Mindset Mastery 177 – Lessons From History

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.


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.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
Aussie Internet Marketer © 2004 – 2010

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Timely and wise words, for how else do we follow our paths, without our decision to follow our integrity, truth and convictions.
    .-= jo´s last blog ..Empowering Mindset – Persistance =-.

  2. The message I receive from this post is that sometimes we need the courage that enables us to look death in the face to make some decisions, but those decisions are the ones that have the most momentous consequences and which can ultimately bring about the greatest gains.

    Often, though, those decisions are easy to make because they are black or white, they are either in line with our principles or they are not. The decision really is the courage to stick with our principles, or not. It’s the ones that are shades of grey that are the hardest to make.
    .-= Wal Heinrich´s last blog ..Genetically Modified Foods – Are They Worth the Risk? =-.

  3. “The value of the decision depends upon the courage required to render them” – I like that.

    Sometimes I think it is not so much the courage that you might be faced by death but more the courage to stick to what you know is right for you. Take the decision and follow it through even so everybody around you claims you are mad. That takes lots of courage, even so for an outsider it might look like “just” a small decision, but it can change your world forever.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker – Book review =-.

    • Hi Renee

      Finding the courage to act even if you know it’ll cost you your life – that has to be the ultimate in courage, hasn’t it?
      .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..What life is about =-.

    • Hi Renee,

      The decisions you make when the people who love the most are against it are really the hardest to make. It’s especially so when your partner disagrees with your choice.

      But, whether it’s your partner or the whole world who’s against you; you have to follow your heart. It’s these decisions that feel the best when time shows that you made the right choice.
      .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Finding Your Passion =-.

  4. Hi Sean, To make a decision to live by your conscience through all adversity takes great courage but also provides great rewards through certain blessings.

  5. I was thinking recently… “What sort of life or death situation do I need to face that will force me to act so very fast?”

    I don’t have the answer for that yet. Carole Lombard made a fateful decision based on a flip of a coin… to take the plane or train home after selling war bonds around America. She chose one of them – I can’t remember right now – but point being she got what she wanted… to fly home to her husband “quickly” but she never made it – her mother and many others died in that crash. Basing decisions that way is not the best idea for yourself or the people that might be effected by it.
    .-= Samantha Banfield´s last blog ..Sean Rasmussen and his crazy talk! =-.

  6. I am not sure that I would be strong enough to have to face a decision that I knew without a doubt 110% that it would be better for our country, but might end with my death.
    I know that I would place myself in harms way for my children, without a doubt that would be easy. BUT for the good of the country? I think that takes more than courage. That takes more than guts. The decision to follow through on their quest to the very end…that takes a certain type of person. A person that is stronger than strong, braver tha brave, with more than faith, more than trust, more than love, more than belief……That type of bravery is not within us all, and I can honestly say I am not sure that it is within me. I have my beliefs, my passion and the driving force to change myself every day for the better….BUT to have my life lay down and at risk for my beliefs? Not too sure about that………Makes your realise that those who have changed the world (the country) that they lived in at the time were the bravest of all time. They took their life for the better of their country – that is a huge DECISION.
    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Its Meant To Be =-.

  7. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    I love that the bolder the decision, the more courage it takes to follow through. In the past when I’ve had to make decisions, I would worry that I would not be able make the decision a successful one. I’d allow my arch nemeses, fear, self doubt and worry, squash any belief that I could create a successful outcome. Thus, ensuring a negative outcome.

    Now, I have the courage of my conviction. Now when I make a decision I fully expect the outcome I desire, no ifs, buts or maybes. It’s a done deal. 🙂

  8. Hi, I have added my surname to my comments, just to let everyone know who i am.

    I love bold decisions – they remind me of some very notable creations: the pyramids, the panama canal, the dykes of Holland, Venice, Easter Island statues.. and on and on and on.. And we all benefit!
    .-= Jo Carey-Bradshaw´s last blog ..Empowering Mindset – Mindfulness =-.

  9. Indeed some make life threatening decisions. Others make life changing decisions. But at least they made the decisions.

    The mere pity is that some of us will not make decisions that are right for fear of what others think.

    Banish the fear!
    .-= Gee´s last blog ..Why You Should Just Ignore Fad Diets (Part 2) =-.

  10. The quote “Give me liberty or give me death” comes to mind. I very much agree with Gee, too many decisions are based on what’s expected of us instead of what we expect of ourselves.
    .-= Sarah Butland´s last blog ..I Am Attracting You and Your Vote Via Law Of Attraction =-.

  11. Hi Sarah,

    Is there another quote that goes: “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees?”

    The Australians in the Battle for Milne Bay during WW2 had this philosophy and they won against all odds. None of us would be alive today if Aussie Solders hadn’t won the Milne Bay battle against the Japanese.

    Such an important lesson in history that is not very well known, but it certainly should be.
    .-= Jill Brown´s last blog ..Common Law Marriage – What is Common Law Marriage? =-.

  12. Hi Sean

    The greatest decision of all time is not to be virtuous if it will harm someone.

    That’s a wisdom I live by.

  13. I’d hate to be put in the position of kill or be killed. That’s what’s expected of our young men when they’re sent off to war.
    .-= Jill Brown´s last blog ..Lifestyle with Sean Rasmussen – Affiliate Marketing =-.

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