Napoleon Hill – Principle #1 – Definiteness of Purpose


Definiteness of Purpose

In our last article on Napoleon Hill we gave you a summarized overview of his life and the opportunity afforded him by Andrew Carnegie to study success with real depth by providing him twenty years in which to meet, interview and study deeply individuals who were at the pinnacle of success in their field. We learned that, at the conclusion of this study, Hill was able to assemble the commonalities of all of these individuals into a series of seventeen principles that made these individuals so great. We considered that Andrew Carnegie, the richest man in the world at that time, was convinced that the assembled principles could be taught to the common man and that, if properly applied, the individual receiving this information could see similar results expressed in their own life. In fact, Carnegie made the following statement:  "… you have a great power under your control…the power to take possession of your mind and direct it to whatever ends you may desire…a gift from the Creator". Here is your chance to begin the process of learning and applying these principles toward your own success.

What is success? How is it defined? This answer to this is a diverse as the number of people on the planet. However, most people have similar definitions that include having money, respect and authority, good health, and good loving relationships. This is by no means a comprehensive list.

Take a moment to go back and review Carnegie’s statement. The power to influence your world is found within your own mind. Napoleon Hill began by teaching that "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve." This principle is compatible with every major religion from Christianity (“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”) to the Eastern religions of Buddhism and Taoism (which teach that the mind creates its’ own universe). Not a follower of a religion? Need to see it from the scientific perspective? There are studies regarding the power of the mind to affect the surrounding world that number in the thousands. There is other scientific evidence that shows that subatomic particles can have an effect on other particles lightyears away with no apparent connection. The concept here is that everything in the universe is connected and has an effect on everything else. Call that God, the Creator or simply Infinite Intelligence it is still the same thing.

The bottom line is that your mind creates your reality… for the good or for the bad. Hill taught that the universe contains two vessels that are accessed by your mind. On one hand; if you seize possession and provide direction to your mind then the vessel of riches will be accessed. On the other hand; if you neglect this fabulous power and authority you have in the universe then the vessel of penalties will be accessed. Penalties are not punishment as in a decision of the universe (God/Infinite Intelligence) to bring negativity. Rather they are the natural result of this LAW OF NATURE in the universe. That law being “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” Faith/belief vs. fear/doubt. Both are forms of belief and what the mind focuses on it will bring into reality. This is known in modern circles as the “Law of Attraction.” With this groundwork in place; let’s begin the process of looking at the next step in our understanding.

Principle #1 – Definiteness of Purpose

A ship has the power and technology to travel to virtually any destination. It has a hull to displace the water to keep it afloat. It has an engine to provide power to produce electricity and forward momentum. It has a rudder that, when used properly, can direct the ship in any direction. Lastly, it has navigational equipment to tell the Captain where the ship is and to help guide it along the planned path. What it does not have is the planned path built in. This is provided by the Captain and following the analogy then the Captain of your ship is your mind. The Captain plans the endpoint for the voyage and assists the crew with directing the ship along the path toward the final destination. If the Captain is performing well, then he will begin the voyage with a destination port in mind and then begin directing the crew along the way to follow the best path and avoid such things as reefs and storms that could spell defeat. When the inevitable storm crops up from time to time then the Captain guides the crew to take necessary steps to weather the storm but always with the final destination in mind.

To be successful, the Captain envisions landing in the designated port. He keeps his mind and efforts focused on this goal. He addresses unexpected adversity while maintaining this focus. A failure to leave port with this endpoint in mind then results in the ship remaining adrift in treacherous seas and no destination is ever reached. According to the laws that we discussed earlier, the natural result of this is that the ship may run aground or may collide with another ship. These are the consequences (penalties) for sailing a ship without purpose and attention to a goal.

Hill teaches us to begin with the end in mind. To focus our mind on that end and to feverishly feed our mind with information and a vision of the endpoint (goal). To develop Definiteness of Purpose. This is the starting point on the pathway of success no matter what you define success as.

At this point it is important to differentiate Definiteness of Purpose and a Definite Major Purpose. Definiteness of Purpose is a character trait. It is a way of life and also a method of thinking. It takes discipline to develop this. A Definite Major Purpose (or simply Definite Purpose) is a particular goal or set of goals that form the vision from which the individual defines success.

The power of the mind is truly awesome. Scientist say that we use only about 10% of our brains. But the power of our subconscious mind is even larger. Are you ready to begin your journey toward success? First, do you have a definition of success for yourself? Take this definition of success and turn it into a goal. A goal is a dream with a deadline so set a deadline for achieving this goal. Studies show that a plan with a date attached will become reality at a much higher rate than one without a deadline. Missed the deadline? Don’t worry; you are much closer than you were and you should set a new and more realistic deadline based on the latest information you have gained from your experience thus far.

This is a preview of what is to come… Read the rest of the article in our upcoming issue of Surpass Magazine.

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