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In 2012 the world reached a population of approximately 7.1 billion people. When you consider all of our differences, it seems unlikely that we could find a single characteristic uniting us all, but the desire of success is an innate human quality shared regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or any other distinction.
Despite differences of opinion regarding the definition of success, at the end of the day, everyone wants to be successful. But with everyone measuring success by different standards, it becomes difficult to know how to get there. Just take a look around the business and personal development sections of your local book store or even browse one online. The number of titles can be overwhelming and leave you feeling more confused than ever.
Thankfully, with his book The Law of Success, Napoleon Hill offers a comprehensive guide to becoming the best possible version of yourself and to becoming successful on your own terms. Without gimmicks or short cuts, Hill offers common sense laws that anyone, no matter where they are in their journey can and should implement.
Useful whether you read the book cover to cover or spend time jumping between the different laws you think apply the most to your life, the book is broken down into 15 sections with each section dedicated to a specific law.
The Big Idea
Success is a direct result of many laws working together in harmony
"A thousand electric dry batteries, when properly organized and connected together with wires, will produce enough power to run a good-sized piece of machinery for several hours, but take those same cells singly, disconnected, and not one of them would exert enough energy to turn the machinery over once."
If you take a look at the most successful people in your life, it is very unlikely that they are successful by accident. Chances are they are successful because they have mastered or have a good grasp on most of the characteristics Hill mentions in his book—and they employ them simultaneously.
By thinking about success like a well-conducted symphony, we begin to understand that each of the laws plays its own important part in our journey. Like the harmony of many instruments playing at once, it is almost impossible to tell where one law ends and another begins.
Take for example the importance of having a definite chief aim, the first of Hill’s 15 laws. How does one determine what their definite chief aim will be without first using their imagination and having enthusiasm about what the future holds? And is it possible to have a definite chief aim without the self-confidence that you can do whatever you put your mind to?
Chart your course and live with intention
"The man who labours without a definite purpose that is backed up by a definite plan for its attainment, resembles the ship that has lost its rudder. Hard labour and good intentions are not sufficient to carry a man through to success, for how may a man be sure that he has attained success unless he has established in his mind some definite object that he wishes?"
When looking to determine whether you are successful in your life, it is imperative to have a purpose, or what Hill refers to as a definite chief aim. The reason living with a purpose or discovering your definite chief aim is so important is because without it, it’s nearly impossible to know whether you have been successful. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?
As Kid President said in a recent viral YouTube video pep talk, “This is life people!” It’s time we decide how we are going to live our life, and what we are going to live for. We owe it to ourselves to find our passion and purpose and to start living with intention. Life is too short not to follow our dreams!
Surround yourself with people that won’t let you fail
"This also, is another common error made by men in all walks of life - that of failure to work in unison, in a thorough spirit of co-operation."
Despite the fact that most success stories start with one person and their determination to accomplish something for themselves or for the greater good, at the end of the day, their success generally relies on the help and involvement of other people.
Throughout The Law of Success, Hill repeatedly refers to Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie as some of the biggest success stories of his time. Despite their differences, the one thing these men all had in common was the ability to rally a team of people around them who would help them to accomplish their greatest goals.
If the old adage “you are only as good as the company you keep” is true, then it is all the more important to surround yourself with people who will support, motivate, and help you reach your potential. In such an interconnected world it is impossible to be successful alone and if you don’t surround yourself with people who are willing and able to help you reach your destination, you may miss out on something unique and special – the law of the mastermind. But that my friends, is another story, and one that should be left to Mr. Hill himself.
Despite the fact that The Law of Success was first published in 1928, the 15 laws described are still as relevant as ever, proving that there are some universal truths that do not change regardless of how many years pass.
As an avid reader of personal and professional development books, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I gained from reading this book. Take it from me: Even if you don’t pick up another book on development in 2013, Napoleon Hill has you more than covered with The Law of Success.