"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.

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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.”

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Until next time,

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

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

“There is no other road to genius than through voluntary self-effort.”

Napoleon Hill

One of the greatest honors of my life is having the opportunity to interview more than 100 of the world's most revered game-changers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, to unlock their secrets to success.

Which brings us to some exciting news – in this post, I'm going to be sharing with you the 11 BEST lessons I've learned along the way! These secrets have created billion-dollar empires, globally-recognized brands, and turned ordinary people into extraordinary achievers. They are what motivate me every single day to success in life, business, and relationships.

The best part? They can work for you too! These 11 lessons can be applied by anyone, irrespective of where you're at right now.

Enjoy 🙂

1. View success as an obligation.

One of the greatest turning points in my life occurred when I stopped casually waiting for success and instead started to approach it as a duty, obligation, and responsibility.
– Grant Cardone

We all crave success in one form or another. And why wouldn’t we? As we spoke about in Episode 10: How to Become a Financial Winner, success gives us happiness, freedom, and the ability to help others.

After losing three of his male mentors (grandfather, father, and brother) in quick succession, 15-year-old Grant Cardone became a serious drug addict for the next 10 years. At 25, after being beaten to within an inch of his life and refused access to his own mother's house, Cardone realized that he had a duty, obligation, and a responsibility, to be the best he could be.

Due to the enormous wealth he has been able to accumulate, Grant Cardone is now able to provide thousands of jobs, while his books, events, and other educational resources inspire others to make the most of their potential.

As my good friend John Shin says, “Don’t be too casual about your life, or you’ll become a casualty.”

Success is your responsibility, not anyone else's.

2. Thoughts become things.

Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.
– Bob Proctor

Just as you can think and grow rich, you can think and grow poor. Our thoughts become our beliefs, which then become our actions. Over time, those actions—good or bad—create our reality.

What’s the catch? If you do not keep a clear destination in mind and a structure to win the day, the negative mindset automatically seeps in. If those barnacles latch on to your hull unchecked, they will continue to amass until they sink your ship.

For any big goal, see it vividly in your head and allow your mind to unleash its infinite power for it to manifest.

3. Build a life that gives you energy.

It’s creating your entire universe about you being at your best, living with energy every day, and just being happy. That’s the ultimate freedom.
– Rob Dyrdek

I recently posted a video of what most people focus on each day: complaining. Yet, if redirected, that same energy could be used to create the circumstances to have everything we wanted in our life.

Former pro skater turned business mogul, Rob Dyrdek, reminds us that life is about working on projects that give us energy. Happiness, freedom, and the ongoing pursuit of our potential are available to EVERYONE who takes the right action, but so many of us believed it is reserved for a lucky few.

One day at a time, build a life that gives you energy.

4. Take purposeful action, every day.

Above all else, action … every single day.”
– Lewis Howes

Action is the key, not intellect. Sometimes people who are book smart are too good at evaluating risk, which keeps them in a state of inaction because they can always come up with a reason why they should not do something.

The ones who reach the loftiest heights are those who take action. This habit means they fail quickly and repeatedly. In these failures, the seeds of success are sown, creating a much faster and deeper success trajectory. It certainly pays to do your due diligence, but results only come from action.

Fortunately, this is firmly in your court, so remember to shoot for the stars each day.

5. Reframe adversity.

Adversity is a learning opportunity, not failure. Sometimes a door has to close for another one to open.
– Sharon Lechter

So many of us settle for “okay” because we’re afraid that if we take a shot at something better we’ll miss out. Yet, it’s the adversity faced in the process of unleashing our potential that enables us to become resilient, resourceful, and persistent enough to achieve extraordinary things.

After being the founder and author of the Rich Dad brand (alongside Robert Kiyosaki), Sharon Lechter felt that her vision was no longer aligned with her business partner. Making the decision to trust her intuition and leave a household brand was a huge hurdle because she experienced the full gamut of emotions that emerge when we’re stepping into the unknown. However, Lechter realized that she just had to have faith that there would be a next step—even if she didn’t know what that was. As Martin Luther King said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”

Shortly after, the acclaimed entrepreneur received a phone call from Don Green of the Napoleon Hill Foundation inviting her to partner on numerous projects that would introduce Hill’s timeless principles to today’s generations. Lechter also received a call from President George W. Bush's office inviting her to be on the inaugural President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, a tenure she continued with President Obama.

That never would’ve happened if she didn’t trust her gut, channel adversity into something great, and take that leap of faith.

6. Be competitive.

If you’re not competitive by nature, you don’t succeed as a businessperson.
– Barbara Corcoran

If you’ve seen Shark Tank, you’ll know how fierce it can be not only with the contestants but among the sharks too. When Barbara Corcoran was a waitress at a diner in New Jersey, she had a dream to be the queen of New York real estate.

Corcoran partnered with her boyfriend at the time and launched a real estate company. One day, the aspiring property mogul was confronted with the news that her boyfriend and business partner was leaving Corcoran … for her secretary. Single in romance and business gave her the rocket-fuel to build what would become one of the most respected real estate companies in the world, which she would go on to sell for US $66 million.

The lesson? You have to be competitive to succeed—a powerful trait that Barbara Corcoran employs in her businesses today.

7. Play the long game.

Don’t negotiate to the last penny. Always be fair. Don’t do business with dicks.”
– David Meltzer

I first met David Meltzer a few years ago at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica. From the moment we met, I felt this energy, professionalism, and willingness to help, at such an extent that I’ll never forget. In 2018 I had the opportunity to speak to the Sports1Marketing team and I could tell that Dave’s commitment to excellence in all areas has clearly rubbed off on his team who are all wonderful people.

His three-pronged quote is one I think about often. In the digital age, too many people are increasingly focused on short-term gain by ramming their product down people’s throats. Instead, Dave focuses on playing the long game, which has enabled him to build an enormous network of people who exponentially increase his effectiveness in all areas of life. Anyone who knows Dave personally will tell you that he’s an absolute terminator at getting things done, whether it’s raising money for a charity, gathering a crowd for an event, or helping a client.

When he says, “Don’t negotiate to the last penny,” he emphasizes the importance of maintaining integrity in business. Any business dealing can be used as an opportunity to develop a strong relationship with others so they can see your true character, which also ties in to the second part of his quote, "Always be fair." That's what enables opportunity to come to you, rather than you chasing it.

The final part of his quote “Don’t do business with dicks” is probably self-explanatory! Unfortunately it can be hard to spot unscrupulous individuals early on, but experience has taught me that you need to trust your intuition when it comes to people. I’ve done business with people who ended up being dicks and it’s a horrible feeling—a mistake I don’t intend on making again anytime soon!

Remember to never accept toxicity in your life, no matter what form it’s in. Life’s too short to be around energy vampires, negative people, and those who don’t align with your values.

8. Create, and consistently offer, value.

Build an audience that you serve with free, valuable, and consistent content.”
– John Lee Dumas

Many authors and business coaches talk about the importance of finding your tribe. However, if you want to truly make an impact, you need to build your tribe. EOFire founder John Lee Dumas should know—he went from being a rudderless military vet bouncing from job-to-job, to hosting a podcast that in seven years has generated more than US $16 million.

What’s the best way to build an audience? Create and publish free, valuable, and consistent content. As the community grows, you can home in on common pain-points the community faces, then offer paid solutions to those problems. Once you’ve established that trust through continually offering value, the community will grow like wildfire, and at that point you’re only limited by how big you dare to dream.

For professionals and entrepreneurs looking to build their business, your entire model should come from creating a clearly defined audience, and then focus on how you can add as much value to them as possible. Value ALL comes from being crystal clear on the problem your audience faces. The better you understand the problem, the better your solution will be.

If you’re not growing your business or achieving conversions, it’s likely because you don’t know enough about—or haven’t clearly articulated—the problem your audience is having. That’s such an important step and something I work on constantly with my clients to help them grow their business.

Too many people are focused on what they can take from others, but as you’ve heard me say on this show before: the real magic in life comes when you give more than you get.

9. The answer is always "Yes, you can."

No matter what the dream inside you is, the answer is always ‘Yes, you can’.”
– Jim Stovall

Anyone who’s read Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy will remember Jim Stovall’s story, but for those who haven’t read it, I’ll give you a quick recap. Jim was once faced with a problem that many of could barely even imagine. At the age of 17, doctors told the aspiring NFL prospect was told that he would soon go totally and permanently blind … and there was nothing they could do about it.

Rather than wallow in his own pity, Jim realized that there was no way for blind and visually impaired people to watch television, a problem that he realized was faced by tens of millions of people. Despite his own limitations, Jim went on to create the Narrative Television Network, which now operates in more than a dozen countries around the world. He is also now the author of 30 bestselling books.

Even more amazingly? He hadn’t written a single book before he was blind.

Whatever excuse you have for being a failure is invalid. That might seem harsh but it’s true. When you find yourself questioning whether you can start a business, write a book, or achieve any other dream, the answer is always YES YOU CAN!

10. Create your own luck.

I always worked hard, so whenever the door of opportunity knocked I was ready for it.
– Warren Moon

Most of us are able to do the work when people are watching, but it’s what we do behind the scenes – when the lights of accountability are off – that proves how committed we are to our success. One of the simplest ways to stand out is through an unrelenting work ethic.

What that quote — a snapshot of what NFL Hall of Fame player Warren Moon told me during our conversation — doesn't reveal is how many doors were actually slammed in Warren’s face along the way. His ferocious work ethic for a long period of time is what eventually created the opportunity that transformed his entire life and made him one of the most influential figures in NFL history. Another ‘overnight success’ 15 years in the making.

Stand out through your actions — the work you’ve taken to this point — so, when the lifechanging opportunities emerge, you’re ready and able to make the most of them. They then become branches to even more exciting opportunities.

In fact, the opportunity to write a modern companion to Think and Grow Rich never would’ve been granted to me if I hadn’t spent 10 years before that proving through my actions that I would do a good job if given the opportunity.

Your future is entirely dependent on you — no one else. Follow the advice of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon and create your own luck.

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

I just don’t listen when people tell me I can’t do something.”
– Janine Shepherd

Hopefully, by now, you’ve heard Janine’s story. It’s literally the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard, and that’s why it’s featured in the very first chapter of Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy. Believe me when I tell you that Janine knows what she’s talking about when she reiterates the importance of self-belief. She used it to defy medical opinion where now she can walk, ski and bike ride despite still being classified as a paraplegic. She’s also the most kindhearted person you could ever meet.

On the success journey, there’s going to be a lot of critics, doubters, and haters who attack your business, your dreams, your progress, and your voice.

But just remember, regardless of how loud the noise gets, the most important opinion is how you feel about yourself.


I hope you’ve enjoyed these lessons! They’ve been truly transformational for me and continue to inspire me every single day. Just remember, what you do with them is the most important thing 😉

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

“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

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Thomas Edison

There’s one element that all those who have achieved enormous success hold in high esteem: failure. Whether industry titans of old, such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, or more contemporary worldbeaters, such as Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bezos, failure has been the catalyst to not only creating extraordinary wealth but maintaining it too.

The headline quote from Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors in history, was written by a man who, from the moment he set his mind to a definite chief aim, was obsessed with the goal until it became a reality.

Incredulously, before unveiling the world’s first lightbulb for practical use, Edison went through more than 3,000 designs for light bulbs and another 6,000 tests trying to find the right material for the filament. He would go on to hold more than 1,000 patents, and his other inventions—such as the motion picture camera and phonograph—transformed almost every industry on Earth. “When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes,” the American once said.

While Edison’s obsession might seem crazy to outsiders, it was a perfectly rational state of mind to the man himself. Think about today’s true innovators and changemakers, from Sara Blakely to Elon Musk and the late Steve Jobs: all have been described by adjectives far harsher than “crazy”.  

Edison’s close friend, Waltor Mallory, once visited the inventor in his workshop. Having personally observed some of the countless hours of dedication, effort and sacrifice, Mallory lamented the lack of results. With a smile, Edison quickly replied, “Results? I have gotten lots of results! I now know several thousand things that won’t work.”

That simple response sums up Thomas Edison’s growth mindset and reveals how he became such a prolific achiever, despite not having a formal education.

Those with a growth mindset:

In contrast, those with a fixed mindset:

To win in the long-term, you must open yourself up to the prospect of losing in the short-term, or longer. Simply continuing is one of the surest paths to success, but so many people give up because they accept temporary failure as permanent defeat. This is true in ALL areas of life; in fact, you can probably think of at least one person who remains bitter despite a divorce or business hardship that occurred years prior.

If you allow yourself to be defined by how you’ve been wronged or some other misfortune, you’ll go through life with a chip on your shoulder and likely stay within an ever-shrinking comfort zone. However, those who keep their sights on long-term victory—and can quickly dust themselves off when they do fail—are the ones who enjoy far greater happiness and success.

Embrace failure because it means you’ve tried.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos understands this better than most. “I’ve made billions of failures at Amazon. Literally,” he was quoted. Further reinforcing his counterintuitive love for hardship, Bezos wrote to his shareholders, “I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!)” But he is acutely aware that every failure increases his chance of hitting a home run, as Amazon has done with numerous innovations that catapulted the company from a simple online bookstore to, on 7 January 2019, officially becoming the world’s most valuable company

Even with the recent breakdown of their 25-year marriage, Bezos and his partner MacKenzie were able to quickly and amicably move on, wishing each other well, reducing any undue pressure on their four children, and calming nervous Amazon shareholders.

True innovators like Edison, Bezos, Winfrey, Jobs and Musk do not view the word ‘failure’ as a negative. Rather, they view it as an omnipresent companion on the journey to achievement—a stepping stone to success. Every failure brings us closer to success, just as surrendering to adversity guarantees defeat. 

In fact, the quote for today’s episode in its entirety is: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Choose to be a victor rather than a victim. Regardless of what life throws your way, promise to try just one more time

Onwards and upwards always, 
James W.

In case you missed it:
‘The Secret to Happiness’

60 quotes to overcome failure:

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

“If people should take anything from my music, it should be motivation to know that anything is possible as long as you keep working at it and don’t back down.” – Eminem

“All people have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward—sometimes to death, but always to victory.” – Dale Carnegie

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” –  Napoleon Hill

“The only easy day was yesterday.” – US Navy SEALs

 “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” –  J.K. Rowling

“Fall down seven times. Stand up eight.” – Proverb

“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.” – Steve Jobs

“Failure is success in progress.” – Albert Einstein

“Never accept temporary failure as permanent defeat.” – James Whittaker 

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.” – Jonathan Winters

“Find a way or make a way.” – Elon Musk 

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

“At any moment you can make a decision to change your life.” – Janine Shepherd

“Failure is a stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey

“If I had listened to the naysayers, I would still be in the Austrian Alps yodeling.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger 

“Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell 

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers

“You have to be able to accept failure to get better.” – Lebron James

“Fear is the result of a lack of confidence. A lack of confidence is the result of not knowing what you can do. A lack of knowing what you can do is caused by a lack of experience. A lack of experience is caused by a lack of doing something new.” – Dale Carnegie 

“Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill 

“The freedom to fail is vital if you’re going to succeed. Most successful people fail time and time again, and it is a measure of their strength that failure merely propels them into some new attempt at success.” – Michael Korda

 “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford 

“Even if we crash and burn, and lose everything, the experience will have been worth ten times the cost.” – Steve Jobs 

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden 

“Sometimes an expensive lesson is worth every penny.” – Noel Whittaker

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneres

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill 

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie

“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it. That is the quickest and surest way to conquer fear.” – Dale Carnegie

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

“You can’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to leave the shore.” – Anonymous

“Thinking will not overcome your fear, but action will.” – W. Clement Stone

“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.” – Dale Carnegie 

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs­

“All is possible for the believers.” – Laird Hamilton

 “Action breeds confidence and courage.” – Dale Carnegie

“I’ve made billions of failures at Amazon. Literally.” – Jeff Bezos

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you’re not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

“Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in the past.” – Tyron Edwards

 “You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” – Dale Carnegie

 “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth 

“Bravery is the solution to regret.” – Robin Sharma 

“Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.” – Robert Greene 

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr (Serenity Prayer)

“Know your enemy, and know yourself, and you’ll never be in peril.” – Sun Tzu

“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.” – Neale Donald Walsch 

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

 “I believe we [Amazon] are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!).” – Jeff Bezos

“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” – Steve Maraboli

“Try and enjoy yourself. Because, actually, life’s pretty good.” – Elon Musk

 “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

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

“You can’t have courage without fear.” – Jocko Willink

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

None of us are immune to change—it is one of the great constants of life, alongside death and taxes. As people age, they often become set in their ways and increasingly resist challenge. Some start to feel old at 18, others at 80—there is no consensus. Regardless, if allowed to fester, this mindset erodes even the brightest and most enthusiastic among us.

For those worried about the future, I have some good news: age is the one number that doesn’t matter.

Fear of old age can be seen when people begin to renounce their abilities as age increases. You have probably heard someone, whether a parent, grandparent or even yourself, blame their age for not participating in an activity. Knowing what we know about the power of the mind, perhaps welcoming a new milestone—such as retiring from a career, selling a business, or celebrating a birthday—would be better viewed as an opportunity to seek new challenges or grander goals.

Those who feel increasingly despondent as their age ticks over use it to justify staying within their ever-shrinking comfort zone, but countless studies have proven that keeping the mind and body active considerably increases not only longevity but quality of life, too.

For example, Johanna Quaas is a regular competitor on the amateur gymnastics circuit in Germany. The 92-year-old continues to dazzle spectators with her strength, dexterity and mobility, performing somersaults, headstands and cartwheels at will. On the connection between body and mind, Quaas believes, “If you are fit, it is easier to master life.”

Similarly, after the sudden death of his wife, Englishman Thomas Lackey (below) decided to walk along the wing of an airplane to raise money for cancer charities. Full of vigor after his first effort, Lackey continued his wing-walking career well into his nineties, breaking numerous world records—including standing atop a prop plane for 40 minutes, despite being 94 and wheelchair-bound—and raising $2 million dollars for charity.

French woman Jeanne Louise Calment, the longest living human on record, continued to enjoy cycling beyond her 100th birthday. She eventually passed away aged 122. And just last month, 91-year-old John Carter made the news for his love of doing backflips off the high diving board.

Quaas, Lackey, Calment and Carter did not listen when people told them they couldn’t do something. Instead, they viewed their age, wisdom and experience as a blessing, warding off fear with prompt and decisive action.

In the immortal words of Mark Twain: “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” Those who repeatedly tell themselves they’re too old are the ones who actually are.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

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

Examples of people who enjoyed success later in life and against the odds

Mobile phone salesman Paul Potts was 36 when he auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. His unorthodox music choice and everyman image struck an instant chord with the public, paving the way for his debut album to reach #1 in 13 countries. His first audition has since accumulated more than 177 million views on YouTube.

I just wandered on and did my thing, treated it like it was the last performance I’d ever do—which, had it gone badly, could have been the case.” – Paul Potts

Fashion designer Vera Wang only became an independent bridal wear designer at 40. Today, she is regarded as one of the world’s leading fashion designers, having made gowns for Michelle Obama, Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton and amassing a personal fortune of $630 million.

Don’t be afraid to take time to learn. It’s good to work for other people. I worked for others for 20 years. They paid me to learn.” – Vera Wang 

American businesswoman Robin Chase was 40 when, on a break from work to be with her children, she decided to launch a car-sharing company. In 2013, Zipcar was bought by Avis for USD $500 million in cash. Chase was even listed among the 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine.

You have to recognize failure whenever it happens and look it straight on. When the evidence says that you’re wrong, you have to be willing to relinquish even your most deeply held beliefs.” – Robin Chase

American comic book writer Stan Lee was 41 when he published Spider-Man for the first time, which is now regarded as the gold standard in the modern superhero genre; today, Spider-Man films boast more than $5 billion in box office receipts. Lee recently passed away aged 95, but continued to be heavily involved in the publishing and film industries until his last days, even appearing in 2018 film Venom.

With great power comes great responsibility.” – Stan Lee

Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his big break until 43, when he appeared in the Spike Lee film Jungle Fever. Today, Jackson has appeared in more than 100 films and is ranked as the highest all-time box office star, averaging more than $70 million per film and totaling more than $12 billion at the box office.

The best advice that was given to me was that I had to be 10 times smarter, braver and more polite to be equal. So I did.” – Samuel L. Jackson

American innovator ­Henry Ford was 45 when he created the Model T, changing the automotive world forever. He successfully sued The Chicago Tribune for $1 million after they printed a story labeling him “ignorant” despite his enormous success and willingness to improve the conditions and wages of his workers.

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford

Clothing manufacturer Jack Weil was 45 when he launched classic western brand Rockmount Ranch Wear. He maintained the CEO position until he passed away aged 107 as the oldest working CEO in the United States.

The west is not a place. It’s a state of mind.” – Jack Weil

Stand-up comedian and voice artist Rodney Dangerfield was 46 when caught his big break on The Ed Sullivan Show, more than three decades after he first started performing stand-up. That one performance, as a last-minute replacement for another act, became a surprise hit and catapulted the aspiring entertainer to industry legend.

My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then we met.” – Rodney Dangerfield

Susan Boyle was 47 when she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent as a tribute to her mother. A rousing performance led to enormous popularity, and her album became the UK’s bestselling debut of all time, catapulting her to superstardom.

There are enough people in the world who are going to write you off. You don’t need to do that to yourself.” – Susan Boyle

Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando was 48 when he invented instant noodles. His most famous product, Cup Noodles, sparked global demand. Ando passed away in 2007 at the age of 96, while his products have surpassed more than 100 billion servings.

Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.” – Momofuku Ando

Charles Darwin wasn’t always regarded for his views on evolution. In fact, his first career path was physician, but he switched when he realized he couldn’t stomach the sight of blood. At 50, he published On the Origin of Species, which—despite its contradictory views with the scientific community at the time—is now considered the foundation of evolutionary biology.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin 

Chef Julia Child was 50 before writing her first cookbook, which brought French cuisine to the American public. Until passing away in 2004 aged 91, Child was regarded as a culinary pioneer with an acclaimed career as a celebrity chef, author and television personality. She was also a recipient of both the French Legion of Honor and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Child

NASA researcher Jack Cover was 50 when he invented the Taser stun gun. As a non-lethal weapon for law enforcement, the device is credited with saving more than 100,000 lives and is in use with more than 15,000 law enforcement and military agencies around the world.

Let me figure out something better than shooting people.” – Jack Cover

Practicing attorneys Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51 when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews. Starting out as a guide to New York restaurants based on opinions of friends, the Zagat brand quickly became a full-time business rather than a hobby. In 2011, the company was bought by Google for $151 million.

People are looking for different things at different times, and we empowered them to make their own decisions—to make choices that were the right ones for them.” – Nina Zagat

Milkshake salesman Ray Kroc was 53 when he partnered with the owners of McDonald’s, buying the company from them six years later. Kroc revolutionized the restaurant industry and passed away with a net worth of $600 million.

It’s better to be green and growing than ripe and rotting.” – Ray Kroc

Economics professor Taikichiro Mori was 55 when he quit to become a real estate investor. In 1992, the Japanese businessman was listed as the wealthiest person on the planet, with a net worth of USD $13 billion (double that of Microsoft founder Bill Gates).

I guess I am called the world’s richest man, but that doesn’t necessarily do anything for me.” – Taikichiro Mori

American restaurateur Harland Sanders was 62 when he franchised the first Kentucky Fried Chicken, modelled after the food served at his popular Kentucky service station. The company rapidly expanded and in 1964, aged 73, Sanders sold it for $2 million ($16 million in today’s dollars), becoming a salaried brand ambassador.

There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.” – Harland Sanders

After losing everything in the 1929 stock market crash, former teacher Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when her first Little House book was published, inspired by her childhood adventures. They soon became literary classics, and the basis for TV show Little House on the Prairie, selling more than 60 million copies in more than 100 countries.

Home is the nicest word there is.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder 

After arthritis made embroidering difficult, former housekeeper Anna Robertson was 78 when she first began painting. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman presented “Grandma Moses” with an award for outstanding accomplishment to art. She died in 1961, aged 101, and was memorialized by President John F. Kennedy.

Life is what we make it. Always has been, always will be.” – Grandma Moses

In 2013, Yuichiro Miura, at 80 years old, became the oldest person to climb Mt Everest. Incredibly, the Japanese alpinist has also skied down the highest mountain on all seven continents and was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary The Man Who Skied Down Everest.

It’s important to have a dream, no matter how old you are.” – Yuichiro Miura

Former pilot Gladys Burrill was 86 when she ran a marathon for the first time. Nicknamed the “Gladyator”, Burrill was recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest female marathon finisher after completing the Honolulu Marathon in 9:53, aged 92.

Just get out there and walk or run. I like walking because you can stop and smell the roses, but it’s a rarity that I stop.” – Gladys Burrill

“Miss a meal, but don’t miss a book.”

Jim Rohn

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 on the planet, books are a great gift because they sit there staring back at us: providing gentle prompts, imaginative thought and unprecedented motivationwhen 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.

For the time-poor, or those with reading difficulties, audiobooks are the perfect way to consume massive knowledge in a short timeframe. For portability, and to easily retain a summary of your highlighted passages, ebooks can’t be beat. For a well-rated classic, or something you want to revisit time and time again, there’s no substitute for a hardcover, which is also far more personal than gifting a digital product.

Welcome to my first annual recommended reading list of gifts for yourself or a loved one. 

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.

Want a signed copy? Signed copies with free worldwide shipping are available for USD $25 or AUD $30 per copy. Remember to email us with at least two weeks’ notice to ensure your order arrives in time. Discounts are available for bulk orders – email for more info. (Unsigned copies are also available on Amazon.)


Best for Resilience:

Defiant by Janine Shepherd

If you’ve read or watched Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy, you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with Janine Shepherd. Her remarkable story is the best personification of resilience and tenacity that I’ve ever seen.

Defiant is a comprehensive account of a champion athlete having her entire life ripped away by a freak accident, before summoning the courage to continue and pursue a gold medal in the sport of life. I finished this book in two sittings, then called Janine to tell her how amazing it was! Highly recommended. 


Best for Entrepreneurs:

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

I’ve always been a fan of Nike, and Shoe Dog is a warts-and-all account of founding one of the world’s most recognized companies and navigating all the perils along the way. Often, with global brands, we forget that the business all started as a simple thought impulse. Knight traveled around the world looking for inspiration, battling the market leaders (and even the US Government) and setting up distribution channels.

His philanthropic values, entrepreneurial spirit and uncanny resourcefulness make this an excellent gift for aspiring entrepreneurs with lofty goals. 


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. To me, it’s been truly lifechanging and is the book I gift the most.

(If you’re on Instagram, I want to follow you too! Just send me a message or email with your username so I can keep track.)


Best for Professionals:

Chief Maker by Greg Layton

This book is written for middle level managers looking to equip themselves with the skills and mindset to not only secure a C-level role but thrive.

In addition to a unique background—think living with Shaolin Monks in China, running ultra-marathons, and coaching world champion athletes—Greg has become a close personal friend. He compiled his firsthand research with true changemakers into his 5-step ‘GREAT Method’ asthe ultimate career progression handbook. Better yet, Chief Maker is FREE as part of a Christmas promotion.


Best for Personal Branding:

Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

We all know the importance of having mentors regardless of what life stage we’re in, but too many people are focused on trying to find one in real life. The most influential people of all time—from Marcus Aurelius to Jeff Bezos—turned to the written word for inspiration, and you can do the same. In 2012, when I lived in Boston and was at a career crossroads, Gary Vee’s books were enormously influential.

Crushing It is his latest book and will help entrepreneurs and professionals, as well as those looking for a profitable side hustle, monetize their passion and package their talents for success in the digital age.


Timeless Classics:

The following three books are timeless classics and will be on my bookshelf forever:

Best Gift (or Accompaniment) for Everyone:

A handwritten card or letter to acknowledge the recipient for all the loving and selfless actions they have taken to brighten the world and illuminate your spirit.

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.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

In case you missed it: The Path to Greatness’

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Napoleon Hill

The Napoleon Hill journey has become the stuff of legend. At the turn of the 20th century, the young reporter from Wise County, Virginia, was given a mission to interview the most successful people of his time. As Hill progressed, he quickly realized this pursuit would become his life’s work. It led him to interview more than 500 of the world’s most accomplished business leaders to unearth the secrets to their vast fortunes and identify whether any of their attributes could be modeled by everyday people.

Hill met with industry titans such as inventor Thomas Edison, automobile giant Henry Ford, and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie—who, despite arriving in the United States a penniless immigrant, managed to accumulate one of the greatest personal fortunes in existence.

After more than 25 years of research on these extraordinary figures, Hill published his findings in Think and Grow Rich. The book outlined a success formula known as the “achievement philosophy” and was an instant phenomenon.

Perhaps Hill’s greatest discovery was that success does not discriminate; it comes to all those who do what needs to be done. Irrespective of circumstances, through the consistent application of a proven set of success principles, ordinary people become extraordinary—potential is not predicated on age, education, financial starting point, or any other perceived misfortune.

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Did you know:

Napoleon Hill’s publisher told him that if he couldn’t think of a good title for the book within 24 hours, it would be called “Use Your Noodle and Get the Boodle”. Finally, at 2:30am—with the book almost on the printing press and having brainstormed 600+ titles, Hill came up with “Think and Grow Rich”. The rest is history.

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Despite passing away in 1970, Napoleon Hill continues to inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things. His work has influenced people within every industry in the world and is the playbook that has enabled countless entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and cultural icons to rise above their circumstances.

Below, you’ll find a collection of my favorite Napoleon Hill quotes and timeless lessons to apply in your own life. In honor of Hill’s birthday on 26th October, thank you for transforming the world with your teachings. May your legacy continue to illuminate the potential inside all of us.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

PS – My comprehensive tribute to Napoleon Hill can be found in Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy, a collection of stories and action plans of people who used Hill’s lessons to rise above the unlikeliest (and, in some cases, most tragic) of circumstances to make their mark on the world.

65 of Napoleon Hill’s best quotes

• “Don’t measure your future by your past.”
• “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.”
• “A state of mind is something that one assumes. It cannot be purchased, it must be created.”
• “There is no other road to genius than through voluntary self effort.”
• “Faith without action is dead.”
• “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
• “Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
• “Use your mind to create the circumstances you want created.”
• “Definiteness of purpose automatically develops self-reliance.”
• “When you find out your plan is not right, immediately discard it and prepare another one. Keep going until you find one that will work.”
• “Definiteness of purposes makes one more alert in recognizing opportunity and inspires the courage to embrace and act on those opportunities.”
• “Nature hates idleness. She wants everything to be in action, especially the human mind. The mind is no different to any other part of the body—if you don’t use it, it atrophies and withers away until it gets to a point where anyone can push you around.”
• “All people are who they are because of their dominating thoughts and desires.”
• “Before we can master an enemy, we must know its name, its habits and its place of abode.”
• “The only thing better than embracing opportunity is making the opportunity.”
• “All impulses of thought have a tendency to clothe themselves in their physical equivalent.”
• “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
• “There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge. Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.”
• “Success comes to those who become success conscious.”
• “Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.”
• “When your desires are strong enough, you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.”
• “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
• “Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat.”
• “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
• “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
• “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice.”
• “Everyone faces defeat. It may be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced.”
• “If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”
• “Success is good at any age, but the sooner you find it, the longer you will enjoy it.”
• “It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.”
• “Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.”
• “Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.”
• “If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.”
• “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound. Rebuild those plans and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
• “There are no limitations to the mind except those that we acknowledge.”
• “Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.”
• “Go the extra mile. The majority of people don’t even go the first mile.”
• “A positive mind finds a way it can be done. A negative mind looks for all the ways it can’t be done.”
• “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
• “Most so-called failures are only temporary defeats.”
• “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
• “There is one quality which one must possess to win and that is: definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”
• “Plan your work and work your plan.”
• “Tell me how you use your spare time and how you spend your money, and I will tell you where and what you will be in ten years from now.”
• “Imagination is the warship of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth.”
• “Awake, arise, and assert yourself, you dreamers of the world.”
• “Action is the real measure of intelligence.”
• “You can think your way into or out of almost any circumstance, good or bad.”
• “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done yesterday.”
• “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”
• “Keep you mind fixed on what you want in life; not on what you don’t want.”
• “To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don’t worry about darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest.”
• “Never be satisfied with existence. Aim for abundance.”
• “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”
• “Your wife or husband should be your first mastermind ally.”
• “When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity—regardless of what others may do—you are destined for greatness.”
• “If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it … write it in the sand near the water’s edge.”
• “More gold has been mined from the minds of men than the earth itself.”
• “Our only limitations are those we setup in our own minds.”
• “Talk about a person’s virtues rather than their faults.”
• “You can’t fail, unless you think you can.”
• “Put your foot on the neck of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do or say.”
• “Faith is the only known antidote to failure.”
• “You may be hurt if you love too much, but you will live in misery if you love too little.”
• “Tell the world what you intend to do. But, first, show it.”

“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.

“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation.”

Margaret Wheatley

Early on in my career I made the decision to get good at networking. Whether it was striking up a conversation with a stranger in an elevator, trying to be memorable at events, or adding value to people far higher up the pecking order, I wanted to forge a meaningful relationship based on emitting a vibrant energy, an organic connection and unconditionally adding value.

This decision, along with being committed to simple and consistent action, has been the cornerstone to every success I have achieved to this point.

Being your natural self is an important part of building relationships. When it happens as organically as possible, authenticity reigns, time is saved and value increases tenfold. I’ve seen too many networking ‘experts’ say that the solution is to start at the finish line, where you spend big money to attend events, enthusiastically ‘appear’ (rather than meaningfully engage), and dish out business cards like ninja stars.

Remember, extraordinary achievement only comes with a strong foundation. A few meaningful connections are far more valuable than exchanging 500+ business cards.

Here is a five-step system to take your networking skills to the next level. This process can be followed by anyone and I absolutely guarantee it will have an enormous impact on your life.

1. Build your knowledge

True mastery in any field—including networking—only comes from ridiculous amounts of purposeful practice. Before diving headfirst into the deep end, work on your stroke. Here are the three best networking books I have encountered:

Grab a notepad and spend one hour each day reading these books, until you’ve finished all three, being sure to jot down ideas and inspiration as it comes to mind. When you’re finished, keep increasing your knowledge with podcasts like Build Your Network by Travis Chappell.

I guarantee you will 10x your networking results from this first step alone.

2. Get clear on your definition of success.

Retain a laser-like focus by being crystal clear on your objective, i.e. what you actually want to achieve from networking. Perhaps it’s to:

It could be anything. Once you have a clear objective, you can work on crafting an elevator pitch that gets people excited about wanting to help you achieve it. The result? A sizzling first impression.

Just remember the cardinal rule of networking is to focus on other people’s interests before your own. As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 

3. Invest in your personal brand.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is scrimping on their personal brand. Tidy up your social accounts and your personal website, and get some good quality business cards that:

In the world of Squarespace/Wix and Fiverr/Upwork, there’s no reason not to have at least a reasonably professional online presence, irrespective of where you’re at in your career.

In reference to creating a killer website for his brand new (at the time) School of Greatness podcast, Lewis Howes told me, “The website needed to look professional if I was to attract high level people to appear on the show. If it looked amateur, I would only attract amateurs.” Invest in your personal brand.

4. Get out there.

At this stage you should be fired up and ready to go, like Usain Bolt on the starting blocks! Test out your skills in every interaction you have, whether at a coffee shop, the dog park, in a business meeting—everywhere. The aim is to quickly establish rapport and get comfortable communicating with authenticity. Carry an air of confidence, trying to draw out a smile from others. If you’ve done step one, you’ll know that you need to be:

Find a list of conferences/events that are in your industry. If possible, connect with a few people beforehand who might be attending—you can easily find them via an industry FB page, the event’s FB page or posting to your own network. Having some conversations locked in can help you warm up and feel more confident than fronting it blind. Make sure you look professional, but natural and authentic.

When you start to meet people of interest, and have offered value to them, ask them to suggest 1-2 people you absolutely need to connect with at the event. When they offer some names, ask for an introduction. The original lifestyle entrepreneur Tim Ferriss once outlined his networking strategy as: “Go narrow. Go long.” A deep, trusted relationship with a few people is exponentially more powerful than a surface-level acquaintance with many.

Experience is an essential part of mastering your craft, and remember that you’ve already done most of the hard work, so excitedly get out there and get your “sea legs”.

5. Keep in touch.

Continue to offer value without the expectation of anything in return—perhaps it’s an article that might interest them, an introduction to someone you know, or a brief catch up to hear more about their journey and how you can help.

Down the track, start hosting your own mastermind catch ups to really turbocharge your network. Never underestimate how valuable a core team of enthusiastic supporters can be on every aspect of your life.

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Remember, networking is not event-specific—it is an “all the time” skill. Judge success on the number of real relationships you’ve made and invest in them long term, rather than risk burning them for short term gain.

Follow this simple formula and see how quickly your impact is amplified. After all, your network is your net worth.

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.

Ready to win the day, every day? 

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