Napoleon Hill’s Philosophy of Achievement

Today, we will hear about a Master. His name is Napoleon Hill.

Have you heard of him?

If so, I need not convey to you his extraordinary greatness.

Author of the best selling tome “Think and Grow Rich,” Hill spent his lifetime studying the principle of success. An interview with Andrew Carnegie early on in his life proved to be a major turning point.

Carnegie expressed his confidence that success is within reach of all women and men. He went on to suggest that Hill himself compile case studies of the most successful people in the world and share their formula with the world. This collection of interviews, drawn for talking to 500 people, including many millionaires, presidents, business tycoons and philanthropists, provided the foundation for his books.

The first book was “The Law of Success,” published in 1928. In it, he outlined what would eventually be called his Philosophy of Achievement. Some of the principle attributes of this philosophy are harmony, freedom, democracy and a free capitalist market.  In 1937, he published “Think and Grow Rich.”

I have read “Think and Grow Rich,” and am currently reading and absorbing his final work. When was this final work published?


Yes, his last book was published years after his death. Why? Well, all of his books were revolutionary. All of them were ahead of their time, touching on political hot buttons and calling spiritual matters into play. But one of them was simply too radical. It sat in the vault for decades before being released. Even then, when it was finally published, it was published without the final chapter!

Well, ladies and gentleman, all of these rich and life-changing texts are available now, including the last one: “Outwitting the Devil.”

I will share with you some of Hill’s key principles. If you find them interesting, I recommend reading the books. If you can afford to, please buy them. If you cannot, that it no excuse: “Outwitting the Devil” is on YouTube in its entirety. You can listen as you walk, drive, clean, or sit with your eyes closed. And if you do, I doubt you will be in a position of scarcity for long.

Without further ado, Hill’s key points as I understand them.

1) Firm Beliefs

This principle reminds me of a Mary Oliver quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Hill discovered, from his life-long research, thousands of interviews, and personal meditation, that 98 out of 100 people have no firm beliefs to which they hold fast. In other words, most people are “drifters,” and it is because of this that they are not successful.

How about you? What is you DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE?

Can you stay focused on it to the exclusion of the infinite distractions and temptations of daily life?

If not, it might be because you don’t have the second ingredient:

2) Burning Desire

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”  Dale Carnegie

A burning desire is absolutely vital to achieve anything. Sustained effort is necessary to bring any project to fruition. First, there must be a vision or idea. This part is pretty easy; think of how many great ideas and plans you have had that never panned out! Next, we have to BELIEVE that it is possible to realize our idea in reality. We must BELIEVE that we can PHYSICALLY manifest that which is internal. If we believe in it, and we have a BURNING DESIRE to achieve it, we are likely to be successful. Especially if we understand the third element:

3) The Golden Rule 

Harmony in human relationships is essential to success. It is impossible to accomplish great things without teamwork. Even the most independent thinkers and motivated doers need to rely on other for help, and need to be reliable themselves. Learning how to choose associates wisely is vital, and not just in the workplace. The people you surround yourself with will influence your thinking. If you choose to spend your time around people who believe that poverty is inescapable, then you are likely to share that belief. If, on the other hand, you associate with people who are grateful, spiritual, motivated and focused on their DEFINITE CHIEF AIM, that camaraderie will spur you on towards your own success.

Furthermore, this principle involves the idea of VALUE. In nature, everything serves a purpose. We, too, contribute to the sum of our environments. If we provide value with our actions, we will be in harmony with nature and the value we share will allow for us to experience financial, spiritual and creative abundance.

Don’t take it from me!

Pick up one of Napoleon Hill’s books for yourself.

He suffered in his life, just as most of us do. He went through periods of loss. At different points he lost his fortune, he went through difficult divorces. But he never went back on his philosophy. He openly admitted that sometimes it is hard to walk the walk.

Hill continues to sell millions of books long after his death. His name is ubiquitous in circles of entrepreneurs. From a one-room home in rural Appalachia to friendship with Carnegie, Edison, Wilson and Ford, Hill experienced the great successes and challenging setbacks.

He armed countless men and women to better handle those challenges of their own.

Here’s to living with purpose!

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