Thinking about success? — Welcome to the club!
“Thoughts are things” is the title and the first words of the first chapter in the immortal Napoleon Hill book “Think and Grow Rich.”
When I first read those words, in 1972, I didn’t really understand what they meant. Even when I read the first chapter and the examples offered, it didn’t resonate — until I got to the end of the chapter and read, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve.”
I started to get it.
By coincidence, it was only a few days later when I heard the late great Earl Nightingale, in his immortal “The Strangest Secret,” say, “You become what you think about.”
At that moment, I got it — it clicked. And it clicked forever.
Powerful thoughts and concepts that seem so simple, yet elude most people. Think about the way you think. Positive? Happy? Consistent? Attractive? Encouraging? Believing? Self-inspiring?
For most the answer is, “Sometimes.” And in this political year, almost never.
Positive thinking is a self-imposed challenge in a world surrounded with negatives. Facing that, I began to read all I could find. More reading and studying about thinking and the thought process revealed that neither Hill nor Nightingale had the original thought:
Socrates said, “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”
Buddha said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
Samuel Smiles said, “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
Orison Swett Marden said, “All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers. It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind.”
Elbert Hubbard said, “I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love. ... I believe in sunshine, fresh air, friendship, calm sleep, beautiful thoughts.” And, “Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual. ... Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude — the attitude of courage, frankness and good cheer. To think rightly is to create.”
Dale Carnegie said, “It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
Napoleon Hill also said, “Think twice before you speak because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
Earl Nightingale also said, “Before you can achieve the kind of life you want you must think, act, talk and conduct yourself in all of your affairs as would the person you wish to become.”
Norman Vincent Peale said, “Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture. ... Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.”
Steve Jobs said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Each of these people had their own way of saying the same thing: Your thinking becomes your actions. And it’s those dedicated, well-planned and directed actions that lead to your outcomes. Your reality. Better stated, your success.
All of these legendary scholars cannot be wrong.
All of these men told me in their writings — in the same way I’m telling you — that positive thought leads to positive actions and positive results, if the aim and the purpose are passionately believed.
The way you dedicate yourself to the way you think will have the greatest impact on your life — either one way or the other.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 13 books including “The Sales Bible,” “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.” His online courses are available at gitomerlearningacademy.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or gitomercertifiedadvisors.com, or email Jeffrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.