In the classic book Think and Grow Rich (1938) by Napoleon Hill, he writes
“Persistence is an essential factor in the procedure of transmuting desire into its monetary equivalent.”
Does it really mean that the natural outcome of combining passion and persistence is profit? How do we define passion or desire? How do we define profit? I think we all know what persistence means; that often difficult, constant, not giving up attitude that drives you to complete what you started.
It seems that very often a cyclist will stop pedaling just before the finish line. A piano student will choose to only do 10 repetitions of a difficult passage instead of 15 and leave it up to fate that he or she will play it correctly when the performance comes. An unemployed adult will turn into a discouraged worker, giving up on finding meaningful, rewarding work, even a career.
So what defines desire or passion? Are there only certain desires that can be included in this statement. Are artists, musicians, social workers, clergy, etc exempt from this procedure of transmutation. What is the monetary equivalent? Is it measured in buying power, quality of life or overall well-being, or even spiritual transcendence?
I realize that I am asking a lot of questions. I don’t know the answers. The thought I have is that the passion or desire comes from our ego or spiritual practice. The monetary equivalent is going to come from the world. God has no concept of money or its value. Spirituality has no connection to cash. Persistence is the key factor. When we apply diligence, intent, and commitment to a desire or passion that hits the correct target in every scenario we expect the world to reward us. What happens when it doesn’t? Is our personal satisfaction enough?
One of my favorite books is The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M. Keith. I like to call these The Anyway Commandments (page 9)
- People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
- If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
- If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
- The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
- Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
- The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest ideas. Think big anyway.
- People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
- What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
- People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
- Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
My personal conclusion:
Pick your passion – apply persistence – believe in abundance, anyway.