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The Laws Of Success: Part I

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I've spent the last couple of 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 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 fantastic 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 are 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 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 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 to achieve 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. It can accomplish far more than any individual member could hope to achieve independently.

Hill recommends forming a round table of ideally six to twelve like-minded individuals who will support your chief aim, are in complete harmony with each other, and are willing to meet with you regularly to help you accomplish that aim. It would help if you offered each group member something to reward participation in your Master Mind.

Whether you develop a formal alliance or not, the Master Mind principle will still have a powerful influence over your life - for better or worse. You are the average 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 solid 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. It would help if you had 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 feelings, 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-confident, you must know. Know yourself and understand your business. Know your strengths and weaknesses, 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 auto-suggestion 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 reflects 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 an excellent policy to allocate 80% of your savings to pay down the debt 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. Even a modest savings account will increase your self-confidence and attract many opportunities that would typically 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 have developed the self-discipline of saving.

Hill recounts several instances in his book where people who had built up a small savings account could invest in new business opportunities, attract financing for their ideas, or enter into partnerships that would later result in untold millions.

Principle # 5: Initiative and Leadership

"Do the thing, and you shall have the power." - Emerson.

Hill says leadership is "doing the right thing without being told." Leadership is ultimately about taking the initiative and getting things done. Bottom line: leaders get paid for results.

You will build your initiative muscles by always providing additional service without expecting pay.

Leadership requires self-sacrifice. Leaders are givers. Inspire and help others, and you will be rewarded directly for 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."

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.