Desire: The Starting Point Of All Achievement

The First Step toward Riches WHEN Edwin C. Barnes climbed down from the freight train in Orange, N. J., more than thirty years ago, he may have resembled a tramp, but his thoughts were those of a king! As he made his way from the railroad tracks to Thomas A. Edison’s office, his mind was at work. He saw himself standing in Edison’s presence. He heard himself asking Mr. Edison for an opportunity to carry out the one CONSUMING OBSESSION OF HIS LIFE, a BURNING DESIRE to become the business associate of the great inventor. Barnes’ desire was not a hope! It was not a wish! It was a keen, pulsating DESIRE, which transcended everything else. It was DEFINITE. The desire was not new when he approached Edison. It had been Barnes’ dominating desire for a long time. In the beginning, when the desire first appeared in his mind, it may have been, probably was, only a wish, but it was no mere wish when he appeared before Edison with it. A few years later, Edwin C. Barnes again stood before Edison, in the same office where he first met the inventor. This time his DESIRE had been translated into reality. He was in business with Edison. The dominating DREAM OF HIS LIFE had become a reality. Today, people who know Barnes envy him, because of the “break” life yielded him. They see him in the days of his triumph, without taking the trouble to investigate the cause of his success. Barnes succeeded because he chose a definite goal, placed all his energy, all his will power, all his effort, everything back of that goal. He did not become the partner of Edison the day he arrived. He was content to start in the most menial work, as long as it provided an opportunity to take even one step toward his cherished goal. Five years passed before the chance he had been seeking made its appearance. During all those years not one ray of hope, not one promise of attainment of his DESIRE had been held out to him. To everyone, except himself, he appeared only another cog in the Edison business wheel, but in his own mind, HE WAS THE PARTNER OF EDISON EVERY MINUTE OF THE TIME, from the very day that he first went to work there. It is a remarkable illustration of the power of a DEFINITE DESIRE. Barnes won his goal, because he wanted to be a business associate of Mr. Edison, more than he wanted anything else. He created a plan by which to attain that purpose. But he BURNED ALL BRIDGES BEHIND HIM. He stood by his DESIRE until it became the dominating obsession of his life-and-finally, a fact. When he went to Orange, he did not say to himself, “I will try to induce Edison to give me a job of some soft.” He said, “I will see Edison, and put him on notice that I have come to go into business with him. He did not say, “I will work there for a few months, and if I get no encouragement, I will quit and get a job somewhere else.” He did say, “I will start anywhere. I will do anything Edison tells me to do, but before I am through, I will be his associate.” He did not say, “I will keep my eyes open for another opportunity, in case I fail to get what I want in the Edison organization.” He said, “There is but ONE thing in this world that I am determined to have, and that is a business association with Thomas A. Edison. I will burn all bridges behind me, and stake my ENTIRE FUTURE on my ability to get what I want.” He left himself no possible way of retreat. He had to win or perish! That is all there is to the Barnes story of success! A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them.


The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, viz: First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want plenty of money.” First. Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological reason for definiteness which will be described in a subsequent chapter). Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.) Third . Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire. Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action. Fifth . Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it. Sixth . Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ-SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY. It is important that you follow the instructions described in these six steps. It is especially important that you observe, and follow the instructions in the sixth paragraph. You may complain that it is impossible for you to “see yourself in possession of money” before you actually have it. Here is where a BURNING DESIRE will come to your aid. If you truly DESIRE money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want money, and to become so determined to have it that you CONVINCE yourself you will have it. Only those who become “money conscious” ever accumulate great riches. “Money consciousness” means that the mind has become so thoroughly saturated with the DESIRE for money, that one can see one’s self already in possession of it. To the uninitiated, who has not been schooled in the working principles of the human mind, these instructions may appear impractical. It may be helpful, to all who fail to recognize the soundness of the six steps, to know that the information they convey, was received from Andrew Carnegie, who began as an ordinary laborer in the steel mills, but managed, despite his humble beginning, to make these principles yield him a fortune of considerably more than one hundred million dollars. It may be of further help to know that the six steps here recommended were carefully scrutinized by the late Thomas A. Edison, who placed his stamp of approval upon them as being, not only the steps essential for the accumulation of money, but necessary for the attainment of any definite goal. The steps call for no “hard labor.” They call for no sacrifice. They do not require one to become ridiculous, or credulous. To apply them calls for no great amount of education. But the successful application of these six steps does call for sufficient imagination to enable one to see, and to understand, that accumulation of money cannot be left to chance, good fortune, and luck. One must realize that all who have accumulated great fortunes, first did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, DESIRING, and PLANNING before they acquired money. You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches in great quantities, UNLESS you can work yourself into a white heat of DESIRE for money, and actually BELIEVE you will possess it. You may as well know, also that every great leader, from the dawn of civilization down to the present, was a dreamer.


Napoleon Hill (1937-01-01). Think and Grow Rich (p. 28).

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