How Fight Club Changed my Life

If it’s your first time hearing about the movie Fight Club, you HAVE to fight.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

But it should be.

For one thing, Fight Club is a perfect litmus test. If you find someone who likes Fight Club, then the two of you share a bond for life. Conversely, if you find someone who hates it, then you know that person will never understand you.

Similarly, Fight Club can save you months of probing, uninteresting small talk undertaken in an attempt to find out if that other person is compatible with you. If he or she doesn’t like Fight Club, then you know you can just move on and never bother asking that person out again.

It’s the perfect dating initiation exam.

But that’s not the real reason this movie changed my life. Fight Club made me re-examine everything I ever thought I knew about anything. Like a bare-knuckle punch to my face, Fight Club destroyed every belief I thought was beautiful. And, like the fight club members, I loved every minute of it.

Do you think material wealth is important? Tyler Durden says otherwise.

Do you think your job defines who you are? Tyler Durden says otherwise.

Do you think your life is hopeless? Tyler Durden says otherwise.

Do you want to change the world? In Tyler we trust.

Of course, the way Fight Club’s most important character, Tyler Durden, went about changing the world was horrifying.

Of course, I’d never want to actually be in a fight club.

Of course, Fight Club is dark and strange and violent and funny and optimistic and nihilistic all at once.

What matters is that it made me think. It made me think really hard. And I love that.

It’s the only movie I’ve ever seen that’s better than the book. It’s the only movie that made me want to take a dirty bath and sleep on an old mattress. It’s the only movie that says things like, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before and nothing you’ll ever see again.

It’s the only movie that’s changed my life.

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.

I Fasted For Two Days -- Here's What Happened

Fasting is supposed to be really good for you

Fasting can lead to weight loss, improved athletic performance, a slower aging process, and in some cases, can help fight off cancer.

I'm in favor of all of those things, so we tried a full-blown fast (no food for three days). Here's how it went.

Thursday, 5:32 pm - Last meal.

The fast begins. The plan, researched meticulously via Tim Ferriss, was to have our last meal now (on Thursday) and then fast on Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday. 

We'll have dinner tonight and then only consume black coffee, water, and coconut oil drinks until Sunday night. 

We feel good about it. It's going to be a fun, healthy adventure. And, most importantly, we are both 100% in agreement.

Friday, 8:07 am - The start of a new day.

We got up and had some black coffee. Not a big switch from our normal routine. We feel good. This is going to be easier than expected.

Friday, 11:12 am - That was a long three hours. 

Our stomachs are ready for something else. Hmm, what shall we choose? How about some FatWater (a high energy coconut oil drink)! That tastes pretty good! Feeling strong.

Friday, 1:37 pm - Hunger is upon us.

We just had another coffee. Didn't quite hit the spot the way we wanted it to. Getting kind of dizzy. Time to get outside for a long walk.

Friday, 4:21 pm - Starting to lose it.

It was nice outside but we learned that the beautiful outdoors isn't quite as breathtaking when you're dizzy and disoriented. I think it's time to lie down now.

Friday, 6:15 - Drifting away. 

It turns out that disorientation mixed with hunger is not that great of a combination. One of us is curled up in several blankets on the side of the bed. I am looking blankly at what I think is the TV. 

I'm certain now. We'll never leave this room again.

Friday, 6:15 - "Why did you make me do this?!?"

After a brief nap, it appears it's time to address the elephant in the room. 

She has seen the enemy, and it is me. 

This horror show is my idea. We were supposed to get work done this weekend. And now we're miserable and nothing will be accomplished. 

Somewhere in the back of my haze-filled mind, I remember we both agreed to this. I'm probably mistaken. 

Friday, 8:40 pm - It's time to end it.

The misery has won. I am hungry and defeated and detached from reality. And now I'm also angry. I'm tired of being hungry. I'm tired of being blamed for this. I want to punch Tim Ferriss in his healthy, knowledgeable face.

I offer to end the experiment. I'm ready to go get some food. I can't take it anymore.

No, she says. Let's just go to bed.

In my mind I only have one thought: This ends tomorrow morning.

We drift off into stomach-rumbling sleep. It's 9 pm.

Saturday, 7:52 am - A new beginning.

Someone had a good night's sleep. Hint: it wasn't me.

I am hungry and practically sprinting to the kitchen so I can end this sadness and have a piece of wheat toast. 

She has a different take. She wants to wait. She's feeling good. She wants to stretch it out to dinner time. I'm shocked and impressed. Maybe we just needed to get through the tough time and then it gets easier. 

Or maybe I'm going to eat this piece of wheat toast. 

I eat the toast. 

But she continues on.

Saturday, 11:22 am - Time for lunch.

The hunger has come calling again. Not for me, of course. 

It's time to eat, she says. It's been a nice run but some fish tacos would be nice.

No choir has ever agreed more with a preacher.

I set a new land speed record driving to the restaurant. Everything tastes so incredibly good.

I'm glad it's over


All told, we made it about 40 hours. Not bad. 

What did I learn?

We have a weird relationship with food. On one hand, the hunger was not pleasant and I was happy to end the fast. But at the same time, I felt guilty when we ate on Saturday. I felt like I was giving up control in some way. 

It's important to eat in moderation and not be addicted to always being full. Too much food isn't good for us. 

But 40 hours was more than enough for us. 

And I don't regret those fish tacos. Not one bit. 

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.





The Top 3 Best Villains of All Time

If you're discussing great movies, a lot depends on the villain.

A hero with no competition is boring. A rivalry with no rival is no fun at all. The bigger the threat, the bigger the triumph.

A fantastic movie can make our lives better, and the fantastic ones often need a superstar villain

So what makes a great villain?

It's not how powerful he/she/it is. For example, the villains in Suicide Squad could destroy the whole world and that movie was still not good. 

For a villain to be great, he/she/it needs charisma. 

We need to be riveted when the villain is onscreen. We need to be sad when the villain scenes are over.

A great villain, in fact, may actually make you kind of root for him/her/it, even though it's completely wrong to do so. 

Villains also have be extremely good at their craft. It should always appear that, this time, the hero won't be able to pull this one out.

Last, a great villain should make the movie completely re-watchable. If you were changing the channel and this villain's scene was on, you would definitely stop everything you're doing and watch that scene. 

So here are the categories: 1) Charisma; 2) Powerfulness (not necessarily beat-you-up powerfulness); 3) Watchability. Each villain will be given a score of 1-10 in each category and totals will be given at the end.

That being said, here are the greatest villains of all time:

(Netflix shows are included. How could they not be?)

But first, here are the almost-winners.

Honorable Mention:

Anton Chigurh, No Country For Old Men. This might be the scariest villain of all time. But he didn't make the list due to charisma. He's so scary and so evil that I don't really want to watch his scenes again. If No Country was on and I saw Anton, I would probably turn off the TV and go cry in a closet. For that reason, he doesn't make the cut. 

Agent Smith, The Matrix. The words, "Mr. Anderson!" will probably be burned in my head for the rest of my life. He had charisma, was basically unbeatable, and is completely re-watchable. He deserves to be on the list. What about the sequels, though? That's the tough part. Agent Smith became more tedious as the Matrix sequels got worse and worse. That's the only reason he missed the list. 

The Top Three List:

3 tie. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs.  "What does he do, this man you seek?" He scares the crap out of me! But he also makes me want to stay and hear more. You can't get more charismatic than that. 

Charisma: 10 

Powerfulness: 6 Yes, he was extremely intelligent and he killed Miggs with only his words. But he was in prison. To be in prison, you have to be caught. If he was caught, then how powerful is he? I know he got out, but I still feel like people could catch him again. 

Watchability: 10 (Love your suit.)


3 tie. Hans Gruber, Die Hard. Lest we forget, Bruce Willis wasn't an action star before Die Hard. He was David Addison. Die Hard changed all that forever. Why was Die Hard so good? Yes, there was plenty of action. But really, the reason for Die Hard's eternal greatness was Hans Gruber

Charisma: 10 (If you don't believe me, then you won't be joining us for the rest of your life.)

Powerfulness: 6 He was super smart, but no fighting skills or long term plans. And he was foiled by a barefoot cop.

Watchability: 10 (I'm going to count to three...)


2. Moriarty, Sherlock (TV series). Sir Arthur's Conan Doyle's Moriarty was always intimidating. Anyone who masterminds a world-wide criminal network is a worthy foe. But when we finally got to meet Andrew Scott's Moriarty? Holy crapoly. 

Charisma: 10 (there were a lot of layers to this Moriarty, and then makes him so intriguing. He's weak but not really. He's silly but not really. He'll let you live, but not really. It's magnificent).

Powerfulness: 9 (there was the feeling that you're only alive because Moriarty wanted it that way. He could take you out at any time and there's nowhere you could run. He will burn you. He will burn the heart out of you. No one could ever beat him--except maybe Sherlock).

Watchability: 8.5 (his early-season Sherlock scenes are clearly an easy 10, but the way the show used him in the most recent season took a little bloom off the rose; thus the 9.5 rating)

TOTAL: 27.5

1. The Joker, The Dark Knight. The Joker has been around for years, and there's a reason the character was immensely popular, even when the Joker was a cartoon. But then Heath Ledger walked into our lives, and showed us a magic trick

Charisma: 10 (he looks crazy but talks like a genius; and he has a different origin story each time, which only adds to the mystique).

Powerfulness: 8 (he's a criminal mastermind, no doubt about it; but his opening plan in the movie's first scene, while awesome, is probably overly complicated; points off for that)

Watchability: 10 (everything he does is must-see TV; you're sad when he's gone and he steals every scene; he makes The Dark Knight a classic)


My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.



Five Reasons Why the Borg vs. McEnroe Movie is So Great

Let's get one thing straight: tennis movies are terrible.

Which hurts. 

I love tennis and I love movies, so a tennis movie should be just about the best thing in the world.

And when they're awful, and they always are, it's twice as painful.

The best one to date was probably the recent Battle of the Sexes. I've actually met some of the tennis stand-ins for that movie and the tennis scenes were pretty good. But I really couldn't recommend it. It was just...okay.

Which brings us to Borg vs. McEnroe.

Keep in mind that Bjorn Borg was my absolute favorite athlete (only Federer compares). 

My childhood adulation went so deep, in fact, that my mom once had to ban me from watching any more Borg matches because they made me too emotional.

I don't think running out of the house so I could sob in private (after Borg lost a set) is too emotional, but we can agree to disagree.

So when I found out that Borg vs. McEnroe was coming to theaters and VOD, I knew there was a lot on the line. 

I wanted so desperately to see it and love it, but I was absolutely certain I would hate it. This movie was going to let me down just like all the others did, except this time would be worse because it had Borg. 

It was definitely going to break my heart.

I was wrong. 

I loved it so much, I ended up seeing it twice within a week. .

And here are the reasons why it's so great:

1) The movie takes place during the biggest tennis boom we've ever seen. It's hard to understand how big tennis was at the time Borg vs. McEnroe takes place. If you wanted to play some tennis with a friend back then, it was understood that all the courts would be full everywhere in town and you would definitely wait at least a half hour to play. It was a given. Every public court in town was always taken. Knowing that makes the tennis in the movie that much more intense.

2) Tennis was a big part of our culture then. I remember going over to visit friends of my parents one time and all the adults talked about was tennis. Everyone was watching Wimbledon in 1980. Everyone. The pressure on these two guys was incredible.

3) The fourth set of Borg/McEnroe is still regarded as the most incredible moment in tennis history. Maybe even sports history. The "Battle of 18-16" is still famous today, and the movie does it proud. 

4) Borg retired shortly after the movie takes place, and it's one of the biggest sports mysteries of all time. Why, in the prime of his career, did Borg walk away? We've never gotten a good answer. The movie does a great job of answering that question.

5) Borg and McEnroe are two of the greatest players of all time, without question.  And there are very few times that two opponents this great were at the peak of their powers simultaneously. Maybe Ali/Frazier? Maybe Celtics/Lakers? Who else? Jordan had no rivals. Tiger had no rivals. But these were fierce rivals both in their prime, and they were colliding in front of the whole world. How great were they? This great:

  • Borg still holds the record for the top two longest winning streaks in tour history. He once won 49 matches in a row and then won 48 in row the very next year.
  • Five years later, McEnroe won 42 matches in a row (and would've set the all time record had he not squandered a huge lead to Lendl in the French Open final that year).
  • Borg won 11 Majors faster than anyone ever (faster than Federer, who's in second place).And he didn't even bother playing the Australian Open which would have added several to his total. 
  • Borg was the first player to win a million dollars in prize money in a single year.
  • Borg won more 6-0 sets than anyone in history (by a wide margin).
  • McEnroe still owns the highest single-season winning percentage of all time, going 82-3 in 1984.
  • McEnroe was ranked #1 in the world in singles for 170 weeks and was ranked #1 in doubles for 270 weeks. Nobody has done that. Nobody even comes close. 

This is not a typical sports movie, but it's a great sports movie. 

And you need to see it.

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.



What I Learned From San Francisco

Last weekend, I went to Oakland, CA to visit one of my old tennis students. It's important to me that my old students live in cities I want to see. If I don't approve of where they live, I make them move. 

Just kidding.

But not really.

On Saturday we decided to cross the bridge and take an 8-mile walking tour of San Francisco. Here's what I learned. 

  1. It's more beautiful than you think. Not having been there before, I had my own stereotypical ideas on what the city would look like. Real life blew everything away. There's water and fog and bridges and hills and mountains and landmarks, and it's incredible. San Francisco's reputation is actually under-rated. 
  2. The best way to see a city is on foot. I guess it's possible to see San Francisco in a car or trolley. I guess that would still be impressive. But everything is better on foot. You get the nuances of each fascinating neighborhood, and you can just stop and take it all in anytime you want. Seeing Alcatraz with your own eyes is infinitely better than a drive-by. And, yes, streets are that hilly. We climbed the equivalent of 62 floors on our walk so make sure you have good insurance if you decide to go that route. You may or may not end up with cramped legs in an oxygen tent.
  3. With great beauty comes...other stuff. If you visit or live in a beautiful place, other things may come with the package. For one, you might have to share part of the city with these folks from Pier 39. They can get pretty vocal. Or you might stop at a quaint bay side restaurant for coffee and a beignet and have someone take off their pants and urinate in a trash can eight feet away from you. When you choose somewhere amazing, a lot of things come with it.
  4. If you want to grow, go where the growing is. I was only there for a weekend, but you can feel the vibe in San Francisco. Some cities vibrate (hopefully not literally), and San Francisco is one of them. The people are hip and diverse and purposeful. And it seems like every other block has a Fortune 500 company's headquarters on it. Like the saying goes: If you want a haircut, hang around a barbershop and you'll eventually get a trim. San Francisco is one of the most impressive barbershops in the world. 
  5. Cost of living is important. We all want to be financially independent. What we don't realize is: being well-off financially doesn't mean making a certain amount of money. It means gaining mastery over our monthly expenses. The quickest way to be independently wealthy is to have a good job in a cheap place. San Francisco, however, is the opposite of that. While walking, we looked up the listing of a 1 bedroom, 1 bath place in a hip downtown area that was only 400 square feet.  A place with that description would sell for way under $200,000 in Ohio. How much do you think it was in San Francisco? [pause] It was over $600,000! That's another price you pay for living in extreme beauty.

In short, all your dreams may come true in San Francisco, and I dare you to find a more beautiful place.

Just make sure you're ready for all the attached strings. 

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.


The Joy of Being the Only Sober Person in the Room

I don't drink.

Actually, I've never even had a sip of alcohol. 

But as a wise man once said, "You're not cool if you drink, and you're not cool if you don't drink."

I'm not preaching, I'm just saying.

Because this is true, I've been in a lot of rooms where I've been the only sober person there. And it's a weird thing.

At first, it's funny. Personalities are magnified and you see sides of people that you may never have seen before. Sometimes it can be good entertainment.

But sometimes it's lonely.

Drunk people, when they reach a certain level, start speaking their own drunk language to each other. At that point, you're all alone. There's no way to reach them and there's no way they can reach you.

Being left out can cause anxiety. 

I'm tired of not having anyone to talk to. Maybe I'll have a few drinks and join them...

And therein lies the challenge. 

Once you give in and join them, you lose an advantage. The sober person sees everything. The sober person can capture memories. The sober person makes reasonable decisions. The sober person can help people who might be getting out of hand. 

And the sober person is always available to make a connection with that one other person who might be sober, too. Finding that one other person can be a thrill that leads to something valuable.

The thing is: this situation is happening all the time to everyone--and not just at bars or parties. 

The other day I was standing in line at a Starbucks. There were eight people in line. 

All eight were staring deeply at their phones, speaking their own silent languages with the internet.

No eye contact. No recognition.

They stumbled around. They screwed up their orders or forgot. They were incapacitated zombies.

I was the only "sober" person in the room. 

I was all alone.

As I said, the easy way out would have been to join them. If I opened up my phone, I could've been a drunk zombie, too. We'd all have been in it together.

But then I might've missed meeting that one other person that also might not be looking at their phone. Or I would've missed the thankful smile from the barista when I promptly stepped to the counter and made a coherent order.

I would've missed the connection.

And that's something only a sober person can get.

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.


Top 20 Motivational Quotes

Here are 20 of the best motivational quotes I've read with my own eyes.

I didn't go searching the internet for some generic list. These are quotes that have come from the books I've read over the years and have made a difference. 

  1. When you consistently do the right things, success is predictable. Success is inevitable. --Jeff Haden

  2. A success is anyone who is doing deliberately a predetermined job because that’s what he decided to do deliberately. But only 1 out of 20 does that. --Earl Nightingale

  3. Action will lead thee forward to the successes thou dost desire. --George S. Clayson

  4. Geniuses and presidents strip meaningless choices from their day, so they can simplify their lives and think. Inventors and entrepreneurs ask, How could we make this product simpler? The answer transforms good to incredible. --Shane Snow

  5. A man who is all caution, will never dare to take hold and be successful; and a man who is all boldness, is merely reckless, and must eventually fail. --PT Barnum

  6. What we saw was that health at age sixty was strongly related to optimism at age twenty-five. --Martin EP Seligman

  7. Are you committed to being happy, no matter what happens to you? --Tony Robbins

  8. The self-image can be changed. Numerous case histories have shown that one is never too young or too old to change his self-image and thereby start to live a new life. --Maxwell Maltz

  9. As Vladimir Horowitz, the virtuoso pianist who kept performing into his eighties, put it, “If I skip practice for one day, I notice. If I skip practice for two days, my wife notices. If I skip for three days, the world notices.” --Daniel Coyle

  10. For starters, the single biggest trick for manipulating your happiness chemistry is being able to do what you want, when you want. A person with a flexible schedule and average resources will be happier than a rich person who has everything except a flexible schedule. --Scott Adams

  11. You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches in great quantities, unless you can work yourself into a white heat of desire for money, and actually believe you will possess it. --Napoleon Hill

  12. Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been. —Marcus Aurelius

  13. The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it. He knows that when the Muse sees his butt in the chair, she will deliver. -Steven Pressfield & Shawn Coyne

  14. 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. --Dale Carnegie

  15. Case history after case history proved that the size of bank accounts, the size of happiness accounts, and the size of one’s general satisfaction account is dependent on the size of one’s thinking. There is magic in thinking big. --David J. Schwartz

  16. It cannot be done in a moment, or a day or a month, but it can be done. --Claude M. Bristol

  17. Henry Ford said: “Anyone who stops learning is old—whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” --Frank Bettger

  18. To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable. --Cal Newport

  19. If you only care enough for a result, you will almost certainly ascertain it. If you wish to be rich, you will be rich. Only you must then really wish these things and wish them exclusively and not wish at the same time a hundred other compatible things just as strongly. --Earl Nightingale

  20. Most of us are like that--stewing about yesterday and worrying about tomorrow...Even the great French philosopher, Montaigne, made that mistake. “My life,” he said, “has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.” --Dale Carnegie

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.

The Incredible Torture of Self-Improvement

Research shows that a few important things trigger happiness.

One of those things is taking a journey..

When we take on a new task, we are happy. We have a purpose and we have the excitement of something new. 

And when we take a new journey that ends with us improving ourselves--that's doubly effective.

Knowing that: Why is improving ourselves so damn hard? 

Let's use fitness as an example. 

Being fit fixes everything. It helps brain function, provides more energy, gives us self-confidence, and fights off sickness.

And the path to fitness and all of those rewards is easy. It's so easy it's literally not believable.

To get fit, all we have to do is pick an exercise or two, do them every day, and record it.

That's it.

On paper, it appears that there aren't any obstacles to getting that done.

But there are.

The first obstacle is the every day part. To do something every day, it has to become an ingrained habit. Do you know how long it takes to create a new, ingrained habit? 

Twenty-one days.

Do you know how long twenty-one days is? An eternity. 

Let's say you want to run a half-mile every day. The first day? No big deal. 

Second day? No problem.

Third day? I'm sore, but I'll go.

Fourth day? I'm tired. I just need a day off.

Fifth day? I have a work project that has to be finished.

Sixth day? Dinner with friends.

Seventh day? I don't feel like it anymore.

Twenty-one days? I can't even make it a week.

But do you know what's worse? Writing it down.

Our minds are evil creatures. We rationalize and mis-remember constantly. 

When a friend asks us how many miles we ran last week, we often (mistakenly??) include the miles we had planned to do. Why? It's easier that way.

And that's how running ten miles in our imagination equals five miles of real-life work.

The cure, of course, is to write it down. 

If we write it down, it's real. Progress is documented and factual. With each log entry, success becomes inevitable.

Just write it down.

But do you have any idea how hard it is to write something down every day? Even though there's 24 hours in a day, there seems to be absolutely no time for a ten second window to record something in a log

For example, earlier in the year I bet the internet I could walk over 3 million steps in a year. 

I love to walk and where I live is very walk-able. I think I can reach that goal.

The problem is writing it down. I have all the time in the world to write it down every day. Open spreadsheet, type number.

It takes seconds.

And just the other day, I went to bed and forgot to do it. 

How is that possible? How is it so hard to do something so easy and so beneficial to my life?

As Alanis Morisette once said, "Why is it such work to stay conscious and so easy to get stuck--and not the other way around?"

It's super hard. But it's worth it.

We're all in a battle: a battle for own happiness.

The blueprint for victory is simple.

Twenty-one days of doing and recording. 

We can do it.

My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.


How to Spot a Superstar (or Become One)

Organizations spend millions searching for talent.

Sports teams spend hundreds of hours studying in dark rooms before drafts. 

Companies interview prospects for weeks tying to find that next rising star.

And it's all a waste of time.

Because they're going about it backwards. 

It's like trying to find out when a stoplight will change from red to green by studying  weather patterns around the intersection or researching the correlation between light changes and amount of trees planted.

Looking for superstars by studying external factors is a losing game. Running fast doesn't guarantee great performance. Being strong doesn't necessarily translate to stardom.

What's on the outside is almost completely irrelevant. It's what's inside that determines a star.

After coaching elite tennis players for over two decades, it became easy to predict who was going to be phenomenal. 

And it had nothing to do with their athleticism or their strokes. 

The highest ranked players I ever coached came in all shapes and sizes and all played a different style.

I saw a girl who might have been 5'1" and might have been 100 lbs. become top ten in the nation and turn pro.

I saw a kid who couldn't hit a forehand (and actually played with the wrong hand) make the NCAA tournament. 

I saw a kid swing and miss for 14 minutes in a row during a lesson and go on to become one of the top 100 players in the Midwest.

And I also saw the best athlete I've ever been on a court with struggle for four years before putting it all together and become an All-American (and a pro).

Tall, short, righty, lefty, athletic, slow of foot, good grades, bad grades, rich family, poor family. None of it mattered. I saw all types become standouts. 

But there were two underlying themes with all of them. The willingness to learn and the commitment to try all the time. 

If a player was willing to listen and learn, everything else was negotiable. 

It didn't matter where they came from or how good they'd been up to that point or how hard they served or how quick they moved.

Are you open to learning strokes that have fewer flaws? Then you can be a superstar.

Are you open to learning how to play the percentages in a style that suits you? Then you can be a superstar. 

Will you try as hard as you can to hit the ball in? Then you can be a superstar.

Will you show up every day? Then you're on your way.

That's it. That's the secret.

When I had a first lesson with anyone, you could see their future almost immediately. If he/she made good eye contact when listening and hit the ball in (regardless of form), it was almost a foregone conclusion. This was somebody special.

Scouting for a body type or experience level or family history would have forced me to miss out on dozens of amazing prospects. 

But I never did that. 

Because none of that external stuff matters.

Be coachable and be committed. That's the formula for superstardom.

It works every time.


My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.





Breaking Down the Best Sports Quotes of All Time

Sports are ridiculous most of the time.

Everyone loves March Madness even though college basketball is the most corrupt competition in the world not named the Olympics or Tour de France or anything from Russia.

The point of March Madness is not even to crown the best basketball team, it's just to provide entertainment--mostly for gamblers!

But deep down, if you peel away all the ways that men have ruined sports, there's still something magical in there.

A wise man once said that sports show us human excellence. And it shows us right in our faces. We can see how great we can be.  

So I thought it would be worthwhile to break down one of the great sports quotes of all time. Great quotes lead to inspiration which leads to amazing athletic feats which lead to more inspiration, and the virtuous circle continues.

Here's one of the best quotes ever and also the breakdown on why it's so good.

Quote: "Nothing." -Rafa Nadal

Why It's Great: This quote came right after the greatest tennis match ever played. Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer were playing at Wimbledon, which was Federer's best surface and Nadal's ultimate dream.

Nadal was already the king of clay; beating Federer at the biggest tournament in the world on supposedly his worst surface would be a monumental achievement, to say the least.

And Nadal had played brilliantly. So brilliantly that he held match point in the fourth set tiebreak. (Just listen to the crowd in this tiebreak. Incredible.) 

First, Nadal had fought off a set point from Federer, and then he lost his own match point, only to get back to match point once again.

The drama, the tension, the crowd, his effort; all his dreams right at his fingertips. 

And then a lightning bolt from Zeus in the form of Federer's backhand laser down the line took it all away in a flash. Seconds later Federer claimed the set. Nadal's dreams were on hold. We were going to a fifth and deciding set.

In the press room after the match, Nadal was asked by reporters about that moment.

What was it like, Rafa, to see all your dreams slip away? What were you thinking going into that fifth set?



You can read about zen or persistence or any self-help book ever published and never read anything wiser than Nadal's one word response.

To achieve greatness, we must meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same. Maybe one enlightened person in a thousand can actually do it. The rest of us don't even know how to attempt it. 

But Nadal showed us how.

If we can take all the good and all the bad, and then discard it and move on, we can achieve excellence beyond our dreams. 

Nadal, of course, won that fifth set.

Now, any tennis historian worth their salt would point out that Federer was the better player that day. He dominated the early sets and somehow gave them both to Nadal. Had he won either of those sets (or had the idiotic tournament directors decided to do the right thing and stop making them play in darkness!), Federer would have come out on top.

But that doesn't change the power of Nadal's quote. Either way, Nadal showed why he might be the best competitor of all time in any sport. 

If we can see our dreams dashed and still carry on with full effort, our lives will be better.

As Nadal showed, thinking nothing will make us become something.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.

Who's Better in The Office: Pam or Karen?

Hello and welcome to the first episode of America's new favorite show called It's Debatable!

It's the show where we take important, controversial topics and invite two experts to come in and settle the argument once and for all.

This week, we're discussing the greatest American TV show ever: The Office. Specifically, we will settle the debate over who is better on that show: Pam or Karen?

Our two experts are here, so let's get started!

Narrator (N): Thank you both for being here and welcome to It's Debatable. This topic has been on people's minds since 2007 and it's been a hot debate ever since. Here's how it works: I'll get you two started on a topic and we'll hear your arguments on each subject. At the end, a verdict will be rendered. Ready to go?

Pro Karen (PK): Ready.

Pro Pam (PPam): I'm ready as spaghetti.

N: Um, okay. The first topic is: who's the better couple? This is in no way meant to be misogynistic, so keep your comments appropriate. The reason we're discussing this is that many, many people believe that Jim and Pam are the best couple in television history. However, in recent years, there's been a strong movement saying that actually Jim and Karen are the best couple in TV history. What are your takes?

PPam: Wait, are you serious? Who is saying that Karen and Jim are the best couple? It's been a proven internet fact that Jim and Karen are the GCOAT (Greatest Couple of All Time). I mean, you'd have to go back to when? Sam and Diane on Cheers? Come on!

PK: Oh, ye, of little knowledge. When was the last time you took your head out of the sand? When you were on your dinosaur? Everyone now knows that Pam and Jim were actually a mediocre-to-awful couple, and that is entirely because of Pam.

PPam: Surely, you can't be serious.

PK: I am serious, And don't call me ever. Let's list the facts. 1) Pam teased and tortured Jim into staying at a job he hated;  2) She led him to think they were something special--while she was engaged! 3) Then when he totally fell for her, she turned him down; 4) And when Jim tried to pick up the pieces and move on, Pam sabotaged his new relationship any way she could. As a wise man once said, "Pam was the devil in nerd's clothing."

PPam: Nobody said that.

PK: You're avoiding the points.

PPam: She did it because she loved him. She was confused.

PK: Well, let me tell you who wasn't confused: Karen! From day one, Karen was kind to Jim. She played video games with him (Pam never did), took care of him when he got drunk (Pam was too drunk herself to care--remember the Dundies??), and followed him to Scranton when the branch was closed (Pam instead left Jim and went to art school). Pam selfishly manipulated while Karen selflessly gave. 

PPam: Jim and Pam got engaged in the rain. You can't get more storybook than that!

PK: At a gas station!

N: Moving on. Next topic: quality of character.

PPam: That's easy. Pam is kind and sweet. Sweeter than a june bug's nectar.

PK: I agree. Because june bugs are one of the most troublesome summer insects! Look it up. From the start, Karen was always nice to Pam. She respected Pam's past and her friendship with Jim. She liked Pam and treated her well. And what happened on that Office Retreat?? Pam made a ridiculous speech about wanting Jim back right in front of her. Rude!

PPam: She just didn't want to keep it inside anymore. She wanted to tell the truth.

PK: The truth came out all right. The truth is: She's a world-class jerk!

N: Let's get to the next topic. Who was the most charming?

PPam: That's definitely Pam. She was cute and nerdy...

PK: Devil in nerd's clothing!

PPam: As I was SAYING, she's cute and charming and definitely had strong appeal.

PK: Yeah, if you like Corn Flakes. Let me spell it out for you: Pam was C-O-R-N-Y (and flaky, too). By the time we got to the later seasons, she was downright cringe-worthy. Remember "mental pictures" at Niagara Falls? Yikes. Remember how bad she was at volleyball even though she was supposed to be good? Remember her corny "yes" cheers to herself? She was the worst part of the show by the end.

PPam: Yeah, well, Karen wasn't even on the whole show.

PK: That was Pam's fault! If Karen ended up with Jim like she was supposed to, there would be no argument.

PPam: But how about how adorable Pam was with Michael in the first few seasons?

PK: It's not how you start, it's how you finish. And Pam finished horribly.

N: Last topic, people. Let's discuss the overall body of work for each contestant. 

PK: Perfect! No contest. 

PPam: Au contraire, mon frere.

PK: You're French now?

PPam: Si.

PK: If we're looking at overall lifetime bodies of work, Karen wins easily. We can start with Parks & Rec if you like. Who is more adorable than Ann Perkins?

PPam: I don't know... She dated Tom Haverford.

PK: She never really liked him and broke up with him a hundred times. She can't be marked down for that.

PPam: Hey, what about Blades of Glory? Pam was pretty awesome in that.

PK: She was good, I admit. But I'll see your Blades of Glory and raise you "Woman in Love Contract" from Chappelle's Show. You don't see Pam on that all-time great show!

PPam: Fine. But what about Dewey Cox: Walk Hard, though?

PK: Oh. That's a good one.

PPam: What about Dewey Cox, though??

PK: I hear you.


PK: Okay, okay. I didn't want to bring this out. But, hey, you brought this on yourself. I just have two words for you: Angie Tribeca.

PPam: Oh no...

PK: Oh yes! Hey, what are you doing?...

N: Well, it appears that our Pro Pam expert has just flung himself head first out of a four story window. By virtue of that and the salient points made by Pro Karen, we can say that it's no longer debatable: Karen is greater than Pam!

Thanks for joining us, everyone. This has been It's Debatable, where every debate is a good one as long as the other person is wrong.

See you next time!


My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.





The Spark of Inspiration

Right now, I'm reading The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden.

It's about how motivation doesn't come from slogans or fire-walking seminars or cool posters. Motivation, Haden says, actually comes from taking repeated action. It's the process that provides the vehicle to change, not passion.

There is no spark or special moment that leads to super stardom, he says. The path to achievement comes from the long journey.

In Haden's mind, it wasn't the famous, spine-tingling speech from Herb Brooks that created the Miracle on Ice. It was, instead, the months of work leading up to that night.

I disagree.

While it's not completely necessary to have that spark, the spark does matter. It can make a difference.

I've had many tennis students accomplish amazing things, and in every circumstance the accomplishment can be traced back to a single moment when everything changed. 

Maybe it was a Herb Brooks-like speech or a tough loss or a big win or a new skill learned. Whatever it was, it proved to be life-altering.

And books can do the same thing. 

My life has definitely changed after reading certain books. A book has been the spark for me on several occasions.

So, with respect to Mr. Haden, here's a list of books that have ignited me in a positive way. Maybe they can do the same for you.

The Spark List

1. The Talent Code. I've always believed greatness was accessible to all of us. Daniel Coyle put science behind it. There's no such thing as talent, and believing that can open up doors that may have been closed our whole lives. 

2. The 4-Hour Workweek. It's been around a while, but it's still potent. I don't really do any of the tools and tactics contained in the book, but the philosophical message changed me forever. If you've never read it, drop everything and do it now. If you've read it before, it's worth another look.

3. Anything You Want. I believe we need to surround ourselves with powerfully positive ideas and goals every day, and anything written by Derek Sivers checks those boxes. This book thinks about business and life in totally unique ways. It's a course-changer.

4. Bringing Down the House. M.I.T poker players taking millions off Vegas casinos? How can our lives not get better reading about that? It's a tense, fun, and intriguing story. Plus, it's inspiring. Why not go for it? Why not go for it and use probabilities to give ourselves a real chance? This story is a stark example about how out-of-the-box thinking can make millions.

5. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This is the best book I've ever read--and it's not even close. But it's not for everyone (although I wish it were). It's several stories wrapped in one and stays in your head for years (or a lifetime). I've read it five times and I'm looking forward to a sixth. It's changed me and everyone I know who's read it. Maybe it can mean something to you, too.


My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.


"Live Like There's No Tomorrow" is Terrible Advice

It seems like good advice.

It stops procrastinating. If today was our last day, then we would get started on that important project immediately.

It increases appreciation. If today was our last day, we would appreciate what we have. 

It makes us enjoy the moment. If today was our last day, we would make the most of our remaining seconds.

That's why "Live Like There's No Tomorrow" is on mugs and t-shirts and coffee shop chalkboards.

And that's why we all nod our heads in agreement and give the same advice to everyone else.

But it's actually terrible advice. 

It's terrible because it doesn't acknowledge the dark side to not having a tomorrow. 

If we aren't going to make it to tomorrow, for example, then what will we eat today? A reasonable portion of vegetables? No! We'll have pizzas and Big Macs and cinnamon rolls till we pass out. And why not? It's our last day. I want to taste something goodI

If today is our last day, then what will we do with our money? Save it? For what? We'll spend it. We'll buy a whole bunch of fun things until the money runs out, and if we need more money, well, we can just rob a bank. Who cares? We won't be around for the punishment. 

If today is our last day, then how will we treat the people we don't like? With politeness? No! We'll say every nasty thing we've ever thought and punch them right in the face. No reason to hold back now!

So, in summary, if we "live each day like there's no tomorrow" then, if there happened to be a tomorrow, we'd wake up feeling sick and bloated with zero dollars in our bank account while cops are banging at the door to inquire about yesterday's assaults. 

Interestingly, living only for today doesn't work in business, either.

In business, every entrepreneurial endeavor starts with the idea of Going Concern. Every business must start with the idea that this business will carry on far into the future.

That's how the accounting principles are set up and how the business creates all of its infrastructure. 

Otherwise, what would happen to that business? The owner would spend all of the investors' money, rob the company coffers, and maybe even harass the employees. Business without Going Concern is a nightmare. 

In fact, Investopedia says, "If a business is not a going concern, it means the company has gone bankrupt and its assets were liquidated."

If a company lives like there's no tomorrow, it's out of business.

In short, living like there's no tomorrow makes sure there won't be a tomorrow (even if there is).

The truth is: we should do the opposite of that popular saying.

We should choose diets that will keep us healthy for the many days to come. 

We should invest wisely and save our money for the future. 

We should treat people kindly in hopes of having long-lasting relationships.

We should appreciate today, sure. But living like there is a tomorrow can make all of our other days good, too. 


My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.

There's No Such Thing As Talent

It's true. There's no such thing as talent.

I know what you're thinking: Of course talent is a real thing, you moron! People have been talking about talent forever!

First, you don't have to call me names.

Second, I have a question for you. If talent is a real thing, then tell me what it is. 

I'll wait.

You could start with a plain definition that says, "talent: Natural aptitude or skill."

Okay. What does "natural" mean? Does it mean we're born with talent floating around our bodies? If so, can you show me what talent looks like? Just point it out or carve a chunk of it out of your calf muscle.

I'll wait again. 

What? You can't show me? That's weird. Does that mean it's not a thing?

Well, maybe that's because talent is a skill.

Fine. What is "skill"?

Skill is the ability to do something well. Hmm.

What does "well" mean? 

If your cousin is the best mechanic in the family, does he do repairs well? But if there's another mechanic who's the best in town, then does your cousin still considered skilled? What about the most accomplished mechanic in the world? Does he do it well? 

How good is well?

See the problem? Trying to put our finger on what "talent" is leads us down a deep rabbit hole that ends up exactly nowhere.

But what about superstars at sports or music or things like that? They have talent!

Do they?

Superstars aren't born that way. No one is.

Mozart the genius was not good at composing right off the bat. Michael Jordan didn't make his high school basketball team. Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school three times. 

If they were "talented" how come they were so terrible at what they did?

Here's the important thing, though. The fact that that talent doesn't exist is a good thing. Maybe the best of things

When we see an amazing finished product doing incredible things on the stage, field, or canvas, it's merely the culmination of a lot of hard work. 

Every eye-popping display came to be through focused practice. That's it. They were terrible at it, just like us. They just decided that they wanted to be great, and so they set out on the multi-year course that led them to remarkable.

The myth of talent holds us back. It's a roadblock. 

"I can't do it because I don't have talent."

If there's no such thing as talent, the second part of that self-defeating statement disappears.

We all can do it. We all can be skillful. We all can be superstars. 

That's the door that opens when we stop believing in "talent."

So the next time someone says, "That person is SO talented," just throw up in your mouth a little and go back to practicing.

Eventually, they'll all think you have talent, too.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.



How to Lose Friends and Make People Hate You

I'm sure you've heard that nobody reads anymore.

Of course, that's not true

But I bet most people don't read books from several decades ago, and that's a big mistake. The old books are often way better than the new ones. 

And one such "classic" (although I hate that word) is How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's phenomenal, but it's not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about the opposite of that.

Last Saturday night, SNL did a sketch that talked about the New England Patriots--and how much everyone hates them. The point: everyone's tired of the Patriots and everyone despises them. It's funny.

It got me thinking, though. Why is that? Why do so many people hate the Patriots? They've embodied excellence for almost twenty years, and they play the most entertaining Super Bowls of all time. 

Yet they're hated.

Then I got to thinking more: who else has been the best in the world for almost twenty years? Answer: Roger Federer. He also embodies excellence and has played in some of the best matches of all time.

So do people hate him?


Go back and watch this year's Australian Open final. At 3-1 in the fifth and deciding set, the fans started chanting, "Ro-ger! Ro-ger!" at the top of their lungs. This is at a neutral site in a match against a nice, uncontroversial opponent (Cilic). There's no reason why the crowd should be crazily backing Federer, but they are.

Two different dynasties, two distinctly different feelings. What gives?

The answer is that there are certain things we all can do to be hated, and there are things we can do to be loved. Here's a breakdown on how not to be hated:

1. Be honest. Federer has said many times how hard he tries to give an honest, interesting answer to whoever is interviewing him. In fact, Federer has apologized live for not giving good enough answers. For the Aussie final, he even came out and said how nervous he was and how crestfallen he would've been had he lost. 

The Patriots are the opposite of that. They never give anything away and never tell the truth. One of their best defensive backs was benched right before the Super Bowl and no one will say why. It's understood that the answer to this important question will probably never be known. At the same time, it's also understood that any Patriots player will never give up any information and that all injury reports and player updates from New England are always fake. Most famously, when asked fair questions after an important loss, Belichick refused to give any honest information except the superficial phrase, "on to Cincinnati."

You want to be hated? Be dishonest.

2. Treat everyone kindly. We've talked before about how well Federer treats the "little people." He goes out of his way to even make sure the ball kids have an easy job. He signs autographs diligently after wins and stays until everyone's obligations are met. He treats every reporter with respect, so much so that a reporter at the Australian Open actually caught flak for not being an impartial journalist and hugging Federer after a match.

The Patriots, however, take a different tack. They throw the "insignificant people" away like yesterday's trash. During the infamous Deflategate scandal, the employees who were involved were let go and/or suspended while no one else took any blame. 

Further, the Patriots are notorious for getting rid of players who've won for them and replacing them with cheaper fill-ins. While that might be "good business" (debatable), it's also a way to not be loved.

And throughout their entire successful run, the Patriots have been condescending and rude to just about anyone who asks them questions. 

3. Be the same on and off the field. Search around for Federer anecdotes and you'll hear different version of the same story: Federer is a really nice guy. On the court, he takes care of ball boys, he treats reporters kindly, and cares about other players. Off the court, he goes out of his way to be kind to everyone he meets. Former world #1 Patrick Rafter even came out this week and said, about Federer, that "what you see in public is how he is."

The Patriots are untouchable and unknowable. Even with Tom Brady's Facebook documentaries, nobody really knows him. Even when he released his new book he just became more esoteric. What kind of person lives like this?? Same for Belichick. There have been several people who have said that Belichick isn't really such an awful person off the field. While that might be true, the huge chasm between coach and person doesn't make him more relate-able. It makes him more hate-able. 

4. Don't cheat. If you cheat, or if people think you cheat, you're not going to be loved. Federer is notorious for trying to do the right thing by his opponent. He's also knows for helping out hitting partners and not trying to steal secrets he can use in later matches. 

The Patriots? They're made cheating a brand. From Spygate to Deflategate, it's understood that the Patriots are going to bend or break the rules. That makes it very difficult to love them.

It's easy to say that winning a lot brings its share of contempt and jealousy. And that might be little bit true.

But that doesn't explain why Federer is selling out stadiums and exhibitions and practice sessions after twenty years of winning. That doesn't explain why he's been named as the tour's Fan Favorite for fifteen years in a row. That doesn't explain why people are screaming for him in countries all over the world. 

Being hated is a lifestyle and a choice. If we don't want to be hated, we can always choose something different. 

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.


Age is Arbitrary

Have you heard? A 36-year-old just won the Australian Open. 

That's amazing. 

Have you heard? A 40-year-old quarterback is about to play in his 8th Super Bowl.

That's amazing. 

Wait, why is it amazing?

Maybe the statistics?

According to one study done in 2009, the peak of a male tennis player's career is in his "mid to late twenties." And according to a more detailed study done two decades earlier, the peak age for a men's tennis player is 24. 

Considering Roger Federer is a decade older than both of those "peak" ages, and the fact that Federer is clearly still the best tennis player in the world, I guess that would qualify as amazing.

At the same time, the average NFL football player's career is 3.3 years. After four years of college, 3.3 years would make a typical player about 26 years old. That means that an NFL player's peak would come before 26.

Tom Brady is not only fourteen years older than the "peak" age, he's still an elite player and will probably win the MVP this season. I guess you could call that amazing.

After all, we've never seen anything like this before.

But we know now that our minds control our bodies to a great degree. For example, if we think negatively, it makes us sick. Conversely, if we don't think cynically, we stay healthy and live longer.

Whatever we think, our bodies create.

Last year Federer decided that his age was irrelevant. He was going to stay healthy and go for Majors. The result? He's won three of the last four Grand Slams he's played. 

Brady decided, quite publicly, that his age meant nothing. He decided he was going to play well for at least five more years. This Sunday his team is favored in the Super Bowl (because of him) and he is the betting favorite to be Super Bowl MVP. 

These "amazing" athletes decided not to listen to people or worry about statistics. They decided they would do something else.


What if we decided our bodies aren't inferior just because we're "getting old"? 

What if we decided that it was possible to walk 3.47 million steps in a calendar year?

What if we decided that we were going to be knife-fighting, spear-fishing madmen at age 75?

And what if those things came true?

It makes me wonder.

Would it be amazing? 

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.


The 2018 Billion Dollar Fitness Challenge!

I have a never-ending fascination with fitness.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Probably everyone would say they want to be fit, yet the National Institute of Diabetes says that "more than 2 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity"in 2014. 

And probably everyone would say they want to be healthy, yet the line for Chik-fil-A is always around the corner (day or night). 

Why is that?

What is this disconnect between wanting to be lean and mean while being the exact opposite? Where does all it go wrong?

As with all things, it starts with belief.

When we see a fit-looking person, we admire it--and then we dismiss it as impossible. 

"I'd love to look like that, but who has time to work out 6 hours a day or eat tofu hamburgers or sleep in kale pajamas."

If our busy schedules make it impossible to pursue a life-consuming fitness regimen, then what's the point in even starting such a regimen? We'll never have a chef or a personal trainer or the budget to buy all those fancy foods, so why bother trying?

Plus, Filet-o-Fish sandwiches taste so, so good. 

In short, if we believe it can't be done, it won't get done. Fitness turns into something for somebody else.

But what if fitness wasn't really that inaccessible? What if it was actually something that anyone could do? Would that change anyone's life?

I wonder.

This year I'm betting everyone on the internet that I can walk 3.47 million steps by the end of the year (December 31st, 2018).

By the way, did you know that 3.47 million steps is about 1,700 miles? Did you know that 1,700 miles is almost exactly the distance from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles?

That sounds impressive! And absolutely not helpful because no one would ever do that, right?

Not so fast, my friend. 

Getting 3.47 million steps is just 10,000 steps a day. If you break it down, in a 30 minute walk, you can get about 4,000 steps. If you went on a 30 minute walk during lunch (just making phone calls or listening to music or podcasts) and did the same after dinner, you're probably at 10,000 steps because of all the steps you take in your everyday life. 

Or you could take three 20-minute walks. 

The point is: it's not that hard to get the steps. It's not a big life-changing event.

Furthermore, in my bet with the internet, I will win $1 from everyone if I also do 10,000 pushups and 10,000 squats. That's a lot!

But it's also only 30 a day. Ten in the morning, twenty at night. It just takes a few minutes and they can be done anytime.

As it turns out, the hardest part of getting fit is keeping track. We humans are notoriously terrible at writing things down or keeping a consistent log. But, of course, all we need is a spreadsheet or an app and the recording is easy, too.

All told, doing an amazing fitness feat is actually not that hard at all. Anyone can do it.

It's really a sucker bet. 

And, $1 at a time, it's going to be the easiest billion dollars I've ever made.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.


How to Handle The Terrible Pitfalls of Success

Sloane Stephens lost again last night.

If you're a tennis fan, you know that last year Sloane Stephens somehow won the U.S. Open. To say that her winning a Major was a surprise was the understatement of the century. Stephens was unseeded when she won (almost never happens) and had lost in the first round of two of her previous four tournaments. 

Not to mention that 2017 was the most parity-stricken year in women's tennis history (as many as 8 women had a chance to finish the year #1) and the seeds fell down in front of her all the way through the draw. Stephens didn't play a seed higher than #9 the whole event.

Incredible unlikeliness aside, the real question is: What would Stephens do after this unexpected windfall?

After all, we know that bad things happen to people who gain tremendous success:

  • 70% of lottery winners go bankrupt within a few years.
  • 78% of NFL football players are bankrupt (or in dire financial stress) within 2 years of retirement.
  • 60% of NBA basketball players go bankrupt within 5 years of retirement.

So what has happened to Stephens since her Major win?

She's lost her last 8 matches in a row. She literally hasn't won a match since she won the U.S. Open.


For lottery winners, a huge problem is that they feel they don't deserve it. Most of the time, lottery winners aren't already rich. When a winner, who was poor, suddenly becomes rich, it's very uncomfortable. So they spend and spend and spend until they end up right where they were before winning the lottery. 

And balance is restored.

If you think you're not exceptional, being called exceptional can be an awful burden. You can feel hollow inside. You can feel like a fraud. And the best way to get rid of those awful feelings to become not exceptional.

If you feel like you're really a poor person, then consciously or unconsciously you'll make investments that will end up going bad. Would a confident billionaire invest in an inflatable raft company (like a bankrupt baseball player once did)? Probably not. Would a confident billionaire turn over control of all of his investments to unqualified family members or shady fast-talkers? Probably not. 

But the lack of self confidence leads to decisions that are desperate or ill-informed. If you believe that riches belong in your bank account, then the riches will stay right there. If you believe you're just a poor person who happened to make it, and that other people are the ones who deserve to handle the money, then the money will go away.

If we want success, we have to first believe we deserve it. The mindset must come before the winning. 

Without the proper mindset, success goes away and may not come back. There's a reason Stephens has lost 8 matches in a row. She doesn't believe she's a Major winner.

Until that changes for her (or for us), success will always belong to someone else.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.

Doughuts and Lists are the Key to a Life Well-Lived

Doughnuts are fantastic.

I know you think they're not healthy, but studies have shown that the coffee and doughnut combination is actually a memory enhancer. It's true

Out-of-control obesity rates aside, it would be a helpful service to know where one could find some top quality memory enhancement (coffee and doughnuts). 

That's where lists come in. Lists are simple little tools that make people's lives better. Sure, it's just one person's opinion, but when that person is unquestionably 100% right, then the result is nothing but positive. 

That being the case, here are few lists that can hopefully change lives:

Best Doughnut Places on Earth (beignets are included): 

  1. La Colmar (FL)
  2. Cafe and Bar Lurcat (FL)
  3. Stan's Donuts and Coffee (Chicago)
  4. Destination Donuts (Columbus, OH)
  5. Krispy Kreme (fresh from stand-alone store)

Best Dessert

  1. Cinnamon roll at Jean Philippe Patisserie (Las Vegas)
  2. Almond croissant at Grain de Cafe (FL)
  3. Chocolate cake from Mikkelsen's Pastry Shop (FL)
  4. Profiteroles at Cosmos (FL)
  5. Strawberry shortcake from Nordstrom's Cafe/Bistro 
  6. Peanut Butter Pie at Tommy Bahama's
  7. Any milkshake at Holstein's (Las Vegas)

Best Pizza

  1. Napoli on the Bay (FL)
  2. Grimaldi's (New York)
  3. Vesuvio's (FL)
  4. Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, OH)
  5. The Crust (FL)

I know it's impossible to beat those lists, but if you have any lists of your own, you can email me at I'd love to have my life enriched!

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.



How To Immediately Beat Everyone You Know

As a coach for 22 years, the first thing I would do with my students is introduce them to the best tennis strategy ever invented.

I'll share that strategy with you now.


To immediately beat your opponent, your nemesis, or your best friend, here's what you do:


That's it. 

You don't need any special coaching or special equipment or a special fitness regimen. You just need to put your entire focus on that one principle.

Everyone else worries about what racquet to buy or what strings to use.

Everyone else worries about stepping in or turning their shoulders or putting their off-hand rigidly out in front of their body on their forehand.

Everyone else worries about what club to hit at or which coach would be best for them or how many ranked players are in the program. 

That's why everyone will lose to you.

In thinking about all of those ancillary things that don't solve the real problem, those people are leaving themselves vulnerable to what matters most. 

They will hit it out and worry about their new strings. You'll hit it in and win the point. 

They will hit it out and berate themselves for not moving their feet. You'll hit it in and win the game. 

They will hit it out and blame the fact they don't get enough good competition. You'll hit it in and win the trophy.

The simple things aren't sexy. The simple things aren't complicated enough. The simple things don't get to show off all the rigid stroke gymnastics that were obviously taught by an "expert" coach.

That's why those people will always hit the ball out.

And that's why you'll always win.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.