Andrew Carnegie’s Top 4 Tips for Massive Success

“Aim for the highest.”

“You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb.”

In the late 1800s there lived a very rich man. In fact, he was so rich that he is now considered the second richest man in history. And, at least as I remember it, he became an inspiration for Scrooge McDuck.

His name was Andrew Carnegie. You may have heard this name before if you have read the classic personal development book “Think and Grow Rich”. It was Carnegie that gave the author Napoleon Hill the assignment to interview hundreds of wealthy people about success. And those interviews became the foundation for the book.

Here are four of Carnegie’s own top tips for massive success.

1. Pay attention to the more important things.

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

This is one of my favourite quotes at the moment. And I have to agree, I pay less and less attention to what people say. Because in the end, what someone does is the most important thing. Talking is easy, but walking your talk is harder. And walking it consistently even though you fall, slip back into old habits and make mistakes is a huge part of success.

Now, talking and discussing what you want to do can be very helpful. But at some point you also follow that up and take action.

And this not just a good way to see people in a clear way. It’s also a good way to look at yourself more clearly. Because you can tell yourself and others all kinds of things all day. But what you are actually getting done shows a lot about who you are right now and how you future will look.

2. Make it fun, make it light.

“There is little success where there is little laughter.”

If your life and striving for success becomes just a big struggle then it will be very hard to keep it up.

If you want something bad then it it’s very easy to overread or overthink that thing. It seems more complicated in your mind and it also becomes “heavier”. What may have been pretty straightforward in real life becomes this huge struggle, where you are Rocky Balboa taking slow painstaking steps uphill against horrific odds. Yep, it’s a real inspiring thing as you struggle as the heroic underdog.

It’s also a great way to make things so much harder for yourself. It’s you putting up imaginary obstacles in your own mind that aren’t even there in reality. The Rocky way of thinking about these things is very seductive. But life becomes so much lighter and more fun when you just let that stuff go.

Sure, things may be vary in difficulty. But I believe we often make things more difficult and heavier than they really are.

So simplify it, don’t overread or overthink it. This makes it a lot easier to relax and have fun while still working towards what you want.

Also, create a habit of simply making it fun. Keep a positive and fun attitude with the friends you are working with. Don’t take things too serious. Learn to laugh about them a bit more. This does not only make it easier to consistently keep up the good work. It also makes it easier to handle what would previously be “huge setbacks/problems”.

3. Be persistent. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

“The men who have succeeded are men who have chosen one line and stuck to it.”

How do you never get much done? Well, one good way is to try everything at once and spread yourself too thin. You get super enthusiastic for month and then you get deflated. You may even get an emotional backlash and start to feel negatively towards what you were so pumped up about since you aren’t seeing the results you’d like as you quickly as you’d like to.

But on the other hand you have to get started and take action. Things can seem a certain way in your head when you think about doing them. But you have to actually do them for a while to gain understanding of how they really are. So to find one line that you want to stick with in some area of your life you may have to try a few of them and experiment to find what you love most to do.

I don’t have many more tips really on how to find your line. I think you just have to think about some options and then try them to find out for yourself what you like and where there is opportunity.

I have for example been writing on this website for almost three years now. And I still find it fun and fascinating to write about these things. It’s fun to be able to share my thoughts and what I have done and perhaps not only gain a clearer understanding for myself but also help out someone out there. I enjoy tinkering with the design and improving that. I enjoy learning more about how to spread the articles on this website to an even wider audience (and taking action on what I learn).

I think those are some good reasons to stick with what you are doing. And so I continue doing this.

4. Motivate yourself. It’s your choice.

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”

I wrote about this just a couple of weeks ago. Like Carnegie, I believe you have to rely on yourself to be able to keep taking action patiently and persistently. Sure, help and motivation from others is always good. But they can not always be there to support you.

The only person who is always with you is you. So you have to choose to place the most importance for motivation on yourself and then add help and inspiration from blogs, books, friends and family when you can or feel the need.

Like anything, this takes time and you slip and fail along the way. But over time your can become better and better at motivating yourself (or skipping the need for motivation to get started and instead just springing yourself into action).

Without developing this habit then action and results will go up and down and be very inconsistent. And without consistency over a longer time period it does not matter so much what other talents or gifts you may have inside of you.

Check out the recent article How to Motivate Yourself for more tips on how to motivate yourself.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I think #2 is very important in our over intellectualised society and #2 also helps you to get away from the error.

    When I’m considering some new goal or plan I often let it sit the back of my mind for no more than a week or two without actively thinking about it. Then I will plan for a short hour and just start action even if I’m not sure it will work.

    Over-thinking actually kills your ability to think properly

  • M.S

    that’s smart and inspiring Henrik..
    thx for the good points and reminder of the beautiful book of Think and Grow Rich ,its been a while

    its funny to remember.. when i was just starting in this path to be mistaken many times of Dale Carnegie as Andrew Carnegie .. anyway keep this you are GIFTED Henrik :)

  • Persistence is key. It is so easy to give up. Even on the smallest things. We can’t predict the future but had we just kept pushing a little longer, who knows what could have happened. You can’t reach the success you want if you quit trying. Once you buy in to that, you start growing by leaps and bounds!

  • # 2 is really good. I have always told myself that you should laugh everyday, and I do. This school year I have laughed and enjoyed myself every single day. Even when horrible things happened, the group of people I am with supported one another and lifted each other up- with laughter.

  • Focus and concentration on a single task are the paths to success. Too often, we try to be all things to all people. Good point!

  • ad #1:
    “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” – how true, how true!

    ad #3:
    “The men who have succeeded are men who have chosen one line and stuck to it.”
    I think this is a big challenge nowadays: Investing not too much and not too few effort in evaluating your direction before taking action. It is not just important to act, it is important to take the right action!

  • Great Post Henrik, One of your best!

    I especially liked Number 2 and 3.

    It can be easy to get wrapped up in a project and forget to have fun.

    And I agree, there is a real temptation to try and do lots of projects at once, hoping that “even if some fail, one will pay off”. This is a recipe for disaster.

  • Focusing on one thing can be very important, I think. Often, people are very scattered, jumping from one idea to the next.

    Then again, there needs to be flexibility and lightness about how things are approached.

    So, as in all things, a balance needs to be struck.

  • Carnegie truly was an inspirational man.

  • Being persistent on the important thing will get you far.
    Learning to say no will help with this. Prioritize your to
    do list and start to cross off not so important things.

  • Andrew Carniege has always amazed me. From reading his story about his life to his success. Great post

  • Thank you for your article.It definitely helps reading such inspirational articles as our power of focus intensifies and we are reminded of how powerful our thoughts are

  • Thank you all for the great comments and for adding all those insights! :)

  • #3 is my favorite! persistence is the key to success, just keeping at it and keeping at it and keeping at it.

  • Gaylena

    Great tips and I have to say from experience that if it’s not fun it doesn’t mean that it can’t be it just usually means that your over thinking it.

    That in itself isn’t fun so you have to break it down into little pieces to see where you’re going wrong with it.

    As for motivation and self motivation I have plenty of that, I motivate myself simply because others can bring you down, so it’s much better to be self motivated.

    I’m always persistent and never give up on anything I want. However I have spread myself way too thin before and the best thing to do for this is to make a plan and figure out what you know you need the most and cut out of the extra background noise.

    • Hi, Gaylena, I really like your response on this article. Made me think about the importance of persistance and just never giving up while eliminating the other stuff that gets in the way. Good for you on being self motivated…although it’s nice to read inspirational messages like this one.