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This Little-Known Quote From A 1937 Masterpiece Will Change The Way You Look At Success Forever

Jack Martin

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I just finished reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill for the first time—and in it, I came across a quote that will forever change how I look at success.

Think and Grow Rich is a self-improvement masterpiece written during the aftermath of the Great Depression and on the cusp of a second world war—and has sold over 100 million copies to date. Hill, the author, spent 25+ years studying hundreds of successful people. His thesis was that, during his studies he would find pattern in regard to their successes.

He did.

Hill discovered that the secret to achieving anything your wildest dreams comes down to a burning desire to do so—and nothing more.

The book is an incredible read, as Hill breaks down exactly how you can achieve your personal goals by setting an ultimate desire—or Chief Aim—and how to use certain techniques to turn your dreams to reality.

Aside from incredible true stories of the most successful people of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Hill’s specific instructions on how to achieve your personal goals, Think and Grow Rich is filled with Hill’s own inspiring quotes on personal growth and development.

One-liners like “A quitter never wins—a winner never quits,” and, “There are no limitations to the mind except those that we acknowledge,” are already enough to make anyone looking to improve themselves want to read.

As someone who has been practicing and writing about self-development for the past two years, I appreciate quotes like these, and the seemingly endless inspiration between the pages of Think and Grow Rich.

But among all of his phenomenal advice, Hill’s most outstanding advice—and the advice that changed the way I look at goal-achievement—is this:

“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”

Meaning, the path to success revolves around our willingness to learn—and to constantly challenge ourselves to even further understand what we already know.  

Why, compared to other quotes, does this particular quote stand out?

Because “The way of success is the way of continuous pursuitof knowledge,” is—without question—the most actionable advice Hill gives in his best-selling classic.

Unlike “A quitter never wins—a winner never quits,” Hill is making it clear that, after studying hundreds of the most successful people on the planet, the ones who actively looked to learn are the ones who achieved their dreams.

And he makes it clear that if you want to be successful to, you need to do the same.

There is no excuse to stop learning after formal education.

Yet, the majority of us seem to lose interest in educating ourselves after school.

We go to work, hang with friends, exercise here and there, and then spend the rest of our free time in front of a screen: watching Netflix or scrolling social feeds. And unless your screen-time is filled with educational content—i.e., reading or watching something that brings you real value—you’re actively choosing to distance yourself from success.

It’s no secret that learning outside of the classroom is difficult.

Half of the challenge is in choosing to spend your time doing something productive in the first place.

But for those of you who have gotten into the habit of learning for self-development, you’ve probably found difficulty in retaining all of the knowledge you’re feeding yourself. There are no exams about the blockchain podcast you’re listening to, or term papers on the money-management book you’re reading. A lot of the time, we find it hard to apply the knowledge we learn, ultimately forgetting it over time.  

Fortunately, there are a few tricks to actively learning, so you can achieve success through the pursuit of knowledge.

All you have to do is remember these three Rs:

Read: Be it a book, Minutes article, or The L.A.Times, you need to read constantly. Reading is the easiest, most effective way to learn about anything—yet, so many of us make the choice to check Instagram in line at Starbucks than read a quick article on personal growth. Pick a few different topics you want to learn about—say, investing, leadership development, or cryptocurrencies—and find a source of input for each of those topics (meaning, book, magazine, online publication, etc.). Fill as much of your free time as possible reading as much as you can.  

Reflect: This is where most people run into problems when learning. They increase their input as much as possible, reading and ingesting all of the material they can, in as little time as possible, but never actually stop to consider what they’ve read, how it makes them feel, how they can apply it to their own lives, and so on. Whenever you read an article, take some time to reflect on its content. After you finish a book, go back and re-read some sections that really stood out to you—or sections you need a better understanding of. Take the time to let new material sink in.  

Regurgitate: I simply mean reiterate the material you’ve reflected on as often as possible, and to the best of your ability. By explaining and re-explaining what you’ve just learned, you’re inherently developing a better understanding. This is by far the step that separates average learners who forget 90 percent of their input from exceptional learners who ultimately use their consumption of knowledge to succeed—as Hill made apparent. When you’re done reflecting, explain what you’ve learned in conversation to your peers or a friend. Or, better yet, write an article about it (like I am here). Even if you don’t publish it, forcing yourself to actualize your own understanding will help you learn at a faster and more effective rate.

This is how you Think and Grow Rich.

Experience is life’s greatest teacher. Writer, advice-giver, and former collegiate student-athlete. Music fan but a hip-hop fanatic. Also, please travel.

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