Today, my MasterMind group started our next course of study together—the classic success-thinking book Think and Grow Rich written by Napoleon Hill in 1937. In a way, this book brought me to this wonderful group of kindred spirits in the first place. In it, Napoleon Hill describes the concept of MasterMind groups.

For me, re-reading the Introduction of Think and Grow Rich felt like reuniting with an old friend—I have already studied the book closely. Although the title of the book appears to label it as a guide for accumulating money, it actually provides a formula for true prosperity—the “secret” to success—to creating a life of abundance in all things, including happiness, health, spiritual wealth and material comfort.

In the Introduction, Hill refers several times to “the secret”:

“The secret to which I refer has been mentioned no fewer than a hundred times, throughout this book. It has not been directly named, for it seems to work more successfully when it is merely uncovered and left in sight, where THOSE WHO ARE READY, and SEARCHING FOR IT, may pick it up.”

It’s the same “secret” made ever-more famous by Rhonda Byrne in the best-selling 2006 self-help book entitled The Secret. In fact, it’s a “secret” that has been passed down for thousands of years—it forms the foundation of many (perhaps all) esoteric teachings.

Napoleon Hill ends Chapter 1 of Think and Grow Rich with a reference to William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus (which is Latin for Unconquered). Do you see the secret in it?

Hill indicates that the Secret to Success requires you to:

  • Be ready to receive.
  • Know what you want.
  • Have a deep desire to get it.
  • Practice determination.
  • Have the will to control your thoughts.

You are “The Master of Your Fate, the Captain of Your Soul,” Because…

When Henley wrote the prophetic lines, “I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul,” he should have informed us that we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts.

He should have told us that the ether in which this little earth floats, in which we move and have our being, is a form of energy moving at an inconceivably high rate of vibration, and that the ether is filled with a form of universal power which adapts itself to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our minds; and influences us, in natural ways, to transmute our thoughts into their physical equivalent.

If the poet had told us of this great truth, we would know why it is that we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls. He should have told us, with great emphasis, that this power makes no attempt to discriminate between destructive thoughts and constructive thoughts, that it will urge us to translate into physical reality thoughts of poverty, just as quickly as it will influence us to act upon thoughts of riches.

He should have told us, too, that our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by means with which no man is familiar, these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.

About Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich was written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, promoted as a personal development and self-improvement book. … First published during the Great Depression, at the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies, and by 2015 over 100 million copies had been sold worldwide.

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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I AM the master of my fate:
I AM the captain of my soul.

About the Poem Invictus

“Invictus” is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). It was written in 1875 and published in 1888—originally with no title—in his first volume of poems, Book of Verses, in the section Life and Death (Echoes).

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