The title of this article might turn a few heads. How the hell does sex have anything to do with success?
So naturally I was quite puzzled when I read the chapter in Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think And Grow Rich’ called ‘The Mystery Of Sex Transmutation’
For a start Hill calls sex an emotion. This is not today’s commonly accepted meaning of the word emotion, even though the derivation of the word in history is common.
Dictionary.com defines an emotion as “an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.”
Whilst it is true that sexual desire affects your state of mind, it is not an emotion in itself. Essentially, sex is the biological drive to procreate.
Perhaps what Hill is referring to is ‘Passion’ or ‘Lust.’ Both words can be applied equally to sexual drive and an intense desire in any other area.
‘What’s Your Passion?’ is a common enough phrase. Similarly, you’ve probably heard of ‘wanderlust‘ – a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.
Hill defines ‘transmutation’ as the switching of thoughts from one mode (e.g. physical) to another. In other words, if someone is sexually stimulated, then if they are able to channel those impulses into something else such as business activity, this energy will create results in a supercharged way.
In more modern parlance, this is called Sexual Sublimation, and is what psychologists call a ‘mature defence mechanism.’ Sigmund Freud defined it as ‘the process of deflecting sexual instincts into acts of higher social valuation.’
In more puritan times, this so-called ‘sublimation’ was confused with suppression of physical desires. If you had any such thoughts you were shamed into suppressing them rather than sublimating them.
Hill cites examples of famous (and obviously successful) people in history who were also highly charged sexual people. For instance, Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln. His thesis is: ‘There never has been, and never will be a great leader, builder or artist lacking in this driving force of sex.’
However, in my opinion he is only citing a correlation between sexual drive and success. The causation is not clear.
So in the end, is ‘Sex’ an essential for success?
Only when it is linked to the first essential of success, namely ‘Desire.’ If there is a desire that is passionate and ‘lustful,’ as well as ‘white hot,’ then success will be possible.