It’s motivating to have many grand successes before you to see the possibilities that the right mindset can bring; but it is just as motivating—probably more so—to see how people have come up from less than optimal beginnings. Why? Because, as Napoleon Hill says, everyone starts off at the same basic point, until the time that they arrive at the turning point in their lives and success.
Common Starting Ground
Remember, too, that everyone who succeeds in life gets off to a bad start, and is forced to endure many heartbreaking struggles before they “arrive.” The turning point in the lives of those who succeed usually comes at the moment of some crisis through which they are introduced to their “other selves.”
John Bunyan wrote the Pilgrim’s Progress, a preeminent classic of English literature, after being imprisoned and harshly punished simply because of his views on the subject of religion.
Henry discovered the dormant genius within him after a misfortunate event that landed him in a prison cell, in Columbus, Ohio. Then being forced, through his misfortune, to become acquainted with his “other self” and use his imagination, he discovered that he was a great author instead of a miserable criminal and outcast. Life’s ways are strange and varied and stranger still are the ways of Infinite Intelligence, through which people are sometimes forced to undergo all sorts of punishment before discovering their own brains, and their own capacity to create useful ideas through imagination.
Edison, the world’s greatest inventor and scientist, was a “tramp” telegraph operator; he failed countless times before he was driven, finally, to the discovery of the genius sleeping inside his brain.
Charles Dickens began his life pasting labels on blacking pots. The tragedy of his first love struck him deep in his soul, and converted him into one of the world’s greatest and most famous authors. That tragedy produced David Copperfield first, then a succession of other works that made this a richer and better world for anyone who reads his books. Disappointment in love often results in driving men to drink, and women to ruin; and this, because most people never learn the art of transferring their strongest emotions into constructive dreams.
The Possibilities Within
It seems to be pretty plain what Hill is saying here, but let’s say it anyway.
No rough start to life, no harsh circumstances, are a preordination to live a life without success. The examples clearly show that crisis can often turn into greatness, and in fact may be the catalyst for it in many cases. Does that mean you have to look to create a crisis in your life so that you can succeed? Certainly not. But it does mean that regardless of the past, the future is a wide-open opportunity for the best and biggest of things to come.
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