Going The Extra Mile
Render more and better service than that for which you are paid, and sooner or later you will receive compound interest on compound interest from your investment. For it is inevitable that every seed of useful service you sow will multiply itself and come back to you in overwhelming abundance.
If you will do this, you will be rewarded in several definite ways. You will sooner or later receive compensation far exceeding the actual value of the service you render. You will exhibit greater strength of character. You will find it easier to maintain a positive mental attitude at all times. You will find that there is a permanent market for your services. And you will experience the thrill of new and stronger convictions of courage and self-reliance, new surges of the self-starting power of personal initiative and an energizing influx of vital enthusiasm.
Does this sound like a big order for one lesson to deliver? It is. But the power to be gained from the practice of going the extra mile can fill this order and give you extra measure as well.
The law of reaping increased returns by rendering more and better service than that for which you are paid is one of the basic laws of nature and has been recognized by scientists and philosophers for centuries. Its operation was observed and commented upon hundreds of years before the dawn of the Christian era. Perhaps the most classic, modem expression of it appears in Emerson's essay entitled Compensation. Emerson, however, dealt primarily with the abstract essence of this principle. This presentation is designed to enable you to understand the principle of going the extra mile, to know how it works, and to practice it in your daily life.
Here are a few stories concerning men who have achieved their specific goals by applying the principle of going the extra mile. It is important that you catch the spirit of the idea. You will find there is a subtle, but powerful, mental attitude connected with the successful observance of this principle which must be sensed intuitively. Try to sense this attitude in each of the men discussed in the following stories, and to determine just how their attitudes could apply to your own specific situation in life.
This story is about an insurance man from Los Angeles, California. For years he was just a little better than an average salesman. He made a modest living and managed to save a little money, but he didn't break any records in his field. Then, through an unfortunate investment, he lost all of his money and found himself once more at the bottom of the ladder.
We said unfortunate investment, but perhaps it should be called a fortunate investment, for this tremendous loss forced him to think things through and ponder on the fates which appear to lift some men to great heights of achievement while condemning others to lives of mediocrity, defeat and failure.
In his efforts to find himself he came across the book Think and Grow Rich. When he read the chapter dealing with the principle of rendering more and better service than that for which you are presently paid, titled Going the Extra Mile, he experienced an inspired awakening. Suddenly there came to him the realization that the loss of his material riches could
be turned into a source of far greater riches
At once he began to look around for opportunities to be of service to others who were faced with problems they were unable to solve. He found his first opportunity in the person of a young man working a supposed gold mine in the desert. This lad had spent his time and money and worked his heart out, but he had not found the gold which he had
been promised would be there. Now he faced starvation in the barren wastes of California.
Immediately the insurance man cast himself in the role of Good Samaritan and befriended the poverty-stricken miner. He fed the young man, encouraged him, buoyed up his spirits and entertained him as a house guest until the man was able to find a job in a local aircraft factory.
Other opportunities to help those less fortunate than he turned up so fast that it seemed to the insurance man that he was a magnet, attracting problems and difficulties. This was part of his testing period and enabled him to demonstrate the sincerity of his purpose. Before you get to the place where the application of this philosophy will pay off in terms
of what you want in life, you will be tested many times. Sometimes you may undergo very severe testing. Remember, when these testing periods come, that they are a great privilege, for they give you an opportunity to take inventory of your inner self to see whether you have what it takes. You will find that every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit . . . if you approach its solution with a positive mental attitude.
As for this insurance man, he passed his tests and made the grade. Then one day the tide of affairs in his own life changed. As if by magic, his life insurance sales began to climb higher and higher, and leveled off at an all time high. He wrote one of the largest policies he had ever written in his entire career. Here is how it happened:
The miner who had secured employment in the aircraft plant applied himself to his work, and he hit upon a shortcut in a fabricating process which saved his company many man-hours and increased its production. His company was able to patent this process and obtain exclusive control over it. Thus this young fellow came to the favorable attention of his management. He had never forgotten the kindness of the insurance man, so as soon as the time was ripe, he invited the president of his company to accompany him to the Los Angeles office of the insurance man, and a fifty-thousand dollar policy was sold to the aircraft executive without any solicitation on the part of the insurance salesman.
Soon other men of means and responsibility heard about this insurance underwriter who was a friend of men, and they came to seek his counsel. His business grew until he earned the much coveted goal of all insurance men : life membership in the Million Dollar Round Table. This distinction is attained by those who sell a million dollars worth of
life insurance each year for three consecutive years.
Six years after he began actively to practice the principle of going the extra mile, he wrote over two million dollars worth of life insurance in the first four months of the year. The story of his achievements spread from coast to coast. He was elected president of the Life Underwriters Association. In fact, he was the only man ever re-elected to this office by
popular demand of the membership. It was said of him that he spent more time teaching his competitors how to sell insurance than most men devote to their own business.
When this man achieved success, he made no secret of the humility of heart which lay behind it and the simple, effective philosophy which was responsible for his success. In his speeches he always gave full credit to the principle of going the extra mile which had played so prominent a part in his rise. He possessed the qualities of true greatness and well knew the truth of the statement: Help thy brothers boat across, and lo! thine own hath reached the shore.
Source: PMA: Science of Success by Napoleon Hill
- Napoleon Hill Foundation, author of Lessons on Success