"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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

Ready to win the day, every day? 

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