The Law of Growth through Change the First Miracle of Life
by Napoleon Hill
ETERNAL CHANGE has been chosen to head the list of the Miracles of Life, not essentially because it is the most important of those here described, but for the reason that it is the one most bitterly opposed by the vast majority of the human race. Failure to understand it and adapt oneself to it is the major cause of all personal failures and defeats.
The changes in our way of living have revealed, during the first half of the twentieth century, more of nature’s secrets than had been uncovered during the entire past of civilization. Among these have been the invention of the automobile, the telephone, radio, television, talking pictures, airplanes, radar, and wireless telegraphy—all produced by ever-changing processes of the human mind.
Change is the tool of human progress, in the affairs of nations not less than in the lives of individuals. And the business or industry which neglects to keep moving forward through change is doomed to failure.
The great American way of life, which has provided the people with the highest standard of living the world has ever known has been the product of continuous change.
The Law of Change is one of Nature’s inexorable laws, without which there could have been no such reality as civilization. Without the law of change the human race would still be where it started from—on the plane with all the other animals and creatures of the earth which are eternally bound and limited by a pattern of instinct, beyond which they never can rise.
Through the law of change (popularly known as evolution), the human race has slowly left the baseline of the animal family, where the destiny of all living things was fixed by a life pattern of instinct, and has evolved into higher and still higher degrees of intelligence, until man now is something infinitely greater than the thirty-thousand man-made gods whom he has created and worshiped since the beginning of his long and tortuous trip upward.
The entire history of mankind, the record of life in all its forms, is a clearly marked pattern of perpetual change. No living thing is the same two minutes in succession, and this change is so inexorable that the entire physical body of man undergoes a complete change, and a replacement of all the physical cells of the body, every seven months.
Through the law of change, the habits of men, which do not conform to the overall pattern and purpose of the universe, are periodically broken up by wars, epidemics of disease, drought, and other irresistible forces of nature which force man to free himself from the effects of his follies and start all over again. This same law of change, which levels the peoples of all nations to the baseline of the overall plan of the universe, applies with equal force to individuals who fail to interpret and adapt themselves to nature’s laws.
When I was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to begin research in preparation for the organization of the world’s first practical philosophy of personal achievement, I was so little prepared for the job that truthfully I did not know the meaning of the world “philosophy” until I looked it up in a dictionary.
If ever anyone began a job by starting at scratch, I began right there! What I had to do to prepare myself for the successful fulfillment of the assignment Mr. Carnegie had given me was not mere change; it was practically a complete rebuilding job! Perhaps this was fortunate because the knowledge I gained from my own personal struggles led eventually to the revelation of the supreme “miracle” which is the central purpose in writing this volume.
The rebuilding job included the changing of self-made habits of failure for self-made habits of success, which at long last gave me a balanced life that includes everything I desire or need for the style of living I have chosen. Among other changes I had to make in preparation for my life work were these:
(a) Curing of the habit of selling myself short because of lack of self-confidence.
(b) Freeing myself from the habit of yielding to the seven basic fears, including the fear of ill health and physical pain.
(c) Removing the habit of binding myself to penury and want through my self-imposed limitations.
(d) Breaking the habit of neglect in taking possession of my own mind and directing it to the attainment of all my desires.
(e) Curing myself of the habit of failure to relate myself to recognition and freedom from want in a spirit of humble gratitude.
(f) Changing the habit of expecting to reap before I had sown (confusing my NEEDS with my RIGHTS to receive). SINCERITY OF PURPOSE alone will lead to success.
(h) Changing the false belief that EDUCATION comes only through the media of higher learning.
(i) Correcting the habit of neglecting to schedule my life on a practical budget and use of TIME.
(j) Curing myself of the habit of failure to devote the major portion of my TIME to the pursuit of my Definite Major Purpose in life.
(k) Changing my habit of impatience.
(l) Correcting the habit of failure to take inventory of all my intangible riches and express gratitude for them.
(m) Correction of the habit of endeavoring to accumulate more material riches than I could legitimately use.
(n) Correcting the habit of believing it is more beneficial to RECEIVE than to GIVE.
(o) Last, but not least, correcting the habit of neglect in recognizing the source of Infinite Intelligence and the means of contacting and using it for any desired purpose—by application of the SUPREME MIRACLE.
These do not represent the entire list of changes I had to make in my habits of thought and action, but they are some of the more important ones, from which it will be obvious that the LAW OF CHANGE has played an important part in my life, and just as obvious, that had I not made these changes, I would have deprived myself of the privilege of giving the world a workable philosophy of personal success, which has brought me more recognition than one person needs on this plane of life.
In presenting these intimate circumstances of my life so frankly, I hope you will recognize that I am preparing you to accept the truth that perhaps you too will need to change some of your habits before you may enjoy a full, well-balanced life made to your own pattern and style of living.
The extent to which you will need to make changes in your present habits is entirely something you will have to decide, but the list must include mastery of the seven basic fears if you aspire to the attainment of a well-balanced life, which includes peace of mind.
We are where we are and what we are because of our daily habits!
Our habits are under our individual control and they may be changed at any time by the mere will to change them. This prerogative is the one and only privilege over which the individual has complete control. Habits are made by our thinking, and our thinking is the one thing over which the Creator gave us the complete right of control; and along with this right profound rewards for our exercising the right, and terrible penalties for our failure to exercise it.
Source: You Can Work Your Own Miracles by Napoleon Hill