Napoleon Hill and Fear of Criticism

Napoleon Hill and Fear of Criticism.

According to Napoleon Hill, author of the classic book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ the biggest obstacle to persisting with your goals and dreams is fear of criticism.

Fear of criticism leads to conformity which could literally destroy your ambition and desire to achieve your goals.

There is a famous study from 1932 about conformity called the Jenness Experiment where Jenness asked participants to estimate the number of beans in a bottle. They first estimated the number individually and then later as a group. After they were asked as a group, they were then asked again individually and the experimenter found that their estimates shifted from their original guess to closer to what other members of the group had guessed.

We are all susceptible to this herd mentality and If your goals and dreams are outside the norm, you will probably get criticism and negative feedback from at least one or two of your friends and family members.

How Do You Know If You Have Had Fear of Criticism?

Ask yourself :

  • Have you ever stayed in a job you know is not right for you?
  • Married the wrong person?
  • Stayed with the wrong person even though you knew it wasn’t right for you?
  • Not pursued your dream?
  • Failed to take a risk in business?
  • Failed to set a seemingly unreachable goal?

Have you done any of these just to avoid being criticized or even ostracizes by family friends or co-workers?

It’s understandable. We all like to fit in . No one likes being the odd one out. It could even be biological. In Abraham Maslow’s classic hierarchy of needs he even suggests that the need to belong is one of 5 human needs along with physiological needs such as safety, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

How to Overcome Fear of Criticism

With this in mind, there are four simple steps to help you to avoid succumbing to the fear of criticism so that you can persist in your goals and dreams.

  1. If someone in your life has a negative or discouraging influence, close your mind tightly to any negative suggestions or criticisms. Be selective about who you share your goals and dreams with. Don’t’ engage or agree with negative conversations and switch topic if need be. Surround yourself with positive people.
  2. If others criticism discourages you, remember why you started. Keep your end goal in mind by saying a goal statement out loud as Napoleon Hill suggests or by referring to your vision board at least once day.
  3. Studies show we are more likely to conform when we are not as confident in our abilities. We look to the group for confirmation and will be swayed by group thinking. Take the time to learn skills related to your goals and have a definite plan. This will give you self confidence to continue to pursue you goals.
  4. Have a mentor or mastermind group to hold you accountable. Having a friendly alliance with one or more people will encourage you to follow through with your plans . I am part of a mastermind group of 5 women who meet regularly. You can host or join a group at or

Persist and concentrate your efforts with laser focus toward your goal no matter what the nay-sayers are trying to make you believe. Do it today! Have the courage to step outside the norm, be YOURSELF and prosper!


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3. Making Mistakes Is the Key to Life

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Article:  Napoleon Hill and Fear of Criticism

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