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Who Was Earl Nightingale? Here’s The REAL Story!

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Friday, March 08, 2024

There are a lot of rumors and speculation around Earl Nightingale. But here’s the real story.

Earl Nightingale has become something of a legend.

As with all legends, there are a lot of rumors and speculation about who he was and how his fame came about.

​But the truth is that he was a person just like any of us — did you know, for instance, that…

Earl Nightingale Portrait
  • Earl was only 12 years old when his father abandoned his family, and so they lived in a “tent city” near Long Beach during the Depression?
  • ​Or that he lied about his age to join the Marines and was one of only 15 surviving marines aboard the USS Arizona during Pearl Harbor?
  • ​Or that at one point he received a personal invitation from the Queen of England to visit her at Buckingham Palace?

His story is fascinating!

And it really does give you a better idea of the context around which he came up with his “Strangest Secret” and other such recordings.

So let’s talk about Earl Nightingale 🙂

By the way, you should know, I have purchased and published tons of amazing works from authors like Napoleon Hill, Charles F. Haanel, and Earl Nightingale that the world has never seen before! In fact, we have around 7,000 radio tracks from Earl Nightingale that were never released to the public! You get access to ALL of them (audiobook, courses, digital files) inside the Secrets of Success Community — plus lots of other goodies :) Go check out the details by clicking below!

Earl Nightingale’s Early Life

Earl Nightingale's journey, from humble beginnings to becoming a respected voice in self-improvement and motivation, is a story of resilience and determination.

Born on March 12, 1921, in Los Angeles, California, Earl Nightingale's early life was marked by hardship and adversity.

The Great Depression of the 1930s had a profound impact on his family, leading to his father's departure when Earl was just 12 years old. This left the family in dire financial straits. The Nightingales, like many others during this era, faced significant challenges, and at one point, they lived in a "tent city" in Long Beach, California.

These early experiences of poverty and struggle played a pivotal role in shaping Nightingale's perspectives on life and success.

In fact, Nightingale exhibited a voracious appetite for knowledge from a young age. This thirst for learning was ignited when he came across a name that would change his life - Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich".

This book, among others, seeded in him the idea that one's personal philosophy is the driving force behind one's success.

Perhaps displaying early signs of the determination that would hallmark his career, Nightingale lied about his age to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

This decision led him to be stationed at Pearl Harbor, where he was one of only 15 marines to survive the catastrophic attack on the USS Arizona in 1941.

After his military service, Nightingale embarked on a career in radio, which laid the groundwork for his future success as a motivational speaker and writer. His experiences during these formative years were the crucible in which his ideas about personal development and achievement were formed.

A Legacy in Broadcasting and Self-Improvement

Earl Nightingale's legacy in the fields of broadcasting and self-improvement is indelibly marked by his groundbreaking work on the radio program "Our Changing World."

This show, which Nightingale both created and hosted, stands as a testament to his visionary approach to both personal development and mass communication.

"Our Changing World" wasn't just a typical radio show; it was a pioneering endeavor in the realm of self-help and motivational broadcasting. Something never seen before.

Earl Nightingale's distinctive, resonant voice and insightful messages reached an expansive audience, eventually leading the program to become one of the most highly syndicated shows in the radio industry.

Its content was not only inspiring but also practical, offering listeners actionable advice on personal development, success, and positive thinking.

The show's far-reaching impact can be attributed to its syndication across the globe. Nightingale's words resonated with audiences in numerous countries, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries. The universal appeal of his messages about human potential and self-improvement played a pivotal role in the show's widespread popularity.

Partnership with Lloyd Conant

Another significant aspect of Earl Nightingale's legacy is his partnership with Lloyd Conant.

This collaboration led to the formation of Nightingale-Conant, a company that would become a giant in the self-improvement industry. Their partnership began with a shared vision of making self-help and motivational material more accessible to the general public.

It continues with the same mission to this day!

Nightingale-Conant capitalized on the burgeoning interest in self-improvement and personal growth, offering a range of audio programs, books, and later, video courses.

These materials were not only popular but also highly influential, often cited as a turning point in the lives of many individuals who sought personal and professional development.

Their collaboration was marked by a series of successful ventures, including the distribution of Nightingale's famous recording, "The Strangest Secret," which earned a Gold Record for its high sales and is often considered one of the earliest examples of the modern self-help genre.

The partnership between Nightingale and Conant, coupled with the success of "Our Changing World," had a lasting impact on the self-improvement industry. They were pioneers in a field that has since grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Their approach to personal development was not only innovative for its time but also set the stage for future self-help authors and speakers.

How Earl Nightingale Discovered “The Strangest Secret”

"The Strangest Secret" is one of Earl Nightingale’s most iconic recordings. You can watch it below…

The story of how this recording came about is quite interesting!

Before Earl Nightingale became the legend he now is known as, he was a well-known radio host who loved to talk about personal development. He was also an entrepreneur.

In fact, he was the owner of an insurance agency. And he spent many hours motivating and inspiring his sales team to be successful.

At one point, before he was about to leave on a sailing tour for an extended period of time, his sales manager asked him to record some inspiration for the sales team before he left. So he woke up at 8am, wrote for a few hours in a booklet, and then recorded a 17-minute track that would change millions of people’s lives.

He didn’t know that, though.

He gave the recording to his sales manager and then left on his sailing tour.

And this is where the story gets CRAZY.

While Earl was gone, his sales manager passed the recording around to the sales staff. They were so blown away by it that they asked for copies for their friends and family. Then their friends and family were so blown away that they also asked for additional copies.

It quickly got out of hand — and they could only produce the records so quickly. So to slow demand the sales manager started charging people for the records… but that only increased people’s desire to get a copy.

The recording — which Earl Nightingale had titled The Strangest Secret — had gone well and truly viral.

All through word of mouth.

His company was now spending way more time selling this single recording than they were selling insurance!

In fact, it became the first ever spoken word record to “go gold” and sell over a million copies... and when Earl returned and saw what had happened, he saw the opportunity and pursued it.

Here are some of the most famous quotes from this recording…

"We become what we think about."

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal."

"The only person who succeeds is the person who is progressively realizing a worthy ideal."

"You are now, and you do become, what you think about."

"The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice... it is conformity."

"People with goals succeed because they know where they're going."

The Enduring Impact & Philosophies of Earl Nightingale

Earl Nightingale's enduring legacy is undeniable.

His work continues to inspire and influence individuals and professionals in their pursuit of success and personal growth.

Personal Responsibility: Nightingale firmly believed in the idea of personal responsibility. He advocated that individuals are in control of their own destinies and can shape their lives through their thoughts and actions.

“We become what we think about.”

The Power of Positive Thinking: One of Nightingale’s most influential teachings was the power of positive thinking. He stressed that maintaining a positive outlook is not just a feel-good strategy but a practical approach to achieving one’s goals. His emphasis on optimism and positive mental attitude has been a cornerstone in the field of personal development.

The Pursuit of Knowledge: Nightingale was a lifelong learner who believed in the transformative power of knowledge. He often remarked that everything one needs to know has already been written by someone, somewhere. This philosophy underlines the importance of continuous learning and intellectual growth.

"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal."

"Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us."

"All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination."

Earl Nightingale’s Books

Earl Nightingale's contribution to the world of self-improvement and motivational literature extends beyond his audio recordings and radio broadcasts. He authored several influential books that encapsulate his philosophies and insights. These books continue to guide and inspire readers, offering timeless wisdom on success, personal growth, and the power of thought.

“The Strangest Secret”: Originally a spoken word record, this book version expands on Nightingale's core message that 'we become what we think about.' It provides readers with practical steps to harness the power of their thoughts and achieve success.

“Lead the Field”: This book is often praised for its concise yet profound insights into personal development. Nightingale explores the principles of success and how individuals can apply them to their personal and professional lives.

“Earl Nightingale's Greatest Discovery”: In this book, Nightingale shares his personal journey and the discoveries that shaped his life and philosophies. It offers an intimate look into the mind of one of the pioneers of the self-help movement.

“Essence of Success”: This book is a compilation of Nightingale's most impactful ideas. It covers a wide range of topics, from setting goals to developing a winning attitude, providing a comprehensive guide to personal and professional achievement.

Earl Nightingale’s Most Famous Quotes

Earl Nightingale’s words have echoed through the decades, inspiring and motivating people around the world. Here are some of his most famous and impactful quotes:

"We become what we think about."

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal."

"The only person who succeeds is the person who is progressively realizing a worthy ideal."

"You are now, and you do become, what you think about."

"The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice... it is conformity."

"People with goals succeed because they know where they're going."

"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."

"Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us."

Want To Learn More?

If you want to learn more about Earl Nightingale and his works — and get access to over 7,000 of his radio recordings never before released to the public, check out the Secrets of Success Community!

You’ll get access to books and courses from my favorite authors, as well as our monthly book club where we go through them together.

See you inside!

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