Remember that “Old School” talk we had last week? Now I’m going to really out myself. Today’s post is about a book I feel people who are pursuing a passion must read. First published in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, the book definitely qualifies for “Old School” thinking. Many of my friends accuse me of being a pessimist. Actually, they mistake my direct opinion and forward nature for a “doom and gloom” attitude. I consider myself a realist. I’m a firm believer in “good stuff in”—“good stuff out”. That’s where Think and Grow Rich comes in.
For a person who is pursuing their passion, Think and Grow Rich is the Alla Prima (by Richard Schmid) of “positive thought” books. It gives you the tools to follow your passion and persist in the face of overwhelming odds.
A close friend of my father first gave me this book. His name was Brue Alford, and he was a successful man by any measure or standard. Brue would accept you where you were, but he had a way of moving the expectation bar higher, and wanting you to achieve that mark. However, he did it with the kindest and most sincere motivation I have ever seen.
You know how much I lean on The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. With these two books, an artist has the essential information needed to trudge on when things get tough. Being a full-time artist demands not only your time (and lots of it, at that), but it makes demands on your soul. If you fail to put your soul into your painting, the collector will see right through you, not to mention your art peers.
Think and Grow Rich has chapters that start with Desire, Faith, Imagination… just to name a few. This book was made for dreamers. It was made for us!
I won’t give you a blow-by-blow critique, but I do want to give you one of my favorite stories from the book. It’s in the chapter, “Thoughts are Things”, with the subhead “Three Feet From Gold”. This section has but a few paragraphs and is a small story to illustrate one of the most common causes of failure, which is QUITTING when we are overtaken by temporary defeat.
To summarize, a man named Darby got caught up in the Gold Rush in Colorado. He struck a large vein, bought a drilling machine and went to work. After one mining cart was filled with gold, the vein ran out. Darby drilled on and wasn’t able to locate the vein. HE QUIT and sold his drilling machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars. The junk man, not satisfied with the end of the story, called in a mining engineer. The engineer quickly determined that Darby wasn’t aware of a fault line that moved the vein. The vein was located 3 feet from where Darby had stopped drilling. The junk man retired a millionaire.
I think this analogy applies to many young artists. How many quit or toss in the towel after a tough show or failed painting? How many say, “I can’t draw” or “I’m just not a natural with color”? You only fail if you quit.Sure, Think and Grow Rich is old and outdated, and I bet Oprah has some young new talent who would have us Zen our way to success, but I’m “Old School”, so I’ll be just fine with Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill, if you don’t mind. Give them a try!
In celebration of my 100th post today, I would like to offer a free coffee table book of my work to the person who posts the most inspiring comment. I appreciate all of you who come to this blog to read whatever ramblings, masked as pearls of wisdom, that I decide to share each day. I appreciate you all!
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