Napoleon Hill is not one to talk without backing up his statements. In the following several posts, we’ll see many lessons learned from history that have made not only the difference for the individuals themselves, but for entire nations and the nations that would come to follow these examples.
FREEDOM OR DEATH ON A DECISION
The value of decisions depends upon the courage required to render them. The great decisions, which served as the foundation of civilization, were reached by assuming great risks, which often meant the possibility of death.
Lincoln’s decision to issue his famous Emancipation Proclamation, which gave freedom to the colored people of America, was rendered with full understanding that his act would turn thousands of friends and political supporters against him. He knew, too, that the carrying out of that proclamation would mean death to thousands of men on the battlefield. In the end, it cost Lincoln his life. That required courage.
Socrates’ decision to drink the cup of poison, rather than compromise in his personal belief, was a decision of courage. It turned Time ahead a thousand years, and gave to people yet to be born the right to freedom of thought and of speech.
The decision of U.S. (Southern) Civil War General Robert E. Lee, when he came to the decision of parting with the Union to take up the cause of the South, was a decision of courage, for he well knew that it might cost him his own life, and that it would surely cost the lives of others.
The Greatest Decision Of All Time
But, the greatest decision of all time, as far as any American citizen is concerned, was reached in Philadelphia, July 4, 1776, when fifty-six men signed their names to a document, which they well knew would bring freedom to all Americans, or leave every one of the fifty-six hanging from a gallows!
You have heard of this famous document, but you may not have drawn from it the great lesson in personal achievement it taught so plainly.
We all remember the date of this momentous decision, but few of us realize what courage that decision required. We remember our history, as it was taught; we remember dates, and the names of the men who fought; we remember Valley Forge, and Yorktown; we remember George Washington, and Lord Cornwallis. But we know little of the real forces behind these names, dates, and places. We know still less of that intangible power, which insured us freedom long before Washington’s armies reached Yorktown.
Courage In Action
These are monumental decisions that Hill talks about here, but every decision requires a level of courage and faith—and the bolder the decision, the more courage it requires. For you it may only be the courage to do what you know needs to be done despite the cynics, but that is courage that is required for your own forward movement nonetheless.
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