Clues 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!
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