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Newton’s Law of Success

May 28, 2013

You have likely heard of Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation. Now, let me introduce you to Newton’s law of success, his most powerful formula.

When asked how he made his great scientific discoveries, Isaac Newton once remarked, “By always thinking unto them. I keep the subject constantly before me, and wait till the first drawings open slowly, by little and little, into a full and clear light.”

Newton’s explanation of his remarkable achievements, which I call Newton’s Law of Success, should not be overlooked, as is often the case by even teachers and students of science. His statement remains one of profound significance and importance, and it holds the key to creativity and the acquisition of success in any field of interest. Let’s dissect it a bit, and you’ll see why.

When you think about something deeply and often, not only does the conscious portions of your brain try to make sense of things, in the background your subconscious also becomes focused on bringing light to the goal at hand. Whether you are trying to solve a particular problem, invent a better way of doing something, or trying to master a complex subject, both the conscious and the subconscious processes of your brain work together in harmony. And, from this alignment, a most remarkable intellectual synergy is formed.

Earlier this year, I was bewildered trying to figure out how to get an engineering software package to do something that I desperately needed it to do for my professional work. For weeks, I worked hours a day to find a solution to the task at hand, even though I had no apparent success. And, even after a few “experts” I consulted told me that what I was attempting to do couldn’t be done, I continued to seek a solution by keeping the problem firmly fixed in my mind. In short, I utilized Newton’s Law of Success.

My persistence eventually paid off. One night, three months or so into my engineering project, I was watching television with my family when suddenly the solution I was seeking emerged right in front of my eyes. At the time of my “sudden discovery”, I wasn’t consciously thinking about my engineering problem; I was simply enjoying spending time with my family. But, behind the scenes, without any awareness on my part, my subconscious was hard at work deriving the answer I was seeking. And, what a thrill it was when my subconscious mind hit gold after many weeks of what appeared to be a total dead-end.

We have all heard of people who have made a giant leap of progress through serendipity, a flash of brilliance, or heightened inspiration. To mention just a few well-known figures in this category, Friedrich Kekule worked out the structure of benzene in a dream; Albert Einstein conceived the theory of relativity while riding a bike; and George Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun,” one of his most spectacular songs, while walking around a beautiful garden.

But, make no mistake about it; a breakthrough thought, no matter how spontaneously or effortlessly it may seem to appear, is almost always the result of Newton’s Law of Success at work. Kekule’s benzene dream came about only because of the scientist’s years of hard thinking about chemical structures beforehand. Einstein’s revolutionary idea of time, space, and mass came about only after the emerging physicist spent months pondering the limitations of Newtonian mechanics. And, George Harrison blossomed into a magnificent song writer only after the musician spent years thinking of new and better ways to bend the strings on his guitar.

Thomas Edison is another well-known personality who made great strides in human progress by applying Newton’s law of Success. With dogged persistence, he experimented with over 9,000 filament materials before he found one suitable for the light bulb he envisioned. Had the inventor of the electric light not gone for another try, the nights would have remained dark for a much longer time. Think about this the next time you consider throwing in the towel.

Yours in success,
Robert Drucker