A Book That Will Change Your Life

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By Napoleon Hill


At the turn of the century a child was born that was destined to change the lives of thousands of people all over the world. His name, Napoleon Hill. As the story goes, by the time this young boy was eight years old he was already rather wild and was always in trouble. His mother had died when he was very young and Napoleon had had to find his own way in the world while his father was working in a lumber mill to feed them.

Now let’s be honest. Our first reaction to this is probably, “well it’s obvious that there is nothing to learn from him unless I am planning a life in crime”.

Napoleon was a member of the Billy the Kidd fan club and his greatest crime was that of hero-worshipping someone. (Haven’t YOU?) By the way, how many of Africa’s modern heroes have been killers along the way? (Whether you are a terrorist or a freedom fighter is a question of values and point of view.  It does not change the deed.)

To cut a long story very short, this young boy had the courage to act out his dreams, (do you, or do you tend to compromise them?) eventually grew up and left school. He then did an apprenticeship in jurnalism for which he paid (unlike so many people today who believe that they have a right to a job) and became one of the worlds greatest self-help authors of all times. The books he wrote in the thirties are still best sellers today!

One of Hill’s early interviews was with Andrew Carnegie, the American steel magnate. At the beginning of the interview, so we are told, Hill asked Carnegie how he, a Scotts immigrant who arrived in the country with nothing, had become one of the richest men in the world in less that thirty years, while most of the people in America were so poor. (Remember this conversation was taking place in the great depression of the thirties.)

Carnegie glanced at his watch and answered the question with a question.” Will you be prepared to devote the next twenty years of your life researching and discovering the answers to your own question in order that it might be written as a book instead of a newspaper article, that will be thrown away tomorrow?” Without hesitation Hill said “Yes”! Why (other than to check the time) did Carnegie look at his watch? Come on don’t be lazy. THINK! After all, this is a SELF-HELP website. Carnegie didn’t know anything about Hill’s background but offered him this incredible opportunity without even asking Hill about his past accomplishments. (Why?) The answers? Read on! Hill immediately started working on the research and Carnegie kept introducing him to the richest most powerful people in America at the time.

During this period, Carnegie never once put his hand in his pocket to help feed the starving young journalist. (Why not?) Why did Hill just keep on working for apparently no reward? (Come on THINK! What answers other than the obvious are there?)

The result of all this effort was, The Laws of Success, Hill’s total research, (that was first presented as a sixteen part workshop that Hill used to validate his resurch ) and the all-time best seller Think and Grow Rich. Both these amazing books need to become compulsory reading as part of our basic education. Read them! Then think about what you have read and make plans around the ideas and inspirations you received. Then start whether you are ready or not to implement the plans. If you have already read these books, read them again. If, in five years after reading them you are not rich, I promise you that you missed something. Start again! Go back to basics! The implementations of the principles in these books are an insurance policy against failure. The principles are FOOL PROOF! You just have to be smart enough to make them part of your life. Remember: knowledge is of very little value to you if left sitting on your well-educated bookshelf!

OK, now that I have finished rattling your cage here are the answers you were looking for but are probably not expecting: –

1 The moment we indulge in an act of worship we have to make ourselves less than whomever we are worshipping. 

2 Successful people turn their dreams into reality; failures use their intelligence to compromise.

3 Andrew Carnegie believed that successful people make decisions very quickly and change them very slowly, if at all. Conversely, failures make decisions very slowly and change them quickly and often.

4 Things that are paid for are usually more appreciated than things that are free. Besides why would it be someone else’s responsibility to provide for us? Life is a personal responsibility.

5 Carnegie also believed that successful people are ‘present’ active and ‘future’ or ‘goal’ orientated, while failures procrastinate and are ‘past’ orientated. Everything in nature is constantly changing. It is impossible to hire ‘past’ performance. We can only hire ‘future’ abilities.

6 Carnegie never sponsored or employed Hill because he knew that anyone who needed guarantees or a safe income would never understand how a person could start with nothing but a dream, and with courage and an absolute commitment turn them into a fortune.

7 Why did Hill just keep on working? He was smart enough to understand the implemented value of the answers and realised that we become like the people with whom we associate. (By the way what is your peer group doing for you?) Napoleon Hill passed all the tests. (Would you?) That’s why both these amazing works have stood the test of time.

This artical by David Pickard Wyllie was written for and published in Growthpoint Magazine in 1998.


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