Napoleon Hill’s 17 Principles of Success

Success and personal achievement can be determined by the 17 principles of success as outlined by Napoleon Hill. He is the author of the motivational classics The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich. Read on to learn more—and discover what it takes to be successful.

Napoleon Hill’s 17 principles of success

1. Definiteness of purpose

Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. Without a purpose and a plan, people drift aimlessly through life.

2. Mastermind alliance

“The mastermind principle” consists of an alliance of two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a common definite objective. Success does not come without the cooperation of others.

3. Applied faith

Faith is a state of mind through which your aims, desires, plans and purposes may be translated into their physical or financial equivalent.

Going the extra mile is the action of rendering more and better service than that for which you are presently paid. When you go the extra mile, the Law of Compensation comes into play.

5. Pleasing personality

Personality is the sum total of one’s mental, spiritual and physical traits and habits that distinguish one from all others. It is the factor that determines whether one is liked or disliked by those around them.

6. Personal initiative

Personal initiative is the power that inspires the completion of that which one begins. It is the power that starts all action. No person is free until they learn to do their own thinking and gain the courage to act on their own.

7. Positive mental attitude

Positive mental attitude is the right mental attitude in all circumstances. Success attracts more success—but so may failure, depending on how you use and learn from it.

8. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is faith in action. It is the intense emotion we know as burning desire. It comes from within, although it radiates outwardly in the expression of one’s voice and countenance.

9. Self-discipline

Self-discipline begins with the mastery of thought. If you do not control your thoughts, you cannot control your needs. Self-discipline calls for a balancing of the emotions of your heart with the reasoning faculty of your head.

10. Accurate thinking

The power of thought is the most dangerous or the most beneficial power available to you, depending on how you use it.

11. Controlled attention

Controlled attention leads to mastery in any type of human endeavor, because it enables one to focus the powers of their mind upon the attainment of a definite objective and to keep it so directed at will.

12. Teamwork

Teamwork is harmonious cooperation that is willing, voluntary and free. Whenever the spirit of teamwork is the dominating influence in business or industry, success is inevitable. Harmonious cooperation is a priceless asset that you can acquire in proportion to your giving.

13. Adversity and defeat

Individual success is usually in exact proportion of the scope of defeat the individual has experienced and mastered. Many so-called failures represent only a temporary defeat that may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

14. Creative vision

Creative vision is developed by the free and fearless use of one’s imagination. It is not a miraculous quality one is gifted or not gifted at birth.

15. Health

Sound health begins with sound health consciousness, just as financial success begins with a prosperity consciousness.

16. Budgeting time and money

Time and money are precious resources, and few people striving for success ever believe they possess either one in excess.

17. Habits

Developing and establishing positive habits leads to peace of mind, health and financial security. You are where you are because of your established habits, thoughts and deeds.

This article was published in October 2012 and has been updated. Photo by mavo/Shutterstock

Napoleon Hill was born in 1883 in a one-room cabin on the Pound River in Wise County, Virginia. He is the author of the motivational classics The Laws of Success and Think and Grow Rich. Hill passed away in November 1970 after a long and successful career writing, teaching, and lecturing about the principles of success. His lifework continues under the direction of the Napoleon Hill Foundation.

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