Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude - Critical summary review - Napoleon Hill

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Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude - critical summary review

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This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 1416541594

Publisher: Pocket Books

Critical summary review

Are you unhappy with the situation you are in right now? Do you want to be happy, successful, or wealthy, but don’t know how to get there? Believe it or not, the power to achieve everything you ever wanted is already within you. You just need to flick the switch and start thinking positive! Through interviews with some of the most successful people of their time, Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone came up with a formula that guarantees success. Get ready to learn how you can harness the power of positive thinking!

Mental attitudes

S. B. Fuller is an inspiring example of the power of mental attitudes. He was born as one of seven children in Louisiana and worked as a mule driver by the age of nine. He kept striving for more though, driven by a deep-seated desire to be rich. He started selling soap, and when the soap company which supplied him was on sale for $150,000, he had already saved $25,000. He used that money as a down payment on the company, and at the risk of losing every penny he had earned, promised he would come back after 10 days with the remaining $125,000.

Through acquaintances he had made in his job as a salesboy he managed to raise the money and bought the soap company, acquiring seven other companies in the purchase as well. He knew he wanted to be rich from the start, and that is why he achieved it in the end.

The authors use this example to prove that you can achieve anything you want in life with the right mental attitude. Our minds are like a talisman, engraved on each side with a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) and an NMA (Negative Mental Attitude).

Your mental attitude defines your actions, and your actions define the world around you. So, you truly are the master of your own fate. If you use your PMA, you will almost effortlessly become successful.

Set your goals high and have a burning desire to reach them. Whatever you can conceive and believe in the mind, you can achieve with PMA. Your starting point is a conviction of your purpose; you can direct the way in which your world changes by choosing a definite goal and using your PMA to get there.

Stop complaining about the card that life has dealt you. This is your NMA holding you down. Instead, start realizing that the world can be anything you want it to be. You just need your PMA.

To start, think about what a miracle it is that you exist in the first place. There were innumerable encounters and events that had to happen before you could be created. And you are unique – there has never been anyone like you, and there never will be. And yet you are here. So, you can achieve anything you want to if you truly set your mind to it.

Problems are opportunities

One defining feature of PMA-style thinking is the ability to see problems as motivators, not as hindrances to success. Make this your motto: “Every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”

Any achievement in history was born out of a problem, whether it was a personal, family, or professional problem. A problem essentially is an opportunity in disguise.

Just take Charlie Ward as an example. Having lived through a rough childhood, he ended up in prison at a young age. He was angry and felt cheated. But while in prison, he decided to change his attitude from a negative to a positive one. He decided to make the best out of his situation and started to better himself. 

Out of this motivation he also befriended Herbert Bigelow, the president of an influential company, who was serving time for personal tax fraud. Out of gratitude for the friendship, he was offered a job at Brown & Bigelow upon his release from prison. And through working with a PMA, Ward managed to become vice-president, and eventually inherited the  presidency of the company when Bigelow died.

Obviously, not everyone is going to face the harsh problems that Charles Ward had to deal with. But his story shows that seeing problems as opportunities and adopting a positive mindset can lead to immense success. Another quality that separates PMA thinkers from others is quick thinking and the ability to adapt in order to solve problems. 

Henry Ford never gave up on his vision of having an eight-cylinder car, and even though his engineers believed that it was impossible, he motivated them to keep trying. The Ford V-8 became one of the most successful cars of the time. Similarly, Thomas Edison would have never invented the lightbulb had he given up on his first try. In fact, it took him more than 10,000 attempts before he finally succeeded.

The art of seeing

Another truly inspirational story of the power of PMA is that of George W. Campbell. He was born blind, with a condition known as bilateral congenital cataracts, for which there was no cure at the time. Campbell was a perfectly happy child and didn’t even realize that he was blind until one day, at the age of six, he was hit by a ball when playing with a friend, as he couldn’t see it flying towards him. 

His mother then explained to him that even though he only had use of four out of his five senses, he could still achieve anything he wanted in life. At the age of 18, Campbell decided to risk a new operation that could give him his sight. It worked, and the first thing he saw upon opening his eyes was his mother – whom he only recognized once she started speaking. 

Whatever we see is an interpretation of the mind. So, as much as we should take care of our physical ability to see, we should not lose sight of our mental vision. It, too, can suffer from near or farsightedness.

If you are too nearsighted, you will only focus on immediate problems, rather than seeing the bigger picture. You will lose out on opportunities in the distant future if you don’t plan ahead.

On the other hand, mentally farsighted people will only see the distant future and overlook the opportunities that are right in front of them. This sort of farsightedness can mislead you to think that you can start at the top when in fact, you need to take small, immediate steps to get there. So, train your mind to see as well as your eyes.

One great example is the story of L.I. Thompson and A.E. Cumley. They lived at the foot of the Crystal Mountain in Darby, Montana. It was called Crystal Mountain because a ledge of sparkling crystal, similar to rock salt, had been exposed on the mountain site. It had been there for 14 years already when the two Darby men decided to pick up some of the material and analyze it. 

It turned out to be very valuable beryl, and Thompson and Cumley made a fortune. But most of the town had been too farsighted to realize the opportunity to make money that was right outside their front door.

Motivating yourself and others

Part of your PMA is the ability to motivate yourself and others. If you lead by example, this will motivate others to follow in your footsteps. Having faith in yourself and others will encourage others to have faith in themselves and in you as well. And if you ever struggle, the people you have helped before will be there to help you in return. 

Stone once used this principle himself to motivate one of his salesmen in Sioux Center. The salesman was struggling to sell anything, as he was focusing on his NMA. He believed that the people in Sioux Center would not buy from him because he was an outsider, and he did not believe they had the money since there had been several recent failed crops in the area.  

One day, Stone came in, and with PMA managed to sell to every single person he approached. He simply turned his mindset around and said to himself that people had probably saved some money. He also realized that he only needed to sell to one of the members to convince the rest to do the same. The instant success of his method convinced his employee to stay on at the Sioux Center for a long time after.

Even negative feelings can be useful as motivators sometimes. Fear, for example, protects you in new and uncharted waters. When you realize that fear is holding you back, adopt a “do it now!” attitude. Be courageous instead of fearful. 

Take Benjamin Franklin as an example. He was on a continuous path of self-improvement. He wanted to master several virtues, and therefore made a list with the virtues and corresponding actions to achieve them.

Under his virtue of cleanliness, for example, he wrote that he would “tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.” Then, he kept track in a diary whether he lived up to these standards every day or not.

You can use the Franklin method to motivate yourself and others. It is as simple as having an aim and acting on it. Determined action is your key to success. 

How to raise your energy levels

The authors suggest that to follow through on your PMA, you must adopt an “act now” attitude. Simply knowing about the path to success will not get you there. You need to start acting on your knowledge. 

This also means that if your subconscious sends you the “do-it now” message to your conscious mind, you should act on it immediately, to make yourself an outstanding achiever.

Instant action is the key to success. But what if you simply lack the energy to act, or perhaps you feel down or unmotivated? Luckily, there are ways in which you can increase your energy levels. 

Even more important than your physical energy is your mental or spiritual energy. Your subconscious mind is like a battery – it fuels your actions and your path to success. So, when you are feeling exhausted, you should take a time-out and relax.

Another strategy is to break big goals down into smaller ones. It can be daunting to tackle a mountain of tasks, but it becomes much more manageable once they have been divided up into bite-size chores. 

Your PMA depends on good energy levels, so when you feel like you are running low, recharge your battery. You can take care of your mental and physical health by eating nutritious food, sleeping, or reading inspirational books.

Even though negative feelings can be beneficial sometimes, they sap your energy levels when indulged in the wrong circumstances. Feelings such as worry, hate, and anger, are incredibly exhausting and hold you back from taking the action you need to take. If you can manage to transform these into “power-producing units,” you will save energy and fuel your PMA!

This means keeping your mind focused on what you want. Avoid thinking about what you don’t want and substitute negative feelings for positive ones!

Final Notes

A positive mental attitude is the driver of success. Once you believe you can achieve something, you will be able to achieve it. A PMA will also be a useful guide when making major decisions in your life. It allows you to deal successfully with problems, to plan for the future, to motivate others and to keep your energy levels high. Whether you want to be happy, wealthy, or healthy, adopting a PMA is the first step in the right direction.

12min Tip

Try auto-suggestion to reach your aims. Twice a day, read your goal out loud to yourself. That way it will become ingrained in your mind and fuel your PMA.

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Who wrote the book?

Napoleon Hill was a very influential American writer in the area of ​Personal Development and Self-Help. He was a White House Foreign Relations Advisor during President Woodrow Wilson's tenure and was also responsible for writing and preparing the celebrated speeches delivered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his tenure. Among other personalities who were part of the research of Napoleon Hill we have: Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Elmer Gates, Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, George Eastman, John D. Rockefeller. The result of his research was presented in 1928, the year he published his first work "The Law of Triumph". Before its official publication, this work was submitted to bankers, merchants and university professors who, b... (Read more)

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