For those of you who are familiar with my work, you might find it surprising that I have a copy of Think And Grow Rich on my bookshelf. It recently showed up for me, and I heard a voice suggesting I should read it. I’ve been quite resistant to reading it for many years.
Don’t judge a book by its title. The actual thesis of the book lies as much in the “Think” part as in the “Grow Rich” part of the title. Originally published in 1937, the idea of “Growing Rich” is the way the book pitches the practical application of its ideas to an America obsessed with money and growth. But
In chapter after chapter, which includes story after story of how some very successful men (always men) became very successful by their measure (always money). But the ideas presented about how they rose to the top are essentially that “thoughts are things.” Thoughts affect your reality.
And where have we heard that before? Or, rather, since? That’s the same premise that the Law of Attraction is based on. Napolean Hill actually uses the term “the secret” over an over again. Also, Abraham Hicks presents this philosophy, too. And the Hicks material (at least some of it) drips with the idea of ego and using “tools” like these to achieve financial “abundance,” too.
Napoleon Hill uses the word “abundance” over and over again. Interesting. So, what’s going on here? And what are the lessons to be learned from this?
Is the Law of Attraction and The Secret just some hogwash that was initially perpetrated on the American public who were so bedazzled and bewitched by the notion of becoming rich that they would believe any snake oil salesman who told them some sure-fire secret method to achieve great wealth? Is the seed of the “The Secret” actually buried in this book from 1937, and then it just “went all spiritual on your ass” in 2012?
Certainly, that cynical suggestion is indeed one possibility. There were lots of snake oil salesmen in the earlier days of capitalism. What would we call them today? Snake oil gurus?
I’m being devil’s advocate here. I’m not actually that cynical.
I actually believe that the “Grow Rich” part was the corrupt element, not the notion that “thoughts affect reality.” That idea has been wending its way into our collective consciousness for at least a century now. Recently, it even seems to have accumulated some verifiable scientific evidence to support it. It’s how a holographic, quantum universe might work.
Consciousness is a force that seems to have an effect on physical reality. That spiritual-scientific notion is one of the primary premises of a newly emerging branch of science calling itself, “Non-Dual Science.”
No one was more surprised than me when I opened up Think and Grow Rich to find that the Secret to growing rich that is suggested is the same Secret that seems to still be (a bit) misunderstood in today’s world.
What I’m curious about now is how that true, deep principle, can be applied in a healthy way, a way that’s healthy for society and in service of a higher good.
If one of the original roots of the Secret actually is Think and Grow Rich, a seminal business and success book (driven by ego), it’s no wonder that in today’s world, derivatives of the Secret are a bit corrupt. (Less so perhaps than mortgage derivates, but still.)
How are they still corrupt? Well, I might offend some sensibilities here, so I have to tread carefully. I’ll just say that often still the idea that The Secret can put a red Porche in your driveway (and when it doesn’t happen) the Secret is questioned.
This is a much longer diatribe, for next time.
For now, let’s end with this idea. If we can Think and Grow Rich, if it actually might work that way, what if we decided to Think and Grow Happy?
What if we could use that power of consciousness to affect physical reality for the benefit of all sentient beings? For happiness? To believe and dream ourselves into a more beautiful world.