The author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ believed it could change everything
Napoleon Hill’s “The Path to Personal Power” focuses on one of the most neglected steps in the life coach’s famous program of success — and one that he personally described as critical to the workability of his overall approach: the formation of a Master Mind group.
In his 1937 “Think and Grow Rich”, Hill defined the Master Mind (which he always capitalized) as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
In plain terms, Hill’s Master Mind group is, quite simply, a support group or fellowship consisting of two or more members (but usually no more than seven to keep things wieldy), which meets at regular intervals of at least once a week to give support and advice to members on their individual goals. Depending on the nature of the group, members may also offer meditation, prayers, and mental visualization for one another’s goals during the week.
At its heart, the Master Mind is a coordinated effort to explore and support one another’s plans, purposes, and needs. Hill believed that when several people regularly meet in a spirit of community and mutual support—there can be no divisiveness in the Master Mind—it will level-up the creativity, intuition, and mental faculties of each participant. For this reason, you must select the members of your Master Mind group carefully—the key factors are personal chemistry and cooperation. Divisiveness, political arguments (always keep politics at bay), squabbling, and discursive aims will deplete the functioning of Master Mind.
I once described Think and Grow Rich in a single sentence, which could encompass all of Hill’s work: “Emotionalized thought directed toward one passionately held aim—aided by organized planning and the Master Mind—is the root of all accomplishment.” This gives you an idea of how central the Master Mind concept is in Hill’s system.
“Great power,” he concluded of the Master Mind, “can be accumulated through no other principle.”
The genius—and demand—of Hill’s work is that none of his steps are superfluous. Yet in today’s digitally removed world it is tempting to skip or ignore this advice. Unless you are already member of a 12-step or support group, you are probably accustomed to a “go it alone” approach, not wanting to share intimacies with others or to accommodate your already-busy routine to one more meeting. Many of us feel that our success is a matter of inner principle and individual effort, and a group meeting seems mawkish or superfluous. I understand those feelings—I struggle with them myself.
But I can personally promise you, as a writer and historian who has studied Hill’s methods for years and owes his success to them, and as someone who has been a dedicated member of a Master Mind group since fall of 2013, this step is as vital today as when Hill made the Master Mind the topic of the first chapter of his first book, “The Law of Success”, in 1928.
Another characteristic of our cyber age is that friends and collaborators not infrequently live and work far distances part. My own Master Mind group is dispersed from New England to Southern California. We structure things this way: Its four participants, all possessed of supportive natures, good humor, and spiritual values, meet at a regularly designated time by conference call once a week. We begin by reading a short statement of principles, and each participant then individually offers a piece of personal good news from the previous week. Each member then takes a turn describing his wants and needs for the week ahead. After a caller has expressed his wants and needs, each group member suggests advice, ideas, encouragement, and often prayer or other forms of support during off times. The call is generally under one hour.
It is especially important to begin the Master Mind meeting on time, to commence it immediately—eschewing small talk and “meeting chatter”—and to cap the meeting at an hour or less, preferably no more than 45 minutes. (Though this can differ depending on group size.) This is to prevent drifting of attention or resentment when members are pressed for time, or when someone may have greater free time or simply more tolerance of meetings. All of us have enough meetings in life. Most are worthless. The Master Mind, by contrast, is vital and potent; as such, its work should be precise.
This collaborative alliance, if conducted with purpose and harmony, will, in time, yield extraordinary results. I can honestly say that my Master Mind group has proven one of the most helpful and dynamic aspects in each members’ life. Our meetings steady me when I am off course, and give me fresh perspective and an added boost to the week. There are also practical benefits, in which economic and business issues are sometimes hashed out. And there may be something more at play.
“No two minds,” Hill wrote, “ever come together without, thereby, creating a third invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” This, to him, was the “psychic” phase of the Master Mind, in which the mind may be likened to an energy that is pooled with that of others to intensify intuitions, ideas, and insights. Everyone in a Master Mind group, Hill said, gains heightened insight through the subconscious minds of all the other members. This produces a more vivid imaginative and mental state in which new ideas “flash” into your awareness, he taught.
Whether you are ready to make the leap to this way of thought—I do, and I explore this more fully in my books “The Miracle Club” and “One Simple Idea”—I can vow to you that, from every perspective, the Master Mind will play an invaluable and practical role in your pursuit of achievement.
Mitch Horowitz is a PEN Award-winning historian and vice president and executive editor at TarcherPerigee, publishers of “The Path to Personal Power”. This article is adapted from his forthcoming book, “The Power of the Master Mind”