Many from Napoleon Hill to Eben Pagan have talked about the power of participating in Mastermind groups. In fact, Napoleon Hill, author of the famous Think & Grow Rich has been attributed with inventing the concept back in the 1930s.
Hill’s Mastermind groups are based on the “two or more heads are better than one” principle. His idea was that when you put two or more minds together, a collective mind emerges that serves the interests of the entire group.
But you can’t just have any old heads. They’ve got to be heads with something valuable to contribute. The people in your Mastermind need to offer critical feedback, inspiration and above all, keep you accountable. You don’t want any non-hackers in your group, no whiners, complainers, or underachievers. You want people who will ensure that your success is inevitable.
It makes sense. Imagine what the world would be like if Shakespeare had surrounded himself with self-pitying actors who couldn’t be bothered with memorizing his plays. Imagine the music Frank Zappa would have made if he had hung around with half-interested high school band teachers instead of world-class musicians. The examples go on and on, but the fact remains that most successful people surround themselves with other successful people.
This is where Napoleon Hill was an absolute genius. He knew that not everyone has access to the best people operating in their field. And let’s face it. Not everyone feels social enough to go to meetups or even show up at a cafe for brainstorming over bran muffins. Being communal and capable of greatness do not always go together.
What Napoleon Hill suggested is that if you can’t do the real thing, you can always compile the perfect Mastermind group in your head. No matter who you are or what you do, you can probably think of the top ten people working in your field. The next step is to simply gather them together, offer them a creative problem, and ask them to tell you what they would do.
Love him or hate him, if you’re in business, then you know that you cannot trump Donald Trump when it comes to skill, experience and confidence.
If you’re a writer, why shouldn’t Stephen King sit at your table? If reading one of his novels doesn’t start a fire under your career, his book On Writing certainly will.
If you’re a musician, you have the best of all worlds, because the best of the lot tend to be both writers and business professionals (like Frank Zappa).
No matter whether you are an auto-mechanic or a dentist, you will be aware of powerhouses who can counsel you. The best part is that, once you’ve established your ideal group, you can take them with you wherever you go.
The best part about compiling a Mastermind group in your head is that every member will always show up on time. Each member will be as active or as passive as you need him or her to be. There will be no squabbles over management or leadership. No one needs to be appointed president.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t organizational work that needs to be done, however. As the sole organizer of your mastermind group, you will need to choose when and how to leverage the group. It may seem a little silly, but if you were a writer, you would definitely want to create an agenda for the questions you want to ask Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, and Margaret Atwood at your next meeting. The more prepared you are, the better they’ll be able to respond. Yes, even if their responses are imaginary.
The fact of the matter is that when you know enough about a successful person, you can make an educated guess about how they would respond to difficult, creative, or strategic problems. The trick is to go beyond the NLP idea of modeling just one person and gather an entire crew around you. Go beyond modeling and enjoy the multiple angles you’ll receive from Masterminding with geniuses.
The downfall here is that you cannot directly contribute back to the members of your mental Mastermind group. However, when you start to achieve success with the help of their insights, you’ll find yourself contributing not just to a small group, but also to the world.
Featured photo credit: boy playing chess close up via Shutterstock
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