Napoleon Hill Success Principles: Two Sealed Envelopes

At the time of your birth, you were given two sealed envelopes. One labelled ‘The Path to Success‘ and the other labelled ‘The Path to Failure‘.

Which one would you choose?ce

If you’re thinking, ‘Duh, isn’t it obvious?’, think again.

Who is Napoleon Hill?


Napoleon Hill was one of the foremost thinkers of our time who wrote about the principles of success. In his initial years, he studied the habits and behaviours of over 500 successful men and women to publish his extremely powerful book called ‘The Law of Success‘.

He further refined his philosophy of success by studying the habits of Andrew Carnegie, one of the most powerful men at that time. Napoleon Hill’s advice was so powerful that he was the advisor to many millionaires and also two presidents of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt!

The Sealed Envelopes

Sealed Envelope
Photo by Justin Henry

In his speeches and books, he often refers to the wisdom of Andrew Carnegie who believed that when we are born, we have the option of choosing between two sealed envelopes. People who choose the first envelope are the ones who to commit to direct the power of their minds to achieve fulfillment and success. They are the ones who go on to become successful in their chosen fields.People who choose the second envelope ignore their inner strengths of the mind and decide to incur the penalties of doing so.

So what do these two sealed envelopes contain within them? What’s the advantage of using your mind’s full potential? Here’s a short video of Napoleon Hill success principles where he talks about the envelopes’ content. He begins with his awesome quote “What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve!”

(If you want to skip to the part about the envelopes start at 2:50)

 Napoleon Hill says that by choosing the first envelope, you must commit to use the power of your mind and direct it to achieve your goals. The envelope reveals the advantages of doing so. Sound Health, Peace of Mind, Doing work that you love ,Freedom from Fear and Worry,Positive Mental Attitude and Material Wealth.

You must be thinking ‘Of course U want to have all of that!’ But how many of the above do you actually possess?

Unfortunately in our age most of us have forgotten to use the power of our minds fully. The result is an imbalanced life which is the same as choosing the second envelope. By doing so, we end up having to pay the price for neglecting this God-given mind. These are ill-health, stress and anxiety, indecision and doubt, frustration, poverty , jealousy , greed and superstition.

Well, it’s never too late to begin. The control of mind is not a feat which is possible for the few. It can be done by everyone once you have your fundamentals right. Give this a try and see how it will help you attain clarity. Write down

What is Your One Major Desire in Life.

This should be the picture of what defines success for you. Make it as clear in your mind as possible and write it down. Remember, the only things limiting your goals are the one which you have set for yourself and let others set for you. Whenever confusion or doubt plagues you, refer to this and you will recover your inner balance and clarity.

What you Wish to Return to the World

Next, write down the list of things you can share with the world and add value to it. It can be as simple a thing as giving sound advice or helping someone in the areas of your expertise. Ask yourself how much of this are you doing in your current lifestyle? This will always help you to kill your self-obsessed patterns of thinking which make you forget the bigger purpose of your life.

Why You are Grateful for What You Have

It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not. Learn to be thankful for all that you have in life. There are millions of people on this planet who do not have even the basic privileges which we take for granted. This habit of gratitude will enable you to reduce irrational fears and keep you positively oriented towards life.

Ingredients for Success

The Law of Success

In the midst of all the self-help books out there, this might seem like advice of the past, But the sheer simplicity of it and its proven effectiveness is something you’ll realize after having given it a try.

As a kid, I read and re-read Napoleon Hill’s book ‘The Law of Success’ and the lessons I learnt from it made me so much more successful than my peers. I’ll just outline them for you and recommend you give the book a try.

The 14 ingredients for success from the book are:

1) Having a Definite Purpose 2) Self-Confidence 3) Initiative and Leadership 4) Imagination. 5) Courage to take Action. 6) Enthusiasm 7) Self-Control 8) The Habit of Doing More than asked for 9)  Pleasing Personality 10) Accurate Thought 11) Concentration 12) Tolerance 13) Ability to handle failure 14) Spirit of  Co-operation.

So what do you think of Napoleon Hill’s wisdom? How will you commit to making use of your full potential? I look forward to hearing your views and hope this post helped add some value to your life.


Are You Ready to be Hired in 2015?

Are you happy with your current role? Or are you searching for a new job?

No matter what your current state, you must have often wondered if you are equipped with the right qualities to get you hired. As the year begins with a bang, the scenario for potential job-seekers is rapidly changing. And your ability to remain relevant to these changing times will determine whether you are ready to be hired or not.

So what are these traits which will make you ready?

Re-inventing Yourself

PC: Hartwig HKD

Think of your personal goals for a second. What is that one habit or behaviour you hate about yourself? From how many months, no wait, years have you been wanting to change it?

Yeah it’s hard. All of us know that we need to change and only then some good things will happen to us. Yet, we don’t. We always seem to want to change but never get around to it.

Why? Because it’s the comfort of the habit which we have accustomed ourselves into.

The professional world is no different. If you have kept following your old ways and patterns, you will end up getting similar jobs and projects.

As industries move from being tightly coupled clusters to closely networked tribes, organizations are increasingly looking for people who can re-invent themselves. Organizations don’t need fossils who are comfortable with their old style habits of working and approach to life.  In order to remain relevant, the need to adapt to the world around is an absolute must.

In order to jump to the next level, you need to change that one thing you know is holding you back. Speed will be a key driver in the years to come and your ability to constantly innovate and mould yourself into who you wish to become will determine your chances of breaking into better jobs.

And how do you do that? By taking the first step. By keeping your new objectives where you can see them. By joining or talking to a like-minded group of people who will create the environment for you to take action.

PsychologyToday wrote a brilliant post about the questions you need to ask in order to drive the change you seek

Does your goal match your values? – The ‘why’ to enable you to seek change

Does it conflict with other priorities in your life? – To prevent contradictory and self-conflicting goals

Can you gain satisfaction from each step? - To measure the inner compass which seeks fulfillment

Is achieving it within your control? - To frame realistic outcomes defined through specific actions which are within your control

I have found these questions to be quite pertinent and helpful when making a decision to change or move forward in a new direction. Both personally and professionally.

I hope they help you in making those changes and re-inventing yourself!

Social Media Presence

Social Media Presence
PC: Khalid Albaih

I have talked about the importance of social media presence as a necessity for leaders who wish to lead the future generation in my ebook. The days where you applied for jobs and waited to be recruited are long gone.

Nowadays, the people who get the jobs they want are the ones who have the courage to go and network with the people who can help them.

In the next few years, your ability to define your brand and clearly state what you can do to add value will make or break your chances.

Many people consider using social media as self-advertising and fake. There might be a few people who might even be doing this. But the majority of people who excel at showcasing their work and strengths on social media have a definite leverage on those who don’t. Make full use of the advantage social media gives to you for building your brand.

Embrace Diversity

PC: Richard Foster

Your ability to get hired will also depend on how well you are able to work with teams which are different from you. Most organizations today stress the need for a global outlook from its employees to tackle this increasing diversity. Forbes says that organizations will move towards increasing their cultural intelligence and this can only happen when they embrace diversity.

As Rohini Anand, Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo put it, “Diversity is much more than just a multicultural issue.  Diversity is about embracing many different types of people, who stand for different things and represent different cultures, generations, ideas, and thinking”  

IBM VP Ron Glover concurs. “Innovation is about looking at complex problems and bringing new views to the table.  Diversity has allowed IBM to be innovative and successful for 100 years and to work across lines of differences in 172 countries, amongst 427,000 employees.”

Are you ready to shed your model of the world and to embrace the emerging diversity?

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Reinventing Yourself
PC: Ryan Hide (Flickr)

It might seem as if everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. You also might have dreamt of starting your own venture and being wildly successful. In fact, there is nothing wrong in desiring to strike out on your own and becoming your own boss.

But it is not a path meant for everyone. Most of the times, for an entrepreneur to become successful, the right combination of internal drive and external circumstances play an important role. And not everyone wants that kind of risk in their lives!

In the coming days, organizations will prefer people who have the spirit of entrepreneurship within them. This is an important quality which has been cultivated through deliberate action by many successful executives. By thinking like entrepreneurs within organizations they become intrapreneurs.

These intrapreneurs are often the superstars you hear about. They are the leader who grow quickly through the ranks and also inspire people around them to push boundaries. And organizations will want more of them!

So what is needed to develop this entrepreneurial mindset?

Take Ownership – Become accountable for whatever projects you take up. Act with the firmness of a person who has invested a personal stake in the project. You will become much more focused and effective.

Have a Vision – Setup a personal vision which tells you where you wish to be in 20 years. Remember this requires commitment and perseverance. Take up projects which enable you to move closer to your vision. This thinking will help you streamline your activities and increase your productivity.

Use Networking to Build Your Business – You already know this. In fact, the knowledge that networking helps is known to all of us. What is missing is the drive to take action in this regard.

Keith Ferrazzi in his book ‘Never Eat Alone’ says “A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need. There’s an implicit understanding that investing time and energy in building personal relationships with the right people will pay dividends. The majority of “one percenters” are in that top stratum because they understand this dynamic—because, in fact, they themselves used the power of their network of contacts and friends to arrive at their present station.” 

Look for New Markets for an Existing Product – Businesses often become stuck in their old way of thinking. That is why they need people who can think outside traditional boundaries like sector, speciality and industry. Opportunities always open up to those who look for them. Learn to look out for markets which are untapped and ignored by the competition.

Once you start practicing these behaviours, you will quickly gain the momentum and agility of an entrepreneur and start making inroads into much beneficial projects.

Expert View

Even top HR heads across sectors agree that these traits will determine your readiness to be hired. Abhijit Bhaduri,Chief Learning Officer of Wipro says “2015 will be the year of agile innovation, learning and careers. Speed will be the single largest determinant of success, and businesses will have to deal with increasing levels of complexity in the race to grab market share. Such business environments demand people who have deep expertise and who can continue to learn by listening to early signals.”

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking and start working on your skills today!


3 Destructive Habits which Make You Mediocre

Do you know what’s the difference between high performers and mediocre ones?


It is often these patterns of behaviour which develop over time which make decide your fate. Habits rule your daily life and determine the perception that people form about you.

Turns out, not just humans but even organizations often overlook the importance of habits and the power of routine! Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit writes “The best agencies understood the importance of routines. The worst agencies were headed by people who never thought about it, and then wondered why no one followed their orders.”

Mediocrity Dilbert
Mediocrity Dilbert

What you do everyday determines your outlook towards life. We all know about habits which are life-threatening and need to be avoided. Most of us consciously stay away from them. But what about those which you sub-consciously start developing due to external pressures and circumstances?

So how can you prevent yourself from becoming mediocre? One way is to consciously define your purpose in life and move towards it. The other is to be aware of tendencies and habits within us which may slowly corrupt the natural drive and willingness to succeed. By cutting off such tendencies regularly and replacing them by productive and empowering habits, you will ensure you don’t end up being one of the mediocre ones.

Remember to watch out for these three destructive tendencies and kill them before they become habits which defeat your potential:


Fear of Change

What will others think of me?”

This is too risky for someone like me to try…”

How many times have these thoughts appeared to you? It might seem our minds have almost been programmed to act with caution when we try to do something out of the ordinary. But you need to be worried if these thoughts begin to occur too frequently. They are a sign that you are letting your inner demon prevent you from attempting anything which is outside your comfort zone.

The truth is no one starts off being mediocre. Mediocrity sets in largely due to a change in mindset which culminates in the formation of habits which limit us from achieving our potential. As you grow up, your innate fearlessness is replaced by a need to comply with the rules and regulations which society imposes on you. Lack of initiative and procrastination begin to develop and become tools which help us avoid taking risks and facing our fears.

These tendencies become part of us with time and before you know it, you become one among those who are content to just skim along the surface of things and not contribute meaningfully to anything. You know what’s the worst thing about letting this habit rule our life? We often end up projecting this fear onto others when someone seems to be trying to break the traditional boundaries. This takes the form of an ugly skepticism where we tell others “Why do you want to take such a big risk? Always better to play safe…” 

Next time, fear raises its ugly head, face it head on and go with your instincts. The more you do this, the less fear limits you. And very soon, courage to try new things will replace the habit of being afraid!

Helpless Indifference

Indifference PC Jan TLk

“What can I do? My boss will never let me do it”

“It’s not my call to take. I’d rather wait and see what my superiors say…”

Doesn’t it make you angry when someone consistently acts helpless? When they don’t even try to act because pretending to be a victim who is helpless is much easier than doing something about it?

Welcome to the habit of helpless indifference. This develops in two ways

a) You stop being accountable for yourself and give others power to make decisions

b) You resign to your fate and accept that you can’t change things to help yourself. So you decide to stop helping others and become indifferent.

Both of these are a surefire way to ensure you join the mediocrity club.

Look around. Your success or failure depends on your ability to add value to people around you. But in the process of doing it, always make sure your ability to be accountable to yourself and the power over your actions remains with you.


PC by Julian Fong

You know the problem with most people who end up being mediocre? They embrace complacency as if it were their best friend. This habit has the maximum destruction potential and needs to be avoided at all costs.

Of all the things, complacency is the easiest way to slip into mediocrity. You are developing complacence when you are:

Satisfied too easily: You stop setting challenging goals for yourself and hence your ability to go beyond your limits stops!

Making Excuses all the time: You would rather lie than help out someone in need. It starts with genuine excuses but you get addicted to the convenience of using it.

Losing the Learning mentality: The worst result of complacency is that you stop learning. Those mental muscles which need to be exercised regularly become used to your laziness and stop performing at their peak potential. The result? You get dumber by the day!

Some of this might sound harsh, but its the reality. In today’s era when everything around you is changing at a breakneck speed, you cannot afford to let such habits impede you from achieving your dreams.

Kill these destructive tendencies now and let me know how it turned out for you.


Wait! Before You Welcome The New Year…

Hey there!

I know you are super-busy making plans for New Year. Before you finalize on those resolutions and head out to your party, here’s some things you need to think about.

Know Thy Strengths

New Year Resolution
PC: Slalit via Flickr CC

Years may come and go but what stays with you and helps you grow are your strengths. Instead of making resolutions which always talk about killing your weaknesses, try focusing on your strengths.

Ask yourself.

 – What are the three best strengths I’ve been naturally blessed with? (These are the things which effortlessly come to you while all others around you seem to be struggling)

- How did I use them in the last year? (If you did not, you are missing the point. Start now!)

- What activities have I done in the past year which have made them stronger?

Focus on doing more of those activities and improve upon them. They will develop your skills which you can build and market. Also, these are the skills people will eventually pay you for!


Knowledge from Books
PC: Casey Fleser via Flickr CC

Knowledge is Power. There’s no denying it.

But knowledge should not be confused with information. Every day we continue to read and absorb so much information thanks to Social media networks, Blogs and Newsletters. We often end up reading anything that comes our way in the hope of gaining knowledge.

Not all of this information translates to useful knowledge. In fact, less than 10% of what you read last year was useful to you in terms of increasing your knowledge in your interest areas. This can be changed easily by building conscious perspective.

Make a list of five topics you wish to learn and build depth in the coming year. Don’t choose all of them from the same area of life. Broaden your horizon. For example, you may choose topics which increase your knowledge about Life, Work, Health, Relationships, Spirituality or Love.

By choosing specific fields of knowledge, you will sub-consciously train your mind to focus on things which add value to you. As a result, the amount of time you will spend on reading junk is reduced. This has worked for me consistently the last 3 years and made my pursuit of knowledge more rewarding.

Try it and see the results for yourself.


Domino Effect
PC: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ via Flick CC

Behavioural patterns are what you create through repetition of actions. Whether addictive or productive, they have been created by you without realizing that you have been reinforcing them by doing them over and over again.

All of us have certain behaviours we want to change. The only way to change them is by taking focused action.

Instead of listing 10 different behaviours you need changing, focus on two or three which are making you lose precious time, health and energy. Work on them and replace them with productive activities such as exercise, meditation or reading. The key is to distract the mind long enough during the craving period where the old behaviours assert themselves.

So there you have it.

3 strengths which help you build your skills.

5 knowledge areas which will help you build depth and make you wiser.

2 behaviours which you can change through replacing them by productive activities.

That’s 10 things which you need to do resolutely! You may also call them resolutions which don’t require herculean sacrifices (Just don’t forget them by February!).  Hope they help you have an amazing new year and become a better you!

Here’s wishing all the readers of Stumble Upon Life a Very Happy New Year!


6 Essentials for Leading Millennials

Have you ever thought what it takes to lead? Ever wondered, what is it that defines leadership in this age of Millennials?

As a race, we continue to evolve. But one trait has always had it’s presence in all our stages of evolution. That trait is Leadership.

We have banked upon great leaders who have shown us the path ahead. And as the world becomes more competitive by the day, the need for leaders who can guide the people around through their vision, courage and the skill of cutting through chaos is at an all-time high.

Not all of us can be leaders in all situations. But when presented with the opportunity, you need to be equipped with the right mindset and confidence in order to be able to lead.

Naturally, through the course of time, the definition of leadership has changed. From physical dominance to expert knowledge to people management, leadership has undergone it’s own evolution.

The big challenge which organizations face today are: How do we manage the next generation? The generation who are restless, highly energetic, driven and seek a purpose in life. What qualities should a person have in order to lead this seemingly diverse set of individuals?

I have tried to summarize the key traits in the infographic below. For a detailed guide, which tells you how to lead and how to harness the power of these qualities, I have written a short and powerful eBook about Leading Millennials which I am giving away free at the end of this post!

Feel free to refer to it anytime you are in doubt. And don’t forget to share the wisdom!


(Click infographic to enlarge) 

Leading Millenials (2)



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