Each day, if you do not make the decision to win, you have automatically made the decision to lose.”

James Whittaker

Welcome to Win the Day and today is a special one – this is Episode 50!

Before we dive into all the good stuff for today, I just want to say an enormous THANK YOU for listening to this podcast, watching it on YouTube, and sharing it with friends. Your support means the world to me, and we’ve got some seriously kickass episodes coming up! So if you haven’t already, hit subscribe on YouTube or follow on Spotify. Together, let’s bring more and more positive energy into the world.

Because this show is about growth. It’s about recognizing that, while we might’ve faced adversity, challenges – even serious trauma – in our past, all that matters is what we decide to do from here. That’s why to truly win the day, we must begin every morning with an acknowledgement that the day – THIS day – is there to be won.

When I’m bringing these guests on the show – who are some of the most accomplished individuals on the planet – I’m trying to hone in on what they’ve done different:

With that information, I can learn, you can learn, and together we can inspire others through our example. That’s growth. Every day, we get better and better, so we can make the world – and everyone in it – a better place.

But this show is nothing without ACTION, so make sure with every episode you think about what 2-3 things you’re going to do as a result of what you’ve learned. As Napoleon Hill said, “Action is the real measure of intelligence.”

Today, in honor of our 50th episode, I’m going to share with you my 12 most memorable takeaways from the guests’ we’ve had on the show. These are the value bombs that have stood out to me the most, and I know will be enormously impactful for you too.

And because of this milestone, we've got a special giveaway! Make sure you check out the podcast or YouTube version of this episode for more info on that.

The quote for this episode is one I put up at every speech:

“Each day, if you do not make the decision to win, you have automatically made the decision to lose.”

If you can figure that quote out, and turn that into a habit, the rest is easy.

In fact, I started saying “Win the day” because I wanted something more succinct from that sentence that I could use for my podcast. And the rest is history! Here we are, 50 episodes in, and you and I are still making the decision to win because the alternative, which is slowly losing every day, eroding our progress, and sabotaging our dreams, is not something we can tolerate. We’ve got ONE life to live and we’re going to unlock every little particle of potential inside us so our time on the earth is well spent.

So are you ready to win? I hope so! And if there’s a friend or loved one who wants to join us, share this episode with them right now.

In honor of our 50th episode, here are the 12 best tips to win the day, every day. Welcome to the Win the Day All-Star Edition. 

NOTE: This episode contains exclusive clips from special guests who have come on the show. For the best experience, we recommend checking out either the podcast or YouTube version of this episode.

1. The best way to show you’re grateful for something is to take care of it.

I’ve noticed that the word “gratitude” has become hijacked lately, a little bit like the “self-love” movement. People talk a big gratitude game and post their fancy snaps on Instagram, but what Gabby Reece shared during Episode 43 of the show is that the best way to show you’re grateful for something is to actually take care of it.

That means, behind closed doors, when the phone’s away, you’re looking after the things you’re grateful for – whether that’s your physical health, your mental health, or the most important people in your life.

Here’s what Gabby shared:

“I don't need to lose my health to covet it.

The other thing I'm doing is I'm practicing. When people talk about gratitude, the best way I can show that, "Hey, I'm really grateful for my health," is to take care of it. That's ultimately what I'm doing.

The other side of that is it's a level of sanity. I am a better functioning organism if I can also take care of the physical avatar to the best of my ability. It's a law of the universe. It's the truth, and so I don't need to keep relearning that lesson. I know what the lesson is, and I'm just ahead with it.”

So if, like me, you’ve been bitten by the gratitude bug, that’s awesome! Just make sure you’re doing the reps behind the scenes. Those daily reps add up to massive results over time.

2. Actively pursue calm so you can thrive in chaos.

If there’s one thing the covid pandemic has emphasized in bold, italic, and underline, it’s that the world is shifting faster than ever before – but, most importantly, it’s going to keep getting faster and faster, as George Chanos reminded us in Episode 27.

When the covid pandemic started, there was an entrepreneur in Australia who saw it coming months ahead of time, and that was Kerwin Rae.

In Episode 31 Kerwin came on the show to reveal those insights with us, but what I found most impactful was his emphasis on pursuing calm at all costs. As the world is getting faster, more chaotic, more transactional, more automated, and more digital, we’re faced with sensory stimulation like we’ve never even imagined – and that’s an absolute recipe for disaster where our mental health is concerned.

Yet, Kerwin reminds us that we need to shift away from passive sensory overload, and instead shift to more proactively putting ourselves in situations that get us out of our comfort zone in a good way. And if we can do that regularly, and train ourselves to be effective and calm in complete chaos, we will not only be extremely well positioned to benefit from the rapidly changing world but we'll also insulate ourselves from failure that could be completely demobilizing for most people.

Here’s what Kerwin said:

“The more you can regulate stress in a healthy way, at levels that other people can't, the more you’ll enable yourself to go further than anyone else can.

That’s the beautiful thing about being human. We all have this capability to grow. We all have this capability to change and transform.

The only difference between someone who plays here and someone who plays here is their ability to expose themselves to information, in some cases, stress, at a level that they can regulate in a healthy way. That's why not everyone's going to be able to build a multi-billion-dollar company because not everyone could cope with the mental stress of even considering working with those denominations and those values.

And that's why you'll always find where your limit is, and wherever that limit is you'll be constrained by some level of fear that triggers a level of stress.”

3. Tie your financial goals to your definite major purpose.

Most people recognize the importance of proper goal-setting in achieving what they want. (And to start practicing what I believe is the most effective goal-setting system available, download my Success Plan. Free instant download; no opt-in required). But when it comes to your financial goals, the secret sauce is how you tie them into your definite major purpose.

Your definite major purpose is the core goal you have that most of your other sub-goals stem from.

Anyone can put “$1 million” on a goal sheet, but tying it into your definite major purpose, backing it by emotion, and then outlining the steps you need to take to get there and how that will impact the world is going to make it 100x more likely for you to achieve that goal.

In Episode 38, personal finance expert Adam Carroll shared this with us:

“My parents were very positive-minded and they talked about opportunity a lot. My dad was big into Deepak Chopra back in the day. And he would tell me growing up that I was a wizard, and I didn't really understand what he was telling me at the time. I had visions of Harry Potter-esque kind of wizards.

But what he was telling me, I believe, is that I could create whatever environment I wanted to create; that I had the ability to manifest my own desires. And so when I read Think and Grow Rich the first time – which you are obviously well-versed in – I realized how important the messages of definiteness of purpose, and of focus and attention, were. I have a saying up on my door up here and it says “The definiteness of purpose for acquiring wealth is necessary for its acquisition.”

And I kept reading that over and over and over again. Think and Grow Rich was one of the first books that got me on the path. Then I went down this unbelievable rabbit hole of finding all of the quantum physics and law of attraction books that were out there. I realized that we are all constantly, consciously or unconsciously, creating our own environment.”

So powerful.

Remember, Adam is the guy whose TED Talk on playing Monopoly with real money has 6+ million views. So if you’ve got big financial goals – and you should because the more resources you have at your disposal the more you can contribute to the causes you care about the most – you need to tie it into a higher purpose or mission that you have for your life.

4. Your past isn’t your future.

If we’ve been brought up in an environment that doesn’t reward creativity, growth or love, we might feel that we’re doomed to continue that cycle. Or worse, we might never recognize that a problem even exists because it seems “normal” to us.

But in Episode 37, Dr Sonja Stribling – who’s one of the toughest and most resilient people I’ve ever met – stated:

“When you hear me say that 'If you didn't come from a wealthy family, let a wealthy family come from you,' it empowers you to realize that just because you came from nothing doesn't mean your family has to carry on that tradition. It means you get to create whatever lifestyle you want. That's just been my mantra. I don't want my children to suffer the way I did or the way my mother did.

And it's not just about the money. Being rich is more about teaching different ways that your children don't have to always go get a 9:00am to 5:00pm job and always have to go to school because school is not for everyone. There are other means to create wealth. You just need to know where to find those ideas and the strategies and the tips and tools to do so.”

While, at times, you might feel that your future is pre-destined because of the circumstances where you grew up, it’s never too late to be what you want to be, lead by example, and inspire future generations to take ownership of their lives. And while the goal of flipping the script of generational poverty in your family and turning it to generational wealth might be great financially, never forget that it’s the lessons, the relationships, and the attitude to handling adversity that are the most important things.

5. There is no excuse for you to remain mediocre.

This might seem harsh, but I’ve interviewed enough people now who have overcome the most horrific circumstances imaginable and gone on to incredible success. To see firsthand what they’ve been able to do with their lives but, more importantly, how grateful they are for that adversity, has been the biggest blessing I've had on this journey. In some of their deepest pain, they were able to use those experiences as fuel to live a life of compassion, meaning, and impact.

Some of those people are Janine Shepherd, who I mentioned in chapter one of Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy. Her story as a walking paraplegic is extraordinary. Remember, she had qualified for the Olympic Games, only to have her athletic dreams and physical being completely destroyed through no fault of her own.

There’s Jim Stovall who, at 18, went totally and permanently blind, before going on to write 30 bestselling books and become the founder of the Narrative Television Network – while blind. Todd Love, who became a triple amputee at 18 years old after being blown up by an IED in Afghanistan; Todd views the explosion as a “gift” and has since completed the Spartan Race on numerous occasions to inspire others.

Or Sonja Stribling, who we just mentioned in the last tip, who was born into a family as the youngest of 12 children, to parents who only had a second-grade education. At age 15, she gave birth to her first child. And just two years later, at 17 years old, she was raped and left for dead in a field. Sonja is now an internationally regarded female empowerment coach who helps millions of people around the world.

There are too many examples of this.

Make no mistake, how you respond to adversity when it INEVITABLY strikes is what separates ordinary people from extraordinary achievers.

And in Episode 30, #1 NY Times bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi shared a very succinct approach for those who want to become extraordinary:

“There is no excuse for you to remain mediocre. If you want to be extraordinary, you chart your path. If you hold onto your individual title, you'll never have enough resources under your control to really break through. You need to go to Peter Diamandis, you need to go to Jim Kwik, you need to get James Whittaker who knows everything about podcasts to teach you about podcasts, right?

You need to expand your view of team. If you don't redefine your view of team, you will remain mediocre with mediocre resources.”

So think about what you can do to turn your individual mission into a shared mission.

There is no excuse for you to remain mediocre. If you want to be extraordinary, you chart your path and build the team to get you there. That’s it. It’s so empowering.

Rather than dwell on our misfortune, or people who’ve wronged us, or whatever it might be, we instead need to channel that energy into constructive means so we can create the very circumstances we want.

That all starts with a recognition that a better life awaits (irrespective of what has happened to us in the past), followed by a focus on detailed plans to make it happen, then a commitment to seeing it through with the right people around us.

6. Regardless of what happened yesterday, wake up ready to win today.

Like most of these tips, the real growth comes when you can turn them into a habit – that way, when the voice of doubt kicks in, it’s quickly overridden by habit and you do what needs to be done.

One of the best habits to have is waking up and recognizing today as a clean slate, which means you leave any drama, frustration, or stress in the past where it belongs. And you wake up excited for another opportunity to do exactly what you want to do.

In Episode 42, ultra athlete Marcus Smith, who was almost killed after being hit by a vehicle while cycling, shared this:

“We ALL have tough days. We ALL get overwhelmed and we have to be honest with ourselves on that. But I think what the difference is from what you said and from what I see in my life is that no matter how bad today is I'll wake up tomorrow and it's a new day, and I'm ready to dominate and you're ready to win the day.

If I can just encourage people that every time you go to bed, when you get up the next day, you've been just gifted this unique opportunity to do amazing things. You've got a fresh mind. And if you start the day with this great positive mindset that you're going to have an awesome life, you can just rinse and repeat that. It's beautiful.”

And there’s a level of peace that you can see in these people. They’re at peace with themselves and what has happened to them, and they’re even at peace with the people who were responsible for their most brutal pain.

But more than peace, they also know exactly who they are, what they’re capable of, and how they will inch closer toward their mission.

7. Always take time for yourself.

There’s been many moments in my life – too many to name – where I’ve reached a pretty dark place and felt overwhelmed and frustrated, and the negative self-talk got noisier and noisier.

Inevitably, in every one of those instances, it was because I either did not know about the daily rituals for success, or I had become so overwhelmed with work that I neglected those daily rituals of success.

If we fall out of alignment, that’s when those dark feelings emerge, and it’s a horrible feeling to find yourself in a situation where you’re saying, “How did I get here AGAIN?”

It can be a difficult road to come back from.

In Episode 48, Rob Angel – who was the creator of the world’s bestselling board game, Pictionary – mentioned how he had to take a leave of absence from his own business because he was totally out of alignment:

“As entrepreneurs, they say you've got to push hard and make sure you're working 24/7, and you've got to push, push, push. Well, that's what I wound up doing. And about 5-6 years in, I changed my mission from giving Pictionary to the world and people having fun, to how do I make more money and push this game.

It wasn't just burnout. It was complete and total anxiety. I wasn't comfortable with myself. My authentic self had left and I was so off balance. I was so out of alignment. But I didn't know how to deal with it. So for a couple of years, I was getting in fights with my partners over nothing.

And I wouldn't show up for work periodically and it just became untenable. So I took a leave of absence. That's all I could do. I had to remove myself and recalibrate and took about six months. I came back to the business and the partners accepted me and took up the slack. But you don't have to do that. You can pre-warn.

Make sure you take an hour for yourself every day. Whether it's meditation, watching television, working out, or whatever it might be, where you don't think about your business. Because guess what? If you're not there for 20 minutes, it's going to be there when you get back. It's not like it'll fail if you take time for yourself.

I do believe in meditation. But if that just sounds so woo-hoo and off the wall, take a walk, anything, but you've got to take care of yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically to be more productive and make more money and be more successful. You have to.”

So make sure you stay in alignment. And the best way to do to that is: to always have an idea of what success looks like to you in ALL areas; and, second, make sure your own cup is full at all times, because the more you have the more you have to give.

8. Give yourself time to heal and re-align.

A surprising theme I noted from most of the people who’ve come on the show is that a deliberate break has been the springboard to their greatest achievement. In Episode 26, Australian entrepreneur Michael Fox (founder of Fable Food Co) shared how he raised more than US $30 million for an exciting business venture that was backed by some of the most established retailers and venture capital firms in the world.

But after losing everything – his business, the $30 million in investor money, 10 years of his life, and even his marriage – Michael took six months off in Europe where he allowed his intellectual curiosity to go where it wanted to go.

In that moment of massive internal transition, which didn’t have any boundaries or time constraints around it (like he’d had with the rigorous demands of running his own business), Michael became drawn to one particular topic, which became the foundation of his new mission: to end industrial agriculture.

Michael went all-in on that mission, and in a few short years has created a high-end meat alternative that uses mushrooms, which is now available in more than 1,000 supermarkets and has partnered with people like acclaimed chef Heston Blumenthal.

Here’s what Michael had to say:

“My wife and I, with our one-and-a-half-year-old, went to Denmark. For me, it was a great period to have a reset – I didn't have any pressure to find a job or figure out what I was going to do next. I just knew, okay, there's six months, I can focus on being a dad and do whatever I feel like doing.

I ended up reading a lot of books. And because I've been vegetarian for four and a half years, I just ended up reading more about industrial animal agriculture. There were other areas that I was really passionate about and started exploring too, like community living and some different areas like that. But I just ended up reading all these different areas that I was passionate about.

Then towards the end of the six months, I started thinking, “Well, there's two or three areas I'm deeply passionate about, is there a business model or something that I could do?” Well, actually, I didn't even want to start a new business. I was thinking that maybe I could work for someone else in in the meat alternative space because it’s a space that's been growing really quickly.

That six months allowed me to explore whatever I wanted to, wherever my intellectual curiosity took me. That really helped me narrow in on what my passion was and what industry I might like to enter. We added lifestyle decisions around that, and got to work."

So if you’ve gone through a very difficult period, make sure you take a defined period of time – without any boundaries, constraints, or pressure – to allow your intellectual curiosity to go wherever it wants to go. You’ll likely find answers to what you want with much more clarity than you’ve experienced ever before, which could be the perfect springboard to your next chapter.

9. The most important opinion is how you feel about yourself.

All those who do great things have one fundamental attribute: unwavering self-belief. In a world, where haters come with the territory, and everything we see comes with a like, share, and comment button, it’s more important than ever to recognize that there’s only ONE opinion that really matters and it’s how you feel about yourself.

In Episode 32, a truly unique guy, Coss Marte, came on the show to share his story. Coss was brought up in very difficult circumstances, before finding massive success on the wrong side of the law. As one of New York’s most prominent drug dealers, Coss was earning more than $5 million a year at 21 years old and needed eight mobile phones just to store the sheer number of customer contacts. Eventually, he was sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence, but was able to use his time inside to start a new career as a fitness entrepreneur.

There was one quote that stood out to me during our conversation: “My mentality was nothing is going to stop me.” Even in a prison cell, Coss was going to turn his dream into a reality, and I would never bet against someone with that level of faith in themselves.

Here’s how Coss describes what happened next:

“I started realizing that I was affecting not only the thousands of people that I sold drugs to, but I started thinking about their families. I started thinking about my family. I started thinking about this web of destruction that I'd created, and I felt so much regret. I said, “I want to give back in some sort of way.”

I came up with the idea of ConBody in that cell. Then, I lost 70 pounds in six months, while helping 20 other inmates lose more than 1,000 pounds combined. So, I started this whole workout program in the prison yard. I knew then that it’s what I wanted to do when I came home: a prison-style bootcamp. In my cell, I wrote a mini-business plan and a 90-day workout plan.

I said to myself that I would do what I wrote, and I did.

About a year later, I came home and put it into action. I started training classes in the park, then rented out studios, then eventually opened up my own studio. It escalated to building an online workout platform where I now train thousands of people all over the world. Today, we've trained more than 50,000 people. But the most beautiful thing is that we've hired over 40 people coming out of the prison system, and none of them have come back into the system.”

So next time you’re faced with an opinion about what you’re not capable of, whether it’s from a family member, a friend, or a total stranger, remember that those comments are based on THEIR limitations. The most important opinion is how you feel about yourself, so take action on your dreams and what you know you're capable of.

10. Create imagined memories to manifest your ideal outcomes.

That might sound a little woo-woo, but what Emily Fletcher shared in Episode 29 blew me away. Emily is the world’s leader in meditation for high performance, and one of the most valuable takeaways I got from her episode was that the mind doesn’t know the difference between imagined memories we create for the future and actual memories from our past.

So if we’re serious about creating a life we love, a powerful method is to consciously remind ourselves of the outcomes we want and have the discipline to do it every day. We literally visualize an important moment – whether it’s a client meeting, a keynote presentation, a guest appearance on a podcast – and play out the entire event in our most optimal state.

That way, when it happens in real time, we’ve already trained our subconscious to deliver at the highest possible level and made sure we’re perfectly prepared for that opportunity.

Emily uses a combination of meditation and manifestation to reduce the impact of previous trauma while empowering us to get the absolute best result from important events we have coming up in the future:

“Mindfulness is really good at dealing with your stress in the now. And then the manifesting piece is all about dealing with your dreams for the future. So it sounds a little hippy-dippy. It sounds a little woo-woo. Maybe not to you or your audience!

But I would define manifesting as consciously creating a life you love. It is reminding yourself of your dreams. And what I've found is that the combination – and this might really be the thing that keeps you committed to meditation – the combination of meditation and manifesting is so much more powerful than either one alone. Because you could meditate all day, but if you're not clear about what it is that you want it's very hard for nature to give you the thing.

And conversely, you could manifest all day, lining your walls with vision boards, but if you're not meditating and your nervous system is riddled with stress and trauma, and limiting beliefs that you can't even see, then again it's going to be a lot harder for you to achieve your dreams. But when you do them together, you get rid of the stress in your body, you peel away these subconscious limiting beliefs, and you remind yourself of your dreams every day, twice a day, and things start to show up a lot more quickly.”

It’s one hell of a bio-hack, yet so few people do it. If now is the time to massively level-up with what you’re doing, create imagined memories for future events to manifest your ideal outcomes.

11. Help the people who want the help, not the people who need the help.

This has been a lesson I learned the hard way. Naively, I thought I could help everyone, and you might have felt – or still feel – the same way. But if we try to lift people up who don’t even want to be lifted, not only are we NOT going to be able to lift them up but they’ll likely end up pulling us down to their level.

But in Episode 33, mindset expert John Assaraf mentioned:

“On many occasions I’ve worked harder at helping somebody achieve their goal than they have. But that brings me back to a couple of things that I've discovered over the years. First and foremost, help the people who want the help, not the people who need the help.

Number two, don't be in the convincing business, because if you've got to convince somebody, then they're not sold on themselves doing it.

Number three, every person I work with I ask the question, “Are you interested or are you committed?” And if they tell me they're committed, and they're willing to do whatever it takes, and be radically honest with themselves, and radically honest with what they do, or don't do, then I'm willing to help you.

But anybody else, I have no interest in helping. I don't want to spend my time trying to talk somebody into what they should be doing.”

Powerful, right!? And I’ll never forget it. John shared a TON of gold in that episode.

12. Action is everything.

There’s a quote we mentioned at the start of this episode from Napoleon Hill: “Action is the real measure of intelligence.” Hill also mentioned “It doesn’t matter what you know; it matters what you DO with what you know.”

And when Brandon T. Adams came on the show in Episode 35, he said this:

“Action is what gets results. The number one thing holding people back is they think about something and they strategize all day. At the end of the day, an idea is shit unless you actually take action towards it, and that's what I learned in Think and Grow Rich. You've got to take daily action, even if it's one thing you do every day, every single day, just one thing you accomplish. It'll build up, it's the compound effect. It'll slowly build up over time, and eventually, get you your bigger opportunity.

If you take action, get outside your comfort zone, and become comfortable being uncomfortable, you will find opportunity. And then follow up on the opportunity; don't just get it and then let it go. You have to follow up and keep taking action, every single day.”

And that’s success in a nutshell. Eventually, you have to get your hands dirty. You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. You’ve got to take action. So a question I want you to ask yourself right now is:

Who do I need to become to succeed in this rapidly changing world?

There might be skills you need to get, relationships you have to establish, limiting beliefs you need to overcome. The world is changing faster than ever, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re clear on who you need to become so you can figure out what action you need to take.


I hope you’ve enjoyed those 12 tips to win the day every day! If you wanted to dive into those in more detail, you can check out the full episodes, available in video on YouTube and in audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon, and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

What was your favorite tip? Let me know in either the comments on the YouTube video or in a review on Apple Podcasts. We’ll then pick out THREE lucky people to receive a signed copy of Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy delivered to wherever you are in the world for free.

Is there someone in your life who needs some help winning the day? Share this episode with them now. They’ll thank you for it later, I promise.

To finish, I want to leave you with the quote for today’s episode:

“Each day if you do not make the decision to win you have automatically made the decision to lose.”

Imprint that on your mind so nothing can knock you off course ever again.

That’s all, folks! Remember, to get out there and win the day. And think about how strong you'll be when we hit 100 episodes 😉

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

Resources / links mentioned:

Success Plan.

🎥 YouTube version of this episode.

Episodes mentioned:

Win the Day with Gabby Reece (Ep 43).

Win the Day with John Assaraf (Ep 33).

Win the Day with Rob Angel (Ep 48).

Win the Day with Keith Ferrazzi (Ep 30).

Win the Day with Kerwin Rae (Ep 31).

Win the Day with Emily Fletcher (Ep 29).

Win the Day with Coss Marte (Ep 32).

Win the Day with Dr Sonja Stribling (Ep 37).

Win the Day with Brandon T. Adams (Ep 35).

Win the Day with Adam Carroll (Ep 38).

Win the Day with Michael Fox (Ep 26).

Win the Day with Marcus Smith (Ep 42).

“All individual achievements are the result of motive.”

Napoleon Hill

Although we’re only two-and-a-bit months into the new year, I started thinking about what are the biggest achievements that come to mind for humanity this year? And achievements don’t always need to be a layer stacked on another layer that becomes a Gold medal. The achievements that actually came to mind for me were in response to some type of tragic situation that rallied large parts of the community to help in any way they could.

With trillions wiped off the share market this week, you've probably got questions - and we've got answers! Check out just released special episode 'Coronavirus & Financial Volatility - Is the World Ending?' available now!

Shortly, we’ll go through a few of those achievements. But as we do, I want you to think about how the power of motive was used to make these achievements a reality because that’s what the power of motive does—it makes the impossible, possible.

“Motive” means “A reason for doing something.” And when that reason is sufficient enough—and directed to a clear outcome—MASSIVE results manifest.

1. Australian bushfires.

My faith in the media has been waning for years after the bombardment of sensationalist and negative stories, but I was thoroughly impressed with how well they covered the bushfires. When these fires decimated the Australian landscape, killing an estimated 1 billion animals, the tragedy dominated the news.

My family travelled to Australia for the Christmas break during that time, and it was heartbreaking to see what was going on. Yet, it was only when we returned to the US that I realized just how far and wide it had been reported.

It was the imagery—the heart-wrenching videos and tragic photos that showed the extent of the destruction. 34 people perished, and this included international firefighters who had flown to Australia to lend a hand.

This wasn’t a movie—it was real life. And as people saw it, they FELT it. And when they felt it, they knew they HAD to help.

When people were given an OUTLET to help, they did. Individuals gave all they could, with money, clothing, and other emergency supplies. Even companies like the UFC donated $250,000 before dedicating an entire event to raising money for the fire relief.

Aussie larrikin Shane Warne, who is also one of the greatest cricketers to ever play the game, auctioned his baggy green cap—which is like Excalibur for every national cricketer. It sold for more than $1 million, with all proceeds going to the relief efforts. Movie stars and business leaders dug deep, chipping in a million here and a million there.

But the one campaign that captured people’s hearts, and is credited with kickstarting much of the larger donations that came in from around the globe, was started by Aussie comedian Celeste Barber. What started as an effort to raise $30,000 ended up with more than $50 MILLION in donations.

One of the advantages of crowdfunding is that it often reveals who out of your friends has donated to a given campaign. Your Facebook feed would show that dozens of your friends had contributed to a certain cause. That social proof, complemented with strong media support and influencer endorsement, created a snowballing effect—surpassing her original goal by a multiple of 1,600 times!

Barber also hosted the Fire Fight Australia concert that brought together some of the country’s biggest musical acts and raised ANOTHER $10 million. All proceeds from these efforts have gone to helping fire-ravaged communities get back on their feet and supporting the greatly depleted emergency services teams.

Are the bushfires an achievement? Absolutely not. But the community banding together to raise more than $500 million for the relief effort certainly is. It’s a phenomenal result, all due to the power of motive.

2. Quaden Bayles.

A few weeks ago, a heartbreaking video went viral around the world. It featured 9-year-old Australian boy Quaden Bayles in tears after being the subject of relentless schoolyard bullying for dwarfism. In the video, he asked his mum for a knife so he could kill himself. I think anyone who’s a parent, or anyone who’s been the victim of bullying before, would greatly empathize with how horrible that situation would be.

The confronting video quickly captured hearts around the world. Then, American comedian Brad Williams launched a crowdfunding campaign with the aim of raising $10,000 so Quaden and his family could enjoy a holiday to Disneyland. Again, the power of motive came into play, with the crowdfund quickly raising more than $700,000.

But it wasn’t just cash that came through. In a video viewed almost two million times, actor Hugh Jackman said:

“Quaden, you are stronger than you know, mate. And no matter what, you’ve got a friend in me. So everyone of us, please be kind to each other. Bullying is not okay, period. Life is hard enough. Let’s just remember every person in front of us is facing some kind of battle, so let’s just be kind.”

Hugh Jackman is spot on: life is hard enough as it is, and we have no idea what battle other people are facing, so we need to be kind.

3. The Samburu tribe in Africa.

In northern Kenya, the Samburu — a mostly nomadic tribe — suffered a tragedy when one of their own, Pius Lenakukuya, became a quadriplegic through a freak accident. It left him with a broken neck and severe spinal cord injuries. Enduring something of this magnitude would be challenging enough in an urban first-world scenario, but being in a remote part of Africa without access to medical care, represented a burden the Samburu were ill-equipped for.

Even if they were able to raise funds, like we’ve seen earlier with the bushfires and Quaden Bayles, their nomadic lifestyle and rugged terrain would be no match for whatever support came through. And, being in such a remote part of the planet, meant they were left entirely to their own devices.

But my dear friend Janine Shepherd, who I’m sure many of you know by now, came to the rescue. Janine is not only a spinal cord patient herself, she’s also spent a lot of time with the Samburu Tribe in Kenya (and knew Pius personally), and decided something had to be done.

Now, you must realize Janine’s superpower is that she doesn’t take no for an answer. She doesn’t take no for an answer. In fact, sometimes the word ‘’no” fires her up even more so she can prove the doubters wrong.

Leveraging her network, Janine set out to do the impossible. She initiated a crowdfunding campaign while at the same time went to work finding medical specialists who would donate their time to fly to Kenya and help with his physical therapy.

The crowdfunding campaign surpassed Janine’s goal of $25,000, with more than 400 people contributing. Her efforts even resulted in a physical therapist and a nurse travelling to Kenya to give Pius a month of intensive rehabilitation. What started as Pius only having movement of one arm has now resulted in him being up on his feet and learning to walk once more.

While still an extremely long road ahead, those who rallied behind Janine’s efforts—which was for a campaign she knew so much about after what she went through personally—have given hope to Pius and the Samburu. That’s the power of motive.


Yes, these are rather extreme examples, but you can leverage this exact same tactic in your own life right now. You don’t need to be on the receiving end of some tragedy. As Napoleon Hill said: “All individual achievements are the result of motive.”

That motive all but forces their hand, stimulating action in the direction that you want.

Motive, that reason for doing something—when combined with a clear outcome—gets massive results. Motive means momentum. If you don’t have motive, you are destined to stagnate. Weak motive leads to weak results, just as a strong motive can change the world.

So think about what areas of life you want different results in right now and explore the power of motive to make it happen.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

PS - Learn more about the power of motive in my new book Andrew Carnegie's Mental Dynamite. Available for pre-sale right now!

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

Mark Zuckerberg

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

Think about the earlier quote from Mark Zuckerberg:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Failure:

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

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

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

2. Risk:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Scenario 1.

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

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

Scenario 2.

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

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

Scenario 3.

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

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

Scenario 4.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Until next time,

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

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

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well have not lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”

J. K. Rowling

Quick announcement before we get into this post. To help people absolutely crush 2020, I’m very excited to announce The Day Won Mastermind! This begins on 24th February 2020 and will be a 3-month program. It’s designed for professionals and entrepreneurs who want to find their voice, build their tribe, and make an impact.

I want to make sure I can allocate the proper amount of time for each person, so spots are strictly limited! I'll be sharing everything I know about success, happiness, and creating a life of freedom. If you want the ultimate foundation for success in 2020, to have me work with you on your business and your personal life, and to surround yourself with people who can help you along the way, grab one of the places while you can.

There's also a special bonus for the first 10 people to join. To reserve your place, or get more info, go to The Day Won Mastermind.

Alright, back to our post!

What does the "New Year" mean to you? For most people, it's a night of partying or a chance to have a holiday. Both of those are fine because it's important to have fun, but it's useful to know that the New Year marks a complete orbiting of the Earth around the sun. Recently, more and more, I've enjoyed it as an opportunity to refocus on what's most important and chart a detailed course for the next 12 months.

This celestial significance of the New Year gives us three insights:

As we begin our list, grab a notepad and brainstorm how you can apply these into your life. If you can do that consistently, your success in 2020 is assured.

1. Clearly define goals.

Napoleon Hill wrote that the starting point of ALL achievement is desire. In fact, he made it the very first principle of Think and Grow Rich, so that gives you an idea of just how important this step is. After all, if you don’t know what your perfect destination looks like, how can you expect to end up anywhere near there?

Once you’ve got that perfect destination in mind—in each area of your life that’s important to you (download this free Success Plan Template for a step-by-step guide)—turn it into clearly defined goals that are:

As you’re preparing these goals, let your thoughts run wild, unencumbered by what others may think. On this journey to living a life on your own terms, you’re going to encounter a lot of people with their ill-informed opinions, but you must remember that the most important opinion is how you feel about yourself.

Financial freedom in particular is a huge goal for so many people, as it should be; therefore, I strongly encourage you to read this post 'How to Become a Financial Winner' to get yourself on the right track. A recent study even revealed that wealthy people live longer and in better physical health, so make it a priority for you.

2. Hang out with the right people.

Ever driven in a Ford car? I’m sure you have. You might even have owned one. In the 109 years since it was founded, the Ford Motor Company has built more than 350 million automobiles, averaging a new car sold every 10 seconds. Its founder, Henry Ford, passed away in 1947 with a net worth of more than US $200 billion (adjusted for inflation).

Not bad for a poor, illiterate kid.

Henry Ford once said: “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” That’s one of my favorite quotes because seeing how your life has changed as a result of someone else’s presence is a very clear yardstick for the value of that relationship.

Often, we feel obligated to keep associating with people just because we went to school with them, or they’re a family friend, or maybe even a family member. But it’s important to protect your energy source, which includes understanding the following:

Over the holiday period, you might’ve bumped into some of the toxic people that made your skin crawl. Well, now is the time to replace them with someone who makes you happy and helps you succeed!

If you’re not sure where to start, join the Win the Day Facebook group and introduce yourself! We’ve got almost 400 people there just looking for ways to help others.

3. Create a positive environment.

A big learning for me in the last few years is recognizing the full magnitude that our mental state has to the meaning we attach to a given situation. If we’re in a grumpy mood, we’re going to focus a lot more negatively about any situation presented to us; yet, if we’re in an inspired mood, we’ll see the BEST in any situation.

There are mental tricks we can play to get into a positive mood, just as there are things that pull us into a negative state. What can you do? Just as we think about intent for how to structure the day, we can apply this just as readily to environmental care:

Even listening to a podcast or an audiobook once a day can help you give the constant repetition of positive materials to put you in the right head space.

4. Have strong systems to achieve.

This is where most well-intentioned people fall down. The absolutely essential next step after defining your goals is to BUILD them into your daily life so you know, every single day, what work you need to do and how it relates to your long-term mission.

Every year, I complete the Success Plan Template, then turn those 90-day goals into action items that then go into my calendar. After 90 days, I have another notification that goes off to do the next 90 days worth of goals and action items. What that is release yourself of stress today because you know the outcome already.

Contrast this to those who either don’t set goals in the first place, or do—but never create a strong system to actually achieve them.

There’s one final fail-safe measure here that you can take: When you wake up each day, write down three things you’re grateful for and three things that would make today a win. This ensures that EVERYTHING you do is with intent and positions you as the hero of your own story, rather than having to stare glumly or enviously at what everyone else is doing.

5. Attach happiness to the present.

The digital age has greatly exacerbated our self-esteem. When we don’t have a worthy method for self-evaluation, we look elsewhere for it, and images of ‘perfect’ people are thrust into our vision from all the social media platforms. This is where phrases like “I’ll be happy if…” and “I’ll be happy when…” become our mantra, as we attach our happiness to the success we believe others have that continues to elude us. This can be anything, from a desirable partner to a thriving business, or even having someone else’s body.

But true happiness is not just found in the present, it’s found by being present. So enjoy being in the present, come rain, hail or shine, and say “Yes!” to life more often. Just be aware that this step will be much easier to complete after you’ve done the preceding four steps.

6. Join a mastermind.

Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars and years of your time trying to figure it out yourself, find someone who has the success you want and do what they tell you! If you join a mastermind that gives you unprecedented access with someone you admire, while allowing you to collaborate with other like-minded people, your idea of what you can achieve will increase exponentially and your journey to getting there will be so much faster.

To find a good mastermind, just make sure:

A good mastermind will give you massive amounts of structure, challenge, and accountability in all areas of your life.


I wish you every success and happiness in 2020!

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

PS - Remember to secure your place in The Day Won Mastermind (or schedule a call to find out if it's the right fit for you).

“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:

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:

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.


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

“You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

Henry Ford

Most people have the best of intentions—why is it, then, that extraordinary success is seemingly reserved for so few people?

We all know that action is an essential ingredient to success, but there are many different types of action. Your choice determines the difference between those who keep running around in circles versus those who are able to continuously level-up.

You might have heard that the best way to predict the future is to create it. It’s a brilliant quote.

Who has put this idea into practice?

You get the idea. There are endless examples, and I’m sure you can think of a few yourself!

Let’s think again about the episode quote: “You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.” What I love about that quote is how directly it talks about the importance of purposeful action. Your reputation is built on what you’ve already done. It is not built on how well you talk about what you’re going to do.

This quote is even more powerful when considered in context. In Henry Ford’s time, and we’re talking around the year 1900, horses were the primary mode of transportation. They filled the streets of every city and were used for mail, transport, and entertainment.

But they weren’t perfect.

Horse dung was left all over the streets (a problem so offensive that it became an expression in itself), and when horses died they would leave behind a heavy, smelly carcass that would need at least one more horse to drag it away. They were vulnerable in bad weather. Not to mention the dozens of other complexities with having an actual animal as the engine—the primary mode of transportation.

There had to be a better way. Alas, horses had been commonplace for so long that most people simply assumed they would be around forever—just like they did with Kodak, Blockbuster, and Nokia. After all, horses changed the face of warfare, revolutionized numerous other industries, and today we still use the expression ‘send in the cavalry.'

Seeing the future, Ford had a dream to build a horseless carriage. His aim was to provide a product that boasted all the benefits of this dependable mode of transportation, while eliminating the problems that had caused frustration for owners, passengers, and government officials.

When hearing about Ford’s idea, everyone scoffed and said that would be impossible. If it wasn’t the pipe-dream that turned them off, it was probably the fact that Ford didn’t have a degree from a fancy university. In fact, not only did not Ford not attend university, he never even went to high school.

This is an interesting juncture in our story because I am assuming that everyone reading this has either owned a Ford or gone for a ride in a Ford vehicle?

So we know how the story ends.

Above: A triumphant Henry Ford observing his defeated foe.

But how was a poor, uneducated man able to completely revolutionize transportation, and in the process become one of the wealthiest and most famous people on the planet?

Ford was crystal clear about his dream, but then he realized there was one problem—he could only do so much alone. Many people abandon their dream at that point, when the odds seem insurmountable and they start listening to the ill-informed opinions of others, and many others would have forfeited before even getting to that point.

But Ford realized that he didn’t need to have all the answers himself. He used purposeful action. He surrounded himself with people who aligned with his values and got them excited in his mission. As his extraordinary journey continued, and more and more people joined the ride—all working in harmony toward a single aim—Ford realized that his pie-in-the-sky dream would soon become a reality.

In the 109 years since it was founded, the Ford Motor Company has built more than 350 million automobiles, averaging a new car every 10 seconds. So enamored was Napoleon Hill with Ford’s methods that he references it profusely in Think and Grow Rich, the bestselling book of all time.

Henry Ford passed away in 1947 with a net worth of more than US $200 billion (adjusted for inflation). Not bad for a poor, illiterate kid who was even labelled “an ignorant anarchist” by The Chicago Tribune.

Let’s quickly think about a few important questions:

To change the world, you need to:

To finish, I just want to leave you with something Barbara Corcoran told me during our interview:

“When I heard what [Henry] Ford did, it made me realize I didn’t need to know everything. I could build an empire on someone else’s knowledge.”

If you’re not tapping into the efforts of others, you’re going to get run-over by those who are.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
How to Become a Financial Winner

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”


In preparation for this newsletter, I started thinking about who seems to have it all figured out. My answer might surprise you: children.

Having nine nieces and nephews over the last 10 years has given me a great appreciation for the courage, trust, and fun that children inherently have. But rather than encourage these gifts, many parents try to dictate to their children how the world should be, tempered by their own misfortunes, comfort zones, and limiting beliefs.

While, of course, discipline to ensure safety is important, I’ve found that simply asking children open-ended questions and listening attentively is one of the best ways to learn about what’s most important in life. Children have a certain magic—a spark of energy, potential, and promise.

Yet, that same spark seems all but extinguished in most of the adult population.

As we go through adolescence, we modify ourselves to be accepted, listen to the ill-informed opinions of others, and start to resent others who have been dealt the hand of good fortune. For many of us, we reach a point as adults where we feel rudderless and malfunctioned, devoid of purpose and mission. I certainly felt like that, and even wrote about it in Success Magazine earlier this year.

Here are nine lessons I’ve used to accept the past, be happy in the present, and move confidently into the future.

1. Engage with life.

Allowing myself to be pushed around by everyone and everything was the brittle foundation for all that was bad in my life. It was only after a moment of sheer disgust where I proclaimed “I am not going to live like this anymore” that I made the decision to take a stand. From that one moment, my health got back on track, relationships strengthened, my income kept multiplying, and I began to attract opportunities that I otherwise never would have dreamed about.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re 16 or 60, or what situation you currently find yourself in. Stop complaining about what you don’t have and, instead, create the reality you want.

2. Seek the friendship of high performers.

One of my favorite quotes is from Bernard Baruch: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” When you’re clear on who you are and where you want to go, you naturally start attracting people into your life who believe in you and your mission. I’m not talking about CEOs; I’m talking about people who are in—or just outside of your current network—who you can easily get in contact with, meet at events, or invite to mastermind groups.

Constantly seek out high performers, look for ways to add value, and never forget the real magic: give more than you get.

3. Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever.

Napoleon Hill once said, “One of the unappreciated benefits of adversity is that it accelerates the process of identifying your true friends.” As human beings, we have this need for acceptance from others, even if it sabotages our future. But if people do not reciprocate your positive energy, take comfort knowing that the quicker they’re out of your life the better.

The world is a big place, yet so many of us cling to friendships that no longer serve us or pander to toxic family members. Channel your energy into supporting those who bring out the best in you, and you in them. Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever.


4. Find the gift in every adversity.

Our educational system uses standardized tests to place teenagers into two buckets: smart and stupid. For the high academic achievers, this can be a poisoned chalice of unrealistic expectations and discomfort in reality, when they notice that the present reality doesn’t equal magical promised land of happiness, success, and freedom. For the low academic achievers, this can create ¬limiting beliefs and poor self-esteem that can take decades to unwind.

But the most successful people in life learn from every adversity and, with their superior resourcefulness and resilience, always rise once more—as I wrote about in Reader’s Digest. As the Dalai Lama said, “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” Failing means you tried. Find the gift in every adversity.

5. Read, read, read.

You have access to the most brilliant minds in history who can give you a step by step guide to creating a life of extraordinary happiness, freedom, and success. Yet, as I spoke about in Episode 2, more than $73 billion is spent on lottery tickets in America each year, despite the fact you’re 8x more likely to be elected President than you are of winning the lottery jackpot.

That amount, $73 billion, is more than 5x the amount of money that is spent on books each year. One book can transform your life, but how many lottery tickets do you need to buy before you start to see a return on investment?

Commit to reading 15 minutes a day. Feel confident knowing that your competitors would rather spend that time on more sleep or television. If you hate reading, listen to audiobooks or podcasts.

Most importantly, take notes as you read (or listen) and put those ideas into action. If taking notes is not your thing, draw a picture, which studies have shown might be even better.

6. Work at no charge for industry leaders.

Working for a wage is fruitless. When starting out, what you learn is so much more important than what you earn. Sacrifice pay in the short-term for the advantage of being in an environment that challenges you to grow and get outside your comfort zone.

While most people try to impress with fancy resumés, prove your worth through creative thinking, positive energy, and hard work. Having the endorsement and tutelage of industry leaders will propel you toward you dreams quicker than anything else.

7. Success is holistic.

Most people are on the hunt for money but forget that health is the real wealth. A healthy body and mind put you in the best place to have meaningful relationships with others and give you the energy to do the work that will achieve your goals.

As Jim Rohn said, “How sad to see a father with money and no joy. The man studied economics, but never studied happiness.” It’s much better to advance with true happiness than it is to have mere monetary wealth.

8. Don’t compare your Day One with someone else’s Year Five.

The internet has shattered the barriers of entry for most industries, allowing anyone with an internet connection to start their own business. People are very good at starting, but quit at the first sign of adversity. This normally comes a few months in when they look at the results others are receiving compared to others, get down on themselves, and give up.

Success, in any field, is a marathon—and consistency is the key. Channel your energy into doing the work, rather than comparing how much better others are doing.

9. Know what you want and ask for what you want.

One day, about two years ago, I picked up my 5-year-old niece, Charlotte, from school. On the way home, we did our usual stop at a nearby café for a babycino (a tiny cup of steamed milk designed for kids to enjoy a ‘coffee’ with their parents). As we pulled into the carpark, Charlotte pointed—from the backseat, might I add—to a storefront that I hadn’t even noticed, and said, “You’re going to buy me that water bottle.” I looked up to see a pink water bottle and the pretty pattern that adorned it.

Maybe it was because I was in the trenches of the Think and Grow Rich project at that point, or perhaps I just wanted to reward the confidence of knowing what she wanted, but five minutes later we left that store with a fancy pink water bottle and a pack of stickers, too. I had to laugh at the irony, knowing that a 5-year-old knew the path to success better than most adults.

Importantly, keep asking for what you want. One of history’s most prolific inventors, Thomas Edison, once said: “Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”


Demand the best for yourself. Use those nine lessons to get rid of regret forever.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

In case you missed it:
The Gold Standard

“Be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.”

Jim Rohn

I find human motivation to be a fascinating subject and have dedicated my life to understanding it. Along the way, I’ve seen how modelling and applying the habits of extraordinary achievers can propel ordinary people to enormous success, irrespective of what happened in their pasts.

Buddhist practitioners believe that life is suffering, and the source of that suffering is desire (i.e. craving that which we do not have). Yet, Napoleon Hill fans might recall that the first principle of Think and Grow Rich is … you guessed it … desire. Hill even wrote: “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” 

So where is one to turn?

An Interesting Conversation

A few years ago, I was having a vent to my Dad, who to this day I still call by his first name, Noel. During our conversation, I explained to him that I was annoyed because the results I felt I’d earned had not yet manifested.


He listened calmly. Then, our exchange went a little something like this:

Noel: When you’re driving on the highway and you’re behind a slow car, how do you feel?

James: Frustrated. Pissed off.

Noel: Why?

James: Because I want to get in front of them.

Noel: Why do you want to get in front of them?

James: So I can get to my destination faster.

Noel: And what happens when you do get in front of them?

James: There’s one more car.

Noel: Yes. There’s one more car.

I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Then it hit me, like I had been dunked in an ice bath: It doesn’t matter what race you’re in, there’s always one more car.

I’ll never forget that powerful lesson on the futility of impatience.

The Secret to Happiness

There’s a very big difference between:

a) Being satisfied from giving your best actions in the present, and
b) Attaching your happiness to an outcome.

Dale Carnegie once said, “We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon, instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” In the conversation with my Dad, he had reminded me that I had been too focused on chasing what was over the horizon rather than enjoying the journey.

Even when Napoleon Hill referenced ‘Desire’ in his achievement philosophy, he meant it in terms of stimulating action in the present. Hill believed that purposeful action was the surest way to become self-reliant, insulate ourselves from defeat, and realize our potential. Without action, our brain atrophies—like any muscle we don’t use. When that happens, we will eventually succumb to ill health, poverty, and misery.

True happiness is not just found in the present, it’s found by being present. It’s our duty to be the best we can be; however, our self-worth should never be contingent on an outcome, destination, or material possession. Enjoying the journey—come rain, hail, or shine—is what counts.

A Practical Example

Ben, 35 years old, earns a good salary at his law firm, but his dream is to make Partner. He gets into the office at 7am and returns home at 9pm. Due to time constraints, he eats whatever he can grab on the go, and rarely exercises. Ben’s wife and childhood sweetheart, Jess, stays at home to look after their two young kids. 

For years, Ben has told his wife to be patient because his promotion to Partner will eventually happen. He needs to be Partner, and she should want that for him too, because the moment it happens they will have everything they need and can finally live happily ever after.

In a meeting with his bosses, Ben is told that he needs to raise his billable hours to be considered, so he works even harder, neglecting his family even more. A few years later, Jess has become tired of her absentee husband, while her kids only have a surface-level relationship with their father. She communicates these frustrations to Ben, but he resents the judgement because he’s “doing it for them.” 

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Jess moves into her parents’ house, taking the kids with her. Ben makes Partner, but quickly realizes that there’s always more hours to bill, clients to gain, and work to do. He also discovers that by attaching his happiness to the outcome, he missed the incredible things he already had in his life and lamented that he never enjoyed the journey. Ben realized the hard way that he’d confused his needs with his wants.


Regardless of what we’re pursuing, whether it’s romance, cash, fitness, jewelry, waterfront mansion, or any other destination, those who spend all their time trying to pass the car in front will never be satisfied.

Instead, eradicate phrases like “I’ll be happy when…” and “I’ll be happy if…” from your vocabulary.

Be clear on what success looks like to you, but remember to give yourself everything you’ve got in the present moment. As Coach John Wooden said:

“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

That’s how we win the day, and that’s what makes the journey so fun.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

PS – In case you missed it, ‘The Rob Dyrdek Story: From Skateboarder to Business Mogul.’

“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)

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