TAGR #6: Organized Planning


“No man can get rich himself without enriching others”–Earl Nightengale

I’m having fun with this series, because it’s forcing me to revisit lessons my mother played for me, and taught me, when I was a kid. Wow. Listening to TAGR and other audios just sends me back…

Anyway, the Sixth Principle of the amazing “Think And Grow Rich” is “Organized Planning.” One way to put this is that if you

1) Know exactly what you want and

2) Find role models who have accomplished (roughly) what you wish to accomplish, starting from (roughly) where you are beginning and

3) By analyzing their actions, thoughts and emotions, you will begin to understand the price to be paid for your dreams. If this price is in alignment with your values, and you are prepared to commit to them, then do, with all your heart.

There is a price for everything you want in life, and the price is always paid in advance.
Hill here suggests that you tap into the power of the “Master Mind”–at least one partner with whom you can plan your dreams in perfect harmony. Having such a partner can be the most important step you take as you seek to change your life.

What if you can’t find anyone? Then you will have to learn to trust yourself, and tap into your own inner guardians, a process you will explore in great depth in the ANCIENT CHILD program.

TAGR #5: Imagination

“The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man.”–Napoleon Hill.

“Man’s only limitation…lies in his development and use of his imagination.”–Napoleon Hill

“Transformation of the intangible impulse, of DESIRE, in to the tangible reality, of MONEY, calls for the use of a plan, or plans. These plans must be formed with the aid of the imagination, and mainly, with the synthetic faculty.”–Napoleon Hill

Specifically, what Hill refers to here is the “synthetic” imagination, by which one re-arranges old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. This is distinct from “creative” imagination, which he posits to allow connection with extranormal sources of information.

And the most important use of this capacity is the formation of plans of action, and a clear goal. To put it in the words of friend and mentor Tim Piering, “The most important quality needed for success is clear goals and plans for their accomplishment expressed in continuous action.”

In my own life, I’ve had four major goals in life, three explicit and one implicit.

1) Body. Health and fitness, and skill expressed in martial arts performance. I could certainly visualize myself wearing a black belt, or sparring with a high level of expertise. The plan of action included regular practice under a master teacher, and pushing my body to the highest level of fitness it could produce.

2) Mind–career. I visualized publication, awards, fans, and television and film production. The pathway was writing a story a week, or two stories a month. Reading ten stories for every story I wrote, and sending the stories out to be published. I promised that I would do this for at least 100 stories before quitting.

3) Emotions–family. I wanted someone to love, and a family to care for. The road for this was to develop myself until the female equivalent of my own personal expression would be someone I was attracted to. This demanded the development of power in the arenas women I respected and desired considered attractive. Most of the “how to pick up girls” type stuff I’ve seen basically involves imitating the body language, relaxed confidence and focus of men who are healthy, successful, and self-loving. Why fake it?

4) Finances. This was always implicit. As a child, I never thought directly about money, and rarely did as an adult. But indirectly, it was always there: success in my art meant financial security. But because I thought of this only in a childlike fashion, I made plenty of money but never held onto it, and was unable to coach others with money trouble. Bizarrely, my “inner child” meditations didn’t help. That little creative brat just didn’t want to talk money!

Then…sufficient thought, imagination and investigation revealed a possible avenue. While I never thought about money as a child, my mother obsessively played a wonderful audio version of THINK AND GROW RICH (and a few other self-help books) to me when I was seven or eight. On and on. Over and over throughout my youth.

I hated it. But…it sank in. And that means that this book connects to my childhood love for the wonderful woman who gave everything to raise me. That little boy will listen to that book because…well…

Because it feels like love.

Imagination is the ability to visualize, to conceive of, things that don’t currently exist. While I always used it in my writing, it can be harder to realize we must use it in our living as well.


The Power of Faith

The Second TAGR Principle: FAITH

“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”
Patrick Overton

It should be obvious to anyone who has been with me for a while that the principles of Think And Grow Rich are entwined deeply into every aspect of my life and teaching. The second principle, “Faith” is the same as the eighth principle of the Hero’s Journey. And the same as the second principle of the “Secret Formula.”

Defined as “evidence of thing not seen” this can be interpreted as a spiritual connection, or simply the capacity to believe that things, situations, and people can and will improve.
Any day that you wake up believing that today will be better than yesterday, this week better than last week, this month better than last month…

You will have energy, aliveness, joy, and creativity. The morning you wake up believing your best days are behind you…you will experience depression, fatigue, hopelessness and a shroud of negativity that cloaks your mind like a wet dishrag.

YOU MUST BELIEVE. If you want to find love, change your finances, get into shape, or learn a new skill…you must believe.

This is why desire is so important. You have to want something so badly that you are willing to “buck” the evil, negative voices in your head. The ones that say the past is the best of your life, that men and women are unworthy of trust, that you are broken and finished.

To be specific:

1) In writing, almost everyone I knew and everything around me said I could not have the career I wanted. I committed to writing, finishing, and submitting 100 short stories, and papering my walls with rejection slips, before even considering quitting.

2) In martial arts: I was dealing with so much fear, pain, and negative belief around the arts that it took me NINETEEN YEARS to earn my first black belt. The emotional agony was excruciating. I’d been so hurt and shamed for being small and gentle growing up that my self-image as a weak, defenseless artist was totally at odds with my goal of becoming respected by the men I respected and desired by the women I desired.

3) In love, I made such mistakes in my early life that there was a specific moment, alone in a bare-walls apartment a thousand miles away from my nearest friends and family, I clearly, CLEARLY understood the desire for suicide.

The connection, the way through, the only salvation was faith. In myself. In the world. In my companions. And yes, in a higher power. That spiritual faith works for me. It may not for you. But you will need faith, of some kind, to see you through. Belief that there is more than your self image, more than your current concept. More than what you can touch and taste and hear.

Faith is knowing you’ve been down before, and gotten back up,dammit. You can do this. You MUST do this. That you have accomplished things, despite despair. That there have been other times you felt JUST LIKE THIS, and things improved anyway. You can and must find something within yourself that believes this in order to take action with confidence. Without faith that there is a way out, a way through, we curl up and die.

You MUST give yourself this gift.
You’re the only one who can.

Think and Grow Rich #1–Passion

TAGR #1–Desire

“TRULY, “thoughts are things,” and powerful things at that, when they
are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a BURNING
DESIRE for their translation into riches, or other material objects.”–Napoleon Hill

When I was a kid, my mother used to play self-improvement records all the time: “The Golden Key”, “The Power of Positive Thinking”, “Psycho-Cybernetics”, “As A Man Thinketh” and the king of them all, “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. I hated that stuff. But it sank in for a lifetime. TAGR was quite possibly the first instance in which a writer interviewed successful people by the dozens, and attempted to extract the syntax of their success such that it could be applied to ANYONE, with any quantifiable goals. Especially money. I suggest that anyone who desires money should re-read it once a year (or…there are excellent audio versions. Get one of about an hour’s length and listen to it once a month).

In 2011 I did a series on it over at Dar Kush, and as I’m plundering my past, encountered these thoughts, and decided to bring them back…


The bizarre thing about Think And Grow Rich is how almost every paragraph has been cannibalized by lesser writers, who have based entire lectures, courses, books and careers out on some single aspect of this insanely condensed and idea-rich book. You can open it at random on a given day, put your finger on almost any part of the page, and find life-changing concepts.

Every one of the thirteen principles, used deeply and mastered, would change your life. Any three of them would probably make you a rousing success. But say, seven of them? Any seven? If you re-read one of those seven chapters daily and implemented what it said? In a year or two, people would think you walked on water.

Let’s get our feet wet, shall we?

The first principle is DESIRE. A burning, unquenchable DESIRE for your goals. Again, set goals in four arenas: physical health and fitness, love and relationship, mental performance/career/education, and monetary wealth.

These four interact, cross-reference, provide support and motivation for each other, and guarantee balance. You can have MORE goals, but be very certain that you cover at least these four. No one says it will be easy. It won’t be. But I’d say 99.9% of people want all four of these things, while about 30% of people claim they don’t. Someone is lying. I suggest you ask yourself if it is you.

It is comforting to pretend we don’t really want things. that we have no desire to sing our song to the world as loudly and sweetly as we can in the trivial few days we have to live in this world. It is easy to lie to ourselves that we don’t want the physical aliveness we had as children. We don’t want the passion and love we desire. Don’t want the financial success to create safe harbor for ourselves and our families. I’ve lost count of the people who’ve said: “I don’t care about money”…and then gone on to describe ruined hopes and dreams that could be easily fulfilled with sufficient financial resources. Or causes they hold dear that will dwindle and die for lack of monetary support. Dreams of travel, education, or family comfort that could easily be assuaged with…money.

When we don’t believe we can have something, or SHOULD have something, it is easier to simply pretend we don’t want it. And those lies kill our dreams.

I would rather aim too high and be disappointed, than aim too low and fail to fulfill my potential.
I want the physical power, grace, and aliveness of a panther. I crave love, passion, and intimacy with a family and soulmate. I want to write stories that change the world and live for centuries beyond me. And I want such a surplus of money that I can be a benefactor to my family and the causes I believe in.

And I want them with a burning, driving, consuming passion…but also a slight sense of humor. I know it is a game. I’m prepared to lose. But I’m not going to sit on the bench in my own life, watching others play and wondering what I might have done if I’d just dared to get on the field.
I won’t do it. THIS IS MY LIFE. The only one I get. The little boy inside me dreamed of being a writer, a martial artist, and having love.

By God, I went out and got him all those things. No matter the cost. No matter how many times I got knocked down. I was fighting for that little boy.

And he loves me for it. He is absolutely tickled at the man I am today…still standing, still singing my song. And the old man I will be on my deathbed is smiling at me as well: he knows that the money, the external success, even the external relationships are nothing more than an expression of what is happening inside me. Success is the result of CONSUMING DESIRE, sufficient to overcome obstacles, to be knocked down a million times and get up a million and one. To move through fear, and disappointment, and guilt, and shame. To be willing to overcome everything, no matter what.

I love that little boy inside me that much, dammit. My mother and father are gone. Have joined, in John D. MacDonald’s great words, “the long, long line of the dead ones.”

I am all he has. And I will fight to the last drop of blood for his dreams. Until the last breath. And I know that when my eyes close for the last time, he will be smiling at me. Loving me. Saying “you did good, Daddy.”

And frankly? If that’s all I get in life, that’s all I need.