“All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.”  — Napoleon Hill

In 1908, Napoleon Hill was commissioned by billionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie to interview over 500 of the world’s most powerful men in order construct a “success philosophy.” Over a span of 20 years, he assembled the data from these interviews into 15 principles that could be used by anyone in the general population to make progress in their lives.


He checked 15 of these principles with Andrew Carnegie time and time again until he had enough material and thorough understanding to write his first book featuring these principles. This book was called “The Law of Success, ” and it was published in 1928. After the first edition, he added two additional principles to the list which were already vicariously described in the first and last chapter of the first copy of the book.


These 17 principles of success are important because they can be used by anyone to achieve any goal that is reasonably within reach. Millions of people put these principles into action and benefitted from them even in cases where they weren’t aware of the principles themselves.


The best way to benefit from these principles is to make them a part of your daily routine. You won’t gain much if you try a few of them once or twice and then revert back to opposing habits that cancel them out. This is the reason why all of them are presented as habits that are to be mastered gradually over time.



The 17 Principles of Success by Napoleon Hill

  1. Definiteness of Purpose – The habit of focusing your actions and thoughts on one high and desirable goal in life
  2. Mastermind Alliance – The habit of working in complete harmony with others for the attainment of a specific objective
  3. Going the Extra Mile – The habit of doing more than is required of you with the expectation of receiving greater compensation from direct or vicarious sources
  4. Applied Faith – The habit of acting as if you already have what you want in life
  5. Pleasing Personality – The habit of being generally agreeable and friendly with people
  6. Personal Initiative – The habit of starting tasks that are important to you and seeing them through to completion
  7. Positive Mental Attitude – The habit of looking for the positive side of every situation in life—especially during times of turmoil and adversity
  8. Enthusiasm – The habit of keeping yourself energized by focusing your life on what you love most
  9. Self-Discipline – The habit of choosing not to make negative choices that will cost you more than you gain
  10. Accurate Thinking – The habit of making decisions and forming opinions that are based on factual information and tangible evidence
  11. Controlled Attention – The habit of prioritizing your time and energy to stay focused on what is most important and beneficial
  12. Teamwork – [Basically the same as the Mastermind Alliance principle]
  13. Learning from Adversity and Defeat – The habit of learning from adversity and defeat and making gradual improvements because of those experiences
  14. Creative Vision – The habit of mentally visualizing the things that you want most and the actions that will help you to acquire them
  15. Maintenance of Sound Health – The habit of keeping your energy level up by eating healthy food and participating in physical exercise
  16. Budgeting of Time and Money – The habit of taking time everyday to move closer to your definite major purpose and saving/investing money to ensure that your finances steadily grow
  17. Cosmic Habitforce – The habit of repeating desirable thought patterns and behaviors until they become effortless and self-moving


3 Tips for Using the 17 Principles of Success

  1. Keep in the mind that the first four principles are said to be the most prominent and will likely give you the fastest results.
  2. It is also helpful to know that you can easily ingrain each of these principles into your personality by mastering one principle in your daily life per week in a sequential fashion.
  3. Most interesting of all, you can mix any of these principles together to create a concept that is even more powerful. Look through these principles again and use your imagination to figure out what two principles would change your life the fastest if you combined them and put them into action today. To start you off, you could combine the “Going the Extra Mile” principle with the “Definite Major Purpose” principle.

If you found this article helpful, feel welcome to share your thoughts in the comments.




  • The Law of Success: The Master Wealth-Builder’s Complete and Original Lesson Plan for Achieving Your Dreams: Napoleon Hill: 9781585426898: Amazon.com: Books. (2017). Amazon.com. Retrieved 9 April 2017, from https://www.amazon.com/Law-Success-Wealth-Builders-Complete-Achieving/dp/158542689X/
  • Amazon.com: Think and Grow Rich (Audible Audio Edition): Napoleon Hill, Erik Synnestvedt, LLC Gildan Media: Books. (2017). Amazon.com. Retrieved 9 April 2017, from https://www.amazon.com/Think-and-Grow-Rich/dp/B000XJNDVQ/


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