The eighth lesson in Napolean Hill’s reading course discusses self-control, and its great importance to achieving success. According to Hill, a lack of self-control resembles the unharnessed lightning of an electrical storm – it may strike anywhere; it may destroy life and property. Enthusiasm arouses action, and self-control directs that action in a constructive and positive way. It may interest one to know that the overwhelming percentage of prison inmates remain in jail because they lacked the necessary self-control to channel their energies in a constructive manner. Conversely, the one common quality of successful people is self-control.
No one can manage to control others unless they can first control themselves. This therefore makes a lack of self-control one of the average salesperson's most damaging weaknesses. Hill states that the primary ways to maintain self-control is by not forming opinions without knowing the necessary facts, and by not spending beyond one’s means. Self-control also enables a person to prevent striking back at those who offend you, as well as other destructive habits which result in a waste of energy through non-productive efforts.
The main point that Hill wants the reader to get out of this lesson is that you have the “power to control your own thoughts and direct them to do your bidding.” Self-control is simply a matter of thought control, and we certainly have complete control over our own thoughts. Don’t allow outside forces to influence you excessively, but rather think for yourself and with rock-solid precision.