“A man is most efficient and will more quickly and easily succeed when engaged in work that he loves, or work that he performs in behalf of some person whom he loves.” Napoleon Hill, “The Law of Success” p.80
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the journey I’ve been on and what lessons there may be not only for myself but for those of you who, like me, seek to make a positive difference in the world at the same time that you support your self and your family doing meaningful work that you enjoy and even love.
(I’ve posted an inspirational song today that relates to this post over at www.MarkShepardSongs.com as well)
In his book “The Law of Success” Napoleon Hill shares a story from his own life. He had turned down many lucrative offers for employment in order to pursue his passion of researching and writing the law of success. His wife and family were opposed to it. There was no steady income. No guarantee. They openly or not so openly insinuated that he was being foolish and selfish.
At one point Hill had a conversation with a prominent business man, Don Mellett, who came right out and asked him. Now that you’ve done all this research on the Law of Success, how much money have you made?
Hill was embarrassed to admit that he had be so deeply absorbed in the research and writing that he had not turned his knowledge yet to the task of bringing in money. Here was the author of the Law of Success basically broke! He felt like a failure. He felt what we in NLP call “incongruent”. He was “walking his talk” but it had yet to show up in a tangible form in his external reality.
“What?” Mellett exclaimed, “a failure?
“Surely you know the difference between failure and temporary defeat,” he continued. ” No man is a failure who creates a single idea, much less an entire philosophy, that serves to soften the disappointments and minimize the hardships of generations yet unborn.”
Mellett and Hill became business partners that day and formed a “mastermind” that literally created the “breakthrough” Napoleon Hill had labored for so many years to prepare the ground for.
The whole point of Hill’s essay was two fold.
- There is truly a difference between failure and temporary defeat.
- He was trying to express the notion that one should always do more than one is paid for because eventually the law of the universe will return the investment exponentially.
Last Saturday I performed for free at my local Starbucks. There was a time when the background noise and the coming and going of people would have thrown me off. I would have chosen to make myself feel bad about any number of things in the past. But for me last Saturday it was awesome! In every way it was a triumph!
All the personal work I’ve done with NLP on my internal beliefs and filters were perfectly tested by the evening. What was important was that I sang for 2 hours without a break and it felt like 10 minutes. I sang song after song from memory and the experience was fun. In the past it was like walking on glass. but I actually had fun. Any of you out there who have overcome a major fear or phobia can relate. The old resistance was totally gone. There was no nervousness. I was totally relaxed.
So as I look back over my life I can choose to see 30 years of missed opportunities or I can look back and see that I was doing exactly what I most needed to be doing to prepare me for the moment when “all of who I am” lined up behind the single idea that I was placed here on this earth to share a message of hope, empowerment, healing, love, learning, and transformation with whoever is ready and open to hear it. My music is simply a method of delivery that engages the emotions as well as the ears.
And ultimately it is not the end goal of millions of people hearing the music and the music positively impacting their lives that is the measure of “success” it’s the process and journey itself that is success.
In NLP we have a belief “there is no failure there is only feedback” Anthony Robbins made the now famous analogy of the Jet airliner flying from LA to Hawaii is off course most of the time. It gets to it’s destination through the constant adjustments and corrections along the way.
So this week I ask you, no I implore you, to have some faith in your own process of learning and growth. Look back at your life and instead of seeing “failures” and “mistakes” see lessons and learnings and experiences that led you to new insights and understandings. Write down what you’ve learned. And ask yourself again and again the powerful questions that will lead you where you most want to go.
“What can I learn from this?”
“How can I use this lesson to move forward?”
“Why does it work out better than I can possibly imagine?”
We are all in this together. No one has all the answers. No one has it “easy”. Our muscles grow stronger through resistance. The “resistance” in your own life and work can serve a great purpose if you will only allow it to.
Napolean Hill went on to make a fortune with “The Law of Success” and his even more famous book “Think and Grow Rich” his words are still inspiring millions long after his passing.
If he had gone the “safe” route and gotten a steady job to satisfy all those well meaning people in his life, the world would have been a poorer place.
So those are my thoughts today. If you found any of this helpful please share it with a friend who could use some encouragement in these challenging times. It also helps to spread the word if you’d take a moment and “Stumble” or “Digg” or “facebook” or “twitter” this post