James Whittaker is an international bestselling author, speaker, entrepreneur, and film producer. His latest book, Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy, has just been released as a modern companion to the bestselling self-help book of all time. He’s also co-executive producer of the film, Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy.
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Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy – James’ book
JamesWhitt.com – James’ website
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3 Value Bombs
1) What you do when the world isn’t looking is what makes a difference.
2) Any excuse you have to not achieve what you want in life is invalid.
3) Taking action every single day is what brings you closer to success.
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(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:08] – James grew up in Australia, then moved to the US 5 years ago
[01:15] – He’s had the opportunity to be involved in a number of entrepreneurial ventures
[02:00] – James’ area of expertise is in helping people take ownership of their financial, physical, and mental health
[02:46] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: “It’s what you do behind closed doors that makes the difference”
[04:16] – It’s the results it offers that made this book widely popular
[05:40] – The biggest thing James has taken away from the book is the mastermind principle
[07:07] – Mastery of procrastination is what JLD dove into in the book and the film
[08:29] – Film director, Scott Cervine, had the rights from the Napoleon Hill Foundation to make the book a film
[08:59] – James started to get people involved and ended up being the writer of the book
[15:26] – James talks about the stories in the book that stuck with him
[16:51] – Any excuse we have is invalid
[18:45] – Every person featured in the book is just an ordinary person who had the desire and faith and took action to achieve what they wanted most
[19:06] – “You do not need to do something extraordinary every day”
[20:19] – Interviewing all these successful people changed James’ life in so many ways
[22:26] – A big thing for James after writing and publishing the book has been journaling his intentions for the day the moment he wakes up
[23:24] – “Dream big, find your tribe, and make it happen”
James: EO Fire, baby. Let’s go!
JLD: James is an international best-selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, and film producer. His latest book Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy has just been released as a modern companion to the best-selling self-help of all time. He is also co-executive producer of the film Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy which Fire Nation; I’ve seen it now twice; is great. James, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
James: Yeah, thanks for having me, JLD. I grew up in Australia and spent a decade in financial planning out there and moved to America about five years ago. I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in a number of entrepreneurial ventures in health and fitness and social media, active wear and most recently in Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy as co-executive producer of the film and author of the brand new book. So very excited.
JLD: Well, I’m excited to be talking about this today and Fire Nation, a little sneak peek. I was honored to be a part of both the book and the film so very exciting stuff. I’ll definitely be sharing some screenshots of the book coming up here on my Instagram shortly. But, before, James we dive into the meat and potatoes of today’s interview which is going to be focused around Think and Grow Rich, both the book and the film, break this down for us. What’s your area of expertise? What are you great at?
James: I’m most passionate about helping people take ownership of their financial, physical, and mental health because I feel that so many people are busy just focusing on one of those areas, but if you are able to harness those three areas, you really have everything that you need to be able to take your life to the next level and have sustained happiness and prosperity.
JLD: Extreme ownership, Fire Nation. Those are two words that you need to own, that you need to absorb because you are the sole person who’s responsible for your success and/or failure. Just own that. Extreme ownership. James, one tip, one tactic for Fire Nation right now about that, about ownership, about taking responsibility. What do you want to make sure that we know that frankly, you see a lot of entrepreneurs come up short with?
James: I think a lot of it is around what you do behind closed doors. Everyone in the social media instant gratification con activity world wants to broadcast. Everyone’s about personal branding, but it’s what you do behind closed doors that make the difference. So, what are you doing away from the limelight and the fanfare? And think about at the end of each day if you’re happy with the contributions of what you’ve done to get you towards your goals. That is by far the most important thing rather than spending 24/7 worrying about your public image or how you’re presented on social media.
JLD: Fire Nation, very wise words. You won’t be surprised as to why there’s so wise after we get done with this interview because we’re really going to be talking about Think and Grow Rich, the book, the film. Specifically, we’re going to be talking about is the legacy part of this as well. So, let’s kind of take it back to the roots first, James and give us kind of a breakdown of why you think the original Think and Grow Rich is still so popular. It’s what, 80 years since it’s been released now?
James: Yeah, it was released in 1937 and since then it’s gone on to sell more than 120 million copies around the world. And if anything, it’s actually increasing in popularity because more than 80 million of those copies have been sold in the last 35, 40 years. So, it really has continued to impact people across all industries and all corners of the globe. And I think there’s a very simple reason why it does continue to increase in popularity and that’s results. Quite simply, it’s just results.
This book has created more millionaires than any other resource in history and it’s a real testament to the work of the Napoleon Hill Foundation that actually made the Napoleon Hill teachings available to schools and prisons and all these different forums just to make sure people can have access to this proven set of success principles. But yeah, it continues to get results and people will start to see that in Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy just how powerful a single book can be.
JLD: So James, you are episode 1998 of EO Fire and in every one of these episodes I’ve asked my guests to give one of their favorite books and to share why. And I’ll tell you, one of the top ten, in fact, actually, I’m pretty sure it’s in the top five is Think and Grow Rich. It’s just been consistent over the last 2000 episodes that I’ve now done where it just is a book that comes up over and over again for impacting entrepreneurs so impactfully throughout their journeys, throughout their careers. What’s something within the book that you really took away when you read it maybe for the first or second time? Because this is actually one of those books where I honestly believe you’re gonna read a few times because you take something different out of it each and every time. What was something that was really impactful for you that really made you want to pursue this project we’re going to be getting into a little bit here so passionately?
James: The big principle for me that I’ve really taken on board is the mastermind principle. So, that is the 9th principle of Think and Grow Rich on Napoleon Hill’s achievement philosophy. And it’s about how you interact with other people because it accelerates your trajectory to getting what you want. So, that mastermind principle, in particular, is something that has been very, very profound for me. And it was really interesting what you just said before, JLD about having to read it multiple times. Think and Grow Rich is not a novel that you read once and put in your drawer never to be seen or read again.
Bob Proctor has read it every day for the last 58 years. Rob Dyrdek reads it every couple of years. Sharon Lechter reads it every year. And all these people say that you don’t notice something else in the book, you notice something else in yourself because when you read and you absorb any material in the self-help field, you can only take from it your experiences to that point. So, as you continue to grow and experience the world, you’ll actually start to identify more in yourself.
Yeah, it’s an incredibly timeless classic and it’s what started the whole self-help movement. And a lot of people right down from Jim Rohn to Tony Robbins today, everything that they do and that they coach on goes right back to Think and Grow Rich. It really is the godfather of the self-help field.
JLD: So good. And the theme that I actually really dialed in on was decision. You know the mastery of procrastination. That’s kind of one thing that we really focus on in my part of the book and my part in the film. And I just love that quote by Napoleon Hill which is, “Tell the world what you intend to do but first, show it.” And so, Fire Nation, I have a great little section in that part of the book under Decision which I kind of go into my philosophy behind that. And one thing that I think is so cool, James, is that following me, the person right after me is Warren Moon. This hall of fame NFL quarterback is right after me in this book and I’m like, “Damn, I remember being 9 years old watching him play in the NFL and now I’m in a book with this guy.”
So, Fire Nation, just find something that you know you’re really passionate about that excites you that you can also add value and skills into the world. Combine those things into a zone of fire. Put your nose to the grindstone. Commit, persist, work. Decide that you’re going to be great at it and open your eyes ten years later and see where you’re at. I mean this is a game. It’s a patient game. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And for you, James, looking back as to why you decided to put all of this work and effort into the book, into the film, how did this all come together as a project? I mean this just doesn’t happen overnight.
James: Yeah, well film director, Scott Servane had the rights from the Napoleon Hill Foundation to take Think and Grow Rich to the big screen for the first time. It had never been a movie before and he met up with Shaun Donovan, who is the CEO and founder of Think Rich films, and Shaun’s wife, Corina Donovan and Joel Franco. So, between those four, they were really the ones who got the ball rolling on this whole project. And they had a white board and they started writing down their wish list of people who would be featured in this film.
And then they started to get people involved so Bob Proctor and Barbara Corcoran and I had the opportunity to meet them about one year after production had already started. I pitched them a concept of what they should do on the book side without expecting anything in return that they could go and find someone else who wanted to write it. They turned around and asked if I could write the book and I said I’d be happy to. So, I came on board the project as author of the book and co-executive producer of the film. But, everyone wants to be a part of the Think and Grow Rich film. It’s a book that has such strong brand awareness.
And once people hear that it has become a film and a new book and hear about all the amazing people that are in it, it’s fully endorsed by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. My brand new book, it is published by Sam Wisdom who also published Think and Grow Rich. We’ve got a really incredible team of people and I think all the feedback from people who have seen the film and read the book has been very, very positive and very, very exciting. So, I’m looking forward to sharing this with the world.
JLD: Well, I’ve now seen the film twice because it is so well done, Fire Nation. I just knew that there were things that I missed quality wise at first go around that I went back, watched it again. And just like reading the book multiple times, this is a film you should be watching multiple times because each section is just so inspiring and just inquisitive for what it is. I just love how they bring out of each guest these things you’re just like, “Oh, wow. I’m surprised that Warren Moon just said that.”
So, definitely check out the fil, definitely check out the book. And what I want you to get into next, James, is what people can actually expect when they read the book and when they watch the film. Bur first, where can our listeners go to actually consume this content? To get the book, to get the film and to watch the film and then what can they expect once they start consuming this content?
James: We’ve got some bonus materials available right now for people who go to tgmovie.com. So, you’ll be able to grab a copy of the film there. DVD’s and Blue Rays will be coming out soon. As part of the bonus content, you can get the audiobook, bonus footage from behind the scenes, interviews. There’s a whole heap of exciting content available. And Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy, the book is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, all the major platforms. So, go and check it out.
JLD: So, what can we expect from this book? What can we expect from watching this film?
James: So, the film really captures that emotion just by virtue of the medium and it really does excite people to take ownership. And that’s the benefit of the age that we’re living in right now with technology. And the book is able to go into much more detail on these stories so in the book each chapter will start off with a brief overview, a brief refresh of each of the 13 success principles from Napoleon Hill. But it puts it in modern times so we reference the Navy Seals, Sarah Blakely, the youngest self-made billionaire of all time. We’ve got Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk. All these people are referenced in it.
And then we follow that at the end of each chapter with two stories of ordinary people who are able to consistently apply this proven set of success principles to really take ownership of their lives and achieve extraordinary things over time. So, we’ve got people like Barbara Corcoran, Rob Dyrdek, Louis House, Grant Cardone, Bob Proctor. Of course, you, JLD.
James; We’ve got a really amazing, a very eclectic group of people from all over the world, some extraordinary stories. And I know that any publisher would not pick up your manuscript if you said that you didn’t have a niche for – this book really does have something for everyone.
JLD: Fire Nation, don’t you go anywhere because we have some great value coming your way when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
So, James, we’re back and I love stories. That’s kind of how I’ve built the entrepreneurs on Fire brand is around stories and the stories of successful entrepreneurs. So, this is why this is such a good fit for my show, for my audience. What’s a particular story that stands out to you from this book?
James: There are so many. The book starts off with Janine Shepherd who is a cross-country skier from Australia who had qualified for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. And she was on a bike ride outside the Blue Mountains in Sydney ahead of that, and she was actually hit by a speeding truck, airlifted to intensive care at a nearby hospital. And her parents were told that she would not live and then she woke up. And then she was told that she would not be able to walk and she has been able to achieve all these incredible things. She now is a multiple time best-selling author. She travels the world as a motivational speaker, is an aerobatics pilot and a pilot instructor all while being classed as a partial paraplegic.
It’s probably the most inspirational story that I’ve ever heard. There are also people in there like Jim Stovall, who at the age of 17 failed a high school routine physical for football. All he wanted to do was play for his beloved Dallas Cowboys and he was told at the age of 17 that he would go totally and permanently blind. And he went on to become the Emmy Award-winning founder of the narrative television network which creates content and programming for blind and visually impaired people. And he’s also gone on to be the author of 30 best-selling books.
So, if nothing else, this book and the stories in the book will show people that any excuse that we have as to why we can’t achieve whatever we most desire, it’s just invalid because all these people have found a way regardless of their background and irrespective of their circumstances to make it happen.
JLD: I mean there are so many stories that I love in this book, Fire Nation. We could go down the list. I mean, Grant Cardone, Barbara Corcoran, Louis House, Brandon T. Adams. I mean just to name a few here. But to kind of go back to a name that I’ve already mentioned once, but I was just really kind of blown away by Warren Moon. And again, this is a person who growing up, I just thought this guy had it all and I thought that his life was just this red carpet affair where he’s this great quarterback. He’s just throwing touchdowns and he’s doing his thing.
That’s kind of the snapshot that we have a lot of people’s lives, especially in the Instagram and Facebook world where people just put their best foot forward. But man, reading his story and seeing the struggles he went through about how people said, “No, you don’t fit the criteria of a quarterback because of the color of your skin.” Him having to start in the Canadian Football League, he couldn’t even start in the NFL because of that prejudicism and all this different stuff was going on. And then when he finally made it, what happened to him then. I mean I’m not gonna spoil everything for you, Fire Nation, but the story to me just made me realize man, even those people that we think just had it so good and just crush it their whole lives, there’s a story behind that and they did not.
They had their struggles. They had their pitfalls. They had their down moments and this book really dives into those and it’s just so inspiring in so many ways. But, that’s kind of my question next, James is we just have it seems like these extraordinary achievers. What makes them extraordinary? What makes a Warren Moon achieve what they achieve? What is the difference between just the ordinary people who we never hear about and the extraordinary achievers?
James: Well, all the people in the book, they would actually be first to tell you that they are not extraordinary people. They’re actually just ordinary average people who have been able to consistently apply a proven set of success principles over time. They had the desire, they had the faith they would eventually get there. They surrounded themselves by people who would make it happen. This is the key. You do not need to do something extraordinary every day. It’s just like the – what is it? The tortoise and the hare, whatever the old story was. It’s the people who are able to put in action every single day to get to their goals. They don’t let anything knock them off course and just there really is a linear formula for success.
It has worked for people for a long, long time. For decades, since the achievement philosophy is out. That was Napoleon Hill modeled that on people like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison. Some of the most successful people who ever lived. It worked for them. It worked for everyone in this book and it will work for everyone who reads the book on the condition that they consistently apply it over time.
JLD: Now, Fire Nation, I have no doubts that anybody who reads this book and watches this film, your life is going to change if like how James just said, you actually do apply these principles over time and you employ that patience and you employ that perseverance that’s so key on so many different levels. Your life will change, not overnight but over time. So James, a question to you then is you got to interview all these successful people. How has your life changed?
James: In many, many ways, JLD. Probably too many to even name. I think the entrepreneurial journey is probably all of your audience can relate to, we seem to have these dizzying highs and the crushing lows. There’s not too much by way of the creamy middles. It just comes with the territory. But interviewing people like Louis House and Grant Cardone, I learned the importance and value of investing in your personal brand. From Bob Proctor, I learned that if you read something often enough, you’ll start to believe it. You don’t need to believe it straight away, just believe that by reading it, over time you will.
From Rob Dyrdek, the skateboarder turned business mogul and venture capital guru; he taught me that you should only work on projects that give you energy. Why would you want to work on something that continually stresses you out and frustrates you? And another one that I really found interesting, JLD was what you taught me about how first thing in the morning you should do the work that gets you towards your 100-day goals. And only after you have achieved that which might take – I’m not sure. One, two, three, four hours, only then can you start living the day and living someone else’s agenda.
Also, by reacting to the day which might be things like emails because if you do that first thing in the morning, of course, you can fill up an entire day, an entire week, an entire month, and you look back after a whole year and all you’ve done is respond to a lot of emails which is someone else’s agenda for your time and your life.
JLD: OPA, Other People’s Agendas. It’s just not the way that you want to start your day. Start your day on your agenda. Make it happen for you. Use the best of yourself, that fresh, that energized that excited individual to do your best work. And James, to end off here – I mean you did share a lot of things that you learned from people you interviewed in the book. Give us one specific way that you’ve changed your life for the better since writing and publishing this book.
James: A big thing for me is when I wake up first thing in the morning is I grab the five-minute journal and I list out my intent for the day. So, what would make today great? What have I got on? What are the key tasks that I need to fulfill and accomplish today? And what energy do I want to bring to those projects and those moments? That to me is what has really changed my life both professionally and personally.
JLD: tgrmovie.com. That’s Tingle Golf Romeo movie. Com, Fire Nation. Head over there. There are a lot of bonuses waiting for you. You can check out the film, the book. It’s all waiting over there for you at tgrmovie.com. And James, let’s end today On Fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance. The best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
James: The best piece of guidance from me would be something very, very simple. It would be dream big, find your tribe, and make it happen. And for people who want to get in touch with me, they can just go and visit my website, jameswhitt.com. J-A-M-E-S-W-H-I-T-T.com. Reach out. We’ve actually got a bonus chapter of Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy the book that doesn’t appear in the actual published book as yet. But you can go and download that for free via my website and anyone in the Fire Nation, yeah, reach out. Would love to hear your story too.
JLD: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with J Dubbs and JLD so keep up the heat. And head over to eofire.com. Just type James in the search bar and his show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. Best show notes in the biz. Time stamps, links galore. But of course, you’re one strong CTA is to head over to tgrmovie.com. Check that out. The film, the book, the bonuses. And James, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that brother, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
James: My pleasure, JLD.
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