Do You Have Self Control?

Do You Have Self Control?

I have been reading Law of Success in 16 Lessons by Napoleon Hill. This is not an easy read as it was written in the 1920s, so the language and examples are certainly out dated. However, I am amazed at these principles hold as true today as they did when Hill was writing about the most successful men of that era. He consulted Edison, Ford, Wrigley and President Wilson just to name a few. Lesson 8 is probably one of the most important lessons of the sixteen. It is about having Self Control. The question he asks, hit me right between the eyes, do you have self control?

We all would like to say yes to that question but let’s really consider his studies. Napoleon Hill interviewed 160,000 prisoners for this book. He found that the most common thread they had in common was that 92% of them lacked self control. Meaning they could not control their emotions and it caused them to act out and break the law and become captured by law enforcement. He also interviewed thousands of sales people and business owners. He found that 90% admitted they could have been more successful if only more opportunities had come their way. The remaining 10% of very successful people found that they were overwhelmed with opportunities almost daily. Now is this just luck or did it have something to do with having self control?

Self control has way more to do with controlling one’s thoughts. Successful people learn not to allow their emotions to get the best of them and make irrational decisions. By controlling thoughts you are in self control. The whole principle behind Napoleon Hill’s books and works is the Law of Attraction. “We become what we think about most often”.  Therefore” like attracts like”, so successful people or the 10% think about opportunities and the see them daily. The remaining 90% do not control their thoughts or emotions and they are controlled by daily situations and therefore never see opportunities. There is no such thing as luck. We all create our own lives by what consumes our daily thoughts. Poverty begets poverty because the poor only think and know of life being poor. The rich get richer because they only think of being more successful.

Therefore, the conclusion of Hill’s Lesson 8 is to have self control. Control your thoughts and control your destiny. Allow your thoughts to be controlled by daily situations and your emotions about those situations and you will struggle endlessly. Change your thoughts and you will change your life. I find self control as the hardest easy thing a person can do. Think positive you are in control!

You are the sum total of your dominating or most prominent thoughts.”—Napoleon Hill

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 27 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.

38 Responses to Do You Have Self Control?

  • Self-control can also yield a significant boost in confidence and self-esteem. Refusing to eat that Bear Claw in the morning or growing from a mistake you’ve made exemplify self-control and, more often than not, pride. Though self-control can be challenging, more often than not the beneficial ends tend to greatly outweigh the means. Self-control, though complex in nature, is simple in action. Whether it’s a “no” to a sugary snack or “yes” towards a new project at work or an hour at the gym, these little actions build up to a greater, overall more confident you.

  • Lynn, very good points. “weare the sum total of our dominating or most prominent thoughts”—Napoleon Hill

  • Wise words. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nick, I always value your kind words. Thank you!

  • Great post! Thank you for sharing! I really connected with this: “We become what we think about most often”. Therefore” like attracts like”, so successful people or the 10% think about opportunities and the see them daily. — Great words to live by!

  • An awesome book! As are his smaller ones like Think and Grow Rich and Master Key to Riches, just to name a couple, basically taken from his larger manuscript. I personally think everyone should read them and mark them up, then read them again, and come back and read them again, and…. On about the 4th or 5th read, you’ll probably be like me and sware someone came and put some new lines in there, because something will literally JUMP (well figuratively speaking of course) OFF the page at you like, where did that come from?

  • So true!
    I have also heard that “luck” is where preparation meets opportunity!

  • One of my favorite quotes Stephen, thank you for sharing it.

  • Foremost I think these days we can all use a little bit more self-control. People are definitely under pressure and it shows.

  • Question?

    Should we conduct Business as Christians?

  • Erick, that is a good question. Using Hill’s Law of Attraction to answer it this way. As Christian should have Christian beliefs, our beliefs, become our thoughts, our thoughts become our actions and our actions become our reality. So, for the true Christian, there should be no other way to do business than to conduct business as Christians. Correct?

  • Yes…Prisons are FILLED with those who GAVE up their FREEDOMS!

  • Erick, I would even contend that those without self control give up their freedom without going to prison.

  • You inspired me to get a copy of the book, thanks!

  • Susan, that is great, you won’t be disappointed. I will warn you it is an undertaking. I suggest one lesson at a time as it is in 4 books. Good luck!

  • Sounds like I have another book recommendation to read!

  • I apologize for posting the question. I did not bring “religion’ into the mix as you state.
    What I was asking is do we conduct business as Christians, meaning by what GOD has ordained, but let’s not get off your subject matter. “Do you have self control?” Who gave you that choice?

  • Erick, it may not have been intentional, but when most people see the words God and Christian in the same sentence, it does infer religion being brought into a discussion.

  • Love this! Exactly what I needed to read, see and digest!

  • Another good suggestion. One thing I do have is great self control. I need to check out the other 15 though!
    Thanks Tim.

  • Thank you for sharing! inspirational/ and “spot on”!

  • Thanks Tim! I googled the course on line today and I got immediately hooked – it’s a consuming and captivating read! Thanks a lot for the pointer!

  • Tim, so great to read your article. Changing habits is hard but definitely worth it, continuous reminders of the positive help me to stay positive – thank you very much for sharing! This is a definite read on my book list.

  • Fully agreed with yr. comments and Mr. napoleon Hill. In our Latin American Countries (as Mexico) we have to work so hard for changing our thoughts. Congratulations.

  • Remmington, Michelle and Arturo thank you all for sharing your kind words. I am thrilled you enjoyed my article and I inspired reading the books, they are invaluable.

  • I have read this book a couple of times . The aspect that cought my attention is that although the book was written in the 1930s we are still making the same mistakes . Compare the issues of the period and the factors which caused them to the factors of the collapse in 2008 . WE DONT LEARN.
    Therefore in following through with other reading specifically The Advantage and some books on Psychology plus The Mechanics of the Mind it comes to one simple factor. We are not using our brain and finding creative solutions. This is due to the fact that we have lost the ability to find 1) our purpose – I call this our soul; 2) our spirit – I call this our will power.
    There are reasons for this and it comes down to the functionality of our mind and understanding the mechanics of the mind , what we need to feed the mind to enable us to be creative.
    Coming from the insurance industry all we do is deal with the effect . The effect of things is a symptom . We need to deal with the factors resulting in the causation.
    Its about being resilience , preventing losses and having the energy and the clarity of thought to be creative. Its about the keystones of VALUES of the entreprenuer their purpose. Its about belief in themselves and their passion.

  • John, very well stated. I agree that the problems of Hill, written prior to the 1929 collapse but was predicted are the same flaws we face causing the collapse of 2008. I believe the next bubble will burst again soon just like the housing collapse of 2008 only this time will be student loans. We do not learn from our past therefore we keep repeating it. Thank you for sharing that insight.

  • Tim . One thing we can be relatively confident of is that by 2018 there will be turmoil in the financial markets again. There will be books and articles written by people of Authority and all stating their theories of why it happened because thats what humans do. We need to attach an event to a cause because our thought processes need to find patterns.
    However what we are not doing and we should be doing is looking at the build up of factors which will determine the cause to create the effect. What we should be doing is recognising the patterns now and using our minds to create solutions to prevent the loss from occurring by using our imaginations and creative skills.
    Although there is one major factor that affects our ability to recognise the patterns that are emerging and that is ” time” The first excuse that will come out of the leaders mouths is ‘ I don’t have time ” to think about these things. Unfortunately their time limitation will be reflected in their financial limitation when the melt down arrives.
    This is what gets me about our insurance industry . We are great about talking about risk management and having insurance for the raining day but we do nothing about how to prevent losses from occurring.

  • John, that is true and we become victims of our thoughts or patterns. Very well stated.

  • Funny you should mention the book. I just ordered it a couple of days ago. Why? Because I wanted more information on W Clement Stone which led me to Napoleon Hill which in turn led me to John Maxwell. The Law of Success in 16 Lessons was on his recommended book list. What brought me to W Clement Stone, he was Jack Canfield’s mentor. There stories and lessons are very similar, but each one is unique in their own way. If we can control the way we think and feel, the opportunities are endless.

  • Neil, you won’t be disappointed. I view these books as the genesis of all of these other books. As you read you can see “Think and Grow Rich”, “The Secret” and many others. Hill studied the most successful men of his time, Ford, Edison, Wilson, etc. Take your time and let each lesson marinate. I would love to hear back from you as you complete the lessons. Much continued success!

  • Great article Tim, I can attest to the accuracy of this line of thought. When I get caught up in what my competition is doing it is emotional and not productive. I have learned and relearned the importance on staying focused on serving my client, the ones I have and the ones I will have. When I focus on selling as those I compete against do it is a contest whose winner is not the client. When I focus on the No I hear on the phone nobody wins; when I focus on finding the client who needs my help finding a solution to their situation we both win. Focus is the a powerful choice we make everyday, it is so simple it is overlooked and so powerful it determines our perspective and as Hill states those thoughts we choose determine who we are. Thank you Tim for the post, thank you Kris for the application and thank you Erick proving the point. Good Stuff!

  • Very well stated Joel, thank you for sharing.

  • Tim,
    Great point. I agree 100%. You can never assume a lead is bad. Or a price is too high. The chances are the price is probably the same elsewhere. Especially in our age of credit based scoring. It their credit is bad, everyone’s price will reflect in the premium.
    And you can never assume who has money to pay their bills and who doesn’t.

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