Think and Grow Rich
Let’s start with the very first personal development resource Sally McAllister encounters: Think And Grow Rich.
I think Sally’s reaction to it is pretty standard and it’s one I saw over and over again in my own team.
It’s easy to lose this book’s powerful message because it’s camouflaged by a lot of very dry words. Plus those words tend to ignore womankind almost completely other than as some kind of decorative prop to the important business of men’s work. But don’t get me started on that.
Rather than the sexism riling team members, I think a lot of women just shut off and started to feel comatose because they couldn’t relate to the book.
Which is a crime!
Because Think And Grow Rich is packed with juicy goodness.
Even revisiting it now for this review I get a distinct feeling from it. It’s almost like being in the presence of magic.
There’s an old recording of Napolean Hill himself reading the book. In it he says he is reaching out across space and time to you, the listener – and it never fails to give me chills.
So, I’ve been thinking about how to condense the wisdom in this book, to encourage you not just to buy it, but to consume it and then apply what you learn.
Because it’s easy to do the first step, or even the first and second…but the whole reason for ibuiltanetwork’s existence is to help you make it through to step three.
I think the biggest thing about it for me has been the stories showing how the 6 steps for achieving riches actually look when you’re applying them in real life.
That’s where the magic got me the first time, and gets me still.
Reaching around the wordiness and the sexism I could see how these principles feel at the time one is applying them.
Personal development principles are so easy to read when they are theory on the page.
Often, as for Sally in The Networker, things start to feel wobbly and wrong when we apply them in real life…
…unless we’re prepared.
Napoleon Hill shows us clearly how, when we apply them, these ideas can be difficult.
He shows us how they can involve risk and personal responsibility and definitely have no guarantees.
He uses examples that show us that applying these ideas is swimming against the tide of public opinion and can ignite real opposition from close friends and family.
Peering into the workings of the hearts and minds of Eddison, Ford or Carnegie with this first hand account, I got a sense of myself in that picture.
Not by firing up my ego but actually with a dose of humility.
That I could do what they had done, that I could think for myself and make up my own mind and follow through.
It gave me the courage to swim against the tide, to recognise (but not cave into) the anxiety, loneliness, rejection and the apparent lack of results that come with any great endeavour.
It helped me accept those things as part of the process – instead of seeing them as reasons to quit.
Think And Grow Rich provides a mental and practical roadmap, a template of action steps and most importantly a sense of perspective.
It’s that sense of perspective that’s vital.
It’s not called Work Hard and Grow Rich.
Hard work will, almost inevitably, be a part of the process.
But it won’t feel like hard work once you set your thinking straight.
Sally McAllister misses out on a lot of that magic first time around because she’s still feeling like such a victim when she first reads it.
But to her credit she is willing to start where she is, and what she gets out of the book (self discipline and a better understanding of herself) is tremendously valuable.
Even if that’s all you get out of the book, that’s a great place to start.
One way to help you get more out of it on your first reading is to use the audible version. Listening to it can be a lot easier than reading it.
Another idea is to study it with someone else or a group of people.
Read two chapters a week and meet after a training or briefing or via skype to talk about what you got from those chapters.
The accountability and others’ insight can really bring this book to life.
If you’d like to access to a resource to help you run that kind of book club with your team please drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m passionate about books and personal development, so helping bring resources like this one alive for you via an e-course or maybe a live book club is something I’d love to do if there’s demand for it.
See you on the road,