2017-10-12 / Columns

‘What I Found on Page 162’

Think Outside, No Box Needed
By Jim Plouffe

Note to self 45 years ago: “See page 157, 162.” That is what I saw as I flipped open the cover of “Think and Grow Rich.” Here is what I found underlined in red (I guess I wasn’t smart enough to use a yellow highlighter back then):

“Truly, if one has persistence, one can get along very well without many other qualities.” There is much more underlined on the page, but isn’t this an interesting statement and observation? I looked up the definition of “persistence” in the dictionary, and this is what I found: Persistence is the firm or obstinate continuance in the course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Most people don’t consider continual obstinance in spite of opposition to be a quality. In fact, obstinance can be maddening. Most of us just want other people to agree with our point of view. But isn’t it fascinating that Napoleon Hill thought after interviewing and analyzing the majority of men (there were no women of enterprise he could talk with back then), who had built great businesses and accumulated huge fortunes of wealth, that persistence alone might be the only quality needed to acquire wealth? I have said for many years that, “All good and evil is accomplished with obsession.” It never occurred to me until now that persistence could replace the word obsession. Persistence is why wrong wins out over right. How many times have you heard, “Try this just once; what could it hurt?; no one will know or find out.”

I believe that Napoleon Hill has focused on the positive side of persistence and not the negative side of it. But it is important to be aware that there is a negative side. All of our bad habits are made up from persistently doing them over and over.

The next paragraph on page 162 starts with: “The only ‘break’ anyone can afford to rely upon is the self-made ‘break.’ These come through the application of persistence. The starting point is definiteness of purpose.

Examine the first 100 people you meet, ask them what they want most in life, and 98 of them will not be able to tell you. If you press them for an answer, some will say ‘security.’ Many will say ‘money.’ A few will say ‘happiness.’ Others will say ‘fame and power,’ and others still will say ‘social recognition, ease in living, ability to sing, dance, or write.’ But none of them will be able to define these terms, or give the slightest indication of a plan by which they hope to attain these vaguely expressed wishes. Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence.”

I have a red star that I drew in my book, and then written in the margin is a note that says, “When interviewing people.” That was so I would ask individuals who wanted a job, “What do you want most in life?” It is probably a question that you should ask in your interviews. It might even be a question that you should ask your boss if you work for someone.

How often have we heard a parent say, “I don’t care what they do, as long as they are happy.” But how frequently do we talk with our children, family members, or friends about what happiness is? We can simply go back up to Napoleon Hill’s list and ask the same question again, only replace the word “happiness” with security, money, fame, power, recognition, etc. Having a definition of all those gives each of us a place to start building our definiteness of purpose.

Persistently searching for your purpose is the only way to find it. It’s interesting, as I flip through the first few pages of “Think and Grow Rich,” the very first thing I have underlined on page 15 is, “There is no such thing as something for nothing.” I like wisdom that also serves as a warning. Everything has a cost; it just may not be monetary.

If you are unhappy with the status quo of your business or personal achievement, meet with Jim one-on-one. The first meeting is free. Jim is also available for speeches and training to your organization. Jim@ThinkOutside- NoBoxNeeded.com.

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