The Ten Factors of the “Mechanism” of Thought
by Napoleon Hill
The mind operates through ten factors, some of which operate automatically, while others must be directed through voluntary effort. Self-discipline is the sole means of this direction.
These ten factors are:
1. INFINITE INTELLIGENCE: The source of all power of thought, which operates automatically, but it may be organized and directed to definite ends through Definiteness of Purpose.
Infinite Intelligence may be likened to a great reservoir of water that overflows continuously, its branches flowing in small streams in many directions, and giving life to all vegetation and all living things. That portion of the stream which gives life to man supplies him also with the power of thought.
The brain of man may be likened to the water spigot, while the water flowing through the spigot represents Infinite Intelligence. The brain does not generate the power of thought; it merely receives that power from Infinite Intelligence and applies it to whatever ends the individual desires.
And remember, this privilege of the control and the direction of thought is the only prerogative over which an individual has been given complete control. He may use it to build, or he may use it to destroy. He may give it direction, through Definiteness of Purpose, or he may neglect to do so, as he chooses.
The exercise of this great privilege is attained solely by self-discipline.
2. THE CONSCIOUS MIND: The individual mind functions through two departments. One is known as the conscious section of the mind; the other as the sub-conscious section. It is the opinion of psychologists that these two sections are comparable to an iceberg, the visible portion above the water line representing the conscious section, the invisible portion below the water line representing the sub-conscious section. Therefore it is obvious that the conscious section of the mind—that portion with which we consciously and voluntarily turn on the power of thought—is but a small portion of the whole, consisting of not more than one-fifth of the available mind power.
The sub-conscious section of the mind operates automatically. It carries on all the necessary functions in connection with the building and the maintenance of the physical body; keeps the heart beating to circulate the blood; assimilates the food through a perfect system of chemistry, and delivers the food in liquid form throughout the body; removes worn out cells and replaces them with new cells; removes bacteria which are deleterious to health; creates new physical beings by the blending of the cells of protoplasm (the formative material of animal embryos) contributed by the male and female of living organisms.
These and many other essential functions are performed by the sub-conscious section of the mind, in addition to which it serves as the connecting link between the conscious mind and Infinite Intelligence.
It may be likened to the spigot of the conscious mind, through which (by its control through self-discipline) more thought power may be turned on. Or it may be likened to a rich garden spot wherein may be planted and germinated the seed of any desired idea.
The importance of the sub-conscious section of the mind may be estimated by recognition of the fact that it is the only means of voluntary approach to Infinite Intelligence. Therefore it is the medium by which all prayers are conveyed and all answers to prayer are received.
It is the medium that translates one’s Definite Major Purpose into its material equivalent, a process which consists entirely in guidance of the individual in the proper use of the natural means of attaining the objects of his desires.
The sub-conscious section of the mind acts upon all impulses of thought, carrying out to their logical conclusion all thoughts which are definitely shaped by the conscious mind, but it gives preference to thoughts inspired by emotional feeling, such as the emotion of fear or the emotion of Faith; hence the necessity for self-discipline as a means of providing the sub-conscious mind with only those thoughts or desires which lead to the attainment of whatever one wishes.
The sub-conscious section of the mind gives preference also to the dominating thoughts of the mind—those thoughts which one creates by the repetition of ideas or desires. This fact explains the importance of adopting a Definite Major Purpose and the necessity of fixing that purpose (through self-discipline) as a dominating thought of the mind.
3. THE FACULTY OF WILL-POWER: The power of the will is the “boss” of all departments of the mind. It has the power to modify, change or balance all thinking habits, and its decisions are final and irrevocable except by itself. It is the power that puts the emotions of the heart under control, and it is subject to direction only by self-discipline. In this connection it may be likened to the Chairman of a Board of Directors whose decisions are final. It takes its orders from the conscious mind, but recognizes no other authority.
4. THE FACULTY OF REASON: This is the “presiding judge” of the conscious section of the mind which may pass judgment on all ideas, plans, and desires, and it will do so if it is directed by self-discipline. But its decisions can be set aside by the power of the will, or modified by the power of the emotions when the will does not interfere. Let us here take note of the fact that all accurate thinking requires the cooperation of the faculty of reason, although it is a requirement which not more than one person in every ten thousand respects. This explains why there are so few accurate thinkers. Most so-called thinking is the work of the emotions without the guiding influence of self-discipline; without relationship to either the power of the will or the faculty of reason.
5. THE FACULTY OF THE EMOTIONS: This is the source of most of the actions of the mind, the seat of most of the thoughts released by the conscious section of the mind. The emotions are tricky and undependable and may be very dangerous if they are not modified by the faculty of reason under the direction of the faculty of the will.
However, the faculty of the emotions is not to be condemned because of its undependability, for it is the source of all enthusiasm, imagination and Creative Vision, and it may be directed by self-discipline to the development of these essentials of individual achievement. The direction may be given by modification of the emotions through the faculties of the will and the reason.
Accurate thinking is not possible without complete mastery of the emotions.
Mastery is attained by placing the emotions under the control of the will, thus preparing them for direction to whatever ends the will may dictate, modifying them when necessary through the faculty of reason.
The accurate thinker has no opinions and makes no decisions which have not been submitted to, and passed upon by, the faculties of the will and the reason. He uses his emotions to inspire the creation of ideas through his imagination, but refines his ideas through his will and reason before their final acceptance.
6. THE FACULTY OF IMAGINATION: This is the workshop wherein are shaped and fashioned all desires, ideas, plans and purposes, together with the means of attaining them. Through organized use and self-discipline the imagination may be developed to the status of Creative Vision.
But the faculty of the imagination, like the faculty of the emotions, is tricky and undependable if it is not controlled and directed by self-discipline. Without control it often dissipates the power of thought in useless, impractical and destructive activities which need not be here mentioned in detail. Uncontrolled imagination is the stuff that daydreams are made of!
Control of the imagination begins with the adoption of definiteness of purpose based on definite plans. The control is completed by strict habits of self-discipline which give definite direction to the faculty of the emotions, for the power of the emotions is the power that inspires the imagination to action.
7. THE FACULTY OF THE CONSCIENCE: The conscience is the moral guide of the mind, and its major purpose is that of modifying the individual’s aims and purposes so that they harmonize with the moral laws of nature and of mankind. The conscience is a twin-brother of the faculty of reason in that it gives discrimination and guidance to the reason when reason is in doubt.
The conscience functions as a co-operative guide only so long as it is respected and followed. If it is neglected, or its mandates are rejected, it finally becomes a conspirator instead of a guide, and often volunteers to justify man’s most destructive habits. Thus the dual nature of the conscience makes it necessary for one to direct it through strict self-discipline.
8. THE SIXTH SENSE: This is the “broadcasting station” of the mind through which one automatically sends and receives the vibrations of thought. It is the medium through which all thought impulses known as “hunches” are received. And it is closely related to, or perhaps it may be a part of the subconscious section of the mind.
The sixth sense is the medium through which Creative Vision operates. It is the medium through which all basically new ideas are revealed. And it is the major asset of the minds of all men who are recognized as “geniuses.”
9. THE MEMORY: This is the “filing cabinet” of the brain, wherein is stored all thought impulses, all experiences and all sensations that reach the brain through the five physical senses. And it may be the “filing cabinet” of all impulses of thought which reach the mind through the sixth sense, although all psychologists do not agree as to this.
The memory is tricky and undependable unless it is organized and directed by self-discipline.
10. THE FIVE PHYSICAL SENSES: These are the physical “arms” of the brain through which it contacts the external world and acquires information there from. The physical senses are not reliable, and therefore they need constant self-discipline. Under any kind of intense emotional activity the senses become confused and unreliable.
By the simplest sort of legerdemain the five physical senses may be deceived. And they are deceived daily by the common experiences of life. Under the emotion of fear the physical senses often create monstrous “ghosts” which have no existence except in the faculty of the imagination, and there is no fact of life which they will not and do not exaggerate or distort when fear prevails.
Source: The Master Key to Riches by Napoleon Hill