Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) was an accomplished business consultant, author and lecturer. For over twenty five years he studied some of the world’s greatest business leaders to discover what made them so successful. These were people like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt and many more! His discoveries were published in his landmark bestseller, Think and Grow Rich. The following are excerpts from Think and Grow Rich. They are timeless messages which apply more than ever to the unique challenges we’re facing in Western New York and the world right now.
In times of distress, there is invariably a call for new leadership. We recently saw it on the national scene with the election of a new President of the United States. In turn, we will continue to see it in our neighborhoods and workplaces as we continue to face the challenges currently presented by our domestic and world economies. Here are Napoleon Hill’s Major Attributes of Leadership:
UNWAVERING COURAGE based upon knowledge of self and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader for very long.
SELF-CONTROL. People who cannot control themselves can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.
A KEEN SENSE OF JUSTICE. Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his or her followers.
DEFINITENESS IN DECISION. People who waver in decisions show that they are not sure of themselves. They cannot lead others successfully.
DEFINITENESS OF PLANS. The successful leader must plan the work, and work the plan. A leader who moves by guesswork without practical, definite plans is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later it will land on the rocks.
THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR. One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leaders, to do more than they require of their followers.
A PLEASING PERSONALITY. No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect leaders who do not score highly on all factors of a pleasing personality.
SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING. Successful leaders must be in sympathy with their followers. Moreover, they must understand them and their problems.
MASTERY OF DETAIL. Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.
WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY. Successful leaders must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and shortcomings of their followers. If they try to shift this responsibility, they will not remain leaders. If followers make mistakes and become incompetent, it is the leader who has failed.
COOPERATION. Successful leaders must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce followers to do the same. Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation.
“I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism by developing love for all humanity because I know that a negative attitude towards others can never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them, and in myself.”
On Poverty and Riches:
Poverty and riches often change places. Poverty may, and generally does, voluntarily take the place of riches. When riches take the place of poverty, the change is usually brought about through well-conceived and carefully executed plans. Poverty needs no plan. It needs no one to aid it, because it is bold and ruthless. Riches are shy and timid. They have to be “attracted.”
Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan plus a burning desire for wealth are the only dependable means of accumulating it.