Napoleon Hill created the formal concept of “the mastermind group” when he was researching what become his science of success. He asked Andrew Carnegie to what did he attribute his success. Carnegie asked him “with a merry little twinkle in his eye” “Young man, before I answer your questions, will you please define your term ‘success’?”. Hill said nothing because he was stumped. Carnegie then continued “By success you make reference to my money do you not?” Hill replied that money is a very common measure of success to which Carnegie replied, ”Oh, well, if you wish to know how I got my money – if that is what you call success – I will answer your question by saying that we have a Master Mind here in our business and that master mind is made up a group of people who are coordinated, organized and directed to a definite end in a spirit of harmonious cooperation.”
Then and there, Napoleon Hill says the seed of the power of the mastermind group was planted his mind. It became his second principle of success.
Hill also wrote in his final and one of his greatest books “Grow Rich! With Peace of Mind” that he visualized the Master Mind as “a formless boundless reservoir of thought-vibration. Not all of it can be available to any one person at any one time, but together like-minded people create something more than the sum of the parts and that is the Master Mind.”
As a student of Hill’s for nearly two decades I have come to know and experience this exact power. I have been a member of mastermind groups of peers who have worked to build their businesses and each has prospered. Each person would tell you that without the support, help, creativity, inspiration, and positivity of the mastermind group they would not have prospered nearly as much as they did. I know this to be true for me. I have led the Top Practices Mastermind Group for over 16 years and have seen transformations, and success that have astounded me even though I planned for it.
Bend the Arc of Success Upward
Human interaction is an ocean of interesting connections that none of us will ever understand. We can simply tap into this ocean and allow it to either lift us up and move the arc of our success up to ever higher levels, or we can as so many do, allow it to bend the arc of our success downward. Most of the culture we now live in is focused on base, negative thoughts. Social media has been a primary contributor to this negativity and will continue to for the foreseeable future. The Mastermind Group is an antidote to this poison.
I agree with Mr. Carnegie, there are many ways to evaluate our own success and money is but one measure and ultimately not the most important. But, as Zig Ziglar famously said, “Money isn’t everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen.”
Mastermind Alliances Available to You
There are many Mastermind Alliances you can build. Here are a few:
- A Mastermind Alliance with your significant other. No other human relationship can contribute as much to our ability to succeed or impede it than that we have with our closest partner in life.
- A Mastermind Alliance with your business partners and your staff. If your practice operates in harmonious cooperation instead of gossiping and tearing down of each other you can transform every day in the office into a blessing.
- A Mastermind Alliance with other people who are building their own businesses. Sharing ideas, strategies, tools, and creativity can transform your business as it did mine.
- A Mastermind Alliance with great minds through reading (or listening) to their books. They wrote them to share their best ideas. Successful people are always reading and looking for more books to read.
- A Mastermind with Your Best Self. You are the only person who is with you every day and you’re pretty great. When you feel the need turn to your best self and talk through the problem. You will be surprised at how smart you actually are. When I coach people, I am frequently asked questions that people know the answer to, they just need to talk it out with someone and I’m happy to help.
- Mastermind Groups like Top Practices curated by an individual who can lead the group. There are others, but I believe the Top Practices Mastermind Group stands with the best ever created. Since 2007 it has changed the lives of podiatrists and I’m very proud of all we’ve accomplished and will continue to accomplish.
- A Classic Mastermind Group created and led by you. The Rest of this article will discuss how Napoleon Hill recommends you create, manage, and profit from a Mastermind Group
Napoleon Hill writes, “The mastermind group does not interfere with your possession of yourself. In fact, one who is herself in all ways is all the more able to accept ideas from the minds of others peacefully and usefully, since she is in no danger of being overwhelmed. A person who has peace of mind always gives as well as receives. As you apply the Master Mind Principle you not only share your knowledge with others but also place yourself in a position to receive generously from others and that which you receive can multiply your power to grow rich far beyond your present conception.”
Here are the steps to take to create a mastermind group that benefits everyone in the group:
- Start by inviting one or two people and begin small. These people should understand the purpose of the group is to mutually grow mentally and spiritually, as well as materially.
- Follow the “Barbershop Rules”. Many years ago, I was getting a haircut in a barbershop in Los Alamitos, CA and said something – I don’t remember what – and the barber lifted the scissors up and took a step back. “Woah!”, he said, “that violates the barbershop rules! No talking about politics, religion, or O.J. Simpson!” For some context on that last rule this was 1995 and his trial was on the TV every night and everyone was watching and just like today everyone had an opinion. Your mastermind group is not a debating society, every topic other than your mutual success is forbidden.
- Everything revealed in the meeting is confidential and is to be shared with no one else. You have to build and nurture trust in the group.
- You can slowly add members. Try to do it one at a time and the invitation should be for a limited time as a trial to see if they improve the group and get an equal benefit. The existing members can then vote for a permanent membership. The vote should be unanimous.
- Be clear that this group’s purpose is the success of the membership and everyone needs to share everything that can help the others holding nothing back.
- Rotate leadership. Each person should serve a term of leader and facilitator.
- Frequency depends on the group -at minimum you should meet once a month, possibly more frequently if it suits the group but be careful not to over meet and fatigue the group.
- From time to time members may elect to leave the group. Over time a group that is working on similar issues may find themselves in different stages in their growth and may need to leave to create a different group. This is expected appropriate and fine.
- The group may also decide to “sunset” the group if it no longer serves the definite major purpose of the members of the group. I’ve done this twice in my time in mastermind groups. Some groups continue for years and continue to support the success of the members.
- Groups can meet in person, but that is often not possible. Zoom is a treasure, use it.
Napoleon Hill also suggests not revealing your Mastermind Group with others. Many people are wedded to failure and will work to undermine your efforts at self-improvement and growth. The pushback I receive from people in my personal life about my approach to success and masterminding is often significant, condescending, and arrogant. I often want to say, “ok, let’s compare bank accounts” but check myself and remember there is no point in debating with most people because they will never understand. Like-minded people can find each other easily and quickly. What I know is that there IS a science to success. The 17 principles of Napoleon Hill’s philosophy work. Period. If you want to experience the full genius of Napoleon Hill listen to his audiobook “Outwitting the Devil.” Top Practices would not exist without this philosophy and your success will be overwhelmingly supported through the Mastermind principle, the second of Napoleon Hill’s 17 principles.
Use this opportunity to begin your small mastermind group of like-minded people and grow together.