One of the more curious chapters in Napolean Hill’s self-help classic Think and Grow Rich is titled: The Mystery of Sex Transmutation. I’m sure it raised a few eyebrows when it was first published in 1937, because it tackles the subject of sex—and how to effectively use it in the workplace.
The sober Hill isn’t talking about sleeping your way to the top, but in using “sex emotion” to get ahead in business and in life. In 1967, an 84-year old Hill again weighed in on the subject in a sequel to his classic, Think and Grow Rich with Peace of Mind. There, the title of the “sex” chapter more closely mirrored his intent: How to Transmute Sex Emotion into Achievement Power.
Hill believed that “young people often make the mistake of seeing only the physical side of sex”—not that there’s anything wrong with that. But Hill thought we needed to take a broader view of sex and the fact we can “use transmuted sex energy to add value to everything” we do. He proposed transforming our sex drive into a “dynamic drive which brings success”.
Hill was ahead of his time, and maybe our own, in that he saw sex as something more than physical passion but as a unique kind of energy that could be repurposed. “It’s an energy that can be directed into many channels. Anything you do can be electrifying and positive and profitable when it is infused with sex emotion”.
The key to success is the “transmutation” part. In essence, sex transmutation is the ability to switch a desire for physical contact to a similar desire for expression in some other field.Hill points out “when the energy is being transmuted, there is no desire for the physical act” of sex. “Something else that is very vital and important can be accomplished with the same energy.”
So what happens if you can successfully pull off this transmutation? According to Hill, transmuted sex energy can “add warmth to your handshake, strength to your voice, attraction to your personality.” Hill believed that the thing we call personal magnetism is in fact rooted in sex, and those who have it have pulled off the transmutation.
In Hill’s view, sex energy can be used to do just about anything you do better, as it adds an extra dimension to your work. He writes: “Great artists know how to channel their sex energy into their artistry. Great orators use sex energy to sway their audiences. A great scientist uses the same dynamic force to solve the problems of invention.”
Of course, the hard part is refocusing the wild beast we know as our sex drive. But maybe the issue here is our preconceived, compartmentalized notion of sex. As Hill points out, “sex does not exist in a separate compartment in our lives, but permeates our entire existence.” So maybe it’s all about keeping this magical essence alive, both inside and outside the bedroom.
I originally published this post under a different title at Elephant Journal.