The why.

October 15th, 2010

Two phone calls on the same day this week from two of my most respected friends and colleagues about the same subject led to some lively discussion and inspired, personal thought. The subject: Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, probably the most important business book ever written. (See Brain Food posting dated July 30, 2010.)

The question that excites us so much is not how the people described in Hill’s book became famously successful leaders, but why they succeeded. Why them and not others in their field with, perhaps, more education and more resources?

Hill would say it was the “secret” he learned at a young age from Andrew Carnegie. The secret he mentions in every chapter of “Think and Grow Rich,” but doesn’t directly name. It’s the “magic formula” to which Carnegie attributed his tremendous wealth; the one he believed should be taught in all public schools and universities.

The hundreds of successful people Hill interviewed all had a desire to succeed. They had a definite purpose and practical plans to achieve their vision. But what else?

One of the aforementioned conversations this week resulted in an exchange of another TEDTalk video titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action. This one’s by Simon Sinek, author of last year’s Start with Why. After watching this presentation, I think you’ll agree it was worth your time.

And then, when you’re ready, I’d be interested to hear about the why that’s propelling your success. Why not, Wright? I mean, right?

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5 Responses to “The why.”

  1. Great post, Julie. You know I’ve never read “Think and Grow Rich,” since growing rich has never really been on my list of life goals. I think I’ve probably passed up some good ideas on leadership over the years. It’s ironic, maybe “grow rich” isn’t a very good “why.” Titles like that have never grabbed me. That said, Simon’s talk did. It’s got me thinking about the central purposes of what I do and how I communicate those thing.

  2. Julie Tarney says:

    You make some good points, Mary Louise. I appreciate that. I don’t know, but perhaps “Think and Grow Rich” was titled for depression-era marketing. I think a better title would have been “Create a State of Mind That Will Attract All the Components Necessary to Achieve Whatever You Have Deemed Your Burning Desire and Purpose in Life.” But that’s just too long for a book cover. As for riches, Napoleon Hill believed they were measured in more ways than money. So I think he’d agree with you and Simon that wealth or profits are the result of a purposeful “why.” I’m glad this has you thinking. It’s always the thought that counts.

  3. Lily L Drew says:

    I have to say that “the why” definitely had a major impact on my life. It helped me narrow my focus of what I wanted, but more importantly helped me to ask myself why I wanted it. I had never previously asked myself this question and now realize its tremendous importance in defining one’s future success. I found that this gave me the tools to challenge myself and push myself further to find my ultimate purpose.

  4. Julie Tarney says:

    What a wonderfully reflective comment, Lily. I’m excited for you, because, clearly, you are creating your most successful professional experience ever. And that’s what contributes to my “why.” Thank you!

  5. […] Simon Sinek’s ideas on the overriding importance of why you do what you do that triggered my post on Oct. 15th titled “The why.” And I was compelled to revisit the subject after Dan Burrier’s […]

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