Have you ever thought about the way you think? How do thoughts just pop into your head? How do you create an idea?
Most people take thinking for granted, or at least never look beyond the surface of what makes it happen. What are the triggers for your thoughts? Are you a reactive thinker or an original thinker? That's an interesting thought all by itself.
You watch the news, and you have thoughts about it — that's reactive. When an idea about something you've been working on enters your mind — that’s proactive.
All of a sudden, proactive thinking seems better. But reactive thinking is the norm. The great thinkers of the world are all proactive. That should be your first clue.
My personal development, and real creative thinking, began when I read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill in 1971. Actually, I did more than read it; I devoured it, reread it several times, studied it and then applied it to my life.
“Think and Grow Rich” affected me and led me to all the other works of Napoleon Hill. Most notable to me are “How to Sell Your Way Through Life” (the best sales book of all time) and “The Master Key to Riches” (the follow-up to “Think and Grow Rich”).
Hill filmed “The Master Key to Riches” and as I was watching it again last week, I thought this piece was worthy enough to share with you. It's about thinking, or should I say accurate thinking, or should I say your accurate thinking.
Here are Hill’s exact words (keep in mind this was written 60 years ago).
"Rules for Accurate Thinking" by Napoleon Hill:
"Now I will give you seven rules to follow which, if you memorize them and follow them as a daily habit, may bring you top rating as an accurate thinker.
"1. Never accept the opinions of other people as being facts until you have learned the source of those opinions and satisfied yourself of their accuracy.
"2. Remember that free advice, no matter from whom it is received, will bear the closest of examination before it is acted upon as safe, and generally speaking this sort of advice is worth exactly what it costs.
"3. Alert yourself immediately when you hear anyone speaking of others in a discourteous or slanderous spirit because this very fact should put you on notice that what you are hearing is biased, to say the least about it, and they may be out-and-out misstatements.
"4. In asking others for information do not disclose to them what you wish the information to be, because most people have the bad habit of trying to please under such circumstances. Well-measured, tactful questions can be of great benefit to you in thinking accurately.
"5. Remember that anything that exists anywhere throughout the universe is capable of proof, and where no such proof is available it is safer to assume that nothing exists.
"6. One of the great inexplicable miracles consists in the fact that both truth and falsehood, no matter by what means they may be expressed, carry with them silent, invisible means of identifying themselves as such. Therefore, remember this truth and begin developing the necessary intuitive faculty to enable you to sense what is false and what is true.
"7. Follow the habit of asking “how do you know?” when anyone makes a statement you cannot identify as true. Follow this habit faithfully and you will see many persons squirm and turn red in the face when you insist upon a direct reply.
"The most accurate thinkers are the scientists. They investigate with open minds and never allow their wishes to become the fathers of facts, but deal with each fact as it is — not as they would like it to be."
Now, one final word of warning I feel I should leave with you: Study yourself carefully and you may discover that your own emotions are your greatest handicap in the business of accurate thinking. It is easy to believe that which you wish to believe and, unfortunately, that is precisely what most people do.
It's interesting the way that Hill distinguishes between fact and fantasy, true and false, logic and emotion, and accurate and inaccurate.
It's about challenging your own thinking, and having the courage to challenge others about their thinking. It’s about doing so in a positive way, and challenging yourself to rely on your senses, not just your beliefs.
“Think” is a very powerful word in our language, and it's an even more powerful action. I recommend that you set aside at least 10 minutes a day to think. Put it on your calendar. Daily. Document your thoughts and then put them into action.
When you dedicate time to yourself, and have a relaxing, creative atmosphere that allows you to dig deep into your own thoughts, and you have some recording device or keyboarding device to document your thinking and your thoughts, after a few months you will begin to blossom as both a thinker and a person of action.
You will begin to feel your genuine power. Thought power. And that power will manifest itself into stronger relationships, stronger sales and a stronger bank account.