Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to "Think and Grow Rich" Part 4 - Faith

"If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don't,
If you like to win, but you think you can't
It is almost certain you won't"
(verse from Hill, 1960 p. 31) 

Welcome back everyone.  Today, I am considering the third chapter of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich as part of my personal journey through Think and Grow Rich.  

The third chapter is the chapter on faith.  In my previous articles we have looked at the power of thoughts and ideas mixed with passion and desire. Today we have to consider the power of FAITH.  

What is faith?

Faith is a very difficult concept to define.  It is an elusive concept.  One that works in the world but avoids scientific explanation and reduction. Faith, as Hill describes it, is the faculty, an essence, one has to mix with thought and desire in order to bring your desired goals into existence.  

Faith is a powerful emotion of inward assurance, a state of belief that produces very real results in the world.  It is an emotion that gives one certainty that the thing you are HOPING for will actually happen.

Hill describes faith as a 'state of mind'. I think faith refers to a mental readiness, a positive expectation, and a certainty of an outcome.  But, faith is not entirely rational, faith lives in the realm of the Spirit, emotion, and the subconscious mind.  

Faith creates VERY REAL outcomes in life: 

Imagine for a moment someone walking next to a street you are familiar with, someone very much like you. Someone who dresses like you and, in most things, appears to be a very normal person.  

Now imagine this poor soul is feeling very down and depressed. Imagine he lacks ambition and expectation.  Imagine, this person as having negative thoughts playing over and over in his mind.  Now, picture this person's shoulders, the subtle expressions on his face, how does he walk down the street?  Is it at an energetic pace, or is his pace slow and passionless? 

After picturing this person, ask yourself how life would typically treat such a person.  We can assume that life will not treat him positively.  

This gives us a small amount of insight into the working of faith.  Faith has ways of affecting relationships, faith affects the world around you.  I also believe that faith affects the realm of the spirit, the 'universe' as it is termed by spiritualists.     

Scientists teach us that our thoughts may even affect your body - a occurrence they call psychosomatic effects.  Psychologists know that a self-fulfilling prophesy occurs when our beliefs and expectations create the exact conditions needed for our beliefs to come into existence. This boils down to: 

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don't

Psychosomatic effects and self-fulfilling prophesies still remain a mystery.  Then we also have the placebo effect - where a belief in the efficacy of a drug is enough to lead to improvement (even when the drug given was only a sugar pill in a double blind test). 

The magnetism of faith

In this chapter Hill illustrates that thoughts mixed with an emotion of faith creates a powerful force that attracts thoughts, ideas, and occurrences of a similar nature. It is within this context that Hill describes negative thinking as a disaster.

From Hill's perspective, negative thinking is sowing the seeds of a disaster that is ACTIVELY BEING CALLED INTO EXISTENCE BY THE MIND.  

It is interesting to note that the Bible also speaks about this:

Guard your heart [inner being] above all else, for it determines the course of your life. 
(Proverbs 4.23, New Living Translation)

The same applies for positive thinking mixed with faith.  

Tending to the Garden of your mind
Picture your mind as a Garden.  Within this garden grows many trees, flowers, shrubs and weeds.  Some of the plants are visible, others grow beneath other plants, unseen to the eye.  

The plants represent various types of thoughts. If your garden is overgrown by weeds of negative thinking, the beautiful flowers and shrubs can not grow there. The unseen shrubs are the hardest to root out.  

We all have to be the gardeners of our own mind.  We have to weed out negative thoughts making room for the growth of positive thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. Ideas and inspiration are the true elements of successful entrepreneurial efforts. These grow in a context of faith fueled thoughts.     

Hill argues that we may develop faith through the programming of our subconscious mind.  If this thought scares you, keep in mind that you are most likely already programming your mind to think and behave in certain ways.  Most people program their minds through the default influences of everyday life. Many of which are not really positive.         

Hill, asks us to take control of our mental programming and to develop a positive mindset energized by faith. 

Suggestions on how to develop a mindset of faith: 

1. Recognize that faith develops through repetition.  Hill argues that we can develop faith through repeating instructions to our subconscious mind.  

2.  Develop a written statement of your life goals, and be very specific about the outcome you wish to 'see' coming into existence.  Include in this statement exact description of the outcome of your goal and also say what you are going to give in order to have what you are aiming for. Read this statement aloud to yourself every day.    

3. Imagine yourself actually achieving your goal.  This requires imagination and focused concentration on a daily basis. 

4. Imagine the person you have to become and the habits you have to develop in order to attain your life goal.  Put steps in place to actually become that person.          

5. Write down a detailed plan on how you are going to achieve your aim. Read your statement aloud daily until it first becomes a mental reality, and secondly becomes a physical reality.   

These are only some suggestion you may use to begin the reprogramming of your mind toward the building of an attitude of faith.  Many authors have written about faith and it may be good idea to also review some other sources along with Hill's chapter on faith.    

Personally I think that faith also has to be connected to an eternal and external reality outside of us.  The existence of such a reality will give the energy needed to carry your faith to its completion.    

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