Napoleon Hill – The Master Key to Success

The Sixth Principle: Self-Discipline


This visit brings us to the sixth principle of success, without which, the five principles I have given you previously would be useless.


It is the principle of self-discipline.


Self-discipline as I am presenting it to you here, as reference not only to your mastery of negative habits, which stand in the way of your success, but more particularly to your development and enforcement of the positive habits, you will need in order to avail yourself of the sixth assets you brought over with you in that sealed envelope I mentioned in our first visit.


Now let me give you a list of the more important things over which you will have to exercise self-discipline, before you can embrace and use the great master key to riches:



You will have to gain mastery over your tongue, by acquiring the habit of thinking first and then speaking, after you are sure that what you say will benefit you and not injure others.


A loose tongue often as one's the greatest liability.



You will have to exercise self-discipline in mastering the common tendency to strike back at those at whom you have a cause, real or imaginary for a grievance.


You must remember, that everything you do to or for another, you do to or for yourself.


Because your every thought and every act, which benefits or injures another person, comes back to you in kind, greatly multiplied.


So if you feel that you must slander another person, do not speak it, but write it. Write it in the stands near the water's edge, then move away from it until the tides have flown.



You will have to exercise self-discipline over all of your emotions, particularly your emotions of love, hate, fear and sex.


These are the big four of your emotions and they can make you or break you, according to the extent of discipline you exercise over them.



Your mental attitude needs discipline and control at all times.


Lacking this discipline, it can and it often, does drive away friends, destroy opportunities to get ahead, brings on physical and mental illness, developed stomach ulcers and makes peace of mind impossible.



I have reserved the emotion of sex for special mention. Because failure to exercise self-discipline over this emotion probably heads the list of all the causes of personal failure.


The emotion of sex is the most powerful of all emotions and it is nature's great creative instrument with which all species of living things are perpetuated.


The proper means of self-discipline of the emotion of sex, is transmutation: The control and direction of this great emotional feeling toward the attainment of worthy purposes, such as the fulfillment of one's major purpose in life.


The great leaders, artists, orators, industrialists and professional people have learned the art of sex transmutation through the proper system of self-discipline.


Because of the delicacy of the subject of sex emotion, I am limited as to the information I can give you about it on this visit. But I have covered the subject to much more in detail in some of my books.



Your stomach also needs discipline through the proper habits of dieting and fasting. Because information on dieting and fasting should come from your own doctor.


I will not go into details there concerning it, except to call your attention to the need for knowledge on this subject.


Personally, I attribute my sound physical health mainly to the habits of dieting and fasting, which I have developed through the years.



You will need to exercise self-discipline in relation to religion and politics. Because our country, which is the most acceptable form of society civilization has yet produced, is made up of people of varying beliefs in connection with both of these subjects.


To be happy and prosperous in our country we must learn to live and to let live, to give others the privileges we ask and demand for ourselves. And this often calls for strict discipline over self.



I have reserved until the last, my reference to the most important circumstances over which you must exercise the strictest of self-discipline, if you are to embrace and use the great master key to riches.


I have reference to your profound privilege of taking possession of your own mind and directing it to whatever aims you may desire.


You cannot take possession of your own mind or direct it to definite aims without a practical system.


I have devoted the better portion of my past life to the revelation and presentation of such a system. And I know that this system works, because it has been successfully used by many millions of people throughout the world.


The system is not only practical and workable, but it is so simple, that anyone who is ready for it, can master it and use it successfully.


Its use does not call for a genius, nor a great amount of formal education.


It calls only for a will to take possession of one's own mind and a definite purpose to which the mind is to be directed.


Self-discipline by Thomas A Edison made him the world's greatest inventor, who revealed to mankind during the first half of the 20th century more of nature's secrets, than had been uncovered during the entire previous history of civilization.


Self-discipline carried Wilbur and Orville Wright through a multitude of failures and enabled them finally to give the world its first practical airplane. An achievement, which has made the world smaller and change the entire trend of civilization.


Self-discipline yelped Helen Keller to triumph over deafness, blindness, and dumbness – a combination of afflictions such as most people never experience.


Self-discipline helped me to carry on through heart-aching discouragement and defeat and give the world the first practical philosophy of success, based on the know-how gained by hundreds of men and women, who spent a lifetime by the trial-and-error method in discovery of the principles which lead to personal success.


Self-discipline is among the top ranking features of all the great religions, including of course the Christian faith. And there are some people who believe, that our major purpose on earth is that of developing wisdom through struggle and self-discipline.


One thing is certain. No one ever becomes very wise without the aid of self-discipline and no one ever finds peace of mind and happiness without the strict exercise of self-discipline.


Self-discipline is the only means of transmuting sorrow into faith.


It is the only means, by which we may transmute hatred of others into the milder emotion of sympathy for them.


It is the only means by which we may reveal and profit by the seed of an equal benefit, which comes with every adversity and every defeat.


It is the only means, by which we may shut out of our minds the deadly effects of past experiences of suffering and unpleasantness.


And it is the means by which we may discover that other self we carry around with us, that self which has great capacity for belief and does not become influenced by failure and defeat.


Self-discipline can give us freedom from the fear of death, the most difficult to master of all of our fears.


It can free us from the disease of hypochondria, the fear of imaginary illness, with which so many people suffer and sometimes die.


Self-discipline is the means by which we may think our own thoughts, live our own lives as we wish to live them and remain forever free from the evils of fears and the limitations, which we have inherited from the dark ages before the dawn of civilization.


The Creator never gives one an asset or benefit, without passing along with it the means by which it may be embraced and used.


Self-discipline therefore is the means, by which the Creator provided us with a method of embracing and using the only thing, over which we have unchallengeable control - the power of our own thoughts.


And now, until our next visit, may I remind you, that the habit of taking the line of least resistance makes all rivers and some men crooked.


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