Stop! Just stop for a second and show some respect for the past. The keys to success of any kind are not all in the latest podcast or eBook or webinar by some young guy pushing his get rich quick, foolproof web app, click funnel or subscription page. Don’t get me wrong, many of these things work, but personal and professional success is like a well-built house; without a strong foundation it will fall over!
To build that solid foundation you need to simply look to the old guard. Look to the old masters of personal and business development and you might find success secrets that are simply timeless. Last weekend, I found my copy of Napoleon Hills the Science of Personal Achievement. As I read the opening I was reminded how much of the foundational writings on success have been forgotten or even ignored. The work of Napoleon Hill, or Dale Carnegie and many others have fallen between the cracks of time.
This is what I read, and I paraphrase, “The key to success is a combination of the 17 principles presented here. These 17 principles serve as a dependable road map leading directly to the source of all riches-be they intangible or material. Follow this map and you cannot miss the way. But be prepared to comply with all of these instructions and to assume all the responsibilities that go with achieving success.” It went on to say, “…if you use these inspired and inspiring keys to success, you will learn how to take full possession of your mind and your life, understand how adversity can be turned to your advantage and develop nurturing, harmonious relationships.”
First unveiled in the late 1920’s and maybe even more applicable today, here are (very quickly) THE 17 UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF SUCCESS AND ACHIEVEMENT by Napoleon Hill along with my brief color commentary of each.
- DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE: Clarity. It’s all about clarity. You had better know what your goal is and what it is that you want. You can’t set goals and attack a purpose if you don’t know what it is. Napoleon Hill says that this fills you with “success-consciousness”. Successful people know where they’re going before they start.
- MASTERMIND ALLIANCE PRINCIPLE: The books says that this is the coordination of effort between two or more people in a spirit of perfect harmony to attain a specific objective. In other words, find like-minded people, who can help you reach a goal, get them together and brain storm issues and challenges.
- APPLIED FAITH: The book asks what affirming statements or beliefs must you have faith in before you can reach your goals? In other words, you can do something if you believe you can! Henry Ford is famous for saying, “If you think you can or you can’t….you’re right!”
- PLEASING PERSONALITY: Napoleon Hill believes that the major cause of failure is the inability to get along with people! Are you a jerk or are you good to be around? The fact is that your personality is your greatest asset or liability! What part of it do you need to work on?
- GOING THE EXTRA MILE! This is simply working your butt off, and, doing more than you’re paid to do. And, doing it with a good attitude.
- PERSONAL INITIATIVE: This is being known for getting stuff done. It is completing what you start. No man is free until he learns to do his own thinking and gains the courage to act on his own personal initiative.
- SELF-DISCIPLINE: This is explained as the personal ability to control our thoughts and emotions, self-discipline is the only thing in life over which you have the complete, unchallenged and unchallengeable control. Direct your thoughts, control your emotions and ordain your destiny.
- CONTROLLED ATTENTION: This principle simply means that you have the discipline to focus and pay attention to the task at hand and not becoming distracted from that task. You must master the art of eliminating distractions.
- ENTHUSIASM: The principle of Enthusiasm is the energy and confidence and faith that you must have to handle the rigors that come with the challenge of success. It’s what keeps you going no matter the stress. Enthusiasm is contagious, and it inspires you to think clearer and with more creative. Real enthusiasm comes from within and is faith in action.
- IMAGINATION: I love this description of imagination. It is the using of old ideas and established facts to reassemble them into new combinations and to put them to new uses. Imagination is the workshop of the soul.
- LEARNING FROM ADVERSITY AND DEFEAT: For the successful person, failure is your training ground. For every NO you must believe that you’re one step closer to the yes. The only true failure is one that you didn’t learn from. Quit whining, learn and move on!
- BUDGETING TIME AND MONEY: Hill says, “Tell me how you use your spare time and how you spend your money, and I will tell you where and what you will be ten years from now.
- POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE: And I quote, “To govern your life, you must be able to govern your mind, and that is the starting point of all riches.” Be careful what you wish for, for you will surely achieve it.
- ACCURATE THINKING: You are what you think about most of the time! If you’re thinking negative, you will be negative. If you’re thinking positive things and expecting positive results you will have them.
- SOUND PHYSICAL HEALTH: Get off the couch and go for a walk. You must be healthy to live long enough to enjoy success.
- COOPERATION: At least try to get along with people. Figure out how to do this and personal power follows.
- COSMIC HABITFORCE: Originally, this was a new one for me. The book explains it this way. The cosmic habitforce is the universe’s law of equilibrium. It is the one natural law into which all other natural laws resolve themselves. When you learn to weave unpleasant circumstances into something useful, you’re on the road to success.
If you want to be an entrepreneur or a successful business person you must dive into these timeless treasures. Use these as your foundational recipe for your success formula moving forward. No matter your age or experience, these are the things that will take you to the next level.