“Think and Grow Tough” — Napoleon Hill on Adversity
“Anything the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill
For all of us, it’s not a question of whether adversity is going to come — sooner or later it will, albeit in different ways. You have to be mentally prepared to handle it or it will crush you like it does so many people whenever the winds of adversity blow. To counteract the panicked state that can be induced at such a time, I often recall ideas from my favorite success book, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, first published in 1937 toward the end of last century’s Great Depression. It many great ideas for staying positive — something worth turning to when facing difficult times. Here are some quotes:
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Although it may come in hindsight, Hill claims that every cloud has a silver lining. What might it be for you? Do you need a new approach to your marketplace? Really get yourself in shape rather than just talking about it? Improve your relationships with family and friends?
”Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” Again, what might be the opportunity in the adversity you’re facing? Typically this involves developing yourself in some manner.
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he’s sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That’s exactly what the majority of men do.” The key word is “temporary” — no matter how difficult things may get, this too shall pass.
“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” Can you take that next step, even if you feel you’re in the dark, don’t know what’s going to happen on the road less taken?
“No man ever achieved worthwhile success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure.” And sometimes we will have even gone over the edge of failure. (I know firsthand — I have gone over that edge and lived to tell about it.) As long as you are willing to get back up and fight another day, failure is again a temporary condition.
“No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.” What’s the old saying? “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” This doesn’t mean to blindly go forward with a plan that is not working — winners know how to adjust on the fly.
”Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.” Paradoxical as it seems, the greater the difficulty, the stronger the opportunity for character development.
”Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” Ever begin a workout program, get in great shape, then stop and get flabby again? I guess life is a lot like that — if you stop working at getting better, your attitude gets flabby and you coast in the only direction possible, downhill.
All of these quotes from Napoleon Hill lead us back to the first one above: “Anything the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” If you have a clearly defined sense of purpose, drawn up and memorized in a Mission Statement as Hill prescribes early in Think and Grow Rich, you’ll have the strength to hold up under trying circumstances. By studying the wisdom in such a book, you too can attain the mental toughness to withstand troubled times and rebound to success.