From the Archives: Napoleon Hill

UPDATED: April 29, 2011
PUBLISHED: April 29, 2011

Napoleon Hill was one of the earliest producers of personal-success literature, and his most famous work, Think and Grow Rich, is one of the best-selling books of all time. Hill was editor of SUCCESS while W. Clement Stone was publisher. This article was published in the January 1967 issue of the magazine.


How do you make a start toward success?

The answer is simple for those who gain a clear concept of the principles I have found, in decades of research, to be the guideposts to success.

Perhaps it would be well to review them here briefly.

First, all achievements, all success, and all desires, begin with a clear mental image of one’s goal—a definite picture of what you desire from life. Unless you know where you want to go, how can you get there?

Second, this picture is translated into action through personal initiative.

If the chosen goal is beyond attainment for one person, the services of others are utilized through the third principle, what I call the Master Mind. This consists of a completely harmonious partnership in which the education, experience, influence and sometimes the working capital of each member complements and supplements those of other members.

Next, the person determined to achieve success must be willing to go the extra mile—do more than he is paid for. Once having decided upon your success goal, this is the most certain method of attaining it.

In operation, the Master Mind group is coordinated closely to provide perfect teamwork, another principle in the Science of Success.

The other principles call for:

A positive mental attitude—Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, your mind can achieve. Develop the complete belief that you can do anything you set out to do. This requires:

Applied faith—The power to draw on spiritual resources endowed upon us. Your own faith can help you develop:

Accurate thinking—The ability to think clearly, separating facts from fiction and hearsay evidence and reaching conclusions on the basis of sound logic. This will give you confidence and faith in yourself and your decisions. Accurate thinking requires:

Controlled attention—The trait of concentrating on your definite major goal with a persistence that approaches fanaticism. This, in turn, demands:

Self-discipline—Through self-discipline you develop the power to turn on more willpower, rather than quitting, when you run into obstacles barring the way to your goal. With its help, you will learn temperance and how to exercise the next principle of success:

Budgeting time and money—It’s important that you learn to budget your time as carefully as you do your money. Check whether you are using your leisure time in pursuits that will help you reach your goal. If not, you need to develop:

Good habits—In some ways, success is in itself entirely a matter of habit, habits of both thought and of action. Moreover, good habits can help you maintain: Good physical and mental health—These are, of course, tremendous aids to success. And a healthy mind will give you:

Enthusiasm—Perhaps the most essential single trait for the success-bound person. No one ever achieved success without it. Moreover, enthusiasm will help you develop a:

Pleasing personality—Through which others lend you their friendly cooperation in attaining your goal.

Creative vision—Most success starts with an idea coupled with action. What ideas have you permitted to lie dormant that could bring you success? With creative vision, you’ll be able to:

Learn from defeat—Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent benefit. Each time you meet temporary defeat, search for the hidden blessing through which you can turn such obstacles into stepping stones toward your eventual success.