by Napoleon Hill
The fourth essential for success is Self-Discipline. That means mastery of self over both the mental faculties and the physical body. Self-discipline begins with a burning desire to become the master of one’s self. The motivation necessary to keep that desire alert and active is recognition of the fact that when one becomes master of himself, he may become the master over many things—including the failures and defeats and problems that we encounter along the way.
Another inspiring motive that should keep the burning desire for self-mastery alive is recognition of the true significance of the gift from the Creator of one’s unchallengeable right to control and direct his own mind.
Milo C. Jones worked a small farm near Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. His hours were long, the work was hard, and every member of his family had to help in order to make ends meet.
Then disaster struck. Milo was stricken down by double paralysis and totally deprived of the use of his body. His farming days were over forever.
His family rolled him out in a wheelchair on the porch each day, where he sat in the sun while other members of the family carried on with the farm work.
One morning, some three weeks after he was stricken, he made a stupendous discovery. He discovered that he had a mind.
Inasmuch as his mind was the only thing he had left with which he could exercise any sort of discipline, he began to put it to work. As a result, he came up with an idea that brought him and his family happiness and wealth.
Calling his family around him, he said, “I want you to plant every acre of our land in corn. Start raising hogs on this corn, and while they are still young and tender, slaughter them and make them into ‘Little Pig Sausage.’”
“Little Pig Sausage” became a household word all over America, and Milo C. Jones lived to see his brainchild make him a very rich man. Although he learned very late, he made the discovery that I trust each of you young people will make early in your career: he discovered that there are no limitations to the power of the mind except those which one sets up for himself through doubts, fears, and lack of ambition or definiteness of purpose.
Your first duty in forming the habit of self-discipline is to try to win full and complete control of your own mind and direct it to definite objectives from which you may gain wisdom as well as material and spiritual prosperity.
Then you will need discipline over the emotion of anger. This you can attain by recognizing that no one can make you angry without your full consent and cooperation. You do not need to give that cooperation.
You will need discipline over your sex emotions, by learning the art of transmuting this profound creative force into channels that will aid you in the calling you have chosen.
You will need discipline over your tone of voice so as to make it gentle, yet convincing.
You will need discipline over everything you take into your physical body in the form of food, and drink, and drugs, and alcohol, and smokes. Remember, your body is God’s temple, given you as a house for the protection of your mind and soul.
You will need discipline over your choice of personal associates.
You will need discipline over your thought habits, by keeping your mind busily occupied in thinking and planning for the things and circumstances you desire and off of those you do not desire.
You will need discipline to avoid procrastination.
You will need discipline over the emotion of love. If you love without your love being returned, be satisfied that you are the one who has gained most because the expression of love has added refinements to your soul. Therefore, don’t waste time over unrequited love—and perish the idea that one can love but once.
You will need to discipline yourself to recognize that whatever happens to you, be it good or bad, most likely had its cause somewhere within you—either by your thoughts, deeds, or your neglect to act.
This is quite an order that I have given you.
But you can fill it if you are interested enough in your future to do so. By the time you will have filled this order you will know yourself, your potentials for success, your weaknesses, and your strengths. And you will be in a position to make the most of the prerogative your Creator has given you to control both your mind and your body.
Source: Napoleon Hill’s Greatest Speeches Pages 167 – 170