Napoleon Hill is a man that was set on a 20 year mission by Andrew Carnegie, who was the founder of US Steel. Napoleon Hill’s mission was to interview the most successful and powerful people of their era and figure out their secret to success. He did just that, and since his book “Think and Grow Rich” was published in 1937, it has sold more copies than any other book ever (with the exception of the Christian Bible), and his book is still selling today. Here are just a few nuggets of his wisdom, so you may figure out what is standing in the way of "your" success.
1 “Whatever the Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve.”
This is his most famous line. It is the principle behind all of his work. It may seem obvious to people these days, but when he first said it--it was groundbreaking. Whether you look at it in a personal way, or in an existential way, it is so true that it is as obvious and apparent as gravity. Like Newton, we needed Hill to point out something that we should have noticed before.
2 Set Your Mind on a Definite Goal and the World Will Stand Aside to Let You Pass
This is a paraphrase of what he said. The biggest key to success is to actually have a definite goal and to see it through. People with weak goals, people with numerous goals, and people that try to spread themselves too thin are going to fail. The logic of his argument is easy if you think about it. If you decided to build a house and dedicated 18 hours of every day to completing your task, and you single-mindedly did it until the day you die…isn’t your success an almost certainty?
3 The Seed of an Equal or Greater Benefit
He said that you get a seed of an equal or greater benefit with every failure, every adversity, and every heartache. He suggests that you take each one and learn something from it. He also suggests that “failure” is often the starting point of something greater. For example, maybe you didn’t get a job because a better one is on its way.
4 Weak Desire Brings Weak Results
The key to success is to have a goal and a burning desire to see that goal through. He said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. If you do not have a burning passion for your goal, you will not get the results you want. The stronger your passion, the stronger your will, and the stronger your desire, then the better your results. You should “want” to do something towards your goal every day. The most successful people are obsessed with their goals.
5 You Are the Master of Your Destiny
This sounds like a cheap line from a cash-grab woman’s self-help book, but he goes into quite a lot of detail in his books. For example, if you are frequently late, you can do a lot about it. You start by getting up earlier, but that is not where it ends. If you have a burning passion, you would learn the traffic light timings so you could make your journey more efficient. When you have a goal and burning desire, you see the world in a different way. A magazine article in a dentist’s waiting room is not just an article, it is a new idea. You change and alter your environment to fit your desire and goal.
6 How do You Know when to Change Your Plans?
You should be aware that you have to change your plans frequently to adapt to your situation, but when should you change them? You should change them when you meet defeat. Giving up is not an option. Defeat is a signal that your plans need to be changed and rebuilt before you carry on. All failure is only temporary--unless you give up.
7 When Defeat Overtakes You
Maybe there is a time to quit. Maybe some goals are impossible. Yet, you should be aware that most of the world’s successful people were overtaken by defeat and failure before they reached greatness. All of them met a point in their lives where they threw up their hands said “F**k it then!!!” and gave up. The difference between successful people and regular people is that the next day the successful people started again. They learned from their experience, changed their game plan and tried again.
8 "if You Can't do Great Things, do Small Things Greatly."
This is a pretty straightforward yet powerful quote. Basically, if you can't do something above and beyond (like change the world) you can certainly do smaller acts even better (like bringing changes your school or community). Not everyone has great and ultimate power, but everyone has some power, and if they use it correctly, their small acts can still bring huge greatness to their world and the world of others.
9 TimIng Isn'T EverythIng
Ever hear the saying, "Timing is everything"? Well I've got news for you-it's not. You can't sit around and wait for the right time, because usually, the exact right time never happens. Take a leap of faith and if conditions are mainly right, go for it!
10 When One Door Closes
Napoleon Hill said, "Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat." This is entirely true. Sometimes our biggest failures lead to our greatest successes because the energy you spent so much time putting into one thing, can now be put towards another. Or maybe, that failure allowed you to come in contact with someone in a way you wouldn't have had that original idea succeed. There's always another open door-or window-waiting for you to enter!
Napoleon Hill is insightful and motivational - I highly recommend his books.