HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST NEGATIVE INFLUENCES
By Napoleon Hill
An excerpt from the book “Think and Grow Rich” chapter entitled The Devil’s Worshop: the Seventh Basic Evil
“To protect yourself against negative influences, whether of your own making, or the
result of the activities of negative people around you, recognize that you have a
WILL-POWER, and put it into constant use, until it builds a wall of immunity against
negative influences in your own mind.
Recognize the fact that you, and every other human being, are, by nature, lazy,
indifferent, and susceptible to all suggestions which harmonize with your weaknesses.
Recognize that you are, by nature, susceptible to all the six basic fears, and set up.
habits for the purpose of counteracting all these fears.
Recognize that negative influences often work on you through your subconscious
mind, therefore they are difficult to detect, and keep your mind closed against all
people who depress or discourage you in any way.
Clean out your medicine chest, throw away all pill bottles, and stop pandering to
colds, aches, pains and imaginary illness.
Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to THINK AND ACT
Do not EXPECT troubles as they have a tendency not to dissappoint.
Without doubt, the most common weakness of all human beings is the habit of leaving
their minds open to the negative influence of other people. This weakness is all the
more damaging, because most people do not recognize that they are cursed by it, and
many who acknowledge it, neglect or refuse to correct the evil until it becomes an
uncontrollable part of their daily habits.
To aid those who wish to see themselves as they really are, the following list of
questions has been prepared. Read the questions and state your answers aloud, so you
can hear your own voice. This will make it easier for you to be truthful with yourself.
SELF-ANALYSIS TEST QUESTIONS
Do you complain often of “feeling bad,” and if so, what is the cause?
Do you find fault with other people at the slightest provocation?
Do you frequently make mistakes in your work, and if so, why?
Are you sarcastic and offensive in your conversation?
Do you deliberately avoid the association of anyone, and if so, why?
Do you suffer frequently with indigestion? If so, what is the cause?
Does life seem futile and the future hopeless to you? If so, why?
Do you like your occupation? If not, why?
Do you often feel self-pity, and if so why?
Are you envious of those who excel you?
To which do you devote most time, thinking of SUCCESS, or of FAILURE?
Are you gaining or losing self-confidence as you grow older?
Do you learn something of value from all mistakes?
Are you permitting some relative or acquaintance to worry you? If so, why?
Are you sometimes “in the clouds” and at other times in the depths of despondency?
Who has the most inspiring influence upon you? What is the cause?
Do you tolerate negative or discouraging influences which you can avoid?
Are you careless of your personal appearance? If so, when and why?
Have you learned how to “drown your troubles” by being too busy to be annoyed by
Would you call yourself a “spineless weakling” if you permitted others to do your
thinking for you?
Do you neglect internal bathing until auto-intoxication makes you ill-tempered and
How many preventable disturbances annoy you, and why do you tolerate them?
Do you resort to liquor, narcotics, or cigarettes to “quiet your nerves”? If so, why do
you not try will-power instead?
Does anyone “nag” you, and if so, for what reason?
Do you have a DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE, and if so, what is it, and what plan
have you for achieving it?
Do you suffer from any of the Six Basic Fears? If so, which ones?
Have you a method by which you can shield yourself against the negative influence of
Do you make deliberate use of auto-suggestion to make your mind positive?
Which do you value most, your material possessions, or your privilege of controlling
your own thoughts?
Are you easily influenced by others, against your own judgment?
Has today added anything of value to your stock of knowledge or state of mind?
Do you face squarely the circumstances which make you unhappy, or sidestep the
Do you analyze all mistakes and failures and try to profit by them or, do you take the
attitude that this is not your duty?
Can you name three of your most damaging weaknesses? What are you doing to
Do you encourage other people to bring their worries to you for sympathy?
Do you choose, from your daily experiences, lessons or influences which aid in your
Does your presence have a negative influence on other people as a rule?
What habits of other people annoy you most?
Do you form your own opinions or permit yourself to be influenced by other people?
Have you learned how to create a mental state of mind with which you can shield
yourself against all discouraging influences?
Does your occupation inspire you with faith and hope?
Are you conscious of possessing spiritual forces of sufficient power to enable you to
keep your mind free from all forms of FEAR?
Does your religion help you to keep your own mind positive?
Do you feel it your duty to share other people’s worries? If so, why?
If you believe that “birds of a feather flock together” what have you learned about
yourself by studying the friends whom you attract?
What connection, if any, do you see between the people with whom you associate
most closely, and any unhappiness you may experience?
Could it be possible that some person whom you consider to be a friend is, in reality,
your worst enemy, because of his negative influence on your mind?
By what rules do you judge who is helpful and who is damaging to you?
Are your intimate associates mentally superior or inferior to you?
How much time out of every 24 hours do you devote to:
a. your occupation
c. play and relaxation
d. acquiring useful knowledge e. plain waste
Who among your acquaintances,
a. encourages you most
b. cautions you most
c. discourages you most
d. helps you most in other ways
What is your greatest worry? Why do you tolerate it?
When others offer you free, unsolicited advice, do you accept it without question, or
analyze their motive?
What, above all else, do you most DESIRE? Do you intend to acquire it? Are you
willing to subordinate all other desires for this one? How much time daily do you
devote to acquiring it?
Do you change your mind often? If so, why?
Do you usually finish everything you begin?
Are you easily impressed by other people’s business or professional titles, college
degrees, or wealth?
Are you easily influenced by what other people think or say of you?
Do you cater to people because of their social or financial status?
Whom do you believe to be the greatest person living?
In what respect is this person superior to yourself?
How much time have you devoted to studying and answering these questions?
(At least one day is necessary for the analysis and the answering of the entire list.)
If you have answered all these questions truthfully, you know more about yourself
than the majority of people. Study the questions carefully, come back to them once each week for several months, and be astounded at the amount of additional
knowledge of great value to yourself, you will have gained by the simple method of
answering the questions truthfully.
If you are not certain concerning the answers to some of the questions, seek the counsel of those who know you well, especially those
who have no motive in flattering you, and see yourself through their eyes. The
experience will be astonishing.”