Napoleon Hill

The Master Key to Success


The Eight Principle: Enthusiasm



Our eighth visit brings us to the subject of enthusiasm, which may be likened to steam in a boiler. Which, when it is controlled and turned on, starts the wheels of machinery into action.


Someone has said that knowledge is power. That is only a half truth. Our knowledge become power only when it is put into action for the attainment of a definite objective.


Enthusiasm is one of the more powerful means by which we may put into action our education, experience and knowledge.


Spoken words without enthusiasm are often ineffective and sometimes they can be actually boresome. As you of course know, if you have noticed the effect a speaker without enthusiasm has on his listeners.


I have known lecturers to hold audiences spellbound for 2 hours. Yet, when members of the audience were asked to tell what the speaker had said, they could not remember. But what they did remember was that the speaker got their attention and held it.


And now let me explain why enthusiasm has such a powerful impact on the minds of those who come under its influence. To begin with, I believe you'll be interested in knowing that your brain and every other person's brain is both a broadcasting station and a receiving station, which sends out thought vibrations and picks up those sent out by other people.


When you turn on your enthusiasm, you step up the vibrations of thoughts which go out from your brain so that they reach and affect other people more quickly.


As a matter of fact, you can send out thoughts which have been so stepped up with sound enthusiasm that they will reach and influence other people to whom you direct your thoughts. This is a fact which has been known to psychologists

for ages. And it is also known to most master salesmen who use this method to condition the minds of their prospective buyers before they ever talk with them.


You must have observed that enthusiasm is very contagious. That it engages the attention of those who come under its influence and cause them to respond in a similar spirit of enthusiasm.


I once heard Andrew Carnegie say, that if you turn loose one man who thought in terms of intense enthusiasm in an industrial plant employing thousands of people, this man's enthusiasm would very quickly reach and influence every person in the plant. And, he said it made not the slightest difference whether the enthusiasm was negative or positive, constructive or destructive.


Then Mr. Carnegie went on to explain that in the selection of employees for promotion to bigger jobs, the first thing he looked for was a man's capacity to express himself in terms of intense enthusiasm. He said that enthusiasm is one of the most important traits necessary for leadership.


The most successful lawyers are not necessarily those who know most about the legal profession, but they are those who know how to influence courts and juries with their belief in their cases, and have a great capacity for expressing

themselves with enthusiasm.


When you are introduced to another person you have a marvellous opportunity to sell yourself favourably to that person by the extent of the enthusiasm you express in accepting the introduction. When you shake hands with another

person you have also a fine opportunity to make a favourable impression by the warmth of enthusiasm you put into that handshake.


If there is anything which leaves me flat and unfavourably impressed when I am introduced, it's an extended hand which feels like a piece of cold ham and acknowledges the introduction with a cold, canned "pleased to meet you" with no signs of enthusiasm in back of it.


Now right here let me give you a brief course in salesmanship which may be of value to you the remainder of your life. When you meet anyone on whom you wish to make a favorable impression, when it is a stranger you have not previously met or someone with whom you are already acquainted, do these things:


1. Turn on your enthusiasm, and so modulate your voice with it that you definitely make the other person feel you are happy to communicate with him.


2. When you shake his hand, take a firm grip on it and give it a quick firm squeeze at the end of each word you express in your greetings. For example, say how do you do, I am so very glad to meet you! Do not crush the hand however, as I have known some people to do.


3. And then if you begin the conversation, be sure that you direct it to some subject of interest to the other person.


4. Follow through by eagerly asking questions which will keep attention focused upon the other person. Then when you are ready to have the other person hear what you have to say about yourself, or your interests, or your business, he will have been prepared to listen attentatively.


I have often told my students of salesmanship that the best possible way for one to sell himself to others is, to first sell the others to themselves. That counsel was sound when I began training salesmen over thirty years ago, and it is still sound.

When I was a youngster in school, I discovered that the teachers from whom I learned the most were those who expressed the greatest enthusiasm in their teaching.


And I have heard an experienced doctor say that the enthusiasm he carries into the sick room with him has more to do with helping to bring about a cure than all the medicine he can prescribe.


Enthusiasm is an expression of a positive mental attitude, and it has long been known to doctors that a positive mental attitude stands high on the list of influences which give one sound health.


I have heard it said, for example that only one thing causes stomach ulcers and that is worry or a negative mental attitude.


And only one thing can cure stomach ulcers and that is a positive mental attitude. It seems that disease germs cannot live and thrive in the bloodstream of one whose mind is always positive.


I have still another very important observation concerning the power of enthusiasm which I wish to give you.


I have observed that prayers expressed with intense enthusiasm bring much quicker and more satisfactory results.


Now you can try this for yourself and be convinced. I began experimenting with this idea many years ago, and from my experiences, I gathered the information which caused me to change my method of prayer entirely.


I now use the prayer I recommended to you on previous visits with the gratifying results that I get quicker and more favorable action from my prayers than I did when I expressed them in a spirit which lacked enthusiasm.


I suggest that a very practical way to begin learning to express yourself with enthusiasm will be to follow the habit of reading aloud for 10 minutes daily, putting all the enthusiasm at your command into your reading.


You will be surprised in a short while of how much this will help you in speaking with enthusiasm in your ordinary conversations.


I would suggest also that you adopt the habit of practicing enthusiasm in your conversations with your family and your business associates. Incidentally, this habit will make you more popular with those who are close to you. You can enjoy the benefits of enthusiasm if you are interested enough to develop a technique by which to acquire this habit so you will follow it in a natural unaffected tone of voice.


If you follow my suggestion that you read for ten minutes daily as a means of acquiring the habit of enthusiasm, I recommend that you write down a list of 10 subjects, things or circumstances in which you have the keenest interest, and use this list for your practice purposes. You will have no difficulty in reading in a tone of enthusiasm in connection with the things that you like best.


And finally, if you have not already picked up some useful ideas as to how the habit of enthusiasm can be developed or what causes one to be enthusiastic, let me give you an example which may provide you with an interesting clue.


You will perhaps remember when you were courting the person of your choice, or being courted as the case may be, you needed no one to tell you how or why to be enthusiastic.


Of course not, because the motive of love or affection took care of this without effort on your part. Just remember that enthusiasm is always easily expressed when one is inspired by a burning desire for something or any motive associated with one's closest interests.


Where there is no motive, there is apt to be no enthusiasm.


Remember also, that the three basic motives which it has been said, practically rule the world are:


1. The emotion of love


2. The emotion of sex


3. The desire for financial gain


A combination of all three of these motives, it has been claimed, can convert a mediocre person into a genius, and I'll leave the thought with you for consideration.


And now, until our next visit, I ask that you try the habit of moving with enthusiasm in all of your daily work and see how much better you will feel.


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