The Strangest Secret

Date: 2019-07-03

Time to Read: 2 Minutes



In the summer of 2014 I stumbled upon the following motivational video, The Strangest Secret, a 1957 motivational speech recorded by Earl Nightingale for the purpose of motivating the sales personnel at the insurance agency he owned at that time. The recording grew in popularity outside of his own personal business and its popularity still grows today with every new generation that comes into contact with his musings.

And there is something incredibly appealing about the speech. Everything from the simplistic theme of his message to his classic deep 1950’s vocal style. This encouraging idea that your life is simply the product of your mindset, your directed thoughts. That the attainment of a goal begins first with the clarification of your specific goal and followed by repeatedly reminding yourself of that goal or mental image (similar to the principle and technique of auto-suggestion echoed in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking —a very controversial concept in its effectiveness).

Despite the simplicity of his short message, he doesn’t try to emphasize ease rather he focuses on effectiveness and maybe that’s what is so appealing about his message. With confidence, he makes you feel that it’s actually possible; that there is an element of control and autonomy that has a greater effect on your life than you would believe. Sometimes it’s easy to let our circumstances define us and discourage us, viewing life as a chaotic ocean that benefits some more than others at random. And there is truth to that perspective of life, but regardless he argues that by training your mind to work (think) toward a specific and attainable goal (the progressive realization of a worthy idea), your actions will eventually follow in navigating the chaotic and often unforgiving landscape to realize that goal.

I find myself revisiting the recording many times since my first initial listen in that summer of 2014; each time in a different situation life. And though I have yet to strictly follow the instructions outlined in the video, it has provided encouragement when I’ve needed it. The idea that my circumstances are uniquely mine and the result of my actions and that I have the ability to control them and change them; evidenced by no other reason than that Earl Nightingale says so with so much conviction and confidence in his words.

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Blake Adams is a writer, software developer, technical consultant, and financial independence enthusiast living in Oxford, MS.

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