Part 5: May Day- Earl Nightingale Defines Success

Continued from Wisdom of Dale Carnegie,

“Man Becomes What He Thinks About Most”

Success as defined by Earl Nightingale is, the “Progressive realization of a worthy ideal…  If a man is working toward a predetermined goal and knows where he is going, that man is a success.  If he doesn’t, he is a failure.” His “secret” to success was, “Man becomes what he thinks about most.”

So, I ask you to think about what you spend your time thinking the most about, your end goal or your obstacles, your fears or your success, your dreams or your doubts?    Mr. Nightingale was asked, “If it is that simple to achieve success just by thinking about it,  why don’t men use their minds more?” He responded that we receive our minds as standard equipment at birth, and it’s free. “Things that are given to us for nothing, we place little value upon.  Things we have to pay money for, we value.”

If You Want More Out of Life, Give More!

That’s the paradox he says, for the complete opposite is true. Everything that is of value, our minds, souls, dreams, intelligence, etc. are free.  The bible also affirms the simplicity of reaching success, “For everyone that askest, receiveth.”  Most people want more out of life than they are receiving.  His response to this was, “If you want more, provide more service.”  If you give less service, you will receive less compensation.  I guess in other words he’s saying, “We reap what we sow.”

Only 5% of People Are Successes

Earl Nightingale once made an astounding observation, and that is 95% of the people in life are unsuccessful.  That means that only 5% are living the life of their dreams.   He defines success as doing what you really want to do in life. It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you choose to do it and it makes you happy.  If you choose to be a dancer, mother, janitor, or CEO, and you are doing it or making progress towards it, you are successful.  All of the truly successful people agree that success is not about money, but more about meaning, joy, purpose, and fulfillment.  It means taking advantage of the free will we have been given, choosing what we really want from the universe of possibilities, and then faithfully, confidently and steadily doing what we must to move closer to our ultimate outcome.

To continue to Part 6: Earl Nightengale Defines Success,

c) 2010, Barbara S. Talley- All Rights Reserved

Barbara Talley is a keynote speaker, author of six books, and trainer on value-based living themes.  She also offers Effective Communication, Diversity, Leadership, Time Management, and Goal Setting workshops.  Visit her at or contact her at 301-428-4831.  You may email her at

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