Think and Grow Rich is undoubtedly the most read success classic in history but I wonder how many people have gleaned the “secret” that Napoleon Hill speaks about in the beginning of the book. As a matter of fact, he says that this secret is mentioned at least one hundred times throughout the book.
I was thinking about this secret one day and the result is this three part article you are reading right now. My goal is to identify what the secret is by analyzing the story of Edwin C. Barnes and his quest to become a partner with Thomas Edison.
This is what happened…
Early one morning I was inspired to read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
I have always been intrigued by this success classic but during this period of time I decided to review it to see if I could discern the secret that Mr. Hill mentioned in the first part of the book.
I decided to read and dissect the story about Edward C. Barnes and his quest to become a business partner with Thomas Edison. Keep in mind this story only takes up about three pages in the book; however I extracted twelve 3×5 note cards full of notes from these three pages. I hope you learn something from this article that you can immediately apply to your life to become more successful.
Edwin C. Barnes was a man who had developed a desire to become the business partner of Thomas Edison. Mr. Hill does not provide any detail about who Barnes was and what he did prior to developing this desire, but lets assume that he was just like you and me, however he lived during a different time period. Barnes was probably fascinated by the inventor and he knew that if he formed an association with this great man that he would make the most of the opportunity.
The story starts by Mr. Hill describing how Mr. Barnes possessed a burning desire to work with Mr. Edison and not for Mr. Edison. We can discern something about Mr. Barnes from this note because during that era most people where happy to find a job – he was not looking for a job he was looking for an opportunity – this clearly identifies Mr. Barnes as an entrepreneur – a risk taker – a person who is not afraid to think big.
Another key point is Barnes knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish. He was not hemming and hawing or displaying other symptoms of indecisiveness. He was not confused and he did not display mixed motives. His desire was to become a business partner with Thomas Edison – period!
He had a definite goal.
Let’s dig a bit deeper. An idea manifested into Mr. Barnes’ life and he had no resources to act upon it. Does this sound familiar? How many times have you had an idea only to back away from it because you didn’t have a clue about how to accomplish it so you decided not to do anything? Remember, no decision IS a decision.
What made Mr. Barnes different? Let’s see, he didn’t know Mr. Edison personally and we have no way of knowing if he knew someone who knew Edison to facilitate a warm introduction. So, let’s assume that he did not know anyone who knew Edison either. Also, He did not have enough money to pay for train fare to Orange, New Jersey where Edison had located his facilities. What would you have done? Most of us would have probably given up and went about life as usual. We would have determined that the dream was unrealistic. Or we would have said that it was not the right time.
What did Mr Barnes do? We don’t know exactly how he obtained the funding but we do know that he ended up in Orange, New Jersey. What happened next?
In his book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield describes what happens after you get an idea, goal, or inspiration – he calls it considerations, fears, and roadblocks. You can bet that Mr. Barnes experienced one of the above after he conceived this idea and realized that he was missing key resources like train fare and a relationship with the inventor.
Since Mr. Hill did not identify how Barnes raised money for the train fare, let’s assume that he stepped out on faith, obtained the money and made the trip to New Jersey. The main point is that Mr. Barnes took action and assumed that he could handle any obstacle or difficulty that would occur on the way to his destiny.
What can we learn from Mr. Barnes?
o Start your quest for success with a burning desire
o Become an opportunity seeker – never be afraid to think big
o Sometimes you have to take action based upon faith
o Develop strategies to combat considerations, fears and roadblocks before they show up
o Assess your resources before you start a project – at least you know what you don’t know and you know what you don’t have
This is Part I of the article titled The Secret of Think and Grow Rich. Be sure to watch for Part II of this article.