Self-Trust: How to Build and Maintain It

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Why is it important to have faith in yourself? How do you develop unwavering faith in your goals?

When you have faith in yourself, your imagination will prompt ideas that propel you towards achieving your goals. Affirmation and visualization will help you believe in your goals. Tell yourself constantly that you will succeed, and always envision yourself succeeding.

Read on to understand why it is so important to have faith in yourself.

Have Unwavering Belief 

In addition to having an intense desire for riches or other success, you also must have faith in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals.

Faith or belief is one of the most important keys to converting our thoughts into reality. Faith works on a subconscious level and helps move you toward your goal.

If you have faith in yourself and your plans to achieve wealth, it will prompt ideas and associations that lead you to success. 

But if you lack faith and believe the opposite, you’ll defeat yourself. For instance, if you believe that you’re doomed to poverty due to forces beyond your control, this negative belief will take over your mind. It will block out positive thoughts and desires that could help you overcome your circumstances, and you will fail to improve your current state.

So to achieve your goal, it’s important to develop faith to propel you toward it, and inspire others to work with you. You can build faith in yourself through affirmation and visualization (which the author calls autosuggestion) — that is, by constantly telling yourself you can succeed and by envisioning yourself succeeding (more on autosuggestion later).

You eventually come to believe the things you repeat to yourself. If you write down your goal and repeat it frequently by reading it out loud, you’ll reinforce it in your mind and convince your subconscious to act on it.

You can go a step beyond envisioning yourself succeeding by acting as though you already have the thing you want. Your mind takes on the nature of the thoughts that dominate it.

If you find it difficult to build faith in yourself, or you lack self-confidence, you can change that, and increase your chances of success, by doing and repeating the following:

  1. I know I have the ability to achieve my specific goal.
  2. I will concentrate my thoughts for 30 minutes a day on the person I intend to become.
  3. I will spend 10 minutes a day demanding self-confidence from myself.
  4. My goal demands that I develop self-confidence to achieve it.
  5. I will cultivate positive thoughts toward myself and others. I have faith that I will change my thoughts and become self-reliant and successful.

Faith in Yourself Leads to Success

Here are two examples of how choosing to believe in your goals can lead to incredible success and systemic changes.

Example 1: The creation of U.S. Steel Corporation

Charles M. Schwab, who worked for Andrew Carnegie, had a vision for restructuring of the steel industry. But it was counterintuitive. The standard practice at the time was to create monopolies, then increase prices to reap profits, which restricts demand. Schwab, however, wanted to do the opposite — make steel cheaper, and create a huge and expanding market to create larger profits. 

To do that, he needed the cooperation of J.P. Morgan, one of the world’s wealthiest men. Others had tried and failed to interest Morgan in organizing a steel trust. 

Schwab’s great faith in his idea, his eloquence in presenting it, and his ability to produce numbers to back up his plan, persuaded Morgan and other titans of finance and industry to go along with his restructuring plan. He introduced it in a speech at an industry dinner, and later personally lobbied Morgan and Carnegie. Schwab sold the others on the idea and together they merged their business interests to create the U.S. Steel Corporation. He became its president.

Schwab combined an idea, plus faith and persistence, to convert his idea to reality. But his faith in the idea put it in motion.

Example 2:  Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality

Martin Luther King Jr.’s  strong faith and belief in the human rights of all people inspired the Civil Rights movement of the sixties, which called attention to the segregation and discrimination against African-Americans in all areas of life, incuding the workplace, housing, education, public services, and social life. 

Although the movement drew violent resistance, which cost King his life, his faith that his dream of equality would be realized inspired others to take up the cause and created a sea change in American society that continues to have effects today.

How Having Faith in Yourself Leads to Success

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  • Napoleon Hill's 1937 guide to success
  • How to use thoughts, visualization, and affirmation to achieve wealth
  • The importance of a Master Mind group and how to start one

Joseph Adebisi

Joseph has had a lifelong obsession with reading and acquiring new knowledge. He reads and writes for a living, and reads some more when he is supposedly taking a break from work. The first literature he read as a kid were Shakespeare's plays. Not surprisingly, he barely understood any of it. His favorite fiction authors are Tom Clancy, Ted Bell, and John Grisham. His preferred non-fiction genres are history, philosophy, business & economics, and instructional guides.

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