GTD! The 10 Motivations

I just finished a really strange book called Think and Grow Rich. If you can get past the title, there are some powerful thoughts inside. I kept hearing about it from various blogs and teachers, so I finally gave it a chance.

Author Napoleon Hill was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie (in 1908) to interview over 500 successful people of the time to discover their secrets of success. This twenty-year project culminated in “The Philosophy of Achievement,” which Hill used as the basis for his career as a consultant and lecturer. Think and Grow Rich, published in 1937, consolidated his philosophy and sparked the “motivational literature” genre. It’s a bizarre combination of business, self-help, and psychological advice plus new age (and kind of yogic) teachings.

One thing I keep coming back to is its list of “The 10 Mind Stimuli.” I’m always looking for that exhilaration or enthusiasm that helps in GTD, and this list brings in a few sources I hadn’t considered…

The 10 Mind Stimuli

The human mind responds to stimuli through which it may be ‘keyed up’ to high rates of vibration, known as enthusiasm, creative imagination, intense desire, etc. The stimuli to which the mind responds most freely are:

  1. Desire for sex
  2. Love
  3. Desire for fame, power, financial gain, money
  4. Music
  5. Friendship (same or opposite sex)
  6. Master Mind alliances (defined as those based on harmony of two or more people pursuing spiritual or temporal advancement)
  7. Mutual suffering
  8. Autosuggestion
  9. Fear
  10. Drugs and alcohol

Eight of these stimuli are natural and constructive. Two are destructive. The list is here presented to enable you to make a comparative study of the major sources of mind stimulation. From this study, it will be readily seen that the emotion of sex is, by great odds, the most intense and powerful of all mind stimuli.

See what I mean? It’s a little racy for a business guy. But interesting. (Fear is stronger than beer!) It groups a bunch of activities that I hadn’t really connected before using loud music to get off the couch, or finishing a project based on the jokes of a friend. Exits from slugville. Sublimation congregation.

I’m sure there are other energy sources, too. Meditation is one obvious omission. Food is another, especially all the great health food that wasn’t around in 1937, and I’d also include physical movements like dance or of course yoga. (Maybe this list is focused on mental energy more than physical.) Laughter might deserve its own category aside from friendship / “Master Mind” alliances, and inspirational literature could surely be added. Or maybe we could just keep ourselves focused on the greatest mental bang for our stimulatory buck, and stick with sex.

If you’ve read this book I would love to hear what you thought… or any other great motivations!