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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?

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 I 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.


Published in GetMotivated People Dynamics Self-Development


  1. rationalraj2000 rationalraj2000

    A wonderful post Nikshep.Happy to note that you belong to the same fraternity of working in HRM. You may like to read my blog on HR-

    • Hey 🙂 Thank you so much! Will check your blog and out and let you know my thoughts! Keep visiting!

  2. Carol Amato Carol Amato


    What a great article! Napoleon Hill is an icon, and what a thought leader he was and still is today.

    Of course, I would want to choose the envelope that promised success, but promising to use my mind and actually doing it are two different things.

    I’ve read Think and Grow Rich, but I have not read The Law of Success, so thanks for recommending it and highlighting it here, Nik.

    Right now, I currently have several books in the works, but will be getting this soon.

    Have a great evening.

    • Hi Carol,

      I am happy that you too are a Napoleon Hill fan 🙂 yes using the mind requires tremendous determination and resolve as you rightly pointed out 🙂 Thank you for your gracious words.


  3. awazieikechi awazieikechi

    Hi Nikshep

    You graciously brought to limelight an icon in the world of success. I read Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success many times so seeing this makes me smile. I have also read Think and Grow Rich which is an awesome book and is a guide to prosperity.

    I do love the concept of the sealed envelopes. Thanks for sharing. Thumbs Nik

  4. Shekhar Shekhar

    Its good work
    Thanks for sharing with us
    Have good day for you

  5. Ahmad Imran (@reasontouse) Ahmad Imran (@reasontouse)

    A good article Nikshep, some thought provoking principles here. thanks for sharing.

  6. Abeesh Thomas Abeesh Thomas

    Thanks for sharing the recipes for success.


    • Thanks Abeesh and welcome to SUL! 🙂

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