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Updated: Nov 5, 2021

This episode is sponsored by Encaptivate Films, the award winning Edinburgh based producers of the feature film DARK SENSE

Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity, the podcast that helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 41 – THE LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS: PART 2

Here we are now with part 2 of Napoleon Hill’s powerful book THE LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS, and before I get into it, IF YOU’VE NOT YET HEARD THE PREVIOUS EPISODE, which covers the introduction and the first two lessons in this series then you should really go back and check it out.

My aim with this 6 part series within the series is to give you a fleeting glimpse of the power that lies within the it’s pages as I believe that this will OPEN YOUR MIND to the concepts and theories presented within. In order that you can delve deeper however I will give a link to A FREE KINDLE VERSION DOWNLOAD OF THE COMPLETE TEXT AS ITS NOW IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. In the show notes of the LAST EPISODE I GAVE A SIMILAR LINK TO A PDF VERSION. These can be accessed via the SHOWNOTES on official website

With realization of one’s own POTENTIAL and SELF-CONFIDENCE IN ONE’S ABILITY, one can build a better world. – The Dalai Lama UNQUOTE

So today I’m tackling 3 more of NAPOLEON HILL’S 16 lessons and I’ll be quoting with such regularity that I won’t always identify sections of his text purely for streamlining purposes. Suffice to say that much of the content is my interpretation or direct quotation of NAPOLEON HILL’s words. The only regular change is making his words gender neutral every now and again. This is not for political correctness, but because I want to make what he says as accessible and relevant for today’s audience as he intended it to be in 1928.


LESSON 3: SELF CONFIDENCE - If you can believe that you are worthy of success - you can attain it. Without this simple understanding you will probably get nowhere with most of your goals. IF YOU ARE NOT CONFIDENT THEN YOU CANNOT SELL YOURSELF IN LIFE.

As detailed in the MASTER MIND principle you will need the co-operation of others if you aim to attain success of a far-reaching nature, but you will never get that cooperation unless you vitalize your mind with the positive attitude of SELF-CONFIDENCE.

“The development of self-confidence starts with the elimination of a demon called FEAR, which sits upon your shoulder and whispers into your ear, ‘You can't do it - you are afraid to try - you are afraid of public opinion - you are afraid that you will fail – you are afraid you have not the ability.’" UNQUOTE

Regular listeners will recognise this demon from my episode the inner critic but let’s hear what Hill has to say about it... A good chunk of this chapter is dedicated to recognising what he calls the SIX BASIC FEARS - fears which keep us from advancing to success. These are:

  • · The FEAR OF POVERTY is a terrible thing as the age in which we live seems to be the age of money worship. I think that could still prove true today for many.

  • · The FEAR OF OLD AGE is connected to a fear of poverty – It grows out of distrust of our fellow man seizing whatever worldly goods we may possess. That seems a fairly realistic fear these days as the British government continues to go about extending the age of retirement and removing services whilst charging us the same or greater taxes. But I digress.

  • · The FEAR OF CRITICISM is third up and takes on many different forms, the majority of which are petty and trivial in nature but Hill warns too, that Powerful and Mighty is the fear of CRITICISM!

  • · FEAR OF ILL HEALTH must be closely associated with the fear of Poverty and Old Age, and Hill strongly suspects, and I can’t disagree with him here nearly 100 years on, that those engaged in the business of selling good health products have had considerable to do with keeping THE FEAR OF ILL HEALTH alive in the human mind.

  • · The FEAR OF THE LOSS OF LOVE OF SOMEONE is fairly self explanatory.

  • · And the author ends this list with THE FEAR OF DEATH with the caveat that although it is the greatest fear “In truth no man knows, and no man has ever known, what heaven or hell is like, or if such places exist.” UNQUOTE

His aim in identifying these fears is that if we can intellectually examine their source in ourselves, that that will take the first step towards eliminating them.

Hill gives numerous examples and explores through how FEAR INHIBITS AMBITION.

It is a well-established fact, he says, that the faculties of the mind, like the limbs of the body, wither away if not used. SELF-CONFIDENCE IS NO EXCEPTION. It DEVELOPS when used BUT DISAPPEARS IF NOT.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent Van Gogh UNQUOTE

He offers up a self-confidence formula which starts with the aggressive continuous action towards the DEFINITE PURPOSE as I detailed in the last show, then DEDICATING 30 MINUTES A DAY TO BECOMING THE SORT OF PERSON YOU INTEND TO BE.

This means that you must devote ten minutes daily to demanding of yourself the development of the factors named in these sixteen lessons. To have a clearly mapped out and written down a description of your definite purpose in life, EFFECTIVELY WHAT WE NOW CALL A FIVE YEAR PLAN. Finally he evokes THE LAW OF ATTRACTION by stating to ourselves that we will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects. You will succeed by attracting the forces you wish to use, and the co-operation of other people.

The Law of Attraction states that whatever you focus on, think about, read about, and talk about intensely, you’re going to attract more of into your life. – Jack Canfield UNQUOTE

In Hill’s 1954 film he describes a conversation which he once had with Andrew Carnegie, that I think is worth recounting here as I think it’s relevant. Bear with me while I repeat it: Carnegie said EVERYONE COMES TO THIS EARTH BLESSED WITH THE PRIVILEGE OF CONTROLLING HIS MIND POWER AND DIRECTING IT TO WHATEVER ENDS HE MAY CHOOSES At birth we arrive with the equivalent of two sealed envelopes



In the one labelled RICHES is this list of blessings:

1. Sound health.

2. Peace of mind.

3. A labor of love of your own choice.

4. Freedom from fear and worry.

5. A positive mental attitude.

6. Material riches of your own choice and quantity.

In the sealed envelope labelled PENALTIES Carnegie continues is this list of the prices one must pay for NEGLECTING TO TAKE POSSESSION OF HIS OWN MIND

1. Ill-health

2. Fear and worry

3. Indecision and doubt

4. Frustration and discouragement throughout life

5. Poverty and want

6. And a whole flock of evils consisting of in the greed, jealousy, anger, hatred and superstition

My mission in life, Hill tells us, is to help you to open up and use the contents of the sealed envelope labelled riches. These lessons are the starting point in opening up those riches.


Lesson 4: THE HABIT OF SAVING: It is obvious to all that the saving of money is one of the essentials for success, but the big question in the minds of those WHO DO NOT SAVE is: "How can I do it?" Hill goes into this though and explains that the saving of money is SOLELY A MATTER OF HABIT.

Formation of the Habit of Saving not only conserves that which you earn, in a systematic manner, but it also places you in the way of greater opportunity and gives you the vision, the self-confidence, the imagination, the enthusiasm, the initiative and leadership to actually increase your earning capacity.

Now I went into habits again just a few weeks ago and it was for very good reason. Habit Forming is an extremely powerful skill to master. Hill’s angle on this is that through REPETITION, any act indulged in a few times becomes a habit and today that few times is regarded as about 30 days or so.

For me habits are vital to form as they take the place of will power, which day by day we only have a limited supply of. If you are directing your will power every day towards your goals, you can begin to save its limited daily allocation by building habits and place it elsewhere. As the habit forms it replaces the need for you to commit will power towards it. That, if I’ve explained it correctly, is the POWER OF HABIT.

In this chapter Hill brings us back to the DEFINITE CHIEF AIM lesson - you set up, in your mind, an accurate, definite description of that which you want, including the amount of money you intend to earn and or save. This is again something which I find many creatives avoid as some of us seem to have an in built revulsion to making money from our work, or we have some sort of imposter syndrome incursion about charging too much.

If that sounds like you, you need to get over, around or go through that self-applied limitation and do what HILL suggests here. Let’s get passed your distaste and set a target figure to aim for. As with all our goals, if we don’t know where we are going, how can we navigate towards it?

This chapter is about saving money, let’s not forget it. What Hill is setting up here is a route to killing the FEAR OF POVERTY he mentioned in the previous lesson.

“By urging on and demanding of your self-increased earning power on the one hand, and by systematically laying aside a definite amount of all your earnings, on the other, you will soon reach the point at which you have removed all imaginary limitations from your own mind and you will be well started on the road toward financial independence.”
“Never spend your money before you have earned it.” Thomas Jefferson UNQUOTE

Hill dedicates a sub chapter here to what he calls THE SLAVERY OF DEBT. Debt, he points out, and don’t we know it, is a merciless master - THE FATAL ENEMY OF THE SAVINGS HABIT. Poverty, alone, is sufficient to kill off ambition, destroy self-confidence and destroy hope, but add to it the burden of debt and all who are victims of these two cruel task-masters are practically doomed to failure.

If you’ve ever had any doubt that this near 100 year old book is as wise today as it was back then then consider that sentence.

“Poverty, alone, is sufficient to kill off ambition, destroy self-confidence and destroy hope, but add to it THE BURDEN OF DEBT and all who are victims of these two cruel task-masters are practically doomed to failure.” He goes on – “None can do their best work, or express themself in terms that command respect, or can either create or carry out a definite purpose in life, with heavy debt hanging over their head. Those bound in the slavery of debt are just as helpless as the slave who is bound by ignorance, or by actual chains.”

Hill doesn’t leave us hanging though; this is a book about success. He says “To whip the Fear of Poverty one must take two very definite steps, providing one is in debt.


Being free from the worry of debt means you are ready to revamp the habits of your mind and redirect your course toward PROSPERITY. Adopt, as a part of your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM, the habit of saving a regular proportion of your income, even if this be no more than a penny a day. Very soon this habit will begin to lay hold of your mind and you will actually get joy out of saving.”

I’d add to that there is a definite difference between being a skinflint and being frugal. Don’t let pride interfere with your financial situation. You can still be generous and kind, but be frugal also.

Now I can’t condense all of his advice on this but here’s a few more bits of gold from this chapter.

  • · Reserve Funds are essential in the successful operation of business! As a freelancer I can’t agree more. I am currently owed literally thousands of pounds from work completed and without a reserve fund I’d be fucked.

  • · Next, Savings Accounts are essential to success on the part of individuals. It can’t be denied that the rates we are offered by banks at the moment are utter garbage. I got a letter from my bank a few years back explaining that I’d get 0.01% interest. Thinking it a misprint I went in, queued for 15 minutes, and was told it was true. Even knowing that though I recently started a savings plan which automatically takes £50 off me a week. I don’t need to have a habit of saving it as it’s taken via a standing order from one account to another and before I get my grubby little spending paws on it. When I need it though, it will be there.

  • · The final snippet I will offer up from this chapter is this: The nickels, dimes and pennies which the average person allows to slip through their fingers would, if systematically saved and properly put to work, eventually bring financial independence. My mum used to say this. Count the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. These days the pennies are not just foaling out pockets, they are forgotten payment plans and automated payments to gyms we never attend. Get saving your pennies by looking at where your money is actually going.

Lastly, if you are trying to develop a HABIT OF SAVING then you must learn to kill the habit of unnecessary spending. As I said before, you don’t have to be a skinflint to do this, you just need to learn to control your spending and to be somewhat frugal. Frugal just means being careful with your money or food or other resources.

Hill’s book gives multiple examples of FORMER MILLIONAIRES who now have NOTHING to their name as they were either born into money and didn’t value it or as they couldn’t control their spending habits.

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Rosalynn Carter UNQUOTE


LESSON 5: INITIATIVE AND LEADERSHIP: Elbert Hubbard said "The world bestows its big prizes, both in money and honours, for one thing, and that is Initiative.” And it is essential that I highlight that INITIATIVE IS THE VITAL QUALITY here, as when researching this episode I noted that many seem to refer to this as the Leadership lesson. INITIATIVE is associated with Leadership for the reason that Hill believes Leadership is essential for the attainment of Success, but he also says that Initiative is the very foundation upon which this necessary quality, LEADERSHIP, is built.

So what is INITIATIVE? It is DOING THE RIGHT THING WITHOUT BEING TOLD and one of the peculiarities of LEADERSHIP is the fact that it is never found in those who have not acquired the habit of taking the initiative, and referring back to lesson 3 it also does not flourish in those who have no SELF CONFIDENCE.

"A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow." General George Patton UNQUOTE

If you are to become a person of INITIATIVE AND LEADERSHIP Hill says that you must first master the habit of procrastination and eliminate it from your make-up? How many of our problems today come from procrastination? It’s one of those ninja like enemies of productivity that I often harp on about and I’ve offered solutions to in the past. Hill too, has a formula for throwing this off which goes right back to our DEFINITE CHIEF AIM

He says You must form the HABIT of taking some definite action each day that will carry you one step nearer the attainment of your definite chief aim by having the initiative to:

a) Do one DEFINITE thing each day, that ought to be done, without anyone telling you to do it.

b) Look around until you find at least one thing that you can do each day, that you have not been in the habit of doing, and that will be of value to others, without expectation of pay. That’s likely my work on this podcast here…

c) And 3) Telling at least one other person, each day, of the value of practicing this habit of doing something that ought to be done without being told to do it.

This is an interesting one, because most people are not in the habit of talking about productivity. I know. I ask people to listen to the show every day, people I meet, people I work with and the likelihood of them listening in is absolutely rock bottom. I do try though, I do try. Please do tell people about this show yourself too btw it’s essential that I get more listeners – but I digress.

The habit of initiative becomes fixed in proportion to the extent that it is practiced. Hill writes these formulas in the format of a contract with one’s self. He doesn’t want us to keep these agreements in our heads, he wants a physical signed contract which we will adhere to – this is an interesting act as it kinda seals the deal and makes us consider, for a time at least, the advice he gives us on this.

The second thing Hill advises if you are to become a person of initiative and leadership is understand that THE ONLY WAY TO GET HAPPINESS IS BY GIVING IT AWAY TO OTHERS. I can speak for this. Through this podcast I gain a level of happiness myself by driving myself, and giving up vast amounts of my time to creating and marketing these shows in the hope that they will help others. This gives me not a financial return, but one of satisfaction.

What’s interesting here is that Hill believes that “You cannot talk initiative to others without developing a desire to practice it yourself. Through the operation of the principle of Auto-suggestion every statement that you make to others leaves its imprint on your own subconscious mind.” So talk about initiative to others, the same could be true of anything on this show that hits the mark with you. The more you talk about it, the more these positive and productive ideas take route in your own psyche.

The third point which Hill wants us to understand is that there are TWO BRANDS OF LEADERSHIP. One of them is as DEADLY AND DESTRUCTIVE as the other is HELPFUL AND CONSTRUCTIVE. The deadly brand, which leads not to success, but to absolute failure, is the brand adopted by pseudo-leaders who force their leadership on unwilling followers… and I’ve met a few of those bullish charlatans in my lifetime I’ll tell you.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a BULLY; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn UNQUOTE

Hill acknowledges the PENALTIES OF LEADERSHIP and THAT LEADERS ARE NOT ALWAYS SPOKEN OF SWEETLY but he says that this should not deter you from becoming a leader. It is only "genius" that attracts the attention of critics. Nobody bothers slandering a person who isn't somewhere near the upper rings of the ladder of success. I love this point as we see it every day in the media and in politics. It’s like it was written last week.

This chapter is overflowing with wisdom; it’s full of real life examples and truths that even now are like a free buffet to a productivity fiend. Even if you don’t think yourself a leader or perhaps particularly if you don’t: Then you have to give this chapter real consideration.

He lists the qualities of a great leader including Moral Ascendency, Paternalism, Fairness, Initiative, Decision, Dignity and Courage and explains that you must give, give, give all the time as SELF-SACRIFICE IS ESSENTIAL TO LEADERSHIP. He talks of punishment and the essential fairness in also giving credit and finally he talks about intolerance “If you must give expression to prejudice and hatred and intolerance, do not speak it, but write it; write it in the sands, near the water's edge.”

Summing Up

I’ll end it there, but to recap, today we have covered:

LESSON 3: SELF CONFIDENCE - Believe that you are worthy of success and that you can attain it. Without truly understanding this - you will probably get nowhere with most of your goals. If you are not confident, then you cannot sell yourself in life.

LESSON 4: THE HABIT OF SAVING - Saving of money is solely a matter of habit. Take his advice and make it happen.

LESSON 5: INITIATIVE AND LEADERSHIP - Leadership is essential for the attainment of Success, but Initiative is the very foundation upon which this necessary quality is built.

Call To Action

I’m cautious about giving you a call to action in all this as we are covering some very large topics here. If you can find a moment to simply discuss the topic of Initiative, as Hill suggests, this week then that is enough. Through the power of auto suggestion this will start to instill action and initiative in your life to perhaps revisit this episode and put more of the advice here to good use.


These lessons are not intended as a short-cut to success, nor as a mechanical formula that you may use without effort. Their real value lies in the use that you will make of them, and not in the lessons themselves. The chief purpose of this is to help you develop in yourself the qualities covered by THE LAW OF SUCCESS.

I will end today’s show with the words of Mark Twain "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.

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