In this episode, I review the first chapter of Think and Grow Rich.
I really love how the author, Napoleon Hill, writes about “the art of converting defeat into stepping stones to opportunity.” Hill wanted to help people learn this valuable skill by finding the answers in his book.
One of the answers is found in the idea of being persistent in your goals even when it’s not the right time, or as Hill writes “being in no position to act upon it.”
This idea is illustrated with the inspiring story of Edwin C. Barnes.
Another theme is the act of studying past failures so that you can potentially acquire the knowledge that leads to success. In this case, R.U. Darby’s experience with his uncle is a prime example of that.
To help us all better absorb the information, I’ve included some chapter resources that I mention in the podcast (below).
You’ll find questions, inspired by the stories, that you can ask yourself when in similar situations. This way, it can help focus your mind in the direction of solutions.
I also created a downloadable graphic called “When Misfortune or Temporary Defeat Appears.” I distilled the information about how “temporary defeat” or “misfortune” turns into an opportunity and eventually success. (I’ve personally used this chart to stay in the right headspace when things get hard. I suggest that you keep this resource on your mobile device, or print it out and tape it up where you can easily access it.)
Link Mentioned On This Episode:
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- What solutions will get you closer to your goals? In other words, if you had no other choice BUT to succeed, what would you do to make it happen?(This question is inspired by the story of Edwin C. Barnes, and how he had everything going against him, yet he still managed to get that partnership with Thomas A. Edison.)
- How can you turn any obstacle into an advantage? (This question is inspired by the story of R.U. Darby and his uncle who stopped just 3 feet from gold. Darby applied the resulting lesson of persistence in another business venture and recouped his loss many times over.)
FREE Download: When Misfortune or Temporary Defeat Appears
As an added bonus, you can get this infographic and other chapter resources for Think and Grow Rich by clicking here.
Thank you so much for your support! In the next episode, you’ll find out how to distinguish between fear and intuition so you know whether you should pursue something or not. Enjoy!
(I’m using an automated transcription service so please excuse any weirdness in the text. Thanks for understanding! 🙂 )
Episode 003 – The Art Of Converting Defeat Into Stepping Stones To Opportunity
Hi everybody. This is Jenny at Creation Peak. Welcome to episode three.
Today we're going to be talking about what Napoleon Hill calls the “art of converting defeat into stepping stones into opportunity,” so if you could use some perspective on putting temporary obstacles into context, be sure to stick around.
Thank you so much for tuning in. If you're already subscribed to the show, thank you so much for being a part of the Creation Peak tribe. I really appreciate you and if you're new here for the first time, please make sure you subscribe to the show because I talk about the mindset and well-being topics that help you take care of yourself as an entrepreneur or just someone who's determined to reach your goals.
In today's episode, I want to get into a discussion of chapter one of Think and Grow Rich. If you haven't listened to it yet, you can find this recording in episode two. In this discussion, I'm going to review two major points in this chapter that are key for a success conscious mindset and you can actually put these into practice starting today. A big part of that is learning what Napoleon Hill calls “the art of converting defeat into stepping stones to opportunity.”
Now as someone going after your goals, you know that obstacles inevitably show up and make an appearance and that's why it's important to have the right head space about it so you don't quit before you reach your destination and you have the necessary framework to keep things in perspective. Lastly, I'm going to share a resource that I created to help remind you of this lesson, so what becomes a part of your habits and you're better prepared for the next bump in the road. I'm really excited to get into this episode.
There are so many gems in chapter one alone that I feel like it's really easy to miss things. At least I did in the beginning and probably still do honestly, but Think and Grow Rich is the type of book you should read several times, and this recording is my way of helping us all absorb the information better.
Plus, you might be going through some of the issues described in this chapter and I thought it would be really helpful to discuss the information that you might need at this point in time. A big part of this chapter is desire and being persistent enough to carry through to the end. Now, how many times have you wanted something only for it to seem like somebody just had it out for you and wanted to throw every possible roadblock in your way? Who can relate? I can. It's like the more you go after something or the more progress you make, the more the contrasting stuff shows up. It's really bizarre how that happens. When things like this used to happen to me, I used to misread the situation and think that it just meant that my goal wasn't meant to be and this book was one of the resources that really pointed out that that was just not the right kind of thinking and I needed to change.
So for example, in chapter one we read about how Edwin C. Barnes pad the desire to work with Thomas A. Edison and not for him. Now that's pretty intense because he didn't want to be as employee. He wanted to be as partner. There were two huge roadblocks for barns, for example, he didn't even know Edison to begin with and he didn't even have the railroad fare to make the trip to get to him. This was the perfect situation for him to write it off as being not the right time or not meant to be. And I think a lot of people would have supported him in that thinking and I could see how this would have been big enough to stop most people from moving forward. I mean it would have been the easier thing to do, but that's where the lessons in persistence comes in and we get a really good example of that.
In the book. It seemed like Barnes’ desire held much greater weight than what Hill describes as being in no position to act upon it. This particular situation forced barns to think of alternate ways to get to Edison and eventually become his partner. And he did do those things and got exactly what he wanted, but before he did reach that success, he did have to think of those alternate solutions in his specific example to get to Edison, he traveled by what was known as “blind baggage” or traveling on a freight train, and he also took whatever position Edison would give to him because he knew that would get him closest to his goals. So if you personally are currently facing some obstacle, here's where the lessons in desire and persistence really serve you because it actually gives you the opportunity to ask yourself with an open mind what other solutions are available to you that will carry you to your goals?
In other words, if you had no other choice but to achieve your desire, what are some options that you might not have even considered yet? And, that leads me to another great lesson in this chapter opportunity in writing about Barnes’ goal to partner with Edison. Something really caught my attention when Hill wrote, “when the opportunity came, it appeared in a different form and from a different direction than Barnes had expected. That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in the back door and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat. Perhaps that is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.”
Did you catch that part about opportunity coming disguised as misfortune or temporary defeat?This really struck a chord with me because I can certainly match different events in my own life that fit that description.
In fact, it makes me think of something that happened a few years ago. It has nothing to do with business, but it had to do with something coming into my experience that looked like a major step back, but it actually was a blessing in disguise. My partner and I were looking for a house a few years ago. It was a new city and we'd been looking for a while just not finding anything. We were temporarily staying with my parents while we were searching and we were just really anxious to get settled. If you've ever moved, I'm sure you know how that is, so we finally found a house that would work. We had a dog at the time so it had the right size yard and all that. We were set to close. We had that end date, but the seller ended up having this unforeseen issue with a, I think it was an easement or something and nobody saw this coming and that was going to postpone our clothes for awhile.
I think it was like a month at first. It ended up being a lot longer. We were pretty upset because we just wanted to get settled and around that same time we had this crazy issue show up with our loan. It was weird because again, nobody had any idea it was coming and it came at the last minute and that caused a delay on our end. But, the strange thing was that the complications on both the seller's end and on our end ended up taking about the same amount of time. So if not for the easement complications, which we thought for sure are temporary defeat and misfortune and all that, I'm sure we would have lost the house and just been back to square one, and just goes to show that at the time we didn't have enough information to know how this seeming misfortune was actually a blessing and it all worked out.
So back to Hill's book, more importantly, this lesson in spotting opportunity actually made me take a hard look into my past to see what I might have mislabeled as failure. Now that's a really vulnerable position to be in because you have to kind of take a hard look at what's happened in your life, but it's progress when you can learn from it. And, while it was motivating to read about Barnes’ ability to recognize opportunity, I also found it really helpful when he'll describe the flip side when he wrote about the experience of R.U. Darby and his uncle and how they stopped drilling for the gold they were pursuing because they had allowed temporary defeat to take over. So the story goes that Darby and his uncle quit their pursuit of gold after not finding anything. After a while, they'd actually tapped into a vein of gold and then it just disappeared.
So they gave up, sold their machinery, and it was actually the man who purchased their machines that ended up picking up where they left off and he found the vein of gold three feet from where they stopped drilling. Can you imagine? In the story, Darby took this lessons of perseverance to heart and used it to his advantage when he changed careers and ultimately became successful. But, somebody else could have gone through that same life experience and just use it as a reason to be bitter the rest of their lives. This book and some of the other resources I'll introduce you to later on have actually influenced me and reminded me of what temporary defeat actually is. If you're an entrepreneur too or somebody who's going after your goals, you know there will be a lot of instances of this. So what I do when the crap hits the fan is I started making myself associated as positive because I know it means something great is nearby or that I'm at least moving forward.
I wish I could say I never get upset or stressed when it does make an appearance, but at the very least my recovery time is so much quicker because I know how to properly put this into context and I know the situations like this actually serve me because I get to ask myself how could I turn it into an advantage which turns into inspiration and I would never think this way if I was allowing the failure consciousness to take over. And, this makes me think of Hill's words when he writes, “failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight and tripping one when success is almost within reach.”So the next time you encounter this temporary defeat, I'd ask you to look closely and see how it might be disguised as a blessing. And then you can ask yourself, how can you turn this into an advantage that you can use to get closer towards your goals?
Here's something to make that easier. I mentioned that I have a resource for you and I thought about it when I was creating it. How can I help reinforce the lesson of converting defeat into stepping stones to opportunity? So what I did was create a visual chart, mapping the pathway of temporary defeat and how it does lead to opportunity. This way you can remind yourself of what's truly happening when it makes an appearance and it will keep you going towards your success. So I wanted to provide this chart because I know from experience that when you're in the midst of whatever the obstacle is, it is so easy to only see the problem and get lost in the illusion of failure. This chart is something I suggest you keep on your mobile device or you can print it and tape it to wherever. You can look at it whenever you want.
Sometimes we just need that reminder to keep going and it's my way of virtually supporting you when things are hard because we really are all in this together. Before I end this episode, I want to leave you with the poem that Hill references in chapter one:
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,Black as the pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade,And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how straight the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll,I am the master of my fate,I am the captain of my soul.
Thank you so much Creation Peak Tribe. You're incredible for giving me this opportunity to share information with you and I sincerely hope you enjoyed this episode.
So if you haven't already done so, please make sure you hit subscribe because we have another chapter of Think and Grow Rich coming as well as other mindset and well-being strategies that will help you reach your goals.
And the other thing I want you to do after listening to this episode is please visit creationpeak.com/tagr
These are the initials for the Think and Grow Rich book. So you can go grab that chart I was talking about along with the show notes for this episode.
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