Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration and motivation in our lives. Here you will find a collection of motivational and inspirational articles and stories for self empowerment and personal development, courage and creativity, success and inner-strength, hope and encouragment, and advice for finding peace and happiness when dealing with those every day ups-and-downs that life throws our way.
I've spent the last couple months immersing myself in the teachings of Napoleon Hill and would like to share with you a summary of the main principles learned from his landmark work, "Law of Success: The 21st-Century Edition."
Most of you know who Napoleon Hill is. But for the benefit of those who don't, Mr. Hill is quite arguably the author of the world's first practical philosophy of human achievement. Commissioned back in 1908 by the great steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, Hill spent over 25 years researching the lives of over 500 of the most successful people on the planet.
The amazing thing is that most of Hill's work was not from second-hand research but first-hand knowledge from personal contact with some of the greatest powerbrokers of the day including Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Charles M. Schwab, Elbert Hubbard, George Eastman, and US Presidents Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.
While "Think and Grow Rich" is certainly Hill's most popular book based on the results of his exhaustive research, "Law of Success" (which was first published in a set of eight volumes) is Hill's most comprehensive work of achievement; a veritable tome of success literature, I'd call it the world's first and foremost "success encyclopedia."
The only modern day equivalents that readily come to mind is Anthony Robbin's "Unlimited Power" in the field of applied psychology, Stephen Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" on principle-centered leadership, and the success strategies employed in Jack Canfield's "The Success Principles."
Nevertheless, I would rank Napoleon Hill's "Law of Success: The 21st-Century Edition" as the foundational book for developing a practical success philosophy that anyone can readily apply. The fully revised and updated 21st-Century Edition comes in at 1035 pages containing Hill's deep analysis of the 17 proven principles of success, many personal examples and stories from his own life experiences, and new commentary from the editors providing modern parallels with contemporary events and the latest management theories.
In this special three part series, you'll be provided with a brief summary of each of Napoleon Hill's 17 Principles from his classic bestseller, "Law of Success: The 21st-Century Edition." Master these principles and you will master your destiny!
Principle # 1: The Master Mind
The Master Mind is simply a friendly alliance of two or more minds harmoniously working together in full cooperation towards the achievement of a singular purpose. It's more than just a brain-trust of accumulated knowledge used for creative problem solving; the Master Mind is a field of accumulated energy created from the combined group's spirit which can accomplish far more than any individual member could possibly hope to achieve independently.
Hill recommends forming a round table of ideally six to twelve like-minded individuals who will support your chief aim, who are in complete harmony with each other, and who are willing to meet with you regularly to help you accomplish that aim. You must offer each group member something in return that will reward their participation in your Master Mind.
Whether you choose to develop a formal alliance or not, the Master Mind principle will still have a powerful influence over your life - for better or worse. It is said you are the average sum total of the people you spend the most time with which will either help or hinder you. Choose your friends and associates carefully.
Principle # 2: A Definite Chief Aim
Without a definite purpose backed by a definite plan one is as lost and hopeless as a rudderless ship in the middle of the Atlantic. Good intentions and hard work are not enough. You need a Purpose, a Plan, and Perseverance backed with a burning desire to achieve your definite chief aim in life.
To realize your Chief Aim, Hill suggests writing out your WWWH and reviewing it daily: "know what you want, when you want it, why you want it, and how you intend to get it." Also include what you plan to give in return for reaching your dream.
By reviewing your manifesto daily, with intense feeling, you will begin attracting the people and circumstances in your life to make your wildest dreams come true.
Principle # 3: Self-Confidence
To be self-confidant you must know. Know yourself and know your business. Know your strengths and weaknesses, your greatest fears and deepest desires. Those who do not know live in constant fear and anxiety. A leader must know.
Keep a log of all your accomplishments and all the praise you receive and review it frequently. Use autosuggestion or self-talk to tell yourself daily about how you are growing as a leader in your field.
Fill your mind with positive, inspiring thoughts. Surround yourself with people who will empower you. Have faith in others and see the good in people because how you view others is a reflection of yourself.
Principle # 4: The Habit of Saving
Pay yourself first by developing the habit of consistently saving a portion of your income. Hill and many others suggest saving at least 10% of your earnings. (Tip: if you've accumulated high-interest debts such as credit card debt, it's a good policy to allocate 80% of your savings to paying down the debt in order to avoid that debt from growing faster than the rate of return you're getting on your savings).
Those who have will be given more. Having even a modest savings account will increase your self-confidence and will attract many opportunities that would normally not come your way without that extra cushion.
Successful people will be more willing to back your idea or promote you within their enterprise if they see that you yourself have developed the self-discipline of saving.
Hill recounts several instances in his book where people who had built up a little savings account were able to invest in new business opportunities, attract financing for their ideas, or enter into partnerships that would later result into untold millions.
Principle # 5: Initiative and Leadership
"Do the thing and you shall have the power." - Emerson
According to Hill, leadership is "doing the right thing without being told." Leadership is ultimately about taking initiative and getting things done. Bottom line: leaders get paid for results.
By always providing additional service without any expectation for pay, you will build your initiative muscles.
Leadership requires self-sacrifice. Leaders are givers. Inspire and help others and you will be rewarded in direct proportion to your efforts. As American self-help icon, Zig Ziglar, likes to say, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want."
Share these principles with your peers, discuss the concepts and teach other people what you've learned. There's no better way to learn than by teaching others.
(Part 2 Continued Below)
Welcome to the second part of this special three part series commemorating the 21st Century Edition of Napoleon Hill's landmark work, "Law of Success," in which he reveals 17 Principles of Success based on his 25 years of research studying the lives of over 500 of the world's greatest achievers. (To read the first part, visit: http://tinyurl.com/3d3loq).
In this special three part series, I'm highlighting these 17 Principles of Success both as a refresher for those who are already familiar with Hill's work, and as an introductory guide to the essential qualities of achievement for those who have not yet had the chance to study this great personage who started the personal development revolution. Enjoy:
Principle # 6: Imagination
"Imagination is the workshop of the human mind and creative power of the soul," writes Hill. "First comes thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination."
According to Hill, there are two types of imagination: synthetic imagination and creative imagination. Synthetic imagination involves rearranging old ideas into new combinations that produce new solutions. Stimulating creative imagination involves a repetition of highly emotionalized thoughts that can be combined with visualization, meditation, and prayer focused on a chief aim or solving a difficult problem, and then surrendering the thoughts to infinite intelligence to come up with new ideas, combinations, and plans.
Artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs frequently use some combination of both types of imagination. For example, many writers will often intentionally stop writing in the middle of a heated sentence or uncompleted paragraph at a particularly challenging point in the plot and "sleep on it." During the rest of the night their subconscious mind, through the powers of creative intelligence, will work on the solution, and upon awakening, the writer will write beautifully to complete the idea.
Entrepreneurs will often brainstorm and write down all the ideas, challenges, and available solutions and resources concerning a challenging problem and then "forget about it." They might go on vacation for an extended period of time. On returning, or even while they're on vacation, new ideas spring up that help solve the problem.
To further develop your imagination, study yourself; find out the inner motivations that drive you to carry out certain tasks to completion while avoiding other tasks. Study other people and human behavior around you. If you want to know what the other person will do (whether a customer, boss, employee, partner, or competitor), use your imagination to put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if you were that person? By being able to look from another's perspective, you not only help build your imagination muscles, you also help build bridges.
Principle # 7: Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm comes from the Greek root "entheos" which literally means God within. Enthusiasm is the vital force that impels action. Great leaders inspire others to action from their own enthusiasm which is highly contagious.
"It's not so much what you say as it is the tone and manner in which you say it that makes a lasting impression," writes Hill.
I recall a time when a "recruiter" had called and left a message for me requesting an interview. I checked out the company's website and liked what I had to see. I was ready to come in for an interview, but when I returned the recruiter's call and spoke to her, the tone of her voice clearly indicated that she wasn't happy with her job and that I was just a number to make her appointment quota.
While the conversation was polite and professional, her tone and manner of speaking said she didn't care. Needless to say, I did not come in for an interview, and it wouldn't be a far stretch to guess that that recruiting company was losing business by the truckload on account of that one person - probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.
It's surprising (or maybe not so surprising given the poor customer service survey results across North America) that companies are willing to go on losing millions by treating their frontline workers who have first line of contact with customers as an "expense" instead of as an investment.
The companies that will turn out to be champions in this information economy are the ones that treat their customer service and sales staff as VPs of Customer Relations. These organizations will have a HUGE competitive advantage by investing just a fraction of the money (money that would normally be lost to poor service) towards paying above industry average rates to retain quality customer service professionals, investing in their professional development, teaching basic human relations skills, and helping to create a better work environment.
Principle # 8: Self-Control
Hill keenly points out that self control directs your enthusiasm. A wise business tenet is to keep cool when others are hot. As Hill says, "Those who control themselves usually boss the job."
I can't recall how many business deals I've lost because I contacted a potential client in a moment of anger or frustration (either due to the business on hand or something entirely different). It's amazing how much more business one can drum up by simply counting to ten, taking a couple of deep breaths, and thinking of something pleasant for a few seconds before making or taking that important call!
If you've tried these types of techniques without much success and are still angry with someone, at least try 'writing it out of your system' before approaching this person. Write a steaming hot letter to this person venting about what you feel is inappropriate behavior or some problem or injustice you feel you might have encountered.
After you've read the letter to yourself, tear it up and throw it away! Now you can approach this person and make your case with a level head without blaming or getting overly emotional. Maybe it was a simple misunderstanding.
I'm not saying this method will always work. Sometimes you do have to confront someone and express your anger - but those moments are rare when it's productive. Using this one technique alone can save you from countless relationship disasters and bad business deals, and might even help get you that promotion over the next person who blows his top!).
Never retaliate against those who offend you. Be a leader by being a person of poise and self-control.
Principle # 9: The Habit of Doing More Than Paid For
"Giving people a little more than what they expect is a good way to get back more than you'd expect"
- Robert Half
We get back in life what we give. By getting into the habit of always doing more than you're paid for, you will meet with opportunities for expansion, advancement, and promotion at every turn of the corner. (You might not get these opportunities immediately with your current employer; but eventually competitors will take notice and will gladly provide you with plenty of opportunity if your employer is not willing to do so).
Napoleon Hill offers countless real-life examples of ordinary people reaching extraordinary heights of achievement and success using this one principle alone in his magnum opus: "Law of Success: The 21st-Century Edition."
Principle # 10: A Pleasing Personality
Hill states that a pleasing personality is a person that attracts. It's all about your character and how you carry yourself. Are you dressed for success as it relates to your field? Do you speak with self-confidence? Do you offer a firm handshake and a warm smile, or a limp, 'dead fish' handshake with a rigid, forced smile? Do you offer an appropriate level of eye-contact given the cultural context or do you have shifty eyes that makes people feel uncomfortable? Are you flexible in mind, body, and spirit? Do you express genuine interest in others?
The best way to develop a pleasing personality is to show a keen interest in other people. If that recruiter had expressed even the slightest interest in what I did as a person, I would have overlooked the initial awkwardness of the call and come in for an interview. Her lack of a pleasing personality cost her and her company a number of lost contracts.
It's so much more FUN and PROFITABLE to have a pleasing personality!
Principle # 11: Accurate Thinking
"The facts, just the facts, ma'am" - Sgt. Friday in Dragnet
Don't believe everything you read in the news. Much of it is planted by powerful lobbyists and corporations with hidden agendas. Get into the habit of basing your decisions on factual information and avoiding gossip, rumors, and conjecture.
Even common day practices that are widely accepted can be based on wrong assumptions. In the Middle Ages, bloodletting was a common practice that was believed to help cure a variety of illnesses. It was a common belief among doctors that bad blood caused disease and so they bled patients for every imaginable ailment under the sun. This crude and ineffective medical ritual continued for 2,500 years until it was discovered that germs, not bad blood, were responsible for disease.
Today, we have our own version of bloodletting that is far more devious than in the Middle Ages. Take for example invasive medical practices such as coronary stenting and angioplasty. Freakonomics author, Steven D. Levitt, sites a recent NY Times article which, according to Levitt, "tells of the compelling study which found that coronary stenting is typically no more effective than heart drugs, even though it is far more invasive -- and, to be sure, profitable for the medical personnel involved." (According to the NY Times article, "angioplasty and stenting generally cost between $25,000 and $50,000").
I think we need a new name for 21st Century bloodletting. If you've read this far, perhaps you can convince Mr. Webster to add the term moneyletting to the dictionary.
If someone makes a sweeping statement that raises doubts, you can ask this person the question that Napoleon Hill likes asking: "How do you know?"
We haven't even begun to scratch the surface of accurate thinking. But to get to the heart of Hill's main idea, accurate thinking is about separating the important facts from the unimportant ones.
The important facts being any fact you can use in the attainment of your chief aim. I'm not saying that the unimportant facts can't also help enrich your life. But by focusing most of your time on the important facts as it relates to your chief aim will help get you there further and faster...
I hope you enjoyed Part II of this "Law of Success" series. (You can visit my blog for Law of Success Part III).
In the meantime, share these principles with your peers. Discuss the concepts and teach other people what you've learned. There's no better way to learn than by teaching others.
If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend getting a copy of Napoleon Hill's classic bestseller: "Law of Success: The 21st-Century Edition." It really is a great read and I rank it in my personal top 10 list. To get your copy visit: http://tinyurl.com/2a2cuk
(Part 3 Continued Below)
Welcome to the conclusion of this special three part series commemorating the 21st Century Edition of Napoleon Hill's landmark work, "Law of Success," which reveals 17 Principles of Success that can help take your career and life to the next level. These are proven principles based on Hill's 25 years of research personally studying the lives of over 500 of the world's greatest achievers.
Law of Success Part I and Part II covered the first 11 of these principles. (To read Part I and Part II, visit: http://tinyurl.com/3d3loq). Law of Success Part III will now conclude with the remaining 6 of these valuable, time-tested principles which can help you succeed in all areas of your life. Enjoy:
Principle # 12: Concentration
"Concentration is the act of focusing the mind on a given desire until ways and means for its realization have been worked out and successfully put into operation." - Napoleon Hill
In this age of mass communications, we are beginning to face a global epidemic of mass distraction that is becoming dangerous - and in some cases lethal. (The rising pedestrian and motor vehicle driver deaths due to the host of electronic distractions is just one sad example).
The Weapons of Mass Distraction available to us are just overwhelming: email, cell phones, pagers, text messaging, video games, GPS navigational systems, video games, DVD players, TV, web cams, blackberries, faxes, ipods, and the explosion of social networking sites, just to name a few. (When used intelligently these tools can be powerful, but when used ineffectively, they become what I call, "Weapons of Mass Distraction!"
For concentration to be effective, Hill maintains that it is vitally important to keep your mind focused on ONE subject until you've mastered it; to focus on ONE given problem until you've solved that problem.
What I find helps is starting a task with a burst of energy and enthusiasm which will provide the momentum to complete the task successfully. Just watch Olympic sprinters at the start of a race and you'll know what I mean.
Finally, in this age of sensory overload, some sensory deprivation might be in order. Hill recommends that you set some time everyday where you can enter a quiet place, close your eyes, and put your fingers in your ears, blocking all light and sound, and just repeat your chief aim and see yourself in full possession of the object of your aim.
Just practicing this simple technique everyday will help you concentrate on doing the important tasks that will eventually lead to a quantum breakthrough in your life.
Principle # 13: Cooperation
"Cooperation is the foundation of all successful leadership." - Napoleon Hill
According to Hill, there are two forms of cooperation: 1). The cooperation between a group alliance Master Mind (which was covered in my Law of Success Part I overview) to achieve a desired end, and 2). The cooperation between the conscious and subconscious minds to draw upon creative intelligence (a theme that continues throughout this overview).
Power is developed through organized effort. And for any organized effort to be successful, the harmonious cooperation of people focused on a singular purpose is required.
Harmony is the key. And it would serve you well to study the main personality types of people before forming a team so you can bring together people who compliment each other rather than compete with each other. ("What Type Am I" by Renee Baron is a good first book to understanding personality types).
One thing in the "Law of Success" that really struck me as very powerful was an important observation that Napoleon Hill made: "A great leader is one who understands how to create a "motivating objective" that will be accepted with enthusiasm by every member of [the] group...Most people will work harder for the attainment of an ideal than they will for money."
What is your company's or team's "motivating objective" or ideal? Figure that one out and the wings of cooperation will carry you and your team members to new heights!
Principle # 14: Profiting by Failure
"If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate." -Thomas Watson, Sr. Founder of IBM
Profiting from failure is an overdone topic in the field of personal development so I won't spend too much time on this principle. It's overdone for the very reason that there's much truth in the idea of people reaching higher levels of success by persevering and learning from failure instead of quitting. It's no accident that John D. Rockefeller felt that perseverance is the single most important quality to achieving success.
I've observed over the years that success comes to leaders in almost direct proportion to the amount of adversity and failures they've overcome and learned from in life.
That old clich?, 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again' applies here. Of course, I'm not saying you necessarily keep on doing the same thing expecting the same results (another definition for insanity).
Seek counselors and mentors that you can trust to help evaluate the effectiveness of your plans. Explore the reasons that are limiting your success by asking them how they see you limiting yourself.
If your first plan to achieving your chief aim in life does not succeed, than change it! And keep on changing it until you've reached your target, just as an airplane makes thousands of adjustments and flight corrections before reaching its destination.
Principle # 15: Tolerance
"Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open."
- Lord Thomas Dewar
If we adopt a closed mind we stop acquiring knowledge. And natural law states that we are either growing or dying.
I don't like the word 'tolerance.' I much rather prefer embracing new ideas and having an insatiable curiosity for learning other people's customs, belief systems, and unique perspectives. I look at it as an adventure!
Finding ways to harness cultural differences within teams and organizations will be the new currency in an increasingly globalized economy.
Principle # 16: The Golden Rule
Napoleon Hill recognized that the frivolous use of power from the knowledge that is being shared with you will only backfire and be destructive to self and others. Selfish pursuit of your chief aim without regard for others will eventually come back to haunt you.
We reap what we sow. What goes around comes around. Therefore, the Golden Rule is: do unto others as you'd have done unto you. Before doing anything, ask yourself if it will benefit or hurt the person involved.
It's easy to be self-centered. To transcend self, think more of what the other person wants and feels before acting.
See the good in others. Catch people doing things right instead of always looking for the wrong. Kindness and justice toward others goes a long way in establishing successful business and personal relationships. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great."
Hill takes us deeper with the Golden Rule philosophy when he said, "think of others as you'd wish them to think of you." Live this philosophy and your life will be enriched in many unforeseen ways.
Principle # 17: The Universal Law of Cosmic Habitforce
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
The Universal Law of Cosmic Habitforce is that intangible, unseen force which is made tangible and visible in nature.
Just observe nature and you will experience Cosmic Habitforce in action.
When you fix in your mind a purpose consciousness focused on your chief aim in life through repetition of thoughts and deeds, Cosmic Habitforce will take over and carry it to its logical conclusion, just as an acorn seed will always produce an oak tree through proper care and nurturing.
It takes constant vigilance, determination, and willpower to maintain that purpose consciousness, but eventually Cosmic Habitforce will always bear fruit and your life will be richly rewarded.
In closing, I'd like to point out that at the beginning of every chapter in Napoleon Hill's "Law of Success" are the words: "You can do it if you believe you can!"
It's that simple. I'm not saying it's easy, but it really is that simple. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning."
Believe in yourself! Believe you can do it and move forward this day with faith and confidence. Many blessings to you along your journey.
I hope that you've benefited from reading this series and I'd like to encourage you to share these important principles with your friends, family, and associates. I'd also like to highly recommend getting a copy of Napoleon Hill's "Law of Success: 21st Century Edition" to add to your personal library. It's a life-changing book, and I mean that as no exaggeration. To get your copy, visit: http://tinyurl.com/2a2cuk