Outwitting The Devil – Napoleon Hill

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As inconsistent as it may seem, you will learn more about how to succeed from the failure than you will from the so-called successes. They will teach you what not to do.

My experience taught me that a man is never quite so near success as when that which he calls “failure” has overtaken him, for it is on occasions of this sort that he is forced to think. If he thinks accurately, and with persistence, he discovers that so-called failure usually is nothing more than a signal to re-arm himself with a new plan or purpose. Most real failures are due to limitations which men set up in their own minds.  If they had the courage to go one step further, they would discover the error.

I Receive Strange “Orders” from a Strange Source

My instructions began in this fashion:

“You are now completely in charge of your other self’ You are entitled to know that two entities occupy your body, as in fact similar entities occupy the body of each living person no on earth.

One of these entities is motivated by and responds to the impulse of fear. The other is motivated by and responds to the impulse of faith. For more than you have been driven a year like a slave, by the fear entity.

My first royalty check from the sale of my books was for $850. As I opened the envelope in which it came my “other self” said. our only limitation is the one which you set in up your own mind!”

“Your only limitation is the one which ou set up in your own mind!”

Above everything else, get this fact clearly fixed in your mind, that your other self will not do your work for you; it will only guide you intelligently in achieving for yourself the objects of your desires.Will you be guided by faith? or will you allow fear to overtake you?

 

“Failure A Blessing in Disguise”

I have made another discovery as the result of this introduction to my “other self,” namely, that there is a solution for every legitimate problem, no matter how difficult the problem may seem.

I have also discovered that there comes with every experience of temporary defeat, and every failure and every form of adversity, the seed of an equivalent benefit.

Mind I did not say the full-blown flower of success, you, but the seed from which that flower may be made to germinate and I know of no exception to this rule. The seed of grow, which I speak may not always be observed, but you may be sure it is there, in one form or another.

“Every great leader of the past, whose record I have examined, was beset by difficulties and met with temporary defeat before ‘arriving.’”

Since this “other self” took charge of me, I have come by useful knowledge which I am sure I never would have discovered while my old fear entity was on the throne. For one thing I have learned that those who meet with difficulties which seem insurmountable may, if they will do so, best overcome these difficulties by forgetting them for a time and helping others who have greater problems.

 

A New Way to Pray

My other self has taught me to concentrate upon my purpose and to forget about the plan by which it is to be attained when I go to prayer. I am not suggesting that material objects may be acquired without plans. What I am saying is that the power which translates one’s thoughts or desires into realities has its source in an Infinite Intelligence which knows more about plans than the one doing the praying.

Stating the case in another way, may it not be wise, when praying, to trust to the Universal Mind to hand over the plan best suited for the attainment of the object of that prayer? My experience with prayer has taught me that so often all which results from prayer is a plan (if the is answered all), a plan that is suited for the attainment of object of the prayer through natural and material media. The plan must be transmuted, through self effort action.

I know nothing about form of prayer which can be any induced to work favorably in a mind that is colored, in the slightest degree, by fear.

Since becoming better acquainted with my other self, my way of praying is different from what it was before. I used to go to prayer only when facing difficulty. Now I go to prayer before difficulty overtakes me, when possible. I now pray, not for more of this world’s goods and greater blessings, but to be worthy of that which I already have. I find that this plan is better than the old one.

Infinite Intelligence seems not at all offended when I give thanks and show that I am grateful for the blessings which have crowned my efforts. I was astounded, when I first tried this plan of offering a prayer of thanks for what I already possessed, to discover what a vast fortune I had owned without being appreciative of it.

For example, I discovered that I possessed a sound body which had never been seriously damaged by illness. I had a mind which was reasonably well balanced. I had a creative imagination through which I could render useful service to great numbers of people. I was blessed with all the freedom I desired, in both body and mind. I possessed an imperishable desire to help others who were less fortunate. I discovered that happiness, the highest aim of mankind, was mine for the taking, business depression or no business depression.

Last, but by no means least, I discovered that I had the privilege of approaching Infinite Intelligence, either for the purpose of offering thanks for what I already possessed, or to ask for more, and for  guidance.

Is prayer a part of your life? Do God to “hand over you trust the plan best suited for the attainment of the object” of your Prayer? Do you acknowledge that in order for your plan to be successful you must take action?

 

A As I have already told you, poverty is always my friend because it discourages independence of thought and encouages fear in the minds of men. Some wealthy men serve my cause while others do me great damage, depending upon how the wealth is used. The great Rockefeller fortune, for example, is one of my worst enemies.

Q That is interesting. Your Majesty: will you tell me why you fear the Rockefeller fortune more than others?

A The Rockefeller money is being used to isolate and conquer diseases of the physical body, in all parts of the world. Disease has always been one of my most effective weapons. The fear of ill health is second only to the fear of poverty. The Rockefeller money is uncovering new secrets of nature in a hundred different directions, all of which are designed to help men take and keep possession of their own minds. It is encouraging new and better methods of feeding, clothing, and housing people. It is wiping out the slums in the large cities, the places where my favorite allies are found. It is financing campaigns for better government and helping to wipe out dishonesty in politics. It is helping to set higher standards in business  practice and encouraging business men to conduct business by the Golden Rule; and that is not doing my cause any good.

Q You say you have corrupted the minds of the young people with liquor and cigarettes. I can understand how liquor might destroy the power of independent thought but do not see what cigarettes have to do with helping your cause.

A You may not know it, but cigarettes break down the power of persistence: they destroy the power of endurance; they destroy the ability to concentrate; they deaden and undermine the imaginative faculty, and help in other ways to keep people from using their minds most effectively. Do you know I have millions of people young and old, of both sexes, who smoke two packages of cigarettes a day? That means I have millions of people who are gradually destroying their power of resistance.

One day I shall add to their habit of cigarette smoking other thought-destroying habits, until I shall have gained control of their minds. Habits come in triplets, and quadruplets. Any habit pairs, which weakens one’s will power invites a flock of its relatives to move in take possession of the mind. The cigarette habit and not only lowers the power of resistance and discourages persistence, but it invites looseness in other human relationships.

Q Go ahead and tell me more of the methods by which you cause people to drift to hell with you!

A I cause people to drift on subject through which I even can control independent thought and action:

 

Health, for example I cause most people to eat too much food and the wrong sort of food. This leads to indigestion and destroys the power of accurate thought If the public school and the churches taught children more about proper eating, they would do my cause irreparable damage.

Marriage: I cause men and women to drift into marriage without plan or purpose designed to convert the relationship into harmony. Here is one of my most effective methods of converting people into the habit of drifting I cause named people to bicker and nag one another over money matters I cause them to quarrel over the bringing up of their children. I engage them in unpleasant controversies over their intimate relationships and in disagreements over friends and social activities. I keep them so busy finding fault with one another that they never have time to do anything else long enough to break the habit of drifting.

Occupation: I teach people to become drifters by causing to drift out of school into the first job they find, with no definite aim or purpose except to make a living. Though this trick I keep millions of people in fear of poverty all their lives. Through this fear I lead them slowly but surely onward until they reach the point beyond which no individual ever has broken the drifting habit.

Savings: I cause people to spend freely and to save sparingly or not at all, until I take complete control of them through their fear poverty.

Environment: I cause people to dirt into inharmonious and unpleasant environments in the home, in their places of occupation in their relationship with relatives and acquaintances, and to remain there until I claim them through the habit of rifting.

Dominating Thoughts: I cause people to drift into the habit of thinking negative thoughts. This leads to negative acts and involves people in controversies and ills their minds with fears, thus paving the way for me to enter and control their minds when I move in, I do so by appealing to people through negative thoughts which they believe to be their own. I plant the seeds of negative thought in the minds of people through the pulpit, the newspapers, the moving pictures, the radio, and all other popular methods of appeal to the mind I cause people to allow me to do their thinking for them because they are too lazy and too indifferent to think for themselves.

Q I conclude from what you say that drifting and procrastination are the same. Is that true?

A Yes, that is.  Any habit which causes one to procrastinate, to put off reaching a definite decision, leads to the habit of drifting.

Q Go ahead and describe a typical drifter.  Give your description point by point so I can recognize a drifter when I see him.

  • A The first thing you will notice about a drifter is his total lack of a major purpose in life.
  • He will be conspicuous by his lack of self-confidence.
  • He will never accomplish anything requiring thought and effort.
  • He spends all he and more too, if he can get credit.
  • He will be sick or ailing from some real or imaginary cause, and calling to high heaven if he suffers the least physical pain.
  • He will have little or no imagination.

 

Q What brief message would you send to the typical drifter if you wished to cure him of this evil habit?

A I would admonish him to wake up and give!

Q Give what?

A Some form of service useful to as many people as possible.

Q So the non-drifter is supposed to give, is he?

A Yes, if he expects to get! And he must give before he gets!

 

Everyone will be given a job or fed from the government treasury. When men’s bellies are filled, they drift freely with one who does the filling. Hungry men get out from under control.

Q Your Majesty has given me a clear description of drifting. Tell me what must be done to insure against the habit of drifting I want a complete formula that anyone can use.

 

A protection against drifting lies within easy reach of every human being who has a normal body and a sound mind. The self-defense can be applied through these simple methods:

 

  1. Do own thinking on all occasions. The fact that the human beings are given complete control over nothing save the power to think their own thoughts is laden with signifcance.
  2.  Decide definitely what you want from life; then create a plan for attaining it and be willing to sacrifice everything else, if necessary, rather than accept permanent defeat.
  3.  Analyze temporary defeat, no matter of what nature or cause, and extract from it the seed of an equivalent advantage
  4.  Be willing to render useful service equivalent to the value of all material things you demand of life, and render the service first.
  5.  Recognize that your brain is a receiving set that can be attuned to receive communications from the universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence, to help you transmute your desires into their physical equivalent.
  6.  Recognize that your greatest asset is time, the only thing except the power of thought which you own outright, and the one thing which can be shaped into whatever material things you want. Budget your time so none of it is wasted.
  7.  Recognize the truth that fear generally is a filler with which the Devil occupies the unused portion of your mind. It is only a state of mind which control by filling the you can space it occupies with faith in your ability to make life provide you with whatever you demand of it.
  8.  When you pray, do not beg! Demand what you want and insist upon getting exactly that, with no substitutes.
  9.  Recognize that life is a cruel taskmaster and that either you master it or it masters you. There is no halfway or compromising point. Never accept from life anything you do not want. If that which you do not want is temporarily forced upon you, you can refuse, in your own mind, to accept it and it will make way for the thing you do want.
  10.  Lastly, remember that your dominating thoughts attract through a definite law of nature, by the shortest and most convenient route, their physical counterpart. Be careful what your thoughts dwell upon.

A The law of hypnotic rhythm is available to all who will use it I make use of it more effectively than does my opposition because I offer people more attractive bribes to think my sort of thoughts and indulge in my sort of deeds.

Q In other words, you control people by making negative thinking and destructive deeds pleasing to them, is that correct?

A That is the idea, exactly!

 

In the rest of the book, Hill discusses these seven principles to attain spiritual, men and physical freedom:

1. Definiteness of purpose

2. Mastery over self

3. Learning from adversity

4. Controlling environmental influence (associations)

5. Time giving permanency to positive, rather than negative thought-habits and developing wisdom)

6. Harmony (acting with definiteness of purpose to become the dominating influence in your own mental, spiritual, and physical environment)

7. Caution (thinking through your plan before you act)

 

 

Q Is the habit of definiteness a permanent protection against your control?

A No, not by means. Definiteness closes the door of one’s any mind to me only as long as that person follows the principle as a matter of policy. Once any person hesitates, procrastinates, or becomes indefinite about anything, he is just one step removed from my control.

 

Q You mean that any plan definitely put into continuous action in pursuit of a definite purpose may be successful even if it is not the best plan?

A Yes, I mean just that. Definiteness of purpose plus definiteness of plan by which the purpose is to be achieved generally succeeds, no matter how weak the plan may be.

 

Q Can who moves with definiteness of both plan a person and purpose be always sure of success?

A No. The best of plans sometimes misfire, but the person who moves with definiteness recognizes the difference between temporary defeat and failure. When plans fail he substitutes others but he does not change his purpose. He perseveres. Eventually he finds a plan that succeeds

Q Why do the majority of prayers fail?

A They don’t. All prayers bring that for which one prays.

Q But you just said that definiteness of purpose is the only sort of prayer upon which one can rely. Now you say that all prayers bring results. What do you mean?

A There is nothing inconsistent about it. The majority of people who pray go to prayer only after everything else fails them. Naturally they go with their minds filled with fear that the prayers will not be answered. Well, their fears are realized.

The person who goes to prayer with definiteness of purpose and faith in the attainment of that purpose puts into motion the laws of nature which transmute one’s dominating desires into their physical equivalent. That is all there is to prayer.

One form of prayer is negative and brings only negative results. One form is positive and brings definite, positive results. Could anything be more simple?

 

When you hear a person praying for something that he should procure through his own efforts, you may be sure you are listening to a drifter. Infinite Intelligence favors only those who understand and adapt themselves to her laws. She makes no discrimination because of fine character or pleasing personality. These things help people negotiate their way through life more harmoniously with one another, but the source from which prayer is answered is not impressed by fine feathers. Nature’s law is, “Know what you want, adapt yourself to my laws, and you shall have it.”

 

Does that harmonize with the teachings of Chris?

A Perfectly. Also it harmonizes with the teachings of all truly great philosophers.

Q Is your theory of definiteness in harmony with the philosophy of men of science?

A Definiteness is the majors difference between a scientist and a drifter. Through the principle of definiteness of purpose and plan.

 

Q Then it is true that man has rights and privileges not available to either Omnipotence or the peril is that the truth?

A Yes, that is true, but you might well have added that man has not yet fully awakened to the realization of this potential.

 

Name some of the common forms of sin.

It is sin to overeat because that leads to ill health a to and misery.

It is a sin to over-indulge in sex because that breaks down one’s will power and leads to the habit of drifting.

It is a sin to permit one’s mind to be dominated by negative thoughts of envy, greed, fear, hatred, intolerance, vanity, self pity, or discouragement, because these states of mind lead to the habit of drifting.

It is a sin to cheat, lie, and steal, because these habits destroy self respect, subdue one’s conscience, and lead to unhappiness.

It is a sin to remain in ignorance because that leads to poverty and loss of self reliance.

It is a sin to accept from life anything one does not want because that indicates an unpardonable neglect to use the mind.

 

Q WHAT PREPARATION MUST ONE UNDERGO before being able to move with definiteness of purpose at all times?

A One must gain mastery over self.This is the second of the seven principles. The person who is not master of himself can never be master of others. Lack of self mastery is, of itself the most destructive form of indefiniteness.

 

Q How can one master the emotion of sex?

A By the simple process of transmuting that emotion into some form of activity other than copulation. Sex is one of the greatest of all forces which motivate human beings. Because of this fact it is also one of the most dangerous forces. If humans would control their sex desires and transmute them into a driving force with which to carry on their occupation-that is, if they their work one half the time they dissipate in pursuit of they would never know poverty.

 

Q Do mean by your statement, that one should not you indulge the desire for sex?

A No, I mean that like all other forces available to man sex, should be understood, mastered, and made to serve man.  The desire for is natural as the desire for food sex expression as the desire can no more be killed than one can entirely stop a river from flowing If the emotion of sex is shut off from the natural mode it will break out in some other less desirable form, just as a river will, if dammed, break through and flow around the dam. The person who has self discipline understands the emotion of sex, respects it, and learns to control and transmute it into constructive activities.

 

Q But isn’t it true that a magnetic speaker often puts himself in the way of opportune to benefit himself by attracting the attention of others through his powers of oratory?

A Yes, a magnetic orator does have an asset of tremendous value in his ability to impress people by his speech, but he cannot make the best use of this asset if he forces his speech on others without their invitation. No single quality adds more to ones personality than the able to speak with emotional feeling force and conviction.

 

But failure does more than this. It gives an individual an opportunity, to test himself wherein he may learn how much will power he possesses Failure also forces people to learn many truths they would never discover without it Failure often leads an individual to an understanding of the power of self discipline without which no one could turn back after having once been the victim of hypnotic rhythm. Study the lives of all people who achieve outstanding success in any calling and observe, with proof, that their success is usually in exact ratio to their experiences of defeat before succeeding

Q Stay focused on adversity, if you will. If there are possible benefits to be found through adversity, name some of them.

A Adversity relieves people of vanity and egotism. It discourages selfishness by proving that no one can succeed without the cooperation of others.

 

Adverse forces an individual to test his mental, physical, and spiritual strength it thus brings him face to face with his weaknesses and gives him the opportuniy to bridge them. Adversity forces one to seek ways and means to definite ends by meditation and introspective thought. This often leads to the discovery and use of the sixth sense through which one may communicate with Infinite Intelligence.

Adversity forces one to recognize the need for intelligence not available except from sources outside of ones own mind. Adversity breaks old habits of thought and gives one an opportunity to form new habits, therefore, it may serve to break the hold of hypnotic rhythm and change its operation from negative to positive ends.

 

Q What benefits may be derived from the loss of material things-money, for example?

A The loss of material things may teach many needed lessons, none greater, however, than the truth that man has control nothing and has no assurance of the permanent use over of anything except his own power of thought.

 

Q Am I to understand from what you say that every adversity is a blessing?

A No, I did not say that. I said there is the seed of equivalent advantage in every adversity. I did not say there was the full-blown flower of advantage, just the seed. Usually the seed consists of some form of knowledge, some idea or plan, or some opportunity which would not have been available except through the change of thought-habits forced by the adversity.

 

Q From what infer that time is the friend of the person who trains his mind to follow positive thought-habits and the enemy of the person who drifts into negative thought habits Is that correct?

A That is precisely true. All people can be classified as drifters and non-drifters. Drifters are always at the mercy of the non drifters, and time makes this relationship permanent.

We come, now, near to the end of our visit through this book. If we were to try to state in one brief sentence the most important part of that which I have tried to convey through the book, it would be something like this:

One’s dominating desires can be crystallized into their physical equivalents through definiteness of purpose backed by definiteness of plans, with the aid of nature’s law of hypnotic rhythm and time!