Posts Tagged ‘Think and Grow Rich’

Dear Student,

I am positive that you have probably heard from from your parents, those in your community, your teachers, and so many others the importance of getting an education. You were probably told that a college degree is a must if you want to earn more money and get better positions and more pay.

“83% of college students and parents strongly agreed that higher education is an investment in the future, college is needed now more than ever (70%), and the path to earning more money (69%).”

How America Pays for College 2012 Study by Sallie Mae

Yet despite this strong sentiment toward higher education, the glaring problem of unemployment or underemployment of those holding college degrees poses a serious problem.

“A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.”

1 in 2 New Grads Jobless Or Underemployed” by Hope Yen

As a student, you are or will be spending a lot of money for a college education and taking on student loans to pay for it, only to be left with a 50/50 chance of landing a job in your chosen field of study.  Do you like those odds? What if you could do something to beat those odds and increase your chance of getting the job you want or begin building the skills necessary to creating your own business?

The time has come for a change. A change from a mindset that an education by itself is enough to get you where you want to go. You have to make a decision to do something that will make you stand out from all the rest of the graduates.

Something remarkable is worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. It’s a Purple Cow. Boring stuff is invisible. It’s a brown cow.”

Seth Godin, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

What is true for a business to succeed in today’s world is true for individuals who want to succeed in this world. You need to be REMARKABLE. Let’s face it:  What is remarkable about graduating from college? Yes, it is an accomplishment worthy of being proud of accomplishing; but, using Seth Godin’s words, “It’s a brown cow.”

I am offering you an opportunity to do something over the next four years of your life that will make you remarkable. We have created a mentoring program designed to make you stand out like a “purple cow” in the midst of a herd of brown cows. Take a look at the first year’s program objectives.

In the first year, you will learn a foundation of leadership principles as we study The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. We will study the laws and discover how each one of them applies in your own interactions as a leader.

You will be required to serve in a leadership role with an organization or create a project to make a positive impact on the community where you live. You will be able to take the principles we discuss and apply them directly to your experience. As you serve, you will also be making valuable contribution to your community and start building a network of people who will see you in action.

We will study Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It has been included to help you create a framework to build a life of success. The principles Napoleon shares in his work come from a study of thousands of people to find out what made some successful and so many fail. The principles in this work, if put into practice, will set you apart from the majority of people, who refuse to do what successful people do.

And the final component of the first year is The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This small yet powerful book will share principles that will shape your character and give you a set of principles upon which will steer you toward “stratospheric success” in business and life.

Over the course of nine months, we will have 32 live one-hour-long sessions to discuss the material for the week via teleconference. There will be a private forum to connect and share ideas with other participants. You will have 24/7 email access to our mentoring team.

If you want to stand out as “remarkable” and accelerate your success, then consider being a part of our mentoring program. Sign-up for our newsletter to stay connected and be notified when open enrollment begins. Invest in your future, build a network of connections, and be the one people will choose first over all the rest.

LIVE your dream,

Greg “Big Z” Zander
Cultural Architect and CEO ~ EPIC Journey, Inc.
Founder ~ Catalyzing Leaders


“Chinook and sockeye salmon from central Idaho…travel over 900 miles (1,400 km) and climb nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m) from the Pacific ocean as they return to spawn.” Wikipedia

The above photo is as close as any to capturing where I feel like I am right now. Over the last several years, I have spent time preparing myself for a journey back to my first love: inspiring people to greater heights through speaking and training. Just as the salmon know when it is time to return, I decided it was time to go.

When I embarked on this journey, I began to map out my path to reach the goal. The first stretch of the journey was fairly easy to navigate. The farther I travel, the stronger the current becomes. Although I am making progress, it is slowing down as I push against the force flowing toward the ocean.

Now I am finding myself fighting a strong current along with a wall that I need to jump. Not only is the current swift, there is a bear at the top of the wall creating a sense of fear for all those pushing forward. The odds of my making it seem to be stacking up against me.

This is the very place that I am right now. The goal is much farther up the river. Once I reach that place, I will have established the beginning of my legacy and can then relax as I follow the stream back to the ocean and enjoy the rewards of having battled the upstream journey.

The biggest temptation at this point in the journey is to see the bear, turn back, and return empty to the ocean. The story Napoleon Hill shares, “Three Feet From Gold,” rings in my subconscious mind and reminds me to keep pushing forward. (If you are not familiar with this story, Paul Hutchings upload an audio recording of this section of “Think and Grow Rich.” Start it at the 8:00 minute mark for the story.) Intellectually, I know that I am only 3 feet away from the gold. Emotionally, I feel like it is miles and miles away.

The hardest part of this process is to transfer what I know in my head to my heart and inner being to calm the inner turmoil that resides within me.  Therein lies the struggle of an entrepreneur.  I share my thoughts to bear witness to the struggles one faces when we pursue our dreams.  This is only one of many obstacles that are sure to come. Those who persevere and press on will be the ones who LIVE their dreams.

“Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession.”

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Whenever you watch a baseball game or football game, one thing you will notice: No one player plays all the positions on the team. You won’t find the catcher pitching or playing shortstop. You will also not find, in football, the kicker playing center. Players learn how to play specific positions and become the best they can be in that position. You may have a few players that can play a couple of different positions, but generally speaking most learn to play one position really well.

This concept holds true in the business world as well. Those who learn how to specialize will capitalize on their efforts faster and with more success than those who try to learn how to do everything. When you are able to focus on your specialty, you can bring others along to take care of things that are not.

One of the things that my company has started doing already is delegating out the tasks that others specialize. For example, I could have found out how to submit all our necessary paperwork for forming our corporation and saved a small amount of money. Rather than spend hours trying to make sure I was doing everything right, I hired an attorney to do that work who specializes in business startups. We will continue to do this with other areas as the company grows.

Once you have your specialty defined, you can then pursue excellence in that specific area. Then as your reputation builds as a resource or an expert in that arena, you can begin to expand and broaden your reach as it fits your core purpose.

Identify the area in which you will continue to acquire specialized knowledge, and put into place a plan to increase your knowledge. You will begin to shine as you let your specialty rise to the top.

“There are millions of people who BELIEVE themselves ‘doomed’ to poverty and failure, because of some strange force over which they BELIEVE they have no control. They are the creators of their own ‘misfortunes,’ because of this negative BELIEF, which is picked up by the subconscious mind, and translated into its physical equivalent.”

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

This is our final post in this series as we finish out the 30 causes of failure Napoleon Hill revealed in his book, Think and Grow Rich. As we mentioned with the previous 25, you can work to correct these as well. Be sure these final five are not holding you back from from achieving the success you want.

26. POSSESSION OF POWER THAT WAS NOT ACQUIRED THROUGH SELF EFFORT – Those who inherit either a position or wealth have a tendency (not always the case) to not handle either properly. Studies have been done on those who have won large sums of money through the purchase of lottery tickets. What is interesting about their findings rings true with this cause of failure. Most winners find themselves back in the same place they were financially prior to winning the money. They have not developed a mindset nor the habits necessary to handle such an influx of wealth.

If you have been the recipient of a position of power or wealth, you will have to work hard to earn the respect of others who have given of themselves to achieve their success. You may have to forgo some luxuries or humble yourself to find out what it is truly like to work your way up the ladder. Only then, will you truly understand what it takes to achieve high levels of success and gain the respect of those around you.

27. INTENTIONAL DISHONESTY – There is no substitute for being honest. Those who intentionally lie and deceive will find themselves failing to reach success. The results of dishonesty can be devastating and the hopes of ever reaching success are slim to none.

No one likes to work with or do business with someone they cannot trust. Once word gets out about a person’s dishonesty, their reputation is tarnished. Depending on the severity of their dishonesty, they may even lose their liberty (Bernie Madoff ring any bells?). There is no place for intentional dishonesty on the road to success.

28. EGOTISM AND VANITY – A recent gathering of friends had interesting results. One person with whom I was formerly associated with was bragging about his levels of wealth and success to a couple of my other friends whom neither had ever met. Afterwards, my former associate wanted to set an appointment to meet the newly introduced couple who wanted nothing to do with that man. They said a red light went off in their minds when a total stranger began boasting about how much money he had made in the past. A person’s ego can get in the way of developing profitable relationships.

Check your ego at the door and don’t become so vain that people can’t see the real you. Both of these things can have negative affects on your reaching the success you want to have. They hinder relationships from being developed which are crucial to anyone wanting to succeed.

29. GUESSING INSTEAD OF THINKING – “It was on the internet, so it must be true.” We live in an information age and it has become easy to find information quickly. What Napoleon discovered in his time, is valid toady. People who fail have a tendency to guess rather than think through or truly research the facts. How many of us have been the recipients of emails or Facebook posts of outlandish claims without any proof? People pass things along as if they are true without even thinking or finding the facts.

The path to success requires us to find the facts. When we are well informed and educated, we are able to make the best judgment calls and decisions that will move us forward. Be sure you acquire the facts!

30. LACK OF CAPITAL – Those who begin new business ventures without any capital to fall back on when things don’t take off as quickly as they’d like, find themselves struggling to succeed. Mistakes, setbacks, or market conditions may cause financial stress that will possibly be a cause for failure.

The best thing you can do before venturing forth with a new business is to make sure you have the financial reserves to take care of needs if it takes longer than expected to produce income. A well stocked savings would be best and first choice. A part-time job is always an option while you build your company or continuing with your full-time position until you have your savings or adequate income from your new business to replace it.

31. Is there something you have experienced that is not on the list that has been a cause of failure for you? We know that every list has exceptions or additions. Please share anything that has been a cause of failure to you so others may learn from your experiences (don’t worry, you can post them anonymously if you want).

I am putting all 30 of these causes into one downloadable document. If you would like to have a copy, sign up on the right to receive it and share it.

“It is one thing to WANT money–everyone wants more–but it is something entirely different to be WORTH MORE! Many people mistake their WANTS for their JUST DUES. Your financial requirements or wants have nothing whatever to do with your WORTH. Your value is established entirely by your ability to render useful services or your capacity to induce others to render such service.”

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Successful people have learned how to bring value to the marketplace and to others. They know it isn’t all about the money, it is about WORTH. 

As we continue to look at the next 5 causes of failure that Napoleon Hill shares in his book, Think and Grow Rich, keep in mind, these can be corrected. You can increase your worth and it will increase your level of success as you have defined success.

16. OVER-CAUTION – There is a certain amount of risk you need to take in order to achieve higher levels of success. People who are over-cautious fall into the same category as those who are under-cautious. Both extremes will leave you in the wakes of failure or limited success. There comes a point in time where you have to step forward and risk something to gain.

In the financial world, there are investments that are riskier than others. Safer investments, like a CD at a bank, are low risk resulting in smaller returns. Commodities and options trading are high risk investments with a chance for huge returns but also susceptible to huge losses. The key is finding the middle ground where there is still risk with the chance of making a great return on your investment.

Be willing to step out and take a chance. That next step may be the one that catalyzes your success.

17. WRONG SELECTION OF ASSOCIATES IN BUSINESS – Whether you are building your own business or looking to advance your career in a company, be wise in who you choose to work with or for. If we are the composite of the five people with whom we spend the most time, make sure those people are worth emulating. If you are in a position where your manager or supervisor is holding you back, begin to plan how you can change departments or companies to work with people who will help you succeed.

I have worked in environments where negativity was abundant and it wears you out quickly. I prefer to have the choice of who I will working alongside. For that reason, I have chosen an entrepreneurial path to accommodate this choice. I will be highly selective in who I hire and who I partner with. This is a vital part of success.

18. SUPERSTITION AND PREJUDICE – I have been around people who are highly superstitious and rarely do they succeed. There is always a fear of something and that fear holds them back. Superstitions create failure mindsets that are triggered by some action or event. Once those triggers are activated, the mind begins to play out the upcoming failure. You need to remove superstitions from your life.

Prejudice will also hold you back as you make judgments prior to having the facts. Acting in ignorance is a sure cause of failure. Be willing to withhold judgment until you obtain more facts and information about an issue, a person, or a group of people.

19. WRONG SELECTION OF A VOCATION – Andre Aggassi, a great tennis player, admitted in his autobiography that he hated tennis. The really striking thing about that is he was still able to accomplish great things playing tennis. Not many people become great doing something that don’t like. Imagine if he took all that energy and discipline and applied it to something he truly loved.

Are you doing something you love? Are you able to give a wholehearted effort into your job, your career, or your business? Be sure you are pouring yourself into something you have a burning desire to achieve. Only then, will you truly find yourself on the path of success.

20. LACK OF CONCENTRATION OF EFFORT – At times, I feel like I have become a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Here is a partial list of all the things I have done:

  • Carpentry work
  • Dairy farming
  • Landscaping
  • Youth Ministry
  • Sorter at UPS
  • Management
  • Direct Sales
  • Retail Sales
  • Event planning
  • Medical Technician
  • Auto Sales
  • Financial Services

Those are highlights out of my job experiences. Each experience taught me something about myself, and I have learned valuable lessons that I am able to apply to my life and career. What I have come to realize is I have common threads that run through each of my previous jobs that point out where I need to concentrate my efforts.

The key to remember is rather than trying to be everything to everybody, concentrate your effort on one “definite chief aim.” Then you will become a resource and an expert for others in that particular area. This concentrated effort will keep you on the path of success.

If you find any of these causes of failure holding you back, begin to make the corrections necessary so that you can LIVE your dream.

“The oldest of admonitions is ‘Man, know thyself!’ If you market merchandise successfully, you must know the merchandise. The same is true in marketing personal services. You should know all of your weaknesses in order that you may either bridge them or eliminate them entirely. You should know your strength in order that you may call attention to it when selling your services. You can know yourself only through accurate analysis.”

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

This is the third set of common causes to failure. When you know what causes are particular issues for you, you can begin to take corrective action. You may need to enlist the help of a close friend who will be honest with you about your weaknesses. We often ignore or look past our own failures, and having an objective input may bring to light areas you are overlooking.

Here are the next 5 causes of failure and how you can overcome them.

11. “LACK OF CONTROLLED SEXUAL URGE” – Napoleon considers sexual energy as “the most powerful of all stimuli which move people into action.” When this energy is not directed or channeled in the right direction, it leads to failure. In a day and age where pornography is readily available and sexuality is glorified in music, television, marketing, and movies, this remains a distraction from success. How many “news” (and I use that word loosely) stories do we hear in a given week about some famous person caught up in a web of sexual entanglement?

Self-control is the key to channeling this powerful energy into constructive outlets. Once you begin to control the energy, you can begin to transmute it to accomplish the goals you have set. This powerful energy source could lead you to the next level of success.

12. “UNCONTROLLED DESIRE FOR ‘SOMETHING FOR NOTHING'” – Just this past week, there was a frenzy to buy lottery tickets because the jackpot got to be over $500 million. This notion of getting rich by just purchasing lottery tickets is a sign of this desire getting something for nothing. Gambling is still a success stealer for many people, be it in a casino or even in the stock market.

My personal opinion of why most people don’t make any money in MLM companies is they see it as a get-rich-quick scheme without putting in a lot of effort. They are sold on the idea of starting it part-time and then the money will start to roll in fast. What they don’t realize is the amount of hard work required to build a successful business. Those who are successful at a MLM business put in the hours and the hard work so they can enjoy the income stream later.

Beware of this desire creeping in and causing failure in your journey toward success.

13. “LACK OF A WELL DEFINED POWER OF DECISION” – Indecision is usually the twin to procrastination. Strong leaders and those who succeed have the ability to make decisions promptly and rarely change those decisions. Those who fail to make quick decisions are missing a key element: a well-defined purpose. The reason great leaders can make more rapid decisions is they know where they are going. They know instinctively if something is going to aid them in reaching their goal or not. Know your purpose, and you can start making quicker decisions and stand behind them.

14. “ONE OR MORE OF THE SIX BASIC FEARS” – In a later post, I will share the six basic fears in more detail. The six basic fears he identifies are:

  1. The fear of POVERTY
  2. The fear of CRITICISM
  3. The fear of ILL HEALTH
  4. The fear of LOSS OF LOVE OF SOMEONE
  5. The fear of OLD AGE
  6. The fear of DEATH

The first three are usually the lesser of the worries compared to the last three. All six of these fears, when allowed to get a foothold in our lives, keep success far from us. They are the root of some of the other causes of failure as well.  We must learn to identify if these fears are causing us to fail and begin to take steps to overcome these fears.

15. “WRONG SELECTION OF A MATE IN MARRIAGE” – Marriage is the one relationship that should be the most intimate of all relationships. When this relationship is not in harmony, it will hinder success and become a cause of failure. If you are unhappy and stressed at home, this will follow you wherever you go.

The good news is this is a fixable issue, although not painless. Depending on the situation, it may just be a heart to heart talk for an uninterrupted amount of time. You many need to seek the help of a marriage coach or counselor. If both parties are committed to seeing each other succeed in life, this issue should be able to be corrected without having to end in divorce, even though that is a last resort option.

Make the most of your marriage or be very selective in who you choose to marry. This relationship holds a significant amount of leverage on your success or failure. Make it a priority to do your best to make the relationship as strong, supportive, and encouraging as possible.


In the coming weeks, I will be offering an introductory coaching course on the principles of success that we are exploring in Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. If you want to make progress toward living a successful life, sign up here to receive updates when we release the details of this course.

“Life’s greatest tragedy consists of men and women who earnestly try, and fail! The tragedy lies in the overwhelmingly large majority of people who fail, as compared to the few who succeed.”

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

This is our second post as we look at the next five causes of failure that Napoleon Hill lists in his book. Each of these causes can be corrected if they are holding you back from reaching success in your life.

6. “ILL HEALTH” – Poor choices in food, overeating, lack of exercise, all contribute to poor health. Poor health has an impact on your creative thinking process, your energy levels, your self-image, time spent recovering from illnesses, money spent on health care, and ultimately affecting your success.

We live in a time where the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle is abundant. There are health clubs, nutritional products, healthy food options, programs designed to help you eat right, fitness coaching, and information galore to help make great healthy choices. Unfortunately, fast, easy choices paired with eating more food (often unhealthy) than is needed has created a crisis where the leading causes of death today are health related.

Fortunately, you can change your diet, add more physical activity, and create a lifestyle that promotes optimum health. You can create a diet that stimulates your creative energy and keeps you healthy. You can choose to be healthy and rule out one more cause for failure.

7. “UNFAVORABLE ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES DURING CHILDHOOD” – There is a proverb that says, “As the twig is bent, so shall the tree grow.” The choices we saw our parents and influential adults make growing up have a huge impact on our attitudes, choices, and character. Children who grow up in homes where criminal behavior is a norm will have a tendency to follow that same pattern in their lives. We see this epidemic when it comes to people who grew up in abusive homes. The same pattern of abuse tends to show up generation after generation.

Although an unfavorable environment may have been present during childhood, you can choose to change the negative elements for a positive constructive environment. This may take a lot of effort and outside support to accomplish but it can be changed. We love to hear the stories of those who overcome this obstacle and reach success. If this is one of the causes of your failure, choose to be one who overcomes and lives an epic journey through life that is one for the storybooks.

8. “PROCRASTINATION” – This is a common cause for failure. People who wait for “just the right time” just keep postponing the opportunity to achieve success. If you find yourself waiting for something else to happen to make the time just right, take action immediately. It may only be a small step. That small step will get the snowball started.

What are you waiting for? GO! Do something now!

9. “LACK OF PERSISTENCE” – There is a tendency for some people to give up when there is resistance to their forward motion. They throw in the towel when the going gets tough. There is no persistence in moving toward success.

The lack of persistence is also found in “starters” or what I have come to know as “Quick Starts.”* The energy when starting something new is phenomenal with starters. Once things are in motion, however, the starter has a tendency more times than not to not continue on with the goal. The luster wears off once things are in motion and the need for persistent, steady work sets in and so the starter usually quits.

A couple of ideas to correct this cause of failure. One, you can surround yourself with people who are great with follow-through and will keep you on task. Two, you can develop persistence by facing each and every obstacle with determination to succeed. Three, create a goal or objective that resonates so deep within you that you would do anything to see this goal completed. A burning desire will motivate you to continue moving forward regardless of what comes your way.

10. “NEGATIVE PERSONALITY” – If you are prone to having a negative personality, success will not come. Success doesn’t come to an individual by themselves. Success is achieved through the efforts of multiple people. A negative personality will repel others from wanting to cooperate with you to achieve your goals.

Although this may seem like an impossible barrier to change, a person can develop a more positive personality. The process may take time and will require the mind to be trained to think in a different direction. The mind needs to begin to see things as they could be in a positive light. People love to be around positive people. Change a negative to a positive and it will start attracting more success.


*Quick Start is one of four instinct-driven behaviors we possess. You can find yours by taking a Kolbe test. I recommend a session with my coach, Dixie Gillaspie, a Kolbe specialist who will help you understand how you can apply your results to achieve the success you want.