The following essay is completely different from what we normally write in our newsletter. However, it’s worth your time to read it. I’m close to someone who has experienced some painful setbacks in establishing a new business. When I have encountered difficulties or unpleasant struggles in my life, I invariably turned to a single chapter in a book by Napoleon Hill. It’s helped me a great deal. I have synopsized the chapter as follows:
“The necessity for struggle is one of the clever devices through which nature forces individuals to expand, develop, progress, and become strong through resistance. Life, from birth until death, is literally an unbroken record of an ever increasing variety of struggles, which no individual can avoid.
Mastery of ignorance calls for struggle. Education involves eternal struggle, and every day is commencement day because education is cumulative. It is a lifetime job. The accumulation of material riches abounds in the necessity for struggle. Maintenance of sound physical health calls for eternal struggle with the multifarious enemies of sound health; struggle for food and shelter; struggle for an opportunity to earn a living; struggle to hold a job; struggle to gain recognition in a profession; struggle to keep a business out of bankruptcy.
We are forced to recognize that this great universal necessity for struggle must have a definite and useful purpose. That purpose is to force individuals to sharpen their wits, arouse their enthusiasm, build up their spirit of Faith, gain definiteness of purpose, develop their power of will, inspire their faculty of imagination to give them new uses for old ideas and concepts, and thereby fulfill some unknown mission for which he or she may have been born.
Struggle keeps man from going to sleep with self-satisfaction or laziness, and forces him onward and upward in the fulfillment of his mission in life, and he thereby makes his individual contribution to whatever may be the Universal Purpose of mankind on earth.
Strength, both physical and spiritual, is the product of struggle! ‘Do the thing,’ said Emerson, ‘and you shall have the power.’ Meet the struggle and master it, says nature, and you shall have strength and wisdom sufficient for all your needs.
In every form of life, atrophy and death come from idleness! The one thing nature will not tolerate is idleness. When any individual reconciles himself to the state of mind wherein he is willing to accept largess from the government, instead of supplying his needs through personal initiative, that individual is on the road to decay and spiritual blindness. When a majority of the people of any nation give up their inherited prerogative right to make their own way through struggle, history shows clearly that the entire nation is in a tailspin of decay that inevitably must end in extinction. The individual who not only is willing to live on the public treasury, but demands that he be fed from it, is already dead spiritually.
There may be some pain in most forms of struggle, but nature compensates the individual for the pain in the form of power and strength and wisdom which come from practical experience. From my experiences with struggle I discovered that the Creator never singles out an individual for an important service to mankind without first testing him, through struggle, in proportion to the nature of the service he is to render. I have gained from my struggle something of great and profound value. It is recognition that through my struggles I have reached deeply into the spiritual wells of my soul, and there I have found powers available for every purpose I may desire – powers I never knew I possessed, and never would have discovered except by the means of struggle!
Peace of mind is not possible without the capacity for panoramic vision of the entire picture and purpose of life. We must recognize that our individual incarnation, through which we are tossed into this material world without ceremony and without our consent, was for a purpose above and beyond our individual pleasures and desires. Once we understand this broader purpose of life we become reconciled to the experiences of struggle we must undergo while passing this way, and we accept them as circumstances of opportunity through which we may prepare ourselves for still higher and better planes of existence than the one on which we now dwell.”