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.


Profound Life Advice from Comic Strips

If someone gave you a newspaper and asked you to pick just one thing to read from it, what would you pick?

My answer: Comic Strips.

Why you ask?

1. Because they are awesome

2. Get awesomer by the day as you fall in love with the characters

3. Give you a no bullshit version of the world around you.

It’s true. Whether people realize it or not, comic strips represent that tiny-little voice inside all of us which knows what’s the right thing to do.

One more thing. Turns out they give life advice too!

Over the years, I’ve started counting on comic strips to give me that instant motivation, wisdom and courage to act. Heck, sometimes they have given me the much needed push to go and face my worst fears. And if read at the right time, they are more powerful than a hundred self-help books put together.

So here’s a bunch of profound life advice from comic strips which have made me infinitely wiser!


If there is one thing which is common to all of us in times of crisis, its our ability to freak out and make things a thousand times worse than they are. What is needed in such situations is to put the situation in the right context so our irrational fears fall into their rightful little places.

This one from Calvin and Hobbes always reminds me of the need for perspective in life. Everytime I feel that I’m down in the dumps, or that a bad event seems like the end of the world, Calvin wakes me up by saying ‘Look around you and get real. Things could’ve been a lot worse.’

So next time you are freaking out, losing all control of yourself and blinding your decision making ability by telling yourself that you’re screwed, check this out!

Calvin on Balloon


All of us start out dreaming of becoming great. Maybe not world-famous great, but someone who grows up to be a person who enjoys his/her life, someone who is happy, content and inspired at the same time!

But often, as we grow up, we forget the dreams which were so dear to us. The so called ‘real world’ with its rules and regulations ends up forcing us to choose paths which were probably never meant for us. The end result? Regret!

Cyanide and Happiness

Cyanide and Happiness is a comic which reminds us of what’s important in life. Hold on to your dreams and strive to choose paths which enable you to do what you always wanted. If you feel absolutely certain flipping burgers gives you the maximum happiness, go for it. Better a happy cheeseburger man than a regret-filled astronaut!

Stop Thinking, Start Doing

Garfield, our favourite lazy cat might not like to do much other than sleep and eat. But hey, he gets his Zen wisdom bang on! For those of you with the disease of second guessing every decision and over-thinking, just do it already!

Garfield Zen Cat

When in Deep Trouble, Take a Chill Pill

Hagar the Horrible. The mighty Viking warrior. Slayer of enemies, washer of his wife’s clothes. No matter how worse the situation gets, he knows how to listen to his inner voice which tells him ‘Drop your troubles to the side for a bit and chill out! The solution will come on its own!’

Hagar the Horrible

Make your own Rules

The Charlie Hebdo incident teaches us one thing. If your beliefs are guided by someone else’s definition of what’s divine, what’s sacred and what’s meaningful, you will end up a pathetic loser. The human race has seen more than enough people being misguided by blind faith and apparent authority. It’s time we learnt from history.


Non Sequitur - Religion


Here’s the thing guys. In the long run, it will not matter whether you made those millions or not. It will not matter if you managed to become world-famous or just remained an unknown entity. What WILL matter, is whether you were able to live by your beliefs. The beliefs which YOU framed for yourself after questioning everything you came across. The values which you defined and lived through deep understanding. What will matter is whether you had the guts to define your own rules.

 Purpose of Life

During bad times, it’s easy to lose trust in the things around us and begin to question everything. It’s easy to justify impulsive actions by telling yourself you are just living in the moment and enjoying yourself.

Calvin and Hobbes -Life

True wisdom lies in knowing that you need to keep your head in the right place. Especially when everything else around you is falling apart. And the only way to do this is to watch what’s in front of you and deal with it one step at a time. Ironically that’s also how you stop letting momentary success get in your head!

Laughing at Yourself

This is the great thing about comic strips. They teach you to laugh at yourself! So what if my blog is not read by millions of readers, I will still air my opinions on it and tweet it like it’s the most profound thing ever said!

Being Five Blogger

Hope these awesome comics help you become wise too!


Monkey see Monkey do

Monkey see monkey do

Lethargy.Circumstances. Poverty. Responsibilities. Time. Lack of Talent. Luck.

The things people blame for not doing what they always wanted. I am not talking about routine things like going to office and earning a decent paycheck. One way or another we all manage to get motivated to do those. Because our very survival depends on it. And God knows there are enough self-help authors all claiming to convince you that you can self-help yourself by reading more of their books!What I am talking about is the stuff which people dream of yet never do anything to achieve them.

I must confess, I have probably read more self-help books than an average Joe out there. But the motive wasn’t just self-help. I have always been curious to find out what enables some humans to be great while others seem to want greatness equally badly but never achieve it! Is it that they were not born as gifted? Or is it that they don’t put in the required hard work?

It is tragic that the average person seems to put in more hours at work, gets more stressed  and is always dissatisfied despite the back-breaking work he does. Yet, he knows he is nothing more than a survivor living from paycheck to paycheck trying to make sure he has enough saved for a rainy day and hoping he catches a lucky break and makes it big. All this while the successful person seems to waft through life going from high-powered meetings, deals, golf, family and vacations. So what is it that’s really going on??

I believe that the ones who succeed are the people who have the guts to begin what they want and have the courage to fail. The world seems to have conditioned all of us into being so afraid of failure that without knowing we begin to accept mediocrity. We begin to tell ourselves this is the end of the line. That next role, that next title, that next promotion is all we have to compete mindlessly for. Never bothering to stop and ask “Wait. Why the hell am I killing myself trying to achieve something which I didn’t want in the first place!”

Are you also one among those who have forgotten why you started your day job? Do you go to work to do what you love? Or was this job supposed to enable you to achieve what you really wanted? Is your fear of failure so overwhelming that you have forgotten how it is to try something new, fail, dust yourself up with a grin and try the next thing you wanted to? When in doubt always remember the greatest successes started out with bumbling failures. Like the Japanese saying which makes me shake off any fear and helps break my mental barriers – Even monkeys fall from trees!”  So go and try something new today! May the monkey in you rise!

Raining Cats, Stray Dogs: Zen and the Autowallah

There is this thing about wisdom. It meets you in unexpected places.
It was a cloudy evening in Bangalore. I spent a couple of hours at Blossoms – a book store on Church street housing thousands of books – new and old – making it a bookworm’s paradise. One encounters all sorts of people there – Collectors of interesting books. People who seem to have spent their lifetime in that store just looking for that next book to buy. Average Joes like me trying to get a good price for expensive books. Nerds and Geeks. Good looking girls (Rare occurrence. Just like everywhere else, they seem to come and go just to ensure we don’t forget them. I usually can’t locate them after 10 minutes). Then there are these:
a) People searching for weird books -
“Excuse me, do you happen to have ‘Does God ever speak through Cats’ by David Evans?”
Store Manager: (Poker face. Thinks for a full 2 minutes pretending to know…) “Try First floor. Near Science fiction”
Turns out there is such a book 
Does God Ever Speak through Cats
b) People pretending to be filthy rich -
“Hey, Hi. I happen to have like two or three thousand Marvel comic books. Will you accept them?”

Store Manager: “Sure Sir. Send them over. We’ll take a look”
Dude gets all excited now. Smiles knowingly at his pretend-rich girlfriend and overplays his charity card
“You know, I just want other people to also read and enjoy them. Nowadays its rare to find these kind of comics. Haha. Emm by the way… how much do you pay for them?”

Store Manager: (Plays his ace card. He has seen too many of this type) “Sir, it depends. But I think 150-200 rupees is a reasonable price depending on the condition of the books”
“Oh wow. Great. I will send my driver tomorrow morning only! That’s terrific!”
His girlfriend senses something fishy. She asks the store manager. “You will give 150 rupees for the Superman comics na? The small the 40 page ones? Thin and long?” She shows the dimensions with her hands.

Store Manager:(smirking) “Whaaat madam? For those books we pay 5 rupees to maximum 20 rupees. I thought Saar had original Superman collection”
Dude is deflated. His true net worth hovers on his face now.
Anyway I digress. So me and my old buddy from college are trying to pick up some cool books at dirt-cheap prices. I get irritated seeing Murakami books are sold at 400 a piece even here. After an hour or so, we finally pick up a few books (Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) . We see the rain outside and decide to wait it out for another 15 minutes hoping the rain subsides.
I decide to re-visit the spirituality section in hope of finding that rare book which would grant me insights into enlightenment and wisdom. I quickly scan the titles. There are the usual Yoga, meditation, Osho books. Then there are books on Buddhism,translations of Upanishads and new-gen Scientology books. Ahh…I finally spot a little Zen book promising quick nuggets of wisdom. I randomly open a page and read this story:
A monk asked Joshu, “Has the dog the Buddha nature?”
Joshu replied, “Mu”
(Note: ‘Mu’ in Japanese means ‘No’ or ‘Does not have’)

I rack my brain trying to figure out this one. I don’t get it. I quietly hide the book in the shelf lest someone else gets the story and makes me look dumb. I continue to scan the section trying to see if I can find a simpler book which I can make sense of. The thing is life has this habit of sending me loud signals. As if it knows subtlety might not do the job. And it usually sends me repeated messages just in case I don’t get it the first time. Or the second.
First sign: I am happily searching for more books when my phone starts ringing. It’s my girlfriend. She gives me her warning. “Dude I am almost reaching your place. You better not leave me alone with your folks like you did last time” She cuts the call. I sigh and look at the sky outside.  Still heavily raining. I decide to give it another ten minutes.
Second sign: I spot a nice looking book which is kept sideways on the top shelf. Kept at a place where only a six-footer like me can reach. It has picture of trees and is green and nice. I smile and reach out. Pick it up and this is what stares at me:
How Green were the Nazis
 OK. Someone actually wrote this shit. And it ended up in the Spirituality section. I get the hint. I decide to see what my buddy is upto. He is hovering near the exit looking at something intently. It’s a set of tarot cards. He laughs and opens the deck. He says “Go ahead. Let’s see what your future has in store for you!”
Third and final sign: I pick up a random tarot stuck in the middle. This is what I pick up (I am not kidding here. I have a witness for this event)
Tarot Death
I do the same exercise with him and he picks up an upside down naked hanging man. He obviously finds it hilarious! I stop thinking about the rain and head towards the exit. Wave a quick goodbye and try catching an auto while getting heavily drenched.
Catching an auto in the rain requires tremendous amounts of luck. The auto drivers realize their new leverage and hike up their asking rates. I meet the same fate for a good 10 minutes with them asking me to cough up anywhere between 300 – 500 rupees! Most of them ignoring me while targeting troubled westerners, making them pay atleast 500 rupees for a 30 rupee ride.
Finally a serene-looking auto guy stops and asks me my destination. “Rajajinagar!” I blurt out, with rain covering my glasses making it almost impossible to see. He says ‘Kutkoli Saar’ (‘Get in Sir’ in Kannada), turns the meter on and zooms ahead once I am seated. No haggling. No cheap tricks. Pure professionalism.
After a while, I settle down and the usual autodriver-customer banter begins. We bitch about the state of roads, Municipal Corporation and the shitty weather. We are ten minutes away from my place. Unable to resist, I ask him why he didn’t ask me for more money when he could have easily got it. He gives me a stunning answer:
“Sir, I am a simple, hardworking person. I have heard somewhere that no matter how many corners you try to cut, Karma always catches up with you. I have seen these autowallahs charge hundreds of rupees extra from helpless customers. They don’t realize it but they usually end up losing that money and more in bribing the corrupt cops, repairing their autos which breakdown for no reason or getting caught by moneylenders whom they owe money. I have been driving this auto for 20 years and it has broken down only twice before.”
I am at a loss for words. I just smile. He deftly manoeuvres his auto between two cars and continues, “The funny thing is, I have seen some customers who are equally strange. Some are generous and end up giving me an extra 20-30 rupees. Some fight with me for their remaining 1 rupee. People don’t seem to realize that there is no shortcut in life. Either for success, money or fame. No person has the power to be God no matter how much power he accumulates. I guess you need to have nothing at some point of time in your life to understand the value of things.”
I nod and agree with him. We near my street and I ask him to bank left. A stray dog barks at us. It suddenly hits me. ‘Mu’. The meaning of the Zen story. All beings do possess Buddha-nature. But the very question of a dog would not exist had the disciple realized his oneness with all beings. The ‘Mu’ was supposed to negate and crush the student’s personal barriers and concepts and set him free.
The auto reaches my place. The meter shows 130 rupees. I thank the auto driver, pay him 150 and get out.
Is there any point searching for wisdom outside? In books, thoughts, lectures or speeches?