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.


Warren Buffett Unplugged: What I learnt from the Sage of Omaha


“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

-Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett Secrets

The advent of the 21st century has brought in a mad frenzy to make huge sums of money and this has increasingly led to the disparity between the rich and the poor. In fact, many people are questioning whether the concept of healthy capitalism exists anymore at all. However despite all its critics, capitalism has a strange champion. One, who through his strict adherence to his values and simple yet, powerful thinking has managed to remain one of the most wealthy and successful men on earth : Warren Buffet.

Warren Buffet stands out from all the other Gods of the business world due to his approach to life and his insistence on what he calls ‘Creating Value’. Buffet advises that any person is sure to achieve success in fields where his natural strengths are used. Buffet calls this using the ‘Circle of Competence’  rather than frittering one’s energies trying to follow the latest trends.

Listed here are  some insights and principles which have helped me over the years:

Personal Philosophy  – The Inner Scorecard Principle

The Inner Scorecard principle stresses the importance of being the best at what you do even if no one around you appreciates you immediately for it. It says consistency of quality and excellence in actions are bound to bring superior and sustainable results in the future. The challenge is to continue doing what you do even if it appears to not produce any results.

Rodin Thinking Man

Buffet asks “Would you rather be the world’s greatest lover, but have everyone think you are the world’s worst lover? Or would you rather be the world’s worst lover but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest lover?”

My approach to my career and business life derives heavily from this personal philosophy of Buffet. In fact, my decision to join a B-School did not come till I had discovered my strengths as a communicator.  My past decision to quit a lucrative software job to pursue a career in Training which offered a relatively low salary was largely driven by Buffet’s Inner Scorecard principle. And I am confident, as I see my life moving in the direction I always wanted, that it was the right decision to make.

Wealth Decisions -Value Investing


Another principle of Buffet which I love is the concept of ‘Value Investing’. Buffet learnt it from his mentor Benjamin Graham and he claims this is what helped him get to where he is now. Value Investing is a concept where one identifies a firm’s intrinsic value before investing in it. This often involves buying stocks which might not be the best performers according to the so-called experts.

This concept can be extended to our decision making as most often, we take them without estimating their true value. It has helped me realize that focusing on short term gains might cause more harm than good.

Brand Building: Patience and Integrity

Brand Building

Warren Buffet feels that the most valuable quality in an investor is Patience. He says, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” There have been numerous instances when impatience has hampered my chances at success and I have found that most of the times, patience combined with perseverance carries a person through both business and life.

Another quality which stands out in Buffet is his integrity. He once famously said,” If you have the highest intelligence and ambition but no integrity, I would not even consider you as a candidate for my firm”.

My way of adopting this into my life is to be as honest and transparent as possible in all the things that I do. His message has also inspired me to share my learnings and insights with others. Even if it helps one person in his lifetime, I would consider my life well-lived. And I am confident that if I adhere to Buffet’s principles, I do not have to worry about being caught wrong-footed.

Career – Seek The People/Companies You Admire

I intend to follow through with Warren’s advice on career. He says “People ask me where they should go to work, and I say work for whom you admire the most. Do what you love, and work for whom you admire the most and you’ve given yourself the best chance in life you can”.

Career Goals

After B-School when most people would choose to seek the highest paying companies, this helped me stay grounded. I had made up my mind to work for firms which are known for its integrity and loyalty to its shareholders. This helped me stay away from the greed for joining firms which offered huge starting packages but were not great on fairness and ethics.

Well-Being – Give Back what You Receive

Warren Buffet’s philosophy of restoring the balance in the universe by giving wealth to charitable causes really strikes a chord with me. And he is the only multi billionaire who has pledged to give 90% of his wealth in charity. He says that unless people learn to give back what they have in abundance, they will never evolve as human beings.  It is this combination of down-to-earth thinking and profound wisdom which makes him a role model for millions of people.

All in all, Warren Buffet has emerged as the world’s greatest investor and to me one of the best human beings because of his approach to life. His quote sums up his conservative, yet sound thinking which embodies his typical wit and attitude to life:

Warren Buffett Press

“If a genie appeared and gave you the car of choice (and you love cars), but there is a catch, it is the last car you get in your life. What will you do with it? You’ll read the manual five times, keep it in the garage, fix the least little dent etc… ” this is exactly the position you are when it concerns your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body, and it’s got to last a life time… it’s what you do right now that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, thirty years from now” 

The importance of being healthy is much more applicable to our generation than it was before. With all the stress and strain of our daily routine, few of us dedicate time to replenish our mind and pay attention to our bodies. All the running around will do you no good if you are unable to enjoy the fruits of your labour after 20 years.

I hope these principles help you too and make you healthy, wealthy and wise!


Lessons from the Dark Arts – Part I: The Con Man

Conning People – Hustling. These are not for the faint of heart. Nor are they for people with extremely high moral compasses. But just like all other professions, they too have their legends. There is a reason why they attain legendary status. They are masters in their chosen art. And they leave behind traces of their mastery for people who wish to learn from them.  

Con Man

I have learnt some very valuable lessons just by studying them. These legends learnt their lessons by spilling blood (often their own), being in life and death situations and surviving to tell their story. These lessons are not taught in your classrooms. Nor will you gain any advantage from them if you don’t apply them in your life. In these posts, I will show you what these masters of the dark realms can teach you.

The Con Man

Ever heard of Ponzi schemes? Where you cheat people out of their hard-earned money? That’s right. It’s named after the first guy who swindled the so-called Rich and Smart investors for a neat $20 million. And this was back in early 1900’s!

Charles Ponzi a.k.a. Charles Ponci, Carlo ,Charles Bianchi. One of the first Confidence tricksters to make it large. To the untrained eye, Charles Ponzi on a holiday could have been easily mistaken for a suave and sophisticated gentleman. To the trained eye, he would have appeared to be a iron man of indomitable will, wealth and power. He rendered your observation skills pretty useless.


Ponzi made it his business to be unruffled under any circumstance. He was absolutely fearless in executing his schemes and with ruthless focus made them profitable. The most important lesson I learned from him is the art of Supreme Confidence.

Lesson 1: Acquire Supreme Confidence

There is a whole lot of difference in having Confidence and displaying Supreme Confidence. An average level of confidence works for most people. They remain content in being a good team player, growing slowly and working hard. If you wish to stand out and rise, you need to do it like a Con Man. There are 3 simple ingredients for Supreme Confidence:

a) Appearance

“People respond to how we are dressed. So like it or not, this is what you have to do.”

 – Harvey Specter (Suits)

This might seem glaringly obvious. Yet, so many of us fail to do it. Even Nature uses appearance to intimidate, threaten and hide from predators when it suits her purpose.  We are all wired in our subconscious to respond to appearance. This does not mean being dressed as a dandy. Carefully craft your dressing to convey sharpness and Professionalism.

Harvey Specter

Con-men also teach it is not just enough if you dress appropriately. It needs to be accompanied by the right posture, mental attitude and gestures. These complete the picture of a person who is effortlessly at ease with himself/herself.

b) Authority

Studies in Psychology have shown the power of Perceived Authority. If you want to be respected as a consummate professional in your field, wear the authority of one. Your appearance should complement your air of authority for maximum effect.

Be careful not to use this with actual authorities if you do not have the stuff to back it up. This is how most cons are caught. Instead, use perceived authority as a tool to help you get into meetings and places where you can learn. Absorb information faster than your competitors while they remain meek and humble.

c) Using Herd Mentality

The most important lesson of having Supreme Confidence is understanding and using Herd Mentality. Most people are never sure of themselves in life. They always seek to validate their actions by seeking permission or approval from their Bosses/Superiors.

Aubenoire's Blog
Aubenoire’s Blog

 This is where Con Men steal it from right under everyone’s noses. They know that once they get those few important people in their target segment to invest in their schemes, the large majority will follow them. The larger this following gets, the more successful the Con.

Always keep a look out for herd mentality if you wish to stand out. As organizations become large, there is a tendency to follow pointless processes and systems by all and sundry. See if you can show the person in charge the error of the herd (Be gentle. See how Ponzi charms the first target below).

Charles Ponzi
Source: UK Telegraph

This act has a dual advantage. Not only will you be recognized as an upcoming star, but you will also receive the gratitude of your fellow workers for reducing their burden. A confident person is also seen as reliable and trust-worthy. People will end up associating positive qualities to you thanks to your Halo effect.

These traits of ‘Fake it till you make it’ have consistently helped a multitude of high performers. When you believe in yourself, both your self-esteem and the odds of being successful in your task improve by leaps and bounds. Put this lesson to work and start exuding Supreme Confidence from this very moment! Let me know how it works out for you by leaving your comments below.

Good Luck!

Life Mastery: 5 Long-lost Secrets from the Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Internet age has brought in so many ‘Get success-quick!’ and ‘Get-rich quick!’ schemes by cheats, quacks and pseudo-celebrities that it’s sickening. They always make me wonder what happened to the wise masters and their simple wisdom we heard as kids?  What happened to the solid teachings which our forefathers left behind??

This post is my humble effort to re-visit one of my literary heroes and share a few of his powerful lessons with you.

The name Ralph Emerson rings a familiar bell in our head. Most of us remember reading some or the other poem of his way back in school. But few among us are aware that he was also a great thinker who found the basis of Transcendentalism and one of the pioneers in the science of Life-Mastery.

Source : Engraving by Stephen Alonzo (Wiki)

Emerson wrote a collection of essays covering a wide array of topics ranging from ‘Intellect’ to ‘Nature’ to ‘Politics’. These essays contain in them some simple yet powerful secrets which have empowered countless individuals in achieving mastery of life.

1) Towards all this external evil, the man within the breast assumes a warlike attitude, and affirms his ability to cope single-handed with the infinite army of enemies. To this military attitude of the soul we give the name of Heroism”

- Essays: First Series – Heroism

 Real evolution occurs only when our very existence is challenged. We either grow stronger or we resign and die. This powerful principle has time and again proven itself to be true. Whether you consider the example of William Wallace burning his boats or Gandhi who decided to make non-violence his supreme weapon, Heroism of the soul always creates massive transformation in individuals.

William Wallace
Source: Alone in the Dark (William Wallace)


This can be put to use by re-framing any extreme challenge you encounter. The moment you view the challenge as an adversary who is a threat to your very being, it loses more than half its power over you. Obstacles and challenges are nothing but triggers to awaken your inner-warrior. Show ‘em who you are and awaken the hero within!                               

2) Society is frivolous, and shreds its day into scraps, its conversation into ceremonies and escapes … Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset …Character is this moral order seen through the medium of an individual nature … This is a natural power, like light and heat, and all nature cooperates with it”
- Essays: Second Series – Character

The importance of character is slowly dissipating in the world we live in. We have made heroes of wealthy individuals, cunning tricksters and boastful politicians who have gained their wealth and power through frivolous means. We are enamoured by short-cuts to success and spend a lifetime vainly seeking the next ‘quick-fix’ to our problems.

Emerson says the only way to conquer our weaknesses and rise above our present means is through development of a solid character. Character is that changeless entity which, once developed acts as a beacon for right decision making and also instills in us great confidence and clarity. It is the one must-haves if you want to attain success in any sphere of life.

3) “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string…  And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort and advancing on Chaos and the Dark”                                                        - Essays: First Series – Self-Reliance

What is your first response to adversity? Do you calmly assess the situation or just freak out? Most of us panic and start looking around for help. Usually this leads to a state of vulnerability where we are open to advice from almost anyone who is willing to help. More often than not, this impulsive panic leads to worsening of the condition. So what is one to do? Emerson simply says “Rely on yourself”

Source: ScriptMag -Dennis Chow

What we often forget is the power of our own potential! All it takes is a little self-reflection to realize that you are at this stage in your life only because you had the power to achieve it. And the strength to tackle any problem thrown at you is already present within you. But to tap this potential consistently, the habit of relying on yourself needs to be practiced. One of the fundamentals of mastering life is to be self-reliant. This is what makes you stand out as a leader and a self-made person. Go ahead. Be fearless and rely on yourself. You will be surprised at what you are capable of!

4) “Do not craze yourself with thinking, but go about your business anywhere. Life is not intellectual or critical, but sturdy. Its chief good is for well-mixed people who can enjoy what they find, without question” - Essays: First Series – Experience

 You never know when you end up encountering elephantine problems! Emerson says that a sturdiness in approach is essential in order to survive this enigma we all call life. No matter how lucky or how prepared we may be, difficult times and roadblocks will always haunt us at sometime.

Inner Peace
Source: China Buddhism Encyclopedia

But by thinking about them too much will only end up giving a power over you. Nothing in life is worth worrying about to such great an extent that it ends up destroying your peace of mind or your health. Give each problem only the amount of attention it deserves and move on. Let the universe take care of the rest!

5) The world exists for the education of each man. There is no age or state of society or mode of action in history to which there is not somewhat corresponding in his life. Every thing tends in a wonderful manner to abbreviate itself and yield its own virtue to him” - Essays: First Series – History

This almost common-sense sounding wisdom is often overlooked by us. We are so busy in blindly flitting between our routine tasks that we forget that there are countless individuals who have done the same in the past! And a few of them realized the futility of it all and left behind simple lessons for the rest to learn from. History is one of the greatest teachers! And it is often waiting for us to access it and seek answers to our questions. Don’t forget to learn from it and remember: ‘There is nothing new under the sun’.

I hope these pearls of wisdom help you in your journey of Life Mastery. Feel free to refer to them whenever you feel the need for hope and courage. And don’t forget to share it with your loved ones.