Think & Grow Rich Lessons
Shawn Halloran Long Beach, CA, United States

Posted: 2016-02-25

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Chapter 15 – The Six Ghosts of Fear


“…man’s thought impulses begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent, whether those thoughts are voluntary or involuntary.”


In chapter 14: The Sixth Sense – Hill stated that the chapter was included because the book is designed for the purpose of presenting a complete philosophy by which individuals may unerringly guide themselves in attaining whatever they ask of life. According to Hill, the starting point of all achievement is desire. The finishing point is that brand of knowledge which leads to understanding – understanding of self, understanding of others, understanding of the laws of Nature, recognition and understanding of happiness. In Chapter 15 Hill defines riches by first identifying why he wrote a book on how to get money. He stated that the passing of the recent depression had left millions of men and women paralyzed with the fear of poverty stating, “Money is only clam shells or metal discs or scraps of paper, and there are treasures of the heart and soul which money cannot buy, but most people, being broke, are unable to keep this in mind and sustain their spirits.” Hill estimated that more than 95% of the population had been paralyzed by the fear of poverty and, as a result, set the economy into a more severe downturn than otherwise would have been experienced.


Fear according to Hill, is the combination of indecision and doubt. Indecision, doubt, and fear are the three enemies of the mind; the Sixth Sense will never function while any combination of these three negatives are present in the mind. Fears are divided into six basic fears, beginning with the fear of poverty, which Hill identifies as the most difficult to master. I’m intrigued with the fear of poverty at this point, because of a conversation I had with Michael, and some of the other mentors, on one of the training calls this past week. On the call, Michael suggested that the fear of poverty is still a prevalent fear in our society today, more than 75 years later. My initial response was to look at the fear of poverty from strictly a monetary point of view, at which I stated I am fortunate not to be troubled by the fear of poverty. After weighing my position in contrast to the conversation that followed, I concluded that I was likely viewing the fear of poverty with a limited perspective.


What is the fear of poverty?

Symptoms of the fear of poverty include indifference, indecision, doubt, worry, over caution, and procrastination. The symptoms manifest themselves in many ways, including: one’s willingness to tolerate poverty, a lack of ambition, permitting others to do ones thinking, making excuses to explain away failures, being envious or critical of those who are successful, finding fault with others, spending beyond one’s income, neglect of personal appearance, abuse of alcohol or drugs, lack of poise, self-consciousness, lack of self reliance, and the list goes on. Looking at these traits, I agree with Michael’s position when he states that the fear of property is still prevalent in our society today. Prevalent among many in our society is an entitlement mentally – people with the misconception they deserve all that life has to offer without having to experience failure on the journey to success. People confusing equal opportunity with equal result - putting in half-hearted attempts into building their business, then bad mouthing an opportunity because they did not experience overwhelming financial success in six months.


Beyond those with an entitlement mentally are individuals who desire to make the effort and take personal responsibility for the success they experience in their lives. Even in this group, fear of poverty manifests itself in many of us in various forms. Over caution is described as looking for the negative side of every circumstance, of talking and thinking of failure instead of focusing on a means to succeed. Waiting for the right time to get started – oh how many times have I been guilty of this. Pessimism. Remembering those who have failed, but never those who have succeeded.  Procrastination – as Hill states, the habit of putting off until tomorrow that we should have been done last year. Jim Rohn said he could give classes on procrastination, that he had got so good at it you couldn’t even tell he was doing it. I sometimes wonder if I was one of his top students ???


Allowing fear to stop us from speaking up on a call, or asking a question. Allowing fear to stop us from making a decision, or taking action. Allowing fear to stop us from stating our position because somebody might not agree with our thoughts. Being so terrified of the word, “NO!” that all progress ceases to occur. All of these fears fall in line with, or closely parallel, the fear of poverty. I was reading an article last week on the internet about people holding on to resentment, hurt, and pain from the past; because it is easier for people to hold onto the known than it is to overcome the mountain of fear they experience facing an unknown present, and as a result miss out on untold opportunities. I’ve been stuck in places like that. It’s difficult to walk through those fears, but walk we must for we cannot walk in the past and live in the present at the same time.


Wow, this is only one of the “Six Ghosts of Fear” discussed by Hill and any of these fears; whether in the form of indecision, doubt, or full blown fear; will not allow us to tap into the benefits of the Sixth Sense and achievement of riches in the broadest sense of the meaning: financial, spiritual, mental, emotional, relational, and material estates. He states there can be no compromise between poverty and riches, the two roads travel in opposite directions. Fear puts us on the wrong road. The good news fear exists only in the mind, and Hill provides us with a solution in this chapter. Tuula Rands posted and excellent lesson distinguishing the difference between danger and fear, whereas danger is a real threat and fear is an imagined threat. She did a brilliant job contrasting the two and I highly recommend everybody give her lesson a good read.


Shawn ‘Hal’ Halloran – Long Beach, California