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The Law of Retaliation
by Dr. Napoleon Hill
Every person with whom you come in contact is a mental mirror in which you may see a perfect reflection of your own mental attitude. I recently had an experience with my two small boys, Blair and James, which illustrated this point.
We were on our way to the park to feed the birds and squirrels. Blair had bought a bag of peanuts and James had popcorn. James took a notion to sample the peanuts. Without asking permission, he reached over and made a grab for the bag. He missed and Blair retaliated with a left jab.
I said to James: “Now, see here, son, you didn’t go about getting those peanuts in the right manner. Let me show you how to get them.” When I spoke, I hadn’t the slightest idea what I was going to do, I only hoped that stalling would allow me time to analyze the occurrence and work out a better way than his.
Then I recalled the law of retaliation that says people will always respond in kind, even in greater measure that which is deliver to them, so I said to James: “Open you box of popcorn and offer your little brother some and see what happens.”
After considerable coaxing, I persuaded him to do this. Then a remarkable thing happened, out of which I learned my greatest lesson in salesmanship. Before Blair would touch the popcorn, he insisted on pouring some of his peanuts in James’s overcoat pocket. He retaliated in kind!
Out of this simple experiment with two small boys, I learned more about the art of managing than I could have learned in any other manner. None of us have advanced far beyond Blair and James as far as the operation and influence of the Law of Retaliation is concerned. We are all just grown-up children and easily influenced by this principle.
The habit of “retaliating in kind” is so universally practiced that we can properly call this habit the Law of Retaliation. If a person presents us with a gift, we never feel satisfied until we have “retaliated” with something as good or better than that which we received. If a person speaks well of us, we increase our admiration for that person, and we “retaliate” in return!
Through the principle of retaliation, we can actually convert our enemies into loyal friends. If you have an enemy whom you wish to convert into a friend, you can prove the truth of this statement if you will forget that dangerous millstone handing around your neck which we call pride.
Make a habit of speaking to this enemy with unusual cordiality. Go out of your way to favor him in every manner possible. He may seem immovable at first, but gradually he will give way to your influence and “retaliate in kind!”
The hottest coals of fire ever heaped upon the head of one who has wronged you are the coals of human kindness.
Source: Source: The following is adapted from the March 1919 issue of Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rule magazine. Printed in the above version March, 1994, Volume 6, Number 3, Page 4 in the Think and Grow Rich Newsletter.