I have just finished reading,”Think And Grow Rich”, for the second time. What an eye opener. As my Friend and Mentor, Joe Martin, used to say,”One of the hardest things to do if you want to remain successful, is to remember what you’ve forgotten.” Joe passed away in 1998, but everything I ever learned from him I remember like it was yesterday. God bless you Joe wherever you are; I know it’s a good place.

As I was saying, having just finished, “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill for the second time sure brought back memories. For example, one day I was sitting in my 1957 De Soto that I had start by lifting the hood and putting a screwdriver up to the starter solenoid and make connection to turn over the engine. (What a pain!) This particular day was a Saturday, and I was sitting at a phonebooth,(no cell phones in those days). It was pouring rain and the sky was black. I was trying to read, “Think And Grow Rich” using my trusty flashlight while I waited for our dispatcher to phone me with a lead. My head was so negative that I knew it was going to be a lousy lead, even though logically it should have been a good one because people stay home when it’s raining. It made no difference to me.  I was negative-negative-negative!  I couldn’t have given the product away for free.

But at least I was there doing the right thing. My faith was really at the level of a mustard seed.  At the time I was 27 years old.  I had wasted the previous 10 years, and I had never been good in school anyway.  I was not cut out for academia, so it was obvious that I was not going to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.  My options were limited:  succeed at sales or be a bum!  I decided that I would succeed at sales and started doing everything necessary to become a professional salesman.  The first thing I was told to do was read “Think & Grow Rich”  — which was where we started in the 1957 De Soto.  The result of being a successful salesman meant I was paid by commission.  Therefore, in sales, the reward for success was money, and I made money my burning desire.  I didn’t mention that during this period I had a very serious problem with alcohol.  It seems as though I got arrested for drunk-driving at least once a month.  In fact, it was Robert Shapiro who handled all my drunk-driving cases.  I had 2 files as thick as phonebooks.  He said he was sick of me and got me sentenced to AA.

Now things begin to change… I was already #1 salesman in my company as well as #1 district manager, but I felt that I was living in the myth of Sisyphus.  Sisyphus was a character in Greek mythology who was doomed to Hades.  In Hades, his punishment for eternity in this underworld was to roll a boulder up a mountain.  Every time he got to the top, it rolled back down, and he had to start all over again.  That seemed to be my fate as long as I continued to drink.  I was initially sentenced to AA in 1972 but didn’t really get sober until 1976.  It took me 4 years because I was such a fast learner…  This presented another problem because I was afraid that I couldn’t talk to people without drinking.  I was then told that whatever I could do drunk I could do better sober.  Thank God I listened — because it was true!  After I quit drinking, I became in independent distributor with our company, and everything turned to gold!  I couldn’t believe how much money I was making.  In 1977 I hired Tony Robbins.  The first time he ever heard the phrase “positive thinking” was from me.  Tony worked for me for about a years and decided he wanted to be in the seminar business.  He went and got a job with a guy named Jim Rohm.  They had some kind of dispute, and Tony started his own seminars.  The rest is history!  He has gone on to great heights, and I’m very proud that I gave him his first introduction to positive thinking and the rules of influence.

As I read “Think & Grow Rich” again, I find myself rejuvenated and remembering things that I had long since forgotten.  I guess they always really were a part of my life because my greatest teachers were Joe Martin, J. Douglas Edwards, Napoleon Hill, AA, and Emmet Fox — not specifically in that order.  I found myself growing more and more successful.  By age 36, I was a millionaire and national sales manager of our company.  I continued to become more successful by instigating the creation of our own finance companies.  So at this point, I guess I was pretty much an equity partner with my friend, Joe Martin.

As I read “Think & Grow Rich” I am reminded of the 13 steps to riches and the pathway to grow a success consciousness.  I was reminded of the power of the subconscious mind and how that power, once unleashed in a person’s mind, can create miracles.  I was reminded of all the fears that destroy a person’s ability to succeed.  I learned that faith is the language that communicates thoughts to the subconscious powerhouse.  The most important thing of all is that my thoughts are my own.  No one can take them away from me.  No one can influence them unless I allow them to.  I am also reminded that thoughts are things — very powerful things.  From these thoughts come ideas that, in many cases, create the power to actually change the world.

So in going forward from here, I intend to stay close to my old friend, Napoleon Hill and the book he gave 25 years of his life to create which is “Think & Grow Rich.”  I suggest that anyone out there who finds himself in a position where he/she feels as negative and as low as I did, buy a copy of “Think & Grow Rich” and read it.  Once you’ve read it, read it again.  Then put those principles into action, and watch the changes that begin to take place in your life.  I hope that you attack the process with as much determination and vigilence as I have.  Today I find myself in a position where I’m complete — spiritually, physically, and mentally.  I have many people to be grateful to for being in my life.  They include my grandmother who never gave up on me when I was a drunk; fortunately she experienced her faith fulfilled before she passed away by being able to see me become successful and knowing that her selfless sacrifice was not wasted.  Also included is my friend, Joe, for reaching out his hand and giving me a chance when no one else would.  The teachings of J. Douglas Edwards, Napoleon Hill, and Emmet Fox dovetailed into a method for success that has allowed me to help many people make that difficult change from a loser to a winner.  And my wife, Paula, who has been there by my side for 14 years has supported our business and given her tremendous ability to all my endeavors and helped me continue to remain successful even during these most difficult times.

Until next time… I love you all and wish you great success step-by-step until you cross that bridge and realize fulfillment in whatever your burning desire might be.

Ed Harding


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