“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

“Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”

Albert Einstein

As we approach the halfway point of the year, many people shy away from any purposeful action, instead choosing to worry about ‘next year’. But, with the right plan, you would be astounded with how much progress you can make, even in 6 months.

Here are 11 productivity tips you can use right now to start getting the most out of your hours each day.

1. Start the day with your intent.

Most people wake up and complain about their alarm, the traffic on the way to work, their boss, the news, their commute home from work, then when their partner asks how their day was, they complain about it.

Total day's output = 0.

Instead, wake up and be grateful for the opportunity to share your unique gifts with the world. Think about your intent, your purpose. Ignore the sensationalized daily news schedules, stop stalking people on Instagram, and switch complaints for gratitude.

When you live with intent, it will be much easier for you to say ‘no’ to the distractions that derail your day.

2. Have a daily plan. Achieve it.

Dale Carnegie once wrote: “An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.” A plan allows us to create a structure around it so we can allocate the necessary resources to get it done as efficiently and effectively as possible, while keeping us more resilient from distraction and procrastination.

Each day, write down three things you’re going to achieve no matter what. Perhaps it’s to complete a gym session, finish the first draft of a blog post, call a family member, or do a meal prep for the week. The important thing is creating the list so your brain can nag at you until it’s done.

(Note: I’m a huge fan of meal prep because it ensures you have nourishing food that can be quickly accessed, rather than interrupting your day to continually shop, cook and clean.)

3. Do your life's work first.

Most people want to start the day with the feeling of achievement, and for most that is responding to emails. The problem with emails is they’re like boomerangs—always coming back. Instead, do your life’s work first (i.e. the actions that are going to inch you closer to your 90-day goals), before turning to someone else’s agenda for your day. You’ll find you can do the rest on autopilot.

If you have to set your alarm an hour earlier in the morning to get it done, do it. If you want some morning inspo, follow Jocko Willink on Instagram.

4. Begin with the end in mind.

It’s not starting things that makes us successful, it’s finishing things. Only begin tasks that you are going to finish and give your best effort. Whether it’s a recorded but unreleased podcast, a stagnant YouTube channel, or training for a marathon that never occurs, begin with the end in mind always.

There’s nothing worse than having a whole heap of half-assed and incomplete tasks that have occupied your attention for months, or even years, where the only reason you haven’t gained traction is because you haven’t been consistent. Most people think starting things is the hard part, but it’s not. The hard part is continuing at the first sign of adversity. Be conscious of that and have an accountability plan to blast through it.

5. Use the Pomodoro Technique.

I first heard about the Pomodoro Technique when I interviewed John Lee Dumas for Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy. It requires you to have a large timer sitting on your desk and then segmenting your work time into focused intervals (typically 25 minutes), separated by short breaks (typically five minutes). Every time you complete a ‘pomodoro’, or work interval, mark your progress on a piece of paper with a tick.

After four pomodoros, i.e. 100 minutes of work time, take a 15-20 minute break.

Knowing that your output is capped to 25 minutes unlocks hyper productivity as you race against the clock—otherwise you’ll have nothing to show for your pomodoro—and keeps you focused knowing that a break is never too far away.

6. Do what makes you happy.

Doing what makes us happy gives us an extra tank of rocket fuel to commit to our work. It’s far easier for your brain to switch off if your boss is giving you the same boring data entry task for the 500th time or if you don’t even believe in the product you’re selling.

Apple founder Steve Jobs once said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”

If you’re not sure what areas make you happy, connect with like-minded people, attend events, and add value to others unconditionally. This will give you exposure to more areas, and eventually you’ll find the areas that excite you where you can concentrate your attention.

7. Eliminate distractions.

Whether you're working in home or an office, make a list of the 5-10 things that interrupt you during the day. This could be anything from the phone ringing and social media, to getting bothered by work colleagues and even your own thoughts.

Break that list into four categories—people, technology, self, and other—and take actions accordingly:

8. Miss a meal, but don't miss a book.

We have access to history’s most brilliant minds right now. Why not spend 20 minutes a day tapping into their expertise?

If you don’t enjoy reading, turn your attention to podcasts or audiobooks. Importantly, when you’re reading (or listening to) these books, keep a notepad so you can brainstorm ideas along the way that will help you achieve your goals. After all, action is the real measure of intelligence.

9. Go to bed with a request to your subconscious.

Acclaimed inventor Thomas Edison once said: “Never go to bed without a request to your subconscious.”

Our bodies and minds are capable of extraordinary things while we sleep, and that rest time is essential for recovery, growth, and general well-being. Thinking about what we want before we go to bed also plants a seed of imagination that can allow our mind to focus on it for the next 7-8 hours.

Never underestimate the power of the subconscious. After all, every great endeavor, innovation, or achievement was once a simple thought impulse.

10. Review your success each week. Calibrate accordingly.

Checking in on your actions—the people you spent too much or not enough time with, the books you read or didn’t read, the fitness session that did or didn’t get done, or the progress you made or didn’t make towards your goals—enables you to adjust your schedule and routine to ensure the next week is better. With this plan of constant reflection and calibration, long-term success is assured.

And just remember, often, removing a negative influence in your life can be just as powerful as gaining a positive one, so pay extra special attention to who you spend your time with and what stimulus you allow your mind to feed on.

11. Be inspired as the hero of your own journey.

The number one productivity technique, which I never hear anybody talk about, is being inspired. When you’re inspired, it doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep you’ve had the night before, how much money is in your pocket, or where you’re working from. You wake up and get after it.

The best way to make that happen is to download my Success Plan Template, write out your 'Perfect Destination' in all areas of your life, and then backtrack it to the work you need to do today that will eventually make it a reality.

Once you’ve done that, you can release yourself from worry about the future because you already know how the story ends—after all, you wrote the story! That will inspire you to take the simple and consistent action that will get you where you need to be.

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Try those 11 tips to become a master of productivity.

Everyone tries to act like their super busy, but remember—it’s not how busy you are, but how productive you are, that makes all the difference. Output is everything.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
The Arnold Schwarzenegger Story

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.

“Find a way or make a way.”

Elon Musk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Write your goals down.

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

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

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

3. Take simple and consistent action.

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

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

4. Win the day.

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

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

Get out there and make some magic!

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

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

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