together we can change ourself

together we can change ourself

W. Clement Stone

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Positive Thinking

I remember meeting with W. Clement Stone for the first time in his Chicago office in the mid-1980s.

This insurance tycoon was also the head of The Napoleon Hill Foundation and granted to this stranger from the Eastern Hemisphere the right to promulgate the “positive mental attitude” spirit in Japan.

I tried to persuade this billionaire by saying that success must be achieved both in material and spiritual terms, in fulfilling one’s ideals by improving one’s inner self and gaining peace of mind, rather than just by achieving wealth or fame.

I emphasized that only PMA can bring out success, that is, real self-fulfillment.

Listening with a smile, Mr. Stone offered his hand to me, who dared to preach PMA to Mr. PMA.

Since then, two Japanese-translated books, “Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude,” co-authored by him and Dr. Napoleon Hill, and Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” have been my company’s long-selling books and have affected many, many Japanese youth and businesspeople.

My deepest and sincerest condolences on the passing away of my mentor, Mr. W. Clement Stone.

Tanaka Taka-aki

Historical Life

He started out with nothing and built an insurance empire.
W. Clement Stone founded a multibillion-dollar insurance empire with $100 and sought to buck up the world with the idea that anyone might do the same-all they need is “positive mental attitude.”

“All I want to do is change the world,” he said.

The founder of Combined Insurance Co., who through his private foundation passed along $275 million-especially for education and childhood development-since 1958, died Tuesday September 4, 2002 of pneumonia at Evanston Hospital. He was a resident of the North Shore suburb.

He celebrated his 100th birthday in May with a gift of $100,000 to the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Famous for his pencil-thin black mustache, his polka-dot bow ties and a solid fix on motivation as the engine of success, Mr. Stone identified so strongly with PMA-positive mental attitude-that it was the ticker symbol for his holding company, Combined International Corp., when shareholders formed it in 1980.

Combined Insurance merged in 1982 with Ryan Insurance, and in 1987 the name changed to Aon Corp. Last year, it reported total revenue of more than $2.035 billion.

Mr. Stone’s notion was that any man can become wealthy “no matter how poor his start in life.”

He wrote books-most famously, with Napoleon Hill, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, published in 1960.

His own rags-to-riches tale started May 4, 1902, in Chicago, where he was born to Louis and Anna Gunn Stone. His father, Louis, a clothing manufacturer, died when he was 3. His mother found work as a dressmaker, while the boy, at 6, was on the streets, hawking the Examiner newspaper to help pay the rent.

At 13, he had his own newsstand at 31st and Cottage Grove.

At the age of 16, he joined his mother in Detroit, where she ran an insurance agency.

By 20, he had his own agency in Chicago and by 1930 had rounded up 1,000 agents.

As a teen, Mr. Stone dropped out of Senn high, but eventually completed a diploma at YMCA night classes.

Before leaving Senn, he met Jessie Verna Tarson. They married in 1923 when he was 21 and went on to rear three children. He always said she was part of his secret.

He contended that he lived so long “because I was married to the most beautiful girl in the world, and dancing every chance I could,” friends remember him saying.

Even the Depression didn’t get Mr. Stone down. He was quoted in the New York Times saying it forced good work habits.

He read and then embodied the Horatio Alger books, many of which were shelved at Combined’s office at 5050 N. Broadway.

He called his books “inspirational self-help action books” but it was the Bible, he said, that was “the world’s greatest self-help book.”

A generous backer of Republicans, he contributed to Richard M. Nixon-with whom he bonded because of interest in the Boys Clubs-and was named a trustee of the Nixon Foundation. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his philosophy and his philanthropy, including the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation.

Survivors include his wife; a son, Norman, 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.


As a testimonial to the greatness of W. Clement Stone, and in memorium for his passing on September 3rd, printed below is a copy of his own advice for a fulfilling life as published in Success Unlimited. As we pause and reflect on Mr. Stone’s life’s mission, the greatest tribute that can be paid to this gentleman and philanthropist is to emulate his style, grace, and goodwill. May he rest in peace.

By W. Clement Stone

Be generous! Give to those whom you love; give to those who love you; give to the fortunate; give to the unfortunate; yes—give especially to those to whom you don’t want to give.

Your most precious, valued possessions and your greatest powers are invisible and intangible. No one can take them. You, and you alone, can give them. You will receive abundance for your giving. The more you give—the more you will have!

Give a smile to everyone you meet (smile with your eyes)—and you’ll smile and receive smiles . . .

Give a kind word (with a kindly thought behind the word)—you will be kind and receive kind words . . .

Give honor, credit and applause (the victor’s wreath)—you will be honorable and receive credit and applause . . .

Give time for a worthy cause (with eagerness)—you will be worthy and richly rewarded . . .

Give hope (the magic ingredient for success)—you will have hope and be made hopeful . . .

Give happiness (a most treasured state of mind)—you will be happy and be made happy . . .

Give encouragement (the incentive to action)—you will have courage and be encouraged . . .

Give cheer (the verbal sunshine)—you’ll be cheerful and cheered . . .
Give a pleasant response (the neutralizer of irritants)—you will be pleasant and receive pleasant responses . . .

Give good thoughts (nature’s character builder)—you will be good and the world will have good thoughts for you . . .

Give prayers (the instrument of miracles) for the godless and the godly—you will be reverent and receive blessings, more than you deserve!
Be generous! Give!

Napoleon Hill Foundation – Store

Written by Bhushan Kulkarni

March 26, 2007 at 8:50 am

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