In 1908 at the age of 25 Napoleon Hill took the opportunity to interview Andrew Carnegie, then 73. Carnegie was sufficiently impressed with the young man that the meeting in which Hill hoped to discover the secret to Carnegie’s success went on for three days.
It took Hill exactly 29 seconds to agree to a proposal that Carnegie made: that he would pay Hill travel expenses and give him introductions to hundreds of successful people if he would interview these people and develop a systematic, written theory of success. There would be no other compensation. Carnegie had asked around 200 other entrepreneurs the same thing, but none had been able to commit on the spot, and the offer had been rescinded from everyone but Hill.
Hill was able to make a decision fast, and that decision set his destiny. It took Hill 28 years and 400 interviews to complete Think and Grow Rich. This classic still sells over 1 million copies per year.
Decisiveness is even more critical to business success today than it was 103 years ago when Napoleon Hill came face to face with Andrew Carnegie’s Rule. One of the most common reasons for business failure is “analysis by paralysis.” Someone who must gain more information than is necessary to actually make an informed decision is wasting time and will inevitably lose the competitive edge to those who will move forward with greater speed and determination.
There are many other reasons why the ability to make a quick decision is one of the marks of success:
–Decisive and confident leaders attract others. We are naturally drawn to those who have the ability to take in all of the relevant facts quickly and then to decide “yea” or “nay” on a business proposal with little equivocation.
–Seizing an opportunity quickly will impress those making the offer and make it more likely that your proposal will be accepted above the competition.
–Decisiveness saves time. The decisive individual is usually one with an uncluttered mind and a neat desk. These people complete tasks once and move on to the next thing.
–Closing the deal quickly means there is less time for you to “psych yourself out” and “second guess” your decision.
We live in an age of incredible competition. We also live in an age of incomparable opportunity. The only way to keep from being passed by is to very quickly gather the key information needed to make an informed decision and then to make that decision decisively.