“There is some one thing that you can do better than anyone else in the world.” ~ Napoleon HillOne of the greatest teachers of all time for personal development is Napoleon Hill. The author of the classic book “Think and Grow Rich” studied the habits of the world’s most successful people for over 20 years, notably Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Charles Schwab, just to name a few. Napoleon Hill, through his years of research and writing, inspired a nation, and he has become one of my greatest teachers.
Napoleon Hill wrote two books that were fairly similar in nature – “The Laws of Success” and “Think and Grow Rich”. The former was the result of Mr. Hill’s twenty-plus years of researching successful men and women. The latter was the condensed, less intimidating version. In both books, chapter one introduces us to the benefits of choosing a definite purpose for our lives. Mr. Hill also calls this a ‘burning desire’ or ‘definite chief aim’. Whichever way you put it, it’s obvious that he feels the first step in achieving success in life is by choosing that one thing that we can concentrate all of our unique and individual efforts on. I know in this day and age it is difficult to choose just one thing, but take a moment to think about how many tasks you have on the go right now. Do you feel scattered or do you feel like you are making headway on the right path? Too many ideas, too many paths, too many commitments will leave you spinning your wheels. Choosing a definite purpose in life, a definite path, a definite vision, will keep you focused and allow you to draw boundaries around your time and commitments.
While no one but yourself can choose your definite purpose, there are a few key steps to consider while choosing that purpose and taking the next steps:
Burning Desire / Definite Purpose
“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
What do you love to do? What do you love to think about? Now, have you ever heard of the Law of Attraction? The Law of Attraction refers to the idea that thoughts influence chance. Napoleon Hill argues that once you find your definite purpose and make that your dominating thought as you move about this earth, it will saturate into your subconscious and become a magnet for attracting all things associated. Sound intense? It should. The good news is that this burning desire will be what YOU want more than anything in the world. It will be your passion, and because of that, focusing on it won’t be so difficult. So think about what you love to do, then start thinking about all the ways that you can integrate that into your daily life. Pretty soon, thanks to the law of attraction, the world around you will start giving you more of what you want most.
Know Yourself / Study Others
“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”
It is a never-ending process to get to know yourself. It takes time and effort and concentration….and time (did I say that already?). It is also a never-ending process to get to know others and to study their behaviors so that you can start to recognize what works and what doesn’t work, both to apply to your own life and to your interactions with the outside world. Some things you can study include posture, tone of voice, eye movements, and the use of words or language someone uses. All it takes is awareness. Start paying attention to your own behaviors, then start observing others. Apply what you like and get rid of what you don’t. The key is to continue growing, continue pushing forward, continue improving yourself.
Keep an Open Mind
“Edison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.”
In the words of Napoleon Hill, stagnant minds breed fear. Great minds are always gathering new ideas and contemplating how to use those ideas for the betterment of the world. Keep your mind open to all the great ideas out there. Listen to them, don’t block them out. Don’t judge them by their covers, but sit with them, let them marinate. Recognize great ideas put forth by others, and allow yourself the creativity to work through your own ideas. Also, don’t be afraid to fail. In order to be successful you have to take chances, put yourself out there. You may not succeed the first time, or the second, or the 9,999th time, but as “they” say – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
“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.”
On your way to success there are many things to be organized, including facts, knowledge, and effort (as a start). What’s that disney movie with the dog that always gets distracted by the squirrel? You know the one? He could be having a full-on doggy conversation, but as soon as he sees a squirrel he forgets everything else. Life is like this if we don’t keep ourselves organized. How many thoughts run through your mind in a minute? What you were thinking about 30 seconds ago could be completely different from what you are thinking about now. With so much information overload going on, we need to keep ourselves organized. Especially when it comes to our definite purpose. We need to keep track of what books we want to read, what we have already read, which speakers we should listen to, which websites to visit, how to start doing what we want to do, how to sustain it, how to get paid for doing it, etc. Without organization, again, we will be spinning our wheels. And there’s no time for that when our purpose is on the line.
“Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.”
Make your definite purpose your hobby. Think, breath, act with your purpose in mind persistently, unyieldingly. Decide what you want, organize your thoughts and plans, and put it all into motion. Maybe one step at a time, maybe a baby step at a time, it doesn’t matter. Just take the step, then the next one. Set goals and keep track. Soon you will be on your way to living the life you have always wanted for yourself because you found your purpose and lived to achieve it.
“It is always your next move.” ~ Napoleon Hill