Outwitting The Devil is a Napoleon Hill book with a very interesting story behind it. Hill wrote the book after writing Think and Grow Rich. Hill's wife would not allow him to publish it and 2 Napoleon Hill Foundation Presidents would not publish it either.
The book is about Hill and the devil having a conversation in which the devil reveals his secrets for ensuring that people do not pursue their God given Definite Purpose for their lives.
I have to admit that I was leery about reading the book. When I did read it, I truly feel that the devil does in fact use the strategies in the book.
The major point about the book that I loved is that THE #1 WAY to keep people from success is idleness of purpose.
Below is an excerpt from the book.
Most real failures are due to limitations in their own minds
The worst of all human ailments: indecision
By recognizing that you have a choice and reacting positively to your fears, you can permanently change your life for the better
Keep doubt and fear and worry, and all the thoughts of limitation, entirely out of your mind
Your only limitation is the one which you set up in your own mind
The "other self" follows no precedents, recognizes no limitations, and always finds a way to accomplish desired ends! It may meet with temporary defeat, but not with permanent failure
There is a solution for every legitimate problem, no matter how difficult the problem may seem
Every great leader of the past, whose record I have examined, was beset by difficulties and met with temporary defeat before 'arriving'
Failure and temporary defeat are part of the journey to finding true success
Every individual has the power to change his or her material or financial status by first changing the nature of his or her beliefs
The mind acts upon one's dominating, or most profound desires
((P + T x A x A) + F = Your Personal Success Equation. Combining your Passion with your Talent and then seeking the right Association and taking the right Action are very important components for Success.. but it is when you combine all those components with a strong Faith in yourself and your mission that you truly have Your Personal Success Equation
Every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage
I had learned from Andrew Carnegie and five hundred others of equal and professional achievements that noteworthy achievements in all walks of life come through the application of the Master Mind (harmonious coordination of two or more minds working toward a definite end)
Despite the fact that I had understood the power of the Master Mind, I had neglected to appropriate and use this power. I had been laboring as a "lone wolf" instead of allying myself with other and superior minds
Napoleon Hill: “I have uncovered the secret code by which I can pick up your thoughts. I have come to ask you some very plain questions. I demand that you give me direct and truthful answers. Are you ready for the interview, Mr. Devil?”
Says the devil: “Yes, I am ready, but you must address me with more respect. During this interview you will address me as “Your Majesty.”
Napoleon Hill: “What right do you demand such loyal respect?”
Says the devil: “You should know I control 98% of the people of your world. Do you not think that entitles me to rate as royalty?”
Napoleon Hill: “Have you proof of your claim?”
Says the devil: “Yes, plenty of it.”
Napoleon Hill: “Of what does your proof consist?”
Says the devil: “Of many things. If you want answers, you will address me as Your Majesty. Some things you will understand; some you will not. In order that you may get my viewpoint, I shall describe myself and correct the false notions people have of me and my place of abode.”
Napoleon Hill: “That is a fine idea, Your Majesty. Start by telling me where you live. Then describe your physical appearance.”
Says the devil: “My physical appearance? Why, my dear Mr. Earthbound, I have no physical body. I would be handicapped by such an encumbrance as those in which you earthbound creatures live. I consist of negative energy, and I live in the minds of people who fear me. I also occupy one-half of every atom of physical matter and every unit of mental and physical energy. Perhaps you will better understand my nature if I tell you I am the negative portion of the atom.”
Napoleon Hill: “Oh, I see what you are preparing to claim. You are laying the foundation to say if it were not for you, there would be no world, no stars, no electrons, no atoms, no human beings, nothing. Is that correct?
Says the devil: “True! Absolutely true.”
Napoleon Hill: “Well, if you only occupy one-half of energy and matter, who occupies the other half?”
Says the devil: “The other half is occupied by my opposition.”
Napoleon Hill: “Opposition? What do you mean?”
Says the devil: “The opposition is what you earthbound call God.”
Napoleon Hill: “So you have the universe divided up with God. Is that your claim?”
Says the devil: “Not my claim, but the actual fact. Before this interview is finished you will understand why my claim is true. You will also understand why it has to be true, or there could be no world such as yours, no earthbound creatures such as you. I am no beast with a forked tongue and a spiked tail.”
Napoleon Hill: “But you do control the minds of 98 out of every 100 people. You said so yourself. Who causes all the misery in this 98% Devil-controlled world, if you do not?”
Says the devil: “I have not said that I do not cause all the misery of the world. On the other hand, I boast of it. It is my business to represent the negative side of everything, including the thoughts of you earthbound people. How else could I control people? My opposition controls positive thought. I control negative thought.”
Napoleon Hill: “How do you gain control of the minds of people?”
Says the devil: “Oh, that is easy: I merely move in and occupy the unused space of the human brain. I sow the seeds of negative though in the minds of people so I can occupy and control the space!”
Napoleon Hill: “You must have many tricks and devices by which you gain and hold control of the human mind.”
Says the devil: “To be sure, I employ tricks and devices to control human thought. My devices are clever ones too.”
Says the devil: "One of my cleverest devices for mind control is fear… the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, and death."
Napoleon Hill: “Which of these six fears serves you most often, Your Majesty?”
Says the devil: “The first and last – poverty and death! At one time or another during life I tighten my grip on all people through one or both of these. I plant fears in the minds of people so deftly that they believe them to be their own creation. I accomplish this end by making people believe I am standing just beyond the entrance gate of the next life, waiting to claim them after death for eternal punishment. Of course I cannot punish anyone, except in that person’s own mind, through some form of fear – but fear of the thing which does not exist is just as useful to me as fear of that which does exist. All forms of fear extend the space I occupy in the human mind.”
Napoleon Hill: “ Your Majesty, will you explain how you gained this control over human beings?”
Says the devil: “The story is too long to be told in a few words. It began over a million years ago, when the first man began to think. Up to that time I had control over all mankind, but enemies of mine discovered the power of positive thought, placed it in the minds of men, and then began a battle on my part to remain in control. So far, I have done quite well by myself, having lost only 2% of the people to my opposition.”
Napoleon Hill: “I take it from your answer that men who think are you enemies. Is that right?”
Says the devil: “It is not right, but it is correct.”
Napoleon Hill: “You speak of your opposition. What do you mean by that?”
Says the devil: “My opponent controls all the positive forces of the world, such as love, faith, hope and optimism. My opponent also controls the positive factors of all natural law throughout the universe, the forces which keep the earth and the planets and all the stars balanced in their courses, but these forces are meek in comparison with those which operate in the human mind under my control. You see, I do not seek to control stars and planets. I prefer the control of human minds.”
Napoleon Hill: “Is it true that you use men who have great wealth?”
Says the devil: “As I have already told you, poverty is always my friend because it discourages independence of thought and encourages fear in the minds of men. Some wealthy men serve my cause while others do me great damage, depending upon how the wealth is used. The great Rockefeller fortune, for example, is one of my worst enemies.”