the game’ in order to make it easy for yourself to take action. Lower the expectations so as to overcome your perfectionism.
What’s your definition of failure?
Mine is that you only fail if you give up. If you don’t give up, then you are continuing to learn.
You might say, well a football team loses a game, that means that they failed in that game. I can’t argue against this. But I can zoom out from it.
Perhaps the game forms part of a larger journey to a championship. What if you lose that year’s championship? Well, you’re building towards the following year’s.
In essence, you can never fail if you CHOOSE to learn from it.
9. Power of the Mastermind
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
Surround yourself with exceptional others and you’ll, too, become exceptional.
I’ve heard another quote bounce around this space to the tune of “if you want to become a millionaire, hang around billionaires and you’ll get there quicker.”
Now it’s a question of how does one hang around with these people because they surely don’t want to be lowering their average!
One way is to be of service and work voluntarily for these people. How can you contribute towards the projects that others are working on?
10. Sex Transmutation
The author of the readitfor.me article steered clear of this point of Hill’s, so I’m going to take it one step further and relate to it from some experiences I’ve had with other domains.
I borrow from tantric ideology and the chakras and the circling of human creative energy.
Think about it. We have a masculine energy that strives and a feminine energy that nurtures. Both genders have these two energies.
Rather than spill the seed a man carries, I’ve found the route of abstinence to be one that’s linked to creativity. The sexual energy, rather than be dispelled from the body, is circulated around the body.
Tension seeks resolution. You can seek a release or you can creatively produce.
No longer living by the mercy of lust and carnal desire. I view the seed as sacred and one that is the giver of life. Imagine harnessing that energy yourself?
Can you observe the itch without scratching it? How can you channel your sexual energy to creative produce artefacts and the like?
11. Subconscious Mind
State. It affects what we project out into the world. If we are in an uncomfortable state, then we are not in our most resourceful space.
Conversely, when we’re on top of the world we almost feel invincible and see all the opportunities and possibilities.
So it makes sense for us to have the presence of mind to notice our state and take action when we’re not in its juiciest one.
Tony Robbins in Personal Power II suggests that we can alter our physical state. Ultimately, this is the fake it until you make it approach. It sounds kind of silly, but it works. Get up and walk around with a smile on your face and a bit of swagger. You can’t help but feel a little lift.
Another approach he suggests is to alter the questions we ask ourselves. You may have noticed that I have ended some sections with these questions.
Rather than asking the victim type of questions like “why is this happening to me?” You can reframe it to see the benefit or the positive.
- What could be great about this?
- What’s not great about it, YET?
- What am I willing to do in order to make things the way I want them?
- What can I reduce or eliminate in order to make things the way I want them?
- How can I do what needs to be done AND enjoy the process along the way?
12. Brain Broadcasting
The collective consciousness.
I’ve not come across much content relating to this, so perhaps that means opportunity. For me, it falls in the land of esoteric mystery.
Though, if you’ve been part of a music festival or a prolonged meditation sitting, then you may well have encountered this sense of togetherness. This sense that we are but part of a larger whole.
I guess Hill specifically refers to a communicative ability between humans. Like the author of readitfor.me exclaims, sign me up!
Intuition is a fascinating subject. We all seem to ‘get it’ on the surface, yet it plays out so haphazardly for most of us.
I draw from recent experiences with William Whitecloud and his Create Your Destiny workshop. I also make links to Richard Koch in Unreasonable Success and How To Achieve It.
William has a simple framework to harness intuition. It’s:
- Apprehend a symbol. This could be a word, a visual a something that has stood out to you.
- Then explain what is obvious to you about this symbol.
- Then make it up.
The final step seems the most comical and irrational. But think about it. To make a creative leap in innovation that has never been done before like, oh I don’t know, general relativity, then you need to make it up.
That’s where Koch’s perspective gives this shape. He suggests that we can only operate intuitively when we have a deep sense of background knowledge.
I suspect that we can always operate from a place of intuition, but the depth of our knowledge in the domain will determine the accuracy and efficacy of the hunch.
The idea isn’t to get it ‘right’. It’s to listen based on what’s obvious and take it from there.
Hello darkness my old friend. If you think you’ve overcome your fear, then you’re delusional.
The game is becoming aware of it and choosing how you wish to respond to it. I listened to a snippet from Tools of Titans today where Tim Ferriss mentioned the words of Mike Tyson’s first coach.
“The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.”CUS D’AMATO as quoted by Tim Ferriss in Tools of Titans
This is kind of powerful, isn’t it?
Ferriss has a wonderful fear setting exercise and ensuing TED Talk that embodies much stoic philosophy. The idea is to sketch out your worst nightmare scenario and then plan its contingencies.
You could pair Ferriss’ exercises with Hill’s tenets of fear: poverty, criticism, ill-health, loss of love, death and old age.
Tony Robbins goes as far to say to model your action on those who have done it before you. So if a particular age concerns you, then you can model actions on people who are already hit that age.
For instance, I have a particular curiosity with super fit 70+ year old people. I wanna be one of those people and not shuffling around as though I’m attached to a vertical pole.
So I could (and should) begin to research what I can be doing at this age of 34 to prep myself. This becomes both an identity and a goal: I wish to be healthy and fit over time.