Monday, April 27, 2020

PMA: Science of Success – Lesson 06: Personal Initiative

Lesson 06 - Personal Initiative


“There are two types of men,” said Andrew Carnegie, “who never amount to anything. One is the fellow who never does anything except that which he is told to do. The other is the fellow who cannot do even that which he is told to do.

“The man who gets ahead,” Carnegie continued, “does the thing that should be done without being told to do it. But he doesn’t stop there; he goes the extra mile by doing a great deal more than is expected or demanded of him.”

Personal initiative bears the same relationship to an individual that a self-starter bears to an automobile! It is the power that starts all action. It is the power that assures completion of anything one begins.

There are many “starters” but few “finishers.” Personal initiative is the dynamo that pushes the faculty of the imagination into action.

  • It is the process of translating your definite major purpose into its physical or financial equivalent.
  • It is the quality that creates a major purpose, as well as all minor purposes.
  • It reveals favorable opportunities for self-advancement and inspires you to embrace them, and to make the most of them.
  • It reveals many faults and helps to correct them.
  • It gives you an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, new ideas and better ways of doing things.
  • It is the twin brother of the principle of going the extra mile.
  • It inspired the writing of the Declaration of Independence and helped translate that document into the freedom which we enjoy today.
  • It gave us the American system of free enterprise, which insures all men the right to act on their own personal initiative…


Personal initiative, to be effective, must be based upon a definite organized plan, inspired by a motive, and followed through to the end to which it is aimed.

During World War II, Henry J. Kaiser astounded the world by his achievements of speed and efficiency in building ships. His achievements were all the more amazing because he had never built ships before. The secret of his success lay in his leadership. And the quality that he emphasized throughout his entire organization was the habit of following through.

He followed this habit himself and required his associate workers and master mind allies to do the same.

For example, when he ordered a train-load of steel to be delivered at his shipbuilding yards on a given date, he took the necessary precautions to make sure it arrived there on time.

Successful men move on their own initiative but they know where they are going before they start.

Along with the order Mr. Kaiser sent an official expediter whose sole responsibility was to see that the steel arrived on time. The expediter left the steel mill with the shipment, and his instructions were to permit no railroad man to delay or sidetrack the cargo.

That shipment must go through and it must arrive on time! This rule was so rigidly enforced that no expediter with the Kaiser operations dared to neglect it.

That is why the Kaiser shipbuilding yards were seldom delayed by bottlenecks due to shortages of supplies. Personal initiative, backed by persistence, was the answer.

And it is the answer, in part, to the problem of the man who finds himself swept over into the failure side of the great River of Life, but who desires to get back onto the success side of the stream. He will never make it without applying personal initiative backed by persistence.

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