Life Advice From The Dean Of Personal Development Earl Nightingale

Amber Alexandria
3 min readJun 26, 2020


I recently discovered Earl Nightingale, who can be noted as one of the original thought leaders in the personal development world. I started my personal development journey a while back and I feel I like should have stumbled across his teachings years ago.

Better late than never.

For those who also may have never come across the works of Earl Nightingale here is a little background info.

Earl grew up in an economically depressing time, similar to what we are facing today. His family was poor and this sparked financial curiosity in Earl’s mind as a little boy.

He wanted to know why some families prospered and other families like his — were just struggling to survive.

After many years of searching for this answer, at the age of 35, he finally discovered the truth of what he had been searching for.

He wrote down and recorded his findings that were played for a small group of salesmen. They loved it so much they asked for copies, so they could hand it out to all their family and friends.

In very little time Earl sold over a million copies. His recorded message was called — The Strangest Secret.

Here are 4 life lessons I took back from Earl Nightingale’s message:

#1 “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal”

In our culture, we are taught that you are successful when you achieve a goal. But according to Earl’s message that perception of success is wrong. What makes one successful is not if one achieves a goal — but a person who is actively working towards their goal.

That is what makes one successful. Failure has nothing to do with not being able to accomplish your goal. Failure is the person who — does not work on their goals.

#2 “The opposite of courage is not cowardliness, it’s conformity”

Earl gains this piece of wise wisdom from the psychiatrist, Rollo May.

When reacting to the choices in our life we often look at ourselves as either behaving bravely or fearfully. We are taught that these emotions are the opposite of one another. But when you look deeper, something else is actually going on.

When we don’t take risk in life to create our own reality, we‘re not being fearful — we’re conforming to what already exists.

#3 “We don’t need to compete, all we need to do is create”

The only competition that exists is the competition that you make for yourself. Focus on creating. Create goals and work towards them.

#4 The Strangest Secret — “We become what we think about”

Our lives are manifested by the thoughts we think. Consciously or subconsciously — we are being guided by our minds.

If you want to have more control over your life, you must have more control over your thoughts.

Upgrading your thinking style is important. Using affirmations is a great way to reprogram the way you think, so you can live out your desired reality.