What Is the Mastermind?

What Is the Mastermind?

Recently my oldest son was in town for a visit from New York. Now that he is a businessman at 26 years old, I wanted him to see my Mastermind group. It is really hard to explain the concept to someone without them seeing it work live. Most people think it is a “best practices” meeting, or a “think tank” of marketing ideas, or just another “networking meeting”. None of which have anything to do with the mastermind. Most business people today I find really have no idea where the term even came from, let alone know what it means. Let’s explore where the mastermind originated.

You have to go back to the turn of the 20th century and explore the teachings of Napoleon Hill. Most people are at least familiar with his book “Think and Grow Rich”. But Hill’s teachings went much deeper than those in his book. If one were to read Hill’s books “The Law of Success in 16 Lessons” are where the phrase mastermind was born to the public in Lesson one. If you read this lesson of a true mastermind as described by Hill, you will find the greatest minds of his time such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson just to name a few. Hill’s definition is very specific. He states “a mind that is developed through the harmonious co-operation of two or more people who ally themselves for the purpose of accomplishing any given task.”

Let’s break down this definition of the mastermind. If two or more people meet in a “harmonious co-operation” a literal third mind is created. This means a true mastermind group has to know, trust and be totally in sync with their thoughts towards a common goal. Without this ‘harmonious co-operation” the mastermind is literally destroyed. So when I hear about a mastermind group that shares ideas or best practices and people drop in and out, I have to laugh. That is a meeting of best practices not a mastermind. If different people come and go and the knowing, trusting and harmony is never built, the third mind is never created. A true mastermind is a spectacular thing to witness, as my son saw firsthand. The power of the mastermind is smarter collectively than the group of minds as a whole. It is a mind unto itself. The most successful men in history knew this and worked its magic on a regular basis. It was great seeing my son experience a huge idea come out of the meeting he attended. He was truly amazed.

One of the best examples of the mastermind that Hill wrote about was the Chicago group known as the “Big Six”. This group of unrelated business giants made up of William Wrigley Jr, (Wrigley’ Gum and Wrigley Field); John R. Thompson (Restaurant Chain owner); Mr. Lasker (Large Ad Agency); Mr. McCullough (largest Express Transport Co in US); Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Hertz who owned the largest taxi service (later Hertz Rent a car) harnessed the power of the mastermind to grow their businesses to Titans. In today’s dollars, all six of these men were the equivalent of billionaires. Mastermind groups have nothing to do with being in like professions as much as it does being like-minded and in harmony we each-others goals and interests. This is the only way to create the third mind or mastermind.

When discussing the mastermind with my son, I had to explain the time and effort taken to build those business people to create the third mind. It is not easy, but once you have it, you have a business tool that most people will never have experienced. Start today to build your own mastermind group, your business will thank you for it! To your success!

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”. —Napoleon Hill

Image by Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, grandfather of 1, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, employee benefit specialist, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger, author and team leader with over 29 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.



3 Responses to What Is the Mastermind?

  • Just came back from my Mastermind in Florida, 11 insurance agency owners together now for 11 years. Powerful meetings 3x a year and monthly conference calls….can’t beat any group like this!

  • Tom, when you find the right combination and achieve harmony, there is nothing more powerful!

  • Thank you for the lesson!

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