Wednesday, February 16, 2022




“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is the definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” 
— Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

The pursuit of any aim, goal, or dream is a slight edge journey of continuous improvement, learning, and refinement. But mastery is not an exalted state that lies at the end of the path; it is a state of mind that lies at the very beginning. Mastery is in the act of setting your foot on the path, not in reaching its end. 

In the process of learning to walk, did you spend more time falling down or standing up? If you were anything like most babies, you failed (fell) far more than you succeeded (walked). It didn’t matter: you were on the path of mastery. 

Constantly falling down was really uncomfortable (it hurt), and you looked pretty foolish lying there on the floor like a beetle on its back. But you kept at it anyway. Why? Because successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. And here’s the fascinating part: all infants are successful. As infants, we are all masters. That’s just the way we’re designed. All newborns instinctively understand the slight edge. We only let go of our natural pull toward success, our mastery, over the course of those 40,000 nos. 

Are there any situations in your life today where you’ve given up and decided to keep crawling for the rest of your life, rather than go for what you really want, what you truly deserve? Have you let go of the capacity to make up a goal, go for it, and get it? If so, you have to ask yourself, why is it so difficult, so impossible, to do something today that you had no trouble doing when you were less than a year old?

There is something treacherous about letting go of that childlike willingness to try and try again. It is this: settling for less, giving up on the power of baby steps and embracing failure, soon becomes a habit. The first time you give up, it’s painful. The second time it’s still painful but now it feels a little familiar, and there is some comfort in familiarity: it is the silent sleepy comfort of carbon monoxide. And the more you give up, the easier and easier it gets, and the sleepier and sleepier you become to the wakefulness of genuine accomplishment … and success recedes ever further from your grasp. Can you guess why? That’s right: it’s the slight edge—working against you. Before you know it, life has become heavy. 

All you need to do is turn over the coin to find the good news here: it is just as easy to step back into the habit of succeeding as it is to slip into the habit of failing. The longer you live, the easier it can get. You can step back onto the path of mastery anytime you want.

The knowledge of what one wants. That is a powerful thing, and worth looking at for a moment. We all have visions of the way we’d like things to be that are different from the way they are. Have you ever wanted something so badly that it hurt? Of course you have. Everyone has. Sometimes it’s a sweet sort of ache, sometimes not so sweet, but either way it is a powerful force. I call it the ache of wanting.

The word “want” has two meanings. It can mean you desire something; it can also mean you lack something. In a way, those aren’t really two meanings; they’re two sides of the same meaning. We tend to desire what we lack, and lack what we desire. Which is why dreams can be painful. Letting yourself become aware of what it is that you desire but do not presently have means experiencing the lack side of the wanting coin as well as the desire side. It means becoming more fully aware of what you don’t have. It means staring at your present reality with a sober eye and refusing to kid yourself. Noticing that you’re not where you want to be can be uncomfortable. When Hill says “a burning desire to possess it,” he’s not kidding. And burning is not a comfortable thing.

When you are formulating goals and creating a vision for your future, it’s important to be careful whom you share them with. It’s natural to share your enthusiasm with the people in your life, especially those you are closest to — and it’s also useful to remember that people often tend to respond by raining on your parade. When they do, it’s not out of malice or the conscious desire to blunt your excitement. More often it’s simply a form of self-defense. They’d rather not hear about the vision you have, because it reminds them of the one they’ve lost. Visions and visionaries make people uncomfortable. 

Most people, when confronted by problems larger than or of a different sort than they’re already handling, immediately feel defeated or thrown off course. Most tend to see larger or different problems as negatives, and infect their own lives with negativity. What they don’t realize is this philosophy: The size of the problem determines the size of the person.

You can gauge the limitations of a person’s life by the size of the problems that get him or her down. You can measure the impact a person’s life has by the size of the problems he or she solves. If you can solve big problems, you can graduate to big pay — because the size of your income will be determined by the size of the problems you solve, too.

What most people call a “problem” is simply a gap, an open space between point A and point B. And if you keep an open mind, it’s an open space you can bridge. Here is the reason I’ve spent this time describing and explaining this gap: That gap can work against you or it can work for you. The gap between A and B cannot last forever. It has to resolve, and it will, one way or the other. It’s a law of nature, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But you do have a choice in how it resolves.

People who live with huge, vivid, clearly articulated dreams are pulled along toward those dreams with such force, they become practically unstoppable.

When the journey seems daunting, easy not to do can be a lot more appealing than easy to do. But remember, you have to go one direction or the other; you can’t stand still.

The universe is curved, and everything is constantly changing. There are only two possibilities. Either you let go of where you are and get to where you could be, or you hang onto where you are and give up where you could be. You are either going for your dreams or giving up your dreams. Stretching for what you could be, or settling for what you are. There is simply no in-between. Remember, this is the slight edge — and doing nothing means going down. It’s your choice.

The people living on top, those who take responsibility, live a life that is in some ways uncomfortable. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of one’s comfort zone. When you’re one out of twenty, you’re always going to be going in the opposite direction from the other nineteen. 

This means changing your thinking about the comfort zone. It’s a change in philosophy. It means embracing living uncomfortably in order to attain a life that is genuinely comfortable — not deceptively comfortable.

“All truth passes through three stages, First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” 
Arthur Schopenhauer

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they
fight you, then you win.”

Do what the majority won’t dare to do. Risk being the one, not one of the nineteen. Will people criticize you? Of course. But have you ever seen a statue erected for a critic? 

Facing truths about one’s own death can also bring one face to face with some important truths about one’s life. Who has long funeral processions? At whose funerals do thousands cry? For whom do the millions mourn? For those who will do what others are not willing to do. For the people for whom we erect statues. For Martin Luther King, for Gandhi, for Mother Teresa, for Lincoln. Gigantic funerals are held and great crowds, even entire nations, mourn for those who spend their lives not worrying about what others thought.

Essential Points from Chapter Eleven

* Mastery begins the moment you step onto the path. Failure begins the moment you step off the path.

* Wanting is uncomfortable, yet wanting is essential to winning.

* There are two ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be: 
1) you can let go of where you are and be drawn to your goal, or 

2) you can let go of your goal, hit the snooze button, and stay where you are.

* Chances are good that when you step out onto the path of mastery, you will step out alone.

Slight Edge | Chapter 10

Slight Edge | Chapter 12

No comments:

Post a Comment