Full text of The Strangest Secret in the World by Earl Nightingale; introduction by Diana Nightingale – Widow of Earl Nightingale; Owner, Keys Publishing and earlnightingale.com
Listen to the Audio MP3 here: The Strangest Secret in the World by Earl Nightingale – Audio MP3
Diana Nightingale – Widow of Earl Nightingale; Owner, Keys Publishing and earlnightingale.com
The message you are about to hear was written and recorded on a record in 1956 by Earl Nightingale. This message is the answer to the question that he had been searching for from the time he was about nine years old.
Earl Nightingale had been born in economically-depressed times. As a child, because they were so poor, Earl desperately wanted to know why some people grew up to enjoy prosperity while others, like his family, struggled merely to survive Unable to find the answers to his questions from grownups, Earl began reading everything he could believing that someone, somewhere had the answer.
Many years past, and when Earl was 35 years old, he wrote and recorded this message. It was to be played one Saturday morning to a small group of salesmen during his absence. When Earl returned, he learned that the message had made such a positive impact on the men they wanted copies to share with their friends and family.
Earl arranged with Columbia Records to duplicate the record to meet the too many requests. Much to Earl’s surprise, in very little time without any real advertising or marketing, over a million copies had been sold. And he received a gold record. Earl called the message, The Strangest Secret. And this single recording was the seedling from which the entire personal development industry grew, and because Earl had discovered the true meaning of the strangest secret which determines the outcome of one’s life, he went from poverty to become one of the most highly recognized voices and names throughout the United States and from the West Indies to South Africa.
His daily radio program Our Changing World was the world’s most widely sponsored radio program and was heard daily across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, the Bahamas, Guam, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, the Armed Forces Radio, and 30 countries overseas.
I’m Diana Nightingale and since my husband’s death in 1989, I have continually looked for new effective ways to continue to share Earl’s many messages of inspiration with the world. The personal development industry is so vast today and yet people around the world attribute The Strangest Secret as being the one message that has most positively affected their lives.
Earl revised The Strangest Secret several times over the past forty years as times changed. Because of these changes, I believe you will appreciate the historic value of this original recording.
As you listen, you’ll notice how the statistics reflect those of the mid-1950s. You’ll also hear Earl mention the other side of the record. But 40 years later, the message is as true and valuable as it was then.
Now I invite you to sit back, relax, enjoy the original The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale.
I’d like you tell you about the strangest secret in the world. Not long ago, Albert Schweitzer, the great Doctor and Nobel Prize winner was being interviewed in London and a reporter asked him, “Doctor, what’s wrong with men today?” The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, “Men simply don’t think!” And it’s about this that I want to talk with you.
We live today in a golden age. This is an era that man has looked forward, dreamed of, and worked toward for thousands of years. But since it’s here, we pretty well take it for granted. We in America are particularly fortunate to live in the richest land that ever existed on the face of the earth – a land of abundant opportunity for everyone.
But do you know what happens?
Let’s take 100 men who start even at the age of 25. Do you have any idea what will happen to those men by the time they are 65? These 100 men who all start even at the age of 25 believe they’re going to be successful. If you asked any one of these men if he wanted to be a success, he’d tell you that he did, and you’d notice that he was eager toward life; that there was a certain sparkle to his eye, an erectness to his carriage, and life seemed like a pretty interesting adventure to him. But by the time they’re 65, one will be rich. Four will be financially independent, five will still be working, 54 will be broke.
Now, think a moment. Out of the 100, only five make the grade. Why do so many fail? What has happened to the sparkle that was there when they were 25? What’s become of the dreams, the hopes, the plans? And why is there such a large disparity between what these men intended to do, and what they actually accomplished?
When we say about 5% achieve success, we have to define success. And here’s the definition I’ve ever been able to find: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. If a man is working toward a pre-determined goal and knows where he’s going, that man is a success. If he’s not doing that, he’s a failure. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.