“We are the masters of our fate, the captains of our souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts” – Napoleon Hill

I’m sure you have heard of the overused saying, “Never judge a book by its cover?” Well, in this case, that’s how I ended up reading “Think and Grow Rich.”

One of my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions was to read 1 book a month. The objective for this resolution was to make reading a habit. So far I’ve read 21 books. With 4 weeks left in 2017, I’m hoping to up my reading speed to 1 book a week.

Some of the books I’ve read, like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” I purchased. Others, like “Think and Grow Rich,” I obtained for free from my local library.

What’s funny about “Think and Grow Rich,” is that I happened to stumble upon this book at the library.

I was looking for the book “Never Eat Alone,” and the library catalog said it was available. So I went searching, to no avail, I never checked that book out.

However, I was determined not to leave empty handed. I searched through the neighboring books and “Think and Grow Rich” caught my eye.

The book at the library was a weathered copy. It was an older version of the book. I’m certain it had seen better days, but that’s also why I gravitated towards it.

With my smartphone in hand, I quickly Google’d the book and saw that it had a 4.2-star average on Goodreads. Good enough for me. I checked the book out.

With only 238 pages, I quickly devoured the knowledge within those weathered pages in less than a week. If it was a book I owned, I would have highlighted the crap out of it.

Because I am a good library member, I refrained from vandalizing the book. Instead, I took pictures and transcribed my favorite pages of the book.

A little bit about the book.

Think and Grow Rich is a book written in 1938 by Napoleon Hill. It’s categorized as a personal development and self-improvement book. For good reason.

The title itself screams success.

It’s one of those books that you hear tossed around by successful entrepreneurs during business, self-development and investing PodCasts. It’s been written about by companies like Business Insider and Inc.com.

Even three Sharks, from the T.V. Show “Shark Tank,” endorse it as a must read.

It’s on a variety of lists for best personal development books, e.g. 20 Best Personal Development and Self-Help Books, 25 Books for Success and The 10 Best Personal Development Books?

It’s a good book. Go read it already (but finish this post first).

What I find to be the most interesting thing about this book is its title. Napoleon Hill does not title the book, “Work Hard and Grow Rich,” or “Be Smart and Grow Rich.”

On my quest to learn about what makes successful people outstanding achievers, one commonality between them is their mental inner workings. They were fueled by a particular passion and belief to achieve.

Their mental transformation sparked them to dig deeper than anyone in their field. This fueled the flame to work harder and think smarter than any of their closest peers.

I guarantee you that anyone who has achieved success changed for the better throughout the process.

Think about when you achieved any goal in your life, large or small. By the end of the process, you learned something about yourself, and became more knowledgeable about that particular area.

The Self-Analysis Test

In one particular section of the book, Hill provides readers with a “Self Analysis Test.” It’s objective is to help you understand where your current self is at (your baseline). Similar to how scientists establish a baseline before an experiment or how personal trainers take before photos of one of their clients, this test is meant to get your gears turning about yourself.

Hill provides us with 59 questions we need to ask ourselves. While these questions could be used at any time, I find it to be most useful at the beginning of your journey, or at a low point of your journey (let’s face it, you’re going to hit a low-point during your path to success… and that’s completely okay).

In the book, the questions are not organized in any particular fashion. In fact, they feel a bit random. As if Hill wrote down the questions as they popped into his brain.

I’ve split the questions up into three categories: Health, Actions and People. These three categories are all integral gears in your success machine. They all contribute to or prohibit your progress. In no particular order, below are the four categories and their corresponding questions.

Health

Hill asks a series of questions that gauge your mental and physical health. I’ve grouped questions about your current job and workplace in this section, because it can have a huge effect on your health.

It’s not surprising that most of the health questions surround your mental health – i.e. how you feel about particular situations, how you react to certain situations – after all, the book is titled “Think and Grow Rich.” When striving for success or attaining a goal, your overall health will be pushed to its limits. You will make physical sacrifices and you will put yourself in uncomfortable situations. It’s important to understand where your health is compromised and why.

  1. Do you complain often of “feeling bad,” and if so, what is the cause?
  2. Does life seem futiles and the future hopeless to you?
  3. Do you often feel self-pity, and if so, why?
  4. Are you gaining or losing self-confidence as you grow older?
  5. Are you sometimes “ in the clouds” and at other times in the depths of despondency?
  6. Would you call yourself a “spineless weakling” if you permitted others to do your thinking for you?
  7. Do you suffer from any of the six basic fears? If so, which ones?
  8. Which do you value most, your material possessions, or your privilege of controlling your own thoughts?
  9. Do you neglect internal bathing until auto-intoxication makes you ill-tempered and irritable?
  10. Are you conscious of possessing spiritual forces of sufficient power to enable you to keep your mind free from all forms of fear?
  11. Does your religion help to keep your mind positive?
  12. What is your greatest worry? Why do you tolerate it?
  13. When others offer you free, unsolicited advice, do you accept it without question, or analyze their motive?
  14. What, above all else, do you desire the most? Do you intend to acquire it? Are you willing to subordinate all other desires for this one? How much time daily do you devote to acquiring it?
  15. Do you change your mind often? If so, why?
  16. Do you suffer frequently with indigestion, if so, what is the cause?’
  17. Are you careless of your personal appearance? If so, when and why?
  18. Have you learned how to “drown your troubles” by being too busy to be annoyed by them?
  19. Do you like your occupation? If not, why?
  20. How many preventable disturbances annoy you, and why do you tolerate them?
  21. Does your occupation inspire you with faith and hope?

Actions

With these questions, you analyze your actions, both productive and counterproductive actions. These questions highlight a key component to your own success or failure – controlling the only thing you can, yourself. Taking responsibility for your actions is a sign of maturity and leadership. By recognizing your poor actions, you can establish how to make better decisions.

  1. Do you have a definite major purpose, and if so, what is it, and what plan have you for achieving it?
  2. Do you frequently make mistakes in your work, and if so, why?
  3. Are you sarcastic and offensive in your conversation?
  4. To which do you devote most time, thinking of success, or failure?
  5. Do you learn something of value from all mistakes?
  6. Do you tolerate negative or discouraging influences which you can avoid?
  7. Do you resort to liquor, narcotics, or cigs to ‘quiet your nerves” if so, why do you not try will-power instead?
  8. Do you make deliberate use of autosuggestion to make your mind positive?
  9. Has today added anything of value to your stock of knowledge or state of mind?
  10. Do you face squarely the circumstances which make you unhappy, or sidestep the responsibility?
  11. Do you analyze all mistakes and failures and try to profit by them, or do you take the attitude that this is not your duty?
  12. Can you name three of your most damaging weaknesses? What are you doing to correct them?
  13. Have you learned how to create a mental state of mind with which you can shield  yourself against all discouraging influences?
  14. How much time out of every 24 hours do you devote to:
    1. Your occupation
    2. Sleep
    3. Play and relaxation
    4. Plain waste
  15. Do you choose from your daily experiences, lessons or influences which aid in your personal advancement?
  16. Do you usually finish everything you begin?

People

This is my favorite section of questions, because it covers a wide range of situations. Hill asks you to analyze how you react to people’s actions, thoughts, and advice. He also asks you to analyze the people whom you interact with, because they have a tremendous influence on you.

Some of the questions make you think about how others’ success makes you think. Do you get envious or do you draw inspiration from their accomplishments?

  1. Do you find fault with other people at the slightest provocation?
  2. Do you deliberately avoid the association of anyone, and if so, why?
  3. Are you envious of those who excel you?
  4. Are you permitting some relative or acquaintance to worry you? If so, why?
  5. Who has the most inspiring influence upon you? What is the cause?
  6. Does anyone nag you, and if so, for what reason?
  7. Have you a method by which you can shield yourself against the negative influence of others?
  8. Do you encourage other people to bring their worries to you for sympathy?
  9. Does your presence have a negative influence on other people as a rule?
  10. What habits of other people annoy you most?
  11. Do you form your own opinions or permit yourself to be influenced by other people?
  12. Do you feel it your duty to share other people’s worries, if so why?
  13. If you believe that birds of a feather flock together what have you learned about yourself by studying the friends whom you attract?
  14. What connection, if any, do you see between the people with whom you associate most closely and any unhappiness you may experience?
  15. Could it be possible that some person whom you consider to be a friend is, in reality, your worst enemy, because of his negative influence on your mind?
  16. By what rules do you judge who is helpful and who is damaging to you?
  17. Are your intimate associates mentally superior or inferior to you?
  18. Who among your acquaintances
    1. Encourages you the most?
    2. Cautions you the most?
    3. Discourages you the most?
  19. Are you easily impressed by other people’s business or professional titles, college degrees or wealth?
  20. Are you easily influenced by what other people think or say of you?
  21. Do you cater to people because of their social or financial status?
  22. Are you easily influenced by others, against your own judgement?

Using the test

To understand your baseline, you need to ask yourself these brutally honest questions. You will like some of your answers and despise other responses. I implore you not to judge your responses. Simply accept them for what they are.

The test is meant to reveal who you currently, the actions you take and how the people in your life affect you. There is no right nor wrong answers. It’s a matter of how honest you can be with yourself. It’s not your fault if you harbor bad feelings towards your original assessment; however, it is your fault if the responses do not improve after you take the assessment again up achieving your goal(s)

In another post, I will provide my answers for each of the questions. Let’s succeed together! Good luck!

-KG