Napoleon Hill's final three ingredients of financial success

Sep 25, 2012 3:00 AM

The first two steps in Napoleon Hill’s five-part recipe for getting rich – desire and thought – were covered in last week’s column. Here are Hill’s final three ingredients of financial and personal success.

Specialized Knowledge

Why aren’t most college professors rich? Sure, they know a lot, but their knowledge isn’t specialized enough to earn big money, Hill says. Knowledge is not power – knowledge is simply potential power. It becomes powerful only when it is organized, defined and directed toward a specific goal.

Do you know a lot about one specific topic? What is your plan for turning your moxie into money? Do you need to learn more before putting it into action? How many sports bettors and poker players expand their knowledge by reading a book or using a computer program? My guess: Far less than 10 percent. Now, guess how many of them make real money at the game.


“Plan your work and work your plan” is a catchphrase that motivational gurus pitch. To turn your thoughts into reality, you must think positive, think big, think smart – and think of a plan to realize your goals. “Your achievement can be no greater than your plans are sound,” says Hill.

Why don’t more people publish the book they’ve been writing in their minds for decades? Why are so many folks working at a job they don’t like? Why aren’t you living on the French Riviera instead of in French Bend?

Most people don’t make a definite plan for success. Or if they make one, they get sidetracked and don’t work it. Instead they shift into drift, proving the truth of the maxim, “Keep on doing what you’ve been doing, and you’ll keep on getting what you’ve been getting.”

Success requires both a plan and a lot of work, an ugly word to those without a burning desire for achievement.


A prospector hit a rich vein of gold during the gold rush in Colorado, but the vein disappeared soon after he sold his first ore. Although he drilled deeper, he couldn’t pick it up again, so he sold the machinery to a junk dealer and dragged himself home in defeat.

The junkman called in a mining engineer who determined that the vein was only three feet from where the prospector had quit drilling. Three feet made the difference between a rich junkman and a poor prospector.

You don’t always have to go the extra mile. Sometimes, all it takes is three more feet of perseverance to reach your goals.

“Lack of persistence is a major cause of failure,” asserts Hill. The degree of persistence you have in achieving your “major definite purpose” in life depends upon the intensity of your desire to attain your goals. Just as a small bunch of wood produces a little fire, weak desires breed weak results.

To maintain your persistence, do four things:

• intensify your desire.

• verify your goals.

• clarify your plans.

• concentrate your efforts.

Then take the last step: Visualize the exact results you want, and think about them all the time. Keep a mental picture constantly on your radar. By thinking only about success, you will grow rich, Hill promises.

“Success requires no explanations,” he said. “Failure permits no alibis.”

It’s all part of The Gambler’s Edge.

Contact Dana T. Smith at [email protected]

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