Inasmuch as the central aim of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ was to state central, and possibly overhead, truths of the human mind, the means was in no way basic. This book was filled to the max, with so many random nuggets in smaller sections of the book. One of such is known as “the 10 mind stimuli”. Basically, the things regarded as stimulants for the mind, are things that force creativity, imagination, and success, right from the core of our minds. In other words, some things could trigger our creative energies. These things offer you the ability to creating great ideas.
“The human mind responds to stimuli through which it may be ‘keyed up’ to high rates of vibrations, known as enthusiasm, creative imagination, intense desire, etc.”
While Napoleon Hill explained that eight of these are good, and two of them are bad, your judgement remains the best key to deciphering them. These things, if put to practical use, can harness the genius that lie within us. Napoleon Hill arranged these stimulants according to a pattern which he considered to follow a descending order. Here they are:
1) The desire for sex expression
‘The Mystery of Sex Transmutation’, was treated as a separate chapter in the book. In it, he explains that ‘Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires’.
“When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times. So strong and impelling is the desire for sexual contact that men freely run the risk of life and reputation to indulge it. When harnessed, and redirected along other lines, this motivating force maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc., which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling, including, of course, the accumulation of riches”
In other words, sex is a way to trigger your creative genius, because it represents an emotional connection that is far beyond the basic. It is said to contain the secret for creative ability, and many smart people have used this emotion to create so much value.
Love is another emotion that has an immense power of forcing your mind to do great things. Love works like a drug; it makes the blood pump, floods the brain with chemicals and hormones that produce feelings of pleasure, obsession, intense desire, and attachment. Adrenaline and norepinephrine make the heart race and the palms sweat, and dopamine creates feelings of euphoria. Basically, love causes your body to release a flood of feel-good chemicals that initiate specific physical reactions. This stimulant can be used to unleash your creative energy and force innovativeness. This is why a lot of these powerful people like Napoleon Bonaparte and Dante Alighieri, were known to be big lovers.
3) A burning desire for fame, power, financial gain, money
This is possibly one of the most believable on this list. An individual having intense desire for wealth, power, fame, and success in general, can easily be motivated by these things, enough to trigger creativity and innovativeness. This is why when you want money so much, you constantly think up new ways that you can create wealth. In other words, it becomes your dominant thought. These things force your mind to be much more creative. While, in truth, power, an obsessive desire for money, and a thirst for fame, can indeed be destructive and bad; these ideals are ordinarily considered as good mind stimulants by Napoleon Hill.
Music is life. In an earlier post, I wrote about the ways music has been said to make people smarter through the popular Mozart effect. That represents just one small part of the wonders of music. On the regular, music affects various parts of the brain. Through music, you can predict the personality of an individual; it helps you exercise, it can improve your motor or reasoning skills, it makes you learn, makes you smarter, happier, and pushes your creativity to the limit. Just like the first few listed, music increases neurotransmitter dopamine. More so, ambient music has been said to improve creativity. This goes to show that music has the power to stimulate your mind to productivity and creativity, as long as you are listening to the right kind.
5) Friendship between either those of the same sex or those of the opposite sex
Friends also have the power to stimulate your mind; again, as long as you have the right ones. Sometimes, it is not the friends in themselves that stimulate your mind, but the fact that we are conscious of the friends. In essence, it is not necessarily what they do, but the fact that we have them. In psychology, friends have been said to do so much for you. Childhood friendships start your learning process, they make you feel less lonely, they have the keys to sharpening your mind, they make you happier, they help you in knowing yourself better and inspire you to reach your goals. For these reasons, and more, friends have been seen as proper mind stimulants as well.
6) A Master Mind alliance based upon the harmony of two or more people who ally themselves for spiritual or temporal advancement
Napoleon Hill wrote about the mastermind group principle as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” In his book, he talks about how he created an imaginary mastermind group and how he meets with them on a mental level. While his idea was a little bit disturbing, having an actual mastermind group that meets and creates ideas, is a sure way to push your mind beyond the norm.
7) Mutual suffering, such as that experienced by people who are persecuted
Mutual suffering is something people hold on to as a form of camaraderie. It is how people who went to the same boarding school or college, share the same feelings of whatever pain or persecution they faced. In other words, ‘we suffered together’, could means we can get out of it and thrive together. This is listed as one of the positive of the ten mind stimuli in ‘Think and Grow Rich’.
Autosuggestion is one psychological technique related to the placebo effect that was developed by apothecary Émile Coué at the beginning of the 20th century. Autosuggestion is simply the art of talking to ourselves. It is a form of self-induced suggestion in which individuals guide their own thoughts, feelings, or behaviour. This is on this list because the idea is that when we talk to ourselves, we talk to our subconscious mind. When we learn and perfect the art of Autosuggestion, we create the ability to control our own conditions, and influence ourselves for good, to a certain extent.
Fear is the first of the two negative ways by which we influence our minds. It is an unpleasant emotion that is caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. Inasmuch as this is a negative trait, there are situations where fear propels you to push yourself and your mind, unto creativity. Fear of failure, fear of losing, fear of pain; these things that stimulate your mind to action, but they can also leave you in deeper issues like depression and paranoia.
10) Narcotics and alcohol
Finally, it is no news that narcotics and alcohol can push one’s mind to the limit. Psychedelics can stretch your mind to points where you actually feel and see beyond the ordinary. Many great writers have been known to rely heavily on alcohol for their creativity and inspiration. However, they have also be known to die really creative deaths. In essence, while these things can literally change your mind patterns, they have the capacity to kill you in a heartbeat.
Hence, it is important to stay within the positives while trying to stimulate our minds, and flee from the negatives.