33 Tips to Achieve Success in Life from the One Book You Need to Read
Want to develop a kick-ass mindset that will help you get whatever you want out of life? Sure you do. Which is exactly why you should learn how to do so from a guy who in his lifetime sold more than 20 million copies of his book Think and Grow Rich. Yes, that’s a lot of paper.
Napoleon Hill is that guy.
Besides writing the bestselling success book of all time, he also interviewed some of the most successful people of his time – Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, King Gillette – you know, people like that.
Basically, he’s a self help BOSS and knows a thing or two about developing the right mindset and achieving success. A few years ago, I read Think and Grow Rich and absolutely loved it. The book is one that everyone should read. However, today I’m not writing about that book. I’m writing about another outstanding book of his, Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success.
Hill wrote this book in 1938, but due to the fear of the response it would invoke, it wasn’t published until 2011 – craziness! I’m sure thankful the manuscript was published and it is easily one of the most influential and inspiring books I’ve ever read. Today I’m sharing with you the top tips from this book that will help you develop a kick-ass mindset and achieve success in your life (You can thank me in the comments section). Read on, you won’t regret it.
1. “You will learn more about how to succeed from the failures than you will from the so-called successes.”
I’ve heard this before and I’m sure you have as well, but looking back on my life I know this is true. Many times our successes actually hide the real problem. Just think about weight loss. How many people lose weight through a crash diet or some extreme method only to gain it all back? Their “success” actually hid a deeper problem they have with managing their weight.
2. “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.”
How many times do you see someone overcome a failure and actually achieve more success because of it? If you look around you’ll see that it happens all the time. Some of the most successful people have used a failure to change course and succeed through other means. Can you think of someone who has done this? Leave a comment at the end and let me know!
3. “Most real failures are due to limitations which men set up in their own minds.”
Take a look at some of the most successful people you know – Do they set limitations on what they can do in life? Most people I look to as “successful” have been able to achieve tremendous amounts of success because they believe 100% that they can do anything. Are you setting up limitations in your own mind? Do you actually believe that you can achieve what you’re setting out to do?
4. “The worst of all human ailments: indecision.”
You’r guilty of this. I’m guilty of this. We are all guilty of this. How do we overcome our indecision? By practicing promptness in making a decision and adjusting if need be afterwards. Easier said than done? Sure. Necessary? I like to think so.
5. “This is your testing time. You have been reduced to poverty and humiliated in order that you might be forced to discover your ‘other self.'”
This same idea ties in perfectly with your physical fitness. Have you let yourself go? Are you unhappy with your body and in the type of shape you never thought you’d be in? Use these circumstances to become more than you ever thought possible – to discover what Hill calls your “other self” and live up to your true potential.
6. “Your only limitation is the one which you set up in your mind!”
Why do we allow ourselves to think small? Why do we stay in our comfort zone and settle for average when we know we can do more? There are no limitations and this quote by Hill is one I think about nearly every day. Our mindset is everything and if we think we can do anything, we’re one step closer to actually doing it.
7. “There is a solution for every legitimate problem, no matter how difficult the problem may seem.”
There may be a solution to your problem, but does that make it easy? By no means. However, trusting that there actually is a way to overcome any problem you have will give you the confidence to keep battling until you get past it.
8. “The mind acts upon one’s dominating, or most pronounced desires.”
What do YOU desire from your life? Not what your parents, your friends, your coworkers, or anyone else desires, but what do YOU desire from your life? After a summer spent landscaping in 2012 I discovered that landscaping was not at all what I desired to do in my life. I was miserable doing it and decided that I would no longer do things I wasn’t passionate about, which is exactly why I now help people improve their fitness, develop a better mindset and take action toward a better life – pulling weeds and cutting grass just wasn’t for me.
The Devil Interview
In this next section I’ll share with you lessons from a fictional interview that Hill has with devil. Yes, the concept seems surreal, weird, a bit off – whatever you want to call it doesn’t matter because it’s extremely insightful and give you a whole new perspective on this conecept of the devil. Again, I highly suggest you read the book to get more context behind everything, but you’ll save a little time looking at the top quotes below.
9. “An unhealthy body discourages thinking.”
How is your unhealthy body holding you back from your true potential? It isn’t simply a matter of being healthy for looking good and feeling good, but doing good. Think about how people around you could benefit from your healthier self. This is what most interests me. Why should you get in better shape? To better all areas of your life. The choice is a no-brainer.
10. “Habits come in pairs, triplets, and quadruplets. Any habit which weakens one’s will power invites a flock of its relatives to move in and take possession of the mind.”
This quote perfectly illustrates the importance of each one of your habits. Success with one habit leads to success with another and then another. How do you achieve success? Start with changing one habit at a time and move forward from there.
11. “People who think for themselves never drift, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters. A drifter is one who permits himself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind…A drifter is one who accepts whatever life throws his way without making a protest or putting up a fight. He doesn’t know what he wants from life and spends all of his time getting just that. A drifter has lots of opinions, but they are not his own. Most of them are supplied by me. A drifter is one who is too lazy mentally to use his own brain.”
Damn. Reread that quote and let it sink in for a second. Are you a drifter or a non-drifter? Unless you’re racing rally cars, drifting is not a good thing. Drifters aren’t making things happen in their lives, they’re being passive. To achieve success you have to make moves. You have to be actively trying to make things happen and make the most of the opportunities around you. This isn’t always easy. I struggle with this too at times, but it’s worth it.
12. “The first thing you will notice about a drifter is his total lack of a major purpose in life.”
How does this health and fitness stuff fit into the major purpose of your life? Is the major purpose of your life simply to lose 10 pounds? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no. However, losing weight, getting stronger, being healthier will inevitably help you with your major purpose in life, once you figure out what that is.
13. “The first sign of a non-drifter is this: He is always engaged in doing something definite, through some well-organized plan which is definite. He has a major goal in life toward which he is always working, and many minor goals, all of which lead toward his central scheme…The major distinguishing feature of the non-drifter is this: He has a mind of his own and uses it for all purposes.”
What is your major purpose in life and do your day to day actions align with that purpose? If your actions do align with your purpose great things will happen.
14. “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.”
Sacrifice is a completely necessary aspect of achieving success. Some sacrifices may be small, some may be large, but if these will ultimately help you get what you want out of life then what does it matter? If you’re trying to get in better shape wouldn’t it be worth it to give up 30 minutes of TV watching or get up 30 minutes earlier if it meant that you’d be able to lose body fat, develop muscle mass and have more energy in your day? If you aren’t willing to make sacrifices, you’ll have to live with the mediocre results – the choice is yours.
15. “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.”
How do you spend your time? Yes, there is time off, time to relax and unwind, but to achieve success in something you have to put in the work. This work will take time and if you’re constantly spending your time on the wrong things you’ll make it that much harder to achieve success.
16. “You are where you are and what you are because of your thoughts and your deeds.”
Makes sense, huh? You alone have gotten yourself to this place. If you don’t like where you are you can change things, but that is something you have to decide.
17. “Non-drifters do not wait for opportunity to be placed in their way. They create opportunity to fit their desires and demands of life!”
YOU can make things happen in your life. There are opportunities everywhere. If you want to get in shape there are trainers to help you, online courses, free workout programs – every resource imaginable. To grow your business there are business coaches, mastermind groups and amazing blogs out there with free resources. Whatever you want to get out of life, you have the ability to do so.
18. “Nature forces upon the minds of men the influences of their environment, which are stronger than the individual’s own thoughts”
The environment you set yourself up in is critical to your success. Are you in an environment that is helping you achieve success or are you in an environment that is toxic and holding you back?
19. “The person who thinks in terms of power, success, opulence, sets up a rhythm which attracts these desirable possessions. The person who thinks in terms of misery, failure, defeat, discouragement, and poverty attracts these undesirable influences. This explains why both success and failure are the result of habit. Habit establishes one’s rhythm of thought, and that rhythm attracts the object of one’s dominating thoughts…It also explains why people who begin to succeed in any undertaking find that success multiplies with less effort, as time goes on.”
Success breeds success. Gaining control over your fitness and health will lead to so much more. It’s more than just big biceps or six pack abs, (Damn, those are great though) it’s about having your success with fitness spill over to other aspects of your life. What does this lead to? A damn good life – That’s when you win.
20. “Any human being who can be definite in his aims and plans can make life hand over whatever is wanted.”
Firstly, you take the time to figure out what exactly you want in life. Secondly, you create the plan for achieving it. Thirdly, execute the plan. Fourthly, adjust as needed.
21. “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.”
Don’t have the perfect plan? That’s alright, this doesn’t exist anyways! You’ll always have to tweak your plan for success, but that’s just part of the journey.
22. “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.”
With fitness this doesn’t mean that you’ll jump from fitness program to fitness program, but you do need to find the plan that will work in your situation. That’s why a one-size-fits-all program isn’t the best. Those types of programs can definitely work, but the best plan is individualized for you and your specific circumstances.
23. “The first duty of every human being is to himself. Every person owes himself the duty of finding how to live a full and happy life.”
It starts with you. What does a full and happy life mean for you? It doesn’t matter if your definition of success is different than someone else’s – It’s your life!
24. “Every human being can use his brain for the reception and the expression of positive thoughts or he can use it for the expression of negative thoughts. His choice in this important matter shapes his entire life.”
Preach Napoleon, preach! I believe in this wholeheartedly . Sure, you have those shitty days, shitty workouts and shitty moods, but ultimately you control your thoughts – Will you choose to be positive or negative?
25. “Ideas are the beginning of all human achievement.”
Hill talked about this idea in Think and Grow Rich as well and it should get you thinking. To achieve success, what do you need to do? Do you need an idea for a different job, a different way of managing your time, a new direction for your life?
26. “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.”
If you can’t control your nutrition, your exercise, your daily habits, you aren’t mastering yourself. While impossible to master every area of your life, you can start with one which can lead to mastery over others. For example, learning to master your health and fitness can lead to mastery of your work, leading to better work/life balance, leading to a happier you – all stemming from mastery over one area first.
27. “The person who insists on talking seldom has an opportunity to learn by listening to others.”
For nearly everything you want to achieve, someone else has already achieved it. Think about that. This means that you can shorten your path to success by learning from others who have already done it. No need to reinvent the wheel, just listen and learn from people who are where you want to be.
28. “Habits are contagious. Every habit attracts a flock of its relatives. The habit of doing anything that is useless leads to the formation of other habits that are useless, especially the habit of drifting.”
This happens so easily. Just look at the habit of checking Facebook for example. How often does a quick check of Facebook lead to an hour spent looking at profiles, watching pointless videos and wasting your time completely? I’m guilty of this and I’d be willing to bet you are too. Instead, how about not checking at all when you need to get things done? That would prevent you from going down the Facebook rabbit hole in the first place and allow you to get more done. With other habits this is true as well – Eliminate your useless habits and achieve more success.
29. “Success usually is but one short step beyond the point where one quits fighting.”
So difficult, but true. How do you know how far away you are from success? You don’t know and never will, but by surrounding yourself with supportive people you create the environment to succeed and push past the point where you would have normally quit.
30. “Failure is a man-made circumstance. It is never real until is has been accepted by man as permanent. Stating it another way, failure is a state of mind; therefore, it is something an individual can control until he neglects to exercise this privilege.”
You only fail if you quit. You may have had setbacks, but you can get things going! At times you may need to pivot and try something else, but that doesn’t mean you have failed.
31. “Professional men who succeed do so largely because of the manner in which they relate themselves to their clients.”
When you are in a business that deals with people, the connections you form with those people are everything. This goes much deeper than simply knowing their name. Who are these people? What do they struggle with? What makes them tick? How can you help them get what they want? To succeed, you have to go deep – You have to actually care.
32. “The most important part of one’s environment is that created by his association with others. All people absorb and take over, either consciously or unconsciously, the thought-habits of those with who they associate closely.”
There is a great quote by Jim Rohn that says “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are you spending the majority of your time with? Are they helping you succeed? If not, maybe you need to find people who will. You can do this by attending conferences and finding people online who are doing what you want to do and contact them. Furthermore, you can find people in local meetup groups who can be a positive influence. The people who will help you succeed are out there, will you take the time to find them?
33. “Outstanding achievement is impossible without the friendly cooperation of others.”
You can’t achieve massive success alone. Ultimately, other people will be involved in helping you do so. Even the most successful companies who have one official founder didn’t become successful without the cooperation of other people. To achieve success, build meaningful relationships with others and remember that you never know when you may need someone else’s help.
Outwitting the Devil is a book that you need to read if you’re looking to achieve success in life. I’m going to assume you want to be successful in whatever you do, so READ THE BOOK! Seriously, do it. Like, now.
Reading the book is step one, but ultimately you have to apply it. You have to take action. You have to just go (Like what I did there?).
Hill mentions in the book, “An unhealthy body discourages thinking” and I couldn’t agree more. To work on developing a healthier body, dropping body fat and getting in great shape check out the program I created just for that purpose. It’s designed to help you get fit, even with your busy lifestyle.
You can get whatever you want out of life, plenty of people have proven this, but will you take the necessary steps to do so? Will you make the necessary sacrifices? There are opportunities everywhere, but will you take advantage of them?