Napoleon Hill – What Stands In The Way of Man Is Man

A man stepped into Napoleon Hill’s office one afternoon almost a hundred years ago and said, “excuse me, do you know the man who wrote this book?”  The book was called “self-confidence” and Napoleon Hill had written it, but he chose not to tell the man at the time.

“It must have been the hand of fate that slipped this book into my pocket yesterday afternoon, because I was about ready to go out there and punch a hole into Lake Michigan.  I had about come to the conclusion that everything and everybody, including god, had it in for me until I read this book, and it gave me a new viewpoint and brought me the courage and the hope that sustained my through the night.  I made up my mind that if I could see the man who wrote the book he could help me get on my feet again.  Now, I am here and I would like to know what can you do for a man like me?”

Napoleon Hill, at that specific moment, was evaluating that man from head-to-toe.  The lines of discouragement on his face, the posture of his body, ten days’ growth of beard on his face, and his nervous manner.

“I have listened to you with a great deal of interest, and I wish that there was something which I could do to help you, but there is absolutely nothing.”

The man’s face became pale.

“However, while there’s nothing I can do for you, there is a man in this building to whom I will introduce you, if you wish, who can help you regain your lost fortune and put you back on your feet again.”

The man jumped up and elatedly said, “for god’s sake lead me to this man!”

He took the man downstairs to his laboratory and lead him to a curtain.  After unveiling what was behind the curtain (a mirror), he pointed at the glass and said, “there stand the man to whom I promised to introduce you.  There is the only man in this world who can put you back on your feet again, and unless you sit down and become acquainted with that man, as you never became acquainted with him before, you might as well go over and punch a hole in Lake Michigan, because you will be of no value to yourself or to the world until you know this man better.

He dropped his head, wept, and left.

Napoleon Hill had no idea that he would see this man again until three days later – podcast (

But the moral of the story is we’re terrified of confronting….ourselves.  We’re terrified of getting in the mirror, in the face of US, and expressing ourselves.  The strength, power, and possible that lies formant inside of man is incredible, but a lot of us never discovers the value of self-reliance.



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