How Can the Strategy of Going the Extra Mile
Help Me Attain My Goals?

From: "Business Course I" by Gary North
Lesson 25

To Achieve Accomplishments, Set Goals

Further, one must work towards these goals. Setting goals provides clarity. Next, the basic law of cause and effect mandates that you commit to the legwork. Both goals and effort are necessary for success, yet are insufficient.

To achieve anything significant one must go further. One must...

Go the Extra Mile

On the face of it, the principle of the "extra mile" appears optional. But in Habits of Going the Extra Mile, Napoleon Hill goes so far as to state the following.

The 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. Many may disregard the principle if he chooses, but he cannot do so and at the same time enjoy the fruits of enduring success.

What does it mean to go the extra mile? For starters, going above and beyond expectations is a practical matter. The most obvious effect is the gratification of those you serve (customers, bosses, even friends and family). That is, when you contract for a service, "over delivering" pleases the other party. For example, as a customer, when you pay for a dozen pastries, and receive a "baker's dozen" you are pleased. When you order a cup of coffee, it's always nice to receive an extra treat.

Extra performance beyond the minimum required also benefits one's personal development. For example, suppose you commit to running one kilometer per day. When you run an extra 100 meters beyond your goal you benefit from that more than the exercise alone. You also feel good about yourself: you have already satisfied your goal. You have not fallen short, and certainly not just skipped the whole day. Yet you have run the extra 100 meters just for fun.


It may seem dreamy of Hill, but he claims that one always receives payback for over-delivering: "It is impossible for anyone to render such service without receiving appropriate compensation." This may be hard to swallow, but not if allowing Hill to expand:

There are two forms of compensation available to the man who works for wages. One is the wages he receives in money. The other is the skill he attains from his experiences; a form of compensation which often exceeds monetary remuneration, for skill and experience are the worker’s most important stock in trade through which he may promote himself to higher pay and get responsibilities.


Finally, in my experience the following is most relevant with respect to attaining my goals. Without exception when I think back on my accomplishments, each took longer to achieve than I expected. I would make progress, but would reach a point when the whole idea seemed hopeless. Then I would hunker down and burn the midnight oil - putting everything aside and not quitting until it all worked.

This was the "extra mile." It was the difference between success and failure. If I had budgeted a fixed amount of time and money, most of these projects would have failed. Driving the extra mile made the difference between success and failure.