The Origins of Masterminding and Why It Works To Create Success
I’m continuing my blog series on Mastermind Groups. Today, I’ll tell you where the idea comes from and why it works.
The Origin of Masterminding
Let’s take the mystery out of this. Because there is nothing new about sitting down with people to discuss how to make something happen. In fact, that’s the most normal thing in the world, because people have been doing this throughout human history. It’s gone by different names, of course. Salon. Study group. Club. But it seems that the phenomenon holds true wherever two or more gather with shared purpose and focus. The result is that some greater ability appears in their midst.
We can trace the term, ‘Masterminding’ back to Napoleon Hill. He was the author of the famous bestseller, Think & Grow Rich, which he wrote in the early 20th century. Hill made the observation that some of the world’s most successful and wealthiest men got together and helped each other move forward on their goals and ambitions, including Dale Carnegie, Henry Ford and Charles Schwab. The met regularly with a group of their peers, and they got encouragement, contacts, support and suggestions as a result.
“The accumulation of great fortunes call for power, and power is acquired through highly organized and intelligently directed, specialized knowledge, but that knowledge does not necessarily have to be in the possession of the person who accumulates the fortune.”
Hill identified what he called the Mastermind principle, which he defined like this:
“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Because according to Napolean Hill,
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”
You’ve likely experienced the ‘all of us are smarter than any of us’ phenomenon. It happens for me when I’m working on a book. If I come to an idea that isn’t quite dialed in, I run it by someone else and in the sharing of it, it either becomes clear to me or my lack of clarity provokes the person I shared it with to tell me what I was missing. Yet on my own, that missing piece or lack of clarity is unresolvable.
That third mind is what Hill referred to as the Mastermind, and it’s a force we seek to harness in the group. Because in a Mastermind Group, the process and agenda belong not to any individual, but to the group, to that mastermind. And though the emphasis is on giving and participating, the returns are fantastic: You get feedback,you can brainstorm new possibilities, recognize hidden opportunities, and set in place a process of accountability that keeps you and everyone else focused and on track.
The side effect is perhaps the best effect of all: You wind up in a community of supportive colleagues who are all moving together to new heights of accomplishment. Since we become like the people we hang out with, the synergetic advantage is truly phenomenal for all involved.
One of my mentors put it to me this way. He described it as “having your own board of directors for your life!” How cool is that?
In my next post, we’ll begin exploring how to put a group together and make it great! Meanwhile, I’d love your comments and experiences with masterminding.
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.