In Think and Grow Rich, published in 1937, Napoleon Hill spends many pages on discussing your subconscious mind. Hill believed strongly in the power of visualization and your ability to influence your destiny through positive thoughts. He also believed that you must engage your subconscious as well as your conscious thoughts if you want to succeed. Hill believed that if you did not engage your subconscious thoughts in your plan for success, you might be undermined by negative self-talk.
“Nothing can be created without being first conceived in thought,” Hill writes. “Though imagination…thoughts may be assembled into plans.” Hill was ahead of his time when he discussed the power of the subconscious mind; we now know through research that what he said was accurate. He even theorized (correctly) that combining a strong emotion with a subconscious thought would help you be more successful.
Hill identifies positive and negative emotions with the power to influence your subconscious. The positive emotions include faith, enthusiasm and hope; the negative emotions include fear, greed and anger. He believed that “positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time,” and advised readers to develop the habit of positive emotions and thoughts.
I like this idea of developing a habit of thinking positive thoughts. A quote attributed to many people (among them Gandhi, says: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
Spend time today monitoring your internal dialogue. If you’re like many people, you will hear a voice inside your head narrating your day. “You’ll never get this right.” “It will never happen.” “I never get lucky.” You can replace thoughts like these with positive thoughts. It may feel awkward at first; who can forget Al Franken as Stuart Smalley on SNL (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!”)
Awkward as it may feel, positive thoughts can crowd out negative thoughts. Harness your unconscious by visualizing success before you go to sleep each night (No one will know unless you speak out loud.) We now know that the brain works on problems while you sleep; give it something positive to work with, and you may achieve success sooner than if you worked alone.