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Unformatted text preview: author, being neither a humorist nor a prophet, is inclined to attribute the
basic fear of criticism to that part of man’s inherited nature which prompts him
not only to take away his fellowman’s goods and wares, but to justify his action
by CRITICISM of his fellowman’s character. It is a well known fact that a thief
will criticise the man from whom he steals-that politicians seek ofﬁce, not by displaying their own virtues and qualiﬁcations, but by attempting to besmirch their
The fear of criticism takes on many forms, the majority of which are petty and
trivial. Bald-headed men, for example, are bald for no other reason than their fear
of criticism. Heads become bald because of the tight ﬁtting bands of hats which
cut off the circulation from the roots of the hair. Men wear hats, not because they
actually need them, but mainly because “everyone is doing it.”
The individual falls into line and does likewise, lest some other individual CRITICISE him. Women seldom have bald heads, or even thin hair, because they wear
hats which ﬁt their heads loosely, the only purpose of the hats being adornment.
But, it must not be supposed that women are free from the fear of criticism. If any
woman claims to be superior to man with reference to this fear, ask her to walk
down the street wearing a hat of the vintage of 1890.
The astute manufacturers of clothing have not been slow to capitalize this basic
fear of criticism, with which all mankind has been cursed. Every season the styles
in many articles of wearing apparel change. Who establishes the styles? Certainly
not the purchaser of clothing, but the manufacturer. Why does he change the
styles so often? The answer is obvious. He changes the styles so he can sell more
For the same reason the manufacturers of automobiles (with a few rare and very
sensible exceptions) change styles of models every season. No man wants to drive
an automobile which is not of the latest style, although the older model may actually be the better car. We have been describing the manner in which people
behave under the inﬂuence of fear of criticism as applied to the small and petty 211 NAPOLEON HILL THINK AND GROW RICH things of life. Let us now examine human behavior when this fear affects people
in connection with the more important events of human relationship. Take for
example practically any person who has reached the age of “mental maturity”
(from 35 to 40 years of age, as a general average), and if you could read the secret
thoughts of his mind, you would ﬁnd a very decided disbelief in most of the fables
taught by the majority of the dogmatists and theologians a few decades back.
Not often, however, will you ﬁnd a person who has the courage to openly state his
belief on this subject. Most people will, if pressed far enough, tell a lie rather than
admit that they do not believe the stories associated with that form of religion
which held people in bondage prior to the age of scientiﬁc discovery and education.
Why does the avera...
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- Spring '12