The road to riches: the importance of decisiveness according to Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill devoted 25 years to finding out how the wealthy became that way, compiling his results into a thirteen-step guide for anyone to follow. I wanted to review his principles and master my procrastination so I decided to read Think and Grow Rich...

By Amy Fisken


The importance of being decisive

One of the biggest obstacles that we face, which can keep us from moving forward with our lives, is our difficulty when it comes to making decisions. This may be because we are too hesitant of making the wrong decision, or that we are overwhelmed by the sheer number of options that we have. Our resultant indecisiveness prevents us from taking any action at all. This is emphasised by Hill who states, 'Procrastination, the opposite of decision is a common enemy that practically everybody must conquer.' 

Hill believes that indecision is a habit that usually begins in youth. The habit takes on permanency as a child goes through school and sometimes even through university or college without definiteness of purpose. He argues that, ‘The major weakness of all educational systems is that they neither teach nor encourage the habit of definite decision.’

When looking at the information gathered from over 25,000 men and women who had experienced failure, lack of decision was almost top of the list of the 30 major causes. Hill claims, ‘this is no mere statement of theory – it is a fact.’

Hill’s analysis of several hundred people who accumulated fortunes well beyond the million-dollar mark disclosed the fact that every one of them had the habit of  ‘reaching decisions promptly and changing these decisions slowly.’ He goes on to say that, ‘People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.’

Keep our own counsel

Hill claims that, ‘The majority of people who fail to accumulate money sufficient for their needs are, generally, easily influenced by the opinions of others.’

They allow the media or the opinions of those who surround them to do their thinking for them. Hill outlines his belief that, ‘Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them.’ As a result, if you are influenced by the opinion of others when you are reaching your own decisions, Hill argues that you will not succeed in achieving your goal.  Especially when it comes to trying to realise that goal into money. 

Often we can let the fear of embarrassment prevent us from forming or sharing our opinions. Friends and family can, while not meaning to do so, mock your opinions in an attempt to be humorous.  Hill describes how this can result in thousands of men and women carrying inferiority complexes with them through life because someone destroyed their confidence in jest.  

Hill emphasises the importance of recognising that you have a brain and mind of your own, use it and reach your own decisions. Keep your own counsel. If you need facts and information from other people to enable you to reach your decisions, acquire it. But be confident in your decisions once you have reached them and follow them through. 

Actions speak louder than words 

As Hill has emphasised those who reach decisions promptly and definitely know what they want and generally get it. The leaders in every walk of life decide quickly and firmly, and Hill believes that this is why they are leaders. However, he highlights that people make room for them not only because their words show they know where they’re going, their actions do too. He writes, ‘Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it.’ 

Ultimately, reaching a decision is not enough in itself. You have to act on it. ‘Financial independence, riches, desirable business and professional positions are only within reach of the person who chooses to expect, plan and demand these things.’ 


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