Earl Nightingale (1921–1989) was an influential American radio speaker and author, widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of personal development and self-help. His words and thoughts have played a significant role in inspiring and motivating people around the world.
Earl Nightingale’s life was marked by extraordinary resilience, relentless pursuit of knowledge, and a profound desire to help others succeed.
His thoughts and teachings continue to inspire, proving that his impact on personal development literature will never fade. Nightingale was, and still is, a beacon of motivation and self-improvement. His legacy lives on in the hearts of those who believe in their ability to shape their future through their thoughts and actions.
Earl Nightingale Quotes
“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”
“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.”
“When you judge others, you do not define them; you define yourself.”
Early Life and Military Service
Born on March 12, 1921, in Los Angeles, California, Nightingale grew up during the Great Depression. He joined the United States Marines at the age of 17, where he served during World War II. He was one of only a few dozen survivors from the USS Arizona, after it was bombed during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. This near-death experience ignited in him a deep desire to find the purpose of life.
Career Beginnings in Radio Broadcasting
After the war, Nightingale began his radio career at KTAR in Phoenix, Arizona. He later moved to Chicago, where he worked in insurance sales while developing his broadcasting career. It was during this time that he began to dive deeper into the world of personal development, researching success and what makes successful people different from others.
The Strangest Secret and Its Success
In 1956, Earl Nightingale recorded his seminal work, “The Strangest Secret,” initially as a motivational record for his insurance agency staff. This record shared the idea that we become what we think about — a concept that would become a cornerstone of personal development literature.
“The Strangest Secret” was phenomenally successful. It was the first spoken-word recording to achieve Gold Record status, a testament to its wide-reaching impact. This success led to the formation of the Nightingale-Conant Corporation in 1960, a company that specializes in personal development and motivational materials.
Earl Nightingale as an Author and Speaker
In addition to his audio programs, Nightingale wrote several books that have become classics in the personal development field. These include “Earl Nightingale’s Greatest Discovery,” “Lead the Field,” and “The Essence of Success.”
He also hosted a daily radio program, “Our Changing World,” where he shared his insights and knowledge about success, life, and happiness. It became one of the most syndicated radio programs and significantly contributed to his popularity.
Legacy and Influence
Earl Nightingale died in 1989, but his teachings continue to influence millions worldwide. He was posthumously awarded the prestigious Golden Gavel Award from Toastmasters International for his contribution to the field of spoken-word and written material on personal development.
His simple but profound messages, such as “success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal,” remain timeless. Nightingale’s teachings serve as a reminder that our thoughts shape our lives and that success can be attained by anyone willing to pursue it with perseverance and a positive mindset.