Neither temporary defeat nor adversity amounts to failure in the mind of the person who looks upon it as a teacher that will teach some needed lesson. As a matter of fact, there is a great and lasting lesson in every reverse, and in every defeat; and, usually, it is a lesson that could be learned in no other way than through defeat.
Defeat often talks to use in a “dumb language” that we do not understand. If this were not true, we would not make the same mistakes over and over again without profiting by the lessons that they might teach us. if it were not true, we would observe more closely the mistakes which other people make and profit by them.
Napoleon Hill’s First Turning-Point
After finishing business college, I secured a position as a stenographer and book-keeper which I held for five years. I saved my money; and my bank account amounted to several thousand dollars. My reputation spread rapidly and I found competitive bidders for my services.
Then kindly hand of Fate reached out and gave me a gentle nudge. My employer lost his fortune and I lost my position. This was my first real defeat; and; even though it came from a result of causes beyond my control, I should have learned a lesson from it; which, of course, I did, but not until many years later.
Next position: Sales Manager for a larger lumber manufacturing factory. My advancement was rapid, my salary having been increased twice during the first year.
And like a stroke of lightning out of a clear sky, the 1907 panic swept down upon me; and, overnight, it rendered me an enduring service by destroying my business and relieving me of every dollar that I possessed.
It required the 1907 panic, and the defeat that it brought me, to divert and redirect my efforts from the lumber business to the study of law. When I entered law school, it was with firm belief that I would emerge. I attended law school at night and worked as an auto-salesman during the day.
Again, I was beginning to near the end of the rainbow. Again, I knew I had at last found my niche in the world’s work; that nothing could swerve me form my course.
My banker knew that I was prospering, therefore he loaned me money with which to expand. A peculiar trait of bankers – a trait which may be more or less developed in the remainder of us also – is that they will loan us money without any hesitation when we are prosperous.
My banker loaned me money until I was hopelessly in his debt, then he took over my business s calmly as if it had belonged to him, which it did!
After putting up the hardest fight of my life, up to that time, I accepted my temporary defeat as failure.
My first position in Chicago was an advertising manager of a large correspondence school. The first year I earned 5k$!
I was “coming back” by leaps and bounds. Gradually the rainbow’s end began to circle around me, and I saw, once more, the shining pot of gold almost within my reach.
Self-approval is a dangerous state of mind.
This is a great truth which many people do not learn until the softening hand of time is rested upon their shoulders.
5-7 Turning Points – In The Podcast
And In The End…..
The publication of Hill’s Golden Rule magazine brought me in contact with the thinking class of people all over the country. It gave me my big chance to be heard. The message of optimism and good-will among men that is carried become so popular that I was invited to go on a country-wide speaking tour during the early part of 1920.
And the 7th turning-point came like this. I was watching the hardest downpour of rain come down while sitting in a restaurant in Dallas, Texas. The water was pouring down over the plate-glass window in two great streams, and playing backward and forward from one of these streams to the other were little streams, making what resembled a great ladder of water.
It flashed into my mind!
This could be a splendid lecture! Seven turning-points. I can call it the “Magic Ladder to Success.”
On the back of an envelope I outline the fifteen points out of which this lecture was built. Fifteen points = fifteen lessons.
Failure is success!