matt tillotson

Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success,
by Napoleon Hill

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.

You will discover that the cause of success is not something separate and apart from the man; that it 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.’
so-called failure usually is nothing more than a signal to re-arm 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.”

“Most real failures are due to limitations which men set up in their own minds.”

Will you abandon your quest just before reaching great success, when you are only three feet from gold?

Three Feet from Gold.

when I took action by leaving a situation that, although financially rewarding, was no longer aligned with my personal mission, new doors of opportunity opened for me.

“The worst of all human ailments: indecision.”

“Your mission in life is to complete the world’s first philosophy of individual achievement. You have been trying in vain to escape your task, each effort having brought you failure. You are seeking happiness. Learn this lesson, once and forever, that you will find happiness only by helping others to find it!                

The “spell,” if the experience may be so called, passed away. I began to write. Shortly thereafter my “reason” suggested to me that I was embarking upon a fool’s mission. The idea of a man who was down and almost out presuming to write a philosophy of personal achievement seemed so ludicrous that I laughed hilariously, perhaps scornfully. I squirmed in my chair, ran my fingers through my hair, and tried to create an alibi that would justify me in my own mind in taking the sheet of paper out of my typewriter before I had really begun to write, but the urge to continue was stronger than the desire to quit.
Again the germ of discontentment began to make itself felt in my blood. Again I knew that I could not find happiness in that sort of endeavor.

I had been lecturing all over the country, in schools and colleges and before business organizations, presuming to tell other people how to apply the seventeen principles of success, while here I was, unable to apply them myself. I was sure that I never could again face the world with a feeling of confidence.
I must have made several hundred trips around the building before anything which even remotely resembled organized thought began to take place in my mind. As I walked I repeated over and over to myself, “There is a way out and I am going to find it before I go back to the house.”

Hill took on the persona of the wealthy man he wanted to be. We strongly agree that to be wealthy you need to think wealthy.

two entities occupy your body, as in fact two similar entities occupy the body of each living“One of these entities is motivated by and responds to the impulse of fear. The other is motivated by and responds to the impulse of faith.

keep the doors to your mind tightly closed against all thoughts which seek to limit you in any manner whatsoever,
your ‘other self’ will not do your work for you; it will only guide you intelligently in achieving for yourself the objects of your desires.                

Will you be guided by faith? Or will you allow fear to overtake you?

The “other self” may “meet with temporary defeat, but not with permanent failure.”

With the current economic uncertainties, people are choosing—or being forced—to find new paths to provide for themselves and their families, and many will find great success. They will be the great stories of success we will be reading about a few years from now. Will you be among those success stories or still watching from the sidelines?

I have also discovered that there comes with every experience of temporary defeat, and every failure and every form of adversity, the seed of an equivalent benefit.

every great leader of the past, whose record I have examined, was beset by difficulties and met with temporary defeat before “arriving.”

I have learned that those who meet with difficulties which seem insurmountable may, if they will do so, best overcome these difficulties by forgetting them for a time and helping others who have greater problems.

I seriously doubt that any man can avail himself of the benefits of his “other self” as long as he is steeped in greed and avarice, envy and fear,

My “other self” has taught me to concentrate upon my purpose and to forget about the plan by which it is to be attained when I go to prayer.

the power which translates one’s thoughts or desires into realities has its source in an Infinite Intelligence which knows more about plans than the one doing the praying.

I know nothing about any form of prayer which can be induced to work favorably in a mind that is colored, in the slightest degree, by fear.                
I now pray, not for more of this world’s goods and greater blessings, but to be worthy of that which I already have.
the seasons come and go precisely as they did before the 1929 depression began; that, in reality, only men’s minds have ceased to function normally, and this, because men have filled their minds with fear.

every individual has the power to change his or her material or financial status by first changing the nature of his or her beliefs.

Nothing within reason is impossible to the man who knows and relies upon his “other self.” Whatever man believes to be true has a way of becoming true.

I have observed also that one’s state of mind is the determining factor when prayer works, as well as when it does not.
The state of mind known as faith apparently opens to one the medium of a sixth sense through which one may communicate with sources of power and information far surpassing any available through the five physical senses.

This section on faith is worth rereading a few times because it contains Hill’s core teachings on prayer.

While I floundered in a state of mental bewilderment, the Devil must have been dancing a jig of rejoicing.

I consist of negative energy, and I live in the minds of people who fear me.

The six most effective fears are the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, and death.

Habits come in pairs, triplets, and quadruplets. Any habit which weakens one’s will power invites a flock of its relatives to move in and take possession of the mind.

My greatest weapon over human beings consists of two secret principles by which I gain control of their minds.
I will speak first of the principle of habit, through which I silently enter the minds of people. By operating through this principle, I establish (I wish I could avoid using this word) the habit of drifting.

A drifter is one who permits himself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind.
It makes no difference to me how a child’s will is subdued, as long as it fears something.

When they begin to think in constructive terms of faith, courage, hope, and definiteness of purpose, they immediately become allies of my opposition and are therefore lost to me.
Any habit which causes one to procrastinate— to put off reaching a definite decision—leads to the habit of drifting.
Laziness + Indifference = Procrastination = Drifting.
I control the minds of men solely because of their habit of drifting, which is only another way of saying that I control the minds of men only because they neglect or refuse to control and use their own minds.

Drifting is the most common cause of failure in every walk of life.

The first thing you will notice about a drifter is his total lack of a major purpose in life. He will be conspicuous by his lack of self-confidence. He will never accomplish anything requiring thought and effort. He spends all he earns and more too, if he can get credit. He will be sick or ailing from some real or imaginary cause, and calling to high heaven if he suffers the least physical pain. He will have little or no imagination. He will lack enthusiasm and initiative to begin anything he is not forced to undertake, and he will plainly express his weakness by taking the line of least resistance whenever he can do so. He will be ill-tempered and lacking in control over his emotions. His personality will be without magnetism and it will not attract other people. He will have opinions on everything but accurate knowledge of nothing. He may be jack of all trades but good at none. He will neglect to cooperate with those around him, even those on whom he must depend for food and shelter.
He will make the same mistake over and over again, never profiting by failure. He will be narrow-minded and intolerant on all subjects, ready to crucify those who may disagree with him. He will expect everything of others but be willing to give little or nothing in return. He may begin many things but he will complete nothing. He will be loud in his condemnation of his government, but he will never tell you definitely how it can be improved. He will never reach decisions on anything if he can avoid it, and if he is forced to decide he will reverse himself at the first opportunity. He will eat too much and exercise too little. He will take a drink of liquor if someone else will pay for it. He will gamble if he can do it “on the cuff.” He will criticize others who are succeeding in their chosen calling.

In brief, the drifter will work harder to get out of thinking than most others work in earning a good living. He will tell a lie rather than admit his ignorance on any subject. If he works for others, he will criticize them to their backs and flatter them to their faces.

Protection against drifting lies within easy reach of every human being who has a normal body and a sound mind. The self-defense can be applied through these simple methods: 

1. Do your own thinking on all occasions. The fact that human beings are given complete control over nothing save the power to think their own thoughts is laden with significance.

2. Decide definitely what you want from life; then create a plan for attaining it and be willing to sacrifice everything else, if necessary, rather than accept permanent defeat. 

3. Analyze temporary defeat, no matter of what nature or cause, and extract from it the seed of an equivalent advantage. 
4. Be willing to render useful service equivalent to the value of all material things you demand of life, and render the service first. 

5. Recognize that your brain is a receiving set that can be attuned to receive communications from the universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence, to help you transmute your desires into their physical equivalent.

6. Recognize that your greatest asset is time, the only thing except the power of thought which you own outright, and the one thing which can be shaped into whatever material things you want. Budget your time so none of it is wasted. 

7. Recognize the truth that fear generally is a filler with which the Devil occupies the unused portion of your mind. It is only a state of mind which you can control by filling the space it occupies with faith in your ability to make life provide you with whatever you demand of it. 

8. When you pray, do not beg! Demand what you want and insist upon getting exactly that, with no substitutes.

9. Recognize that life is a cruel taskmaster and that either you master it or it masters you. There is no half-way or compromising point. Never accept from life anything you do not want. If that which you do not want is temporarily forced upon you, you can refuse, in your own mind, to accept it and it will make way for the thing you do want. 

10. Lastly, remember that your dominating thoughts attract, through a definite law of nature, by the shortest and most convenient route, their physical counterpart. Be careful what your thoughts dwell upon.

Be definite in everything you do and never leave unfinished thoughts in the mind. Form the habit of reaching definite decisions on all subjects.

the same law which holds your earth in position and helps nature to maintain a perfect balance over the four dimensions—in which all matter and energy are contained—is the web in which I entangle and control the minds of human beings.
Undesirable habits can be broken. They must be broken before they assume the proportions of rhythm. Are you following me?
rhythm is the last stage of habit! Any thought or physical movement which is repeated over and over through the principle of habit finally reaches the proportion of rhythm.
Then the only way a human being can be saved from eternal annihilation is by maintaining control over his own mind while he is on this earth. Is that true?

“The time they [people] spend in fearing something would, if reversed, give them all they want in the material world and save them from me after death.”

chief among them sex and the desire for self-expression.
I am beginning to understand what was meant by the writer of that passage in the Bible which says substantially, “When two or more meet together and ask for anything in My name, it shall be granted.” It is true, then, that two minds are better than one.

It is not only true, it is necessary before anyone can continuously contact the great storehouse of Infinite Intelligence wherein is stored all that is, all that ever was, and all that can ever be.

hypnotic rhythm is a natural law through which nature fixes the vibration of all environments. Is that true?

Yes, nature uses hypnotic rhythm to make one’s dominating thoughts and one’s thought-habits permanent. That is why poverty is disease. Nature makes it so by fixing permanently the thought-habits of all who accept poverty as an unavoidable circumstance.

Through this same law of hypnotic rhythm, nature will also fix permanently positive thoughts of opulence and prosperity.
If your mind demands opulence and expects it, your mind will attract the physical and financial equivalents of opulence. This is in accordance with an immutable law of nature.

And that is why the man who forms the habit of drifting through life must accept whatever life hands him. Is that correct? A That is absolutely correct. Life pays the drifter its own price, on its own terms. The non-drifter makes life pay on his own terms.

You are where you are and what you are because of your thoughts and your deeds.

Circumstances which people do not understand are classified under the heading of luck. Back of every reality is a cause. Often the cause is so far removed from the effect that the circumstance can be explained only by attributing it to the operation of luck. Nature knows no such law as luck. It is a man-made hypothesis with which he explains away things he does not understand.

The terms “luck” and “miracle” are twin sisters. Neither of them has any real existence except in the imaginations of people. Both are used to explain that which people do not understand.

Remember this: everything having a real existence is capable of proof. Keep this one truth in mind and you will become a sounder thinker.                

I am the creator of all forms of human misery, the instigator of discouragement and disappointment.
Non-drifters do not wait for opportunity to be placed in their way. They create opportunity to fit their desires and demands of life!

There is no reason why a non-drifter would want to avoid the influence of hypnotic rhythm, because that law is favorable to him. It helps him convert his dominating aims, plans, and purposes into their physical replicas. It fixes his habits of thought and makes them permanent.

In other words, you control people by making negative thinking and destructive deeds pleasing to them. Is that correct?

The highest power in the universe can be used for constructive purposes, through what you call God, or it can be used for negative purposes, through what you call the Devil. And something more important still, it can be used by any human being just as effectively as by God or the Devil.

hypnotic rhythm is something to be studied, understood, and voluntarily applied to attain definite desired ends.

If the force of hypnotic rhythm is not voluntarily applied to attain definite ends, may it be a great danger?

Does each individual have his own rhythm of thought? A Yes. That is precisely the major difference between individuals. The person who thinks in terms of power, success, opulence, sets up a rhythm which attracts these desirable possessions. The person who thinks in terms of misery, failure, defeat, discouragement, and poverty attracts these undesirable influences. This explains why both success and failure are the result of habit. Habit establishes one’s rhythm of thought, and that rhythm attracts the object of one’s dominating thoughts.
All successful people use hypnotic rhythm, either consciously or unconsciously, by expecting and demanding success. The demand becomes a habit, hypnotic rhythm takes over the habit, and the law of harmonious attraction translates it into its physical equivalent. Q In other words, if I know what I want from life, demand it and back my demand by a willingness to pay life’s price for what I want, and refuse to accept any substitutes, the law of hypnotic rhythm takes over my desire and helps, by natural and logical means, to transmute it into its physical counterpart. Is that true? A That describes the way the law works.

In the rest of the book, Hill discusses these seven principles to attain spiritual, mental, and physical freedom:
1. Definiteness of purpose
2. Mastery over self
3. Learning from adversity
4. Controlling environmental influence (associations)
5. Time (giving permanency to positive, rather than negative thought-habits and developing wisdom)
6. Harmony (acting with definiteness of purpose to become the dominating influence in your own mental, spiritual, and physical environment)
7. Caution (thinking through your plan before you act)

Oh, I see! One takes advantage of the principle of definiteness just as one may build a strong physical body—through constant, systematic use. Is that it?

“Once any person hesitates, procrastinates, or becomes indefinite about anything, he is just one step removed from my control.”

I eventually reclaim for my cause all who escape me temporarily through definiteness of purpose. The reclamation is made by filling the mind with greed for power and the love of egotistical expression, until the individual falls into the habit of violating the rights of others. Then I step in with the law of compensation and reclaim my victim.

You may be surprised to know that love is one of my most effective baits. With it I lead into the habit of drifting those whom I could attract with nothing else.

Show me what any person loves most and I will have my cue as to how that person can be induced to drift until I bind him with hypnotic rhythm.

love is a desirable state of mind, but it also is a palliative which may be used to limit or destroy reason and will power, both of which rate above love in importance to human beings who want freedom and self-determination.

people who gain power must harden their emotions, master fear, and subdue love. Is that correct?

Definiteness of purpose plus definiteness of plan by which the purpose is to be achieved generally succeeds, no matter how weak the plan may be. The major difference between a sound and an unsound plan is that the sound plan, if definitely applied, may be carried out more quickly than an unsound plan.

Can a person who moves with definiteness of both plan and purpose be always sure of success? A No. The best of plans sometimes misfire, but the person who moves with definiteness recognizes the difference between temporary defeat and failure. When plans fail he substitutes others but he does not change his purpose. He perseveres. Eventually he finds a plan that succeeds.

Through the operation of the law of compensation, everyone reaps that which he sows. Plans based on unjust or immoral motives may bring temporary success, but enduring success must take into consideration the fourth dimension, time. Time is the enemy of immorality and injustice.

A life that is lived with fullness of peace of mind, contentment, and happiness always divests itself of everything it does not want. Anyone who submits to annoyance by things he does not want is not definite. He is a drifter.

The first duty of every human being is to himself. Every person owes himself the duty of finding how to live a full and happy life. Beyond this, if one has time and energy not needed in the fulfillment of his own desires, one may assume responsibility for helping others.

I do advocate prayer, but not the sort of prayer that consists of empty, begging, meaningless words. The sort of prayer against which I am helpless is the prayer of definiteness of purpose.
When you hear a person praying for something that he should procure through his own efforts, you may be sure you are listening to a drifter.

Nature’s law is, “Know what you want, adapt yourself to my laws, and you shall have it.”
definiteness is the first requisite for success in all earthly undertakings? Is that right?

The only thing of enduring value to any human being is a working knowledge of his own mind.

You seem to hold nothing sacred. A You are wrong. I hold sacred the one thing which is my master—the one thing I fear.

Q What is that? A The power of independent thought backed by definiteness of purpose.

Teach the students how to budget and use time, and above all teach the truth that time is the greatest asset available to human beings and the cheapest. Teach the student the basic motives by which all people are influenced and show how to use these motives in acquiring the necessities and the luxuries of life. Teach children what to eat, how much to eat, and what is the relationship between proper eating and sound health.
Teach children the true nature and function of the emotion of sex, and above all, teach them that it can be transmuted into a driving force capable of lifting one to great heights of achievement.

Teach children to be definite in all things, beginning
with the choice of a definite major purpose in life!
Teach children the difference between temporary defeat and failure, and show them how to search for the seed of an equivalent advantage which comes with every defeat.
Teach children to encourage the use of their sixth sense through which ideas present themselves in their minds from unknown sources, and to examine all such ideas carefully.
Teach children the full import of the law of compensation as it was interpreted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and show them how the law works in the small, everyday affairs of life.

Teach children that definiteness of purpose, backed by definite plans persistently and continuously applied, is the most efficacious form of prayer available to human beings.

Sin is anything one does or thinks which causes one to be unhappy! Human beings who are in sound physical and spiritual health should be at peace with themselves and always happy. Any form of mental or physical misery indicates the presence of sin.

It is a sin to accept from life anything one does not want because that indicates an unpardonable neglect to use the mind.

faith is definiteness of purpose backed by belief in the attainment of the object of that purpose.

Where should one begin when making a start at control over self? A By mastering the three appetites responsible for most of one’s lack of self-discipline. The three appetites are (1) the desire for food, (2) the desire for expression of sex, (3) the desire to express loosely organized opinions.

Why do so many people indulge in the habit of expressing uninvited opinions? A The habit is one way of expressing egotism and vanity. The desire for self-expression is inborn in people. The motive behind the habit is to attract the attention of others and to impress them favorably. Actually it has just the opposite effect. When the self-invited speaker attracts attention, it usually is unfavorable.

The only permanent thing in the universes is change. Eternal, inexorable change—through which every atom of matter and every unit of energy has the opportunity to properly relate itself to all other units of matter and energy, and every human being has the opportunity and the privilege of properly relating himself to all other human beings no matter how many mistakes he makes, or how many times or in what ways he may be defeated.

Professional men who succeed do so largely because of the manner in which they relate themselves to their clients. It is much more important for the lawyer to know people and to know the laws of nature than it is to know the law.

Harmonious relationship with the law consists entirely of the individual changing his habits so they represent the circumstances and the things the individual wants and is willing to accept.

The sixth sense is the organ of the brain through which one receives all information, all knowledge, all thought impressions which do not come through one or more of the five physical senses.

completeness of mind can be attained only by harmony of purpose and deed between two or more minds.

What, then, is an improper relationship? A Any relationship between people which damages anyone or brings any form of misery or unhappiness to any of the individuals.
In other words, failure always is a blessing when it forces one to acquire knowledge or to build habits that lead to the achievement of one’s major purpose in life. Is that correct?

A Yes, and something more! Failure is a blessing when it forces one to depend less upon material forces and more upon spiritual forces.

“Life gives no one immunity against adversity, but life gives to everyone the power of positive thought, which is sufficient to master all circumstances of adversity and convert them into benefits.”

Which class of associates has the greatest influence upon one?

One’s partner in marriage and in the home and one’s associates in his occupation. After that come close friends and acquaintances. Casual acquaintances and strangers have but little influence on one.

successful people must control their environment, thereby insuring themselves against the influence of a negative environment.

What are the most impelling basic motives or desires which inspire thought action?

The ten most common motives, those which inspire most of one’s thought-action, are these:
The desire for sex expression and love • The desire for physical food • The desire for spiritual, mental, and physical self-expression • The desire for perpetuation of life after death • The desire for power over others • The desire for material wealth • The desire for knowledge • The desire to imitate others • The desire to excel others • The seven basic fears

All negative desires are nothing but frustrations of positive desires.

They are inspired by some form of defeat, failure, or neglect by human beings to adapt themselves to nature’s laws in a positive way.

Nature will not tolerate idleness or vacuums of any sort. All space must be and is filled with something.

Nature is not interested in morals as such. She is not interested in right and wrong. She is not interested in justice and injustice. She is interested only in forcing everything to express action according to its nature!

time is the friend of the person who trains his mind to follow positive thought-habits and the enemy of the person who drifts into negative thought-habits. Is that correct?

The majority of people who acquire wisdom do so after they have passed the age of forty. Prior to that time the majority of people are too busy gathering knowledge and organizing it into plans to spend any effort seeking wisdom.

Adversity and failure. These are nature’s universal languages through which she imparts wisdom to those who are ready to receive it.

association with negative minds is fatal to those seeking self-determination.

In a business association, for example, who establishes the dominating influence that determines the rhythm of the environment?

A The individual or individuals who think and act with definiteness of purpose.

definiteness of purpose is the starting point from which an individual may establish his own environment.

The last principle is caution.

The three important factors are the habit of drifting, the law of hypnotic rhythm through which all habits are made permanent, and the element of time.

The man with the most definite plan and purpose and the most power rides on to victory. The others scurry for cover and get crushed under the heels of those who are more determined.
One’s dominating desires can be crystallized into their physical equivalents through definiteness of purpose backed by definiteness of plans, with the aid of nature’s law of hypnotic rhythm and time!

“One’s dominating desires can be crystallized into their physical equivalents through definiteness of purpose backed by definiteness of plans, with the aid of nature’s law of hypnotic rhythm and time!” Napoleon Hill wanted to share this message with the world in the 1930s, but instead it was hidden away in a vault, to be finally uncovered and shared with you now in 2011— for a reason.

Will you . . .

• Realize you are carrying in your own pockets the matches with which the fires of adversity are being touched off, and find, too, that the water with which those fires can be finally extinguished is at your own command in great abundance? And then: • Find your definiteness of purpose? • Create a definite plan? • Engage the aid of nature’s law of hypnotic rhythm? •

And use the asset of time to assist you in reaching your greatest success?