I wish to bring to your notice the famous and captivating lecture given to Napoleon Hill by Andrew Carnegie that marked an irreversible turning point in my life. I am doing this because what I want for myself, I want for everybody, to borrow the words of Golden Rule Jones of Toledo. I want you to be rich. I want everybody to be comfortable. After reading the story of this famous lecture, my life was never the same again. It simply changed for better. I followed the instructions given by Andrew Carnegie (by taking possession of my mind and direct it towards worthy endeavours), and Napoleon Hill (by ascertaining my own definite purpose in life). I instantly became a multi-millionaire. Above all, I am enjoying every bit of my life every day, every month and every year. I hope your own life will change positively like mine after reading what follows below.
In 1908, the young Napoleon Hill was assigned to interview Andrew Carnegie, then the richest and most powerful man in the world, for a newspaper article on leadership. Carnegie gave Napoleon three hours, and when those were up he said, “This interview is just starting. Come on over to the house and we’ll take it up after dinner.” Carnegie adumbrated to the ears of Napoleon Hill on the need for a new philosophy of leadership to pass on to future generations. They discussed, virtually nonstop for three days. Carnegie reminisced the lives of great philosophers and the impact their ideas had on civilsation through centuries. It made a great impression on young Hill, who listened with rapt attention. Andrew Carnegie told Hill that it was a crime that all the knowledge gained by the great men of history was buried with their bones when they died. Nobody had distilled it into an accessible body of knowledge for anyone in the future to read.
Three days later, Carnegie gave Napoleon a most remarkable offer. He said, “I want you to come and work for me. I want you to learn all you can from the great minds of leadership of our time. The job will take you about 20 years to complete. I will not pay you any salary at all during the 20 years. Instead, I will introduce you to the greatest minds alive today. You will earn your own way on your wits. What do you say —- yes or no?” Hill first decided that he could not do it, and then he thought about it for a few seconds more. Finally after 29 seconds he said “I’ll do it.” Carnegie looked at his Stop-Watch and said he was going to retract the offer if Hill had not agreed within the span of one minute. He had just 31 seconds between the most fantastic offer ever made to an individual author or a lonely railroad ride back to Washington. Carnegie kept his own part of the agreement and introduced Napoleon Hill to over 500 of the most successful and powerful men in the world. Napoleon Hill started work on this important project for the rest of his life and the outcome is his famous book, Think and Grow Rich as the centerpiece of the philosophy Carnegie had envisioned. Undoubtedly, he wrote many other books and spoke on the philosophy all over the world. His work has influenced millions of people, including me, and is still one of the most popular motivational books ever published. Now listen to Napoleon Hill recounts his own story of his historic meeting with Andrew Carnegie.
“My search led me to the study of the spiritual forces with which all of us are blessed. And it was in this field that I came upon a clue which has enabled me to help millions of people to find their earthly destinies. I want to describe my discovery in the simplest terms possible, because it will reveal to you why it is true that whatever the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve, regardless of how many times you have failed in the past or how lofty your aims and hopes may be.
“I got my first fleeting glimpse of the profound law which provided the means by which we may choose our own purpose in life and obtain it while I was being coached by Andrew Carnegie during the organization of the Science of Success Philosophy. I had just finished telling Mr. Carnegie that I feared that he had chosen the wrong person to give the world the first practical philosophy of personal success, because of my youth, my lack of education and my lack of finances. Well, at this point Mr. Carnegie delivered a lecture that I shall never forget because it changed my entire life and paved my way for my helping to change the lives of millions of people, some of them not yet born.
“ “Let me call your attention to a great power which is under your control”, said Mr. Carnegie, “the power which is greater than poverty, greater than the lack of education, greater than all of your fears and superstitions combined. It is the power to take possession of your own mind and direct it toward whatever end you may desire.” “This profound power”, Mr. Carnegie continued, “is the gift of the Creator, and it must have been considered the greatest of all of His gifts to man, because it is the only thing over which man has the complete and unchallengeable right of control and direction.”
“ “When you speak of your poverty and your lack of education”, Mr. Carnegie explained, “you are simply directing your mind power to attract these undesirable circumstances. Because it is true that whatever your mind feeds upon, your mind attracts to you. Now you see why it is important that you recognize that all success begins with definiteness of purpose, with a clear picture in your mind of precisely what you want from life.”
“Then, Mr. Carnegie continued his speech with a description of a great universal truth which made such an impact upon my mind that I began then and there to give myself a new outlook on life and I set up for myself a goal so far above my previous achievements, that it shocked my friends and relatives when they heard about it.”
“ “Everyone” said Mr. Carnegie, “comes to the earth plane blessed with the privilege of controlling his mind power and directing it towards whatever ends he may choose.” “But”, he continued, “everyone brings over with him at birth the equivalent of two sealed envelopes, one of which is clearly labeled: The Riches you may enjoy if you take possession of your own mind and direct it to ends of your own choice. And the other is labeled: The Penalties you must pay if you neglect to take possession of your mind and direct it.”
“ “And now, let me reveal to you”, said Mr. Carnegie, “the contents of those two sealed envelopes. In the one labeled 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. Positive mental attitude
6. Material riches of your own choice and quantity.”
“ “In the sealed envelope labeled Penalties”, Mr. Carnegie continued, “is this list of the prices one must pay for neglecting to take possession of one’s 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 envy, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred and superstition.”
“Now, my mission in life is to help you and everyone who needs my help to open up and use the contents of the sealed envelope labeled Riches. And the starting point from which you must take off if you wish to write your own ticket from here on out, for the remainder of your life, I will describe for you in these simple instructions:
1. Procure a neat pocket-size notebook (or something on the order of this one here, loose leaf affair). And on page one write down a clear description of your major desire in life. The one circumstance, position or thing which you will be willing to accept as your idea of success. And remember before you begin writing, that your only limitations are those which you set up in your own mind or permit others to set up for you. And,
2. On page 2 of your notebook write down a clear statement of precisely what you intend to give in return for that which you desire from life. And then start right where you stand now to begin giving. And,
3. Memorize both of your statements, what you desire and what you intend to give in return for it. And repeat them at least a dozen times daily. And always end your statements with this expression of gratitude for the blessings with which you were gifted at birth: I ask not, Oh Divine Providence, for more riches, but for more wisdom with which to accept and use wisely the riches I received at birth in the form of the power to control and direct my mind to whatever ends I desire.
“If you are not too successful or self-satisfied to accept and express this profound prayer; if you accept it and express in the same spirit of humble sincerity in which I pass it on to you, then you and the better world will reveal itself to you. A world in which you will see reflected the circumstances and the things which you yourself have created.
“And now, let me close this, our first visit, with my favorite expression of gratitude: ‘Oh Divine Providence, I ask not for more riches, but more wisdom with which to make wiser use of the riches you gave me at birth consisting in the power to control and direct my own mind to whatever ends I desire.’”



I have spent more than a quarter of a century trying to raise the consciousness of the African youth towards wealth creation. What I have done in the main, is to prove that the key to success (wealth) is our thought, and that we can change our life experience only when we replace old, limited ideas with new, more expansive ones. The famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, said more than 2,500 years ago that “poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” Poverty is the root of all evil, including corruption in low and high places in Africa. It is a mental disease that must be abolished in Africa. Africans were never created to be poor. But the greatest man-made challenge facing majority of Africans is squarely the poverty of thought. Wealth is all around Africa. All we (the elite) need to do to help our people achieve it is to help them seek and follow the roadmap that will lead them to their desired destination. The problem started from our Christian religion. According to Wallace Wattles in his The Science of Getting Rich (1910), “The human race was taught that to be poor was to be spiritual, that it was ‘easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of Heaven’” (Matthew 19:24). There is no virtue in poverty. Rather, we will serve God better when every African is empowered materially and financially.
According to Wallace Wattles, “A mind that has been poised through incarnations in the belief of poverty and its power, and backs this belief in the present with childish states of mind — anger, worry and fear — will find poverty abiding with it”(Wallace Wattles, op.cit.). The first step towards acquiring wealth, according to Theron Q Dumont, is to surround yourself with positive and helpful influences — to claim for yourself an environment of culture; to place yourself in it and be moulded by its influences. Secondly, if you want to be rich, render service to those around you. By rendering more service and better service than that for which you are paid, you thereby take advantage of the Law of Increasing Returns. This means that you will eventually be paid, in one way or another, for far more service than you actually perform (Napoleon Hill). All wealth depends upon a clear understanding of the simple fact that mind – thought – is the only creator. The creative business of life is thinking. Thus, when you control your thoughts you control your circumstance. Just as the first Law of Gain is desire, so the formula of success is belief. Believe that you have it — see it as an existent fact — and anything you can rightly wish for is yours. Belief is ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Robert Collier, The Secret of the Ages, 1926). You can become rich if you want to. The first thing is to have a definite purpose in life. Life, according to Brian Tracy, is like a combination lock. Your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can have anything you want. That is why Thomas A. Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
A distinguished American motivational philosopher, Jim Rohn, once admonished his audience that: “You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.” That means, you must do them yourself if you are to get a satisfactory result from them. Whether it is jogging, praying, meditating, exercising, swallowing tablets, fasting, setting measurable goals, reading, studying, acquiring a new skill or earning money, you are going to have to do it yourself. Nobody else can do these things for you. My duty is to give you the success strategies, but you have to apply them. If you do what I said, I assure you that you will succeed greatly in all your endeavours.
Finally, let me conclude this write-up with an African proverb. Every morning in African plain, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed by the lion. Also, every morning in African plain, a lion wakes up. It knows that it must outrun the fastest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the day breaks, you better start running.