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Updated: Nov 5, 2021

This episode is sponsored by U.S. repeat supporter Connie

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 44 – THE LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS: PART 5

In whatever walk of life you are in, SUCCESS is a universal theme that will be of interest. This is the fifth of six interconnected episodes about Napoleon Hill’s powerful book and if you’ve not yet heard the previous shows then I’d strongly advise you to go back and check out episodes 40 through 44 FIRST before listening to this one. My aim is simply to give you a glimpse of the power that lies within its pages, but there is an order to the lessons that he presents and starting here may cause you some confusion.

For streamlining purposes I don’t always identify sections of quoted text but, for the record, much of the content is either my interpretation or direct quotation of NAPOLEON HILL’s words. The main change I make is in neutralising the gender every now and again because I want to make the lessons as accessible for today’s audience as Hill intended it to be in 1928. As we will discover a little later on, Hill was all about equality and inclusion.


It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that your greatest successes will be derived Ralph Charell UNQUOTE

LESSON 13 - COOPERATION: Hill concluded after his 25 years of research that it is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed and that the top of the LADDER OF SUCCESS will never be lonely as you can't help but bring others with you.

He first explains in this chapter that COOPERATION must exist between your conscious and subconscious mind so that they may work harmoniously in your favour through the use of AUTO SUGGESTION: As we have heard before, this is a form of self-hypnosis or self-induced psychological suggestion which individuals use to guide their thoughts, feelings, or behaviour.

We often hear talk of people using affirmations in this way as part of a morning ritual perhaps and I’ll be looking at AFFIRMATIONS in an upcoming episode later this season so I won’t spend too much time on this here today. In effect what Hill wants us to understand is that it’s a proven fact that the subconscious or what he calls subjective mind can be affected by the conscious mind.

When you impress any idea on your sub-conscious mind you do so WITH THE AID OF THIS SYSTEM: and when your sub-conscious mind works out a definite plan to achieve any desire with which you impress it, THAT PLAN IS DELIVERED BACK TO YOUR CONSCIOUS MIND THROUGH THIS SAME SYSTEM. This is the first essential part of this lesson in co-operation and a new angle on an old idea which we have previously discussed in the earlier lesson on IMAGINATION.

The second essential element of Co-operation IS THE MORE OBVIOUS ONE - that those who unite, or group themselves together for the purpose of attaining a given end do so in the spirit of cooperation. In the first lesson this was discussed in terms of THE MASTER MIND principle and in the second we referred to this sort of cooperation as ORGANIZED EFFORT.

As we learned there, POWER is the ORGANIZED EFFORT with which we will gain success. We will hear more about the power of CO-OPERATIVE EFFORT and see the important part that it plays in the development of power in the final lesson. For now, I will say that the four most important factors that enter into the process of organizing effort are:

  • · Concentration,

  • · Co-operation,

  • · Co-ordination and

  • · ENERGY.

PERSONAL POWER is achieved by developing, organizing and co-ordinating the faculties of the mind and it is the first step to be taken in the development of the potential power that is available through the medium of what we know as ALLIED EFFORT, CO-OPERATION, or GROUP POWER.

True success in life, hill says, cannot be attained except through peaceful, harmonious, co-operative effort. Success cannot easily be attained single-handed or independently.

If you analyse POWER, he continues, no matter where, or in what form it may be found, you will find organization and co-operation at the back of it. We are living in a world in which the law of the survival of the fittest is everywhere in evidence. Those who are “fit” are those who have power, and their power is ORGANIZED EFFORT.

Even if it doesn't work, there is something healthy and invigorating about direct action. Henry Miller UNQUOTE

Hill gives time in this lesson to make absolutely clear too, that we must become people of action if we are to achieve our DEFINITE CHIEF AIM. Action, in the sense that the term is used in this lesson, comes in two forms. One is physical and the other is mental. You can be very active with your mind while your body is entirely inactive, or you can be very active with both body AND mind.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln UNQUOTE

Hill wants us to know too that there can be as much ACTION in PREPARATION, as in EXECUTION. As the one putting together this podcast I can vouch for that. These six episodes have taken an age to prepare. But without my research, my re-writing and my intelligently concentrated accurate thinking on these topics, it would be a very thin and fragile series indeed.

Hill warns that we cannot become people of action if we are not fit, if we are addicted to substances or if we do not eat properly. I’m skimming over a lot of this here but there is one thing he highlights which again I will be tackling quite soon in another episode. WORRY.

“There is another enemy which you must conquer before you can become a person of action, and that is the WORRY habit. Worry, envy, jealousy, hatred, doubt, and fear are all states of mind which are fatal to ACTION.” He raised these points earlier in the 16 LAWS series when he was discussing SELF CONFIDENCE.

Remember folks that Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. Corrie Ten Boom UNQUOTE

I really have to drive this episode on but as a final word on COOPERATION he points out that “the world pays you for WHAT YOU DO and NOT FOR WHAT YOU KNOW.” And he takes this further, saying “What the world really pays you for is what you do or what you can get others to do.”


He also talks of motivating forces and killing procrastination and a hundred other things, again and again returning to the earlier advice which he has given on achieving your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life.

“If you plan to attain the object of your chief aim through the co-operative efforts of others, you must set up in the minds of those whose cooperation you seek A MOTIVE STRONG ENOUGH TO INSURE THEIR FULL, UNDIVIDED, UNSELFISH CO-OPERATION.”

This will be made far more achievable when you have developed your pleasing personality and enthusiasm skills which were discussed in earlier lessons.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Henry Ford Unquote



Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street. Zig Ziglar UNQUOTE

Failure is inevitable, and it is a great step towards the right direction so Hill suggests we embrace it and replace "failure" in our minds with the term "temporary defeat".

Moreover, he says, let us see if this temporary defeat is not usually a blessing in disguise, for the reason that it brings us up with a jerk and redirects our energies along different and more desirable lines.

I looked at this in my inbetweenisode WHY IT’S OK TO GIVE UP and again in my 1st show of this season BEST LAID PLANS and Hill here validates much of what I say there. I won’t spend too much time on his words here today but let’s have a brief look at his angle on it as how we deal with failure is an important lesson in the LAW OF SUCCESS.

STRENGTH GROWS OUT OF RESISTANCE; Hill reminds us, and we shall learn, in this lesson, that SOUND CHARACTER is usually the handiwork of set-backs, and temporary defeats, which the uninformed part of the world calls “FAILURE.”

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. Alexander Graham Bell UNQUOTE

Hill starts this chapter with a list of seven personal anecdotes that demonstrate defeat and recovery, of newly opened doors and opportunities and in the end he admits that “I am glad to have experienced so much defeat! It has had the effect of tempering me with the courage to undertake tasks that I would never have begun had I been surrounded by protecting influences. Defeat is a destructive force only when it is accepted as failure! When accepted as teaching some needed lesson it is always a blessing.

He continues - In view of what I have learned of the value of enemies, if I had none I would feel it my duty to create a few. They would discover my defects and point them out to me, whereas my friends, if they saw my weaknesses at all, would say nothing about them.

Oh how telling that is. Have you ever considered it? An awful lot of us are stuck in a dead end of work or life problems due to our inability to recognise or accept our flaws and it’s our friends politeness, or fear of upsetting us, which is stopping them from helping. Again and again here, Hill points out that which I have not spoken aloud myself but which I have give some consideration over the years.

Zig Ziglar says If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost.

Hill’s embrace of the phrase “temporary defeat” is so overwhelmingly complete that he craves it, but warns that we must have considerable courage too, to look upon it as a blessing in disguise.

Defeat talks to us in a language all its own, he says, a language to which we must listen, whether we want to or not. He points to the great men of his day who have battled their way to the top despite their failures, or temporary setbacks, and we could level comparisons of our own here too.

My favourite example is that of JK ROWLING: In 1995 all 12 major publishers rejected Harry Potter. A year later a small publishing house, Bloomsbury, accepted it and extended a very small £1500 advance. In 1997, the book was published with only 1000 copies. In 1997 and 1998, the book won awards from Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year. Today, Rowling has sold more than 400 million copies of her books, and is considered to be the most successful woman author in the United Kingdom.

I could cite many others. Bill Gates, Stephen King, Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison. It’s hard I know whilst you are in it, as life just wares you down, but we can take heart in seeing that others have made it ahead of us. As I said right at the start of this 6 part mini series, “Success is a very profound and interesting thing because the line of demarcation between success and failure is so slight that it is often hard to see where one ends and the other begins.”

Be thankful for the defeat which many call failure, because if you can survive it and keep on trying, it gives you a chance to prove your ability and to rise to the heights of achievement in your chosen field of endeavour.


LESSON 15 - TOLERANCE: Hill makes two significant statements about intolerance at the beginning of this lesson.

  • First: INTOLERANCE IS A FORM OF IGNORANCE which must be mastered before any form of enduring success may be attained. It is the chief cause of all wars. It makes enemies in business and in the professions. It disintegrates the organized forces of society in a thousand forms, and stands, like a mighty giant, as a barrier to the abolition of war. It dethrones reason and substitutes mob psychology in its place.

  • Second: Intolerance is the chief disintegrating force in the organized religions of the world, where it plays havoc with the greatest power for good there is on this earth; by breaking up that power into small sects and denominations which spend as much effort opposing each other as they do in destroying the evils of the world.

I thought I’d quote that opening directly as Hill is very specific and likely at the time was incredibly forward thinking about all of this – He is saying don't practice prejudice or racism. IT IS IGNORANCE, AND IT IS A BARRIER TO SUCCESS. Just see the best in people and situations. Focus only on your goal and the good for all.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. Martin Luther King, Jr. UNQUOTE

It is obvious that anything which impedes the progress of civilization, such as intolerance, stands as a barrier for the individual; and anything that clouds the mind of the individual and stops his mental, moral and spiritual development, impedes, also, the progress of civilization.

We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. Jimmy Carter UNQUOTE

So this whole lesson details a significant number of examples and studies of how INTOLERANCES in religion, in politics, in race relations and in differing cultural or family backgrounds are the direct cause of wars and disruptions and Hill’s point in all this is I think that INTOLERANCE is AN UNFORGIVEABLE ELEMENT THAT DISRUPTS ONE OF THE CORNERSTONES OF HIS 16 LESSONS.

Without TOLERANCE our ORGANIZED EFFORTS will fail, because the HARMONY that is required will be disrupted beyond repair by INTOLERANCE. ORGANIZED EFFORT and the actions of COOPERATION between us as we work towards our SINGLE CHIEF AIMs will be destroyed by INTOLERANCE and ACCURATE THOUGHT cannot be relied upon if INTOLERANCE is present within it.

Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. Mahatma Gandhi UNQUOTE

Hill ends this lesson with an essay on intolerance. These are the final words of that essay.

I am hoping I will find only human Souls, Brothers and Sisters all, unmarked by race, creed or colour, when I have crossed the Bar to the other Side. For I shall want to be done with Intolerance so I may lie down and rest an æon or two, undisturbed by the strife, ignorance, superstition and petty misunderstandings which mark with chaos and grief this earthly existence.

Here endeth lesson 15 of the law of success in 16 lessons.

Summing Up

So, to sum up on this episode, let me go over the basics of today’s lessons.

LESSON 13 –COOPERATION: The implementation of cooperation between yourself and others who are going to help you get to your goal. Cooperation must also exist between your conscious and subconscious mind so that they may work harmoniously in your favour.

LESSON 14 – FAILURE: Fail, and be happy that it is bringing you one step closer to success. Failure is inevitable, and it is a great step towards the right direction. Don’t let it bring you down. Simply replace "failure" with the words "temporary defeat".

And LESSON 15 –TOLERANCE: Don't practice prejudice or racism. It is IGNORANCE, and it is a barrier to success. Just see the best in people and situations, and focus only on your goal and the good of all.

Call To Action

Your call to action this week is to embrace your failures, and consider how they have brought you closer to success, taught you invaluable lessons and made you a person of character. Gather from them the strength to continue on, and re-write your negative feelings about your experiences, renaming them TEMPORARY SETBACKS instead of failures.

“Success is a very profound and interesting thing because the line of demarcation between success and failure is so slight that it is often hard to see where one ends and the other begins.”

Remember: No one has the right to brand you as a failure except yourself.


Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas Jefferson UNQUOTE

The next episode will be the final show in this 6 part series within the series documenting the law of success in 16 lessons. After that we will be back to the usual style of shows. Next time I will be recapping on all that has come before and introducing LESSON 16. THE GOLDEN RULE.

I’ll end today though with a very famous quote of Mr Hill’s which I riff upon quite often here “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”

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

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