Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Laws of Success Lesson One: The Mastermind

The following are just a few of my notes inspired by Napoleon Hill's: Laws of Success, as well as part one of a sixteen part series. To find out more on this blog about The Laws of Success or to download a copy of it click here.

So what is the Mastermind? According to Napoleon Hill, the Mastermind is simply two or more people working together in "perfect harmony" to complete a given task. In other words, the first key to a persons success is teamwork with others. The book makes several references to Jesus Christ and the mastermind concept. The theory goes that Jesus was the first to really master this concept and that he and the 12 Apostles were so mentally in-tune that anything they thought of they could do. While Hill does acknowledge this as just a theory what he does stand by is this : You are not meant to succeed in life alone.

The mastermind concept of course is not an original concept by far ( Napoleon Hill makes a point of letting his readers know that all of the principles in his work are not of his own conception). People have been saying "two heads are better than one" for centuries. Two biblical references I can think of off-hand are Deuteronomy 32:30 "How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?" and Ecclesiates 4:12 "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.". Note: I will use biblical references in the blog from time to time just to show that these concepts have actually been taught for centuries. I am sure if you look at sacred texts of other religions you will find similar concepts being taught.

Even now, you can find success stories in which a self-made millionaire or billionaire had someone to act as a partner, even if that partner isn't as recognized. Bill Gates had Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak, Michael Jackson had the Jackson Five and later Quincy Jones, the list goes on. Athletic teams definitely understand the value of team work: the team with the greatest cooperation and collective determination always wins the Championship. Have you ever noticed celebrities tend to always have a entourage? Most likely because those individuals have contributed to their success in one way or another.

Many businesses are now referring to employees as "team members" and front line managers as "team leaders". Mr. Hill even makes a point of saying a persons spouse or significant other can be a powerful part of the mastermind concept as sex tends to strengthen the bond between people. He also cautions that a bad marriage/ relationship can be one's undoing. Just imagine how many marriages could be saved if people understood this concept: "Honey we have to get along and cooperate, our success depends on it".

In my opinion however, one of the best examples of the Mastermind is the U.S. Military. From day one in basic training you are programmed to work with 50 some-odd people you don't know as a cohesive unit. You are taught to walk alike, think alike and dress alike. Everyone folds their close the same way. Everyone keeps their living area in the same order. You adopt the same creed's and core values. After a while people within a unit even adopt similar speech patterns. This I believe is one of the main reasons we have one of the strongest military forces in the world today.

So how do you develop a mastermind? Napoleon Hill offers many suggestions and examples in the book but there are two key concepts that, I feel,  he emphasizes the most:

1.) Perfect Harmony. This is the most important step. The more you and your Mastermind Partners are on the same page, the greater your chances for success. One of the biggest misconceptions in this rule is that you must lose your individualism in order to achieve the harmony Mr. Hill speaks of. The opposite is true. The beauty of this concept is that everyone remains an individual. Stephen Covey refers to this as synergy: everyone knows their part on the team and they play that part the best they can without interfering with anyone else's duties.

2.) Organized Effort. This term is used throughout the courses. It makes no sense just to get a bunch of people together and say "make me successful". Your mastermind needs a plan with goals and deadlines. Strategies need to be developed and tactics implemented. Otherwise, your mastermind falls apart into a disorganized gaggle.

There is infinitely more to talk about on this subject but if you want to know more just read the book.

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