One of the key lessons in Napoleon Hill’s famed book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ is that to become rich, we should develop an almost obsessive focus – “Weak desire brings weak results” – he asserts.

I completely agree with developing strong mental focus, but getting fixated on the idea that money alone will make us happy can turn ‘wealth’ from being our loyal servant to our master.

This can become a problem when the companies we carefully pick to grow fail to comply and get smashed by the market, like Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) and Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) have this year.

Finding our hidden wealth

Fortunately Napoleon Hill balances himself in one of his later books ‘The Master-Key to Riches’ in which he talks about 12 riches of life – less tangible ways we are wealthy but may not realise.

In fact of all the sources of wealth Napoleon Hill identifies, ‘Economic Security’ came in dead last at number 12. From his list I think there are three riches of life that are worth highlighting;

1. A Positive Mental Attitude

Napoleon Hill actually wrote an entirely separate book on the idea of having a positive mental attitude which shows just how strongly he considers the topic.

At the risk of sounding like a self-help nut, it is easy to see the value in having an optimistic life perspective. It helps to appreciate good things about every-day life and feel energised from them, rather than worn out and defeated.

Even if you are not where you want to be financially, an optimistic mind set will help identify more opportunities to turn things around.

2. Sound physical health

It’s so easy to take our physical health for granted day-to-day, but it is by far the biggest asset we have. This was especially relevant to Napoleon Hill whose son was born without ears.

It’s a source of wealth we should definitely invest in for the long-term, and a form of wealth we should fight to protect.

3. A labour of love

A third source of wealth that rightly comes well ahead of Economic Security, is a Labour of Love, a cause or interest which fills us with purpose and gets us out of bed on cold winter mornings.

It could be old cars, playing video games, or family, but Napoleon rambles passionately about the importance of it…

Do the thing you like best and your life will thereby be enriched, your soul will be embellished and you will be an inspiration for hope to all with whom you come in contact.

No, it won’t necessarily ensure investment success, but it’s a valuable reminder for when things don’t go to plan.

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Motley Fool contributor Regan Pearson has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.