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The Greatest Success Secret of All Time

By Frank Tibolt
Excerpt from
A Touch of Greatness

Wise old Andy Carnegie, multi-millionaire philanthropist and builder of men (he created 43 millionaires) became an omnivorous reader as soon as he first learned to read.

He particularly liked stories of biography about successful and rich men. He quickly learned that most successful men made a habit of writing down goals and striving for them. He read this so often he regarded it as the secret of success. He preached it to anyone who'd listen.

He went so far as to think up a little trick for finding out how many of his own employees wrote down goals and aimed at them. This he did as follows:

He thought up a questionnaire of 15 questions so worded to make them think he wanted their opinions and suggestions. Here were some of the questions:

• How long have you been working here?
• What prompted you to come to work for us?
• Are you satisfied with your pay and working conditions?
• Do you have any suggestions for improving conditions, or improving the
• Are you earning enough money for the work you do, in your opinion?
• Do you make enough money to take good care of your family?

Etc. etc. 15 questions in all.

But in between the 15 was one, the only one he was interested in. That one was:

Do you have the habit of writing down goals and working to reach them?

When the questionnaires came in, he had his accountants separate the "yes" sheets from the "no" sheets. There were 226 Yes sheets and 3572 No sheets.
Then he checked the earnings of each employee. The 226 Yes sheets were among the 10% of the highest earners in the company. The No sheets were among the 90% of the lowest earners.

After the test was over he confessed his trick and explained he did it to persuade them to become GOAL SETTERS. And it paid off. The production of the plant increased and hundreds began goal-setting. Many of them became rich. Fortythree of them became millionaires.

For a while he was nicknamed the High Priest of GOAL SETTING.

Since that time dozens of other research agencies, colleges, accountants, employment agencies and others conducted similar tests. And they always came out close to these figures of 6% and 94%.


This technique applies to any goal — large, small, short range, long range, personal, job or career. It works for just a passing thought. Writing down a mere passing thought works like magic for converting that thought into a goal. And writing down a goal works like DYNAMITE for converting a goal into reality.

You are already acquainted with GOAL SETTING through reading Lesson 1 [from the book A Touch of Greatness]. That lesson applied GOAL SETTING to writing down the six most urgent tasks for the next day. Your next step is to write down something with a longer range, like a week. Then gradually for a little longer like a month or so. As you see the giant results, you'll automatically apply it to longer and longer range goals.

Don't choose as your first step upward, a goal that your judgment tells you is so high that it's probably unreachable, or one that will take you so long that it might become discouraging. Select one that you're sure you can reach with a LITTLE time and effort.

Many students ask me: "You say most people know that deciding on and writing down a goal is the most important first step toward success. If so many people know that, why do so few people do it?"

That's a logical question. I'll be glad to answer it. I'll call on Edison and Napoleon to help me answer it. Napoleon wrote:

"The most difficult of all tasks, and hence the most rewarding, is the POWER TO DECIDE. It takes little power to do big things. But it takes great power to decide on big things. And deciding on a goal is a BIG thing. It affects us all our lives."

Whatever you want — large or small, material, mental, or spiritual — write it down as a goal then do something every day to help you reach it. That's the nearest thing to that "so called" SECRET OF SUCCESS you’ll ever discover.

The great Goethe wrote: “First build a proper goal. That proper goal will make it easy, almost automatic, to build a proper YOU.”

William. James and other great psychologists tell us: Compared to what we should be, we are only half alive. We are making use of only a small part of our mind power. Deep down inside of us are vast powers we know nothing of and never use.

How can we wake up more of our mind power? By waking up more of our 12 billion brain cells most of which are idle, asleep. Some wake up by themselves. But the surest, most powerful technique is to set goals and to work towards them.

After you've chosen your goal, whether long range, or short range, whether a job goal or some other, you now have the task of realizing it. When your car needs a major repair, your mechanic selects the best tools. And when you want to realize a goal, you also need the best, quickest and surest tools.

And what are they?

Without the slightest question of a doubt, they are PENCIL AND PAPER... writing.

Edison once said: "Most people will go to ANY length to avoid the labor of thinking." My classes taught me: Many people will go to any length to avoid the labor of writing. They'll practice auto-suggestion, positive thinking, meditating, affirmations, even hypnotism. But they shrink from writing.

They are throwing away their sharpest tool for the purpose of realizing a goal. Why? Because writing requires thinking, the most exact kind of thinking.

In fact writing forces us to think. It has ten times the power to force us to concentrate and think accurately, exactly, and meaningfully as mere talking or silent pondering. You can prove this in a minute. Just try to write something without thinking. You can't. Forcing yourself to write harnesses a group of brain cells to produce thoughts and that develops mind power.

The starting point of all achievement is a vision, a dream. That dream continued changes to a desire. And if it's definite, it leads to a plan, which in turn leads to action. But it must be definite and WRITTEN DOWN as a goal. Otherwise it's a mere passing thought.

Unless you write down your goal on paper, you are merely toying haven't gotten serious. I'd like to print in letters 12 inches high this MILLION DOLLAR MESSAGE:


I can't emphasize too strongly: Only the emotions, feeling, have the power to put a message over to the subconscious mind. Ordinary thinking or talking does NOT arouse the emotions. Seeing your goal on paper involves the optic nerve which is 17 times larger than most other nerves. Therefore, seeing it on paper makes a deeper impression on the mind, makes you remember it longer and it penetrates your inner, subconscious mind.

Many potentially great people remained just ordinary because they never wrote down their goals. And many ordinary men who did write down their goals rose to wealth and some even to greatness. A written down goal has more power than brilliance, luck, pull, even genius.

Writing down your goal is so important that I'm going to remind you, urge you, spur you and coax you to write it down until you're blue in the face. If I fail to motivate you to write it down, I'm a flop as a teacher. If you don't like to write, I strongly urge you to force yourself to write until it becomes a habit. Any skill or habit can be developed and acquired, IF we want it seriously enough to seriously set our minds to it. That requires SELF MASTERY, will power, discipline. Here is a good place to begin developing this SELF MASTERY — one of the two MIND GROWTH traits.

Writing down your goal is planting the seed. That seed will grow and draw all other success aids it needs, like the apple seed that grows and draws all the ingredients it needs. Writing is both physical and mental. It has double power... bringing faster results than any single power. It reaches the subconscious mind.

The subconscious is much smarter than the conscious mind. It's much older, millions of years older. The conscious mind is a comparatively late-comer.
Writing it down gives it momentum, life, substance ...makes it definite and PERMANENT. Mere mental thinking lasts a few seconds. Writing on paper never forgets. Writing it down has two powers, drawing and driving power. Through the subconscious it draws and through the conscious it drives us to do everything we can think of to help realize that goal. It's the quick way.

Writing it down is like hiring a MIRACLE WORKER.

Outside forces, seemingly from nowhere come to your aid. There's an ancient Swiss saying: FATE ADDS A THREAD TO THE CLOTH BEGUN. How? I don't know. Experts have several theories about how a goal converts itself to its physical equivalent. Here is the one most widely accepted:

Your conscious mind is the RULER of your life. Your subconscious mind is the FACTORY. This factory is also a giant COMPUTER. It has thousands of separate facts, ideas, plans, notions, concepts and thoughts. A written down order from the conscious mind signals the subconscious mind to select, compare, combine, adopt, adapt, reject, relate and switch these facts and thoughts around and combine them into new forms, new ideas, plans, and means to realize that goal. It even has cybernetic action like a guided missile. When it wanders off course it self-corrects and puts itself right back on course.

Paper with writing on it never forgets. And writing a goal on paper is in some way related to writing it on the subconscious mind, where it acts like a note to ourselves and projects itself upon our eyes and minds to spur us, urge us and nag us until we take some action.

Writing it down activates a new group of our 12 billion brain cells to go to work and realize our goal. Authorities admit they know very little about just how and why this subconscious mind works. But like electricity which produces light, although they don't know how and why electricity works, they are not willing to sit in the dark until they discover how and why. They're satisfied to push buttons and turn it on.

Many hesitate because they don't know how nature works. No one does. She works in mysterious ways. How she transforms a goal into its counterpart in material form is one of her secrets. As we use electricity without knowing how it works, let's do the same with writing down a goal. Those who do, win; those who don't, fail.

Writing down a goal is like turning on a switch. Pencil touching paper is like joining two electric wires together to form a path for the flow of electric power. This simple act of writing down your goal will do more to realize it than anything else you can do. It's electrifying, galvanizing, magnetizing draws all it needs toward it will make you a new person …it will lift you from creature of circumstance to master of circumstance ... it will release the sleeping powers of your mind will permeate every facet of your life. A note on paper never forgets. Nor does your subconscious mind. It might flare forth weeks later.

Your problem is more than half solved once you get your message over to the subconscious mind. In six weeks it can change your whole life. Seemingly miracles begin to happen. Ideas to help you realize your goal will come from everywhere ...seemingly even out of thin air. Your hopes rise change from drifting to driving. Your whole life seems to surge ahead.

Optimism replaces pessimism, positive replaces negative. Hope blooms and despair flees. Your confidence drives out all doubt — indifference changes to enthusiasm. You're on your way!

One surprising way your subconscious mind works on your goal is: IT WORKS ON YOU. Your written down goal motivates you to action. It seems to set a fire under you to wake you up. It changes your whole attitude and outlook. Writing it down takes less than a minute but does more than 20 years of mere wishing to realize it. It's a literal magnet, a charm that draws everything it needs.

You'll notice your goal working on you right away. Seeing your goal on paper will alert you to notice everything even remotely related to your goal. You'll notice your goal gripping you and everything you do. It will keep you ever alert for new ideas; give you new spring, new energy and zeal, new spirit to permeate your whole being.

So far we’ve been emphasizing the power of the subconscious mind to help us realize our goal. That was proper. Writing it down on paper was the mightiest single action we could take to help realize it. But since we want quick results, we owe it to ourselves to use ALL possible aids. Our conscious mind also has power. Remember it is the RULER of our life.

And remember it was our conscious mind that impelled us to harness our
subconscious mind to help realize that goal. And remember: "Committing your goal on paper will activate both your conscious mind and subconscious minds, and help keep your goal always before your vision."

There are several ways to harness your conscious mind to help you realize your goal. Probably the most powerful one is as a reminder. Keep that goal in mind. That requires conscious effort. Look at that written goal. Be sure to LOOK at it, not merely think of it. Look at it every evening. In addition, write it on several cards.
Put one in your car, one in your bedroom, one in your bathroom, and others where you'll AUTOMATICALLY see them without depending on your unreliable memory.

Your success, and how quickly you'll realize your goal, will depend on how long you can keep your enthusiasm up. Some have enthusiasm for a few minutes, others for a few days, some a few weeks, or months. But the real winners are the ones who keep it up for years. Keep in mind enthusiasm creates energy. Energy impels you from within to take actions that help you realize your goal.


Also keep in mind the subconscious mind is deaf to mere thinking or weak wishing. It only heeds strong feeling, emotion. Other methods to harness your conscious mind are:

  • 1. Auto suggestions ... telling yourself, aloud if alone, in positive tones that you will realize your goal. Still better, telling yourself that you are already realizing it.
  • 2. Visualizing, seeing it mentally as realized.
  • 3. Every evening reading the list of all the rich, rewards of your goal.
  • 4. Meditation and affirmations.
  • 5. Talking to people in fields of your interest.
  • 6. Reading trade journals about your goal.
  • 7. Reading success books, articles and stories about men in your field of interest.
  • 8. Listening to lectures, tapes, records on success.
  • 9. Associating with successful people.
  • 10. Try to think up several ways of your own. Thinking is the highest faculty of the mind. Exercise it at every opportunity. It's easy: COMPARE AND COMBINE.

For quickest results, while your subconscious mind is drawing, your conscious mind should be driving you to develop the qualities needed to reach your goal. To this end get up a list of slogans, axioms, proverbs, precepts, maxims, mottos as short reminders. Read them every day.


To make the most of yourself keep in mind: We need more to be reminded than informed. All ambitious people, from the lowest to the highest need not merely yearly, or quarterly, or monthly or weekly inspiration, but DAILY reminders.

B.C. Forbes, the millionaire founder of Forbes Magazine, read an average of three success books every week for 20 years. Most leaders in business, industry, education, religion, entertainment, and EVERY FIELD are ALWAYS improving themselves by reading, studying, and seeking inspiration. Most world famous leaders claim they read practically all the new books on success, positive thinking, human relations and other success books as fast as they come out. Napoleon once said: "Show me an army of leaders and I'll show you an army of readers."

Do you remember the last words of Kaiser to the students of Denver University? They were: "After you decide on a goal, put it in writing. Then every evening read it to keep it in mind. The next day, and every day, do one thing to take you a little closer to that goal. Keep that up for five years or until you reach your goal."

"BUT," I sense some of you mentally say, "That's harder than it sounds. That takes the kind of will power and brains you read about in the history books. That might be all right for Henry Kaiser and other big shots, but I don't have the will power and the persistence to stick to a goal and do one thing every day for five years to reach it."

If that's your only objection, I have good news for you.


The news I'm going to tell you might be the BEST NEWS YOU EVER HEARD. If you act on it, it might mark the turning point in your life. Pull up a chair and I'll tell you the one big factor behind most hugely successful men and women; that helps turn "ordinary" ability into "extraordinary" achievement; helps change average people into big shots, more often than any other trait. It took me 20 years to discover it. I'll tell it to you in 20 minutes.

Whether you want to get rich, become a star salesman, a top executive or entertainer, your ONLY right starting step is to find or develop some OVERMASTERING GOAL, VISION OR PURPOSE TO DRAW AND DRIVE YOU TO SUCCESS. Otherwise you'll fall by the wayside as all "average" folks do.

This right FEELING OR PURPOSE will speed you ahead further and faster than all the knowledge in all the books and colleges. The more people I analyze, the more convinced I am that the chief benefit of education is to help you find a worthy goal, vision or purpose in life, to give life meaning and to DRIVE AND DRAW YOU TO SUCCESS.


Nothing leads to futility and failure like the lack of a chief, strong aim, goal or purpose in life. In my classes, clinic and correspondence course, I have analyzed more than 2000 people. Eighty-seven percent were accomplishing less than their highest potential because they had no goal or vision to draw and drive them forward.

You'll never even know what your real power and possibilities are until you feel that irresistible pull from an overmastering purpose from within, drawing you forward. That vision or goal, that purpose or feeling will act like a magnet, pulling you from in front, instead of requiring a push from behind. Your powerful subconscious mind will take over and replace the crude will power and DRIVE AND DRAW you forward.

This dominant goal will relieve you of the source of petty annoyances, fears, hates, peeves, excuses, inhibitions, and complexes that lick little men. Whenever an obstacle crops up, you'll automatically think, "How small this petty piffle will look five years from today." Your vision will carry you over obstacles like a jet bomber.
It will free you from the paralyzing complexes and the picayune peeves that flatten floundering floaters.

You'll automatically think with Sir Thomas Buxton,

"The longer I live, the stronger becomes my conviction that the truest difference between the success and the failure, between the strong and the weak, between the big and the small man, that separates the boys from the men, is nothing but a powerful aim in life, a purpose once fixed and then death or victory. And no perfect speech or manners, no culture or education, no pull or influence, can make a two-legged creature a man without it."

By Frank Tibolt, author of A Touch of Greatness

Also by Frank Tibolt:
The Greatest Motivational Technique of All Time