LEARN HOW TO LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE
BY NAPOLEON HILL
Remember, the most profound truth in all the facts concerning mankind consists of the fact that the Creator of man gave him complete, unchallengeable right of prerogative over but one thing, his own mind. It must have been the Creator’s purpose to encourage man to live his own life, to think his own thoughts, without interference from others.
Otherwise man would not have been provided with such a definite system of protection over his mind.
By the simple process of exercising this profound prerogative over your own mind you may lift yourself to great heights of achievement in any field of endeavor you choose.
Exercise of this prerogative is the only approach to the status known as genius. After all, a genius is simply one who has taken full possession of his own mind and directed it to objectives of his own choosing, without permitting outside influences to discourage or mislead him.
Henry Ford became a great industrialist and made himself wealthier than Croesus, not because of his superior ability or brains, but simply because he took possession of his own mind, fashioned in it a career of his own making, and kept all negative influences away from his mind until he attained his objective.
Orville and Wilbur Wright learned to live their own lives. Their exercise of this profound prerogative gave the world its first successful flying machine, the forerunner of a method of transportation which is shortening the distance between all parts of the world and all people and making all mankind more closely akin.
Thomas A. Edison learned to live his own life, think his own thoughts. And his exercise of this privilege uncovered and revealed to mankind more useful inventions than had been revealed during the entire period of civilization up to his time. This despite the fact that Edison was thrown out of school after only three months of schooling with a pronouncement from his teacher that he had an “addled” mind and could not take schooling.
What a great pity the world has not many more such “addled” minds! Through his adversity Edison discovered something he might never have learned from formal schooling. He learned that he had a mind which he could control and direct to any desired end. He learned that he could use the technical training of other men and successfully direct scientific research in connection with the most difficult problems without personally being schooled in any of the sciences. He learned that education does not necessarily come from schooling.
These and many more great truths he learned because he refused to accept the edict of the teacher who said he had an addled mind. He took full and complete possession of that “addled” mind, and through it revealed more of nature’s secrets than had any other person.
Madame Schumann-Heink was sent as a young girl to a music teacher for a test of her voice. After he had listened to her a few minutes he said, “That is enough. Go back to your sewing machine. You may become a first class seamstress. A singer, no!” Remember, that was the voice of authority speaking.
The teacher knew good voices from bad ones. But he did not know that a poor voice may be trained by the person who is determined to do so. That was an appropriate place for Madame Schumann-Heink to have relinquished her right to take possession of her own mind. Instead, she became more determined than ever to sing well. At this point her exercise of the profound prerogative to take possession of her mind distinguished her from millions of others who have aspired to become singers but who became discouraged and quit because they allowed the “opinions” of others to transcend their own.
She was one of the few who learn that one can do anything within reason if he or she wishes to do it badly enough. There is something very interesting about these people who take possession of their own minds and refuse to let others live their lives for them.
They bounce back from a knockout blow as if they were rubber balls. Yes, and they use adversity as a shot in the arm instead of accepting it as a “kick in the pants.” They convert defeats into stepping stones instead of accepting them as stumbling blocks. The person who throws himself on the side of the “I can do it” impulse is the one who wins. He is the genius of industry, the Henry Ford, the Thomas A. Edison, the Andrew Carnegie, the Wilbur or Orville Wright.
The person who throws himself on the side of the “I cannot do it” impulse is the individual who makes up the vast majority of mankind—the type that gets a mere living but nothing more and experiences only misery, disappointment and failure throughout life.
At the end of World War I, a young soldier came to see me about securing a job. At the very outset he announced, “All I seek is a meal-ticket, a place to sleep and enough to eat.” The look in his eyes—a sort of glassy stare—told me that hope was dead. Here was a man willing to settle with life for a meal-ticket when I well knew that if he could be made to undergo a change of mental attitude he would set as his goal a king’s ransom and perhaps obtain it.
Something inside me prompted me to ask, “How would you like to become a multi-millionaire? Why settle for a meal-ticket when you can easily settle for millions?”
“Please do not try to be funny with me,” he exclaimed. “I am hungry and need a mealticket.”
“No,” I replied, “I am not trying to be funny. I am serious. You can make millions if you are willing to use the assets you now have.”
“What do you mean, ASSETS?” he queried.
“Why, a positive mind,” I answered. “Now let us take inventory and find out what concrete assets you possess in the way of ability, experience, etc. We will move from there.”
By questioning, I discovered that this young soldier had been a Fuller Brush salesman before he went into the army—also, that during the war he had done considerable “K.P.” duty and had learned to cook rather well.
In other words, his total assets consisted of the fact that he could cook food and he could sell. In the ordinary walks of life neither cooking nor selling would carry a man into the multi-millionaire class, but this soldier was taken out of the “ordinary” walks of life by the process of introducing him to his own mind and causing him to take possession of that mind.
Remember, this young man was not only already afloat on the ocean of despair, but he was going down for the third time. He needed not only a lifebelt, but he needed also a stimulant to enable him to recover from the shock of misery and want he had just experienced. Salvaging a man who is willing to settle with life for a meal-ticket is not an easy job.
During the two hours I had been talking with this young man my own mind had been at work. My mind was positive. It was not weakened by hunger and hopelessness.
It was a success-conscious mind.
Taking the two assets which the young soldier possessed— the ability to sell and the ability to cook—I tried to help him assemble a plan by which he might convert them into his fortune.
“How about using your selling ability to induce housewives to invite their neighbors in for a home-cooked dinner?” I asked. “Prepare that dinner with special cookware, and after the dinner is served take orders for complete sets of the cookware. You should be able to induce half of the ladies present to purchase.”
“Very well,” my young soldier friend replied, “but where am I to sleep, and what am I to eat while I am doing the work, not to mention the question of where I am to get the money to purchase the necessary cookware?”
Isn’t it strange how the mind jumps to all the negatives and sums up all the obstacles in one’s way when the mind is negative?
“Let me worry about all that,” I replied. “Your job is to get yourself in the frame of mind of wanting to become a multi-millionaire by selling cookware.”
While the young man was getting started in his new venture, I gave him the use of our guest room and his meals. He also had the use of my charge account to buy some new clothes. I went on his security for the purchase of his first outfit of cooking utensils.
That was all he needed. He was in business. During his first week he cleared nearly $100 on the sale of aluminum cookware. The second week he doubled that amount. Then he began to train other men and women whom he managed in the sale of cookware under the same plan.
At the end of the first four years he had made a little over $4,000,000.
Moreover, he had set into motion a new selling plan which is now netting many millions of dollars annually to men and women who sell by the same plan that he established.
When the ties that bind a human mind are broken and a man is introduced to himself—the real self that has no limitations—I fancy that the gates of hell shake with fear and the bells of heaven ring with joy!
Source: Success Unlimited, June 1956, pp. 9-13.