The 17th Principle

The 17th Principle

You’ve probably heard of Napoleon Hill. In the early part of the last century he spent 20 years, at Andrew Carnegie’s request, researching how the very successful achieve their success. He wrote a best seller, Think and Grow Rich, back in the late ’30’s. In the book he wrote of 16 principles of success, the foundation of wealth and achievement.

He gave detailed instructions for making them part of your life. Many people of both my parents and my own generation have read the book. Many people achieved great success as a result.

But many also did not. So he did further research. It took another 20 years before he found the 17th principle in 1948. He called it The Cosmic Habitforce, the unifying agent that lets the other 16 principles work in harmony, the law of equilibrium. The one natural law into which all other laws resolve themselves.

Fundamentally, this is the law of action, the law of karma (not the good and bad bit, the law of the flow of action). As he put it, for every result there is a cause. And as they observe in the east, thought is an action. A more powerful action than a physical one.

He named the new book “The Science of Personal Achievement, the 17 Principles of Success.”

Ever heard of it? Its much less well known. Its still available but now as “The Keys to Success” as a book. (says something that the book is in print 60 years later)

This, to me, points to one of the keys to our opening future. How the unifying principle is missing from the best seller yet still available nearby. How the missing ingredient is present but emerges when we’re ready…

The 17 principles are listed here: in comments

The web site:

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”

“There comes to your aid and to do your bidding, with the development of the sixth sense, a ‘guardian angel’ who will open to you at all times the door to the temple of wisdom.”
— Napoleon Hill

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  1. Davidya

    Well, yes, in certain ways. Karma means action. In the west, we often think it refers to the “good” and “bad” which refer more to how we respond to or perceive events in our lives than the action itself. Often what we are really describing is our resistance to action, the friction we experience as suffering. The “wheel of karma” is simply resistance that cause actions to not complete. When we stop resisting, completion is possible and the wheel stops. Or at least that one (laughs)

    While I have not read this book, the description suggests the structure into which the principles are used/flow. What we might call the mental structure (habits) we use to guide results. Those habits of action thus define the results, or destiny.

    I think Hills point is that if the habit/mind structure is incorrect, no amount of technique will get results.

    I guess the other thing I’d say here is that actions define the destiny of the body and circumstances, not who you are. That is beyond action. When you wake up, the field of action does not define your destiny, it is simply the playing field. The destiny of the lila or game we could say.

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  5. Davidya

    Sorry – the links have died. Note that Hill’s books are in the public domain. You can find some on

    The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement
    By Napoleon Hill

    1. Definiteness of Purpose – The starting point of all achievement, knowing what you want.

    2. Master Mind Principle – The coordination of effort between two or more people in a spirit of perfect harmony in order to attain a specific objective.

    3. Applied Faith – A state of mind through which your aims, desires, plans and purposes are translated into physical or financial equivalents.

    4. Pleasing Personality – A pleasing personality helps you master the major cause of failure-the inability to get along with people harmoniously.

    5. Going the Extra Mile – Rendering more and better service than you are paid to render, doing it all the time and doing it with a pleasing, positive attitude.

    6. Personal Initiative – The inner power that starts all action; the power that inspires the completion of all that one begins.

    7. Self-Discipline – The ability to control our thoughts and emotions, self-discipline is the only thing in life over which you have complete, unchallenged, and unchallengeable control.

    8. Controlled Attention – The highest form of self-discipline, the act of coordinating all your mind’s faculties and directing their combined power to a given end.

    9. Enthusiasm – A contagious state of mind that not only helps you gain the cooperation of others but, more importantly, inspires you to draw upon and use the power of your imagination.

    10. Imagination – Your mind’s exercise, challenge and adventure. It uses old ideas and established facts to reassemble them into new combinations and to put them to new uses.

    11. Learning from Adversity and Defeat – Hardship and adversity are a common language of nature in which she speaks to all living creatures and teaches them many things they would not learn in any other way.

    12. Budgeting Time and Money – Successful people know themselves, not as they think they are, but as their habits have made them: the use of time and money are the most vital of these habits.

    13. Positive Mental Attitude – To govern your life, you must be able to govern your mind, and that is the starting point of all riches.

    14. Accurate Thinking – The accurate thinker recognizes all the facts of life, both good and bad, and assumes the responsibility of separating and organizing the two, choosing those which serve his/her needs and rejecting others.

    15. Sound Physical Health – The key that coordinates all other principles and sets all ideas into motion, sound health provides the “flavor” to the good things in life.

    16. Cooperation – Harmony based on definitive motive, cooperation is the medium through which great personal power may be attained; the willing cooperation and coordination of effort to achieve a specific objective.

    17. Cosmic Habitforce – The cosmic habitforce is the universe’s law of equilibrium, the one natural law into which all other natural laws resolve themselves.

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