My Eyes Filled with Tears

Yesterday we left off with a conversation between Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill. The conversation took place in 1908, and prompted Napoleon on a twenty year journey that led to the writing of the best selling personal development book of all time – Think and Grow Rich.

If you clicked on the Think and Grow Rich link embedded into yesterday’s email, good for you. You were rewarded with a free copy of the book.

When I first read what Mr. Carnegie said to Mr. Hill in that 1908 meeting – my eyes filled with tears.

Here’s what he said (stick with it until the end for the payoff):

“Your idea of writing stories about men and women who are successful is commendable, as far as it goes, and I have no intention of trying to discourage you from carrying out your purpose, but I must tell you that if you wish to be of enduring service, not only to those now living, but to posterity as well you can do so if you will take the time to organize all of the causes of failure as well as all the causes of success.

There are millions of people in the world who have not the slightest conception of the causes of success and failure. The schools and colleges teach practically everything except the principles of individual achievement. They require young men and women to spend from 4 to 8 years acquiring abstract knowledge, but do not teach them what to do with this knowledge after they get it.

The world is in need of a practical, understandable philosophy of achievement, organized from the factual knowledge gained from the experience of men and women in the great university of life. In the entire field of philosophy I find nothing which even remotely resembles the sort of philosophy which I have in mind. We have few philosophers who are capable of teaching men and women the art of living.

It seems to me that here is an opportunity which should challenge an ambitious young man of your type; but ambition alone is not enough for this task which I have suggested. The one who undertakes it must have courage and tenacity.

The job will require at least 20 years of continuous effort, during which the one who undertakes it will have to earn his living from some other source, because this sort of research is never profitable at the outset, and generally those who have contributed to civilization through work of this nature have had to wait a hundred years or so after their own funerals to receive recognition for their labor.

If you undertake this job, you should interview not only the few who have succeeded, but the many who have failed. You should carefully analyze many thousands of people who have been classified as failures, and I mean by the term failures, men and women who have come to the closing chapter of life disappointed because they did not attain the goal which they had set their hearts upon achieving.

As inconsistent as it may seem, you will learn more about how to succeed from the failures than you will from the so-called successes. They will teach you what not to do.

Along toward the end of your labor, if you carry it through successfully, you will make a discovery which may be a great surprise to you. You will discover that the cause of success is not something separate and apart from the man; that is a force so intangible in nature that the majority of men never recognize it; a force which might be properly called the “other self”.

Noteworthy is the fact that this “other self” seldom exerts its influence or makes itself known excepting at times of unusual emergency, when men are forced, through adversity and temporary defeat, to change their habits and to think their way out of difficulty.

My experience has taught me that a man is never quite so near success as when that which he calls failure has overtaken him, for it is on occasions of this sort that he is forced to think.

If he thinks accurately, and with persistence, he discovers that so-called failure usually is nothing more than a signal to rearm himself with a new plan or purpose.

Most real failures are due to limitations which men set up in their own minds. If they had the courage to go one step further, they would discover their error.”

Holy guacamole Batman!

That there is some seriously deep down to the soul perspective from an amazing man. Not only was Mr. Carnegie wealthy (net worth of $325 Billion in today’s dollars) he was an almost unmatched humanitarian and philanthropist.

Check out this quick video overview of Andrew Carnegie on YouTube.

If you listen to nothing else in the video, note what is shared at the 1:20, 4:22, and 7:30 marks. This will give you a sense of who Andrew was as a man.

P.S. P.S. I am constructing a personal Mount Rushmore of people that walk the talk. Currently I have Mister Rogers, Marcus Aurelius, and Teddy Roosevelt.

Three out of four.

My friend, Tom Miller, gave me a great suggestion for the fourth – Warren Buffett.

Do you have any suggestions to share with me? I’d really appreciate your input.

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