Full text of author Earl Nightingale’s Strangest Secret: 19 Minutes That Can Change Your Life
Listen to the Audio MP3 here: 19 Minutes That Can Change Your Life by Earl Nightingale
From the earliest writings of men, we know that the human race has been comprised of the haves and have-nots. When I was a kid back during the Great Depression, I was obsessed with the desire to know what invisible something separated the haves from the have-nots.
Being a have-not, I wanted to know why so few managed to be well-off financially in a country where success is available to everyone. For example, in checking the Statistical Abstract of the United States published by the Bureau of the Census, I discovered just lately that only 10% of the men in this country 65 years of age and older have incomes of $6,000 or more a year.
More than 80% of all men 65 or older have incomes under $4,000 a year. Only 7.6% have incomes between $7000 and $10,000 a year, and only 3.7% have incomes of $10,000 per year or more.
A man strives his working career in his twenties, often earlier. He is fortunate in that he lives in the free world. He has better than forty years to make the grade financially in the richest country on earth. Yet according to the statistics, only about 10 out of 100 will be financially secure by the time 65 rolls around and only about four men out of 100 will be financially comfortable.
Let tell you how to find out for yourself. Conduct your own survey. Struck down the street in your neighborhood on any Saturday or Sunday and ask a man of every house two questions. The first question is what are you doing at the present time to increase your income now? That is how much do you want to earn?
And when you evaluated the blank stare you get in response to that question, ask question number two, which goes: how much money are you planning to be worth at age 65? I wonder Sherman becomes too unnerving, thank him and move on to the next house.
Ask fifty men, a hundred, a thousand until you’re completely convinced that the reason men don’t make more money during their working lives and the reason men aren’t financially independent by the time they’re 65 is simply that they seldom, if ever, do any constructive thinking on either subject. It’s that simple unfortunately.
The reason it’s so easy to earn far more money than the average man earns in this country is that so few, so very few are going about it the right way. This is a race without enough contestants to bother about. The few who are really in the race can all be winners. Some will finish ahead of the others but even the man who finishes last in this race will be financially secure. Most people, more than 90% aren’t even in the race.
To prove it, ask yourself the two survey questions. Up until the time you started listening to this message, what were your plans for increasing your income? How much do you want to earn and how much money had you decided to be worth by the time you’re 65?
You see people who earn large incomes aren’t lucky and they’re not crooks as those without money are so fond of pretending nor are they endowed with more brains or talent necessarily than their friends and neighbors, nor are they privy to occult secrets and only a very few were lucky enough to have had rich fathers or grandfathers.
Most of the people earning the big incomes today started the same way you and I did and most other people. The only difference between the men who earn big incomes and those who earn small incomes is that those earning big incomes decided to earn more. They are the people who made it their business to earn more.
You see, a woman who does not think about baking an apple pie for dinner tonight will never think of looking up the recipe for apple pie. Without the decision for pie, there’s no motivation for checking out the recipe.
A man who does not think about driving his car to St. Louis, Missouri or Nacogdoches, Texas will never get roadmaps which show how to get to St. Louis or Nacogdoches. And a man who never decides to earn more money will never think of learning how, of looking up the rules for earning more money.
You see, people do what they make up their minds to do. So get rid of the ancient superstition once and for all that people who earn big money are special people or lucky or get the breaks or had money to begin with or knew someone or are smarter or anything else. These are alibis that can all be disproved a thousand times.
The reason there are so many of these alibis around is that men who failed to make the grade financially are seldom honest enough to just admit that they really didn’t try and keep trying. So in order to justify their failure, in order to remain seated, they dreamed up and passed along these old alibis. We’re all self-made but only the successful will admit it.
I once had occasion to visit Charleston, South Carolina, I had never been there before, so I hired a taxi to drive me around the historical town. I particularly wanted to see the battery where that famous shot was fired on Fort Sumter. Along this beautiful drive over Charleston’s oldest and finest homes look out over the bay.