Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.”

Native American proverb

Our guest today is an NFL legend, but what you’ll find most impactful about him is how committed he is to making our world a better place, while helping those who need it most.

The best part? He leads by example EVERY step of the way.

Nick Lowery is a Hall of Fame athlete who became the all-time leading points scorer for the Kansas City Chiefs, but his entry into the NFL was anything but smooth. After being released or rejected 11 times by eight NFL teams, Nick was finally given a chance by the Chiefs who, as history proves, made a hell of a return on their investment.

Retiring after 18 seasons in the NFL (where he was selected to the Pro Bowl three times), Nick is widely regarded as the most valuable kicker of all time, achieving records for: most field goals in NFL history; most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history – despite kicking, on average, from farther away; and all-time leading point scorer for the Chiefs.

Nick is far from the athlete stereotype you might imagine. He attended Harvard University where he graduated with a Masters degree from the Kennedy School of Government. Among his extraordinary list of accomplishments, Nick has:

Among his philanthropic endeavors, Nick is founder of Champions for the Homeless, the Nick Lowery Youth Foundation, and has run leadership programs for Native American youth for 20+ years. In addition, Nick is the national spokesman for Kannaway, which is one of the foremost CBD companies in the world and is undertaking extensive research on how CBD can improve neuroplasticity for dementia, trauma, and athletes with brain damage.

In recognition of his efforts, Nick has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and on David Letterman (twice!), and in two feature films including Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy.

Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Lowery does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and more 🚀

We’re going to cover a lot of ground in this episode. Nick will share:

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Nick Lowery.

James Whittaker:
Great to see you my friend! Thanks for coming on Win the Day show.

Nick Lowery:
Thank you. You know how much I love your accent!

Well to kick things off, no pun intended, I want you to take us right into a moment in your NFL career when everything's on the line, win or lose, it's all on your shoulders. There are tens of thousands of people cheering and screaming at the ground. There's millions of people watching on TV. What's going through your head? And what are you saying internally to give yourself the best opportunity of kicking that game winning goal?

"Oh my god" or "I don't believe this!" I mean, this is not a question of whether there's a voice. There are many voices. There's the voice of fear. There's the voice that this is the single most ridiculously pressured position in sport — maybe with the exception of a goalkeeper, or players in the shootout in soccer — but the kicker has 1.25 seconds and the ball is actually caught after being snapped back 24 feet, eight yards, caught, put down, and the laces are spun (if they have time), and kicked in 1.25 seconds. The ball's not spinning for under two hundredths of a second.

At the same time, you have 11 very large, very talented, highly trained athletes who are paid millions of dollar a year to block your kick. So it's managing all those things.

What it comes down to, which my friend Dr. John Eliot wrote in a book, Overachievement, it's preparation. When you break it down, it's the opposite of what you think nerves are. When you're giving your book report in second grade and Betty Sue's in the front row, and you're nervous and you don't do well, you think it's because of the nerves when it was really because you'd never given a book report before, let alone had something in front of Betty Sue. It's about maturation and polishing of your skills, combined with preparation.

It's about maturation and polishing of your skills, combined with preparation.

When that happens, you can override those voices saying, "Oh my god, I can't believe this is my job." And you trust it, so you have to trust yourself. In the end, it's really a very powerful character-building litmus test for anyone, because you have to in the end, believe in yourself.

You have to believe that you deserve to be that focal point, which is essentially what I call my office: 8 yards x 4 yards. That's my office. If I control that area, which is really only four yards square between me and the holder, in front of 80,000 people, maybe 20-30 million people watching on television, if I can control my thoughts, my emotions, and my focus, I can achieve great things.

That was learned through 11 rejections by eight NFL teams. It was learned by made field goals and it was absolutely improved by making mistakes and missing field goals. As with any skill, it's about learning earning how to manage yourself.

That preparation piece is so important, but our instinct for anything that we suck at or fail at is to say that we're simply not good at that activity, when all it comes back to are those elements you mentioned. It's not just the will to win. It's the will to prepare to win.

Since you've done the work and you're in that intense environment during the game, how jittery are you feeling? Are you actually calm and focusing on just your body and mind doing what it's been prepared to do for so long?

You know, the truth is every single day of our lives and every single game we play has its own unique qualities. The preparation helps it become more consistent, but every day is a little bit different. I'll never forget being "in the flow", one of the great terms that we use today — "in the zone" is another concept — in Joe Montana's first game for us on national TV, a Monday Night game in September 1993, and it's against John Elway on the Broncos, two legends, and in the end, I kicked all our points, we were up 15-0 on a 52 yarder, 45 yarder, 41 yarder, 38 yarder and 25 yarder, something like that.

I'm running back to the sidelines and there is Joe Montana's friend, Huey Lewis the singer, standing next to the net where I'm kicking and as I'm coming back after my fourth field goal, Huey looks at me like, "Man, this is easy for you."

And I love that because that's a performer who has to get on stage and hit his notes. The difference is there's a natural flow because there's a melody, there's a bass line, there's a combination of instruments that sort of bring you into that flow, even if you don't want to, in music. But you have to create your own music as an athlete. So you had to rehearse that music in the cacophony, in the chaos of practice.

You have to create chaos in practice. What I call pressure, but not neurotic pressure. So that when you get to the game, you literally say, "I'm just back at practice. I'm back in James Whittaker's living room having tea." And practicing that so that you can bring it back, so then it comes back to, in essence, being a life actor and in the practice and rehearsal, bringing in all the components and dimensions. Literally, your smell, your sight, your hearing, your touch and using those references to project yourself into those moments when you have to kick the game winning field goal.

You have to create chaos in practice.

And by the way, the game winning field goal might be the 25 yard gimme field goal in the first quarter and you win by three points because you were focused, even though some people might have said, "Of course I'm going to make that." That's what I love is the preparation and if you come to love the preparation, what I noticed today James, when I train, I get the same sort of intensity.

The role of the ego versus the role of the spirit is everything. But in those workouts today, I still get pumped up. I still bring myself into that place of battle, that intensity. So when I try to train others, I have to de-crescendo that because they feel it and it's not their level of commitment yet perhaps. Some of them love it. Some of them are a little bit disconcerted by it, but that's a lifelong skill.

It's about believing that you're here, that God has put you here with unique gifts. [Points to shirt] This stands for GG2G, god given. My friend Todd, who's from Hawaii, is one of the top scouts for the Texas Rangers. When they evaluate a player, they say, "James Whittaker has two G. He's got god given ability to throw the ball, to hit the ball, he's an athlete." But guess what? That's the beginning. Our will takes us to another level of polish and skill.

The next significant piece is to be able to manage your success by divorcing your achievements from your ego and focusing on "What are those things from this stage that are building my soul as well?"

You look at the greatest athletes of all time, they did that internal work. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar evolved deeply into a man of soul. Russell Wilson, whose father was my teammate at Dartmouth College, wonderful human being who founded the African American Sports Hall of Fame; Russell was the NFL Man of the Year this year. Steve Largent, ironically hall of famer also with the Seattle Seahawks, a soulful human being.

That means that I can have a tremendous will, but I also know that I can prevent it from dominating me so much that I think I'm all that. Then I stop being motivated. I stop being consistent. I stop being responsible to others. I stop being empathetic to my teammates.

Yeah, there's so much good stuff there and so many parallels to just every other aspect of life.

One thing I wanted to quickly mention while we're still here on the football side is that football is a great metaphor for life. We all go through failure. The nature of life and the nature of field goals is that you can never get 100%. You can never win 100% every single day, even though you retired as the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, so I feel like you've got that better than most!

Do you have a process to move on from failure without letting it affect the rest of your game?

As we learn psychology, we know that everybody is either enabled by their references to trauma or, more commonly, held back by them. I remember missing a 44 yard field goal that just went over the left upright and they called it no good in a windy Arrowhead Stadium. I was just devastated. I remember waking up 10-20 times that night literally dreaming the ball through: "Please go through, please go through."

It's a little bit like a death, you know? If you care about what you do, if you care about the person you've lost, you're going to feel pain. But the beauty of pain is that it can motivate you to dig deeper, to stimulate that will, to lift up your spirit to say, "I can be even better." And use those unique gifts you've been given.

But the beauty of pain is that it can motivate you to dig deeper, to stimulate that will, to lift up your spirit to say, "I can be even better." And use those unique gifts you've been given.

So there's no process initially. I will say there's a great process Tony Robbins once shared with me, which I'd like to share with you because I know you know him well. I had my worst game against the Cleveland Browns and there's an irony to it because you don't make excuses. But I made a 41 yarder to tie the game and it was the worst field conditions ever, but nobody cares, right? But I made it, it was an ugly kick but it went through and then I missed a 45 yarder at the end of regulation.

They were offside, so that meant I got another shot from 40. It didn't go through again. It was weird, they both hooked left and then in overtime, I had a 48 yarder and that was the worst kick in history. The next day, half page ad in the Kansas City Star with a picture of my head in a clown box spring exploding out of my head.

What a lesson from the most accurate kicker in NFL history to become a laughing stock, at least temporarily. Now that season, I came back and kicked a 41 yard field goal with Joe Namath announcing the game against the Miami Dolphins, which probably kept my job. That probably would have ended my career in Kansas City, if I hadn't made that.

So now in the off season, I'm thinking through all these things and I just dedicated myself to get better. Tony Robbins gave me something I'd like to share, which is how you essentially scratch up the old plastic records. Essentially, you visualize the worst thing that's ever traumatized you: perhaps you've been assaulted, given a bad speech, a time when you were badly hurt. It could be a missed field goal. And Tony said, "Visualize that." So I did.

He said, "Now, get the most ridiculous sound in your head." Because music is always our ally in grounded the cellular memory, or reprogramming it. He said, "Play Looney Tunes music." And play that memory, not forwards, but backwards. So suddenly I had to envision the field goal, not going from my kick, but from missing the goal post, all the way back in slow motion with the music playing, to when I kicked it. And do that over and over again, and what that does and what that did was interrupt my memory.

You see the smile come on my face! It's just impossible to think of it quite the same way. Does it still bother me? Yes. But guess what? The next year, I led the NFL in scoring. I was first team All Pro, I had 24 field goals in a row. I set a team record with the best percentage ever and, the next year after that, I had 21 more field goals in a row. The next year after that, I was All Pro.

I just made the decision that I was never going to allow that feeling to happen ever again. After that, I kicked it 86% the rest of my career. So all of us can take the worst parts of our careers and turn them into something that takes us to a new level.

We never stop making mistakes. We're human. And the more we seek to be great, and I like think, continuing with that theme of will, ego, achievement and then spiritual development, what I call the art of being soulfish, it's not like we stop making mistakes. It's that we are still eager and young in spirit to keep learning and keep growing, and making more and more of a contribution.

You and I surround ourselves with great people because it raises our game and our consciousness. It's essentially the art of mentoring ourselves and taking our game to a new level.

I just made the decision that I was never going to allow that feeling to happen ever again.

I look at you that way my friend. You put out such good energy in the midst of all the insanity we've gone through the past year.

You've worked with and continue to work with a lot of kids and young adults who come from difficult backgrounds. What has American Football, or sports more broadly, given those individuals off the field who may have come from some very difficult backgrounds?

Football has given them structure. It's given them attention. People look at them. They follow them. They give them feedback. It's given them the challenge to manage their success.

Football enables them to deal with loss. To have worked your tail off and still lost. To have done everything you thought you could and still miss the field goal, still made a mistake, still lost. To have done your job and be part of that team and live with the loss, even though you did your job. To still be part of that team and own that loss together.

It's something that's missing today. We have these wars fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and no one knows what sacrifices were made by those soldiers. But in World War II, everybody had to pitch in against the common enemy. Everyone was doing something and it was a clear cause. Maybe today's causes are more difficult, but in the end, everybody knew what sacrifice was.

Going back to football, it's about teaching you to be part of a team, to care about the team and also recognize that you represent a community. Football, perhaps unlike some other individual sports, requires you to represent Kansas City. To represent the National Football League, yes, but also unlike some sports and certainly with actors who I... I love actors and I love musicians, but they don't tend to always be connected with a particular city.

So football teaches you there's a responsibility that comes with being part of a team and it's sacrifice, it's conflict resolution skills. Working with somebody on the team or a coach that you don't like, or that doesn't like you.

It's a reminder to control what you do. That office in our lives all of us have that we can take control of, our emotions, what we perceive and just take care of this, because in the end, all we can do is do our best. That's it.

You've done a lot of work with Native American communities. When did you realize for the first time that you were able to make such a big impact in those communities specifically?

First of all, you're really good at this! Everybody watching or listening, tell people about this Win the Day podcast because James is really good. I've done a lot of these and you are really good.

Life is often not a straight road, so here's the interesting thing. I went to Dartmouth College, originally the Eleazar Wheelock School for Native Americans that was founded with him and the Earl of Dartmouth, very British Native American school. Nothing, I had no real significant role or awareness of what to do, or what I could do to help Native Americans.

The Kansas City Chiefs obviously has Native American symbology, nothing. Then my best friend from college, Steve, became Dr. Steve at Johns Hopkins and a world leading expert on prostate cancer and his wife, Allison Barlow, who had been an athlete of the year 10 years after we'd gone there at Dartmouth had begun as the program director for Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. And at their wedding night, sitting next to them at their wedding table, she said, "Would you start a football camp for Native Americans?"

I remember getting off the bus in Chinle, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and it was definitely... it was a god moment. It was like there are no trees here. It's all sand. It's all red rock and there are these 90 kids from 10 tribes and I got 10 of my NFL friends to join us. I just knew I had to do this. I felt this resonance with being an orphan. Being an orphan, being ripped out of your family and your community.

You can see, I feel it now. I love the work I do because it's been reaffirmed 10,000 times, but I'm so glad I had that reference. So I just knew I had to do that work and went back to Harvard and after four years, because you know this with tribes, there's so many issues with teenage suicide and really, two to three times worse than any of the worst ghettos in America, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and drug abuse, et cetera, gangs and yet, there are answers that are there that they know, but why aren't they finding a way to turn this around?

So at Harvard, I studied the idea of how do we rebuild social capital? Which is the deepest values that go way beyond words. How do we rebuild that in a land and in a culture where it has been raped. When they have had their history torn from them.

Even Abraham Lincoln... I watched the movie Lincoln with Daniel Day Lewis just last week. An incredible man, incredible performance, one of the people kept our union together. Yet that man, who was fighting literally every day he could to keep the union together because of this commitment for equality of all human beings, sent battle-hardened union troops to wipe out the Plains Indians so that our railroad and our westward expansion could continue.

So it's never a clear thing. The heroes out there, guess what? They're human too. I'm human, you're human and... but I just love this work James, because in the end, all of us have had some sense of disability in our lives, whether it's cerebral palsy or whether it's spiritual, inability to see and feel.

This work, Native American kids are the same as any kids. Structure, consistency, love, encouragement and preparation, right? They are the same. If they have those tools and those mentors to surround them and encourage them, they know they're loved and beautiful things happen. It is without question, the most unfinished chapter in American history.

The Navajo AIDS Network is headquartered in Chinle, Ariz., a town where poverty and misinformation contribute to stigma about HIV and AIDS.

Yeah, it gives me chills just listening to you talk about that. There's something I wanted to mention here for people who don't know. The Native American youth living on reservations today suffer the poorest health, socioeconomic, and educational status of any racial or ethnic group in the US — with the highest rates of suicide, obesity, diabetes, high school drop out, substance abuse, and poverty.

So I wanted to just acknowledge you my friend for all the work you do because, as I've mentioned several times already, it's quite extraordinary.

There are people who clearly need a lot of help, and I think it's a reminder for all of us that we all have an opportunity, and I believe an obligation, to be able to help those less fortunate, whether it's awareness or being able to understand the story, or start to make some proactive change to help these people.

Thank you, brother. Well the other point of that is in the work and you see the poverty, and you see the pain and you see the suffering, but you also begin to see people that have found a way out and that appreciate and know. I have people come back 10-20 years later, out of nowhere and they thank me. It's so beautiful.

All the kids who were 16 when we started it in 1996, they're 41 now. They have one, two, three, four, five, six kids. They have their own careers — and maybe, just maybe, one or two of them are more confident, more able to believe in themselves, just like that first question you had when I'm running on the field, the fear. What's going through my head. They've created that new music and conversation going through their head. That they matter, that they can make a difference and that they are making a difference.

So I love this, and I get these tears in my eyes all the time because I just know it's because, back to Think and Grow Rich, I'm doing what I was intended to do. I'm doing what god made me here to do and it's beautiful because my intuition, my skills, my ability to do it, as we'll do on Sunday with our Champions for the Homeless. Our 54th Champions for the Homeless at St. Vincent de Paul on Sunday.

It just gets better and better, and to see somebody who's homeless, another example, who's been told or just ignored for year upon year, day after day and to see it in their eyes that they feel better about themselves. Gosh, that makes Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and we're doing it eight times this year, not our normal five because we want to do more during COVID. It's a beautiful thing, so I'm rewarded all the time and I get to meet great people like you.

What initially drew you to the homeless situation and what can be done to both get people back on their feet and stop the steady rise of homelessness?

Well first of all, there's more than a 22% increase in shelterless homelessness in this country, and so I see it firsthand. In Phoenix, what they've had to do, for instance, just to get specific because the angels are also in the details, not just the devil. When you see at St. Vincent de Paul that there used to be 225 beds and now there are only 75. So they've put tape around a six feet by four feet area and then they've spaced everybody out. So now two-thirds of the people or more, can't be housed. So there are all these tent looking like refugee cities downtown within a couple of blocks of St. Vincent de Paul.

Why do I do it? It all connects. They're all human. We are all human and the interesting thing also is the humanity means you see a real person. So you don't see just a drug addict, because there aren't nearly as many drug addicts as they say there are. They are there, absolutely. Mentally ill, there's a percentage that are mentally ill, but not nearly... you can reach that real person inside the person that's encaged themselves, to protect themselves with some form of mental illness. You see that in there if you look deeply enough.

Now there's some that it takes longer to do that, but for the most part, just the humanity. And once again, it's me learning because we come from such a narcissistic culture and it's getting worse with professional athletes, frankly. That doesn't mean there aren't great professional athletes, I'm just saying the social media climate and all the "You're great, you're great, you're great" it becomes such an enabling culture.

Now you're seeing with one of the most popular players in the NFL, Deshaun Watson being accused by 19 women of sexual abuse of some form. I don't know how much of that, or any of that, is true, but that's the climate that you're in. Where if you're not aware of how you conduct yourselves and you think you're all that and more, the pied piper will come back and he will visit you.

You're doing a lot of work on the CBD side at the moment. More and more research has come out on that CBD side talking about how it improves neuroplasticity. Is CBD really the thing that could help stop brain damage in athletes? And what most excites you about some of this research that's coming out?

Well it just continues. In fact, in your neck of the woods, right there in the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Dr. David Schubert, there's all this research they're doing just by themselves about neuroplasticity and about the ability of neurons to regenerate. We did not know that 25 years ago. Now we're pretty clear that we can do that.

We can also help others work through their traumas, so there are ways to heal that we didn't realize was possible before. The beta amyloids in the brain, which are these clumps of neurons that have collapsed and lost their definition and their robust qualities, and have collapsed into each other, those clumps of cells can be ameliorated with CBD. It's really important to make the distinction: quality, pure CBD with really carefully calibrated volume.

In fact, there's another product now coming out with Kannaway that we open literally tomorrow in Mexico, ironically, and it's called CBG. CBG binds to the neural receptors. Stanford University has done research on where they identified a CB1 and a CB2 receptor in the body. CB1 being neural receptors all the way down the brain stem. CB2 in your gut and CBG binds with those neural receptors more effectively than CBD. So that's a new development as well, but there are more than 30,000 papers out there. We have created echoconnection.org and under 'Education' we list 200+ conditions, from arthritis to dementia to cancer, and on and on.

There are many papers with cancer, there are probably 50 that you can read about. These are the real legitimate white papers, medical white papers. Over the last five years, I've enjoyed being interviewed by journalists who were not negative but healthy in their skepticism for the first 2-3 years. Now, they're just giving more and more. Because you can quote real research, for instance, UCLA Torrance study, 446 traffic accident victims with traumatic brain injuries, of those that had any CBD in their system, they were five times less likely to die of a traumatic brain injury.

So one of my passions is because I've seen with CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy with Dr. Bennett Omalu's work, which is featured by Will Smith in the movie Concussion. We're seeing tremendous impact in the ability to turn these neurons to give them five or even 10 times the ability to be neural plastic. That means that they can withstand impact. That's much more important than any helmet. The helmets can reduce things. They've been proved. They can reduce the chances of a concussion by 10, 20, 30, 40, 50%. But what if you can improve it by 500%?

So that's really important and by the way, for those of you that still don't know this, the US government patent 6630507, by Dr. Julius Axelrod, Nobel Prize winner, and it's called cannabinoids as neural protectants and antioxidants. So yes, CBD absolutely should be part of the daily diet. For people under 40, probably 40 to 50 milligrams, 30 to 50 milligrams or more. And the people over 40, I'd recommend 75 and then if you have a serious condition, somewhere 100 and up.

You've worked with three separate US presidents on drug policy. You've also been in the trenches with people who have got the drug abuse challenges that we mentioned earlier through homelessness work. Now you're the national spokesperson for this company Kannaway.

Can you clear up any misconceptions that there might be around general drug abuse? Or drug abuse versus CBD? What misconceptions need to be cleared up?

Well number one, marijuana's really good for fighting pain, chronic pain, absolutely. And THC is very powerful. But please, there is a distinction between hemp and marijuana. They're two different plants. Hemp is 15 to 20 feet tall and literally 100 days, it will grow 15 to 20 feet. Not a lot of leaves and by law, the most THC that can be a hemp based product is 0.3% or less. That is barely 1% of a marijuana cigarette. Barely 1%, that means barely 100, maybe one sixtieth, one seventieth and it may be raised to 1% THC. That means that the government finally has realized that THC below 1% is not a significant factor.

THC has great benefits. I believe there are some things that need to be looked at, in terms of addiction, in terms of motivation, in terms of all the other potential side effects. But THC, when managed can be very good for you and when you compare it to opioids, it's a joke that we even have this discussion anymore. Opioids kill 100,000 people each of the last two years. 500,000 in the last seven to eight years and with COVID, with all due respect to COVID and it's seriousness, here we've got something we can control and do something about and people go to sleep at night raking in dollars for prescribing opioids, which have killed and maimed thousands and thousands of veterans.

I hosted, James, the first... one of the first two town halls on veteran suicide with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, who was President Trump's director of the PREVENTS task force. Wonderful woman who oversaw this cabinet level task force to reduce suicide among veterans, which most people know now officially it's 22 suicides a day.

Well in September of 2019, we had this event here, the Franciscan Renewal Center, we had so many experts, the Arizona Coalition for Military Families is extraordinary. A lot of the answers are out there, but it's not 22. Back then, it was probably more like 27. Suicide has raised another 20% or more in the country and maybe 30%. This is on I think ABC News about three months ago, among Army veterans. So it's about 30 suicides a day now. 30 suicides a day, not three.

So for those who even think about opioids anymore as the only choice, we are in deep illusion if we're allowing others that are supposedly healers, that have sworn by the Hippocratic Oath, to actually convince us that there aren't other options we should first, second and third try before we go to the opioids.

Lately, a lot of people have lost their jobs, marriages, even loved ones as a result of what's happened in the pandemic. How can people find the inspiration to move forward when they feel like all hope is lost?

Well, I'm very proud to say that my foundation made Phoenix the first city in the country in late April to provide free COVID rapid tests, and we provided free tests for the homeless. I'm very proud of that.

But how to stay positive? Well the ingenuity of the American people. The most important thing is I'm not very positive about network news because none of them ever, ever, ever seem to want to do anything about immunity and do stories about natural and basic and human immunity like D3, elderberry, nitrous oxide, zinc, about 100 milligrams a day of zinc, copper, and moderate exercise, sunlight, fresh air.

So the way to stay positive is that 90% - 95% of all of this is based on a healthy immune system. If you have a healthy immune system, you're not going to need to go to the hospital most of the time. Getting back to Native Americans, diabetes and obesity, I was talking with the head of the fire department and EMTs from Tombstone, Arizona, Wyatt Earp's country and they said 90% of the people that they're getting on ventilators and they're close to death, if they don't die are obese and have diabetes. The Salt River Tribe and Gila River Tribe right here in Arizona, right in the Phoenix area have the two highest rates of diabetes in the world. So those people are vulnerable. Let's be intelligent about who's vulnerable and make sure we provide extra sources for them.

Let's be intelligent about who's vulnerable and make sure we provide extra sources for them.

The elderly, those with lung issues, heart issues, etc., but there are lots of things now. There is information. Unfortunately, you tend to have to look for it because our wonderful friends in the news want to tell us who's dying, how many cases there are, but not so much about immunity.

So when those numbers get thrown at you, we have to, like Think and Grow Rich, take control of our minds, be rational, get more information, and be able to hold two truths: one, it's dangerous and potentially fatal; and two, it's not dangerous and fatal to the great majority of people if we take care of ourselves and don't do stupid things.

Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Lowery does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and more 🚀

Final question: what's one thing you do to win the day?

Get up, get your butt up and just get moving because every day above ground is a day to make ourselves better. How do we define better? Better is growing in heart, mind, and spirit. So keep filling that up and that's what I call being soulfish. Don't let people guilt you into thinking because I was being devoted to my podcast, to my book, to this or that, somehow that was selfish. If it means you abandoned relationships and commitments to your loved ones and your marriage, et cetera, there's a way to find the balance.

But always expanding your capacity to be soulful, to be able to help others, to be more aware of others, to be more aware of yourself first and to have those values align so clearly. You can get away from those guilt trips that people put you on and love the idea of expanding every day.

Nick Lowery, thanks so much for coming on the show!

Listen, if you haven't noticed it, James Whittaker has a pure soul. He has a great quality about him and it's not normal. he has a rare quality about him and that's why I had to come on this show, because he's a good man and he has balance in his life, and we can learn from him. I'm so honored to be your friend.

I appreciate it my friend, likewise.

Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Nick Lowery website.

📷 Nick Lowery Instagram.

📙 A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

🚀 Think & Grow Rich: The Legacy by James Whittaker.

🗝️ Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

🧭 The Rassias Method.

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“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

Benjamin E. Mays

Do you know why most people fail each year, despite the best of intentions? 🤔

In this episode, we talk about the #1 cause of failure. I'll also reveal the exact goal-setting method I use so you can join the thousands of people in 20+ countries who use it to start each year full of confidence and make big things happen.

We'll also go through:

If you find this episode valuable, share it with a friend; then, go to Apple Podcasts and leave a rating with your favorite takeaway from this episode.

🎞️ For the video episode, click here.

Resources / Links Mentioned:

🗝️ Learn more about The Day Won Mastermind.

⚡ Download your FREE success plan.

🧭 Order your hundred board for goal accountability.

🎙️ Register for We Are Podcast and learn how to make money from your podcast. For 35% off ANY ticket, use code: WINTHEDAY

“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

Benjamin E. Mays

I always start each year supremely confident, and 2021 is no exception. In fact, despite everything going on in the world, I am more confident this year than ever before. That’s because I’ve spent years (what feels like a lifetime) learning, applying and refining what I believe is the most effective goal-setting system available.

But most people fail because they don't even know where to start.

Last week, for the first time ever, I ran two 90-minute goal-setting workshops so I could walk people through the exact process I use to set goals that work, so they could also start the year full of confidence and know exactly what they needed to do to realize their big dreams in 2021.

The response was huge – people from 10+ countries registered – and we had people in the hot-seat so they could action things in real time and implement the system that all but guarantees their success. Which, if done correctly, is something that can be replicated year after year.

For those of you who missed the workshop, unfortunately there isn’t a replay, but you can download your free Success Plan here:

🚀 Success Plan Template (Updated for 2021)

When you download it, you’ll find two tabs:

  1. The first tab is for you to map out everything you want in your life. And I mean everything. It should be exhilarating to fill this out because it’s your literal wish-list for the universe.
  2. Then, on the second tab, you’ll see a comprehensive summary of how all the pieces of the puzzle fit in.

It’s simple to complete your Success Plan – I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. The hard part is having the discipline to sit down and actually do it, and that’s the one thing I can’t help you with.

The reason most people fail in life is because they don’t know what they want. Over time, that reactive personality means they’re exposed to distraction and procrastination and forced to accept whatever fate hands them.

And the reason most people don’t know what they want is because they don’t know who they are.

With all my clients, the first thing we do is find out exactly who you are – and then create a bulletproof plan to make sure you can be proactive about your life. This ensure you're clear on: your mission, what values determine your daily actions, and what you need to do TODAY to get you where you need to be.

That's how you create freedom, in every sense of the word.

So, now we know that most people don’t even set goals. In fact, most people spend more time planning their social lives than they do their actual life. And when you add in that most people don’t know who they are, that’s mistake 1 and 2 – both of which are fatal mistakes.

There’s a statistic I share at every speech I do and that’s by the second week of February, out of everyone who has set goals (or new years resolutions) for the year, 80% of people have already give up on the year. That’s right, only 1 in 5 of those people who actually set goals in the first place – which is a minority percentage to begin with – is still focused on achieving those goals, just SIX weeks after they were set.

Right now, I want you to stop reading, go to whatever calendar you use (e.g. Google Calendar), and create a new entry for Monday, 8th February at 7am. In capital letters, write “WIN THE DAY” followed by some emojis that will make it stand out.

When that calendar notification goes off, I want you to go extra hard that day. Let it be your motivation that on the one day when almost everyone else has quit, you’re the exception to the rule – you’re setting the example of what an inspired life looks like.

And if you want to know how to do that, just imagine there’s a film crew following you around and creating a movie about your life – and on that day, Monday, 8th February, they’re with you from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep on that day. Show them how deserving you are of everything that will come into your life with this plan you’ve created.

Now, there's one goal that always eluded me and that's meditating consistently. We're all aware of the benefits of meditation, but I’ve never been able to stick with meditation for long enough to experience those benefits.

So I bought what’s called a ‘hundred board’ – less than $10 on Amazon for a whole bunch of them. Basically, each row has 10 numbers, so the whole board is numbered 1 to 100. Each day, when I do a meditation, I draw a big red "X" over the number. And guess what? I haven’t missed a single meditation since I started it over a month ago.

It’s a simple idea: no one wants to break the chain once it’s started, so I just leave the hundred board on my keyboard so I can’t start week each day until I’ve done the meditation. It’s quite satisfying to draw the red "X" each morning, and it’s also broken down the more challenging goal of 100 daily meditations in a row into one simple task each day.

There’s nothing that can happen in my day that would stop my from getting this done – it unlocks that competitive fire within.

It doesn’t matter what your goal is. If there’s something you struggle with, get a hundred board and get moving with your red crosses. I’m looking forward to having a hundred board for other areas very soon, too.

This is the exact process that Jerry Seinfeld used to write better jokes when he was an aspiring comedian. Seinfeld knew that the best way to become a renowned comedian was to tell better jokes, and the best way to tell better jokes was to write every day. He used this red "X" system to ensure that every day he was getting words on a page that became the foundation of the comedy career he built, which led to shows like Seinfeld – regarded as one of the best shows of all time (and one of my personal favorites) – that made Jerry Seinfeld a billionaire.

On this goal setting process, Seinfeld said: "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain. Don't break the chain."

Very wise words from a true legend.

While there’s no replay of our goal-setting workshop, I’ve got a big announcement to make! On the 22nd of February I’ll be running The Day Won Mastermind for 12 lucky people who are going to get access to experiences you can’t get anywhere else. For three months, I’ll be working closely with you to get crystal clear on what you want in life and then give you a bulletproof plan to achieve it.

Who is The Day Won Mastermind for? It’s for you if you want to significantly boost your income, establish relationships at the highest level, and position yourself as an authority in your industry. Because that’s what I do best.

In the last 12 months alone, I've worked with people in more than a dozen countries to achieve massive results. In that time, my clients have:

And that's just what they achieved with their business.

The truth is that the right blueprint will transform literally EVERY part of your life.

But it’s not just me, and the other participants, who will be helping you on The Day Won Mastermind. I'll also be bringing in some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet LIVE to help you action things in real time and give you all the answers and support you need.

How would your life change if you had:

They’re just some of the people who will be available live to help YOU blast through your obstacles, map out your path to financial freedom, and grow your business.

So if you have your own business or you’re in professional services (e.g. perhaps you’re a consultant, real estate agent, financial planner, podcaster, speaker), The Day Won Mastermind will transform your life like nothing you’ve seen before. And it even comes with a 100% moneyback guarantee, so there’s literally zero risk.

💡 Learn more about The Day Won Mastermind

The people who join The Day Won Mastermind become part of my inner circle and friends for life. It’s that simple. If you’ve ever wanted me to help you personally, there’s not better option than this.

AND there's $2,000+ in exclusive bonuses.

But, to make sure I can allocate enough time to each of you, there are only 12 spots available and, like last year, all of them will be taken. So if you’re interested click here and together (along with the special guests I’ll be bringing along) we’ll make 2021 your best year yet, guaranteed.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

"The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."

Mark Zuckerberg

In this post, we’re going to talk about something that sounds negative but is actually the key to unlock pretty much EVERYTHING you want in life.

Think about the earlier quote from Mark Zuckerberg:

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Unfortunately, the word ‘risk’ has a negative connotation associated with it.

But when we talk about risk, let’s give a few examples of what we’re NOT talking about:

These four scenarios are far more common than you think! And I bet you can probably think of a few scenarios of your own.

The misconception with risk is that it’s something undertaken that is dangerous. Yet, a better definition of risk is: “An opportunity that can significantly enhance your situation, while carrying a possibility of failure.”

But, let’s face it, pretty much ANYTHING we do in our pursuit of growth and self-mastery carries the risk of failure in the short-term. However, it shouldn’t be tainted with the same brush of what are generally just ‘bad decisions,’ like the four scenarios we mentioned earlier.

There’s a huge difference between risk in the sense that we’re talking about here, and bad decisions that are made by people every day who will sadly have to struggle with the consequences. And generally, the people who make bad decisions have made a habit out of it so it keeps happening.

The main thing that stops people from getting out of their comfort zone is this closely linked component of risk which is a ‘fear of failure.’ So let’s quickly explore the concept of failure and risk in more detail.

1. Failure:

Contrary to popular belief, failure should not be viewed as so terrifying that is causes inaction. It’s the pursuit of failure that has created the most dominant and wealthiest companies in the history of civilization—embracing innovation, pushing society forward, and raising standards of living for people around the world.

In fact, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once revealed his own experience with failure: “I’ve made billions of failures at Amazon. Literally.” That’s coming from arguably the most effective business leader of all time who, from his own garage, built an online bookstore that became the world’s most valuable company. Not book company. The world’s most valuable company, in any industry.

On the condition that you learn from the failure and rise once more, your ability to seek it out is one of the greatest assets you can have. This is where having a growth mindset is essential.

2. Risk:

Again contrary to popular belief, risk carries significant upside and its probability of failure can be mitigated. For any situation, you can maximize the potential upside while minimizing the downside, such as through your own due diligence (or employing the services of someone who is a specialist in that field), or seeking counsel from a mentor or mastermind.

Think about when SEAL Team 6 came knocking for Osama bin Laden in the middle of the night. It was a huge risk, but they spent months preparing—years, in fact, if you factor in the CIA’s involvement—so they could maximize their potential upside while minimizing the downside. Even with all the planning, they still lost a helicopter on the mission, but the carefully planned risk eliminated the most dangerous terrorist in the world.

If you’re faced with a decision and you can’t identify any upside (or it’s only minuscule), it’s a bad decision—not a risk! If you want to be successful in life and business, you need to put your heart, wallet, and time on the line every now and then for what you believe is the greater good.


In a letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos once wrote, “I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!).”

And the episode quote from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg notes that “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” In 2007, at age 23, Zuckerberg became the world's youngest self-made billionaire, so it’s worth listening to what he has to say about success. Those who don’t take any risk are the ones who perennially make bad decisions in their own lives, like keeping all their money in the bank because they believe it’s the best strategy for long-term wealth creation.

Both Bezos and Zuckerberg are acutely aware that every failure increases their chance of hitting a home run, as Amazon and Facebook have done with numerous innovations that propelled them from risky startups to two of the most valuable companies in the history of civilization.

In alignment with the modern-day tech moguls, Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill said, “Those who will not take a chance seldom have one thrust upon them.”

Anytime I get the urge to stay in my comfort zone, I read that quote and it lights a fire right under me.

Now that we properly understand risk, let’s flip the script on those four earlier scenarios to illustrate what might be a better course of action and more appropriate use of risk:

Scenario 1.

Bad decision:
Dating someone who is toxic and destructive to your life because you believe you can change them.

Calculated risk:
Spending more time with someone who you sense a deep connection with and allow each of you to explore those feelings. If you bring out the best in each other, and your time together forms the seedlings of love—you will have to put your heart on the line as you commit to each other (perhaps the biggest risk of all)—but it might just be the best partnership you ever form.

Scenario 2.

Bad decision:
Starting a business without doing your due diligence because you think you already know it all.

Calculated risk:
Identifying a problem faced by many that you can solve through starting a new product / service. You seek the counsel of both a business mentor and a mastermind of your peers to help figure out what you don’t know about the industry and its potential complexities. Your business has no assurance of success, but you’re strengthened from collective wisdom and launch a business that could make all of your dreams come true, while helping many people in the process.

Scenario 3.

Bad decision:
Maxing out your credit cards because you believe the law of attraction will look after you.

Calculated risk:
You retain 15% from every paycheck and invest it, via dollar cost averaging, into a fund that tracks the index and enables you to harness the power of compound interest. While the media outlets try to rattle you with reports of “catastrophic meltdowns” in global markets, you stay the course because of your goals and professional advice.

Scenario 4.

Bad decision:
Not focusing on your fitness because you might get hurt.

Calculated risk:
You’re time-poor and stressed from work, so you decide that yoga might be the best form of exercise. You have never done a class before, but you ignore your ego and go at your own pace until you feel confident progressing to the more technical movements. There is the risk you fall flat on your face, but a few months later, it might just be the very activity that restores balance to all areas of your life and allows you to make new and healthy friendships.

ALL of these amended scenarios carry a possibility of failure, but without the risk there is no reward. You’ve gotta risk it to get the biscuit.

To finish, let’s dive into a passage from Napoleon Hill:

“Success always involves risk. You must take a chance by investing your time, money, and effort. It pays to be thoughtful and deliberate in your analyses of opportunities, but don’t let timidity hold you back.

Because you have worked hard to develop those things you must risk, it is natural for you to place a high value on them. But what good are they if you do not put them to use? You will recognize opportunity only to the extent that you are willing to consider risking your time, money, and effort.

Being confident gives you the courage to face risk and act when opportunity arises. No one on earth is going to force success upon you; you will find it only to the degree that you actively seek it out.”


Until next time,

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In Case You Missed It:
Are You Still in the Game?

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Thomas Edison

There’s one element that all those who have achieved enormous success hold in high esteem: failure. Whether industry titans of old, such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, or more contemporary worldbeaters, such as Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bezos, failure has been the catalyst to not only creating extraordinary wealth but maintaining it too.

The headline quote from Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors in history, was written by a man who, from the moment he set his mind to a definite chief aim, was obsessed with the goal until it became a reality.

Incredulously, before unveiling the world’s first lightbulb for practical use, Edison went through more than 3,000 designs for light bulbs and another 6,000 tests trying to find the right material for the filament. He would go on to hold more than 1,000 patents, and his other inventions—such as the motion picture camera and phonograph—transformed almost every industry on Earth. “When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes,” the American once said.

While Edison’s obsession might seem crazy to outsiders, it was a perfectly rational state of mind to the man himself. Think about today’s true innovators and changemakers, from Sara Blakely to Elon Musk and the late Steve Jobs: all have been described by adjectives far harsher than “crazy”.  

Edison’s close friend, Waltor Mallory, once visited the inventor in his workshop. Having personally observed some of the countless hours of dedication, effort and sacrifice, Mallory lamented the lack of results. With a smile, Edison quickly replied, “Results? I have gotten lots of results! I now know several thousand things that won’t work.”

That simple response sums up Thomas Edison’s growth mindset and reveals how he became such a prolific achiever, despite not having a formal education.

Those with a growth mindset:

In contrast, those with a fixed mindset:

To win in the long-term, you must open yourself up to the prospect of losing in the short-term, or longer. Simply continuing is one of the surest paths to success, but so many people give up because they accept temporary failure as permanent defeat. This is true in ALL areas of life; in fact, you can probably think of at least one person who remains bitter despite a divorce or business hardship that occurred years prior.

If you allow yourself to be defined by how you’ve been wronged or some other misfortune, you’ll go through life with a chip on your shoulder and likely stay within an ever-shrinking comfort zone. However, those who keep their sights on long-term victory—and can quickly dust themselves off when they do fail—are the ones who enjoy far greater happiness and success.

Embrace failure because it means you’ve tried.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos understands this better than most. “I’ve made billions of failures at Amazon. Literally,” he was quoted. Further reinforcing his counterintuitive love for hardship, Bezos wrote to his shareholders, “I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!)” But he is acutely aware that every failure increases his chance of hitting a home run, as Amazon has done with numerous innovations that catapulted the company from a simple online bookstore to, on 7 January 2019, officially becoming the world’s most valuable company

Even with the recent breakdown of their 25-year marriage, Bezos and his partner MacKenzie were able to quickly and amicably move on, wishing each other well, reducing any undue pressure on their four children, and calming nervous Amazon shareholders.

True innovators like Edison, Bezos, Winfrey, Jobs and Musk do not view the word ‘failure’ as a negative. Rather, they view it as an omnipresent companion on the journey to achievement—a stepping stone to success. Every failure brings us closer to success, just as surrendering to adversity guarantees defeat. 

In fact, the quote for today’s episode in its entirety is: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Choose to be a victor rather than a victim. Regardless of what life throws your way, promise to try just one more time

Onwards and upwards always, 
James W.

In case you missed it:
‘The Secret to Happiness’

60 quotes to overcome failure:

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

“If people should take anything from my music, it should be motivation to know that anything is possible as long as you keep working at it and don’t back down.” – Eminem

“All people have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward—sometimes to death, but always to victory.” – Dale Carnegie

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” –  Napoleon Hill

“The only easy day was yesterday.” – US Navy SEALs

 “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” –  J.K. Rowling

“Fall down seven times. Stand up eight.” – Proverb

“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.” – Steve Jobs

“Failure is success in progress.” – Albert Einstein

“Never accept temporary failure as permanent defeat.” – James Whittaker 

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.” – Jonathan Winters

“Find a way or make a way.” – Elon Musk 

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

“At any moment you can make a decision to change your life.” – Janine Shepherd

“Failure is a stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey

“If I had listened to the naysayers, I would still be in the Austrian Alps yodeling.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger 

“Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell 

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers

“You have to be able to accept failure to get better.” – Lebron James

“Fear is the result of a lack of confidence. A lack of confidence is the result of not knowing what you can do. A lack of knowing what you can do is caused by a lack of experience. A lack of experience is caused by a lack of doing something new.” – Dale Carnegie 

“Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill 

“The freedom to fail is vital if you’re going to succeed. Most successful people fail time and time again, and it is a measure of their strength that failure merely propels them into some new attempt at success.” – Michael Korda

 “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford 

“Even if we crash and burn, and lose everything, the experience will have been worth ten times the cost.” – Steve Jobs 

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden 

“Sometimes an expensive lesson is worth every penny.” – Noel Whittaker

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneres

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill 

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie

“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it. That is the quickest and surest way to conquer fear.” – Dale Carnegie

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

“You can’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to leave the shore.” – Anonymous

“Thinking will not overcome your fear, but action will.” – W. Clement Stone

“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.” – Dale Carnegie 

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs­

“All is possible for the believers.” – Laird Hamilton

 “Action breeds confidence and courage.” – Dale Carnegie

“I’ve made billions of failures at Amazon. Literally.” – Jeff Bezos

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you’re not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

“Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in the past.” – Tyron Edwards

 “You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” – Dale Carnegie

 “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth 

“Bravery is the solution to regret.” – Robin Sharma 

“Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.” – Robert Greene 

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr (Serenity Prayer)

“Know your enemy, and know yourself, and you’ll never be in peril.” – Sun Tzu

“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.” – Neale Donald Walsch 

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

 “I believe we [Amazon] are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!).” – Jeff Bezos

“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” – Steve Maraboli

“Try and enjoy yourself. Because, actually, life’s pretty good.” – Elon Musk

 “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

“You can’t have courage without fear.” – Jocko Willink

“Failure is not trying.”

Sara Blakely

Simply continuing is one of the surest paths to success, just as quitting is one of the surest paths to permanent defeat. Winners look for any reason to advance and in doing so bring themselves ever closer to glory.

An excerpt from the ethos of one of the world’s preeminent special forces teams, the US Navy SEALs, embodies the principle of persistence:

“If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”

On the battlefield—where stakes are highest—well-constructed plans are carried out by people obsessed with mission success and who refuse to give in, no matter what circumstances arise. There are no valid excuses for permanent defeat, and the best performing individuals on the planet embody this to perfection. Enter Sara Blakely.

Before she became the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, the fashion icon was accustomed to failure. One of her early jobs was playing a Chipmunk character at Disney World, but she threw in the towel after three months. “Perhaps I should be a lawyer like my father,” she thought, but failed the LSAT—twice. Blakely then started selling fax machines during the day, while performing standup comedy shows at night.

Two years in, she abandoned the comedy routine, but persisted with the sales job. Selling fax machines for seven years—and dealing with rejection on a daily basis—proved an uncanny battleground for what would happen later in her career, not that she could ever have imagined what was possible. As Steve Jobs says, “You can only connect the dots looking back.”

One day, on a whim, Blakely cut the feet off a regular pair of pantyhose to provide some respite from the unbearable heat and humidity of a Florida summer. Looking to buy a professional version, she explored the market and found that nothing like she wanted existed. Instead, she decided to do it herself. Blakely began researching fabrics and designing products herself, coming up with the cheeky business name Spanks (now Spanx). Her slogan: Don’t worry, we’ve got your butt covered.

Without any background in fashion, manufacturing or business, aside from selling telecommunications equipment, Blakely burned the ships and went all-in to bring her dream to life. Starting an entire business from scratch meant there was a lot that needed to be done, with the most pressing task being tracking down a manufacturer who could turn the prototype of her unique shapewear garment into something for the mass market.

Through her research, the 29-year-old realized that the bulk of hosiery mills in the US are in North Carolina. She called and called and called, but was rejected time and time again, often not even being able to get the right person at the company on the phone. Dejected but not beaten, she persisted. Blakely decided to take a week off from her full-time job and drive to North Carolina, reasoning that it would be easier to convince them in person. Yet, throughout the entire week, she was again rejected from every mill she approached.

“They always asked the same three questions,” Blakely reflects. “Who are you? Who are you representing? And who are you backed by?”

Her answer to all three questions, ‘Sara Blakely,’ did little to convince the mills she was about to take the fashion world by storm. Despite the short-term failure, she remained obsessed with mission success, and returned home to come up with a different plan to make her dream a reality.

Two weeks later, one of the mill owners phoned to say he had shown the concept to his three daughters who had raved about it. Blakely, without any financial backing, had not only secured a manufacturer but found someone who believed in her idea.

The aspiring entrepreneur continued to work on her business, ignoring all the doubts and excuses, instead choosing to focus on a single reason why she could succeed. A single idea, backed with persistence, made Sara Blakely the youngest self-made female billionaire in history.

Today, the incredible story is taught in business schools around the world. When temporary failure or rejection enters your life, most people quit. But winners—whether special forces, entrepreneurs, athletes or business titans—know how to calibrate their plans and continue toward their goal.

Through the power of persistence, they are able to turn temporary failure into enduring victory.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
“The Greatest Lessons and 65 Best Quotes from Napoleon Hill.”

Famous quotes by Sara Blakely

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Jim Rohn

We ALL have bad days … every single one of us. There are many reasons why we might feel forlorn—whether it’s financial hardship, relationship stress, injury/illness or any number of other possibilities.

Symptoms of a slump include being irritable, tired or exhausted, low on confidence, feeling frustrated or angry at our situation, and being negative or indifferent to our future. But make no mistake, the response to adversity is what separates extraordinary achievers from the herd.

While there’s no magic pill or quick fix, you have MUCH more power over your future than you think. Here are 14 proven tips to help you level out the bad days and put the spring back in your step.

1. Recognize you’re not alone.

We’re all fighting our own battles and trying to do the best we can based on our life experiences. Often, we shield our greatest vulnerabilities from those closest to us. Rather than sitting a home alone where you can get caught in your own head, reach out to others. As Janine Shepherd says, recognizing we’re not alone removes the isolation and empowers us to take action.

2. Start a daily gratitude practice.

Get into the habit of daily gratitude. Not only does it allow your mind to reset, it helps you identify the multitude of gifts already in your possession and what you need to do in the present. In the last newsletter, you read about how Nelson Mandela was able to do this while being in a South African prison for 27 years. Unsure of where to start? Grab a copy of The 5 Minute Journal.

3. Watch what you’re eating.

Harvard Medical School recently pointed out that “a healthy diet was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing depressive symptoms.” To get the most out of your body, give it the right fuel:

4. Change your environment.

Numerous studies (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) have proven the benefits that getting outdoors and wandering through nature can have on everything from stress and inflammation, to self-esteem and energy levels … even life expectancy. Find a nearby park or forest, do a yoga session, play a team sport or enjoy some outdoor exercise that enables you to connect with nature, be present in the moment, and recharge.

5. Divide and conquer.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything on your plate, especially those with young children. Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink recommends coming up with a plan of attack: deconstruct your tasks, sort them by priority, ask for help where you can, and take purposeful action until you’re back on track

6. Volunteer to help those less fortunate.

Helping those less fortunate is one of the most gratifying things we can do: it enables us to share a warm embrace with those we’ve been able to help, while also giving us perspective on the good in our own lives. Whether it’s helping children at a local special needs school, feeding the homeless, teaching military veterans to surf, or providing companionship at an aged care facility or hospice, there are countless ways to give back.

If you’re not in the right mindset for volunteer work, focus on less confronting options, such as giving a cheery “hello” to someone on your walk, picking up litter on the beach or engaging in friendly banter with a shop assistant.

7. Turn notifications off.

Better yet, put your phone on airplane mode or switch it off for a few hours each day. Free of distraction, you’re able to focus on the present.

8. Everyone has their own truth.

You might recall the quote: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” If you’re dealing with some type of conflict, try and see it from the other person’s perspective—after all, everyone has their own truth. This enables you to keep calm and respond, rather than impulsively react where the situation often ends up much worse.

9. Starve negative situations of oxygen.

Hang out with those who you have a common future with, not a common past. If someone in your life does not reciprocate with positive energy, allocate more time to those who align with your vision and values. Your energy focus is the most important weapon in your arsenal—protect it at all costs.

10. Increase your intake of positive material.

I’m constantly amazed at how much people allow the news to dictate their mood. Rather than let the sensationalist news cycle wear you down, focus on replacing it with inspiring books/audiobooks (e.g. The Obstacle is the Way), uplifting positive music, and informative podcasts like Win the Day with James Whittaker (also available on YouTube).

11. Plot your future.

Often, bad days can stem from a disconnect between where we are now and where think we should be. Get on the front foot and define what success looks like in all areas of your life (download the FREE Success Plan Template). It should be exhilarating to undertake that exercise—it’s literally a wishlist for the universe! You can then focus on recalibrating your routine to make sure you prioritize the most important tasks.

12. Give the best you’ve got on that day.

An essential part of long term success is to focus on giving the best you’ve got on that day. That advice came from Alethea Boon who, in an elite sporting career spanning two decades, has had her fair share of ups and downs. Putting additional pressure on yourself to notch a productivity record each day only increases your chance of burnout, injury or illness.

13. Train yourself to embrace the struggle.

Those who have read Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy will recall the stories of Janine Shepherd and Jim Stovall who overcome enormous adversity on their remarkable journeys. You are much stronger than you know. Make the decision to embrace the struggle and show the world just how great you are.

14. Ask for help.

Be honest and upfront about how you’re feeling, especially if your bad days have lasted for a while. Courage is asking for help and letting others in, not suffering in silence.


Wishing you a week of action, adventure and laughter!

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

PS – Learn more about how you can use adversity as a stepping stone to greatness.

The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.”

Steve Maraboli

I’ve just returned to Los Angeles after a three-week book tour of Australia. For those who missed the Today Show interview, you can check it out below. A big thank you to all of you for your continued support.

The winner’s mindset

Today, let’s talk about the winner’s mindset. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, champions in any field are forged in their response to failure.

We all face adversity—every one of us. Those with a fixed mindset use it as an excuse to give up and crawl further into their ever-shrinking shell. Yet, those with a growth mindset use every failure as a stepping stone to greatness.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are where we are because of our decisions to this point. By simply accepting personal responsibility and taking ownership of our lives, we significantly increase our power to change. This can apply to anything, whether it’s underperforming on a university course, being passed over for a promotion at work or failing with a fitness goal.

The fixed mindset comes from stagnation. In contrast, the growth mindset comes from having an end goal in mind and then nurturing our abilities through ongoing care and attention—avid readers of my newsletter might recognize this as “simple and consistent action.”

In her groundbreaking book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, author Carol Dweck showed that from a young age the brain can be trained to grow and improve, like a muscle. Once our limiting beliefs are gradually replaced with the growth mindset, we find it easier to take actions that keep us striving for ever-greater success. This builds bulletproof confidence and creates unparalleled resilience.

Growth mindset in action

In 1964, after campaigning for racial equality, a South African man was given a life sentence and thrown in prison to rot. Rather than giving up, he began studying Afrikaans with the hope of building mutual respect with his captors and converting them to his cause.

Twenty-seven years later, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. After his impassioned pleas for equality caught hearts and minds around the world, he was elected President of South Africa—the first non-white head of state in the country’s history. Reflecting on his extraordinary life, he famously said: “I never lose. I win or I learn.”

In 2010, an unknown fighter taps the canvas. Conceding defeat, his opponent releases the devastating chokehold. With the embarrassing loss, a mere 38 seconds into the first round, the aspiring fighter’s record now stood at a paltry four wins and two losses. Rather than let another setback define him, he continued to hone his skills. An eight-fight win streak caught the eye of Dana White and the Irishman was signed to the UFC.

Five years after the humiliating loss, he defeated José Aldo, one of the greatest fighters of all time, in 13 seconds—the fastest finish in UFC title fight history. The following year, his coach John Kavanagh released a book documenting the extraordinary journey with his star pupil entitled “Win or Learn”, echoing Mandela’s fortitude. Today, Conor McGregor is one of the highest paid athletes on the planet.

Oprah Winfrey was deemed “unfit for television.” Steve Jobs was removed from the company he founded. J.K. Rowling was fired from her job as a secretary. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. The list goes on.

How do we create a growth mindset?

True champions have a growth mindset and never accept temporary failure as permanent defeat. Instead, they prepare a vivid, detailed plan for success and get to work on winning the day. To create a growth mindset:

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

PS – Here is a free download of the bonus chapter from Think & Grow Rich: The Legacy, showing how simple mindset shifts catapulted ordinary people to extraordinary achievement.

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