The Strangest Secret - Earl Nightingale

My notes from listening to Earl Nightingale's recording of The Strangest Secret (audio, PDF):

  • "Doctor, what's wrong with men today?" Dr. Albert Schweitzer: "Men simply don't think."
  • We live in the richest era that ever existed on the face of the earth, a land of abundant opportunity for everyone.
  • If you take 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, by the time they're 65 only one will be rich, four will be financially independent, five will still be working, and 54 will be broke (depending on others for life's necessities).
  • Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.
  • Rollo May, in Man's Search for Himself: "The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity." Conformity: people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or where they are going.
  • People with goals succeed because they know where they're going. Failures, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances, by things that happen to them, by exterior forces.
  • Ship without a goal: no crew on it, no captain at the helm. No aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. If it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach.
  • We become what we think about, this is The Strangest Secret!
  • Marcus Aurelius: "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it."
  • Disraeli: "Everything comes if a man will only wait... a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment."
  • William James: "We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterize belief [...] only you must, then, really wish these things, and wish them exclusively, and not wish at the same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly."
  • Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: "If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results."
  • George Bernard Shaw: "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."
  • If you think about nothing, you become nothing.
  • The problem is that our mind comes as standard equipment at birth. It's free. And things that are given to us for nothing, we place little value on. Things that we pay money for, we value. The paradox is that exactly the reverse is true. Everything that's really worthwhile in life came to us free: our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our ambitions, our intelligence, our love of family and children and friends and country. All these priceless possessions are free. But the things that cost us money are actually very cheap and can be replaced at any time. A good man can be completely wiped out and make another fortune. He can do that several times. Even if our home burns down, we can rebuild it. But the things we got for nothing, we can never replace.
  • Think about your goal in a relaxed, positive way. Picture yourself in your mind's eye as having already achieved this goal. See yourself doing the things you will be doing when you have reached your goal.
  • Pay the price, by becoming the person you want to become. It's not nearly as difficult as living unsuccessfully.
  • To be successful in selling our way of the good life, we must be willing to pay the price. What is that price?
    1. You will become what you think about
    2. Imagination: realize your limitations are self-imposed, rise above narrow minded pettiness and prejudice.
    3. Courage: concentrate on your goal every day
    4. Save at least 10% of every dollar you earn
    5. Action: ideas are worthless unless we act on them
  • Russell Conwell: "Your are standing in the middle of your own acre of diamonds"
  • Start today. You have nothing to lose, but you have your whole life to win.
  • 30 days plan:
    1. Write on a card what it is you want more that anything else. Make sure it's a single goal and clearly defined. Look at it several times a day. Think about it in a cheerful, relaxed, positive way each morning when you get up, and immediately you have something to work for: something to get out of bed for, something to live for. Look at it every chance you get during the day and just before going to bed at night.
    2. Stop thinking about what it is you fear. Dorothea Brande: "Act as though it were impossible to fail".
    3. Your success will always be measured by the quality and quantity of service you render. Most people have this law backwards. It's like the man who stands in front of the stove and says to it: "Give me heat and then I'll add the wood."
  • Above all, don't worry! Worry brings fear, and fear is crippling. The only thing that can cause you to worry during your test is trying to do it all yourself. Know that all you have to do is hold your goal before you. Everything else will take care of itself.
  • The only way to earn money is by providing people with services or products which are needed and useful. We exchange our time and our product or service for the other man’s money. Therefore, the law is that our financial return will be in direct proportion to our service. Success is not the result of making money. Making money is the result of success, and success is in direct proportion to our service.
  • No man can get rich himself unless he enriches others.
  • Six steps that will help you realize success.
    1. Set yourself a definite goal.
    2. Quit running yourself down.
    3. Stop thinking of all the reasons why you cannot be successful and instead think of all the reasons why you can.
    4. Trace your attitudes back through your childhood and try to discover where you first got the idea that you couldn’t be successful if that’s the way you’ve been thinking.
    5. Change the image you have of yourself by writing out a description of the person you would like to be.
    6. Act the part of the successful person you have decided to become.