Unformatted text preview: o my work. I wish to acquire your spirit of persistence, the determination, poise, and self-conﬁdence which have enabled you
to master poverty, organize, unify, and simplify human effort, so I may help
others to follow in your footsteps.
“Mr. Edison, I have seated you nearest to me, at my right, because of the personal cooperation you have given me, during my research into the causes of success and failure. I wish to acquire from you the marvelous spirit of FAITH, with
which you have uncovered so many of Nature’s secrets, the spirit of unremitting
toil with which you have so often wrested victory from defeat.”
My method of addressing the members of the imaginary Cabinet would vary, according to the traits of character in which I was, for the moment, most interested
in acquiring. I studied the records of their lives with painstaking care. After some 196 NAPOLEON HILL THINK AND GROW RICH months of this nightly procedure, I was astounded by the discovery that these
imaginary ﬁgures became, apparently real.
Each of these nine men developed individual characteristics, which surprised
me. For example, Lincoln developed the habit of always being late, then walking
around in solemn parade. When he came, he walked very slowly, with his hands
clasped behind him, and once in a while, he would stop as he passed, and rest his
hand, momentarily, upon my shoulder. He always wore an expression of seriousness upon his face. Rarely did I see him smile. The cares of a sundered nation
made him grave.
That was not true of the others. Burbank and Paine often indulged in witty repartee which seemed, at times, to shock the other members of the cabinet. One night
Paine suggested that I prepare a lecture on “The Age of Reason,” and deliver it
from the pulpit of a church which I formerly attended. Many around the table
laughed heartily at the suggestion. Not Napoleon! He drew his mouth down at the
corners and groaned so loudly that all turned and looked at him with amazement.
To him the church was but a pawn of the State, not to be reformed, but to be used,
as a convenient inciter to mass activity by the people.
On one occasion Burbank was late. When he came, he was excited with enthusiasm, and explained that he had been late, because of an experiment he was making, through which he hoped to be able to grow apples on any sort of tree. Paine
chided him by reminding him that it was an apple which started all the trouble
between man and woman. Darwin chuckled heartily as he suggested that Paine
should watch out for little serpents, when he went into the forest to gather apples,
as they had the habit of growing into big snakes. Emerson observed-”No serpents,
no apples,” and Napoleon remarked, “No apples, no state!”
Lincoln developed the habit of always being the last one to leave the table after
each meeting. On one occasion, he leaned across the end of the table, his arms
folded, and remained in that position for many minutes. I made no attempt to
disturb him. Finally, he lifted his head slowly, got up and walked to the door, then
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- Spring '12