Going the extra mile by Napoleon Hill

I think one of the most important principles in life is called ‘Going the extra mile’ as Napoleon Hill describes in this recording. Instead of just creating the principle Napoleon Hill interviewed more than 500 of the most influential people at that time and wrote down what they told him in answer to the question: ‘What does it take to be successful in life?’

How about we use this recording to create a transcript of it as a team?


OK, let’s start. Here is the first part:

One true measure of high achievers is that of going the extra mile – the fifth principle in The Science of Personal Achievement. That means the rendering of more service and better service that one is paid to render doing it in a pleasant mental attitude and doing it all the time. Well, here are some of the reasons why it pays to go the extra mile: First of all, it ‘places’? (not sure here) in the law of increasing returns.

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Not sure I agree with his law of increasing returns - to me, increasing returns means the more you work, the more you get per unit of work. For Mr. Hill’s example, with increasing returns, a farmer who plants two acres should get 2.2 or 2.5 or 3 times as much as one who plants only 1 acre, that is, she should get more than twice as much for twice the effort put in. I think Mr. Hill is describing proportional returns. I look forward to hearing the entire transcript, but I argue that more effort at some point leads to diminishing returns - that is, your returns do not decrease, but it takes much more effort to achieve smaller and smaller increases.


Reminds me of this article: Being a Go-Getter Is No Fun - The Atlantic

A sore subject, because my wife goes above and beyond the call of duty at her hospital, which definitely helps her patients, although seems to garner little recognition from her associates, and furthermore definitely decreases her happiness and quality of life. I guess it all depends on what you consider “successful”.


I will do my part by ceasing my complaints and continuing the transcription!

… it places the law of increasing returns in back of one, increasing returns. If it were not for the law of increasing returns, we’d all starve to death in a matter of months. The farmer takes advantage of that law of increasing returns, you know. He plows the ground, he harrows it, he fences it, and all of that costs money, but he gets nothing out of it. He has to do that in advance. And then he plants the seed in that soil at the right time of the year.


Hi TJ, thanks a lot for sharing your wife’s situation with us. Quite a number of people are pretty facing the same situation as your wife and have given up looking for a way out which is why it’s so important to talk about it. Your wife is part of an organization (a company) that has a hierarchical structure with the patients basically forming the lowest level in the ‘food chain’.

Now, your wife goes above and beyond the call of duty, in other words, she walks the extra mile every day but doesn’t believe in the principle of ‘increasing returns’ because apparently her hard work is not being appreciated and rewarded appropriately. And I absolutely agree with you, everything in life comes down defining certain terms such as ‘success’ and ‘successful’.

Your wife will be rewarded if she changes her perspective a little and her reward will come from people who are several times removed from the patients she is dealing with on a daily basis.

Thanks for your response Torsten. I understood everything perfectly until the last paragraph. In what way do you think she should change her perspective? And where are you saying her reward will come from? It is just a little unclear to me.

And just for a little background - I guess her case is a little different from many. She works in a partnership, so everyone splits the profits and all the doctors {radiologists} make the exact same amount. So all the radiologists who are not able (or often in her view, not willing} to do all the tough cases she is qualified to do just put in their 8 hours, arriving at 8:00 and leaving at 4:30, mainly reading x-rays and MRI scans in front of a computer all day while my wife does procedures (angioplasty and dozens of similar procedures which all involve threading tubes and devices through veins and arteries) and so has to arrive at 6:30 to prepare and leaves when all the procedures are finished, usually 6 or 6:30. Sure, she might get more satisfaction from personally helping so many people, but it is very frustrating for her to watch her fellow doctors “waltz out of there before 5”.

The other wrinkle is that those other doctors are actually making more money for the company - you can read a whole lot of MRI’s in the time it takes to do one procedure. But the special things my wife is able to do is a big reason the hospital signed the contract with my wife’s group. I guess you could call my wife’s work a “loss leader”.


Hi TJ, I have quite a number of suggestions as to what your wife might want to do in her situation but the most obvious first step would probably be to ask the partners for a meeting to reassess the responsibilities and the way the rewards are distributed. What do you think?

Yes, that is a good idea and there seems to have been plenty of meetings. I guess I have probably sidetracked this thread too much already - maybe continue via DM?

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