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Stop Drifting in Your Business Once and For All!

Posted by Kevin Wessels

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

– Harry Truman

We took the above quote to heart in 2020 and so did our Mentor Board of Directors.  Our clients did, too, particularly with so many of us on extended lockdowns.  It’s definitely easier than ever to consume great educational content, as there is a multitude of good books in the areas of business, leadership, and personal development to read, listen to, or watch.  Sometimes having so many options can impede progress and action, though, right?

With that, what’s the best book you’ve recently read?  

For us it’s Outwitting the Devil:  The Secrets to Freedom and Success by Napoleon Hill and annotated by Sharon Lechter.  Yes, that Napoleon Hill, the self-improvement pioneer of Think and Grow Rich fame.  Though this book was written back in 1938, the annotated version did not appear until 2011!  Admittedly, we had never heard of this book, but are we glad we found it!

Essentially, the book boils everything down to Faith vs. Fear, and it asserts that the Devil and/or the invisible forces in our minds (depending on your point of view) are constantly making us drift aimlessly in our personal and business lives.  To overcome and escape the grasp of the Devil, the book also reveals seven principles that must be followed to stay on track, make progress, positively impact others, and attain success.  Thus, the title of the book:  Outwitting the Devil:  The Secrets to Freedom and Success.

The back and forth dialogue between Hill and the Devil during the extended interrogation/interview of the Devil is tremendous!

We’ve copied a portion of this exchange below in which the Devil himself explains and breaks down the difference between a drifter and a non-drifter:

Drifter

  • The first thing you will notice about a drifter is his total lack of a major purpose in life.
  • He will be conspicuous by his lack of self-confidence.
  • He will never accomplish anything requiring thought and effort.
  • He spends all he earns and more, too, if he can get credit.
  • He will be sick or ailing from some real or imaginary cause, and calling to high heaven if he suffers the least physical pain.
  • He will have little or no imagination.
  • He will lack enthusiasm and initiative to begin anything he is not forced to undertake, and he will plainly express his weakness by taking the line of least resistance whenever he can do so.
  • He will be ill-tempered and lacking in control over his emotions.
  • His personality will be without magnetism and it will not attract other people.
  • He will have opinions on everything but accurate knowledge of nothing.
  • He may be jack of all trades but good at none.
  • He will neglect to cooperate with those around him, even those on whom he must depend for food and shelter.
  • He will make the same mistake over and over again, never profiting by failure.
  • He will be narrow-minded and intolerant on all subjects, ready to crucify those who may disagree with him.
  • He will expect everything of others but be willing to give little or nothing in return.
  • He may begin many things but he will complete nothing.
  • He will be loud in his condemnation of his government, but he will never tell you definitely how it can be improved.
  • He will never reach decisions on anything if he can avoid it, and if he is forced to decide he will reverse himself at the first opportunity.
  • He will eat too much and exercise too little.
  • He will take a drink of liquor if someone else will pay for it.
  • He will gamble if he can do it “on the cuff.”
  • He will criticize others who are succeeding in their chosen calling.
  • In brief, the drifter will work harder to get out of thinking than most others work in earning a good living.
  • He will tell a lie rather than admit his ignorance on any subject.
  • If he works for others, he will criticize them to their backs and flatter them to their faces.

Non-Drifter

  • The first sign of a non-drifter is this:  He is always engaged in doing something definite through some well-organized plan which is definite.  He has a major goal in life toward which he is always working, and many minor goals, all of which lead toward his central scheme.
  • The tone of his voice, the quickness of his step, the sparkle in his eyes, the quickness of his decisions clearly mark him as a person who knows exactly what he wants and is determined to get it, no matter how long it may take or what price he must pay.
  • If you ask him questions, he gives you direct answers and never falls back on evasions or resorts to subterfuge.
  • He extends many favors to others, but accepts favors sparingly or not at all.
  • He will be found up front whether he is playing a game or fighting a war.
  • If he does not know the answers he will say so frankly.
  • He has a good memory; never offers an alibi for his shortcomings.
  • He never blames others for his mistakes no matter if they deserve the blame.
  • He used to be known as a go-getter, but in modern times he is called a go-giver.  You will find him running the biggest business in town, living on the best street, driving the best automobile, and making his presence felt wherever he happens to be.
  • He is an inspiration to all who come into contact with his mind
  • The major distinguishing feature of the non-drifter is this:  He has a mind of his own and uses it for all purposes.

Do any of these attributes sound or seem familiar? 

Have you struggled with any of these and which are your current focus areas depending on where you are in your entrepreneur journey?

To truly “outwit the Devil,” it’s imperative to consistently commit and execute the aforementioned “non-drifter” values and behaviors.  Failure to do so, we’ll get you and your business way off course.  In fact, you might, unfortunately, get so off course that recovering and regrowing your business before it’s too late is just not possible.

If you really want to go deeper on how fear, procrastination, anger, and jealousy are preventing you from realizing your personal and business goals, then add this book to your upcoming reading and continuing education list!

As we continue to deliver more thought leadership for the existing and aspiring Entrepreneur community, we will be sharing in the near future many other recommended reading resources…Stay tuned!

Was this article and mini-book preview/review helpful?  What else is on your “must-read” list for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners?  Please comment below.