A Mindset for Success: “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale

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According to Earl Nightingale, “success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal.” He believed that the biggest societal failure was conformity. He argued that this mindset is formed through the belief that life happens to us. Instead, the mindset for success is to follow our true ambitions, irrespective of societal expectations and pressure.

Quite simply, success is if we work in a certain profession because that’s what we truly want, that we form a family because that’s what we truly want, and that we buy things because they’re what we truly want. Earl Nightingale imparts his wisdom in “The Strangest Secret,” teaching us to strive for the right kind of success, not the success that we think we want.

Earl Nightingale: A Mindset for Success

Don’t Compete – Create

We are not here to compete, we are here to create. To avoid conformity, think about what you truly want in life. Focus on your own visions. Each individual has different pleasures, passions, and perceptions. Do not choose a career based on another person’s definition of success. Choose a career that aligns with your passions and interests. Don’t start a family or make investments just because that’s the natural “next step”. Instead, do what you really want in alignment with your goals.

Set Goals

Earl Nightingale highlights that the key to success lies in setting goals. Goals ensure that we have something to work towards, thus enabling us to constantly make progress. Goals provide us with guidance in order to create the life we truly desire. Think about what you truly want to achieve, and set goals accordingly. It’s important to set attainable goals and work towards them each day. Forget about luck; focus on effort and perseverance.

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We Are the Seeds We Sow

The difference between success and failure is mindset. Mindset determines how you think, act and is representative of your attitude. “The Strange Secret” emphasises that we become what we think about. If we have exclusive, compatible thoughts every day, these thoughts will materialise. Planting positivity in your mind is of vital importance as it determines your attitude. Optimism is an essential tool for a growth mindset that leads to success. If you think negatively, you set yourself up for negative results. Whereas if you think positively, you are bound for positive results. Ensure that positive thoughts override any negative ones, self-disciplining the mind is crucial.


Visualise the moment of reaching the goal. What will you be doing? How will it feel? Focus on visualisation as a tool to determine future goals. By controlling our thoughts, we control our minds. Earl Nightingale states in “The Strangest Secret” that imagining and visualising our success will assist us in achieving our goals.

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The Importance of Effort

Forget about luck, Earl Nightingale emphasises effort. When broken down into daily goals, perseverance and effort will lead to success. Many of us want many things, right? The question is are we willing to pay the price? Wishing for something is worthless unless we are proactive. Act upon your goals and ask yourself if you are willing to put the effort in. If not, then it’s not worthwhile. Effort is a key tool to success and to develop a growth mindset.

The Test

Earl Nightingale encourages a 30-day experiment in “The Strangest Secret” to work towards success. Firstly, write down what you want more than anything else on a card, a single goal. Carry this with you and look at it several times each day. It gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, something to strive for and be excited about.

The test entails doing your best, forcing yourself to think positively, and believing that it is impossible to fail. Give more of yourself every day, do more than is expected. Once you decide on a goal, you know the direction you are headed and which path to take to reach it. If you don’t succeed in completing a month driven by this goal, focused on positivity and effort, try again. Keep trying each month until you form good habits that lead to a mindset for success.

Mind Over Matter

What is one thing that commonly holds people back? Fear. Each time fear strikes or you feel like giving up, take control of your mind and remind yourself of your goal. Why do you want it so much? Perseverance is a key element of the mindset for success. Don’t succumb to distraction, self-doubt, or negativity. Do your best to focus on your purpose and progress towards it. Fill yourself with sources of inspiration. Stay calm in the face of challenges, frustration gets us nowhere. Practice positivity by being joyful. How you may be wondering? By reminding yourself that the other option is fear, negativity, conformity – some form of failure.

Summary of a Mindset for Success…

According to Earl, “you get back what you put out in life.” In short, there are numerous practical steps we can take each day to work towards our goal. First, determine what it is you want and create an action plan. Secondly, remember the importance of the mind – think positive thoughts and visualise achieving your goal. Thirdly, put the effort in. Lastly, make your card and put the test into practice. Stay motivated by reiterating mind over matter and reminding yourself of why you want this so much. Check out the video “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale video here for his in-depth wisdom.

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