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Steve WellsBy Steve Wells

When I was 17 years old I cared more about being with my friends than achieving anything. I avoided study like the plague. My friends and I joked about it – If any of us thought the others were studying we would actively work to stop them or sabotage them. Whilst majoring in “socialization” I let my school studies go. Then came the day when I sowed what I had reaped.

During the “mock” examinations that were to lead us into our major examinations – the ones that would determine whether we went to university and gave ourselves a chance of succeeding in life or went on the dole queue and ate gruel for eternity (or so we were led to believe), I failed miserably.  My low scores shocked even me. Somehow I had thought I could ignore my studies yet still get through. Boy was I wrong. With the final examinations only 8 weeks away I started to get worried. Very worried.

Shortly after my comprehensive failure at the “mock finals” I truanted school with some schoolmates to purchase tickets to a rock band named Kiss (that was a long time ago but the band is still around). It was during that day that I was to have the experience which ultimately caused me to face my failure and realize that I needed to turn my life around.

We had been waiting all day in line, however many people came in front of us throughout the day as their friends had been saving them a place. We ended up standing next to a high school teacher that afternoon who was waiting to buy tickets for his daughter, and my friend and I got talking to him.

Inevitably the conversation turned to examinations. He asked how we had gone. My friend looked at me with a shy grin on his face as I told the teacher my score. He looked a bit shocked, then looked me directly in the eye and gave me his prognosis. “That’s a real shame; you know you’ll never recover from that.”  I did a double take, and my first reaction was “Perhaps he’s trying reverse psychology trying to motivate me.” But as I looked back at him I realised he was being deadly serious. This motivated a stronger internal reaction: complete rejection of his statement “You are wrong” I thought to myself. My friend and I looked at each other and laughed at his statement, but I could see that it had affected my friend in a similar way to how it had affected me. Part of me believed the guy was right, but a bigger part of me knew he was totally wrong.

Even at 17 I knew that my life wasn’t over regardless of how poorly I did on a test. When I arrived home that day I was determined to change things – but I didn’t know how.  Over the next few days I meditated on this experience. I knew I needed to do something but I didn’t know what. Maybe he was right, maybe it was too late to turn things around…

A few days after this experience I was laying on the lounge in my parents house (something I did often in my teenage years, after spending late nights out socializing with my friends). On this day I was particularly subdued, even a little depressed as I meditated on my fate. In the middle of my self-pity and depression I spied a book in my father’s well-stacked bookshelf. I took it out and began to read. I finished the first chapter and kept on reading.  I don’t remember where in that book that a light went on in my head but I do remember the feeling of hope and possibility that swept over me as I read it. As I continued to read the book all the way to the end, I realized that I had found something different to anything I had read before. I realized that the author was right, that there was a way out of any dilemma – that there truly exists a pathway to success and if you follow it you really can achieve your dreams.

The name of that book was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and reading it changed my life. What Hill had distilled into Think and Grow Rich was not only the information and strategies on how to achieve your dreams; he had included an essential element missing from many other self-help and personal development books –the feeling of success that I needed in order to get myself to make the transition from failure to success. As I read the stories of others who had succeeded, I was filled with feelings of possibility and hope.

I read Hill’s book to the end and I followed his formula to the letter. And from the moment I started on that new path, my life started to change. I decided on the score I would achieve in my examinations, and went on to exceed it, getting into the university course of my choice with ease. More importantly than all, my new-found certainty and positive attitude towards life caused me to attract into my life the woman who has become my wife and soul-mate, the mother of my 3 wonderful children.

I believe that the 6-step formula marked out by Hill in his book has stood the test of time and has not yet been superseded despite the massive proliferation of popular psychology and self-help books since his time. However the psychology that supports that process of making it work, that has been updated and improved and I feel very fortunate to have been around to both witness and be involved in seeing these new approaches added to the solid foundation of Hill’s formula. I am referring here to the Energy Psychology techniques, including in particular Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Simple Energy Techniques (SET). These updated methods can accelerate our progress and assist us to more adequately adopt the methods for success…However, Napoleon Hill’s basic formula will still work for all who wish to apply it.

Here is that all-important 6-step formula which changed my life over 27 years ago. Note that although Hill was referring to financial riches, I applied the same formula to improve my academic performance, and others have used the same formula to make all sorts of changes. Thus, I have modified Hill’s original statements slightly to show that the formula can be used for all types of goals My modifications in square brackets and my comments in curly brackets :

First: fix in your mind [an exact description of what] you desire… Be definite…

Second: determine exactly what you intend to give in return… There is no such thing as something for nothing…

Third: establish a definite date when you intend to possess [what it is] you desire.

Fourth: create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, ready or not, to put this plan into action. {This is the missing element in the movie and book The Secret; the all-important action step. Tapping can help us get over our inner objections to taking the action we need to take to achieve our goals}

Fifth: write out a clear, concise statement of [exactly what] you intend to achieve, name the time limit for its achievement, state what you intend to give in return, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to achieve it. {that plan doesn’t have to be perfect, it never can be, but without planning and action based on your plan, nothing will happen… Thinking alone is not enough, as Hill points out in the action step as well as the next step…}

Sixth: read your written statement twice daily… As you read – see and feel and believe [that you have already achieved your goal]. {Getting yourself to believe is a process and requires us to overcome internal objections, emotional blocks, and blocking beliefs… All of these tapping can help us with}

Hill also taught me that persistence is absolutely essential to all high achievement,, and that all who have gone on to achieve great things experienced set-backs and temporary defeats, but that ultimately success comes to those who persist with definiteness of purpose...

(Adapted from Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill)

By the way, you can probably access a free copy of Think and Grow Rich online as the original version is out of copyright. I warn ladies that the stories are almost exclusively about high-achieving men as it is a product of its time, however my experience has shown these principles work as adequately for women as they do for men. Also, the emphasis is on material riches, although the formula, as Thomas Edison, one of the people who inspired the original formula, stated that it could be used for any form of achievement.

This basic formula can work for you as it has for me and as it has for many people who have read Think and Grow Rich and applied its teachings to improve their lives. By the way, I'd change its title to Feel and Grow Rich as I now believe the feeling part to be more important in this basic formula. And with the addition of tapping to work with that feeling part, we can reduce the discomfort involved in going outside of our current comfort zone, and, more importantly, we can improve the strength of our emotional and energetic connection when we seek to connect with our goal.

What do you think? I would love to read your comments.

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