Think and Grow Rich Principle #3: Use Auto-Suggestion to Fire Your Desire

How Auto-Suggestion Inspires and Get's You Laser-Focussed on Desire

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm testing whether Napoleon Hill's 80-year old success guidebook, Think and Grow Rich, can still empower leaders and personal brands today. Each month in 2017, we are diving into 1 of his 13 "success principles." You can download the full Think and Grow Rich book and audio book at my blog at

This past month I've been testing his third principle: auto-suggestion. What is auto-suggestion?  Hill describes it as the subconscious mind translating desire into its "physical equivalent, by the most direct and practical method available.” Some have called it the "power of positive thinking."  But it's more focussed than that. It is getting your sub-conscious mind to focus on a specific outcome.

How Auto-Suggestion Builds Belief 

When I talk to organizations about the importance of branding, I use the phrase “inspire desire.” I teach that branding is the emotional linchpin that drives the practical need and reason to connect with the organization to drive success, typically in the form of sales.  In short, branding is about building belief. And this believe is what drives a desired connection with and outcome for the organization and its customer.  The deeper the belief, the deeper the connection. The deeper the connection, the more likely a brand can influence a long-term and more prosperous relationship with the customer.

For our intents and purposes of personal growth and testing whether Napoleon Hill’s 80-year-old theories from Think and Grow Rich work today, branding could be considered the subconscious “auto-suggestion” we feed our mind. It is how we “inspire desire” within ourselves.

Hill’s defines “auto-suggestion” as "the agency of control through which you may voluntarily feed your subconscious mind.”  It is how you grow the garden of your mind by planting seeds of the beauty you wish to grow there. There, you can grow a bounty of beauty or weeds. And, like a garden, it takes tender, ongoing care and the occasional yanking of a prickly, stubborn blackberry bush. 

Needless to say, I was a skeptic. I’m inherently a very positive, forward-moving person and did not feel I need to “brainwash” myself into “thinking positive thoughts.”  Then I heard that Tony Robbins starts his day with what he calls “priming:” three minutes of gratefulness, three minutes of prayer and three minutes of visualization. And that seemed like a doable, simple technique any of us in our busy lives could handle, plus it fits with Hill’s auto-suggestion principle. So, over the last month, I’ve taken priming for a test-drive. 

My ideal weekday morning Priming routine was as follows, with the time being a bit more flexible on the weekends:

  1. Before 5:15 a.m. rise n’ shine. (I know if I’m not up by then, this Priming is not going to happen!)
  2. Make Earl Grey tea. (Hey, even an energizer like me can can use a small caffeine hit at this hour!)
  3. Sit on the floor in the basement (It’s a peaceful, comfortable place where I can dim the lights.)
  4. Set my pomodoro timer (3 minute segments with 1 minute intervals in between)
  5. Prime the pump of my mind!

The Real Results

The actual results really surprised me. When I’m on a roll with my Priming on a daily basis, I feel more free, more creative, more focussed and more inspired. Seriously. And on the practical business side, these are the top three results I’ve seen over the last 30 days:

  1. Client work is on fire! I’ve been able to get in the zone/flow like never before, creating my best work ever. No BS here. Not only has this included re-branding the company that makes the malt for your beer, but opportunities to help global B2B organizations more enticing brand engagement to help increase sales and lead generation.
  2. I’m writing a book! I’ve honed and started crafting my first book, which I’m pretty much freaking out about. It’s a unique take on B2B branding, showcasing how mild-mannered, behind-the-scenes companies can build powerful brands that inspire more profitable, long-term customer relationship.
  3. Personal goal and vision is dialed! Apparently building a successful brand consulting business, writing a book, staying fit, raising kids, and strengthening my marriage aren’t enough when you are a rocketeer like me.  So, after achieving a weight loss goal over the holidays (15 pounds by age 45. Bam! More on Instagram, search #15x45), I felt I needed something bigger and I created a vision board to get me there.  My personal, 10-year goal: to be able to say yes to full-time theater roles without concern for a paycheck. With that, I've honed an actionable strategy to get me there on a year-by-year and even a week-by-week basis. Oh, and I was inspired to create this vision board:

My personal vision board! The 10-year goal: to have the freedom to say "yes" to do theater full-time


As Hill says, auto-suggestion is how you grow the garden of your mind. These thoughts are the seed you plant for the bounty you wish to grow there. But, like a garden, it takes tender, ongoing care and the occasional yanking of a prickly, stubborn blackberry bush. 

So, start with the 9-minute Priming Method and watch your garden grow!