The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TAGR #1--Desire

"TRULY, "thoughts are things," and powerful things at that, when they
are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a BURNING
DESIRE for their translation into riches, or other material objects."--Napoleon Hill

The bizarre thing about Think And Grow Rich is how almost every paragraph has been cannibalized by lesser writers, who have based entire lectures, courses, books and careers out on some single aspect of this insanely condensed and idea-rich book. You can open it at random on a given day, put your finger on almost any part of the page, and find life-changing concepts.

Every one of the thirteen principles, used deeply and mastered, would change your life. Any three of them would probably make you a rousing success. But say, seven of them? Any seven? If you re-read one of those seven chapters daily and implemented what it said? In a year or two, people would think you walked on water.

Let's get our feet wet, shall we?

The first principle is DESIRE. A burning, unquenchable DESIRE for your goals. Again, set goals in four arenas: physical health and fitness, love and relationship, mental performance/career/education, and monetary wealth.

These four interact, cross-reference, provide support and motivation for each other, and guarantee balance. You can have MORE goals, but be very certain that you cover at least these four. No one says it will be easy. It won't be. But I'd say 99.9% of people want all four of these things, while about 30% of people claim they don't. Someone is lying. I suggest you ask yourself if it is you.

It is comforting to pretend we don't really want things. that we have no desire to sing our song to the world as loudly and sweetly as we can in the trivial few days we have to live in this world. It is easy to lie to ourselves that we don't want the physical aliveness we had as children. We don't want the passion and love we desire. Don't want the financial success to create safe harbor for ourselves and our families. I've lost count of the people who've said: "I don't care about money"...and then gone on to describe ruined hopes and dreams that could be easily fulfilled with sufficient financial resources. Or causes they hold dear that will dwindle and die for lack of donations. Dreams of travel, education, or family comfort that could easily be assuaged

When we don't believe we can have something, or SHOULD have something, it is easier to simply pretend we don't want it. And those lies kill our dreams.

I would rather aim too high and be disappointed, than aim too low and fail to fulfill my potential.

I want the physical power, grace, and aliveness of a panther. I crave love, passion, and intimacy with a family and soulmate. I want to write stories that change the world and live for centuries beyond me. And I want such a surplus of money that I can be a benefactor to my family and the causes I believe in.

And I want them with a burning, driving, consuming passion...but also a slight sense of humor. I know it is a game. I'm prepared to lose. But I'm not going to sit on the bench in my own life, watching others play and wondering what I might have done if I'd just dared to get on the field.

I won't do it. THIS IS MY LIFE. The only one I get. The little boy inside me dreamed of being a writer, a martial artist, and having love.

By God, I went out and got him all those things. No matter the cost. No matter how many times I got knocked down. I was fighting for that little boy.

And he loves me for it. He is absolutely tickled at the man I am today...still standing, still singing my song. And the old man I will be on my deathbed is smiling at me as well: he knows that the money, the external success, even the external relationships are nothing more than an expression of what is happening inside me. Success is the result of CONSUMING DESIRE, sufficient to overcome obstacles, to be knocked down a million times and get up a million and one. To move through fear, and disappointment, and guilt, and shame. To be willing to overcome everything, no matter what.

I love that little boy inside me that much, dammit. My mother and father are gone. Have joined, in John D. MacDonald's great words, "the long, long line of the dead ones."

I am all he has. And I will fight to the last drop of blood for his dreams. Until the last breath. And I know that when my eyes close for the last time, he will be smiling at me. Loving me. Saying "you did good, Daddy."

And frankly? If that's all I get in life, that's all I need.



I'm going to be referencing this fantastic book often in the weeks and months to come. For your free copy, go to:


hospodi said...

Oh Steven,
It just keeps getting better!
Thanks so much!

Happy Christmas to you and yours...

Mendur said...

"Every one of the thirteen principles, used deeply and mastered, would change your life. Any three of them would probably make you a rousing success. But say, seven of them? Any seven? If you re-read one of those seven chapters daily and implemented what it said? In a year or two, people would think you walked on water."

For those of us who have trouble with a few of the concepts in the book (talking to invisible counselors, telepathy with the universe), could you recommend which 3 (or 7) of the 13 you think are the most important to begin with? Maybe, I don't know, note them during your discussion of each principle as one of the building blocks that should be adopted first before moving on to the more advanced other ones?

After all, when learning anything else, we start small and build (addition before algebra before calculus). It might be useful if you could break down TaGR the same way for those of us (e.g., me) who have trouble learning and adopting the whole thing at once. I've seen a lot of those other writers' books you noted, books which take one of the 13 principles and base everything on that, but I can never be sure if they're trying to teach calculus without having everyone do the hard prep work of addition and algebra first.

In any event, thanks for going over this book. It definitely helps to see how someone else views the material.

Some guy said...

Thank you. That was very inspiring.

Steven Barnes said...

For the sake of argument, just take them in order. Desire is so important that it could easily be placed first. Faith transports you beyond the edge of self-concept. Auto-suggestion can help you align your self-image with the chosen goals, etc.
As for the parts you have difficulty with: try to ask yourself what he and the others may have been experiencing, within your own belief systems. Rather than thinking they are "talking to invisible people" think that they are using their imagination to imitate and learn from hugely successful role models. Telepathy? Maybe it's just something that feels that way, that works best when you don't feel like "you're" doing it--a way of slipping past ego limitations. Or...just have a sense of humor about it, skip that lesson, and go on to the next one!