“Do more of what you love, less of what you tolerate, and none of what you hate.”

– John Assaraf

Today, we’ve got one of the leading mindset and behavior experts on the planet, John Assaraf. You probably know John from blockbuster film The Secret.

Since then, John has built a billion-dollar company, numerous multimillion-dollar companies, written two New York Times bestselling books, and been featured in eight movies, including The Secret and Quest for Success alongside Richard Branson and the Dalai Lama.

But his journey to success was anything but smooth. Growing up with a fixed mindset, John was expecting to follow a similar path to his father who lived paycheck to paycheck as a taxi driver with a bad gambling habit. John left high school after Grade 10 and eventually found work in a warehouse, but he was hanging out with some unsavory people which left him with two career horizons: jail or the morgue.

It was only at 19 years old, through the influence of a successful businessman, that John began taking ownership of his life for the first time. This mentor asked John three simple but profound questions that changed his trajectory forever. And when his mind changed, his world did too.

Today, he is founder and CEO of NeuroGym, a company dedicated to using the most advanced brain training methods to help individuals unleash their fullest potential and maximize their results. In this interview, we talk about everything you can do to reprogram your brain for massive success.

We’ll go through:

There are a ton of value-bombs in this one! I know you're going to love it.

For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

📝 John Assaraf Facebook

📷 John Assaraf Instagram

⚡ NeuroGym

💪 Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain's Hidden Power by John Assaraf

🧠 John Assaraf website

📙 You2: A High Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps by Price Pritchett

💡 Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

🔥 BRAND NEW! Andrew Carnegie’s Mental Dynamite by Napoleon Hill and James Whittaker

“It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.”

Apache proverb

This holiday season, rather than squandering money on gifts with little long-term value, consider giving something practical that gets the recipient excited about taking ownership of his/her future.

Aside from allowing us to delve into the minds of the most inspiring and innovative people who ever lived, books are a great gift because they sit there staring back at us: providing gentle prompts, imaginative thought, and unprecedented motivation when we need it most.

In fact, many of the people I interviewed for Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy noted that, in times of distress, just staring at the cover of Hill’s original classic made them feel better about themselves.

Lately, I’ve also really been enjoying audiobooks. With the speed toggle, you can listen at an increasing speed. When you first try 1.25x, it seems a little intense. But a day or two later, you'll probably feel comfortable at 1.5x and wonder how you listened to anything slower before. Audiobooks are also more social because, rather than simply listening to music (which I love for entertainment or a demanding workout), you and a travel companion can improve your minds while exploring new areas of interest.

For my favorite books, as you'll see in the YouTube edition of this post, I make sure to also purchase a hard copy because it's easier for a quick reference.

Welcome to my second annual recommended reading list of gifts for yourself or a loved one. With this list, you'll undoubtedly have more lightning in the hand, as the earlier proverb reminds us.

Best for Entrepreneurs:

Driven
by Dr Doug Brackmann

I first met Dr Doug Brackmann in Orange County, California, in early 2019 when my good mate Ronsley Vaz interviewed him. Brackmann radiated a potent mix of strength and empathy, traits forged from a career working with some of the most driven people on the planet.

This is the best book I’ve read in 2019 and I’ve literally just purchased a copy for every one of my clients around the world.

In it, Brackmann argues that 10% of the population possess a certain DNA that makes them feel like something is wrong with them, leading to anxiety, shame, and negative self-talk that can create a hellish existence. He calls this group the ‘Driven.’

Yet, through his research (which includes holding two PhDs in psychology!) and work with some of the highest performers on the planet—everyone from Navy SEALs to pro athletes and business leaders—Brackmann has discovered how the Driven can harness that energy into constructive means to reach their highest potential.

If you are an entrepreneur, or are looking at buying a gift for an entrepreneur, you won’t go wrong with this book. I’ve never read something that struck at the heart of who I was more than this one, while at the same time giving practical tips to improve day by day.

And let's face it: every existing and aspiring entrepreneur could do with a little more help understanding themselves!


Best for Mindset:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Dr Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck is one of my biggest inspirations. This book talks about what sets champions apart in any field—the growth mindset.

Dweck contrasts those who have a growth mindset with those who have a fixed mindset, and it typically comes down to one simple focus: how we respond to adversity when it inevitably strikes.

Those with a growth mindset embrace challenge and recognize mastery as a journey of self-effort, whereas those with a fixed mindset avoid challenge and give up easily.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Mindset:

In her bestselling book, Dweck shows how people of all ages can cultivate a growth mindset, while giving examples of well-known people to keep readers engaged and illustrate the points, offering practical solutions to help us fulfill our potential in the most important areas of our lives.


Best for Empowerment:

Educated
by Tara Westover

Written with phenomenal detail, Westover’s memoir describes her unique upbringing by uncompromising survivalists in the mountains of Idaho.

Working in her father’s junkyard, Westover was never allowed to go to school or visit a doctor, and recounts her volatile—and, at times, abusive—family life as the youngest of seven children.

This alone makes for gripping reading, but the trajectory from Westover first stepping into a classroom at age 17 to eventually earning a doctorate at the University of Cambridge, while continuing to fight battles in and out of the classroom, leaves you spellbound.

In particular, if you’re a female struggling to find your place (or voice) in the world—or you know someone in that situation—this book is a must read. It spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and has now been translated into more than 30 languages.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

Seriously powerful stuff, and an easy listen on Audible too. Plus, if you're an aspiring writer, it's one of the most beautifully written books you'll ever read.


Best for Gratitude:

The 5 Minute Journal
by Intelligent Change

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen how frequently I post these as daily stories. A huge percentage of CEOs have spoken about the importance of journaling for mental well-being; yet staring at a blank page each day can be daunting. The 5 Minute Journal provides a useful structure to start and finish the day in the right mindset.

You hear me talk constantly about winning the day. The best way to win the day is to know what actions you’re going to take on a given day and how they relate to your long-term mission, and this book gives you a forum to be able to do that.

To me, it’s been truly life-changing and is the book I gift the most. If you want an introduction to gratitude, this is the best place to be. A lot of people ask me what book it is that I keep posting on Instagram, and now you know 🙂


Best for Parenting:

Letters From A Self-Made Merchant To His Son
by George Horace Lorimer

This is the only book on this list that has entered the public domain, which means it can be downloaded for free. As a result, it’s probably a better gift for yourself, rather than sending someone a link!

This book was originally published in 1901 and contains letters from a successful business owner to his son who had just started university.

If Educated is slightly better suited to a female audience, this one is slightly better suited to a male audience. Yet, both hold enduring value for all readers.

Given Letters was written more than a century ago, it is told in a language of a foregone era, but it’s phenomenal quotes are timeless, such as:

This is the book that inspired me to start writing an annual letter to our daughter, the first one written in December 2018 (i.e. five months before she was born), so at whatever age I choose to reveal them to her she can understand the journey we’ve all been on together, especially her mother's unparalleled contributions, and exactly what unconditional love means.


Best for Motivation:

Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy
by James Whittaker

Writing this book is the greatest honor of my life and it’s truly humbling to see it continue to resonate with so many people around the world.

The theme of the book is that how you respond to adversity when it inevitably strikes is far more important than the adversity itself, and this is demonstrated through a combination of moving stories and practical tips. My hope is that it continues to inspire people of all backgrounds to extraordinary achievement.

Email us if you're after a signed copy! If you want your signed copy to arrive before Christmas, please allow at least two weeks' notice to ensure your order arrives in time. Discounts are available for bulk orders. Unsigned copies, as well as audiobook and ebook formats, are available on Amazon.


Best Gift (or Accompaniment) for Everyone:

A letter or card, handwritten if your legibility allows, to acknowledge the recipient for all the loving and selfless actions they have taken to brighten your world and illuminate your spirit. Expressing our gratitude to one another in the long form written medium has become a lost art, but that just means your opportunity to make an impression will be even more powerful.

You've heard me say many times before that the best way to get is to give. Give someone a piece of your heart, and watch the way your life changes as a result.

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I proudly recommend all these books and know they would be a welcome gift in any stocking. This holiday season give your friends and loved ones the inspiration and ability to help themselves.

As we approach the end of 2019, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your continued support. Have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and get excited for an incredible 2020.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
How to Get a Promotion: Lessons from a Chief Maker

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Take a moment to close your eyes and think about what your definition of “wealth” is. Have you got something in mind?

To me, wealth is freedom. Specifically, freedom of choice. When we're financially independent, we can structure our day exactly how we like and we have the means to fully experience life. It also offers the resources to contribute to the causes we care about, say, helping to find a cure for a disease that may have impacted your family.

Many people, sadly, have a negative connotation of wealth. It’s completely up to you to create your own definition, but I urge you to ensure it’s written in the positive. Reframing your mindset is one of the most fundamental steps in transitioning to being a financial winner.

Yet, we don’t teach this in schools.

Wealth does not guarantee you’ll be free of problems. In fact, for many people, building wealth creates a whole host of new problems because their same bad habits are just amplified. However, if you’ve got the right blueprint, wealth is an enormously powerful force for good in your family, your community, and the world.

With an idea of what wealth looks like to you, take another moment to think about what "lifestyle" you want. A lot of people over-complicate personal finance, but all we’re essentially doing is thinking about what life we want to live and then setting up the pieces that are going to enable us to enjoy that lifestyle.

Simple, right?

So close your eyes and fast forward to 5, 10, 20 years down the track: What does your ideal life look like?

Can you vividly describe your house, and where you are? Who are the people you’re enjoying it with? In that moment, what is making you the happiest?

Like with any worthy endeavor, we get the best results by beginning with the end in mind. With that foundation, let's explore some proven strategies you can immediately apply to achieve financial independence and become a financial winner.

1. Start now.

We see this with every goal—people have the best intentions, always promising to ‘get around to it' but never do. Make the commitment to start now:

If you’re not willing to make personal finance a priority, none of the other steps will help you. As the Chinese Proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

2. Know where your money is going.

If you can measure it, you can manage it. In previous episodes, we’ve spoken about the importance of auditing your energy so you can stay happy, and we’ve spoken about auditing your time so you can stay productive. This is the version we do for managing your money.

Track every dollar you earn and every dollar you spend using a spreadsheet or, the old-fashioned way, on a piece of paper. (You can also use ASIC’s Budget Planner, which although designed for Australians is just as applicable globally).

Write down your:

Income:

Expenses:

Add these five expense fields together and multiply to create your Annual Expenses.

Next, take your Annual Income and subtract your Annual Expenses. How much is left? This answer will show whether you’re trending in the right or wrong direction. (Warning: This might be confronting, especially if you discover that your expenses are more than your income, but it’s much better to be aware now so you can take steps to fix it.)

Now, we’ve got a clear idea of where your money is going. Just remember: the aim is to have as much money working for you as possible, rather than the other way around.

That paves the way for step three…

3. Spend less than you earn.

One of the easiest ways to give yourself a pay rise is to spend less! Just as one of the easiest ways to give yourself a pay cut is to spend more. This is one of the most painfully obvious and simple tips, yet it eludes so many people.

The digital world means we’re constantly bombarded with advertisements, while at the same time getting hammered with posts on social media that fire up our human drive to keep up with the Joneses. If you’re not sure what it means to 'keep up with the Joneses', it’s trying to match the social status of your neighbors and friends by doing foolish things with money you don’t have, such as buying a new luxury car, just to impress them.

When you make a habit out of spending less than you earn, you have more money at your disposal to create greater wealth in the future. For example, if a bill arrives, you can pay it now without incurring an additional interest charge. If there’s an essential purchase you need to make, you might find there are favorable terms for an upfront payment, or a penalty for paying in installments.

If you’re currently in debt, do everything you can to pay off bad debt (i.e. debt that is not tax deductible) as quickly as possible, making sure to prioritize items that have the highest interest rate (e.g. your credit card). For example, if you’ve got $1,000 available, it would be better to put it towards a credit card bill that is incurring 18% interest, rather than a student loan that might only be incurring 5% interest. Aim to reduce and then eradicate your reliance on credit cards altogether.

(Note: some people can do well out of the bonus points assigned to new credit card recipients; however, it often requires a lot of research, an in depth knowledge of the fine print, and an ongoing focus to avoid penalties, so my preference for most people is to avoid credit cards altogether if possible.)

Again, the aim is to have as much money working for you as you can.

4. You don't miss what you don't get.

It’s human nature to spend all that we get—that’s why tax agencies like the IRS and ATO tax your employer first before you receive your wages. Yet, funnily, if we don’t have it to spend, we don’t miss it.

Personal finance classic The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason suggested that one of the key wealth creation tips was to “save at least 10% of everything you earn.” You might think that losing 10% of your income would be unlivable, but if the government introduced an additional 10% tax on income, most people would be able to adjust their lifestyle to accommodate. You might even be motivated knowing that 10% will be returned to you at a later date … with interest.

Rather than seeing how much is left in your bank account after you’ve enjoyed the week, make the commitment upfront—the moment you receive your pay—and save at least 10% of everything you earn.

There are even apps out there, like Acorns, that round up to the nearest dollar from everyday purchases and invests that tiny amount into a diversified portfolio recommended for your risk profile. For example, if you bought a $3.25 coffee, $0.75 would be invested into the portfolio. That might not sound like much, but you would be amazed at how much it adds up over a year, especially when you are able to harness the power of compound interest (more on that in the next post) and have the option of adding more anytime you like.

5. Make it a habit.

Too many people ignore the benefit of good money management because they believe they aren’t earning enough. “I’ll do it when I get my next pay rise,” they say. Only they never get around to it.

Regardless of how much you’re currently earning, get into the habit of good financial decisions.

If you struggle with change, technology is here to help! There are services out there nowadays that make the process automatic, so the habit is done for you. Previously, we spoke about apps like Acorns that enable you to contribute a portion of everyday purchases into an investment account. However, here are two other simple options to help:

Generally, you should follow this order when you receive your pay:

  1. Investment.
  2. Essential fixed expenses.
  3. Essential variable expense.
  4. Contingencies.
  5. Whatever is left can be made available for discretionary expenses.

Get into good habits as early as you possibly can.

6. Put your money to work.

Due to fear about losing all their money in the stock market, many people opt to leave their money in a savings account. However, this is about one of the worst things you can do with money you’ve set aside to invest.

Let’s look at a few countries to inspect their interest rates and compare them to inflation:

CountryInterest RateInflation
Australia1%1.3%
Canada1.75%2.4%
Japan-0.1%0.7%
United Kingdom0.75%2%
United States2.5%1.6%

Source: Trading Economics (July 2019)

In many cases, inflation is higher than interest so you’re actually losing money keeping it in the bank.

Financial winners invest their money wisely. An easy way to get started is to invest in an index fund, which provides low fees, diversification, and a decent annual return—ensuring you opt to reinvest all dividends and stick with it over the long-term. The stock market has one or two volatile years each decade, but historically has returned around 9% per year.

You can also use dollar cost averaging, which is a strategy to smooth out any volatility. The idea is that you continue to buy X number of shares each month, no matter what. When the market is performing strongly, your portfolio will be doing well, and when the market is weak, you can buy more shares at a cheaper price. This strategy protects against the futile task of ‘timing the market’ and over the long term you will have a lot more money working for you than you would have otherwise.

For example, if you invested in the Nasdaq-100 Index Fund in the US 10 years ago (between 2009 – 2019), you would experience the usual volatility but enjoy a strong overall average annual return:

Source: Yahoo Finance (July 2019)

If you invested in the Australian All Ordinaries Accumulation Index for that same 10-year period, the average annual return would be 10%, again assuming dividends are reinvested. Performance will vary based on the fund you choose and at what time you start, but remember:

For most people, keeping your money stuck in a savings account is far from ideal. Just remember that obtaining professional advice for your unique situation is extremely important because it can vary significantly depending on your circumstances, investment goals, and risk profile (we’ll touch on this more later).

7. Spend money on items that appreciate in value.

Financial winners build a diverse portfolio of quality assets that appreciate. In contrast, financial losers spend all their money (and then some) on items like jet skis and new cars that depreciate.

Let’s use an example. In 2009, Jenna’s after-tax salary was $50,000/year, and she decided to setup an auto debit for 20% of her pay each fortnight (equaling $10,000/year) going to a new account that she couldn’t touch for everyday purchases. Jenna’s skills increased in that time, and so did her salary, but she kept her contributions at $10,000/year.

The funds were invested into an index fund that averaged 9%/year. Prior to tax and inflation, here is what Jenna’s account would be worth:

Remember, this is just from 20% of her take-home pay from 10 years ago! Imagine if Jenna held the commitment of 20% of her income as her salary increased?

8. Harness the power of compound interest.

Albert Einstein once said: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it.” It’s the key to understanding how small sums add up, leading to enormous gains for financial winners and extreme losses for financial losers.

Let’s reflect again on Jenna in the last example. The longer she left her investment, the quicker it multiplied. Let’s add two more periods:

That’s the power of compounding!

Financial losers spend all their pay, and often borrow even more on credit cards, for items that depreciate, such as travel, clothing, and new cars. To illustrate the power of compound interest working against you, let’s think about Jenna’s friend, Luke.

In 2009, Luke didn’t listen to Jenna and decided to borrow $20,000 for a European holiday and some new clothes. Luke made these purchases on a credit card because the bank, who he trusted, said his financial history was good. The interest rate on the credit card was 20%.

Luke returned from holiday and noticed that each bank statement said he only needed to pay 2% of the balance ($200/month), which he did diligently. He met with Jenna who informed him of the problems with spending money on credit cards, so Luke cut up the credit card and never used it again.

However, the statements kept coming.

Eventually, after nine years, Luke was free of his credit card debt. Paying more than $23,000 in interest alone had taught him a valuable lesson. He realized that banks know compound interest better than anyone, and that’s why they seem happy to lend indiscriminately. Luke learnt the hard way that “Compound interest on debt was the banker's greatest invention, to capture, and enslave, a productive society” as Albert Einstein said.

9. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

At a recent haircut, the hairdresser, Michelle, was telling me how her life was going to change. A friend-of-a-friend had approached her about an ‘amazing opportunity’ in Las Vegas where they were going to pool their money, borrow some additional funds from the bank, and buy property that was guaranteed to return 15% per year.

Michelle was young and inexperienced with investment, and clearly too trusting of this acquaintance. Alarm bells should ring if anyone comes to you with an opportunity that boasts guaranteed returns, especially high ones. As the adage says: “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”

Previously, we have spoken about investing in an index fund. For the average investor, this is a reliable strategy because it provides good exposure to the market (i.e. diversification) at a low cost. You can sell all (or part) of your investment at any time, and it’s regulated by the authorities such as the SEC or ASIC. If one company on the index fails, you’re still protected by the strength of the other companies.

On the other hand, if you invested all your money in a single company, you might wake up one day to find that the company has gone under and you’ve lost all your money. A parcel of many companies has much smoother returns and less risk than a single company.

For most people, buying a home is the goal. A benefit of this is the forced saving commitment as you work to pay off the loan. However, if you need to access funds quickly, you cannot sell the kitchen. If you’ve got a background in building or property, buying a house can be lucrative but, for the average person, starting with an index fund is often the better option.

If you do buy property, remember that most of the value is in the land, which should dissuade you from buying brand new apartments off the plan, lest you find yourself in a situation like this.

For speculative investments, such as cryptocurrency, only use money you’re willing to lose.

10. The best investment is knowledge.

I love the Zig Ziglar quote: “Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” The best investment you can make is in yourself. A commitment to your ongoing education will help you not only identify opportunities but recognize potential danger too.

For example, if in 2008 when the stock market crashed, you paid attention to the doomsday news stories and sold your index fund investment, you might’ve felt satisfied in the short-term thinking you had avoided further disaster. However, if you had invested in yourself too, you would’ve understood that the stock market is driven in large part by greed and fear, and that all you did was crystallize a loss. After all, the index fund was invested in real companies who have come through these downturns before. As a result of selling, you missed the growth that has happened since, which likely far surpassed the point where you sold.

The right book or podcast could be worth more than a million dollars to you, but most people would rather watch TV. The best investment you can make is in yourself.

11. Communicate with your partner.

Approximately 50% of marriages end in divorce (divorce rates by country), and if you’ve ever been involved in a divorce or witnessed one firsthand, you’ll know it’s definitely one of those things you want to avoid.

Financial issues, which in most cases can be alleviated through communication and planning, is the leading cause of relationship stress and marriage breakdown. Here are some interesting statistics:

Schedule time regularly to ask your partner about their goals, and then share your own thoughts. It might feel like an awkward conversation at first, but it will save you a lot of heartache—and potentially tens of thousands of dollars—down the track.

12. Seek professional advice.

This is an extremely important one. I strongly urge you to seek professional advice where your unique circumstances, goals, and risk profile can be evaluated, and an investment plan prepared for you after taking all that into account.

What’s the best way to find a good financial planner?

Once you’ve done the above, make a list of 3-4 people, or companies, that you think would be a good fit, and then take an initial consultation to see who takes the time to understand you. One of the best ways to judge the merits of a prospective financial planner for you is by the questions they ask and how attentive they are to your responses.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
11 Tips to Supercharge Your Productivity

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50 Best Personal Finance Quotes

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it.” – Albert Einstein

“‘A part of all I earn is mine to keep.' Say it in the morning when you first arise. Say it at noon. Say it at night. Say it each hour of every day. Say it to yourself until the words stand out like letters of fire across the sky.” ― George S. Clason (The Richest Man in Babylon)

“Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner.” – Warren Buffett

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” – George Lorimer

“Buy when everyone else is selling and hold until everyone else is buying. That’s not just a catchy slogan. It’s the very essence of successful investing.” – J. Paul Getty

“The power of compound interest the most powerful force in the universe.” – Albert Einstein

“Never spend your money before you have it.” – Thomas Jefferson

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” – Henry Ford

“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” – Warren Buffett

“The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator.” – Ben Graham

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Successful investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Life is full of uncertainties. However, I can guarantee you one thing: those who put an investment program in place will have a lot more money when they come to retire than those who never get around to it.” – Noel Whittaker

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because they planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.” – William A. Ward

“To attain emotional maturity, each of us must learn to develop two critical capacities: the ability to live with uncertainty and the ability to delay immediate gratification in favor of long-range goals.” – Noel Whittaker

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” – David Brinkley

“How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” – Robert G. Allen

“Don’t keep knowledge trapped in your head or your money stuck in a savings account.” – James Whittaker

“The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” – Phillip Fisher

“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” – P.T. Barnum

“Becoming wealthy is not a matter of how much you earn, who your parents are, or what you do … it is a matter of managing your money properly.” – Noel Whittaker

“What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.” – Warren Buffett

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Henry David Thoreau

“If you understand compound interest, you basically understand the universe.” – Robert Breault

“Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett

“If you’re in the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%.” – Warren Buffett

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Every time you borrow money, you're robbing your future self.” – Nathan W. Morris

“I’m only rich because I know when I’m wrong…I basically have survived by recognizing my mistakes.” –George Soros

“Compound interest on debt was the banker's greatest invention, to capture, and enslave, a productive society.” – Albert Einstein

“Too many people spend money they don’t have to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.” – Robert Quillen

“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” – Zig Ziglar

“Sometimes a very expensive life lesson can be worth every penny.” – Noel Whittaker

“If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know and start charging for it.” – Kim Garst

“I just sit in my office and read all day.” – Warren Buffett

“Understanding both the power of compound interest and the difficulty of getting it is the heart and soul of understanding a lot of things.” – Charlie Munger

“The four most expensive words in the English language are, ‘This time it’s different.’” – Sir John Templeton

“Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that ‘Price is what you pay; value is what you get.’ Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.” – Warren Buffett

“Good and evil increase at compound interest. That's why the little decisions we make every day are of infinite importance.” – C. S. Lewis

“It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” – Warren Buffett

“There’s always a way if you look hard enough.” – Noel Whittaker

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

“The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse, and long-standing friends.” – Warren Buffett

“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

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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