Thinking about success… welcome to the club!

“Thoughts are things” is the title and the first words of the first chapter in the immortal Napoleon Hill book, Think and Grow Rich.

When I first read those words, in 1972, I didn’t really understand what they meant – even when I read the first chapter and the examples offered in Think and Grow Rich, it didn’t resonate – until I got to the end of the chapter and read, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve.”

I started to get it.

By coincidence, it was only a few days later when I heard the late great Earl Nightingale in his immortal The Strangest Secret say, “You become what you think about.” At that moment I got it – it clicked. And it clicked forever.

Powerful thoughts and concepts that seem so simple, yet elude most people. Think about the way you think. Positive? Happy? Consistent? Attractive? Encouraging? Believing? Self-inspiring? For most the answer is, “sometimes.” And in this political year, almost never.

Positive thinking is a self-imposed challenge in a world surrounded with negatives. Facing that, I began to read all I could find. More reading and studying about thinking and the thought process revealed that neither Hill nor Nightingale had the original thought.

From Socrates who said, “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”
…to Buddha who said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
…to Samuel Smiles who said, “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
…to Orison Swett Marden who said, “All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.” “It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind.”
…to Elbert Hubbard who said, “I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love…I believe in sunshine, fresh air, friendship, calm sleep, beautiful thoughts.” And said , “Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual… Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create.”
…to Dale Carnegie who said, “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
…to Napoleon Hill who also said, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
…to Earl Nightingale who also said, “Before you can achieve the kind of life you want you must think, act, talk, and conduct yourself in all of your affairs as would the person you wish to become.”
…to Norman Vincent Peale who said, “Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture… Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.”
…to Steve Jobs who said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Each of these people had their own way of saying the SAME THING. Your thinking becomes your actions. And it’s those dedicated well-planned and directed actions that lead to your outcomes. Your reality. Better stated, your success.

All of these legendary scholars cannot be wrong.

All of these men told me in their writings – in the same way I’m telling you, that positive thought leads to positive actions, and positive results, if the aim and the purpose are passionately believed.

The way you dedicate yourself to the way you think will have the greatest impact on your life – either one way or the other.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

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