Think and Grow Rich Principle 1: Desire. The first step toward an abundant life.

2017 marks the 80th anniversary of Napoleon Hill's groundbreaking guide to success, Think and Grow Rich. Every month of this year, I'll be taking a deep-dive into 1 of the 13 "principles to gain riches" he discovered after interviewing more than 500 millionaires of his day.  We'll look at how his foundational thinking still applies today for achievement and building a personal brand. This Month's Principle: Desire. What is it you really, really want out of life?

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It's About More than Money

Though this book talks a lot about money, and "riches" are in the title, it's not really about that. It's about creating a rich, abundant life. And that's "the secret" that Hill is really teasing throughout the tome. It's about the deeper desire for more than a life that's just "fine" or, God-forbid, just "busy." Of course, it's also about the mindset it takes to get you there. But those principles come later...

The first principle is desire. And it's the perfect way to kickstart a new year since we're all dabbling with goals and resolutions.

Hill's main point is that your desire must be so deep that you'd be willing to do whatever it takes to get it. To "burn the boats" so there's no possibility of retreat. Today, you see this desire, this passion, in the world's most influential and powerful personal brands like Elon Musk, Oprah, Gary Vaynerchuk and Mark Zuckerberg. 

And therein lies the rub: the deeper the desire, the more willing you are to do what it takes. Gary Vaynerchuk admits he's hard-wired to work 18 hours a day to achieve his goal of purchasing the New York Jets. Elon Musk has envisioned going to Mars since he was 12 and is laser-focussed on getting there. And if you listen to Gary V or read about Mr. Musk, you will have no doubt their deep Desire will lead them to their destiny!

How To Light the Fire of Desire

The deeper your desire, the hotter the fire. But Desire alone will not make your goals and dreams come to fruition.  It's going to take all 13 Principles.  But Desire is the launchpad that will take you to the moon, Mars, and beyond!

Hill had 6 steps to kickstart Desire, but I have added one more (Step 2) that I believe will inspire you further.  And while Hill's Statement of Desire focuses on a monetary number, we can use his tools and methods for any big goal or deep desire. It can be used for physical and mental health, career and personal growth, building a personal brand or any big dream we want to achieve. As such, I've created a Statement of Desire tool you can use for a specific monetary goal (page 1) or a personal goal (page 2). 

7 Steps to Light the Fire of Desire

Step 1: Get Specific about What you Desire

Take a moment.  Pause.  Breathe. Ask yourself: what do I truly, deeply desire?  

Is it freedom from debt? More time? More energy? Fitness? Happiness? A certain salary? Be specific about exactly what you desire. This focus will help you paint a picture that inspires your progress.

Step 2: Know Your "Why" to fuel the fire

List all the reasons why you desire that goal. Be specific. Go deep. This "why" will drive you toward the desired goal.  It will fuel the fire of desire. 

For me, I have a monetary number in my head that gets us out of debt. But that's not my "why." My deeper why is the freedom to give, the ability to propel my family forward, to achieve explosive personal growth and build a powerful personal brand. 

Step 3: Know What You'll Give in Return

If it's a monetary Desire, what is the unique service or "super powers" you'll use or provide to make the Desire come to fruition? If it's a personal Desire (like learning to play the piano), how will you make time, pay for, what will you trade, or give to get what you want? (Stephen Covey's "win-win" concept rings true here. To "get," you've got to "give.")

STEP 4: Set a Date

This is not a deadline, per se, as much as a day you envision that you will hold what you Desire in your hands. Picture it. Be specific.  For me, I envision standing in front of the Christmas tree, sipping a warm Gluhwien and feeling free. And that feeling is what fuels my desire fire!

Step 5: Create an Action Plan

Tony Robbins calls it a "Massive Action Plan." You can get as detailed as you like. But the key is writing what you will do RIGHT NOW to take action. No dawdling. No waiting for something to happen.  You must envision the Desire and be deeply honest with what specific actions you will take to get you there. The key is focus: focus on the goal and the actions you will take toward achieving it.  

Step 6: Write Your Statement of Desire

Write out a full paragraph of your statement of desire. (The PDF has an example.) This is a short mantra, a manifesto that you create for yourself that encompasses all of the above. Put it in a note on your smartphone.

Step 7: Repeat Your Mantra 2x Daily

When you wake up and when you go to bed, repeat your manifesto to yourself.  Feel it. See it. Believe it. Trust it. 

Focus the rest of January on your Desire. Dream big! Believe big! Reach for the stars like Elon Musk!