“The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled,” said Carnegie.
Carnegie believed it was the mind that would make the body rich; in order to succeed, one had to cultivate within oneself a number of characteristics that would clear the mind so as to be able to focus on the end goal. According to Carnegie, opportunities would always present themselves and unless he was in a sound mental state, he would not be able to seize those occasions.
The first and most important point for Carnegie lied in his ability to master his own mood. No matter how difficult the circumstances, Carnegie believed that it was of the utmost importance to maintain a positive attitude. “There is little success where there is little laughter,” he said. “”A sunny disposition is worth more than fortune. Young people should know that it can be cultivated; that the mind like the body can be moved from the shade into sunshine.”
With a healthy state of mind, Carnegie then set out to ensure his physical well being by refining his habits. He was staunchly opposed to drinking alcohol, believing that this would cloud his ability to think clearly and soak up the energy he would need to achieve his goals. “I will not paint the evil of drunkenness, or the moral crime; but I suggest to you that it is low and common to enter a bar-room, unworthy of any self-respecting man, and sure to fasten upon you a taint which will operate to your disadvantage in life, whether you ever become a drunkard or not,” Carnegie said. He was also against smoking, “not that it is morally wrong, except in so far as it is used in excess and injures health, which the medical faculty declares it does.”
Carnegie believed that in order to achieve great success in life, he had to ensure that he was not only in good health and good spirits, but that he also carried himself in an upstanding way. “There is no genuine, praiseworthy success in life if you are not honest, truthful, fair-dealing,” he said. By operating under these principles, Carnegie was able to gain the trust of those around him, which helped to propel his success.
While he was a compassionate man, Carnegie had no patience for those who gave excuses to explain their own failure, particularly when they claimed their circumstances were out of their control. “Some never had a chance, according to their own story,” he said. “This is simply nonsense. No young man ever lived who had not a chance, and a splendid chance, too.”
Carnegie believed in creating his own circumstances and so long as he could control his own thoughts and mind, he could do just that. “His ability, honesty, habits, associations, temper, disposition, all these are weighted and analyzed,” he said. “The young man who never had a chance is the same young man who has been canvassed over and over again by his superiors…owing to some objectionable act, habit, or association.”