Early 20th century self-hep guru Napoleon Hill was from Wise County. Courtesy of Jack Kennedy.

Today, our region has a valuable resource in the Napoleon Hill Foundation that parents, grandparents, teachers may connect the region’s high school youth, age 16 or older, to get a jumpstart on personal achievement life of success and to collectively launch the region in new direction. 

Entrepreneurial-business skills are assets on which the counties of southwestern Virginia’s coal extraction economies are lacking among it’s human resources. In large part, because of multigenerational dependency on coal company employment there has been too little focus on an entrepreneurial culture.  With the decline of coal-related opportunities, the region’s poverty has increased, while advanced entrepreneurial start-ups remain too few. 

New businesses are disproportionately responsible for the innovation that drives productivity and economic growth, and they account for virtually all net new job creation. Building a larger corps of high achievers is a necessity for rural Virginia. 

The coal-county region’s youth desire to be successful, but each must be equipped with motivational entrepreneurial-business leadership skills to launch start-ups in high-risk markets.  The lacking entrepreneurial-business leadership skills may be built among high school students through exposure to and enrollment-to-completion in the on-line college credit course “Keys to Success.” 

Workforce development programs are largely geared to assisting large national and international firms that do locate to the region as a part of the incentive packages, but training to do specific niche jobs. Yet we seemingly neglect the mainstay of a vibrant economy: entrepreneurial-business leadership skills that are the basis of fresh, dynamic start-ups requiring understanding of the essentials to be successful in launching a start-up business, especially among creative youth. 

The region’s youth must be taught the value of the philosophy of achievement through mastering the keys of success at a young age, grasping and developing definiteness of purpose while holding dear to youthful dreams one enjoys. Holding a positive mental attitude during diversity through engagement with a mastermind network is essential to one’s purpose in forging those aspiring dreams into a new, bold reality. 

One of the hardest mental concepts any of us may master is building self-discipline to see incremental objectives through to meet larger strategic goals.  In doing so, the philosophy of success requires the utilization of creative vision so the “we always did it that way” attitude may be changed to the new – producing greater efficiency and exceedingly higher productivity than what exists today.

Every positive successful step to achievement requires applied faith to meet realistic objectives for an entrepreneurial start-up to forge business maturity. But in doing so, the student must be taught the essential importance of going the “extra mile” – or more – through personal initiative molded through unwavering enthusiasm, controlled attention, accurate thinking, and developing good cosmic habits. 

The Napoleon Hill Foundation is offering to be on the personal team of every student who enrolls and finishes the online course offered through the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, and perhaps transferable to other enlightened academic institutions.  The foundation offers each scholar a connection to a larger global network of those adopting the principals through various local festivities and retreats with other successful Napoleon Hill Scholars from around the globe.

Students who are concerned about budget, time and money, the “Keys to Success” course is 8-to-10 weeks, completed at the student’s weekly schedule pace of time, with an investment budget of zero money, but holding a value of several hundred dollars accompanied by lifelong dividends. The Napoleon Hill Foundation pays the tuition by scholarship award of each student. The only ask of the student is to be diligent in obtaining a life-changing philosophy of personal achievement, as eloquently set forth by the late Napoleon Hill, an early 20th century native of Wise County.  

As a Napoleon Hill Scholar, and a graduate of the first on-campus “Keys to Success” course offered at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise two decades ago, I urge parents, grandparents, and teachers to point their teenage youth to the Philosophy of Success, and specifically the high school course of Keys to Success for advance college credit. 

Scan the QR code associated with the picture of Napoleon Hill to help a youth in Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell, Buchanan Counties or Norton to get ahead with the Philosophy of Success. Community determination can build a entrepreneurial hub in the Central Appalachia Mountains of Virginia that will outlast us all through youthful application of the Keys to Success. 

This course could very well be the most important workforce development training a serious young adult could obtain.  Imagine what a youthful corps of entrepreneurial-mined people can change to enrich a poverty-ridden community, if not the world. Change rarely comes as soon as we desire; achieving positive change may require a generation: the very generation we seek to participate in it. 

Link to register: https://www.napoleon-hill-leaders.com/

Jack Kennedy is the clerk of court for Wise County and a former member of the Virginia Commercial Space...