“Every adversity contains within it a seed of equivalent or greater benefit.”
– Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Fellow students of Napoleon Hill’s philosophy of personal achievement will recognize this as a recurring point expressed repeatedly in his many writings and lectures.

Defeat – and adversity – may either be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, according to your mental attitude and how you relate yourself to it.

Defeat is never the same as failure, unless and until you accept it as such.

Many of the failures we experience are actually only temporary defeats, that may in time ultimately prove to be blessings in disguise.

Your mental attitude regarding defeat is the most important factor that will determine wither you rise with the tides of fortune, or fall from the burdens of misfortune.

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”
– George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr., American baseball player

Two points to consider:

Individual success usually comes in exact proportion to the scope of defeat the individual has experienced and mastered.

The worst that can happen to you may be the best thing to happen to you, if you don’t let that thing get the best of you.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound. Rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your goal.”
– Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

– Rudyard Kipling