Imagine if someone you knew walked up to you and said that every night, before going to sleep, she held a “conference” with people she admired for their accomplishments, character, and the way they conducted themselves. And what if she went on to say that many of these people had passed away years ago?
Would you think she’d gone over the edge?
And, what if she continued, saying that these individuals counsel her in dealing with personalities in her business, ethics, personal character development and how to build her sphere of influence? And that this had been going on for the past six months?
Would you ask her if she’d just watched “Ghostbusters” on TV?
Imagine, then, in 1937, how brave it was of Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Laws of Success” among other personal development books, to explain that he partook of such counseling sessions each night?
What a risk he took to explain the most helpful aspect of his life study of successful people were “cabinet meetings” with individuals such as Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Tom Paine, and Luther Burbank?
I found Dr. Hill’s reference to this phenomenon a fascinating metaphor of the power of the human mind, the tool of the imagination, and the benefits one can receive from the surrounding ether containing the energy of thousands of years of history and knowledge.
Dr. Hill called upon these men in order to rebuild his own personal character by asking each one of them to bestow upon him the means of acquiring the character traits he so admired in each of them.
After some period of months, Dr. Hill said the men in his cabinet began to come alive, as it were, and interact with each other as though they were really in the same room (although many of them had never met). Dr. Hill asked each of them for advice and it was freely given, sometimes in amusing anecdotes, and sometimes solemnly.
Advice From Whom?
Most poignant was Dr. Hill’s description of Lincoln, a man of grave character, who always arrived late and was the last one to leave. Mr. Lincoln often walked back and forth in the room with his large hands clasped behind his back, deep in thought.
On one occasion, the former president laid his hand on Dr. Hill’s shoulder and gave the most fatherly advice to him: “My boy, you will need much courage if you remain steadfast in carrying out your purpose in life. But remember, when difficulties overtake you, the common people have common sense. Adversity will develop it.”
Imagine receiving such advice from Mr. Lincoln!
Although Dr. Hill was fully aware that these sessions took place in his imagination, they became so realistic that he discontinued the meetings for several months when he felt fearful he was going mad.
I don’t blame him. It would be like pulling away from the edge of a cliff and re-centering his grip on reality. I mean, it’s not like he could share his experiences with others – that these icons advising him seemed actually alive in one home, freely giving counsel, laughing and joking with one another.
After about six months, Dr. Hill saw Mr. Lincoln in a dream standing at the foot of his bed. Lincoln said, “The world will soon need your services. It is about to undergo a period of chaos which will cause men and women to lose faith and become panic stricken. Go ahead with your wok and complete your philosophy. That is your mission in life. If you neglect it, for any cause whatsoever, you will be reduced to a primal state, and be compelled to retrace the cycles through which you have passed during thousands of years.”
Lincoln was referring to the upcoming Great Depression, which totally panicked the country and caused untold hardship and distress. Dr. Hill took that dream to heart and resumed his meetings with his “cabinet.”
When he did so, Lincoln walked over to him, laid his hand on his shoulder and welcomed him back to the fold!
The Sixth Sense
Dr. Hill discovered during those meetings his mind seemed to become open and receptive to new ideas, thoughts and knowledge that came through a “sixth sense.”
All of us have experienced a sixth sense phenomena, whereupon we react just ahead of an emergency that could have seriously injured us, or avoided a problem when we “sense” that someone is not to be trusted.
Dr. Hill firmly believed that the greatness of his cabinet members came from the continuous use of the principle of the sixth sense.
He also intimated that people are not likely to become fully aware of this principle until the age of forty, or even fifty, after one has matured and had years of meditation, self-examination and serious thought.
I find comfort in the above statement since it reflects my own life and how it unfolded through disastrous death in the family, raising two children by myself, and conducting my work life through the ensuing years. I’ll explain.
It was during Easter week when both my husband and I had were home on vacation and our two daughters were on break from elementary school. My husband was in the throes of depression; he was not communicating with any of us and had locked himself in the computer room. Not wanting to subject the girls to this depressed atmosphere, I took them to the movies. When we returned, my husband had killed himself. I believe it was my sixth sense that made me leave the house that day.
Twenty years have passed, and our daughters have grown into beautiful, responsible adults. Their dad has “visited” them, assuring them that he loved them and that his suicide had nothing to do with them, only a personal pain that began in childhood.
Not only do I “confer” with my late husband, I do so with others who have passed from my life, such as my father and grandparents.
As Thomas Edison said to Dr. Hill,
“…life consists of great swarms of energy, or entities, each as intelligent as human beings think themselves to be. These units of life group together like hives of bees, and remain together until they disintegrate through lack of harmony. These units have differences of opinion, the same as human beings, and often fight among themselves. These meetings you are conducting …will bring to your rescue some of the same units of life which served the members of your Cabinet during their lives. These units are eternal. They never die!”
Let me encourage everyone to mastermind with living people who have the same goals as yourself. We used to call them peer groups in the old days. Now they are mastermind groups, networks, societies and organizations.
I invite you to the Think and Grow Rich Mastermind call Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time. (712) 432-0900, access code 565762. It has changed my life and that of many others.
Masterminding can bring the kind of insight that you can put into practice; discussions can feature strategies you haven’t considered as well as new ideas and concepts.
The survival of humankind and our planet depends upon the ideas and solutions thought up by mankind. Maybe you will be one who will come up with a breakthrough for the ages.
What a message of hope!
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