Doing a personal inventory helps you understand why you are not where you want to be and explains why you are where you are in life.
Napoleon Hill is a genius in his own right and what he produced almost one hundred years ago is still very valid in our society today, especially if you are one of those wanting to be successful and live your life on your terms.
Why we are where we are in life – personal inventory
Below, I have stated the 28 questions that Mr Hill suggests one should answer in order to understand ones current situation. After each and every one of them, I would recommend you to write down your own personal answers and you will see that I have also put down some of my thoughts here (both for my own sake and to give you some inspiration, though after doing this exercise I’m not sure it is of any inspiration…). So let’s get going with your personal inventory and some self reflection.
- Have I attained the goal which I established as my objective for this year? – No I have not but the year is not over yet and I am making great progress!
- Have I delivered service of the best possible quality of which I was capable, or could I have improved any part of this service? – I could have done better had I spent more time on it. In the end it’s about finding the balance between time and quality and produce at a level one is happy with. I always think I can do better but at the same time I don’t want to put out any content which is unworthy of sharing.
- Have I delivered service in the greatest possible quantity of which I was capable? – No, my discipline could have been even better and I’m determined to up my game significantly on this point, without negatively impacting on the quality of the content. Life of course has more to it than working on this platform and the key is to live a harmonious life according to our own definitions.
- Has the spirit of my conduct been harmonious and cooperative at all times? – Most of the time it has but not all of the time. I must admit that occasionally I have mixed emotions which are not in full harmony but in terms of cooperation and service the answer is yes.
- Have I permitted the habit of procrastination to decrease my efficiency, and if so, to what extent? – Scary one, not sure I want to answer… One should never compare ones efforts and results against the ones of others but we all have 24 hours in a day and I for sure have procrastinated at times.
- Have I improved my personality, and if so, in what ways? – Constant improvement is the only way forward and this platform is sort of an outlet for me to share with my tribe my key findings on this journey. My focus is to not argue with anyone but trying to be open minded and see things from different perspectives. I want to make this a natural process and something I do automatically and that is an ongoing process…
- Have I been persistent in following my plans through to completion? – The majority of them yes but I could have done more as mentioned earlier.
- Have I reached decisions promptly and definitely on all occasions? – No, this is work in progress for me and I sometimes find myself spending way too much time thinking about decisions already made… Something I really shouldn’t do because it’s using up brain capacity. Often, the “right” answer is the first answer we think of based on our gut feeling. Spending loads of time on small, perhaps even irrelevant things is just a waste of my time!
- Have I permitted any one or more of the six basic fears to decrease my efficiency? (they are; fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age and death) – Not really but it for sure used to be criticism in my past, which thankfully has changed dramatically as of lately. Also, I would not say fear of poverty but rather what level of risk I should or should not be taking and this is something that might have impacted my efficiency if I’m being completely honest with myself.
- Have I been either “Over-Cautious,” or “Under-Cautious?” – No. I actually believe that the balance has been pretty good but as I often tend to analyse a bit too much, maybe I have actually been a bit over cautious.
- Has my relationship with my associates in work been pleasant, or unpleasant? Has the fault been partly, or wholly mine?
–It has been a combination of both but that was also a reason why I decided to leave my office job back in July 2017. During the not very pleasant occasions, I’m sure I was part of the reason.
- Have I dissipated any of my energy through lack of concentration of effort? – I guess I have to say yes. My concentration and efforts have not always been focused on my goals.
- Have I been open minded and tolerant in connection with all subjects? – Yes.
- In what way have I improved my ability to render service? – By constantly learning and sharing what I learn in an easy manner.
- Have I been intemperate in any of my habits? – Yes, some habits are harder than other to remove/replace or create but I have learned quite a bit about habits, see a few of the links below!
- Have I expressed, either openly or secretly, any form of egotism? – Hmmmm, it doesn’t happen very often but I’m sure it has happened openly even if most of it is just expressed in my mind. I try to always put others first but I also fail every now and then for sure.
- Has my conduct toward my associates been such that it has induced them to respect me? – Yes.
- Have my opinions and decisions been based upon guesswork, or accuracy of analysis and thought? – I try to avoid guesswork when I can and instead use mental models when I have to make decisions with limited information.
- Have I followed the habit of budgeting my time, my expenses, and my income, and have I been conservative in these budgets? – Since quitting my job, I have not been disciplined enough when it comes to how I spend/use my time. But on the income and expenses side of things, I’m in full control.
- How much time have I devoted to unprofitable effort which I might have used to better advantage? – My understanding of this question is that it focuses on monetary gains and my current overall goal is not a financial goal. Everything I have put out over the last years has been for free and with no intention of making money. On the other hand I have been handsomely profiting in many other ways during this journey and that has been worth more to me than money. Regardless of how I serve others, I know it could have been done differently and most likely more effectively but doing is better than not doing as long as we learn and improve along the way.
- How may I re-budget my time, and change my habits so I will be more efficient during the coming year? – I have to be more consistent with my daily focus sheet and implement more routines for mundane tasks so that they just happen without any mental effort. Any new habits should be thought through before implementation so that the outcome is the best possible at all times.
- Have I been guilty of any conduct which was not approved by my conscience? – Nothing pops up in my mind and one of my core values is to always be fair and honest in dealing with everything and everyone so I do feel that my conscious is rather clear. For sure there must be some smaller things but nothing big enough to pop up right now anyway.
- In what ways have I rendered more service and better service than I was paid to render? – Most of the services I’m rendering now and have done as of lately have been solely philanthropically. I always aim to deliver much more than expected, both to make a difference but also to make sure my standards are high.
- Have I been unfair to anyone, and if so, in what way? – I can’t recall any instances.
- If I had been the purchaser of my own services for the year, would I be satisfied with my purchase? – Absolutely (and that’s the feedback I’m receiving too)!
- Am I in the right vocation, and if not, why not? – Now I am but it took me too long to find my way and change my path, though that’s not something to have regrets about as we can’t change what has already happened.
- Has the purchaser of my services been satisfied with the service I have rendered, and if not, why not? – Yes!
- What is my present rating on the fundamental principles of success? – If I were to scale it, probably an 8.5 but it would depend a bit on how and what I would include in my definition. Clear progress, happy with what I’m doing but there is still so much more to learn and improve in what I do and how we live our lives.
Room for improvement?
Mr Hill seems to be a man of very clear rules, traits, habits and skills as all his questions are very much black or white. I find it very hard to answer some of these questions but I’m still feeling great about what I have accomplished so far in life. There is always room for improvement and we can also take it to extremes and become fundamentalists in our endeavors to become “successful”. Personally I think we need to find our own way and we can all decide to what extent we want to implement certain ways of being and acting in our lives.
A key difference to the way we are living our lives and the reasoning of Mr Hill is that the majority of his focus is on success according to what I would call the more generic definition; making money. This is unlikely to be the only yardstick but to me it looks like it’s the dominant one. In my personal view (as you all know by now), we should strive to live life on our terms and that means according to our own definition of success and not what we think “society” means by the word “success”.
All our decisions will have an impact in our lives and some are more important than others. Having structure, discipline, goals and a high level of integrity is extremely important to me. These questions and my answers serve as a good reminder of the key things I need to work more on in order to make good things happen even faster (discipline). At the same time it gives me some perspective as to what kind of scale to use in life.
My aim in life is to live my life on my terms and helping others do the same. To me this means that some of the above mentioned points might not be of the utmost urgency whilst others are extremely important.
Using these points to make a personal inventory of ones current situation and reflect upon what changes should or could be implemented is a great eye-opener. You choose how you want to make use of your answers but as you have already been thinking about them whilst reading this, why not commit to making some changes in how you live your life in order to take it to the next level?
Would be great to hear which ones of these were the biggest wake-up call for you?
Actions to take:
- Why Habits make all the difference in the world
- Habits of the successful – just copy them!
- How to break a great habit and create an amazing one!
- How to be in full control – discipline is key to result
- Morning routines – always start your day amazingly
- Deadlines – use them to your advantage
- A Burning Desire – nothing will stop you!
- Need More Time? – This is how you get it!
- No Extra Time – Use it to your advantage!