The Transformative Power of ‘Going the Extra Mile’
A Wildly successful, all encompassing, personal transformational practice that benefits the world!
“An important principle of success in all walks of life and in all occupations is a willingness to Go the Extra Mile; which means the rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid, and giving it in a positive mental attitude.” Napoleon Hill
In 1908, at the compelling invitation of Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill began 30 years of interviewing and studying 500 of the most successful people in American history. His mission was to create a philosophy of achievement from the ‘common traits and practices’ that defined Carnegie and his contemporary’s successes, in order to pass this knowledge on to anyone that wanted to hear it and embrace it.
He kept going, and in 1945 completed The Master Key to Riches, which expanded the principles to 17, and included Going the Extra Mile. To me the powerful story here is that over those 3 decades, the principles Hill learned and eventually articulated for the world, he implemented himself and in the process was personally transformed.
It doesn’t take long, reading Think and Grow Rich, to understand it was not about making money as the title and marketing suggested. Nor is The Master Key to Riches. Rather they are about creating true abundance. Hill’s straightforward storytelling begins to reveal that the principles were a way of life for these successful individuals who created just that for themselves, their families their partners and employees, their country and beyond. Literally, a world of abundance. They simply proved that anything was possible ‘with the application’ of these fundamental principles, because they understood how thought, faith and the creative energy of love and unconditional service to others, works.
It struck me as ‘ancient wisdom’ repackaged in the language and context of the early 1900’s. Hill specifically stated; ‘this principle is not the creation of man. It is a part of Nature’s handiwork, for it is obvious that every living creature below the intelligence of man is forced to apply the principle in order to survive.’ What a task it must have seemed, to gently share the power that is available to absolutely everyone, and has always been right in front of us, to the unfamiliar many.
In Hill’s writings, the benefits of going the extra mile also appear at first to be focusing on financial compensation; how to become successful one’s career. It quickly becomes clear that ‘compensation’ means anything that you want to come into your life; an open mind and open heart, harmony with others, faith, joy, spiritual enlightenment, abundance of any kind. He intends an understanding of the much bigger truth.
“Every seed of useful service you sow will multiply itself and come back to you in overwhelming abundance.” Napoleon Hill
Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes not. Yet unmistakably, the practice of this single principle can change the very experience of an entire life; how people respond to you changes, events in your world change, what you focus on changes. With every ‘extra mile act’ you perform, there is a subtle and cumulative shift in your attitude, your energy, the very way you see the world, yourself and others. These shifts impact everything you do, and slowly it becomes who you are.
I recently had the opportunity to do a talk on this principle, organized around the compounding and deepening effect it is having on me from the outside-my work, to my interpersonal world, and ultimately my inner experience.
The Extra Mile and your Career
Hill delineates the concrete benefits of this practice specifically in relation to your work;
“It tends to make one indispensable, in many different human relationships and enables you to command more than average compensation for personal services.”
“It protects one against the loss of employment when employment is scarce and places ‘him’ in a position to command the choicest jobs.”
“It leads to mental growth and to physical skill and perfection in many forms of endeavor; thereby adding to one’s earning capacity.”
“It brings the individual to the favorable attention of those who can and will provide opportunities for self-advancement.”
“It gives one the only logical reason for asking for increased compensation.”
“It enables one to profit by the law of contrast (by standing out) since the majority of people do not practice the habit.”
“To your colleagues at work it shows respect and appreciation, that you take your responsibility seriously, and that you care.”
The Extra Mile and your Life
“Going the Extra Mile is providing extra service, with the highest possible quality, than you are being paid to do. It is more than ‘dotting the I’s’ and ‘crossing the T’s’, it is seeking to provide an unexpectedly positive experience to the receiver. Going the Extra Mile allows you to leverage your Pleasing Personality, Enthusiasm, and Personal Initiative as you actively share yourself with your environment. Do you seek to delight your family, community, and business associates? If not, you may be missing out on opportunities for instant happiness and future compensation”. Robert Newell
The benefits of this practice begin to show up in how we view and interact with others; members of our family and community, how we are impacting their lives and experience, and we’re having a positive attitude while doing it. We shift our very mindset.
“When you do more than you are paid to do in a willing and cheerful manner, you develop a positive, pleasing attitude, the cornerstone of an attractive personality.”
“It aids the mastery of the destructive habit of procrastination.”
“It develops definiteness of purpose, insuring one against the common habit of aimlessness.”
“It tends to develop a keen, alert imagination in you because it is a habit, which inspires one continuously to seek new and better ways of rendering service.”
“It develops the important quality of personal initiative.”- ‘you don’t wait for things to happen, you simply do what needs to be done.’
Additionally, ‘when people do more than they have to, and do so with an attitude of generosity, they give of themselves in ways that is uplifting.’ You generate goodwill by doing something generous and unexpected, and you inspire others to do the same.’ I know you have had this experience.
You build self-confidence because you know you will do what is ‘good and right’, building faith in yourself. You get better at what you do because you are always challenging yourself to do more.
You instill confidence in others about your abilities and your integrity.
And as a bonus for you personally, it is an effective ‘antidote’ to stress and self-doubt simply because you are focusing on others.
“Today, do just a little bit more. Turn going the extra mile into a habit- it is what lifts most successful people above the crowd.” Bob Proctor
The Extra Mile and Who You Become
Giving of your time, effort, compassion, kindness, support and positivity results in you becoming more compassionate, kinder, more supportive and positive. That energy touches everything you do.
You feel more connected.
You feel a greater sense of value and empowerment.
You become more self-reliant and courageous; because your confidence is increasing, because you are more involved, taking more action and stretching yourself.
You become energized-you experience an amazing ‘positive upward spiral’ and energy is created within you. It feels invigorating to do something good for someone ‘who can’t possibly repay you’ or doesn’t even know that you aided them.
You experience true abundance-you understand what ‘givers’ know; that every time they give, they are the ones receiving.
Where Do I Sign up?
When an opportunity presents itself and you have the ability to be of service, solve a problem, or simply make a positive impact, take it. Particularly if it takes only a few minutes.
I know this isn’t news to you. You have of course been both the doer and the recipient. This is just taking it up a notch from where you are right now. A notch that will transform you. Use your brain’s epic responsiveness to mantra’s, triggers, your own intentional conditioning. Keep in mind an already conditioned phrase like pay it forward, or random acts of kindness if either of those has a better ‘ring’ for you than go the extra mile. It’s good if it’s catchy, it helps you prime your unconscious mind to look for opportunities to go way beyond becoming someone known for exceeding expectations. Just create the conditions to think of it more often.
There are endless opportunities and unlimited ways we can do just a little something more, something unexpected, giving a little bit more of ourselves. It feels great, it’s really our true nature and where our power is, and it’s how we collectively create abundance in the world. Imagine if everyone did it just 1% more…