Mindset Mastery 71 – Clues To Success

Mindset Mastery eBookClues to success—that is what we are all really after isn’t it? That is what Napoleon Hill was after, too, as he researched and wrote the Original Think and Grow Rich. He found many of those clues in some of the most common places.

Requiem For Greatness

As this chapter was being completed, Hill read in the news that the great German opera singer Mme. Schuman-Heink had passed away. Hill clued in on one short paragraph in the news report that he believed gave away the clue to this unusual woman’s stupendous success as a singer. The paragraph is quoted here because the clue to her great success is none other than desire.

The newspaper story read…”Early in her career, Mme. Schuman-Heink visited the director of the Vienna Court Opera, to have him test her voice. But, he did not test it. After taking one look at the awkward and poorly dressed girl, he exclaimed, none too gently, “With such a face and with no personality at all, how can you ever expect to succeed in opera? My good child, give up the idea. Buy a sewing machine, and go to work. You can never be a singer.”

Never Say Never

Never is a long time! The director of the Vienna Court Opera may have known a lot about the technique of singing, but he knew very little about the power of desire when it becomes an obsession. If he had known more about that power, he would not have made the mistake of condemning genius without giving it an opportunity.

Most of us have either known or heard stories about people who have battled illness, disease, or disability which medical professionals feared was hopeless. Where all tests and analyses pointed to the fact that the patient simply could not fight off the disease or overcome their disability to regain normal function (or anything close to it). In fact, today’s news stories from the frontlines in Iraq are full of accounts of young men and women whom doctors said could never recover, or walk or move normally again. In some cases, it was recommended to parents, husbands, and wives that they remove their loved ones from life-support systems. They were told to prepare themselves for the worst.

Whose Opinion Matters?

But that was the doctor’s opinion. It was not the opinion of the patient. Where the will to live and live well is strong, many of these brave men and women have recovered against overwhelming odds. And the opinions the doctors have to give are likely very similar to what Napoleon Hill was told when a good friend of his faced similar odds. After it was all over, the man’s physician told Hill, “Nothing but his own desire to live saved him. He never would have pulled through if he had not refused to accept the possibility of death.”

Form Your Own Opinion

Too often we follow the opinion of what others consider achievable for us. That, more than anything else, is probably why so few people are really successful and living lives of comfort and enjoyment. One of the most important lessons you could learn from Hill’s book is this point—it’s your opinion that matters; your opinion that determines your capabilities. Don’t let others form opinions of non-success for you. Master your opinions and master your mindset! Your life!

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
SeanRasmussen.com © 2004 – 2009

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. Gold Sean, Gold again!

    Kudos to sean – where ever he is in the world.

    Tommy Turbos last blog post..Mindset Mastery 71 – Clues To Success

  2. One of the reasons, I believe, that we have this recurring issue of people not achieving what they want in life is because we are taught from a very young age to value what others think of us and what we do rather than what WE think of ourselves and what we do. To elaborate further, we are taught to raise children to look for extrinsic reward. Of course there is always an opposite and you can well guess that the opposite to reward is punishment. You cannot have one without the other.
    Most of us raise our children with “good boy / girl” and label our children…”you are a bad boy / girl” “you are naughty” “you are good” and so it goes on. We also say things such as “you are a good girl for dancing so well”. “You are a fantastic son for kicking that many goals in footy”. All these sorts of comments lead to a child looking for outside recognition rather than being happy with their own best effort. There are things we can do and say to change this and it means breaking those habits we were raised with so that our children can develop high EQs and a healthy self-esteem. An approach we follow in our house is by Dr Louise Porter who is a highly sought after Australian speaker and writer of numerous books (one being “Children are people too” with a corresponding DVD for those who prefer to watch rather than read.
    If we want society to change then we need to start by how we treat our children. By changing our parenting style we will inevitably raise more well adjusted children who ARE tomorrow’s adults. Those adults then have a greater chance at success because they believe in themselves and their own abilities without needing someone’s opinion of them based on their efforts.

    Yes, there are some of us that will ignore what other people think but the majority do not.

    I know this was a long post but I felt it a necessary one given Sean’s topic here . Success comes in many forms and parenting can be one of them with your children as your references. 🙂

    Happy New Year. Make it a memorable one.

    Regards, Eileen.
    “pursue your goals with certainty”.

    • Words have such power! The verbal messages we get as children stick like labels. When they are negative, we spend our adult lives labouring under the burden of self-doubt and poor self-image.

      And, if we receive positive messages as we mature, then no matter the adversity, we have that inner strength to overcome and persist.

      • Parenting is a big responsibility in more ways than one and helping them develop the right mindset as early as possible makes it much easier for when they have to face the bigger and more important challenges.

        It’s less work to have the mindset from the start than to try and undo and overcome it later.

        I think it is great to teach them to have self recognition from within and help them have their own positive affirmations so a very good point Eileen. I do think they should also have the recognition and encouragement but in a way that will reinforce and continue their desire rather than just good girl/boy or well done.

  3. I have got that book and it is exellent. But I have to admit it is very hard to stay positve after a long day with the kids when hubby is doing a 12 hour shift. but it is bit like goalsetting, you have to educate yourself and mingle with other likeminded people to achieve your goal. do something about it, live in the present and inspire yourself!

  4. Hi Brenda,

    Great to hear there are other people out there making a difference. I guess that is why you are also here reading Sean’s great insights.

    It can seem hard and I too have a husband that works long hours. (My plan it to have him change that and understand that working hard does not create wealth – working smart does).

    Following Louise’s techniques means that you have less work in the longer term, in terms of behaviour, and like everything, changing habits can take time and action but the results are worth it.

    Sorry Sean, don’t mean to steal your post here…I think it still ties in. 🙂

    Regards, Eileen.

    “Pursue your goals with certainty”

  5. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    This is also an area I need to strengthen. I don’t pay attention to the opinion’s of family and friends. I take the view that if someone does not pay my bills, then they do not get a say in what I do.

    However, I am still vulnerable to the opinions of Doctors, lawyers etc. Anyone who is an educated expert in their field. I have a tendency to think that they will know best.

    Thankfully, after reading the story of Napoleon Hill and his son, I will be working hard on changing this.

  6. There are studies out these days that show that people in hospital recover faster if they believe they will get well soon compared to the ones that constantly feel sorry for themselves and tell everybody how sick they are.

    If the desire is there to be healthy, successful, whatever – you will do it. And more and more often science is confirming this which might help to convince more people to believe in themselves and their dreams!
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Overcoming Procrastination =-.

  7. Was the doctor named Simon Cowell by any chance?
    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..Richard Branson Business School: A day visit =-.

  8. I read this post and instantly thought of Susan Boyle. We are so lucky her ‘burning desire’ rose to a point where she pushed through the reality she thought was all there was. from what I can gather, there are many similarities to Mme. Schuman-Heink’s tale.

    And you are right to sound firm and to take a stand in your last words. That’s the real passion – not just ‘go on then, and give it a go’ but a real ‘Right. That’s it! DO IT!’

    Thank you for wanting this for us too!
    .-= Jo Carey-Bradshaw´s last blog ..Empowering Mindset – Mastering Self =-.

    • Hi Jo,

      I’m a huge Susan Boyle fan. I think she is incredibly talented. I’m not sure but maybe her Mum’s death had something to do with her finally taking a stand and deciding to go for it.

      I’m sure that Susan Boyle was well aware that she didn’t have ‘the look’ and it obviously took a long time for her to realise that she didn’t need it. Pure talent is all she ever needed.

      I’m really glad she stopped caring about the opinions of others and decided to go for it.
      .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Finding Your Passion =-.

      • That’s a good example Jo & Jazz. Also Paul Potts – similar story eh?

        Are you watching Master Chef? Also, similar – the passion and desire there is so evident. Even those who are eliminated still retain the desire to still go ahead with their dreams.

    • Funny that’s what I thought too. She did get laughed at in the same way.

      But I also see from where that took Susan Boyle that it is paramount to also align yourself with right people that can help give guidance and direction with such a sudden change in circumstance.

      It does show the power of a dream.

  9. You say so few people are living successful lives of comfort and enjoyment. But most people are comfortable with their lowly unsuccessful lot. Or at least the reason why they don’t have more success is because they find more comfort in putting up with things and less comfort in striving to change their ways.
    .-= Wal Heinrich´s last blog ..Think And Grow Rich Mindset Mastery =-.

  10. Hi Sean

    It took me many years to form my own opinion of myself. When I did, people in my family noticed the change and didn’t like it as I had gone from being a family robot to being an individualistic thinker.

    The story of Schuman-Heink reminds me of Susan Boyle who’s opinion of herself totally dissolved the opinions of the masses as she stepped up in the face of adversity and changed history (or herstory really).

  11. Hi sean,
    This is one book that should be given to every child entering High School, then study it every week , This really is the education our Children need.

    • That is a very good idea Rita. Gee, imagine our education systems being so adventurous! It also might inspire the teachers too!
      Another one for that curricilum could be Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

      • Rich Dad, Poor Dad would be an even better one. Maybe even get them started into that thinking at intermediate. I have been using this as a guide with helping my boys. My aim is to really encourage them to develop that initiative thinking and think outside the square.

        By the time they get to intermediate and high school they will already then be headed on their way to be ‘rich’ kids not educated kids.

        The ‘old school’ teachers should be concerned. Let’s spread the word! We have the power to change the next generation.

      • As Peter’s secretary he has asked me to correct the spelling on his behalf ‘Another one for that curriculum could be …

        I may even add a suggestion of Rich Mum, Poor Mum!

  12. This is a great article thanks Sean. I am really big on the Never Say Never. The power of a dream or goal is the clue to success.

    I was diagnosed with grave’s disease a few years ago. It knocked me for a big six and I was quite unwell. At that time I was already a ‘non-fan’ of pharmaceuticals and the medical way.

    However I did start on that track while looking for an alternative answer. I wasn’t having much joy and one day a friend said to me “Maybe this is just the way it will be.” But I didn’t want it to be this way and although temporarily disillusioned continued on my quest.

    Not long after that I was talking with another friend who said “There will be an answer somewhere” With that lift I really focused my thoughts. A lady came across my path not long after that who helped me and from month one of following her advice I was well.

    I told the specialist what I was doing and she didn’t think my sudden change in results was because of these. But I knew. It was like a light switch and within a short time was off the medication and have continued to remain well.


  13. I am saying Never say never!

  14. Some time back I ‘accidentally’ come across a book on Trade Me called Still Standing by Perry Cross. I have accidentally found some great gems.

    As he is Australian some of you may have even heard of him. Because of a football accident he was left a quadriplegic and all he could do was blink his eyes. The doctors said there was nothing more they could do for him.

    His condition deteriorated to the point of considering whether they would continue him on life support. His mother felt he would want to fight so gave him the option – two blinks for yes or one blink for no. He chose yes and his mum then helped him with his fight to beat all odds.

    From no hope at all he went on to become Australia’s first motivational speaker on life support. He has traveled around the world and met up with Christopher and has now become an ambassador advocating stem cell research in Australia.

    This is his website which gives you a bit more about his story and I see there is also a link there for his book. It is an easy read so have also been reading it with Mitchell.

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