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18 Parables Of Success

By Saleem Rana

18 True Stories That Teach You

How To Be Successful

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CHAPTER 1: A Change of Mind ………………………………………… 7

CHAPTER 2: Quest for Freedom ................……………………………... 16

CHAPTER 3: The First Space Strike ....................…………………………... 23

CHAPTER 4: The Lucky Lease ……………………………………………… 31

CHAPTER 5: The Restless Boy.................... ………………………………. 37

CHAPTER 6: The 2nd Day Of Creation.......... ………………………………. 44

CHAPTER 7: Victory over the “African Bug”………………………………… 53

CHAPTER 8: Around the world on $80......... ……………………………... 60

CHAPTER 9: The Automatic Champion........... …………………………... 65

CHAPTER 10: The High Flyers.. ……………………………………………… 71

CHAPTER 11: The Millionth Pebble........... ………………………………. 81

CHAPTER 12: The Right Bid....... ………………………………………… 88

CHAPTER 13: The Stunning Failure........................ ……………………………... 95

CHAPTER 14: One Took the High Road........... …………………………... 101

CHAPTER 15: The Bridgehouse ……………………………………………… 107

CHAPTER 16: The Inspired Boy.................. ………………………………. 115

CHAPTER 17: The Proud Chemist.............. ………………………………. 121

CHAPTER 18: The Royal Road.................... ………………………………. 131

Chapter 1

A Change Of Mind

Napoleon Hill, the famous inspirational writer, once met a

reader who became a millionaire after reading one of his

books. The book, Think and Grow Rich, transformed Bill

McCall of Australia from rags to riches.

When Bill was 19 years old, he sold hides and skins. He

failed miserably. Two years later, he ran for Federal

Congress. Again, he failed. In desperation, Bill went to

the library to read about success principles. There, he

found Hill’s book.

Although he read the book three times, he failed to see how

to use the success principles. Then, during the fourth

reading, something shifted within him, a flash of

inspiration, and his life changed.

Years later, after meeting the author, Bill McCall, now the

Honorable William V. McCall, now a director of 22 family-

owned businesses, and now a man as rich as the people whom

he had once read about, narrated the moment his life fell

into place.

“I was reading Think and Grow Rich for the fourth time

while walking leisurely along a business street in Sydney.

And then it happened! It happened suddenly. I stopped in

front of a meat market and glanced up. And in that

fraction of a second I had a flash of inspiration.

“You see, I was reading Chapter Four entitled

‘Autosuggestion.’ The subheading was ‘The Medium for

Influencing the Subconscious Mind.’ Now I remember that

when I was a boy my father read aloud from Emile Coue’s

little book Self-Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion.”

“It was you,” Bill said to Napoleon Hill, “who pointed out

in your book that if Emile Coue was successful in helping

individuals avoid sickness and in bringing the sick back to

good health, through conscious autosuggestion,

autosuggestion could also be used to acquire riches or

anything else one might desire. ‘Get rich through

autosuggestion’: that was my great discovery. It was a

new concept to me.

“You know: conscious autosuggestion is the agency of

control through which an individual may voluntarily feed

his subconscious mind on thoughts of a creative nature, or,

by neglect, permit thoughts of a destructive nature to find

their way into the rich garden of his mind.

“When you read aloud twice daily the written statement of

your desire for money with emotion and concentrated

attention, and you see and feel yourself already in

possession of the money, you communicate the object of your

desire directly to your subconscious mind. Through

repetition of this procedure, you voluntarily create

thought habits which are favorable to your efforts to

transmute desire into its monetary equivalent.

“Let me say again: It is most important that when you read

aloud the statement of your desire through which you are

endeavoring to develop a money consciousness, you read with

emotion and strong feeling.

“Your ability to use the principles of autosuggestion will

depend very largely upon your capacity to concentrate upon

a given desire until that desire becomes a burning desire.

“When I arrived home, out of breath for running, I

immediately set down at the dining room table and wrote:

‘My definite major aim is to be a millionaire by 1960.’”

The Honorable William V. McCall, the youngest person to be

a member of the house of parliament, achieved his definite

major aim to be a millionaire four days before his


The Success Principle

Use the power of autosuggestion to create your destiny.

The Principles At Work

In the parable, Bill McCall failed at running his own

business. He also failed at at his bid for Federal

Congress. But, instead of feeling crushed and incompetent,

he chose to research success principles.

Now, once again, his mettle was tested. Although, he read

the book three times, he could not figure out how any of it

applied to his own life. Most people would not have read

the book more than once, assuming they even got as far as

finishing it in the first place. McCall read it three

times. Then, on the fourth reading, in the midst of it, he

had his moment of inspiration.

The point to note here is that the information in the books

was circulating in his mind from the very first reading; he

was, in a sense, continually priming the pump. Upon the

fourth reading, then, the moment he needed happened...the

moment of inspiration, when insight and emotion all

commingled in one thrilling flash of recognition.

He framed his moment of inspiration into a document which

governed his future. The document was a contract. It was

a promise to himself. It declared that by the year 1960,

he would be a millionaire. He stated the exact amount that

he desired and the exact year he intended to have the

money. He was clear and unequivocal.

He read this contract out loud, with passion and

conviction, twice a day. He envisioned himself as already

having achieved his dream. His subconscious went to work

in manifesting that dream into a reality.

In your own life, you can follow the same steps. You can

prime your subconscious to tell you what you really want in

your life. Read books that will stimulate your thinking

about your desire. Then, when you have your moment of

inspiration, which will occur because of your focussed

attention, you can write out a contract to yourself. State

your major definite aim and the time you expect to acquire

it. Now read your statement to yourself–twice a day, out

loud, with passion and conviction.

This procedure will activate your mind to come up with

answers and it will motivate you to take action.

Although this process is easy to understand and simple to

apply—don’t underestimate it. When you awaken your

subconscious mind, you awaken powerful thoughts and

feelings that will propel you to the future you desire.

You will be able to change any limiting situations. You

will be able to transform your life. Life is too short to

be miserable, too short to deny yourself the life of your


Here are a few questions you could ask yourself to plan

this amazing journey.

1. Questions about your interests. What do you enjoy

doing? What things do you do well? Can you isolate one of

these things that you enjoy and do well and make it into a

definite major purpose? What is your magnificent

obessession? What gifts do you bring to this planet? How

would you like to be remembered?

2. Questions about meaning. Why do you want to do this?

How will it bring out the best in you? How will it benefit

others? How will it sustain you? Can you make money at


3. Questions about resources. What resources do you

need? How much time and money do you need to start? What

do you need to learn? Do you need to go back to school?

Do you need to join an organization? Do you need to

purchase special equipment? Do you need to move to another

city to find the best opportunity?

4. Questions about support. Who can help you? Who is an

expert in this field? Do you need to learn from their

books? Do you need to attend a class they are offering?

Do you need to spend time with them in person?

5. Questions about persistence. How can you stay true to

your mission? How will you motivate yourself when things

go wrong? How much endurance do you have? How will you

resist the temptation to give up when obstacles arise?

6. Questions about completion. When will you achieve

this goal? What steps might be involved? How long do

these steps take? How will you know when you’ve finally

achieved your dream?

7. Questions about models. Who else has done this? How

did they do it? How long did it take? Did they have more

or less opportunity than you when they first started?

The Bottom Line

When you map out what you want, you let go of the trivial

tasks that clutter up your thoughts. When you focus on

achieving a definite major purpose, your life will assume

an energy and unity that will be exhilerating. Self-

discipline will appear spontaneously.

You can keep this energy of vital purpose alive by reading

your self-promise to yourself upon arising and before going

to bed.

Chapter 2

Quest for Freedom

The Nazis stormed into the house of Stanislavsky Lech, who

was Jewish, herded the entire family out at gunpoint,

packed them into an overcrowded train, filled with the

stench of death and despair, and sent them to Krakow.

Then, before his eyes, Lech saw his entire family shot.

Somehow, he managed to live from one day to the next, in a

numb, oblivious, zombie-like state. Impatiently, he

awaited his own death. But one day, he realized, that his

own death was not an unavoidable truth. He could, in fact,

do something about it: he could make an attempt to escape.

Once he had made his decision, he didn’t know how to

execute it. He only knew one simple thing: his decision

was irrevocable, and, somehow, he had to find a way to act

on it.

As the weeks passed into months, he interrogated his fellow

prisoners. “How can we escape?” he would ask. He became a

nuisance, an irritation. “It’s hopeless,” they would echo.

“Stop hurting yourself,” they would plead. Some would

abuse him openly; others would turn away in silence.

In turn, he rejected their answers, their silences, their

overbearing despair. There has to be a way, he told

himself, and I will find it. This is my revenge: by

surviving I will prove that the Nazis aren’t invincible and

that they don’t have complete control of our wills and that

they can’t do what they like with us.

Each day he would run a dialogue through his head. “Today

I choose to escape from this nightmare. I will not

continue to be a victim. I will not accept these

conditions. I am a man, with rights and dignity, and I

will, so help me God, find a way to let the whole world

know about what is going on here. I will escape. There is

no doubt in my mind. How can I escape today, perhaps right

now? There is a weakness in their security.

They cannot watch us every minute. There is something I

need to find, and I will find it today, something that I

have overlooked, something that will bring me freedom.

There is a weak link here, somewhere. I will find it.”

The urgency of his question pounded on his heart and mind

every waking moment, and it followed him into his dreams.

Then, one day, as dismal as any other, he saw what had been

before him all along. The Nazis would let the corpses of

naked men, women and children, shot because they were too

weak to work in the labor camp, pile up on the ground

before a truck would come and haul them away. With typical

efficiency, the truck would only come when there were

enough bodies to fill it up.

Hiding behind a bush, he stripped off all his clothes, then

dived into the mound of corpses. He lay still, pretending

to be dead, the nauseating odor of death all around him.

He lay there for a day. More corpses were thrown on top of

him. He did not flinch. Finally, the truck came. Rough

hands pushed his inert body into the truck.

In the truck, many more hours of horror passed. Finally,

his body was dumped into an open grave.

He waited until nightfall before climbing out.

The sweet smell of night, the fresh breeze, filled his

lungs as he ran twenty-five miles to freedom.

The Success Principle

Insist on your question and an answer will emerge.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, Lech thought the unthinkable—how to escape

from a maximum security death camp—and endured the

unendurable—lying for hours with fetid corpses. In an

extreme situation, he pushed his level of tolerance to an

extreme. His only other choice was to waste away and

finally get shot or gassed when he was too weak to work.

He survived for only one reason: he made a decision to

survive and he stayed with that decision. The decision

forced him to ask how. How can I escape? How can I escape

today? How can I escape now? He asked an absolute

question. He did not ask a relative question: Is it

possible to escape?

His question forced him to expand his perception and to

expand his belief in what was possible. It also forced him

to act, with courage, with immediacy.

He asked himself a absolute question, a quality question,

and he expected an answer from his creative mind. This

quality question paved his way to freedom. It was a

question that empowered his perception, his creativity, his

courage. He did not ask why questions. He did not ask

speculative, discursive, vague questions. He asked how,

and in asking how, he found what would work.

In your own life, you will never be pushed to such an

extreme situation, but your own pressing needs, your long-

standing frustrations, would benefit tremendously if you

asked an absolute question, a high-quality how question.

If you were to follow up this question with absolute

committment, patience, and discipline your perception would

expand to allow more information into your mind. You will

find a way to stretch your belief-system to allow more

possibilities. You will find creative answers. And, of

course, you will find the courage and conviction to follow

through with your insights.

The right question will solve your problem. You are always

asking questions and answering them; this is part of your

internal dialogue, casually referred to as thinking.

But real thinking is asking a quality question and

expecting an answer. It is sticking with the question

until the right answer appears in consciousness.

To ask is to receive. One creates the other. If you ask

good questions, you’ll receive good answers. If, for

example, financial pressure is one of your issues, you

might be tempted to ask, why am I so poor? The problem

with this question is that you’ll find reasons to justify

your poverty. If, instead, you ask, how can I become rich?

you’ll look for ways to increase your skill, you’ll dig

deep to find your talents, or you’ll learn ways to manage

your money.

Above all, remind yourself of the famous words of

playwright George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as

they are and say ‘why?’ I dream of things that never were

and say ‘why not?’”

The Bottom Line

“Questions,” noted Success Coach Anthony Robbins, “set off

a processional effect that has an impact beyond our


When we question our limitations, we see how they’re only

assumed limitations. When we question the nature of

things, we birth science or art. And when we ask absolute,

high-quality questions, we break down personal and

collective barriers to comprehension, and we open up

avenues to progressive action and fundamental change.

Chapter 3

The First Space Strike

On Apollo 13, the crew staged the first strike in the

history of space travel. The date was December 27, 1973.

Mission Control had sent more commands than the crew could

cope with. Commander General Carr put a stop to this when

he radioed in to Mission Control. “You have given us too

much to do,” he complained. “We’re not going to do a thing

until you get your act in better order.”

He then shut off communications for 12 hours. The

astronauts used the time to catch up and enjoy the unusual


The Success Principle

Success happens in small steps. Scale down big projects.

Go for small victories.

Over time, small victories add up to complete the overall


The Principle At Work

In the parable, the space crew scaled everything down to

regain control of their mission. They reduced an

overwhelming situation to a managable one. Here you have

an example of scaling down the element of time. While the

projects remained the same size, they were extended over

time. They became more managable, easier to get done.

The key word here is managable.

Scaling down can also be done in terms of size. A project

can be broken down into smaller units, into sub-projects.

When the parts of a whole are disconnected, each part can

be worked on. A system with fewer interconnected parts is

easier to comprehend, easier to control, manipulate,

improve. Science, itself, is based on boiling down the

vast complexity of nature into small, comprehensible units

of information called scientific laws. Gradually, the

completed parts are assembled into a whole again.

In your own life, when things get overwhelming, scale them

down. Either do less of them, diminish the size; or do

them all over a longer period of time. Scaling down means

working at a level of competence. It means doing only a

few things, and one thing at a time.

Ultimately, scaling down means shunning big wins for

smaller wins. Going for big wins creates high stress,

confusion, loss of momentum and balance.

When a large problem is broken down into smaller chunks,

stress is reduced in three ways. First, a small win cuts

the pressure. “This is no big deal.” The price of failure

is low. The pain of failure is minimal. Consequently, you

are willing to try again and again, until you figure out

the pattern which ensures success. Second, it cuts demand.

There is less to do. And it is less strenuous. “This is

all that needs to be done.”

Third, the level of skill needed is sufficient.

Performance anxiety is reduced. A sense of competency

exists. “I can do at least this much.”

What is a small victory?

A small victory is a concrete, complete, clear-cut outcome

of modest value. By itself, one small victory may seem

trivial. But a series of victories at small but

significant tasks, lowers resistance to opposition. Small

victories are controllable opportunities. They produce

visible results.

Small solutions single out and define problems clearly. By

looking at specific, limited conditions of a problem, it is

easier to find a solution that fits. The problem is easier

to see and the solution easier to try out.

Small victories emphasize the importance of defining

limits. They avoid defining problems diffusely. “The

establisment stinks.” They avoid open-ended solutions.

“Burn the system down.” They define problems more

precisely. “This is what is wrong.” They narrow

solutions. “This is the first thing we have to work on.”

Once a small victory has been secured, energy is released

and powerful forces are set in motion that favor another

small victory. When a problem is solved, the next solvable

problem appears. This happens because information is

clear. When our perceptions are sharper, more resources,

both inner and outer, can be tapped.

Small victories change a situation. They stir up change.

Even when complexity does occur in the future, you will

have the skills to meet them. In time, more complex tasks

are handled with more mastery.

Small victories provide information. This information

speeds up learning and adaptation. Small attempts are

miniature experiments. They test theories. They offer

insight into viable strategies. In little experiments,

numerous theories can be postulated, numerous strategies

tried out, until something clicks, a pattern is discerned,

a meaningful solution appreciated.

Small victories are also more emotionally stable. A small

defeat does not result in despondency, a small victory in

exuberance. Everything is relatively even-tempered. A

large, sudden victory can be overwhelming. Lottery

millionaires, for example, have been known to lose all

their money rapidly. This is different from the

businessman who understands how to manage his money, even

when it runs in millions, because he has built his business

over a series of small victories.

Essentially, then, the best big victories are those that

have arrived over a period of time as a series of small

victories. These victories have stability, balance, and

perpetuating power. They have matured over time because

they have been built up over a process of events. Big

corporations, for example, sometimes break themselves down

into smaller departments to stimulate the creativity and

dynamism of a small group.

Above all, when you initiate a small-scale project, or

break a large project into small-scale projects, there is

less that can go wrong. There is a closer link between

cause and effect. Simple patterns can be created,

observed, tested, discarded, tried out, and finally

trusted. Immediate feedback is available as to what works

and how long it takes. Clarity of vision, managability of

tasks, immediacy of results – all these arise from pursuing

small victories.

A striking example of the cumulative effect of small

victories is that of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1980. By

February of that year, the Pittsburgh Steelers in the

National Football League had won an astonishing 88 games

and lost only 27. Under their coach, Chuck Noll, they

broke about even with strong opponents and won by a

landslide against weaker opponents. With strong opponents,

they won 29 games and lost 26 games. Against weak

opponents, they won 59 games and lost one game. Thus,

their fabulous statistics were based on small victories

spread over time.

Another example is that of the rise of the Women’s

Liberation Movement. The feminist campaign against sexism

did not make much progress when they aimed for the big

victory of changing legislation, the Equal Rights

Amendment. But through the smaller victory of desexing

language, they made successful inroads into changing the

collective consciousness regarding women’s rights. The

smaller reforms worked and were adopted with less

resistance because they tackled issues of a discernible,

size, clarity, and visibility.

The Bottom Line

Small victories may not inspire much attention, but through

methodical persistence something large and awesome is

created. Great men and women succeed moment by moment,

step by step, lifted up by one small victory after another,

until they reach a lofty and impressive pinnacle of success

and influence.

Chapter 4

The Lucky Lease

J. Paul Getty planned to enter the U.S. Diplomatic Service,

but, when he got out of college, the Oklahoma oil boom

caught his attention. Since his father had already

prospered in the oil business, he was irresistably

attracted to the prospects of wildcatting, and he decided

to postpone his diplomatic ambitions for two more years.

He worked on other wildcatter’s rigs and borrowed money

from his father to raise money for oil speculation. His

father only gave him small amounts of money and demanded

prompt repayment.

J. Paul Getty spent his money frugally, and also saved

money through haggling over prices.

At first his speculations did not go well, and a diplomatic

career looked increasingly inviting. Then, early in 1916,

he secured a bargain price of $500 on a lease and the well

he sank produced 700 barrels a day. Suddenly, at the age

of 23, he made a fortune.

Years later, journalists would ask him about his lucky

beginning. They wondered how he knew that the well was so

rich. He responded that he had gathered all the necessary

geological facts from experts and the spot appeared to have

been a good one.

“But,” he added, “ as for actually knowing what the outcome

would be that was impossible. If there were a way to be a

hundred percent sure where rich oil deposits are, nobody

would ever sink a dry well.”

“Oil prospecting is like any other venture in life, from

getting married to buying a car...there is always an

element of chance, and you must be willing to live with

that element.”

“If you insist on perfect certainty, you will never be able

to make any decisions at all. You will simply paralyze


The Success Principle

Make a decision, and take the risk associated with it.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, J. Paul Getty appeared to be incredibly

lucky, but it was a luck which, in many ways, he

engineered. Instead of continuing on a well-structured

career—that of the U.S. Diplomatic Services—he made a

detour to the rich oil fields of Oklahoma.

Here he had the difficult task of raising money, which he

did by working and borrowing. He then took care of his

funds, by spending them frugally. Initially, he hit a

number of dry wells, but one speculation paid off for him.

This last speculation was a calculated risk. Yes, he was

lucky, but he also did his best to attract that luck.

A notable feature in his “luck” was his decisiveness.

After reviewing the geological data, he decided to act on

it. The data gave him odds on success, but it didn’t

guarantee anything. He could have continued to

investigate, postponing the decision to act.

But, in his own words, he did not want to be “like one of

those government commissions that are afraid to make a

decision. They hold hearings, collect facts, stew and fuss

and keep very, very busy for months and months. After a

while you know it’s just a sham. The appearance of action

is just a front to hide inaction.”

When you take chances, you risk defeat, you risk loss, but

unless you play the game you may never win either. Playing

to win also means willing to lose. Indeed, J. Paul Getty

lost often before he won.

Money management enabled him to continue despite his

losses. Small losses enabled him to keep enough resources

to stay in the game.

Successful investors on Wall Street advise new investors

never to gamble with their grocery money, because it has a

twofold effect: one, it jeopardizes their well-being; two,

they are nervous when they invest and this clouds their


In your own life, you can use the following checklist to be

a bolder and more prosperous person.

 Find some area that needs investment of time, money,

energy, and skill.

 Calculate the risks.

 Estimate the rewards.

 Find the time, raise the money, harness the energy,

and learn the skills.

 Manage your resources so that you only take affordable


Above all, remember that winning often involves risking,

but risking does not mean gambling. When you gamble, you

don’t evaluate much information and you use all your

resources. When you take risks, you review all the

available information and only commit what you can afford

to lose.

The Bottom Line

Dr. Abraham Weinberg, a prominent psychiatrist, once

commented that passive people “tend to let life happen to

them instead of using its opportunities in an asserive way.

Often they are afraid of change itself, even change without

risk. They tell themselves, ‘I’m afraid of going into this

new situation,’ even when the situation holds no objective

terrors except its newness. Instead of examining the

situation and finding what the risks actually are, they

simply drop out by saying, ‘No, it’s too much of a gamble.’

It may not be a gamble at all. They are only making an

excuse for staying in some familiar territory.”

Chapter 5

The Restless Boy

One Saturday morning, a minister could not think of a

sermon to write. He simply could not get inspired. He

stared out of the window, at the birds splashing in the

bird-bath. His mind was blank, as was the sheet of paper

on his writing desk.

He also had to write a sermon under difficult conditions.

His wife, out shopping, had left him with his son. Since

it was raining, his son was restless and bored. To keep

him occupied the minster tore a colorful world map out of a

magazine. He then shred the map into pieces. “If you can

put it together, “he said, scattering the pieces on the

floor, “I’ll give you a quarter.”

The preacher thought his son would be occupied with this

game for some time. But, in a few moments, his son was at

his study door. He handed him the completed map. All the

continents were properly put together.

“How did you do it so fast, and so well?”

“I just put the picture of the man on the other side

together. I figured if I got the man right, the world

would be right, too.”

“Thank you for my sermon. Here.”

“You said a quarter! It’s 10 dollars!”

“And the ideas worth a lot more,” responded his father.

The Success Principle

When you are right, your world will be right.

The Principle in Action

In the parable is a wonderful lesson for us all. The place

to start to change the world from is yourself. Instead of

blaming the world for all your ills, improve yourself.

In your own life:

1. Make a definite plan for success. Fix a time limit to

this plan. Determine the benefits of your goal.

2. Hold on to a positive attitude. See the best in any

situation. Positive thinking heals your body and vitalizes

your mind. A negative outlook is self-destructive.

3. Give your employer your best service. Even if you’re

underpaid, you’ll create a twofold bonus. First, you’ll

increase your level of skill, and this can taranslate to a

higher income later on. Second, you’ll win sufficient

goodwill to attact the favor of your boss or a competitor.

The more you give, the more you receive.

4. Continue to learn more about your job. Knowledge is

power, and power creates increased income.

5. Work on being calm and even-tempered. An angry or

bitter person is hard to get along with. Along with your

positive mental attitude comes positive emotions. This

enhances both your relationships and your health.

6. Share your goals with others. It is easier to achieve

something when you’re working on it with someone else. If

your goal is too individualistic to share with others, at

least get some moral support, some people to cheer you on

your way.

7. Put your faith in a higher power. Such faith removes

many fears, like fear of poverty, criticism, ill health,

loss of liberty, old age, and death.

8. Avoid bad habits, especially those offensive to other

people. For example, criticizing others, gossiping,

slandering. Also avoid taking in toxic material, like

alcohol and cigarettes. Why would you want to ruin your

liver and lungs?

9. Plan your work and complete each day’s work. Include

in your plan, ways to work more effieciently. Don’t leave

for tomorrow what can be done today. Tomorrow will have

its own demands. Progress means moving forward.

10. Enjoy your work. If you don’t feel enthused, it’s

time for a change.

11. Concentrate on your work. And stay at the same task

until you finish it. Being easily influenced by other

options and abandoning your plans when things go awry can

be discouraging, and creates a sense of frustration and

failure. .

12. Work in harmony with others. Help people when they

ask for it. Avoid arguing, gossiping, judging. Each of us

is doing our best to survive as we know how.

13. Learn from your defeats. Use your mistakes to learn

what not to do. Convert your liabilities into assets.

Consistently learning from errors and improving, enduring

the learning curve, is necessary for success. Remember,

temporary failure is only feedback. Creative work requires

patience and committment. It takes time to be great.

14. Imagination is a two-edged sword. On one hand, you

can create thoughts that expand your personal vision and

empower you. On the other hand, you can create visions of

doom that limit and frighten you. Choose to imagine your

best possible outcomes. Be open to your many


15. Allocate a fixed percentage of your income to savings.

A part of all you earn should be yours to keep. Its a

source of great comfort to have extra cash. Life is full

of surprises. Things are going to break down unexpectedly.

Opportunities are going to arise out of nowhere. Be


16. Contribute. Allocate some of what you earn to help

others. The money may come back multiplied or it may give

a deep sense of satisfaction.

17. Observe sound principles of health. You are not just

a mind, but a body, too. Your body needs exercise, healthy

food, deep relaxation, a sense of pleasure, and sufficient


18. Seek sound advice when you’re confused. Refer to

people, books, and the internet, or other sources of

information to get a wide spectrum of ideas and then decide

for yourself what will best resolve your question.

19. Live with integrity. Create a reputation of

reliability. When people can trust you, you open up a

whole new world of opportunities. Your handshake should be

as good as a written contract.

20. Listen to your dreams. Those you have at night, and

those which whisper in your heart during the day. They may

reveal to you a path of great joy.

The Bottom Line

Positive change can come from each individual. Above are

just a few suggestions. Adjust them to suit your needs.

Act on them. Also, add more on your own. Keep the list

active. It is a schedule of your own evolution. As you

become more balanced and poised in your life, as you become

aware of your own particular way of relating to the world

and yourself, you create an example for others to follow.

Your positive contribution to life is like dropping a

pebble into a lake. The ripple that spreads outward

creates other ripples.

Sometimes you may not be able to make people kinder or

wiser. Sometimes you cannot avert terrible events. But

you can always work on your relationship with yourself and

how you relate to others. Slowly, inevitably, perhaps

subtly, as you change yourself, you will change the world.

Chapter 6

The Second Day of Creation

A farmer in Pennsylvania decided to sell his farm, but

before he sold it, he wrote to his cousin in Canada, who

collected coal, and asked for a job. In those days, coal

oil, which dipped from running Canadian streams, where it

was first discovered, was lucrative business.

The farmer, a sensible man, did not want to leave his farm

without securing his livelihood so he wanted to make sure

his cousin would hire him before he left. His cousin,

however, was not enthusiastic about the proposal and wrote

back to discourage the farmer, arguing that the farmer did

not know anything about the coal oil business.

This blatant rejection did not discourage the farmer. He

simply sat down and studied all about coal oil, studying it

from the second day of creation. He read about how the

world had once been covered with rich vegetation which

eventually turned to coal beds, and when those rich coal

beds were drained, they furnished coal oil. The coal oil

worth pumping came up from living springs.

The farmer studied coal oil until he could almost see it

and smell it.

When he believed he knew how to refine it, he wrote back to

his cousin asking for a job again. He spelled out how he

had painfully studied every aspect of the business.

Reluctantly, his cousin invited him over.

The farm was sold well below market value as the farmer was

eager to make his way to Canada to begin a new life of

industry and prosperity.

The new owner decided that the first thing he needed to do

was to see if the cattle had enough water. At the brook,

behind the delapidated barn, he found a black-stained plank

that appeared to have been placed years ago to throw dark

scum onto the bank. The plank separated off the clean,

drinkable water from the scum-laden water.

He called in a geologist, who, after careful tests,

declared that the scum was coal oil, worth an estimated

hundred million dollars. The geologist estimated that the

coal-oil that stained the plank was about twenty-three

years old. The new owner laughed at the irony of the whole

situation: although the old farmer had studied coal oil

from the second day of creation, he had sold his own vast

reservoir for a mere $833.

Success Principle

See the acres of diamonds in your own backyard before you

go elsewhere looking for your fortune.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, the first farmer made a terrible mistake,

one which cost him a fortune. Although he studied coal oil

in depth and although he was the one who placed the plank

that separated off the scum, he did not think of seeking

his fortune from his own backyard. His failure was one of

imagination. He simply could not imagine that a hundred

million dollars worth of coal oil was just sitting there

behind his old barn. He could not associate something as

familiar as the scum which he had first found twenty-three

years ago with the unfamiliar industry of coal oil. The

farmer was an intelligent, sensible man, but he had a

psychological block which prevented him from observing the

obvious. He, like most of us, looked for his fortune

elsewhere, looking to other people and places for his

prosperity. The grass has to be greener on the other side,

he reasoned.

In your own life, do you tend to look in the distance for

your own fortune. Perhaps what you need is near, not, not there. This pattern of thinking, of

looking elsewhere for your good fortune, has been

ingrained in you since childhood. First, you looked to

your parents for answers, then to your teachers, then to

your employer, and so on. Always, the psychological habit

has been to look elsewhere for your answers. You are never

taught to look within yourselves and never taught to

explore your own environment. Always, the emphasis has

been to look outwardly, to look elsewhere, to look away.

What could be nearer to us than our own selves. What could

be a greater fortune to discover than our own love. When

you can accept yourself just as you are, with all your

warts and wrinkles, with all those extra tucks of fat, with

all those scars and blemishes, with all your broken

promises and misadventures, then, and only then, can you

begin to appreciate your own power, beauty, integrity,

intelligence, and competence.

The first fortune found within is unconditional self-love.

Personal power comes from learning to respect and listen to

your own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

How much do you think you’re worth? Dale Carnegie observes

that we possess incredible riches, “riches exceeding by far

the fabled treasures of Ali Baba.” He asks, “Would you

sell both your eyes for a billion dollars? What would you

take for your legs? Your hands? Your hearing? Add up

your assets, and you will find that you won’t sell what you

have for all the gold ever amassed by the Rockerfellers,

the Fords, and the Morgans combined.”

Schopenhauer once said: “We seldom think of what we have

but always what we lack.”

The second fortune found within is time. Do you squander

precious hours of your day just fumbling and, loitering?

Yet this is your vital life-force ebbing away. Respect

your time. Organize it. Make the time of your life count

for something.

What are your values and how much of your time are you

spending to fulfill those values? Draw up daily notes of

what you do with your day. Organize the time of your life.

The simple idea of planning your day the night before will

open up hours of creative, value-affirming time.

The third fortune found within is purpose. Where are you

going in your life? Do you have a direction?

Is this the right direction? Are you in the right place to

fulfill your inner yearnings? Perhaps you could be in the

wrong place and doing the wrong things. Perhaps you’re a

mathematician working as an accountant, or a writer working

as a computer technician, or an artist trying to climb the

corporate ladder.

While financial necessity may force you to stay in a

position which does not match your talents, you should

commit your free time to developing your skills so that a

time comes when they are marketable and can open up a way

to live your dream job. If you continue to do what you’re

doing will it lead to the life you really want?

Purpose makes life worth living. Once, in Biloxi,

Mississippi, a news report told the story of a 24-year-old

dancer who tired to commit suicide by jumping from a wharf.

A young man dived in after her, hoping to save her life,

but quickly remembered that he couldn’t swim. He would

have drowned had the young woman not rescued him. Thus,

saving his life gave her the will to live.

The fourth fortune found within is learn from your

mistakes. Mistakes are the building blocks to success.

The more mistakes you make, the more you realize how not to

do something. Mistakes guide you to the right direction.

Basically, you have to fail your way to success.

“Failure,” observed the English poet, John Keats, “is, in a

sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery

of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is

true, and every fresh experience points out some form of

error which we shall afterward carefully avoid.”

And the fifth fortune found within is to nourish dreams.

“Give things a chance to happen!” admonishes Richard DeVos.

“Give success a chance to happen! It is impossible to win

the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the

victory unless you dare to battle. No life is more tragic

than that of the individual who nurses a dream, an

ambition, always wishing and hoping, but never giving it a

chance to happen. He nurses the flickering dream, but

never lets it break into flame.... There are

millions...the schoolteacher who wants to go back for that

master’s degree; the small businessman who dreams of

expanding his business; the couple who has intended to make

that trip to Europe; the housewife whose ambition is to

write short stories for the fiction market. The list could

go on and on. People dreaming but never daring, never

willing to say, ‘I can,’ never trusting their dreams to the

real world of action and effort; people, in short, who are

so afraid of failure that they fail.”

Above all, look in your own backyard for your own fortune.

Instead of seeing the scum, see the rich coal oil deposits.

The Bottom Line

By loving yourself, you can create an empowering self-

image. By using time wisely, you can become more

productive. By finding a purpose, you can live with

passion. By learning from your mistakes, you can move

toward success. By nourishing your dreams, you can find a

way to live them. And by doing all these things, you can

turn them scum in your own backyard to rich coal oil

deposits and make a fortune without selling the farm.

Chapter 7

Victory over the “African Bug”

Many years ago, shortly after Dr. Maxwell Maltz opened his

office to start practicing as plastic surgeon, a tall

African-American came to see him. Over six feet tall, he

towered over the surgeon. He complained about his lip.

After examing his lower lip, he could find nothing wrong

with it, and told his patient this.

The patient confessed that it was not his idea, but his

girlfriend’s. She had told him that she was afraid to be

seen with him in public because of his lower lip.

Dr. Maltz thought the man a dignified giant who had become

attached to an overly critical woman.

Although there was nothing wrong with his lip, the patient

insisted on an operation. Thinking that an outrageous fee

would bring the man to his senses, Dr. Maltz said it would

cost $1200. The ruse appeared to work. The patient said

that he couldn’t afford such a fee, thanked the good

doctor, and even bowed courteously.

But, the very next day, the man was back, a little black

bag in his hand. He dumped its contents on the table, and

hundreds and hundreds of bills poured out. Twelve hundred

dollars lay on the table; his life’s savings.

Dr. Malz was shocked, and saddened too, because he didn’t

want to deprive the man such a huge sum of money. He

confessed that he had merely quoted that figure to dissuade

the money from having the operation. In that case, said

the patient, he would find another plastic surgeon who

would do it for him. Backed into a corner, Dr. Maltz said

that he would do it for a smaller fee on the condition that

he tell his lover that he paid $1200 for the operation.

The operation was simple enough. Under local anaesthesia,

he cut the superfluous tissue from inside the lip,

approximated the rims of the wound with extremely fine

silk, and bandaged the upper lip for support. The

operation only took a half hour.

The patient returned a few times to have the bandages

changed. There was no visible scar because all the surgery

was done inside the lip.

Although the patient did not look much different, his whole

attitude changed. After the stitches were removed, he

crushed the doctors hand in a hearty handshake, thanked him

profusely, and strode out of the room, a commanding figure.

However, a few weeks later he was back. Dr. Maltz barely

recognized him. He had lost a considerable amount of

weight, he stooped, his handshake was weak and timorous,

and his voice barely audible.

“The bug, sir --the bug!” proclaimed the man.

“What bug?”

“The bug, sir –the African bug. It’s got me, and it’s

killing me.”

Apparantly after the last stitches had been removed he had

gone and seen his woman. She had asked how much it cost.

After he had told her $1200 dollars, as the doctor had

recommended, she had flown into a rage and claimed that he

had cheated her of the money. She revoked her love and

cursed him, promising a swift death.

Deeply troubled, the man had gone to his room. He lay

there for four days. A loud rapping on the door forced him

to open it. The landlady, concerned about his unusual

behavior, had brought a “doctor”.

The so-called “doctor” listened to the man’s explanation

about the curse. He examined the man’s lower lip and

confirmed that he had indeed been bitten by the African


The doctor had tried to drive out the bugs with liquids,

pastes, and strong potions, but the bug was too strong.

Dr. Maltz, examined the inside of the lower lip, filled a

syringe with Novacain, then, after it had taken effect,

removed the scar tissue.

“It’s only some scar tissue,” he explained to the man,

holding it up.

“You mean, there’s no bug, no African bug?”

“Never was.”

The man suddenly regained his full height. A rich smile

spread over his face, his voice boomed out a gravely,

courteous thanks, and he bowed. Once again, he strode out

of his office.

A few months afterward, Dr. Maltz received a letter from

the former patient. Enclosed was a picture of a smiling,

handsome giant with a lovely girl beside him. Emboldened

by his new appearance and his freedom from the illusion of

the African Bug, he had met a new girl, courted her, and


The Success Principle

The way to refine your personality is to define your


The Principle at Work

In this parable, the patient suffered from low self-esteem.

His girlfriend’s critical attitude made him define his

lower lip as a problem. When this was resolved by having

his lower lip thinned, his girlfriend created another

illusion to shame him. After this hoax was exposed, the

man finally accepted himself, and went on to create a happy


In your own life, do you tend to exaggerate your minor

flaws? Do you undermine your self-image with these flaws?

When these flaws, imperceptible to others, loom large

enough in your mind, you will find ways to confuse and

sabotage your progress in life.

Your self-critical thoughts are toxic. Think of your mind

as a garden. Pull out all the weeds. Plant flowers

instead. Think well of yourself. Accept your perceived

limitations and flaws. Love yourself just as you are.

Remove the African Bugs from your own consciousness.

The Bottom Line

You refine your personality when you refine your thoughts.

When you grasp the neurotic theme of your thoughts, then

you can improve your personality. Success arises from

positive self-esteem.

Life provides both positive and negative experiences. If

you can appreciate the positive and choose to learn from

the negative, then you move your personality towards

positive Self-esteem.

Chapter 8

Around the World on $80

Jules Vernes adventure story, Around the World in 80 Days,

stimulated the imagination of 26-year-old Robert


“Why,” he asked himself, “can’t I go around the world on


Bob’s first step was to list all the problems that he would

face. His second step was to note all possible solutions.

His third step was to take action!

He started by signing a contract with the Charles Pfizer

Company, a large pharmaceutical company, to collect soil

samples from the various countries that he planned to

visit. Next he secured an international driver’s license,

obtained maps in return for a proposed report on Middle

East road conditions, acquired seamen’s papers, and secured

a letter from the New York Police Department to show that

he had no criminal record. Then he took care of his

boarding by arranging for a youth hostel membership. His

final step was to talk a freight airline into flying him

over the Atlantic in return for photographs which could be

used for company publicity.

Bob left New York City with $80 in his pocket.

He used his wits to travel around the world in 86 days.

He saved money by breakfasting free in Gander,

Newfoundland, by photographing the cooks in a hotel

kitchen. He also travelled free by bus from Syria to

Damascus by taking pictures of a Syrian policeman who then

ordered a bus driver to transport Bob. And he used the

same idea to travel free from Baghdad to Teheran. This

time he took pictures of the staff of the Iraq Express

Transportation Company.

Another idea he used to get free or inexpensive travel was

to use cigarettes as a medium of exchange. He bought four

cartons of American cigarettes in Shannon, Ireland, for

$4.80. He used one carton to pay someone to drive him from

Paris to Vienna. And he used four cigarette packs to pay a

train conductor fro a trip from Vienna to Switzerland

through the Alps.

Besides cigarettes, Bob also used maps as a medium of

exchange. In Bangkok, the owner of an expensive restaurant

fed him in exchange for a a set of maps and a detailed

description of a specific area that Bob had travelled


Bob finally came home to the U.S. as a crew member of the

S.S. Flying Spray, which transported him from Japan to San


Bob proved to himself that any given aim could be

accomplished if he had faith in it.

The Success Principle

Any given aim can be accomplished with sufficient faith.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, Robert Christopher set himself an

apparantly impossible task. He wanted to challenge

himself. He wanted to prove that he could do anything he

set his mind to doing. He used organized thinking,

exercised initiative, self-discipline, and creative vision,

and acted with faith and confidence.

In your own life, you can do apparantly impossible things

as well if you can organize your thinking, and exercise

initiative, self-discipline, and creative vision, and act

with faith and confidence.

Above all, refuse to believe in the impossible. You can do

anything you want once you set your mind on it and follow

through with a positive plan.

The Bottom Line

Believe in your dreams and make them real by trying out all

possible options. When you’re sufficiently motivated to do

something—no matter how impossible it may seem—your mind

will create ways to convert your dreams into reality.

Chapter 9

The Automatic Champion

“Babe” Didrickson Zaharias was a phenomenal athlete. This

Texan ran, jumped, rode horses, and played basketball and

baseball—with tremendous flair.

In the Olympic tryouts in 1932, she won five first places

in track and field events. In the games of that year in

Los Angeles, she won a gold medal in the women’s 80 meter

hurdles, a gold medal in the javelin throw, and a silver

medal in the high jump.

After the Olympics, Zaharias turned to golf. Although she

started from scratch, she won the National Women’s Amateur

and the British Women’s Amateur.

The press hailed her as a “natural athlete.” They often

referred to as an “automatic champion.”

But the real story behind Zaharias fairy-tale success was

her painstaking diligence.

Her success came from studied repetition. In every sport

she undertook, she was methodical, deliberate, and

persistent. She was neither “natural” nor “automatic.”

When, for example, she played golf for the first time, she

did not automatically master the game. Instead she studied

the game carefully, covering all its complex skill sets,

under the tutelage of the finest golf teacher she could

find. She looked at all the elements of the golf swing,

broke it down into parts, then put it all together in a

fluid movement.

Besides using an analytical approach to understand the

game, Zaharias also locked the information into her motor

nervous system through exhaustive practice. She would

spend as many as 12 hours a day on the golf course, hitting

as many as a thousand balls. Her hands would often becomes

so sore that she could hardly grip her club. She stopped

only long enough to tape up her hands before picking up the

club again.

The Success Principle

You can learn to do anything really well if you study and

practice it.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, Zaharias learned to play golf the right

way. She started out by hiring an exceptional teacher.

She analyzed each part of the golf swing then put them all

together in a fluid motion. She practiced for about 12

hours a day. She exercised self-discipline and self-

sacrifice. And she didn’t doubt herself. Her previous

successes had created an enduring self-confidence. She

believed that if she applied herself she would be a golf

champion. She proved this belief true.

Zaharias took a risk. She risked her reputation as an

athlete by trying something new. She also risked the time

and money it cost her to perfect her new sport.

Above all, she was methodical in the way she went about

inventing herself as a champion golfer. She chose a gifted

teacher, studied all aspects of the game, and put her new

knowledge into practice, converting theory into motor

learning, coordination, and stamina.

In your own life, you can model her success strategy.

Learn how to master your area of endeavor the right way.

Start out by finding the people and books that will make

you exceptional. Seek out the best sources of information

that you can afford.

Analyze each part of the skill you wish to master, then put

it all together to create a fluid, form. Develop first a

theoretical understanding, then a practical one. When you

practice your knowledge, your work will flow and appear


Practice relentlessly. Spend long hours practising. Keep

a regular schedule for your activity. If you have long

gaps between practice, you will lose some momentum in

mastering your skill. The cumulative effect of practice

will make you exceptional.

Self-discipline will come from imagination. When you can

create a burning desire by imagining your ultimate success,

self-discipline will happen spontaneously. If you don’t

have a burning desire, you may want to rethink your goals.

Unless you feel passionate about your goals, the smallest

obstacle will throw you off course.

Believe in yourself. Recall all the previous successes

you’ve had in your life. Use these memories to build an

enduring self-confidence. When you believe that you can do

something, you will find a way to make your belief come


If you methodically prepare for your own particular game,

like Zaharias did, you will find yourself on the way to


The Bottom Line

It isn’t easy to become exceptional at anything. Zaharias

learned the skill of training to be phenomenal. She

translated burning desire into methodical study and

relentless practice. This is what you, too, must learn if

you wish to master anything.

Chapter 10

The High Flyers

Dick and Jay sat on the ground outside the shed. The rain

pelted down on them. They stared in disbelief at the lake

of mud all around them. The Piper Cub slumped in the mud a

few feet in front of them. Neither a wet bird nor muddy

squirrel could be seen.

"It's going to be like this for some time," said Jay,

gloomily, "according to the weather report."

Dick feebly told the joke about the weatherman who left

town because the weather didn't agree with him--but neither

of them laughed. The rain fell without remorse.

"Boy, boys, boys," said a beautiful woman with auburn hair.

She had a fresh complexion. She wore a wet, slightly

muddy, mauve dress. She sat down between them, covering

them with her pink umbrella.

Dick kissed his wife on the cheek. He reached down into

the vanilla box for his sandwich. The box tumbled out of

his hands and landed in a puddle. It floated.

"That's it,” shouted Jay. He grabbed Dick's elbow.

"Don't you see— that's it!”

It only took a day to add the inflated pontoon boats to the

Piper Cub. Now instead of wheels, it had floats. Now,

instead of the muddy runway, they used the river.

But another calamity waited: a lightning storm. A bolt of

lightning struck the hut, shattering it.

Without an office, it was hard to run operations.

Dick, however, found a solution. He bought a chicken coop

from the farmer down the road for $25.

"One last yard," said Dick, talking to the old mare. The

mare grunted as it dragged along the chicken coop.

After propping up the chicken coop, Dick began whitewashing


"There," said Dick, slapping on the last coat.

He stepped back to join his wife, Doreen, and his partner,

Jay. All of them admired the bright chicken coop. It

proudly bore the blue legend "Wolverine Air Service."

"Soon," said Dick, "Millions will be flying their own

planes. They'll come to us and we'll teach them.”

“And it only cost us $200 to get this Piper Cub," added


“Airplanes will swarm the air, the way cars do the ground,"

predicted Dick.

Just then a freckled-faced young man came up to them.

"Is this your school?" he asked, squinting at Dick.

"Have you come for lessons?" asked Dick.

"Darn right!"

"We’d love to teach you, but we don't know how to fly!"

confessed Dick.

A few days later, however, they found a flight instructor.

Dick straightened out the sheaf of papers on his ramshackle

desk as the last interviewee walked out of the shack. He

looked over at Jay. "Well?" Jay nodded. "I like him."

"Then we have a new flight instructor," said Dick, smiling


The next day, Dick and the new flight instructor stood

outside the chicken coop office.

"How are you going to pay me?" asked the flight instructor,

a tall man with thick dark hair and brilliant blue eyes.

"Cash," said Dick, unruffled.

"But you said a moment ago that you don't have any money?"

"I don't," confirmed Dick, "but they do."

The flight instructor turned around to follow Dick's

finger. He had to chuckle. On the edge of the field was

Jay whooping in a group of three eager students, all

trussed up in flight gear. They were wet to their thighs

from wading across the river.

"They'll be the first to graduate," affirmed Bob, the new

flight instructor.

This is the story of Richard M. DeVos and his high-school

buddy, Jay Van Andel, who came home after the Second World

War convinced that the aviation business would be the trend

of the future.

The Success Principle

The only limits are those that you set up for yourself.

Limited thoughts create limited people.

The Principle At Work

The parable reveals seven of the essential keys to success.

The first key is self-confidence. Richard and Jay believed

in their dream. They had no market survey to convince

themselves that flying lessons would be profitable. They

had no real airport, no personal flying experience, and no

particular skill in selling lessons.

They grasped the big picture and colored in the details as

they went along.

The second key is persistence. They persisted in the face

of severe setbacks. These setbacks would have been enough

to dissuade anyone. They could have backed down without

losing face. They didn’t have a runway –so, they improvised

and used the river. Then, they lost their shack – so, they

bought a chicken coop. Then, they had students, but no

flying instructor – so, they hired one. And finally they

had a flying instructor but no money – so, they found


The third key is purpose. They set themselves up the big

goal of teaching flying lessons.

Before they could meet this goal, they set out to achieve

smaller ones…they needed “runway” of sorts, an office, a

flight instructor, and students. They met one sub-goal

after another—relentlessly. They did not display

aimlessness. They didn’t slip into helplessness. Because

they held to their purpose, creative ideas moved them from

one step to the next. They never allowed themselves to

feel that they were “going nowhere.”

The fourth key is recognizing that success is based on the

law of averages. Success is not all of one piece. They

did not succeed every day. Often it may have seemed that

they would not succeed at all. But behind every obstacle

there was a way around.

The fifth key is the willingness to pay the price of

success. They were willing to buy an airplane based on

speculation. They believed that they could find students.

And they believed that they could find someone to teach

these students. They paid the price of success by taking

on risk and by working smart to make those risks pay off.

The sixth key is to enjoy the experience. Since they were

both interested and involved in the venture, they were

enthusiastically committed to resolving whatever issues


The seventh key is to be willing to be original. They

decided that flying lessons would be popular and decided to

create a school. They created their idea from scratch.

There were no other successful models they could imitate.

In your own life, you can use these success principles.

Choose to be self-confident. Believe in your dream, in the

evidence of things not seen.

Choose to be persistent. Persist even when things go wrong.

Don’t turn back when you hit an obstacle, go over, under,

around, or through it.

Choose to act with purpose. Start out with a purpose and

when things get difficult, hold on to your purpose. Let

your purpose empower creative ideas and breakthroughs.

Choose to play the battle of averages. It doesn’t matter

how many times you fail; you just need that one success to

break through to a new level. For example, it doesn’t

matter if you get turned down by a number of employers; you

just need one job to be employed.

Choose to pay the price for success. When you choose to be

successful, there is a price that is required…it may be

risk-taking, money, time, effort, anxiety. Be willing to

pay the price before you even start.

Choose to enjoy the experience. Any new undertaking is an

adventure. Immerse yourself in the movie of your own life;

enjoy the twists and turns of the plot.

And, finally, choose to be original. Even if your idea is

not new, try and find a new angle to it; make your idea

special, exceptional in some way.

Above all, when you choose to get your dreams off the

ground, refuse to believe in limits.

Every problem has a solution. Every obstacle has a way

around it.

The Bottom Line

Find ways to stretch your beliefs about what is possible.

Break free of self-imposed limits.

Chapter 11

The Millionth Pebble

Rafeal Solano, his back bent, his shoulders crushed by an

invisible weight, sat on a boulder in the dry river bed.

He lifted his head up slowly. It weighed a ton. He spoke

in a low voice, his words almost incomprehensible. He

mumbled again to his two friends.

“I quit.”

They stopped gathering pebbles and looked at him.

“I can’t go on. I don’t believe in it anymore.”

The sweat glistened on his brow. The brilliant sun had

parched his face to a network of fine blood vessels. Dark

shadows outlined his eyes.

He held up a pebble in his hand. “The next one will be a


He threw the pebble down. It bounced off another stone and

lay shining in the sunlight.

The year was 1942; the country, Venezuela.

Long hard months had passed for the three men prospecting

for diamonds in the watercourse of their native country.

They had worked relentlessly, driven by greed, by passion,

by an outrageous hope for the future. They had stooped and

gathered pebbles from sunup to sundown. They had fought

off discouragement with talk about how they would spend

their new found wealth. But all they ever found were

pebbles. Now, as they all faced each other, their clothes

were torn and filthy, merely rags, clinging to their gaunt

bodies. They stank of long months of unwashed sweat, which

had soaked into skin, hair, and what was left of their


“Pick up another pebble,” urged one of Rafael’s friends.

“Make it a million.”

Solano sank down on his knees and sank his hands in the

sand. He wriggled it around in the moist sand until he

touched a large, hard object. He pulled out a sand-

encrusted pebble about the size of a hen’s egg. He bounced

the heavy pebble in his hand, a little surprized by the

weight of it. His friends watched in awe as he brushed the

pebble clean.

The millionth pebble, the largest and purest diamond ever

found, was sold in New York to Harry Winston, a jewel

dealer. He paid Rafael Solano $2,000,000 for the diamond.

The millionth pebble was affectionately named, The


Success Principle

When all else fails, persist.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, Rafael Solano and his friends had a wild

dream. There was nothing sensible about this dream. It

was, in fact, so far-flung, so outrageous, that a sensible

person would have dismissed it at the first thought. They

wanted to find diamonds. After much inquiry, they found a

spot that had a reputation for being a possible site.

The men worked long and hard in apparantly futile labor.

They kept each others spirits up, and when, at the

999,999th pebble Rafael Solano was about to give up, his

friends pushed him to continue.

Then as if on a cue, the universe gave back the men a

millionfold return on their sweat equity. After months of

not having the slightest clue that they were in the right

place, suddenly, quite unexpectedly, a diamond showed up,

and it was a diamond of such epic proportions that they did

not have to try any more.

In your own life, if you have a dream, follow it. No

matter how wild, outrageous, and improbable it may seem.

If possible travel on your journey with friends who will

support you. Friendship can keep your faith alive long

after your energy and hope have been worn away.

Another thing you might want to do is to go where your

probability of success is greatest.

When you work long and hard at the apparantly futile,

remember that your sense of futility is a lie; it is merely

your conditioned mind reminding you of your limits; the lie

seeks to eliminate your future promise.

Sooner or later, you’ll get results. Unless you’re

searching for something as random as a diamond, you’re less

likely to have to try 999,999 times before you get results.

Chances are that your returns will be faster, much, much

faster, a hundred-fold faster.

Above all, in the throes of failure persist. Persistance

can initiate success. When talent and effort have been

exhausted, persistence will carry you through to the end.

Sometimes all that is needed to change a hopeless situation

is hanging on until you find the millionth pebble.

In the memorable words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never,

never, never give up.”

The mass appeal of movie-character Indiana Jones is that he

symbolizes the quality of persistence. No matter how bad

things get, he keeps on trying one more time.

Eventually, somehow, despite every reversal, he breaks

through to his goal.

You, too, must learn the art of persistence. Persist when

you’re completely exhausted. Persist when all efforts

fail. Persist when you feel hopeless. You will find your

dream if you can persist long enough.

You may sometimes win through sheer luck. You may

sometimes win through broad talent. But, eventually,

neither luck nor talent will be enough, and the principle

of persistence is all that you will have left. In the end,

it may be that persistence is your only abiding friend. It

will pull you through all the pain, all the toil, all the

hardship. In the long run, persistence, more than any

other trait of success, makes a true winner. Persistence

pays. It pays handsomely. With persistence comes learning

and adaptation. With persistence comes luck and change.

To succeed in anything, learn how to endure adversity,

learn how to feel confident in the midst of obvious

failure. Let no-one and nothing deter you from your

heart’s desire.

Water persistently washing against the hardest rock will

eventually erode it away.

Be as water.

“Beware of no-one more than of yourself,” said Charles

Spurgeon. “We carry our worst enemies within us.” When

you give up, you let yourself down. You lose your chance

at success. You also lose your self-confidence.

The Bottom Line

Persist! Stick to what you set out to do. Stick to it

even if it doesn’t seem worth it. Physical energy, moods,

circumstances change. The darkness passes. In the face of

failure, poverty, loneliness and obscurity, persistence

brings you success.

Chapter 12

The Right Bid

Conrad Hilton relied on his hunches to make his fortune.

His intuition was so finely-honed that it was uncanny.

Although he denied any psychic talent, he was often baffled

by the accuracy of his intuitions.

“Most of the time I can reconstruct the circumstances of

these hunches,” he confessed, “and I can figure out in a

general way where it came from. I mean I can explain it—

not completely but enough to make it less strange. There

have been times, though, when I couldn’t come up with a

good explanation.”

Once his remarkable intuition helped him buy a prestigious

old hotel in Chicago. The sale was based on sealed bids.

All the bids were to be opened on a select day and the

hotel would go to the highest bidder.

Some days prior to the deadline, Hilton offered a bid of

$165,000, but that night he went to bed feeling restless

and did not sleep well. The next morning he changed his

mind. “It just didn’t feel right,” he said afterward. He

increased his bid to $180,000. This was just right—he

outbid his close rival by a mere $200.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, Conrad Hilton had a strong desire to win

the bid. Although he made a calculated guess at what to

bid, it did not feel right and he tossed and turned all

night long. In the morning, he upped his bid. His new

figure was arbitrary, but it was perfect.

His hunch arose from the wealth of knowledge stored in his

subconscious. He had been in the hotel business ever since

his purchase of a hotel in Texas as a young man. He had

spent many years learning about the field and must have

gathered a staggering number of facts.

In bidding for the Chicago hotel, he was consciously aware

of the value of the real estate, the owner’s estimate of

its value, and his competitor’s ideas about how much to

stake. Based on this understanding, he placed his first

bid. However, while he slept, his brain probably ruminated

over numerous subtle pieces of information—perhaps the

personalities of the owner and the other bidders, perhaps a

remark heard, perhaps the memory of a offer on another

similar property, and so on. This nonspecific and

unconscious information forced him to raise his bid by an

additional $15,000 when he woke up the next day.

Thus while he made a rational decision based on his

conscious knowledge, his subconscious went through its own

files during the night, and, upon awakening, prompted him

to increase his offer.

In your own life, it is possible for you to go beyond your

conscious knowledge of a situation and tap into the

remarkable powers of your intuition. Perhaps your

intuition will help you move toward a fortune or move away

from a disaster.

Dr. Natalie Shaines, a New York psychiatrist, says, “A

hunch is only as good as the sum of past experiences that

produces it. You can trust a hunch only if you’ve had

experience in the situation it deals with. I often do

intuitive things in treating patients, for instance. I

have hunches about what will or won’t work. I trust these

hunches because I’ve had a long experience in this field.

I take them to be true perceptions on a nonconscious level.

But if I had a hunch about some field I didn’t know—let’s

say a hunch about making a killing in soybean futures—I

wouldn’t trust it. It couldn’t be a true perception.”

So far, we can deduce two important features to a hunch.

One, they must be based on a strong database of past

experiences. Two, you must trust them.

Intuitions with a weak database are suspect. For example,

intuition about somebody you just met. The feelings you

have may be based on unconscious memories of someone

similar. Someone, perhaps, who looks similiar, wears

similar clothes, talks in a similar way, and so on. But

all these memories don’t allow for the person’s utter


In romantic relationships, for example, the attraction may

be to the person’s shadow side.

A classic story in psychotherapy is that of the co-

dependent person who is attracted to the secret alcoholic.

While this may seem to have all the enchantment of

intuition, it is, in fact, something else entirely.

Another form of pseudo-intuition is wishful thinking. When

you want something to happen, you simulate the emotion

associated with intuition. This is not intuition; it’s

hope. “A lot of bad hunches are just strong wishes in

disguise,” notes Dr. Natalie Shainess.

Intuition is a thought followed by a strong feeling. It is

available to people who are in touch with their feelings,

but it can be confused with emotions of psychological

compensation or wishful thinking. Yet, if you don’t trust

your intuition, you silence it. Intuition, then, is a

tricky issue. You have to trust it to make it work and to

keep it active. Yet, when it comes, it has no rational

basis for itself.

Basically, the rule of thumb is to ask if you have a strong

database for the intuition and to ask if you can afford to

risk following the intuition to verify it.

Since intuition appears irrational—you don’t know why you

know what you know or why you feel the way that you do—you

may be tempted to smother it with reasoning.

But intuition can’t be figured out; it can only be tested

out. Excessive reasoning informs your subconscious that

you simply don’t trust it. It is like shouting at a shy

child to speak up. Inevitably, the child only becomes more


An intuition, according to Dr. Gendlin, represents feeling

about a total situation absorbed by the mind. Since the

conscious mind can absorb only a limited amount of

information and can only think sequentially, most of the

information is shunted off to the subconscious mind. It is

because of this that analysis is futile. It is like a bank

hiring only a single employee to run the whole bank.

The Bottom Line

Dr. Abraham Weinberg, a New York Psychiatrist, advises,

“Keep forcing yourself to perceive more than you see. Keep

asking yourself, ‘What are the vibrations here, what do I


Also, when you’re learning about something, collect the

soft facts along with the hard facts. Soft facts are

feelings and impressions, which are subjective. Hard facts

are measurable data, which are objective. This way you’re

telling your subconscious that you consider it a valuable

ally in your total observation.

Chapter 13

The Stunning Failure

When Willis H. Carrier was a young man, he worked for the

Buffalo Forge Company in Buffalo, New York. He remembered

that one of his toughest projects was the installation of a

gas-cleaning device in a plant of the Pittsburgh Glass

Company at Crystal City, Missouri. While the device,

designed to clean gas as it burned without damaging the

engines, worked properly, it was new and had only been

tried once under different conditions.

As Willis worked on this project, problems arose – because,

while the device did work, it did not work properly.

Stunned by his failure, Willis got nervous, upset, and

physically ill, and he obsessed about the malfunctioning

device to the point of insomnia.

Finally, in a fit of desperation, Willis decided to think

his way out of his problem.

His first step, he decided, was to fix himself; the device

could wait. Worry, he decided, had rendered him


After much thinking, he came up with a peace-of-mind plan.

His plan, he believed, would allow him to get a handle on

resolving the mechanical problem. To his surprize, it

worked so well that he used the plan for the next 30 years.

“I analyzed the situation fearlessly and honestly,” he

commented, “and figured out what was the worst that could

possibly happen as a result of this failure.” It was

unlikely that he would be jailed, shot, or hanged. The

worst that would happen is that he would be fired and be

forced to look for a new job. Also, his employer would

lose $20,000, which could be written off as a tax loss.

“After discovering,” he concluded, “the worst that could

possibly happen and reconciling myself to accepting it, if

necessary, an extremelly important thing happened: I

immediately felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t

experienced in days.”

After reconciling himself with his possible fate, Willis

calmly devoted the rest of his time to trying to resolve

the issues with the gas-cleaning device. After running

several tests, he estimated that his company needed to

spend another $5,000 to buy some additional equipment which

would solve the problem.

The additional equipment worked and the company made a

profit of $15,000.

“I probably would never have been able to do this,” Willis

summarized, “if I had kept on worrying because one of the

worst features about worrying is that it destroys our

ability to concentrate. When we worry, our minds jump here

and there and everywhere, and we lose all power of

decision. However, when we force ourselves to face the

worst and accept it mentally, we then eliminate all these

vague imaginings and put ourselves in a position in which

we are able to concentrate on our problem.”

The Success Principle

When you face your problems, you can find remarkable


The Principle At Work

In the parable, Willis figured a way out of his problem by

first working on his own mental fog, then focussing on the

problem. He thought his way to a successful attitude by

imagining the worst scenario. This method alleviated his

fears because he brought them out in the open and faced

them. Once this was done, he moved on to exploring the

problem by running tests, coming up with some empirical

data, and investing more resources, time, money, and energy

to fixing the problem. While his approach was somewhat

paradoxical – he had to contemplate failure before he could

open himself up to look at success – his method did the


In your own life, you, too, can move beyond your stuck

states by contemplating all the possible consequences of

your own particular situation. What is it that you want to

work in your life? What inner obstacles prevent you from

achieving the successful outcome you desire? Once you have

confronted your own fears, pulled the emotional skeleton’s

out of your mental closet, then you will be ready to take

stock of your current situation, look at it objectively,

and try out new strategies. You may have to pull on a few

resources to manage the situation.

Thus, there are several stages of problem-solving.

First, get clear on your vague fears and imaginings. Bring

them out in the open. Confront them.

Second, once you have some inner clarity, freed from

emotional congestion, look at your problems objectively,

empirically. Ask yourself, “What needs to happen here to

make things work out?”

And third, apply what resources you can harness to

resolving your problem.

Above all, find your way back to faith in your situation.

When you believe in yourself, when you can rekindle the

flame of hope in your heart, when you can reanimate your

brain and your nervous system – then the creative solution

to your problem will arise. Once you clear the vague,

illusive, obstructive emotional blocks, your mind will

function clearly and well.

The Bottom Line

Once you confront a problem head on, you’re halfway there

to resolving it. Turning your back on problems, avoiding

them, and procratinating only makes them more substantial

and terrifying. Once you face your fears, you can begin to

solve your problem. Once you have brought your fears to

light, courage returns, and with courage comes hope, and

with hope, creativity, boldness, and magic.

Chapter 14

One Took the High Road

Anne and Maggie grew up in the same Chicago suburb, went to

the same high school, and then went to the same junior

college. They also went to work for the same insurance

company, and both were hired to work in its billing


Although the two women had similiar socioeconomic and

educational backgrounds, there was an obvious difference,

which affected their careers. Anne was extroverted and

friendly, while Maggie was introverted and reserved. In

the company cafeteria, for example, Anne would always talk

to the people who shared their table, while Maggie would

read the newspaper or poke the food around her plate.

Since the company was huge, most people were strangers.

Anne made many new friends. Maggie made only a few. Anne

enjoyed talking to strangers and finding out about their

lives. She also enjoyed exchanging ideas. Humanity

fascinated her. Maggie seldom joined the conversation

unless an attractive man joined their table. Usually

Maggie sat quietly, frequently bored, while her friend,

gesturing animatedly next to her, engaged in conversations.

One day Anne chatted with an old man who worked in the

personnel department. The conversation turned to women’s

careers. She confessed that she had long since learned the

skills needed to do her job and hoped for more challenges.

A few days after this conversation, the old man stopped

Anne in the corridor. He mentioned a job opening in the

personnel department and he offered to help her transfer if

she were interested.

Although the new job was another secretarial job, requiring

a low amount of skill, and paying as little as the previous

job, Anne enjoyed it – because part of her responsibility

was to interview people who resigned. Anne tried to find

out the reasons for their leaving. She learned how their

job could have been more attractive.

Meanwhile, Maggie stayed on at Accounts Receivable.

After two years, Anne became a full-time interviewer, and

now spoke to those who wanted to join as well as those who

wanted to leave. One outgoing employee was her friend

Maggie, who had found a better paying secretarial job. She

was leaving, she said, because no special opportunities had

come her way.

Two more years were to pass before Anne became the

Assistant Personnel Director. Her main responsibility was

to assess and address the main career problems of women


One day an executive recruiter called her on behalf of a

bank. The bank had been experiencing costly difficulties

over sex discrimination among employees. They were

prepared to pay a handsome salary to a Personnel Director

who knew about women’s job rights.

“How did you hear about me?” asked Anne, curious.

The executive recruiter confessed that it had been in an

extraordinary way. He had initially contacted a woman

college professor who had written about gender problems in

a labor-relations journal. The professor had recalled

Anne, who had attended one of her seminars. She recalled

that Anne had spoken to many participants and had suggested

numerous ideas to them. She had also spoken to the

professor about some innovative job ideas when the two of

them had accidentally met on campus. The professor had

been impressed by Anne’s friendliness.

Anne joined the bank, becoming its Personnel Director. She

doubled her salary and improved her career profile.

Maggie, meanwhile, had married and quit her previous job.

Unfortunately, the marriage did not last and she returned

to secretarial work.

The Success Principle

When you are warm and outgoing, people and opportunities

come your way.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, Anne and Maggie both shared many things in

common – except for personality. Anne was curious about

people and life, Maggie was indifferent and withdrawn.

Anne, consequently, attracted opportunity and gathered

ideas and skills wherever she went. She made an impression

on the old man she met in the company cafeteria and on the

professor whose seminar she had attended. Both recommended

her for advancement.

Between these events, however, Anne developed a knack for

interviewing people. This gave her enough information and

experience to leverage the prestigious bank job.

Maggie, unfortunately, never developed any skills in

relationships. Consequently, on the job and in marriage,

she did not find a way to learn how to express herself.

In your own life, you can create your own luck by learning

to become more open and curious about people and life. In

the long run, the gregarious person attracts more

opportunity than the reserved person. Try this small

experiment. Spend one day being reserved. Then spend the

next day being gregarious. Note the difference. Which was

more fun? Which attracted more “luck?” Which brought out

more of the best in you?

Chapter 15

The Bridgehouse

Mr. Galen Litchfield, the manager of Asia Life Insurance,

was in Shanghai when Japanese troops invaded. This was in

1942, after the invasion of Pearl Harbor.

A Japanese Admiral was sent to liquidate the company’s

assets. Litchfield was ordered to assist in this

liquidation. He didn’t have any choice. He could either

cooperate or face the grim consequences of certain death.

He was ordered to compile a list of the company’s assets—

but there was one block of securites worth $750,000, which

he left off the list because they belonged to the Hong Kong

organization and were not part of the Shanghai assets.

Still, he feared the Admiral’s wrath should the omission be


And it was discovered—soon afterward.

Litchfield wasn’t in the office when the discovery was

made; only the head accountant.

Litchfield received the chilling new on a Sunday afternoon.

The accountant told him that the Admiral had flown into a

terrible rage. He had stomped and cursed and branded

Litchfield a thief, traitor, and scoundrel.

Litchfield knew the consequences of defying the Japanese

Army. They were grim. He would be fling into the

Bridgehouse! The name alone filled people with fear. It

was a torture chamber. Litchfield had personal friends who

had committed suicide rather than be taken to the

Bridgehouse. Other friends had died in the Bridgehouse

after only ten days. Now it seemed Litchfield himself was

destined for the chamber of horror.

Litchfield went to the typewriter in his room in the

Y.M.C.A. He wrote out two questions. The first: What am

I worrying about? The second: What can I do about it? He

had used this technique for years whenever he had a

problem. Now, the answers might save his life. Writing

down the answers to these questions clarified his thinking.

He wrote that the problem was that he was afraid that he

might be thrown in the Bridgehouse.

“What,” he asked himself, “would he do about it?”

He spent hours answering the second question. He came up

with four possible courses of action and weighed each one.

One, he could try to speak to the Japanese Admiral. But

the Admiral spoke no English. He could use the

interpreter, but this might only irritate the Admiral, for

he was an irrational and cruel man who would rather let the

sadists in the Bridgehouse deal with interrogations.

Two, he could try to escape. But his chances were slim.

The Japanese kept track of him all the time. He had to

check in and out of his room at the Y.M.C.A. If he did get

caught trying to escape, he would be shot.

Three, he could stay in his room and never go near the

office again. But, if he did, the Admiral would become

suspicious. Soldiers would be sent to get him and they

would throw him into the Bridgehouse.

Four, he could go down to the office on Monday morning as

usual, pretending that nothing was wrong. Perhaps, the

Admiral would have cooled off by then. Perhaps, he would

be too busy to remember. Or, perhaps, the Admiral would

give him a chance to explain why he made the omission in

the list.

After long deliberation, the fourth option appeared

favorable. It offered him the best chance of survival.

As soon as he had made the decision and made a committment

to follow it, a wave of relief swept over him. Exhausted,

he went to bed and slept well.

When he entered the office on Monday, the Admiral was

there, smoking a cigarette. He glared at Litchfield but

said nothing. Six weeks passed, and still the Admiral did

nothing to bring up the topic. Then—the Admiral was sent

back to Tokyo.

The Success Principle

Make a decision and act on it. It could even save your


The Principle At Work

In the parable, Galen Litchfield’s experience illustrates

the importance of arriving at a decision. He was caught in

a no-win situation. Any decision could have been the wrong

one. There was no way for him to resolve this dilemma.

However, not making a decision is also a decision. It is

choosing to act impulsively, and not rationally. There are

also consequences to this.

The failure to arrive at a decision causes a person to go

round and round and round in maddening circles. The person

ponders over the same information over and over. It is

this failure to grasp a problem that creates nervous

breakdowns. Once a decision is made, a clear, definite

course of action opens up. Once a decision is acted on, a

flow of courage and energy opens up new possibilites.

There is no guarantee that the decision is correct. Not

making a decision, however, can result in disaster. If

Litchfield had not made a decision, he would have been

nervous in the presence of the Admiral. This may have been

seen as an admission of guilt. The result: the


In your own life, you can arrive at a decision in a

baffling situation by writing down four steps.

Step one: Write down what the problem is.

Step two: Write down what you can do about it.

Step three: Decide, or choose, what to do.

Step four: Act on it as soon as possible.

This method should not be underestimated because it is so

simple. It is efficient, concrete, and strikes at the root

of the issue. Decision-making puts an end to an endless

loop of fact-finding and increasingly bewildering analysis.

Once sufficient facts are in, and once sufficient analysis

has been done – make a decision and act on it.

Decisions are powerful because they lead to action. Action

is a positive effort to resolve the problem.

Sometimes problems do go away on their own. Sometimes they

need decisive action. Sometimes you need to wait to get

more information. But whether you decide to ignore, act,

or wait – do decide rather than wallow in uncertainty.

Seldom are decisions life and death issues. Often enough,

you have to make the wrong decision so as to later on

arrive at the correct one. It is not possible to be wholly

accurate, but it is possible to find the right route by

taking all the wrong ones first.

It is self-destructive to refuse to confront a situation.

When you deal with it, you’re on your way to resolving it.

Above all, decide. Waite Phillips, one of Oklahoma’s most

prominent of oil men, once said. “I find that to keep

thinking about our problems beyond a certain point is bound

to create confusion and worry. There comes a time when any

more investigation and thinking are harmful. There comes a

time when we must decide and act and never look back.”

The Bottom Line

Once you have made a careful decision based on the

available facts, swing into action. Avoid hesistation,

reconsideration, retracing your steps. Follow the advice

of William James: “When once a decision is reached and

execution is the order of the day, dismiss absolutely all

responsibility and care about the outcome.

Chapter 16

The Inspired Boy

Ben Cooper, the son of a poor immigrant tailor, lived in a

disheveled neighborhood in St. Joseph, Missouri. The

family was so poor that they could not eat everyday.

They lived in a small home...and Ben was assigned the task

of heating it. He would pick up pieces of coal near the

railroad tracks, collecting them in a coal scuttle. This

task embarrassed him and he used the back streets to avoid

meeting children from his school.

What made the task particularly unpleasant was a group of

boys who delighted in ambushing him. These three boys

would wait until he had filled his coal scuttle before

pouncing on him, beating him up, and scattering his coal

all over the street.

They laughed as they watched him run home crying.

Ben lived in a constant state of dread.

Then, one day, Ben came across a book that changed his


The book was Robert Coverdale’s Struggle by Horartio Alger.

Ben identified with the young hero, a boy about his own

age, who faced great odds. But, unlike Ben, the young

hero faced his tormentors with unflinching courage.

Sitting in his shabby kitchen, Ben slowly read every one of

Horatio Alger’s books. He forgot about his own cold and

hunger. His mind was elsewhere: immersed in tales of


As the winter wore on, he fed his soul and warmed his heart

with these stories. Something began to change inside him.

He began to feel bigger, more substantial. He began to

feel within himself the birthing of a hero.

One day, between readings, on his way back from his coal-

gathering trip, he spied three figures slinking behind a

soot-stained wall. Usually, he would have turned on his

heels and fled to the safety of his home, but today there

was something else alive inside of him, something bigger,

more substantial.

He continued walking toward the wall. Unconsciously, his

grip tightened around the cold steel handle of his coal

scuttle. He braced himself. His scuttle was already

flying before they pounced. It hit the leader of the pack

right on the forehead. He went down like a large sack of


Alarmed at this unexpected aggression, the other two boys

turned and fled. Ben gathered up a few chunks of coal and

threw it at them. He chased after them, but they were

bigger and faster than he was and made a clean escape.

Returning back to his coal scuttle, Ben found the leader

sitting up, a dazed look in his eyes, an enormous welt over

his eyebrows. Ben raised his right arm threateningly –

and, to his surprize, the boy jumped to his feet and began

to run.

A big chunk of coal bounced off the back of the fleeing

boy’s head.

The Success Principle

When we begin to live the life we imagined, we become

bolder and more adventurous.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, Ben Cooper was raised in a slum and his

dire poverty reinforced his feelings of low self-worth.

Although he would come home beaten and crying and without

coal, his family did not support Ben in his terrifying


Ben was alone in a harsh world.

He found solace in a virtual reality, the fictional world

of Horatio Alger. Immersed in this world, he absorbed it

into his thoughts and feelings. Fictional heroes inspired

him to discover his own grit and determination, his own

courage in the face of adversity. In time, they

transformed him from servility to indignation.

His new attitude pushed him to act out his fantasies. In

real life, he developed a source of personal power. He was

no bigger, no stronger than before, but his complete

absence of fear, his sudden transformation terrified his


In your own life, you can similarly choose to be nurtured

by identifying with someone who has succeeded. By relating

to someone, whether through reading about them or actually

associating with them, you can stop relating to your own

ingrained negative attitudes.

While your bullies may not be physical, like Ben’s, but

more subtle, like fear and self-doubt, by assuming an

image that inspires you, by pretending to be someone bigger

and stronger, someone more capable, you can overcome your

own particular demons.

Assume an image of power and act out your fantasy. When it

is acted out in the real world, it assumes a life-force of

its own which will pull you into a positive future. Your

whole personality will be transformed by the experience of

changing a wish into an event.

The Bottom Line

The only way past fear is through it. Fear is a wall that

holds you back. It stymies your personal power. Fear is a

source of torment, a bully who will beat you down until you

face it and fight back.

Chapter 17

The Proud Chemist

A young chemist who worked in a small mining company, took

up a better paying job in New York, hoping to move up to

doing pure research. Neither his wife nor his boss

approved of his decision. His wife thought that city life

would be a rude contrast to the peace of their native

mountains and the abundant trout streams. His boss, the

President of the mining company, also had his doubts and

invited the young man to take his job back if he returned

within six months.

For the young chemist, the taste of the Big Apple turned

sour after only a few months.

The glamor of the city faded and his job conditions changed

considerably. The job changes occured when the senior

executive who had hired him was stripped of power and

transferred to another division of the company. With him

went a whole realm of possibilities that would have

gradually opened up for the young chemist.

Although the potential opportunities of the job had changed

overnight, the young chemist, a proud man, decided to stick

it out rather than face the humiliation of going back home

and admitting that he had made a mistake.

In addition, the young chemist had invested a considerable

amount into his new job.

He had invested money to move his family, buy and furnish a

suburban home, and in numerous incidental expenses. He had

invested time in making the move. And he had invested

effort in learning new skills, attending company-sponsored

seminars and night classes to supplement his education.

Six months passed, then a year passed, then several years.

As the years passed, the chemist, now not as young, became

invested in the company’s bonus plans that rewarded long


After many years, the chemist found that he was simply

marking time toward retirement.

His ideal job in pure research was now no more than a

distant pipe dream. He worked in the dull area of

purchasing and quality control.

The Success Principle

We need to be flexible, and bold, if we want our life to

have growth and meaning.

The Principle At Work

In the parable, the young chemist slipped into inertia. As

the years went by he lost his courage to pursue a career of

his choice.

When his New York job fell apart, he let his pride get in

the way of heading back home and starting over. He also

had the choice of looking for another job in New York. He

was also unwilling to cut his losses with the time, money,

and effort he had invested in.

While persistence and consistency are often touted as

essential success principles, they can also work against

other success principles: flexibility and sound judgement.

The antithesis to the story of the young chemist, who

doggedly stuck to his investments, is a famous story on

Wall Street. It is the story of a stock market

speculator, the late Gerald M. Loeb, who died in 1975. He

understood the value of flexibility and made a fortune from

applying this simple distinction.

In his book, The Battle for Investment Survival, he used a

specific formula to maximize his gains and minimize his

losses in the fickle stock exchange. Using this formula,

he took advantage of the boom in the 50’s and 60’s and

survived the market fall in 1969.

His principles are still valid in today’s market and in

other areas of life, too.

This is how the formula worked:

1. Select a stock to buy.

2. Make your selection on the basis of rational fact-

finding, expert counsel, and intuitional judgement.

3. Recognize that despite your thorough research of the

stock, it’s future is still uncertain.

4. After you buy the stock, several things might happen:

a) The price might fall.

b) The price might rise a short time before it falls.

c) The price might rise for a long time before it


Only one pattern is certain: sooner or later the price

will fall.

5. When the price starts to fall, wait for it to fall at

least ten to fifteen percent. When it does, cut your

losses. Sell out at the chosen percentage level. Forget

about waiting for the price to rise again. Sell out before

you get hurt. Loeb’s formula, in essence, is that you must

be willing to accept only small losses.

6. As long as a stock rises, consider it a success, but

as soon as it falls below a certain level drop it like a

hot potato.

In your own life, recognize that there are many situations

in life that are like the stock market: they fluctuate,

sometimes appearing positive, sometimes negative. The best

way to deal with these events is learning how to maximize

profits and minimize losses. These situations can be

related to careers, relationships, projects, practically

anything which has a life-cycle.

Also, sometimes consistency is a virtue, sometimes it

isn’t. Often, you have to decide.

Emerson once said that a foolish consistency is the

hobgoblin of little minds. The key word here is “foolish.”

Sometimes one needs to be consistent to break through to a

higher level of understanding and achievement, as in, for

example, a research undertaking. And sometimes one needs

to re-evaluate a situation to see if it is leading you to

where you really want to go, as in, for example, the career

of the chemist.

Success has a knack for elaborating two illusions. One is

the illusion of mastery. The other is the illusion of

control. But life works on a different principle...the

principle of change and uncertainty. Recognize this fact,

rather than fight it. We all know stories about people or

corporations, who appear to have mastered their particular

discipline and who appear to have complete control of their

outcomes, then when conditions change they fall apart

because they are still operating on those skills that once


Flexibility, then, or adapatation to change is a

fundamental success principle. The dinosaurs were not

flexible. Humankind has been flexible. Magnificent

civilizations have flourished during their era of expansion

and flexibility, but when they created inflexible rules of

control and conditions changed, they collapsed. How much

more fragile, then, is the average person, who is living in

our fast-paced world. As technology accelerates, many

skills become obsolete and there is a need for flexibility

in adapting to coming changes.

Change is part of life. Learn to navigate your course in

life by the winds of change. What you have invested in the

past is not a sure indication of what you will need in the


There are mainly two reasons for making a change. One,

opportunity has floated into sight and you must boldly

seize it. Two, opportunity has been lost and you need to

move away before things get worse.

How does one balance flexibility with consistency?

Consistency should be pursued as long as resources last and

there is a predictable possibility that things can get


Flexibility should be pursued when you could be making more

progress doing something else with the resources you


While flexibility and consistency are opposite principles,

there is a time for each, and that is why both are

legitimate success principles.

Another interesting duality closely linked to flexibility

and consistency is the duality of pessimism and optimism.

While in most cases, pessimism is destructive and optimism

constructive, there are exceptions.

Healthy pessimism can be constructive and naive optimism

can be destructive.

Healthy pessimism is accepting that things can go wrong and

preparing to meet it with solutions. Opening up a savings

account, for example, is a solution. You’re saying, in

effect, I may not always be making as much money as today,

or you could be saying, I’m preparing money to invest in

future opportunities. Either way, you’re meeting the

future with a solution for a problem or opportunity.

Naive optimism, using the same example about savings, is

choosing not to save, because you believe that things will

always flow smoothly.

Change is something inherent in life. It is also something

we insert into our lives. We can elect to change. Again,

this is not a simple proposition. Change, for its own

sake, for the sake of excitement, is not always

beneficial. Change prompted by boredom or restlessness is

often too haphazard to be successful. In the job market,

for example, it is a loss of momentum to simply hop from

one job to another. It is a gain in momentum if the change

is intentional, if it is a movement from a lower state to a

higher state, a movement to more opportunity or more


The Bottom Line

A college professor at the University of Michigan, Dr. E.

Louis Mahigel, was once a professional poker player. He

said he learned valuable lessons about flexibility from the

game. “An outstanding characteristic of the successful

gambler,” he noted, “is that he knows how and when to get

out of a hand and cut his losses. Of course, he knows all

the mathematical odds by heart, which gives him an edge

over most people he hustles, but his main edge is in the

area of emotion. When the odds say he probably won’t win,

he doesn’t argue; he just leaves his money in the pot and

lays down his cards. The chronic loser isn’t emotionally

equipped to do that. He’s so desperate not to lose his

investment that he takes wild chances to protect it.”

Chapter 18

The Royal Road

Nicholas Darvas, escaping his war-torn homeland, Hungary,

sought refuge in Turkey in June 1943. In Istanbul,

however, he faced a new crisis. Now, he had no friends, no

money, no knowledge of Turkish, and no citizenship. He

risked starvation. He also risked losing his sense of

specialness. He didn’t want to be poor and hungry for the

rest of his life. No, he had fonder hopes for himself. He

wanted to thrive. He wanted to be an outrageous success.

After the penniless 23-year-old exile fought off immediate

peril, he turned his mind back to dreams of glory. He

analyzed his situation by listing his talents. He

dismissed numerous options. Only one talent really

appealed to him. Only one sang to his soul. He loved to


Yes, he finally decided, he would be a dancer.

Dancing fit his personality. In dancing, he had only to

display the grace of his body in motion. He did not have

to be witty or eloquent. He was basically a shy person.

He would be different, special, unusual. He would dance

amazingly well. He would be the best. No, better still,

he would be the best of the best. He would dance in the

finest theaters in the world. He would dance to packed

audiences. He would flit, like a butterfly, across the

stages of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. He would

be a firefly of the night- life. People would talk about

him long after he had left the stage. Newspapers would

rave about his performances. Agents would compete for his

attention. Yes, people the world over would be willing to

pay a high price for the joy of seeing him dance. Just by

watching him, people would be enthralled. They would be

inspired by his power, speed, grace, agility. He would be

famous. No, world-famous. His life, he decided, would be

one of splendid, dancing, uplifting motion.

Slowly the images took shape in the theater of his mind.

He eagerly outlined how he would achieve his lofty


He considered a powerful twofold plan.

One, he would learn the latest dance steps. He would

practise until he could perform them smoothly,

effortlessly, flawlessly.

Two, he would market his talent to the world. Talent alone

might land him numerous engagements in Turkey, but it would

not open up the rest of the world. He had to let the top

people, the wheelers-and-dealers of the entertainment

industry, the influential managers, producers, and agents

know that he existed. They would learn that he was someone

to watch out for, someone who would make them popular and

very, very rich.

He rehearsed daily. He practised, as he had promised

himself, the latest dance steps. His clumsy feet moved

gracefully after hours; his heavy legs rose off the ground,

as if levitating, after months. He read

voraciously...devouring the the international dance

magazines. He learned avidly...about the styles of the the

best dancers. He investigated their favorite locations,

where only the elite performed.

Gradually, after years, as he exposed himself to the world

of dance, a map emerged in his mind. He saw a royal road.

It led to the glittering, night-lit cities, where the top

dancers mesmerized audiences. The royal road he envisioned

in his mind took him from here to there. Archimedes talked

about wanting to move the world with a lever – but he,

Nicholas Darva, would spin it around on the balls of his


On the route to success, Turkey would be the first

milestone. He would make himself well-known in his new

homeland. Then, he would spread his wings, like a

butterfly blossoming in the light. He would dance in the

Middle East. He would dance in Europe.

Eventually, he would dance in Paris. From Paris, he would

leap across the ocean and dance in New York. New York, he

decided, would be his ultimate destination. In New York,

he would establish his presence, and from there on he would

be invited to dance in all the big cities of the world. He

would dance around the world. He was Nicholas Darva. He

was invincible. His fate was inevitable. It had all been

decided. It was as good as done.

With his plan in his mind as clear as a vivid dream, he

prepared for New York. Now he spent three afternoons a

week watching American movies. He wanted to understand the

culture. He wanted to capture the American heart.

In these movies, he saw the dance routines that Americans

loved. But, he looked deeper, beyond dance, into trends,

fashions in drama. He saw a wide variety of movies. He

discerned trends. Vague patterns floated in his mind.

Ideas came to him and he wrote them down. There was

something elusive he was tracking down. It was subtle, a

question of nuances. Elusive, half-remembered dreams

floated before him when he awoke in the mornings. There

were patterns before him, but he could not put them

together into one synergistic whole. Then after months of

accumulative musing, the ideas began to fall into place.

He saw dance trends in non-dance movies. For example,

In gangster movies, gun-shot victims reeled a number of

times before dying. Americans, he discerned, loved

exaggeration, larger-than-life stuff, heroic proportions to

their drama.

Since the audience loved drama, he would give it to them in

his dance routines.

Another trend also emerged. Suspense, intrigue. Movie

plots were full of mystery, confusion, surprise. He would

create a choreography full of these elements. The audience

would find him unpredictable, surprizing, sensational.

A time came when he did indeed dominate the dance stage of

Turkey. He found occassional work in the Middle East. He

now moved to the second part of his plan: marketing.

Since he could not afford to buy the promotion he needed,

he created a sort of mail-order business. He gathered the

names and addresses of all those responsible for hiring

dancers in France, in Europe, and in New York. He

assembled a gargantuan list of theatrical agents, managers,

and night-club owners. Every week, without failing, he

sent them regular mailings -- letters, pictures and

newspaper clippings about his latest dance routines. He

sent notices of when and where he would be performing next.

He sent publicity releases whenever he could, where-ever he

could. Slowly, these unknown people started to respond.

They wrote back to him, they visited his acts, they invited

him to their clubs. His dream was emerging, attaining an

energy and mass that even surprized him.

One day, in New York, in his dressing room, he looked at

himself in the mirror and smiled. A shiver ran up his

spine. He was looking at the highest-paid dancer in the


Later on in life, Nicholas Darvas created imaginary

blueprints for other fields. He thrived and enjoyed

outrageous success in everything that he tried. He went on

to become a multimillionaire, a successful theatrical

producer, a real estate tycoon, an international

businessman, and a Wall Street wizard (who made $2,000,000

in the Stock Market).

The Success Principle

A clear plan, a flexible strategy, and an invincible

determination will create your dream, no matter where you

start at from.

The Principles at Work

In this parable, Nicholas Darvas focussed on his strong

points. He didn’t dwell on his weaknesses. He chose his

strongest asset, love of dancing, and built it into a

formidable asset. Since he was shy, he found an ambition

that worked around that social liability.

After finding his heart’s desire, his bliss, he dared to

dream big; he dreamed the biggest, boldest dreams that he

could think of. He wanted to do more than merely dance –

he wanted to be phenomenal, the best of the best,

unforgettable. He wanted to be famous.

He then translated his dream into two managable plans.

First, he developed talent. Second, he marketed it. Then

he continued to reality-test and refine his plans. He

created a feedback loop between his inner desires and

imaging and the outer world of possibility, working and

reshaping forms of dance that were already in existence.

He took action with unbending intent. He put his twofold

plan into effect by doing practical things within his

reach. He researched and rehearsed the latest dance steps.

He subscribed to international magazines to keep abreast of

his chosen profession.

In line with his goal of dancing in New York, he set about

learning about dance forms in the United States. He also

studied audience response in general. By watching movies,

he learned to see cultural patterns. He noticed that since

Americans loved drama and suspense, he built his

choreography around the element of surprize.

After mastering his talents, he developed the second

pathway to his success. He learned how to sell himself, to

broadcast his talents to a captive audience of night-club

talent agents, managers, and owners around the world.

Throughout this journey, he refused to believe in

limitations. He also displayed self-confidence, prior to

developing his talents and connections. He put faith

before experience. And, he took risks, investing time,

money, and energy into his project.

In short, he dreamed big, developed elaborate plans, and

then acted boldly with unbending intent.

In your own life, you can implement all the important

aspects of planning your royal road to success. Here are

some pointers:

1. Isolate your strongest talent. Forget about your weak

points. Use your precious energy to master one particular

skill. Focus on your best quality and be a success at it.

2. Forget about your personal flaws. Make choices where

they don’t get in the way. While it may be possible to

change maladaptive conditioning, consider this as another

venture. Build upon your assets. Once you have

sufficiently strong assets, you can go back and take care

of your liabilities.

3. Dare to dream big. Why bother with half-measures?

Compromised dreams have no power to energize and excite you

into action. Playing it safe is a losing proposition.

Even if you never measure up to an absolute standard,

you’ll be pushed much further than you would have ever

dared to go.

4. Break your big plan into small, managable parts. See

the big picture, then figure out how to make it all fit


5. Stay in touch with the outer world. Keep abreast of

the latest trends and use them in your plans. Learn only

what is relevant. Avoid obsolete techniques. Keep an eye

on the market. Note where it is, where it’s moving, and

orient yourself accordingly.

6. Stay out of the shadows. Make some noise. Find a way

to get noticed. Frank Sinatra broke into show business by

standing on a table and singing. He was a waiter and he

sang to a top local producer. Similarly Darvas sent out

unapologetic news bulletins to people who neither knew nor

cared about him; but he eventually got them interested.

Create a way to help people help you.

7. Learn about your market. Isolate your target

audience. Study what interests you; make it fun, bold, and


8. Refuse to believe in limitations. Limited thoughts

create limited people. “The sky,” as Wayne Dyer has

correctly reminded us, “is the limit.” Napoleon Hill once

said: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe,

it can achieve.” When you doubt your competence and

question your options, you lose vital energy. You need

this energy to press on with your goals. The more original

your ideas, the more critics you’ll find. Don’t add to the

inertia by adding your own name to the list of critics.

9. Above all, plan, dream, and act.

10. And when you fail, learn from your mistakes, and


--The End--

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