Before I launch into the lessons from Napoleon Hill, I should tell you who he is. Simplistically he is an author of self help topics. In reality, he is considered a pioneer of personal success literature and he’s pretty damned good too. When I let you know that some of the lessons from Napoleon Hill come from “Think and Grow Rich” – the best selling non-fiction English language book of all time – I’m sure you’ll sit up and pay attention.
1. We Learn How to Succeed
One of the lessons from Napoleon Hill is that success is a gradual process that works the same way we learn how to fall. We are supposed to fall and are supposed to learn how to balance. It is why so many older people seem to have money – it is because they have learned their lessons and are becoming successful because of them.
2. Your Path to Success Will Not Be a Straight Line
Many people imagine that if you could chart success on a graph, it would show a line slowly going upwards with a smooth curve, when in fact real success would look like the graph on a seismometer after a massive earthquake. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple before being brought back to make it huge, and the founders of Microsoft were laughed out of every major electronics manufacturer’s office when they were young – even when they offered to work for free.
3. We Can Learn through Examples
This is not a secret, but Napoleon Hill’s books show that using examples often makes a better point, such as the examples on the last point with the founders of Microsoft and Steve Jobs with Apple.
4. You Can Show People Exactly How to Be Successful and Less than 2% of People Will Achieve It
This seems pessimistic, but the point he was making was that even if you know how to be successful, there is only a small portion of the population that will follow through with it and actually become successful. The best example of this was at a marketing conference where the crowd was asked if they thought “Think and Grow Rich” was the best book ever written on success. They answered yes. The man at the conference then asked, “Are you using it to be the most successful you can be?” And, again they answered yes. He then said, “What should you do every morning when you wake up?” And, the room was stuck with silence. They all claimed to be following the book, but not even 1% of the crowd were following the explicit instructions in the book.
5. The Thing You Should do Each Morning
Look at the mirror, and recite what you are going to achieve and the date you are going to achieve it. The lessons from Napoleon Hill are many, but one of them is that your major purpose, the thing you want to achieve and therefore succeed with, should be on your mind all the time. It should be the first thing you think about when you wake up, and that is what you should be saying to yourself in a mirror every morning.
6. Set a Deadline
This is possibly one of the best pieces of advice in the book. Do not set a goal without setting a deadline. If you do not set a deadline then your goal is only an ambition or a wish. Do not say, “I want $10,000 to pay off my credit card.” Your goal should be “I will have $10,000 for my credit card by July 3rd.”
7. If I Am Not Getting Better, I Am Getting Worse
He relates this to a muscle. If you use a muscle then it gets stronger, but if you stop using it then it withers away. Set your goal and then work on yourself to achieve it. Work on your own skills and talents so that you are better equipped to achieve your target. Your goal should consume your life, which means all thoughts need to focus on it in some way. If you are not doing something that helps your goal then you are hindering it. If you are eating fried chicken every night then you are going to become too unhealthy to complete your goal and you will fail. If you are spending money on a new phone when your plan requires you to save money then you will fail.
I hope these lessons from Napoleon Hill inspire you to get your hands on a copy of his book (Think and Grow Rich) and devour it from cover to cover. Have you already read it?