In the early 1900’s, Napoleon Hill studied 500 of the most successful and wealthy people of that era, including Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, William Wrigley Jr., Charles M. Schwab, Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison and many more. He was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to interview and associate with them in order to extrapolate the characteristics, traits and actions of successful people. After 20 years, Napoleon Hill was successful in doing so, publishing a number of books, magazines and articles. He earned several million dollars acting on the information gathered. Napoleon Hill’s legacy lives on through his Foundation (www.naphill.org), who regularly publish his philosophies in daily emails, books and other mediums.

Today, leaders are constantly subjected to leadership trends and fads which can add pressure, stress and anxiety from the expectation to adjust in order to fit the styles of the time. Studying and applying long-standing principles to your leadership style gives you clarity and a model of high success to emulate. Principle based leadership will also fortify you from the inside out, increase your self-confidence and significantly improve your leadership ability and likeability. Consider adopting a few of these principles and watch your life will improve for the best.

Napoleon Hill’s principles are followed by my interpretation/insight.  

Before trying to master others, be sure you are the master of yourself.


As a leader, are you willing to complete the tasks that you assign to others? Do you want people to respect you for your leadership position, regardless of your personal action and character as their leader? There is nothing worse than having an immature or untrained leader in a position of authority. This person can wreak havoc on an organization, create a toxic work environment by creating atmosphere of anxiety and stress, and cause personnel to look for other opportunities. It’s well known that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad leaders.

If you’re a leader and having challenges with others following your lead, are you willing to look in the mirror to see if the issue is you? If you are daring, talk to a well-respected person who has been at the company the longest. They’ve seen different leadership styles and knows what motivates the workforce in that company culture. Ask them how they view you as a leader and the suggestions they have to improve your effectiveness with the workforce. Work on yourself, expand your leadership knowledge, change your approach in the way that you lead people and you’ll find that people will change their minds about you and follow you anywhere when you BECOME a leader worth following.

Who told you it couldn’t be done, and what great achievements has he performed that qualified him to set up limitations for you?

When seeking to get to the next level or achieving a new goal, you should be careful on who you are getting your advice from. Are you allowing family and friends to plant seeds of fear and failure in you? Do you have negative co-workers that give you all the reasons you can’t achieve your goal? When you buy someone’s opinion, you buy their lifestyle. If you were looking to buy a Mercedes S550, would you seek advice from someone who drives a Dodge Neon? Same applies for your goals. Seek advice and counsel from someone who has achieved the results that you desire.

Your mind is the only thing you can control exclusively. Don’t give it away too freely to useless arguments.

There are people in organizations that make it their personal mission to fight every battle, regardless of whether or not the outcome affects them directly. Giving energy to useless arguments and to situations or circumstances that are not in your control is unwise. It also creates preventable stress and anxiety that you are subjecting yourself to. If your input to an undesired situation has the ability to change the outcome, then that’s a battle worth taking up and backing with factual data. However, the information should be presented in a professional manner in order to be received properly. If talking about it or complaining won’t change the outcome, then consider putting that energy and time somewhere that will yield results that will keep you ascending in the organization.

Before opportunity crowns you with success, it usually tests your mettle through adversity.

Thomas Edison failed at inventing the lightbulb 10,000 times. Walt Disney filed bankruptcy several times and was told he lacked imagination. A television station asked Oprah to change her name, stating that she would be received better. It’s rare that someone has ever achieved massive success without failing greatly and mightily on numerous occasions before finally breaking through to success. Knowing this, there are two choices to make, play it safe and never attempt anything outside of your comfort zone, or go after your goals with everything you have, expecting to get knocked down…several times. Continue and go all the way through the goal until it is achieved. Napoleon Hill said, “A man is never whipped until he quits in his own mind.”

The individual who has time only for gossip and slander is too busy for success.

Successful people are always looking for the next mountain to conquer and rarely have time to nit-pick and talk about others. They are too busy looking ahead and not looking behind or around them in an effort to find fault and talk about others. Successful people also realize that giving negative energy to any situation, creates negative energy and circumstances in their lives, so they mainly focus on the positive. If you desire to get to the next level, and can’t figure out why you are meeting resistance and/or have obstacles, evaluate how you how you treat other people and whether or not you are judging and talking about them.

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What’s your favorite Napoleon Hill quote? What long standing principles have you adopted? Which leaders have you emulated that you credit your success to?

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Christy Rutherford, an Executive Leadership Strategist, trains leaders on long-standing leadership principles to assist them with realizing their full potential and increase productivity. She also coaches Type A leaders who are suffering from burnout, which impacts their performance at work and home.

Download your free workbook: “Success Roadmap – 7 Powerful Ways To Get Clear On The Results You Desire” atwww.christyrutherford.com 

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