Andrew Carnegie on The Advantages of Going the Extra Mile

Among the many books I’m working my way through is Think Your Way to Wealth (Tarcher Success Classics)* by Napoleon Hill. The book is essentially an interview between Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie which ended up being the basis for many of Hill’s books—especially The Law of Success*. Some of the language and ideas are dated but the book as a whole is interesting.

Chapter 5 in the book is about going the extra mile, a virtue that almost seems to have vanished these days. I have always been a believer in going the extra mile. I’m not sure why. It probably had a lot to do with the way I was raised. If it’s one thing my dad taught me, it was to do a job, do it well, and give people more than they paid for. It does pay off in the long run as long as you do it with a good attitude. Oh, and one advantage I have seen personally is that it helps you stand out from the competition.

So, here are Andrew Carnegie’s advantages of going the extra mile. Some of the terminology might make better sense after reading some of Hill’s other works.

1. The habit of Going The Extra Mile gives one the benefit of the law of Increasing Returns, in a variety of ways too numerous to be described here.

2. This habit places one in a position to benefit by the law of Compensation, through which no act or deed will or can be expressed without an equivalent response (after its own nature).

3. It gives one the benefit of growth through resistance and use, thereby leading to mental development and increased skill in the use of the body. (It is a well-known fact that both body and mind attain efficiency and skill through systematic discipline and use which call for the rendering of service that temporarily is not paid for.)

4. The habit develops the important factor of initiative, without which no individual ever rises above mediocrity in any calling.

5. It develops self-reliance, which is likewise an essential in all forms of personal achievement.

6. It enables an individual to profit by the law of contrast, since obviously a majority of the people do not follow the habit of doing more than they are paid for. On the contrary, they endeavor to “get by” with a minimum amount of service.

7. It helps one to master the habit of drifting aimlessly, thereby checking the habit which stands at the head of the major causes of failure.

8. It definitely aids in development of the habit of Definiteness of Purpose, which is the first principle of individual achievement.

9. It tends strongly to aid in the development of Attractiveness of Personality, thereby leading to the means by which one may relate himself to others so as to gain their friendly co-operation.

10. It often gives an individual a preferred position of relationship with others through which he may become indispensable, thereby fixing his own price on his services.

11. It insures continuous employment, thereby serving as insurance against want in connection with the necessities of life.

12. It is the greatest of all the known methods by which the man who works for wages may promote himself to higher positions and better wages, and serves as a practical means by which a man may attain the position of ownership of a business or industry.

13. It develops alertness of the imagination, the faculty through which one may create practical plans for the attainment of one’s aims and purposes in any calling.

14. It develops a positive “mental attitude,” which is one of the more important qualities that are essential in all human relationships.

15. It serves to build the confidence of others in one’s integrity and general ability, which is an indispensable essential for noteworthy achievement in every calling.

16. Finally, it is a habit which one may adopt and follow on his own initiative, without being under the necessity of asking the permission of anyone to do so.

So what do you think? Is going the extra mile how you do your job?

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One thought on “Andrew Carnegie on The Advantages of Going the Extra Mile”

  1. I’ve both observed and experienced the value of “going the extra mile”. Certainly one of the most valuable lessons for anyone wishing to have extraordinary success in life – financially, professionally, and personally.

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