You may recall the story of how steel-magnate Andrew Carnegie commissioned Napoleon Hill to learn the true philosophy of success from America's most successful individuals of the early 1900's. Hill's search for those success secrets culminated in his well-known book "Think & Grow Rich".
What you may not know was how Hill almost squandered the opportunity offered by Carnegie. At the end of a long interview, Carnegie abruptly told Hill, "We've talked a long time and I have shown you the greatest opportunity a young man ever had to become famous, rich, and useful. Now - if I choose you out of the two hundred and forty other applicants - if I introduce you to the outstandingly successful men in America - if I help you get their collaboration in finding out the true philosophy of success - will you devote twenty years to the job, earning your own living as you go along? We have had sufficient discussion. I want your answer - yes or no."
Hill tells that he spent twenty-nine seconds struggling with a negative mental attitude, thinking of all the hurdles he would face over the twenty-year project. Finally, finding the positive mental attitude he had temporarily lost, Hill replied, "YES!"
How did he know it took 29 seconds to answer? At that point, Carnegie showed Hill the stopwatch he had been holding beneath his desk. Carnegie had allowed Hill just 60 seconds to show his positive state of mind, the one trait he felt most critical to achieving his desired results.
Hill hesitated. We all do from time to time. What's important, like Hill's answer, is that we ultimately grasp that sometimes-elusive positive mental attitude, and adopt it as our own. Had he hesitated for thirty-one seconds more, Napoleon Hill would have given up a wonderful opportunity (as well as depriving us of his inspiring book). He didn't . . . and neither should we.