Andrew Carnegie had a story about this principle of going the extra mile which he often liked to tell. “Several years ago,” he would say, “a policeman noticed a light burning at a late hour in a small machine shop on his beat in which he knew that no night work was being done. Becoming suspicious, he telephones the owner of the shop who came down immediately, unlocked the door and cautiously crept inside with the policeman.
When they reached the small room where the light appeared, the owner of the shop looked in and, to his amazement, found one of his employees at work at a machine. The young man quickly explained that he had been in the habit of coming to the shop at night to learn how to operate the machine and thereby make himself more useful to the employer.
The newspapers carried the story, and I happened to read it. The newspaper article made it appear that it was all a big joke on the employee. But it turned out to be a big joke on the employer. For I contracted this young man and employed him at double the wages he had been getting in this small machine shop. Today he is head of one of our most important plant operations at a salary four times what he was getting at the machine shop, and if he keeps on as he is going and continues to exhibit the same wonderful mental attitude, he will some day have our top plant job – provided he doesn’t first go into business for himself.
There is no way to hold down people who spend their spare time preparing to render greater and better service for others. These persons go right to the top of their profession or calling as naturally as a cork rises to the top of water.”
Source: PMA Science of Success. The Napoleon Hill Foundation. 1961. Pgs. 139-140.