“The sixth sense defies description! It cannot be described to a person who has not mastered the other principles of this philosophy, because such a person has no knowledge, and no experience with which the sixth sense may be compared. Under- standing of the sixth sense comes only by meditation through mind development from within. The sixth sense probably is the medium of contact between the finite mind of man and Infinite Intelligence, and for this reason, it is a mixture of both the mental and the spiritual. It is believed to be the point at which the mind of man contacts the Universal Mind.”–Napoleon Hill
The last formal principle of “Think And Grow Rich” is that of “The Sixth Sense” which is said to resemble a “guardian angel” that warns of danger and sensitizes one to opportunity. It seems to be a cumulative result of applying the other principles, but the one practice that Hill stresses in this chapter is what might be called an “Imaginary Council”, basically studying the biographies of famous people until you can imagine actual conversations with them, and bringing them into a nightly imaginary “council meeting” where they advise you and provide models of excellence.
Models. I’ve encountered similar patterns of learning by imitation in practices like Deep Trance Identification, “Hero Circles” and so forth. Hill commented that the imaginings went so deep that he became afraid for his sanity, and certainly afraid to tell others what he had been doing. TAGR represented his first willingness to share this practice.
It might be interesting at his point to ask a very serious question: does his method work? And the most natural extension of this; did it work for Napoleon Hill?
I have a habit of deliberately searching out negative comments about people I admire, or goods and services I enjoy and use. And “Napoleon Hill Fraud” is a fun search term. Try it. One thing that comes up repeatedly is that he had a number of businesses that went bust, was broke at times, and apparently wasn’t the best husband he could have been.
And on this evidence, there are a couple of sites that claim he was a failure.
Well…that’s kind of fun, considering that TAGR alone sold over twenty million copies, and he wrote about forty more, many of which sold well, as well as endless articles, lectures, and courses based on the same research. He also performed success coaching, and unless he gave his time away for free, it is impossible to imagine that someone with a twenty million book platform couldn’t make all the money he wanted advising people on the contents of his books.
He died with a net worth of about a million dollars in 1970. Not bad at all, really. I like what I see in that biography: he may not have been brilliant enough to match the performance of his role models, but to the degree that they functioned as his Master Mind, and role models, he did just fine.
This is a great moment to speak in a kind of Meta way about what he did. It was what NLP refers to as “Modeling” and the entire book Think and Grow Rich is filled with the Mental Syntax, Belief Systems, and Behaviors of successful men.
The idea is this: if you want to bake a cake, you can experiment with different proportions of sugar, flour, water, eggs, milk, heat, and so forth, and after years of mess, you’ll come up with something edible.
Or…you can buy cook books and follow them…or even buy packages of cake mix and use them. These are both “modeling” as well, and it works. This is pretty much the formal education approach.
But IMO the very best approach would be to sample a LOT of cakes until you find one you love. Then find the cook, and induce them to let you follow them around the kitchen for a day as they work their magic. You learn their ingredient, the order in which they combine them, the model and make of the oven, the temperature at which you cook and the time you leave it in, the humidity of the kitchen, and so forth. To the degree that you can accurately determine what they did AND THEN DO THE SAME THING, you will get the same results. In a single afternoon, you can learn to make a cake it took someone twenty years to create.
THAT is the power of modeling. You can do it unconsciously (by sort of “dreaming” about the person) or deliberately by analyzing their actions, vividly imagining them in different circumstances, having real and/or imaginary conversations with them, and so on and so on.
Remember what Lonnie Athens said about career criminals?What creates them?
1) Brutalization or violent horrification. Pain to himself or someone he empathizes with (seeing his mother beaten, for instance)
2) “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”
3) Acting out with increasing success.
4) Finding a group of peers/role models who support his values.
5) Internalizing their voices.
Remember that by the time you get to step 5 there is no known form of rehabilitation that can change them?
Let’s turn that inside out. Assuming that this is the process of DEEP PROGRAMMING, and can be used positively as well as negatively.
1) Motivation by extreme emotion. A BURNING DESIRE for excellence, wealth, whatever, created by an overload of positive or negative emotions, sufficient to overcome inertia.
2) Making a DECISION and “burning your bridges behind you.
3) Taking MASSIVE ACTION at the same time that you are learning the rules of engagement, and creating a map of reality you constantly work to improve.
4) Find role models and mentors, and people with whom to Mastermind. Learn their behaviors and thoughts, and brainstorm with them. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS STEP. It is the ONLY known way to compensate for lack of resources or mental capacity.
5) Internalize their attitudes until you can “hear their voices” in your head advising you.
First of all, does it become clearer why your daily associations, your friends, and especially your intimate connections can have a killer influence on your life? Why those who can communicate with you while you are in a highly emotionalized state are accessing and programming your unconscious mind?
We’ve looked at this from the personal perspective. Shall we expand it to the social? Let’s.
You can apply this methodology to any group performance, but I’m focusing on one group whose history and status I understand best: black Americans.
1) Motivation by extreme emotion. Well, 250 years of slavery followed by another century of Jim Crow and Segregation. What was the group called “African slaves” programmed for: survival. The primary tool of survival? Obedience and mindless work. Put this in conflict with the natural human drive to succeed, grow, thrive. Now ask yourself how much fear it takes to crush that instinct. THAT is what was programmed in, along with beliefs that suggest the very best you could ever hope for was simple freedom. Not excellence. Not kicking ass. Not “being the best.” Just survival, and maybe one day freedom. DARE to hope for equality one day. Average all this out, and you get a pretty nasty picture: if you have negatives, the only way to balance at “Average” is to have equal and opposite Superiority Complex. If you only go from Negative to “Equal” you have to end in the negative. The average of -10 and “Zero” is minus Five, get it?
2) “I’m mad as hell”. There have been waves of this through our history, and every time attempts were made to crush it. There was NEVER a time when the perpetrators admitted to the abuse. Slavery was a good thing, Jim Crow was caused by Northern Interference, “our Nigras were happy until those Commie agitators came down here”, “you have equality now, shut up and be satisfied” and “you have a black President, what more do you want?” Every previous generation, EVERY ONE, was in the position of little Orphan Oliver going to an overseer gruel bowl in hand saying “please sir, I want some more.”
If you want to know where the terror and violence is coming from, just look at the fear on both sides: fear from blacks finally hoping to dream that they can be as egotistically self-confident as white folks. Fear of white folks that they have finally, FINALLY lost control of the narrative. That rather than “please sir, I want some more” you have a generation saying “excuse me. I’d like you to explain why my children should expect one whit less from life than yours. And if you like, we can have this conversation outside.”
Oh, yeah. It’s getting really interesting. Be too nice, and people think they can dole out the gruel a spoonful at a time. Get too mad, and they’ll pretend not to understand that they would have been just as pissed off. Pretend that white people don’t riot, scream, thrash, act irrationally and violently when the system seems not to support them. Pretend that one out of 43 men serving as President being black means all is well. Want to know what standard I’d accept, rather than that outlier? Try percentage in the Senate. We’re 13 percent of the population. We’re about 2 percent of the Senate. I’m waiting.
3) Action. Want to know how to chain an elephant? Start when it is a baby, with a heavy chain. It will try and try and try, and finally give up. And then when it is large enough to pull a tree out of the ground, you can keep it tied with a slender rope. There is a wonderful scene at the end of Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” where several slaves are sitting in a jail cart. The door is open. They don’t know what to do.
350 years of “if you dare to look a white man in the eye, you’ll be killed” leaves a mark, even if the actual frequency of killings diminished over the years. THOSE SCARS GO DEEP. The natural drive to succeed and achieve turns on itself, becomes self-loathing, or a belief in “milk and honey on the other side.” This world will not be fair. Hope for the next.
Or perhaps, just perhaps…those white folks are right about us. Maybe we really aren’t quite as good…
It is sad that there is so much guilt about the massive amount of cultural brain-washing and operant conditioning that went on for 350 years that many folks can’t even consider the implications. “It can’t be that bad. Surely its no worse than immigration…” and so forth.
And the sad one: “Steve, when you make me look at these things, it hurts. It triggers massive discomfort and shame. Please stop.”
All I can say is that you would NEVER have survived being black in America. And while I’m sorry about your pain, the only way out is honesty. Be honest, stop defending the actions of your ancestors, and you need carry not an ounce of guilt. You can even enjoy your advantage…just stop pretending you don’t have it.
And for black folks: the damage within our community can ONLY be cured by us. Yeah, we didn’t dig our way into this hole, but we have to climb out. Its not a matter of what is “fair” or “unfair.” It just “is.”
And now, for the first time, we have role models of success to every level of accomplishment. NOW you really can model the way to get anywhere you want. The door is open. Don’t be the elephant, programmed by what happened in the past, to our ancestors. Those same ancestors are watching to see what we will do. Will be appreciate their sacrifice? Can we be as strong as they were?
I’d often wondered why my beloved karate instructor Steve Muhammad could be so strong, arguably the best and strongest human being I’ve ever had the chance to observe at close range over time. And he was raised by his grandparents in Mississippi…WHO HAD BEEN SLAVES. All the bullshit burned out of them. Stripped to their essentials, but somehow managing to survive. THAT is reality. Anyone with THAT strength combined with 21st century opportunity will kick ASS.
Act. Learn what is true.
4) Create associations and role models. Seek out successful people. Surround yourself with ambition and hope. Study endlessly. Close your mind tightly against negative thoughts. Remember: YOU are the hope and the dream of the slave. It is YOUR turn. YOUR world now.
5) Internalize their positive lessons. Be very, very careful who you let into that circle. You will be highly emotionalized, and they will imprint. And when you are imprinted, it is hugely difficult to un-program
And relate it to the Fivefold Path:
1) Love yourself. Ruthlessly. With discipline and forgiveness. Dare to dream
2) Love others. Create relationships and Masterminds, but be careful to choose wisely. Love everyone, but don’t let everyone hook their bloodstream to yours. Sick people deserve love too…but you have no obligation to let them infect you. Don’t get down in the water with a drowning person if you cannot swim. Get your feet on dry land and throw them a life preserver.
3) Understand the flow of human behavior and history without guilt, blame, or shame. CRITICAL, whether you are black or white. The history of race in America is one of Mankind’s ugliest, palest experiences. But you cannot move on without seeing the truth, and it it cripples you with guilt, you will sabotage your own efforts.
4) Build tribe, let the children sleep and avoid (or step on!) snakes. You don’t need total agreement to take action. However, respect the rights and humanity even of those you disagree with. Even if they attack you. Don’t let them infect you with their fear. Circle your wagons.
5) SUCCEED. Nothing, NOTHING attracts attention like success. The purpose of life, according to the Dalai Lama, is to be happy. Works for me. Show the world that you are happy, whole, successful. At the VERY least you’ve had a great life. At best, you open the path to the future.
Wow. O.K., there are additional chapters, but these have been the 13 steps. Any questions before we dive further in?