“If you fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that your place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

President Theodore Roosevelt

That quote was regarded as one of Roosevelt’s greatest rhetorical triumphs. It’s paraphrased — the original passage is far longer and taken from a speech called ‘Citizenship in a Republic.’ That speech has become very famous and is also known as ‘The Man in the Arena.’ It was delivered in 1910, one year after he had left office.

For those who don’t know much about Roosevelt, he was — and still is — the youngest president in US history, achieving the status at 42.

Why is the quote so powerful? It’s his emphasis on the cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. If you want to achieve ANYTHING noteworthy in your life, whether that’s to make a difference in your job, or be a loving parent, a devoted husband / wife, or start a business that supports the community, or any one of the other infinite options, you need to be the person in the arena — leaving yourself susceptible to all the good AND bad that can happen.

That’s the dichotomy of life. You can’t have good without evil, light without dark, summer without winter, day without night, happiness without sadness. It’s the way nature and humanity works.

Roosevelt was leader during an extremely tumultuous period for the world, so when he talks about 'The Man in the Arena' he knows it, he lived it, and he thrived in it. He was the man in the arena. Roosevelt transformed the world and maintains an enduring legacy because of it.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. If we don’t make the decision to get in that arena, the battle will come to us — whether we like it or not. And when it strikes, there’s a very good chance that we’re far less equipped and prepared to deal with it than we would’ve been if we fronted it head on to begin with.

This is so meaningful now because by the second week of February, only one in five people are still working on achieving their goals. Remember, that’s out of the minority percentage of people who actually set goals in the first place! Studies show that it’s around 3% of people who set goals. If only one in five of those people who set goals is still working towards them in February, that makes it only 1 in 200 people – or 0.6% of the population – who are living with intent.

That’s an absolutely crazy statistic, and no one ever talks about it.

That’s why this post is titled “Are You Still in the Game?” If you don’t know what success looks like to you this year, then you better get moving because it will be over before you know it.

In Episode 19, we went through a whole heap of tips you can use to set yourself up for a big 2020. Here’s another quick tip – if you struggle to stay motivated or accountable, set a calendar notification (or alarm on your phone) for the first Monday of every month @ 10am. When the notification / alert goes off, have it say … in capital letters… “WIN THE DAY.” (You can obviously pick any message you like, but ‘Win the day’ always gets it done for me.)

That will be your motivation to go extra hard on those days, setting yourself up for a huge week, and then month, and then year.

So my challenge to you is to get in the arena! Get your hands dirty. Get some experience, some life lessons, and some adversity. Along the way, you’ll find out exactly who you are, what you want, and how to get it.

Most importantly, don’t give up. Life is going to kick you in the ass from time to time, but the greatest treasures are reserved for those who persist.

So keep going. If you’re still in the game, give yourself a big congratulations. And if you’re not in the game, there’s still time – but you need to take action now.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
The Day Won Mastermind

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

When faced with misfortune, most people are quick to lash out at others. Yet, high achievers know that it’s not laying blame that leads to success—it’s proudly taking ownership of every aspect of your life.

These 10 questions will empower you to rise in almost any situation, allowing you to reset your energy, prepare actionable plans, and advance with stronger resilience than ever before.

1. What’s the gift in this? 

Understanding this has been one of the most profound turning points in my life. Incredible stories of Janine Shepherd and Jim Stovall prove that there’s a gift in every adversity … you just have to find it. While a challenging skill to master in the moment, dig deep and you’ll find a little comfort in even the most difficult hardship. Mastery of resilience is the foundation of the growth mindset and what keeps high performers focused when others give up.

2. What am I grateful for?

Numerous studies, including this one from UC Berkeley, have shown that people who use a regular gratitude practice are happier. When you’re focused on positive energy, it shifts your focus from resentment and envy to abundance, improving everything from personal relationships to career success. If you’re new to gratitude, grab a copy of The 5 Minute Journal—it’s what I use personally and is truly lifechanging. Also, schedule a weekly calendar reminder to send good vibes—whether a message, phone call or email—to someone whose efforts and support you appreciate. 

3. What do I truly want?

If you’re working a job you hate, or spending too much time helping someone else achieve their goals, perhaps it’s time you restored balance into the equation and thought about what you wanted. Readers of Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy might recall the greatest turning point in Sandy Gallagher’s career was when she realized her entire life had been about making someone else—her father—happy. As she transitioned toward forging her own path, Sandy found that she was not only happier and more fulfilled in her new career, she was able to positively impact far more people, too.

4. Why am I doing this?

As Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” When you’re clear on why you do what you do, whether an individual or a company, it allows you to persist through adversity, attract a tribe of people excited in your mission, and remain constantly alert for resources that will help you on your journey—the ultimate pathway to finding your how. 

5. What am I willing to sacrifice each day? 

In a world of instant gratification, buck the trend of demanding it now and, instead, proudly put in the work. This is a fundamental step emphasized repeatedly in Think and Grow Rich and the process of autosuggestion. With your most important goals, write down the specific actions you’ll take—the price you’re willing to pay—to make them a reality. You’ll find that the level of success you achieve is in direct proportion to the consistent effort you take. 

6. What three biggest distractors can I eliminate? 

Audit your time each day for one week so you can easily pinpoint where you’re knocked off course. (Even simple things such as deleting time-wasting apps, switching your phone to airplane mode for regular blocks, and removing clutter, can all make a massive difference to your daily productivity.) Next, look around your living and working environments. If they don’t motivate you to go the extra mile each day, make some changes. In my office, I have a huge print that says “ACTION: The difference between having and wanting” reminding me of the importance of sustained effort. Surround yourself with inspiration. 

7. Who am I spending the most time with? 

Your energy source is the most important part of your life and should be insulated from sabotage at all costs. Surround yourself with people who think positive, dream big, and align with your values—those demonstrated in the top-right corner of the Friendship-Success Quadrant (below). You’ll find your energy levels increase tenfold as a result. This is the power of the mastermind and the one attribute that has made the most significant difference in my own life. Once you’ve found the right people, use this to turbocharge your success.

8. What mental health practices have I got scheduled?

Paradoxically, we often reserve our love and kindness for others, and then engage in negative self-talk when we’re alone—it’s certainly a weakness of mine. Rob Dyrdek introduced me to Dr George Pratt, the clinical psychologist and hypnotherapist who Rob credits as changing his life. George helped me to be more aware of negative self-talk and gave me some exercises that I now have scheduled in my calendar every week to keep focused, relaxed and happy. Here’s a short one you can try. Don’t just make time for your mental health, schedule it. 

9. What would it look like if it were easy? 

As part of human nature, and only enhanced in the digital age, we often massively overthink and overcomplicate situations. Sometimes, taking a step back and giving ourselves a mental reset to ponder “What would this look like if it were easy?” can be the quickest way to an acceptable solution, saving valuable time and energy in the process. 

10. In December 2019, reflecting on the year just gone, what 3-5 things happened that made me the happiest?

The end of the calendar year is a good reference point for how your life is progressing. If you’re unable to answer this question quickly, fill out the Success Plan (template). Feel the emotions of having already attained those 3-5 things, then make sure you’ve got a detailed plan—with regular action items scheduled—built into your weekly calendar so imagination becomes reality. High performers all have systems to optimize their success.

Through a calm demeanor and an inquisitive mind, the best way forward is always revealed. Remember, you are the only problem you will ever have and YOU are the only solution.

Take actions today that your future self will thank you for. After all, the right question could save your life.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

In case you missed it: The One Number that Doesn’t Matter’

PS – Join my VIP newsletter AND get a free bonus from Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy (instant download).

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

Thomas Edison

Welcome to 2019!

I hope you enjoyed the holiday season, and congratulations to all those who were also able to craft a detailed plan to attack the next 12 months. In case you missed it, I posted a short video about finishing the year strong.

Coming into the new year, let’s think about the three different types of people:

Dominant performers in every industry, whether CEOs or athletes, are experts at making a habit of appearing in that first category.

A US News & World Report revealed that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Just six weeks after they were set! You can probably tell that those people are the ones who make it into the second of the above categories, which is better than third because at least they’ve enjoyed some progress.

But, clearly, there’s huge room for growth.

Regardless of where you’re at now, the GOOD news is that even if you didn’t get around to creating a detailed plan for 2019, you can still do it! Here is the best way to get started.

Iconic media announcer Earl Nightingale once said: “Most people tiptoe through life waiting to make it safely to death.”

Read that again.

Now, close your eyes and imagine what the perfect destination in ALL areas of your life looks like—a broad definition of success. Then, through your actions, show what comforts you’re willing to sacrifice—such as partying with friends, watching television and pressing the ‘snooze’ button—to make that perfect destination a reality.

Napoleon Hill, the most renowned personal development author in history, had a knack for converting lessons from the world’s most accomplished people into something that could be understood and applied by anyone. Here is one of my favorite Hill quotes—think about it in the context of what you want to achieve in 2019:

“Having a definite plan for your life greatly simplifies the process of making the hundreds of daily decisions that affect ultimate success.”

With your unique and comprehensive definition of success imprinted on your mind, you just need to ask yourself a simple question whenever you’re faced with a decision: Will this help me achieve my goals? If the answer is “No”, opt for a more productive task or set a timer so you can properly manage your time and energy flow.

Once you’re crystal clear on where you want to go, you’re able to intuitively make the right decisions. Better yet, as each day progress, they become a habit.

The best performers in any field know this and advance to greater success. Accordingly, those who fail either have no plan or a weak plan to obtain what they want, and therefore make poor decisions. When you understand that drifting is the primary cause of failure, you’ll be able to recognize it in the fortunes of almost everyone in your life.

In fact, I recommend you create an actual calendar note for ‘Monday, 11th February’ so when it pops up you’re reminded of the day when most others have quit. That’s your motivation to go extra hard.

Sometimes, life throws challenges our way that require us to revise our plans or create new ones entirely. But we must never lose sight of our dreams, nor accept temporary failure as permanent defeat. Jim Rohn, one of my biggest influences, famously said: “Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.”

Dare to dream as big as you can, then turn those dreams into vivid goals, then detailed plans—and, finally, daily actions. Through that simple process, the same dream that is retained as fantasy for others is delivered as reality to you.

Wishing you every success and happiness in 2019. Together, let’s make this the best year yet.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
‘The Greatest Lessons and Best Quotes from Napoleon Hill'

“There are no bargains at the counter of success. You must pay the price—in advance and in full.”

Dr Dennis Kimbro

Eyes on the Prize

In a world of instant gratification, the most important lesson for younger generations is understanding that there is no such thing as something for nothing. Unfortunately, the swelling digital parade often distracts us from our own goals by providing short-term comfort and mindless entertainment.

Those growing up today have access to everything their parents had, and thanks to the internet also have unlimited access to any information they could possibly desire—mostly for free and instantly available with the click of a finger.

Clearly, we have far more power than we could ever imagine to make our lives as happy and successful as we want, but these advancements have created the “I want it now” mentality, which promotes:

In today’s digital landscape, companies have become experts at providing an illusion that their audience is participating in life. Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook, revealed an insight into the company’s initial objective when he recently stated: “The thought process was: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’” As like, share and comment buttons appear on everything we see, our attention is increasingly trapped, and we become chemically dependent on the pleasurable feelings it arouses.

The human brain is a supercomputer that creates a reality from our repeated thoughts and actions. If we procrastinate, the brain will make it easier for us to procrastinate in the future. Just as readily, if we have vivid goals that we affirm and work on daily, the brain will make it easier for those goals to be achieved.

At the end of each day, you probably feel busy … but busy doing what? A busy day, extrapolated over time, should help inch us closer to our goals.

Back on Track

To get yourself back on track, take a few minutes each night to audit your effectiveness by writing down:

  1. Your three biggest achievements from that day
  2. What you could’ve done to make the day better
  3. Three things you will accomplish the next day

After a few days, this will give you a very clear indicator of whether you’re trending in the right direction.

Then, restore turbo-productivity by making sure you:

Put Yourself First

Today’s generations have the brightest opportunity in history to live with purpose and positively impact the world. Prepare a wishlist for the universe, and relentlessly pursue your potential as your highest priority.

All good things take time, and everything worth doing is worthy of your best effort. Once you have paid the price—in advance and in full—success will be yours.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

“Find a way or make a way.”

Elon Musk

One of the most important actions you can ever take is creating your own definition of success. It is the foundation on which all great achievement is built and paves the way for everything else to flow in to your life at the right time.

To help you on your journey, I’m giving you my Success Plan Template (Excel | PDF). Simply download, complete and start taking action. There are two tabs: i) the Template, and ii) a Glossary to explain the steps in more detail. If you have any questions on how to complete it, let us know and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

Also, here are four tips inspired by my conversations with more than 100 of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, business icons and athletes to help you turn dreams into actions and, most importantly, results.

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1. Identify what you want from all areas of your life.

Yes, that’s right – not money, but ALL areas of your life. Perhaps it’s to:

There are infinite possibilities. While it can be very beneficial, even advisable, to sit down with the most important people in your personal and professional lives to ask for honest feedback on how you can improve, this ultimately needs to be your definition of success so it aligns with your ‘why.’

With a clear idea of what success looks like to you, turn your attention to goals.

2. Write your goals down.

Dr Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, recently studied the power of goal setting. Matthews discovered that those who write down their goals on a regular basis are 42% more likely to achieve them. That’s a huge advantage! Remember to write them down as specifically as possible.

In Think and Grow Rich, the bestselling self-help book of all time, Napoleon Hill wrote about the relationship between goals and the subconscious mind: “The subconscious mind alone is the medium through which prayer may be transmitted to the source capable of answering prayer.” By writing our goals down we’re putting a rocket under our subconscious, instructing it to take the necessary actions that will make those goals a reality.

More examples of goals are included in the ‘Glossary’ tab of the Success Plan Template (Excel | PDF).

3. Take simple and consistent action.

Channel any inspiration and excitement to mapping out your goals, but when it comes to execution the surest path to victory is simple and consistent action. A lot of people aren’t sure what action they should be taking, but when you’ve got your perfect destination in mind the first, second and third steps are much more obvious. Fill out the ‘Perfect Destination’ column on the Success Plan Template, then notice how much easier it is to complete the rest.

Also, remember to begin on step one. If your goal was to run a marathon, you wouldn’t start your first training session by actually doing a marathon. Play the long game and do the work that day one requires. Regardless of the goal, the key to victory is simple and consistent action.

4. Win the day.

It can be easy to feel impatient or frustrated at a perceived lack of progress. Instead of worrying about the harvest you reap (the results), focus on the seeds you sow (the daily actions). Each day, be grateful for the opportunity to take ownership of your life and stay committed to excitedly working to bring your goals to life.

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Remember, no one is born with a gold medal around their neck. Every great endeavor, innovation or achievement—whether you’re Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey—was once a simple thought impulse. Create your own definition of success, share it with those closest to you, and start living with intent, passion and purpose.

Get out there and make some magic!

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

PS – Click here to get success and motivation tips to your inbox every two weeks AND a free bonus chapter from Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy.

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