“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.

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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).

“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

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

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

1. What’s the gift in this? 

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

2. What am I grateful for?

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

3. What do I truly want?

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

4. Why am I doing this?

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

5. What am I willing to sacrifice each day? 

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

6. What three biggest distractors can I eliminate? 

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

7. Who am I spending the most time with? 

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

8. What mental health practices have I got scheduled?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

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

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

“I am the greatest. I said that before I even knew I was.”

Muhammad Ali

What do world-beaters like Muhammad Ali, Beyoncé Knowles, Lady Gaga, Bruce Lee, Conor McGregor and Jim Carrey all have in common? They recognize that ALL success starts by filling your mind with greatness.

You might have heard some variant of the quote: The path to success is to take massive, determined action. However, most people leap in headfirst, ignoring the critical first step of creating a comprehensive unique definition of what success looks like to them. As Dale Carnegie reminded us: “An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”

A clear plan gives you the mental fortitude to make the right choice in the many decisions you are faced with each day, resulting in more willpower, passion, persistence and other essential ingredients needed for long term achievement. Along the way, resources of all kinds that you need for your journey—such as people, finances and inspiration—will appear, as if by magic.

Once you’ve filled your mind with greatness and have a comprehensive definition of what success looks like to you, bridge the gap between dreams and reality through the process of autosuggestion:

  1. Clearly state what you want
  2. See it already in your possession and feel every associated emotion
  3. Outline what you are willing to do—the price you are willing to pay—in exchange for its attainment; and
  4. At least twice daily, confidently read the written statement of your desire out loud.

Remember, you don’t need to believe it immediately, as Bob Proctor noted in Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy. Through this process, complemented with daily action, champions are increasingly bolstered for success while those indifferent to their destination are lured to mediocrity.

Autosuggestion in Practice

1. Bruce Lee

In January 1969, aspiring actor Bruce Lee wrote out his clear definition of success (below). Today, he is remembered as the world’s most iconic martial artist, a global film star and cultural phenomenon.

2. Lady Gaga

On autosuggestion, Lady Gaga said: “It’s sort of like a mantra. You repeat it to yourself every day: ‘Music is my life, music is my life. The fame is inside of me, I’m going to make a number one record with number one hits.’ And it’s not yet, it’s a lie. You’re saying a lie over and over and over again, and then, one day the lie is true.”

3. Jim Carrey

Before he became a household name, film star Jim Carrey would often sit in the Hollywood Hills and look out over the city, visualizing how one day renowned directors and other people he respected would praise him for his work. In 1992, he went one step further, writing himself a $10 million check for “acting services rendered.” Dating it three years in the future, Carrey kept the check in his wallet where it would stare back at him numerous times each day, while he worked tirelessly to bring his goal to life.

Just before Thanksgiving 1995, the entertainer was given a film role that paid him $10 million. By constantly focusing on what he wanted most, Carrey made his dream a reality.

Time for Action

Having your mind constantly focused on what you want is an essential step to actually achieving it. Whether it’s Muhammad Ali declaring he is the greatest before history agreed, Bruce Lee demanding worldwide fame, Lady Gaga visualizing her meteoric rise, Beyoncé exercising in front of an Academy Award picture, Conor McGregor dreaming big despite his dismal amateur record, or Jim Carrey writing himself a $10 million check, convince your mind it’s a simple choice: win or perish.

Model the habits of high performers. Demand success, expect it, and let the universe show you the way forward.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
How to Turn Failure into Victory … and a Billion-dollar Empire

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What are you waiting for? Download the free Success Plan Template and create your own unique definition of success: PDF | Excel

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

Dr Dennis Kimbro

Eyes on the Prize

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back on Track

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

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

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

Then, restore turbo-productivity by making sure you:

Put Yourself First

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

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

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

“You can’t have courage without fear.”

Jocko Willink

There are two sets of circumstance in life: what we can control and what we cannot control. Regardless of how we feel, we are where we are right now because of our decisions to this point.

When we reach a crossroads in our life—or find ourselves in a moment of discomfort, unhappiness or even tragedy—we ask ourselves, “How did I get here?” But a more constructive course of action is to:

An interesting paradigm shift occurs when we draw a line in the sand and take personal responsibility for our circumstances. First, we let go of the pain that’s been holding us back, allowing us to move forward unencumbered. Second, we realize that we have far more power over our own circumstances than we had ever imagined. Finally, it empowers us to make better decisions—on the condition that we have prepared a clear definition of success.

In 1836, during the Battle of the Alamo, Colonel William Travis received a letter from his foe, Mexican General (and also the country’s sitting President) Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, demanding instant surrender. The general and his 1,500-strong battalion had the Alamo and its 150 Texan soldiers completely surrounded.

Twenty-six-year old Travis gathered the Alamo defenders together and explained that their demise was not only probable but imminent, leading to two simple choices: either die courageously defending the Alamo or willingly surrender to the enemy. Travis pulled out his sword, drew a literal line in the sand, and asked for volunteers to cross the line and join him—against unsurmountable odds—to continue to defend their position

With their course of action agreed, Travis responded to the surrender letter with cannon fire. As the siege continued, he wrote a letter addressed to the people of Texas and across America:

Fellow citizens and compatriots;

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken.

I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch.

The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country.

VICTORY or DEATH.

William Barret Travis

Lt. Col. Comdt.

Travis died in the ensuing battle, but his message inspired the region. When Travis’ letter was received, reinforcements arrived and defeated Santa Anna, paving the way for the Republic of Texas to be admitted as the 28th member of the United States.

Today, Travis’ letter of defiance is regarded as a “masterpiece of American patriotism”. The simple act of drawing a line in the sand gives us a conscious acknowledgement that the past is irreversible and reminds us that all we have control over are our thoughts and the decisions we make from this point onwards. Today’s decisions are tomorrow’s realities.

Your future isn’t written; it’s never too late. If you’re sick of accepting whatever fate hands you, take purposeful action—even if you’re afraid to take the first step. After all, you can’t have courage without fear, as the earlier Jocko Willink quote reminds us.

Victory or death. The choice is yours.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Jim Rohn

We ALL have bad days … every single one of us. There are many reasons why we might feel forlorn—whether it’s financial hardship, relationship stress, injury/illness or any number of other possibilities.

Symptoms of a slump include being irritable, tired or exhausted, low on confidence, feeling frustrated or angry at our situation, and being negative or indifferent to our future. But make no mistake, the response to adversity is what separates extraordinary achievers from the herd.

While there’s no magic pill or quick fix, you have MUCH more power over your future than you think. Here are 14 proven tips to help you level out the bad days and put the spring back in your step.

1. Recognize you’re not alone.

We’re all fighting our own battles and trying to do the best we can based on our life experiences. Often, we shield our greatest vulnerabilities from those closest to us. Rather than sitting a home alone where you can get caught in your own head, reach out to others. As Janine Shepherd says, recognizing we’re not alone removes the isolation and empowers us to take action.

2. Start a daily gratitude practice.

Get into the habit of daily gratitude. Not only does it allow your mind to reset, it helps you identify the multitude of gifts already in your possession and what you need to do in the present. In the last newsletter, you read about how Nelson Mandela was able to do this while being in a South African prison for 27 years. Unsure of where to start? Grab a copy of The 5 Minute Journal.

3. Watch what you’re eating.

Harvard Medical School recently pointed out that “a healthy diet was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing depressive symptoms.” To get the most out of your body, give it the right fuel:

4. Change your environment.

Numerous studies (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) have proven the benefits that getting outdoors and wandering through nature can have on everything from stress and inflammation, to self-esteem and energy levels … even life expectancy. Find a nearby park or forest, do a yoga session, play a team sport or enjoy some outdoor exercise that enables you to connect with nature, be present in the moment, and recharge.

5. Divide and conquer.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything on your plate, especially those with young children. Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink recommends coming up with a plan of attack: deconstruct your tasks, sort them by priority, ask for help where you can, and take purposeful action until you’re back on track

6. Volunteer to help those less fortunate.

Helping those less fortunate is one of the most gratifying things we can do: it enables us to share a warm embrace with those we’ve been able to help, while also giving us perspective on the good in our own lives. Whether it’s helping children at a local special needs school, feeding the homeless, teaching military veterans to surf, or providing companionship at an aged care facility or hospice, there are countless ways to give back.

If you’re not in the right mindset for volunteer work, focus on less confronting options, such as giving a cheery “hello” to someone on your walk, picking up litter on the beach or engaging in friendly banter with a shop assistant.

7. Turn notifications off.

Better yet, put your phone on airplane mode or switch it off for a few hours each day. Free of distraction, you’re able to focus on the present.

8. Everyone has their own truth.

You might recall the quote: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” If you’re dealing with some type of conflict, try and see it from the other person’s perspective—after all, everyone has their own truth. This enables you to keep calm and respond, rather than impulsively react where the situation often ends up much worse.

9. Starve negative situations of oxygen.

Hang out with those who you have a common future with, not a common past. If someone in your life does not reciprocate with positive energy, allocate more time to those who align with your vision and values. Your energy focus is the most important weapon in your arsenal—protect it at all costs.

10. Increase your intake of positive material.

I’m constantly amazed at how much people allow the news to dictate their mood. Rather than let the sensationalist news cycle wear you down, focus on replacing it with inspiring books/audiobooks (e.g. The Obstacle is the Way), uplifting positive music, and informative podcasts like Win the Day with James Whittaker (also available on YouTube).

11. Plot your future.

Often, bad days can stem from a disconnect between where we are now and where think we should be. Get on the front foot and define what success looks like in all areas of your life (download the FREE Success Plan Template). It should be exhilarating to undertake that exercise—it’s literally a wishlist for the universe! You can then focus on recalibrating your routine to make sure you prioritize the most important tasks.

12. Give the best you’ve got on that day.

An essential part of long term success is to focus on giving the best you’ve got on that day. That advice came from Alethea Boon who, in an elite sporting career spanning two decades, has had her fair share of ups and downs. Putting additional pressure on yourself to notch a productivity record each day only increases your chance of burnout, injury or illness.

13. Train yourself to embrace the struggle.

Those who have read Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy will recall the stories of Janine Shepherd and Jim Stovall who overcome enormous adversity on their remarkable journeys. You are much stronger than you know. Make the decision to embrace the struggle and show the world just how great you are.

14. Ask for help.

Be honest and upfront about how you’re feeling, especially if your bad days have lasted for a while. Courage is asking for help and letting others in, not suffering in silence.

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Wishing you a week of action, adventure and laughter!

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

PS – Learn more about how you can use adversity as a stepping stone to greatness.

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.

“Run the day or the day runs you.”

Jim Rohn

At every speech, I put up a slide that reads:

“Make the decision to win or you’ve automatically made the decision to lose.”

In the modern world of comfort and instant gratification, we naturally gravitate towards relaxation, indulgence and excitement. Along the way, more important but less fun tasks—like reading a book, completing a goals template, studying for an educational program, creating a household budget, going to the gym, or doing meal prep for the week—are often put on the backburner.

From 100+ firsthand interviews with some of the most successful people on the planet, I’ve learned that it all comes down to a simple mission: Win the day. When you have a comprehensive Success Plan, you live with intent and know what daily actions will inch you closer to your perfect destination.

Here are seven tips to help you win the day.

1. Start with gratitude.

Take a quiet moment each day to give thanks for the countless gifts already in your possession, such as love, health, peace, shelter, food or the opportunity to make the world a better place. Train yourself to find the gift in every situation so you can see the problem for what it is and properly respond rather than impulsively react and potentially make it worse.

2. Get clear on who you are and what you want.

Being clear on your perfect destination makes it much easier to take daily actions, attract people who can amplify your efforts and persist through the tough days. Each morning, as soon as you wake up, write down three things that would make today a ‘win'. Before you go to bed, review the success of your day and the actions you took (or did not take), and calibrate accordingly.

3. Do your life’s work first.

Try doing your life’s work—the actions that will inch you closer to your goals—before working on someone else’s agenda for your time. The two biggest examples of someone else’s agenda are social media and emails. There is a time and a place for both, but make sure you are not wasting your best hours on someone else’s plan for your life. Instead, allocate your most creative and productive time for actions that align with your goals, and do the rest on autopilot.

4. Fuel the body and mind.

Give your body the physical and mental nourishment it needs to function at an optimal state, encourage creative thought and feel more energetic. Many of the most high-profile CEOs and world leaders deliberately schedule time in their busy calendars for daily exercise, meditation and reading (or podcasts / audiobooks).

5. Add value to someone’s life each day.

Whether it is buying a meal for a homeless person, volunteering your time to help disadvantaged youth or teaching military veterans how to surf, there are countless ways to give back. In the pursuit of helping others, make sure you also take care of those under your own roof. Having an open channel of communication with your loved ones and actively planning times to be together without distraction is an important part of ensuring the family unit grows as one.

6. Reflect and recalibrate.

On the journey to success, failure is inevitable. Rather than striving for perfection, aim for progress. If at the end of the day you are disappointed with the result, compare your goals with the actions you took—maybe there was a toxic friend who occupied too much of your time, notifications on your phone that kept distracting you, or bad food choices because you had not prioritized a supermarket visit or meal prep. Calibrate accordingly. Over time, simple and consistent action turns to extraordinary achievement.

7. End the day with a request to your subconscious.

Famous inventor Thomas Edison once said, “Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” The best way to bring a wish to life is with a good night’s rest and a plan to win tomorrow.

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Fun is an essential part of enjoying life, but develop the habit of paying the price each day or you’ll have to pay a much greater price down the track in the form of:

As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Each day, make the decision to win or you’ve automatically made the decision to lose.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

“Find a way or make a way.”

Elon Musk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Write your goals down.

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

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

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

3. Take simple and consistent action.

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

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

4. Win the day.

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

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

Get out there and make some magic!

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

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

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