If you were to interview 100 American Millionaires over the course of 20 years, and you were to ask them what exactly lead to their success, you would find the answers to be exactly what is in Napoleon Hill’s book titles “The Law Of Success.” The book was first published in 1928 and contained 16 lessons that would be considered to be the laws that govern success. Throughout his study, Hill interviewed such prominent figures as Henry Ford, J.P Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison.
Whatever you care to call it, whether the Laws of success, the Tao of success, or the Art of success, it all hints toward the same thing. There is a set of things that must be achieved in order for success to be attained. So what I shall do from here is outline exactly what those specific laws are, why they are so important, and what can be done to achieve them. Hopefully by the end, we will have a better and more complete understanding, one that can help any of us to be a great success in the future.
The Master Mind
It’s been argued that knowledge is power, but Hill would argue against that, stating that it is only the potential for power. Learning is paramount for success to be achieved, but organizing and using the knowledge is what actually allows for that achievement to be had. So learn, remember, and apply.
A Definite Chief Aim
Goals allow the individual to follow a path, it also helps to notice when you are not heading in the right direction. It’s better to know that you are trying to get from point A to B, rather than be a piece of bark drifting upon the ocean, beholden to only the waves and current. Set your goal, and attempt to achieve it tirelessly. Do not drift aimlessly,
Fear, uncertainty, and ignorance are the chief reasons for failure. Be certain of what you are doing, walk sure-footed, and carry yourself with pride because you are certain of whom you are and where you are going. Hill mentions that there are six basic fears to overcome which will help a person become more self-confident: Death, sickness, criticism, loss of love, old age, and poverty. Fear is derived from uncertainty, and uncertainty is derived from ignorance. So are yourself with knowledge, organize it, apply it, and watch as your fears are swept away.
The Habit Of Saving
The age-old adage of a penny saved is a penny earned fits in quite well with this certain law. Hill argues that no person should live beyond their means, and that every person should be cautious of the slavery of debt, and how being indebt is like being imprisoned. If you’re working hard all the time, you wont have time to spend money, thus making saving it easier. The more you save, and through the habit of saving, increases your earning capacity. This is simply due to the fact you are working while earning money, and not spending it while sitting idly by.
Initiative and Leadership
Initiative is defined as the ability to act and take charge before other people do, or without being told to. In essence, it is ambition. Through initiative and ambition, leadership will come about naturally. As you have been leading yourself without the aid or assistance of others, people will notice this, and either choose to follow you or get out of the way. Hill mentions that to become a person of initiative, you must do but a single thing, that being you must be aggressive and persistent in following the objectives you’ve set out for yourself, regardless of how long it takes.
Contrary to what many other people may say, Hill believes that daydreaming is indeed not a waste of time. Almost all great accomplishments begin as some sort of impossible feat, which through a little imagination became possible. Thus, allowing yourself to think creatively is quite important. But it should be warned to keep your head out of the clouds all the time, as you may indeed be chasing an unattainable dream at times and it is important to be able reflect upon that with serious thought.
Putting your plans into action, beyond using initiative and ambition, takes enthusiasm. This is especially true if you intend to inspire and motivate others to take action. Hill mentions that as far as public speaking and being a salesman is concerned, there is no greater characteristic than being enthused. Enthusiasm is contagious, and to be able to sell others on an idea, you must first sell yourself. That is how enthusiasm can be developed in ones self. Hill also highlights six areas that are known to inhibit or destroy enthusiasm, those being; intolerance, greed, revenge, egotism, suspicion, and jealousy. So avoiding these feelings, both in yourself and others, is necessary to becoming and remaining enthused.
Being unable to harness your enthusiasm and ambition in a constructive way, through the use of self-control, leads to only failure and worse yet destruction. Self-control, to Hill, is nothing more than thought control. To master self-control, do not allow anything outside of yourself to influence your decisions. Think alone, act alone, and do both with tenacity and unwavering certainty.
The Habit of Doing More Than Paid For
When you are engaged in doing things that you either love, or are doing for a loved one, you will often and without hesitation go beyond the call of duty and what is expected of you. You will do better work, and work longer than expected if it is a labor of love. This makes becoming successful all the more simple, as regardless of the hardships and obstacles you must overcome, you will do so without fretting over the work itself. Thus making the achievement of your goals that much easier when you actually enjoy the process of getting there.
A Pleasing Personality
Being affable and amiable are critical to success as you wont be achieving that without having to interact with others, and having a pleasing personality makes your interactions with others all the more easy. Hill notes there are seven points to a pleasing personality, and those are:
- Find the good qualities in others, and praise them for it, especially those qualities that you have an interest in.
- Speak with force and conviction; this helps other develop trust in your character.
- Dress appropriate to the work you do, and the people you engage with.
- Develop a pleasing character, as they don’t usually just create themselves.
- Learn how introduce yourself well, both verbally and with a warm handshake or whatever is appropriate at the time.
- Attract other people to you by being attracted to them. If you show a genuine interest in other people, they will generally do the same in return.
- Remember that the only thing keeping your back from be a pleasant person, is yourself.
Hill states that this point is the most important of all the laws of success, and that involves two things; Separating facts from information, and separating facts into two classes. Those two classes being important/unimportant and relevant/irrelevant facts. The main point is that the accurate thinker will believe nothing, no matter who has said it, unless it agrees with his/her own judgment through their own analysis. The accurate thinker doesn’t discard things they don’t agree with simply because they don’t like it, but rather, come to a conclusion after reviewing the facts and making a reasonable and logical choice.
Focus is paramount to achieving success. Distractions do little to achieving ones main goal, though distractions for diversions sake are at times needed, complete concentration on reaching your goal, and the means to reach it should rarely be strayed away from. To couple with concentration, memory is equally needed. Nowadays, we may well call this being in the “zone”. People are familiar with being in the zone for certain activities, whether that be a sport, a game, playing an instrument, whatever. What hill would suggest is attempting to be in the zone for every action you take. Never accept anything less than perfection from yourself, however that is measured, and success will soon follow after.
Hill mentions that there are two forms of cooperation. The first is between groups of people who form an alliance for the sole purpose of attaining some goal in the future. It must be known that no person can be successful without some form of help from others, thus working in unison with like-minded individuals is critical. You should seek out people who have qualities and skills that you lack yourself. The second is the work that occurs between the two states of the mind, the conscious and unconscious. You often make many of your decisions unconsciously; aligning the found thoughts of the unconscious with the created thoughts of the conscious will help to create a synergy amongst all your thoughts, which is what cooperation is all about.
Profiting by Failure
Hill believes that ultimately there is no such thing as failure in the negative sense that we usually use and know it. But rather what failure usually means is a minor setback that can be corrected. Not accepting it as a permanent result will help to alleviate the pain of what failure appears to be. What I have claimed for years is that you cannot become better at anything in this world, if first you do not fail…. Repeatedly. Failure is where all the lessons to be learned are found. Success itself often does not teach you anything, as you succeeded by doing everything just right. So what is there to learn if perfection in that sense had been achieved?
Hill cannot highlight the point enough that intolerance does nothing more than cloud your thoughts, decrease moral, mental and spiritual development, and overall be little less than a destructive force. He urges people to take into serious consideration their foundation of beliefs and whether those are based on facts, truth and reality.
The Golden Rule
In essence, do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. This law generally just keeps your moral compass pointing in the right direction, and can properly guide your actions and decisions in a moral way. Your actions directly reflect upon you to your peers. If you act poorly with some, then others will expect you to act poorly towards them, which in turn, may give them the justification they need to treat you poorly as well. The vicious cycle that can arise should be noticed at this point, and a want to avoid it should be had.
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The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece, you can follow me on twitter @FacePalmLaw. If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home malpractice, you should contact a Denver Nursing Home Abuse Attorney immediately.