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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.