Outwitting the Devil



I just read the latest publication of Napoleon Hill that was set aside over 80 years ago, Outwitting the Devil, the Secret to Freedom and Success. In the two years following my trek into the “bowels of the Twilight Zone,” I sank into the quicksand of a self-sustaining process with a narcissist/psychopath and his clan. I found myself buoyed in a current of some strange delusion of life and hoping that somehow I could be saved. I had no idea where or how that might arise as an agonizing crisis of

I just read the latest publication of Napoleon Hill that was set aside over 80 years ago, Outwitting the Devil, the Secret to Freedom and Success. In the two years following my trek into the “bowels of the Twilight Zone,” I sank into the quicksand of a self-sustaining process with a narcissist/psychopath and his clan. I found myself buoyed in a current of some strange delusion of life and hoping that somehow I could be saved. I had no idea where or how that might arise as an agonizing crisis of faith had thrown a veil of unhappiness over me.As described in Hill’s book, I had “drifted away from self-determinism without purpose or a plan...this was procrastination” as I put reaching definite decisions on a back burner. Fear is an awesome presence. We pretend it has no influence over our thought patterns but we carry the stressful worry of criticism...that we might have failed, that we were not and may not be up to the task of creating a positive and happy life, and that we are somehow less than we hoped. The book, Outwitting the Devil , states so powerfully that “drifters of thought and thinking patterns cry that the world has run dry of opportunities, but non-drifters do not wait for opportunity - they create these.” Within the pages of the book, an interview between the author and the Devil is taking place. It’s reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. The Devil’s great concern is that real thinkers may appear on earth... and they would share with others the “greatest of all truths - that the time spent fearing something would, if reversed, give mankind all he wants in the material world and save him after death.” The problem exists as more than choice of thoughts. One must be repetitive to the point of establishing an ongoing rhythm that flows without effort. This rhythm is the “last stage of habit.” Drifting and procrastination are the same practical knowledge. Hypnotic rhythm makes dominating thoughts AND thinking patterns permanent. So, during these two years away from the insanity that had become "home," I have been floundering a bit, but also climbing forward. To think my own thoughts...to be a Don Quixote for my own beliefs...to make decisions and accept the consequences along with awareness of involved dynamics and effects upon others, to risk applying different techniques, and to decrease my need for the approval of others. This isn't to say that I no longer find camaraderie of like minded souls important, but I can keep my own counsel and engage in reflective contemplation with a sense of something greater than the smaller me.Each person, to live with purpose, must intend to awaken to his own power of determinism - cause and effect. The goal that guides the action must also be accompanied by a sense of ethical responsibility. Discernment is part of this knowledge with judgment. So, Hill’s phrase “how to fail successfully” makes a great deal of sense. We can learn from adversity. There is a difference between temporary defeat and failure. To work the system of creative energy, one needs passion, talent, high level associations, choosing to take right actions, and faith. Described as the “stronger sister of hope,” (Emmet Fox) faith is definiteness of deliberate aim backed by the belief in the accomplishment of the objective.And yet, we humans require a payment to ourselves and that comes in the form of happiness. Because there are exchanges in this energy-web of living, one of the best ways to discover personal joy is to find a service to provide. There is a harmony that evolves from developing a purpose in one’s own mental, spiritual, and physical landscape. As you gain a discipline over yourself, thoughts, controlling influences, and awareness of repercussions, one feels a unique power of connectedness. Napoleon Hill used a Mastermind group of admired people throughout history to serve on his “Roundtable” as he imagined their responses, actions, and teaching guidance when mulling ideas and plans. The secret is to grow an understanding heart and rebirth or rebuilding of character as we move into a reality of our choosing. Time is necessary in the sense that habitual connection to life's energies of decency help channel our own growth. Challenges will arise, but if we have become advocates for our own self-hood and establish a set of principles for our ideas of right conduct, we can each feel the exhilaration of choice, knowing there is more than the individual "I." When the student is ready...
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