“Quick riches are more dangerous than poverty.”

Napoleon Hill

Feelings Amplified

Most people spend all their life wishing for things they haven’t earned, while only a small percentage make the effort to get them. If we’re unhappy in our current state, we’re more likely to harbor negative feelings towards those who’ve ‘made it’ or are enjoying things we wish we had.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram emerged as a way for people to share snapshots of their life. As a result, a significant portion of our daily routine now involves frequent glances at what someone else is doing. Each snapshot we observe is accompanied by a like, comment and share button, a clear metric of celebrity and influencer clout.

Of course, consciously we know the truth about celebrity and influencer accounts: their images are usually taken by a leading photographer wielding a professional SLR camera, who then selects the best image from 100 shots in 10 different locations, edits out any wrinkles or perceived imperfections, and finishes it off with a filter.

Voila! Gram-worthy.

But being aware that this is happening often doesn’t stop us from the inner turmoil that accompanies such a comparison.

Interestingly, we typically only use social media when we’re vulnerable—perhaps we’re feeling lonely or bored at home, commuting to/from work, or simply want a distraction. Rarely would we open one of these platforms when we’re completely present in the moment, on a fun date, or spending quality time with family.

As a result, in our most vulnerable moments, we not only crave what other people have, we rank our social and personal worth on it, too. This is known as social comparison theory, which analyzes the part of human nature that causes us to continually compare ourselves to others. In fact, we tell ourselves that happiness is not the journey but the destination—the destination that we believe others are at, which continues to elude us.

Instant Celebrity

Enter the lottery jackpot, a phenomenon that’s popular the world over.

You may recall the hysteria in January 2016 surrounding the $1.6 billion-dollar prize that clogged news networks and social media feeds, as people eagerly handed over wads of cash for the 1-in-300 million chance of winning the jackpot—the ultimate shortcut to instant celebrity.

To put those odds into perspective, you’re four times more likely to die from an asteroid strike. Yet, it still doesn’t stop people from participating: Americans spend $73 billion on lottery tickets each year, equating to $223 per person!

Obviously in the commercials, Powerball leaves out some important details:

  1. If the winner opts for the lump sum payment, they will receive 38% less;
  2. The IRS takes 24% of gambling winnings;
  3. The winner will be taxed at the highest income rate of 37% (plus applicable state taxes);
  4. The prize will be split between all the winning tickets; and
  5. Lottery winners do not report any significant upswing in happiness and mental health.

Note: Lottery payouts and tax implications vary around the world. The US has been used here for consistency. If you plan on winning the lottery (or getting hit by an asteroid), look up the implications in your own region.

In fact, economist and research scientist Jay L. Zagorsky found that rather than discovering a cure for financial woes, lottery winners ended up in more financial distress, with bankruptcy rates soaring within three to five years of claiming their prize.

But it’s not just winning the coveted jackpot that creates financial hardship. Zagorsky also noted that a large financial gift of any kind, such as an inheritance, quickly disappeared through “spending or poor investments.”

Easy come, easy go.

Be Careful What You Sow

This is the law of sowing and reaping: you cannot reap before you have sown.

Importantly, you also reap much more than you have sown. Planting a single cup of corn can yield bags and bags of corn. Unfortunately, people forget that the law of sowing and reaping works in both the positive and the negative. If you plant toxic seeds in your own life, down the line you’re going to be confronted with a whole heap of misery.

Whether it’s instant weight loss secrets, becoming a forex trading millionaire overnight, or any other snake oil, there is no magic bullet—and run from anyone trying to sell it to you.

Basketball superstar Michael Jordan once said: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Plant the right seeds in your own life, be vigilant in protecting them, and enjoy the compounding rewards in the future.

Don’t leave your fate to a 1-in-300 million chance.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

In case you missed it: ‘10 Tips to Handle the Haters’ (blog audio)

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? 

Actionable success, mindset and performance tips delivered to your inbox every two weeks 🔥
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram