Here are the top 27 lessons Napoleon Hill taught us about life and success in his books.Nov 03, 2023
Success is a science.
That is, getting what you want is simply a matter of thinking rightly and doing rightly — thinking and behaving in a way that leads you where you want to go.
Napoleon Hill said it best: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
But that’s not all he taught us.
Napoleon Hill, the famous author of "Think and Grow Rich," gave us a treasure trove of knowledge that will provide you with practical insights on how to reach your dreams and become the best version of yourself.
Here, I’ll walk you through the top 27 lessons Napoleon Hill taught us about life and success.
His words of wisdom have stood the test of time and continue to inspire people like you to achieve greatness. So, get ready to transform your mindset and step into your full potential!
Throughout these lessons, be prepared to challenge your beliefs, broaden your perspective, and embrace change. Remember that your success is within reach – all it takes is the right mindset, hard work, and determination. Stay excited, and always keep Hill's words in mind as you pursue your dreams.
1. The Power of Desire
"The starting point of all achievement is desire."
Desire isn't just a want; it's a deep, burning need that fuels all achievement. Your desires are your internal compass, guiding you towards success. Find your true desire, make it strong, and the path to achievement becomes much more clear.
2. The Role of Faith
"Faith is the head chemist of the mind."
Look at it this way, faith transforms the raw substance of your thoughts into reality. It's your mind's alchemy. If you genuinely believe in your ability to succeed, that faith helps manifest success. It's not just some feel-good concept; it's a powerful catalyst for achieving your goals.
3. The Mastermind Principle
"No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind."
Napoleon Hill emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded, success-oriented individuals. Think about it. Your network is your net worth. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can help you on your journey. Leverage the power of cooperation and coordination — that's the mastermind principle.
4. Specialized Knowledge
"Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end."
To attain success, Hill suggests you focus on developing specialized knowledge in your area of interest. Some ways to develop specialized knowledge include:
- Engaging in continuous learning through books, online courses, and workshops.
- Seeking out and learning from mentors in your field.
- Staying updated with industry trends and changes.
5. Persistent Effort
"Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success."
When you're on the road to success, there are no shortcuts or magic formulas. The name of the game is persistence. You've got to show up every single day, rain or shine, and put in the work.
This means having the patience to see your efforts bear fruit over time. You might not see immediate results, but remember — success is a marathon, not a sprint. You've got to play the long game!
And don't forget about perspiration. Success isn't handed to us on a silver platter. It requires work - hard work. It's the sweat on your brow and the grit in your teeth. It's the late nights and early mornings, the moments when you push past your limits to get the job done.
6. The Subconscious Mind
"The subconscious mind will not remain idle. If you fail to plant desires in your subconscious mind, it will feed upon the thoughts which reach it."
Your subconscious mind is like a garden. If you don't intentionally plant good seeds - your positive thoughts and desires - it will start to grow whatever lands in there. That could be weeds of negativity, fear, and self-doubt.
Your subconscious mind is always at work, shaping your actions and reactions based on the thoughts that it's fed. It doesn't differentiate between good and bad thoughts. It simply accepts what you give it. So, it's crucial that you feed it with positive, success-oriented thoughts.
Think about it. Every time you say, "I can't," or "It's too hard," you're planting those negative seeds. But if you switch your mindset and say, "I can," or "I will," you're planting seeds of positivity and achievement. Make it a habit to feed your subconscious mind with positivity and watch how it changes your life.
7. The Power of Imagination
"First comes the thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality."
The power of imagination is something we often overlook. It's not just daydreaming or wishful thinking; it's a creative power that can fuel your road to success.
See, your imagination is where your future takes shape. Every great achievement, every groundbreaking invention, started as a simple thought in someone's imagination. What sets successful people apart is their ability to harness those thoughts, organize them into clear ideas and plans, and then bring those plans to life.
Here's the deal — if you can't imagine it, you can't achieve it. You need to visualize your success, picture your goals as if they're already accomplished. This mental image acts as a blueprint for your subconscious mind, guiding your actions towards that desired outcome.
8. The Lie of Perfectionism
"Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along."
One of the biggest obstacles on the path to success is the belief that everything has to be perfect before you can start. Let me tell you right now — it's a myth.
Waiting for the perfect moment to take action is like waiting for all the lights to be green before leaving the house. It's just not going to happen. The truth is, there's never a perfect time. There's only now. So, start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.
And here's the beautiful part — as you move forward, you'll find better tools, develop new skills, and gain the experience you need to reach your goals. Each step you take uncovers new opportunities. But none of that can happen if you don't take that first step.
9. Decision Making
"The most successful people are those who make decisions promptly and change them, if at all, very slowly."
This quote underlines the significance of decisiveness in achieving success. Making prompt decisions is a trait that characterizes many successful individuals. It shows a certain level of confidence and trust in one's intuition and judgment. On the flip side, being slow to change these decisions signifies determination and persistence, indicating a refusal to be swayed by minor obstacles or setbacks.
This isn't to say that we shouldn't be open to change or new information. It's crucial to adapt when circumstances demand it. But there's a difference between being flexible and being indecisive. Successful people recognize this difference. They stand firm on their decisions once made but remain open-minded enough to pivot when absolutely necessary.
10. Organized Planning
"Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action."
Realizing your dreams takes more than good intentions – it requires a well-developed plan. Organized planning involves defining your goals, devising a clear strategy, and then taking the necessary steps to achieve success.
By treating your objectives with structure and organization, you increase the likelihood of reaching them. Don't wait for the perfect time to act; start with your plans and adjust as needed.
"Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you do not control your thoughts, you cannot control your needs."
Develop self-discipline by taking control of your thoughts and emotions. Realize that your actions and choices directly impact your success. By exercising self-control, you can stay focused on your goals and build good habits that will ultimately lead to success. Cultivate self-discipline by setting achievable goals and staying committed to them.
12. Embracing Adversity, Failure, & Heartache
"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit."
Sometimes, life knocks us down. We face adversity, failure, and heartache. But here's the thing: every setback carries within it the potential for an equal or greater benefit. It's in these difficult times that we find the seeds of growth and transformation. Embrace adversity, learn from failure, and let heartache open your heart. These are the crucibles that shape us into stronger, more resilient individuals.
13. Lifelong Learning
"The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge."
Success isn't a destination; it's a journey. And on this journey, the most valuable asset you can have is knowledge. Make it a habit to continuously learn, grow, and improve. Embrace the pursuit of knowledge as a lifelong journey. Remember, the more you learn, the more you realize there's more to learn. So keep that curiosity alive and keep learning!
14. Doing Small Things Well
"If you can't do great things, do small things in a great way."
It's not always about doing grand, monumental things. Sometimes, it's about doing small things in an extraordinary way. It's about taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. It's about bringing excellence and passion into everything you do, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Remember, greatness isn't just about what you do; it's about how you do it.
15. Being Three Feet From Gold
"Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them."
This is a powerful lesson in resilience. The path to success is often paved with failures and setbacks. It's easy to feel disheartened and give up. But remember, you could be just one step away from success. You could be three feet from gold. Don't quit when things get tough; keep pushing, keep striving, because your biggest success could be just around the corner.
16. Abundant Opinions
"Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by "opinions" when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking."
We live in a world where everyone has an opinion and is ready to share it with anyone who will listen. While it's important to consider different perspectives, it's equally crucial to remember that not all opinions hold equal weight. When making decisions, listen to your gut, follow your intuition, and trust your judgment. After all, you are the captain of your own ship.
17. Speaking Ill
"f you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge."
Words have power. They can build up, and they can tear down. So be mindful of what you say about others. If you must speak ill, let it be temporary and fleeting, like writing in the sand near the water's edge. Choose your words wisely, for they are a reflection of who you are.
18. Suggestion & Auto-Suggestion
"Suggestion differs from auto-suggestion only in one way — we use it to influence the minds of others, while we use auto-suggestion in influencing our own minds."
The power of suggestion is an incredible tool. We can use it to influence others, and we can use it to shape our own thoughts and behaviors. By consciously controlling our thoughts and suggestions to ourselves, we can direct our lives towards success.
19. Hold No Bitterness
"Remember that your thoughts are building your ‘personality’; therefore, be careful as to what sort of thoughts go into that building. The degree of ‘bigness’ or ‘littleness’ to which a person has risen may be very accurately determined by ascertaining the extent to which that person can forgive and forget the wrongs which have been heaped upon him."
Our thoughts shape who we are. If we harbor resentment and bitterness, it diminishes us. The mark of greatness is the ability to forgive and forget, to rise above the pettiness of past wrongs. By letting go of bitterness, we free ourselves to grow and succeed.
20. See Yourself How You Want to Be Seen
"Surround yourself with a mental atmosphere of genius, an atmosphere that feels like you imagine genius would feel; then live, think and act constantly in that atmosphere. Pretty soon, others will begin to see you as you see yourself."
This is about the power of visualization and self-perception. If you want to be seen as a genius, you have to start seeing yourself as one. Surround yourself with the mental image of who you want to become and live in that reality. Believe in it so strongly that it becomes your reality, and others will start to see you in the same light.
21. The Law of Retaliation
"We have learned that our thoughts and actions toward others resemble an electric magnet which attracts to us the same sort of thought and the same sort of action that we, ourselves, create."
This is a universal law – what you put out into the world, you get back. If you exude positivity, kindness, and respect, that's what you'll attract in return. If you act with malice, negativity, or disrespect, you'll draw the same towards yourself. Choose your thoughts and actions carefully, for they shape your reality.
22. Selecting Your Environment
"Habit grows out of environment — out of doing the same thing in the same way repeatedly — out of thinking the same thoughts over and over again — and when once formed it resembles cement which has set in the molds and is hard to break."
The environment we choose plays a critical role in shaping our habits, and habits, in turn, shape our lives. Choose an environment that nurtures positive habits and growth. Be mindful of the patterns you create in your life, for they set the course for your future.
23. Persuasion Vs. Force
"The human body can be imprisoned or controlled by physical force, but not so with the human mind. No man on earth can control the mind of a normal healthy person if that person chooses to exercise his God-given right to control his own mind."
This is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit and the freedom of the mind. We can choose our thoughts, our attitudes, and our reactions. No one can control our minds unless we allow them to. Choose to use your mind as a tool for success, not a prison.
24. Your Chief Aim
"Possibly the greatest use to which you can direct the principle of auto-suggestion, is that of making it help you accomplish the object of your life work."
Knowing your life's purpose, your chief aim, is a powerful motivator. It gives you a direction, a reason to strive, and a purpose to fulfill. Use the power of auto-suggestion to keep this aim at the forefront of your mind, and it will guide you towards success.
25. Laugh a Little
"Get off your dignity now and then, relax, act like a boy and learn to laugh so you can be heard half a block away. Do this and the Devil will quit his job of painting your hair gray. (P.S. — This advice is also good for bankers and millionaires.)"
Life can be serious, but it's also important to remember to laugh and enjoy the journey. Letting loose, relaxing, and not taking things too seriously can bring joy and color back into life. Remember, laughter is the best medicine.
"It isn’t opportunity you want — it’s obsession; a deep, all-consuming desire to get there, and a fixed determination to back that desire with deeds."
Success doesn't just come from seizing opportunities – it comes from an intense, burning desire to achieve your goals. When you're obsessed with your dreams, you'll stop at nothing to make them a reality.
27. Nurtured by Adversity
"Sunshine is good — only mushrooms grow without it. Yet in the production of great men and women, the north wind, rain and storm and stinging disaster and agony have also played a part."
As we've already discussed, adversity can often be a catalyst for growth. In life, sunshine is essential, but it's the storms that truly shape us. Embrace adversity as an opportunity for growth and transformation.
Final Thoughts: Where To Go Next?
It's clear that Napoleon Hill's wisdom is just as game-changing today as it was when he first put pen to paper. The lessons we've dug into here—believing in yourself, sticking to your decisions, keeping a positive mindset—they're not just nice ideas. They're secret weapons, and they're secret weapons that are available to every single one of us.
The trick, though, is that you've got to do more than just understand these principles. You've got to make them a part of your life, your routine, your very mindset. You've got to live and breathe this stuff.
Let's get real here. Success isn't some magical destination that some folks just stumble upon. It's built. It's worked for. And it's won by the people who are willing to show up day after day, to keep pushing, keep learning, keep adapting. That's the difference between people who dream of success and the people who achieve it.
The good news? Every single one of us can be an achiever. You've got all the secret weapons you need right here in Napoleon Hill's lessons. But these weapons aren't going to do you any good just sitting on the page. It's time to pick them up, to put them to use, and to start seeing the results in your own life.
So, dive in. Take action. And remember, in the words of Hill himself, "Don't wait. The time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand."
I can't wait to see where these lessons take you!
P.S. I'd love to send you this gift with a FREE copy of "Think and Grow Rich" and two UNPUBLISHED books from Napoleon Hill when you join our 'Secrets Of Success' community. You canget this special offer here: