Henry Ford's Key to Success: Reincarnation

Yes, you read that correctly. Henry Ford attributed his wealth and success to his adoption of the theory of reincarnation when he was 26.

You probably know Henry Ford. You’ve probably even ridden in or driven a Ford vehicle before. Most Americans can also tell you that Ford’s most famous car was the Model T. I mean who doesn’t know who Henry Ford is? After all, his name is still plastered on cars that drive down every American road. The creator of Ford Motors was particularly skilled at figuring out how to build cars, how to make them affordable and how to sell them. He is considered the father of the modern day assembly line and one of the greatest business minds to ever live. There is no question that he was hugely successful—the guy was worth over 1 billion dollars by the 1920s. Here's a quick refresher about Ford below:

But can you tell me what Ford actually attributed his success to? I’m not sure you studied this one in your history textbook.

Of course, with success always comes the question of “How did you do it?” People might reasonably expect that Henry Ford would attribute his success to something he did. Maybe it was his brilliant intellect? Perhaps his uncanny skill of making friends with anyone he met? His unparalleled work ethic or maybe he just believed he got lucky? However, Ford wasn’t pointing to these factors as the reasons why he was so successful. 

While the man did work hard over his career, it was actually Ford who helped implement the shorter 5-day workweek for his workers. He also didn’t seem to be driven by money. He gave away a higher percentage of his earnings than most of the people in his tax bracket. The man also didn’t care much about fame or prestige. He once turned down an invitation to the White House to dine with the King and Queen of England.

So what did Henry Ford attribute his success to?

The answer: His Belief in Reincarnation.

No, this isn’t a joke. The proof is below. In 1928 Ford was asked in an interview about what drove his success. Here is how he responded:

I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was 26. I got the idea from a book by Orlando Smith. Until I discovered this theory I was unsettled and dissatisfied-without a compass, so to speak. When I discovered reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan. I realized that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. There was time enough to plan and to create. I wouldn’t give five cents for seeing all the world, because I feel there is nothing in the five continents and on the five seas that I have not somehow seen. Somewhere is a master mind sending brain wave messages to us. There is a Great Spirit. I never did anything by my own volition. I was pushed by invisible forces within and without me. We inherit a native knowledge from a previous existence. Gospel of reincarnation is essence of all knowledge. I do not know where we come from or go to but we accumulate experience. Someday it will be possible to measure the soul. We all retain memories of past lives.
— Henry Ford, 1928

So all this time that you’ve spent working those late nights, or trying to get that big promotion. You could have just stopped and started believing in reincarnation. It’s not too late…

While I haven't bought into Ford's views on reincarnation yet, I do think the big takeaway here is time. Those who use their time wisely tend to be the ones who look back on their lives with the least regret. 

What do you think? What are your takeaways on Ford's key to success? Let me know in the comments below!

Here is the book that inspired Ford’s reincarnation thoughts. Perhaps it will inspire you: