When I say Think and Grow Rich, what comes to your mind?
Almost everyone in sales and those interested in personal development have read this classic by Napoleon Hill at least once. And almost everyone who's read it has a positive comment. Many (like me) will say, "Turning point in my life."
Everyone has a turning point in their quest for lifelong learning. Everyone has their Aha! In your personal development, it's what you choose to listen to, watch or read that enhances your understanding of your life and teaches you what you need to do to succeed.
Napoleon Hill's 1937 quote sets the standard. "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
And once you have the information, it's all about what you are willing to do to take advantage of it.
Most people know Napoleon Hill was the author of Think and Grow Rich. The person Hill emulated and studied was. Not many know that.
Marden was the leading positive-attitude genius of the 20th century. Well-known before 1930-almost unknown today. He was a founding father of personal development and positive thought. Aha!
Author of more than 40 books, Marden also was the founder of SUCCESS magazine. Here are a few of his words of wisdom from the book he wrote in 1908, He Who Thinks He Can.
"Every child should be taught to expect success."
"The man who has learned the art of seeing things looks with his brain."
"The best educated people are those who are always learning, always absorbing knowledge from every possible source and at every opportunity."
"People do not realize the immense value of utilizing spare minutes."
"No substitute has ever yet been discovered for honesty."
"Poverty is of no value except as a vantage ground for a starting point."
These are quotes worth learning and passing on to others. One hundred years old!
1. Expose yourself to knowledge. Based on my personal experience and personal Ahas!, I'd like to challenge you with the rules of personal development and give you some examples of what I have learned so you might make your own plan to succeed or enhance the one you have.
At the end of a seminar I gave on positive attitude, I received an evaluation from a woman named Mary with a comment that read, "I wish I would have heard this 30 years ago." I got goose bumps of sadness and thought of a Jim Rohn quote: "All the information you need to succeed already exists; the only problem is you're not exposing yourself to it." This information existed 30 years ago. Mary just hadn't exposed herself to it.
Jim Rohn is known as America's leading business philosopher. His CD, The Art of Exceptional Living, is among the modern classics of personal development. Jim Rohn is the current master of inspiration and Aha! He imparts wisdom in every sentence.
Between Marden and Rohn, there is a long list of valuable books. I owe my career success to these books and to personal development information to which I have exposed myself.
Most of the books are more than 50 years old. Many with religious connotations-but still preaching the right words and thoughts. One of the most notable is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Biblical and brilliant.
2. Simple is powerful.
If you read it and it seems too easy or too hokey, reread it. It's probably part of your personal development foundation.
One of my early Aha! moments of personal development was the simplicity of the message. Sometimes it's so simple, you go right past it without understanding the impact it can make.
A classic example is the eternal How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. In 1936 he wrote, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." How many salespeople could benefit from that single Aha!? I think all of them.
Interesting to note that Dale Carnegie's lessons still are being taught in the classroom 70 years later!
3. Think and apply to improve.
In As a Man Thinketh, published in 1902, James Allen says, "A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts." Thinking what can be done is at the core of your personal development. About 54 years later, in the million-seller, The Strangest Secret, Earl Nightingale writes, "We become what we think about all day long." Get it?
In 1969, I listened to Glenn W. Turner on a cassette tape: "Act as though you have already begun to achieve. Not fake it-live it."
4. Take a daily dose.
Think about the time-worn expression, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Apply that to personal development, and it means learn and apply one new thing every day. At the end of a year you will have 365 new pieces of information.
5. The older the better.
If you want a new idea, read a book that's 100 years old. "The best educated people are those who are always learning, always absorbing knowledge from every possible source and at every opportunity." -Marden, 1908. Or, "History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats." -B.C. Forbes, 1919.
6. Personal development and positive attitude are joined at the hip-and at the brain. And there is another component-being of service.
"There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative." -Clement Stone, 1946. Add that to the 5000-year-old Chinese proverb, "To Serve is to Rule."
7. Do it even as your butt falls off.
In 1898, Elbert Hubbard wrote an essay titled, Message to Garcia. Deliver the message, get the job done, complete the task-no matter what. Many have read that essay. Few have emulated it.
Personal development challenges you to think forward. "Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come." -Victor Hugo, 1874.
Personal development challenges you to be your best. "You cannot mandate productivity; you must provide the tools to let people become their best." -Steve Jobs, 1988.
"I am the greatest of all time." -Muhammad Ali, 1963.
Personal development challenges you to make decisions based on the person you seek to become. "The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it." -John Ruskin, 1869.
Wondering where you can "find more time" to devote to your own success? "It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste." -Henry Ford, 1901. Just a thought.
The key word is not development; the key word is personal. Do it for yourself, in your own way, and make your own time for it-or not.
The biggest Aha! of personal development is from Russell Conwell's Acres of Diamonds. Considered to be one of the finest speeches ever written, Acres of Diamonds offers a multitude of lessons about the rewards of work, education and finding the riches of life in your own back yard-or your own library. Aha!