Everybody wants to raise their income and have success in their careers. However, even with so many things written about achieving that, it is still pretty difficult to find one that you can follow. Taking the legendary book, Think and Grow Rich, entrepreneur and success mentor John Mitchell has created a technique that practically applies its ideas through his 12-minute-a-day Think It, Be It. Debunking the idea that hard work makes you successful, John talks about working smarter instead by influencing your everyday actions and thoughts. He gives out the four categories that will change your programming so that you can see your life in a way that allows you to pull in the people and success that you want.
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Think It, Be It with John Mitchell
Our guest is John Mitchell. He has a 12-minute-a-day Think It, Be It technique that’s rated as the top practical application in the world of the legendary book Think and Grow Rich. When he applied his technique to his own life, he saw his income go up to over $5 million a year. Previously for twenty years as an entrepreneur, he earned low six figures and that twenty times difference happened because his daily technique significantly increased his control over himself by probably double. It made them laser-focused every day on the two or three things that move the needle in his business. It also allowed him to rapidly evolve his strategy for success. He was simply operating every day at a higher level than he ever had before and it showed up in his income.
The science behind his technique was profiled in a Time Magazine cover story. While John started out as a CPA, he became an entrepreneur at a very young age of 30. He’s owned companies in a wide variety of industries including real estate development, restaurants and publishing. Turning 50, he wasn’t as successful as he thought he should be. He found the top book of success written, Think and Grow Rich and he developed his own 12-minute-a-day technique. That what you envision in detail on a daily basis is what shows up in your life. John, welcome to the show.
Thank you. I’m glad to be here.
I always like to ask my guest to take that little intro that I gave and bring it to a life of your own story of origin, not so much about being a CPA. I want to hear the story of origin of turning 50 take us there and saying, “I thought I’d be more financially independent. I worked hard. I’ve been an entrepreneur and things aren’t what they need to be.” Tell us what the a-ha moment was for Think It, Be It book.
When I turned 50, I wondered if success looks what I thought I should be. I had a couple of goals in my life to make enough money, so I didn’t have to work and to find the woman of my dreams. As I assessed my life, I realized that I was falling short on both. As an entrepreneur, I’m always blessed to make well into six figures but never close to seven. On finding the girl at 50, I’d never been married. I can tell you, it was not from lack of interview. I did a lot of interviewing. The defining moment happened three days after I turned 50. I’m in my office, kick back and my feet are on the desk. I started thinking about my life and I do the math. I realized, “If I don’t make over $1 million a year, I’m never going to have that exceptional life that I’d always dreamed of.” The freedom, the lifestyle, the sense of accomplishment and that hit me like a ton of bricks. It was clear, I had to make things happen in my 50s. I made the decision that hard work doesn’t work.
While it works for making six figures a year but clearly it didn’t work for making seven. I knew there had to be something other than hard work. I made the decision to find out whatever that something else was. Three months after turning 50, as I’m puzzled about how to change this direction, a pearl of wisdom hits me. Why not find the top book in the world on success and achievement ever written and then apply it word for word to my life? The logic was so simple and compelling. After some research, I’ve found that there is one book that excels over all others and it’s Think and Grow Rich. Are you pretty familiar with Think and Grow Rich?'Hard work doesn't work for making seven figures.' Click To Tweet
I am. It’s all about investing in real estate and letting that real estate grow for you.
It’s not quite, but I guess you’re in some of that.
That feels a little like Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Here’s what’s significant about the book. First is the book has sold over 100 million copies whereas the next bestselling book on success and achievement has sold under ten million copies. Clearly, it’s a top book ever written on success by a factor of ten. The second thing is the book has created more millionaires and billionaires than any other book on the planet. It’s basically applying science to your life to up your success. I read the book and the central concept is what you envision in detail on a daily basis is what shows up in your life.
I read that and then I discovered there’s a problem that I and probably all of us have encountered 100 times. It’s a great idea but how to apply it in a practical way. I probably moped around for a couple of weeks not knowing how to apply it and then it hit me that maybe I had to come up with the practical application myself. I did and I applied it to a new business I was starting in the financial services industry. Over nine years, I continually tweak my 12-minute-a-day methodology. Over those nine years, my income went from low-six figures a year to $5 million a year. I felt so incredibly blessed. It’s quite a change from my twenty-year history. I could see why it was happening. By applying science to my life for the first time ever, I was influencing my daily actions and thoughts. Clearly, I was operating at a higher level than I ever could before. I could feel it. The best news was I also met the woman of my dream from applying this methodology.
It’s about pulling people in. Energetically, it’s almost like a metaphysical principle that the science is based on.
It really is. That sounds a little woo-woo, metaphysical.
Quantum physics does if you’re talking about energy for people who prefer that. Let’s go and dive right into this concept of a lot of people who go, “I don’t have time to meditate. I don’t have time to fill myself up with a bunch of positive thinking.” Give us an example of how the 12-minute-a-day methodology works.
This is essentially how it works. You’re going to feed yourself every day exactly the person you want to be, exactly what you want to accomplish and precisely how you’re going to achieve your clearly defined goals. When you feed that to yourself every day, after about 21 days, the science kicks in. That starts showing up in your thoughts and actions automatically without thinking. That’s the magic of it because when your thoughts and actions automatically start reflecting your programming, it immediately takes you to a higher level.Success is when your thoughts and actions match your programming. Click To Tweet
What’s an example of somebody who did? Let’s focus on the career at the moment.
I’ll give you an example. Everybody wants to raise their income, their success and their career. To backtrack a little, the way this works is, you’ll take your life and compress it down to one sheet of paper, front and back. On the front is the ideal you and the five key areas of your life: yourself, your health, your romantic relationship, your spirituality and your career. That’s on the front. On the back are the improvements you want in each area of your life and your three goals for the quarter. That’s essentially it. One of the things in a career that we do is we articulate your succinct business plan, your strategy for success or the two or three things that move the needle. The linchpin issue that takes your business to the next level.
You feed that to yourself every day. I found that three things happen. First, your business plan is so easy to implement because it’s so top of mind. Secondly, you do become laser-focused on only what moves the needle. Everything else falls by the wayside. The third thing is that suddenly I had a way for evolving my strategy for success in the business plan in a way that moved it forward by like twenty times what I’d ever experienced before. That was happening because when you’re feeding your business plan or your strategies for success to your subconscious mind every day, it’s constantly challenging it and refining it. It had such an impact on me. I have that ability to continually refine my strategy and it made me more successful.
This is why I wanted to have you on the show, John, because I’m so fascinated by this premise. From my own speaking career, for example, when I had the courage to say out loud to people, “I want to give a TEDx Talk.” All your self-talk comes up, “Who am I to give a TEDx Talk? What a big goal? You’ll never achieve it. It’s never going to happen.” If you keep saying it to yourself and putting it out to people and let go of all the negative self-talk and worrying about whether the other people think you’re crazy to do it, then someone said, “I know someone who puts one on in San Diego. He might be able to help you figure out what you need to do to get a yes.”
The thought process of that laser-focused, keeping it top of mind, knowing that having a TEDx Talk would be one of those key drivers that you talked about moving the needle that gives you credibility as a keynote speaker. We got the laser-focused, then I get introduced to someone for saying it. It still took me a year and a half to get someone to say, “Yes.” It had nothing to do with my talk. It doesn’t fit our theme. You had to get used to those noes. This question that someone gave me that is what I hear you saying, which I want to tell everyone reading is if we plant in our seed this question of challenging that question, why is it that I’m a successful TEDx speaker? Why is it that my TEDx Talk has over a million views? That’s what I hear you saying is by having that laser-focus and then asking, “Why is it that I have my perfect soul mate in my life now?” Your brain starts matching that programming. Is that the gist of what you’re saying?
There are two parts to success. Using your example is probably a good idea. Your desire to do a TEDx Talk, that’s setting the goal. That’s being clear about what it is. Equally important, if not more important, are the action steps that you have to take to achieve that goal. You no doubt had a detailed vision of exactly what you needed to do to make that a reality. That’s the power of this 12-minute-a-day technique is that it takes those action steps that you’re going to need to take to achieve that goal. By feeding it to yourself every day that causes your thoughts and your actions to reflect your programming. That’s the game-changer. When people wonder about, “What makes me more successful or how do I become more successful?” Most people think, “I’ve got to work harder.” No, I don’t think so. You’ve got to work smarter. You work smarter by influencing the actual part of your brain that influences the thing that determines your success, which is your everyday actions and ongoing thoughts. Does that make sense?
It does. We talked about this a lot. I’ve interviewed investors to fund startups. They say, “Please tell your clients, don’t try to boil the ocean.” I tell people Amazon sold books first and have proof of concept that worked before they started selling everything. If you try to pitch Amazon now, it would be like, “That’s boiling the ocean.” I love this concept of laser-focus. People say, “I have top of mind what my goals are. I’ve figured out what I should be focusing on to take some action. Your secret sauce, from what I can gather, is this questioning your mind of visualizing it already happening where you’re saying, “Why is it that? This has already happened.” When you are fighting, in my case, when I finally did stand on that TEDx stage, on that red carpet, it seemed like, “I’m here,” or like you’re meeting the woman of your dreams for a date. It’s like, “She showed up.” It doesn’t seem like a surprise or magic. There’s the science of it because you’re doing this. The 12-minute-a-day, you mentioned the four categories: yourself, health, romance, spirituality and career. Do you spend a couple of minutes on each of these categories for the twelve minutes or do you spend twelve minutes on one?
No, it’s twelve minutes in total. Probably more of it is spent on your career because originally, I created this because I wanted to go to seven figures a year net. That was my big focus. It’s a little more towards the career, but it has all of those areas.
What is your life like? There are all these studies on happiness that we pass a certain Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our basic needs are met in terms of food and shelter and what have you. In other words, the difference between making $100,000 and $1 million is not the same exponential increase in happiness as it is in money. Has that been the case for you?
When I was making six figures a year, in some ways, I was afraid to look at creating an exceptional life looked like because I wasn’t sure I’d ever get there. Once I got there and I started making $5 million a year, I was like, “This is way better than I thought it was.” Finally, I had enough money not to have to work. Because I was so fascinated by the stuff we’re talking about, I sold my company. I guess it was probably two or three months after I sold the company, I met the former chancellor and president at the University of Texas at Austin. I told him my story. He said, “You’ve got to teach this at the University of Texas and why don’t we teach it together?” I said, “That’s fine to teach at the high achievers.” My passion is to get those people that were like mad that struggle to go to that next level and teach it to them because I so relate to the pain that I had back then and so many people have.What you envision in detail on a daily basis is what shows up in your life. Click To Tweet
You have empathy because you’ve been in their shoes is my big takeaway from what you said.
I had freedom was the feeling I’ve gotten as I crossed over and didn’t have to work. The best things were not material things. The lifestyle is great. That’s small potatoes compared to that sense of accomplishment, that pride of accomplishment, the level of control that this gave me over my life, that level of control was immensely great.
You’re the perfect person to ask this question to. In my observation of entrepreneurs and business people in general, a lot of people have the money thing down, but they don’t have the fitness thing down. They’re physically fit but not fiscal fit and then vice versa. There are a lot of fit people out there that have no money. You have both. You’re physically fit and you’ve got financial freedom. I tell people, “If you can get one area of your life, take the discipline you have, knowing how much your cashflow is, and what’s in your checking account and apply it to the calories and exercise you’re doing and vice versa.” Take the discipline from working out to your money. I don’t see many people talking about that. You seemed to be embracing all of this. Another reason why I wanted to have you on is you’re not talking about careers, you’re talking about all areas of our life. Can you speak to how this Think It, Be It applies? The concept of visualizing is discipline and focus from one area. Let’s say fitness can also be applied from your career.
I’m so glad you brought that up because here’s my definition of an exceptional life. You’re making seven figures a year. You’ve got a great romantic relationship and you’re fit and trim. To me, that’s the trifecta of an exceptional life. I see so often that to your point that people maybe are doing well financially. They got a lousy marriage or they’re overweight. They can’t control their weight. I particularly find this issue about having a great romantic relationship important. If you think about it, that relationship affects your happiness more than any other external factor there is. This affects all three areas at the same time. One of the things I think that you’d find interesting, this is something that we all have to overcome. We’re all using an antiquated operating system to run our lives. It’s like playing the game of life with one hand tied behind our back. The effect is that we’re all innately geared to daily survival. The effect of that is three things.
First of all, 90% of your thoughts are fear-based. Secondly, you have less than 20% control over yourself. Thirdly, you’re reactive rather than proactive on your report and agenda. All that is great if you’re running from a lion. It’s exactly the opposite of the way you need to be if you want to be productive, creative and happy. You have to overcome that. The part of your brain that controls your everyday actions and ongoing thoughts is your subconscious mind. That antiquated operating system is what’s running your subconscious mind. It’s gearing you exactly the opposite way you need to be. That’s what this 12-minute-a-day technique does. It overlays an operating system that gears you to productivity, creativity and happiness.
You have mentioned that there are two scientific discoveries that affect how much we achieve in life. Can you tell us what those are?
Over the last 30 years, there’s been a lot of scientific interest in what separates the mega achievers from the moderately successful. It comes down to two things: control of self and focus. Those are the two exact things that this affects. The principles that you’re referring to, it is that antiquated operating system. The other one is, you have a reticular activating system, which is a part of your brain that’s about the size of the tip of your little finger. It’s a filter for your brain. It determines what gets in and what doesn’t. It’s like the nightclub bouncer for your brain. When you’re feeding every day to yourself exactly the person you want to be, exactly what you want to accomplish and precisely how you’re going to achieve your clearly defined goals, then it knows what’s important to you. It brings in stuff that isn’t coming in. That’s what amazed me when I first started doing this, I saw my reticular activating system reacting to what I was doing for twelve minutes a day.
Is it the amount of time? Is there something special about twelve minutes versus ten versus fifteen?
The beauty of twelve is it’s doable. It’s not too much. I’ll give you an example of how it worked in my marriage. This illustrates how it works with everything. I didn’t get married until I was in my 50s. When I did, I discovered something that unfortunately my married friends had failed to share with me. Every once in a while, your spouse will say something irritating. I know that probably hadn’t have happened to you, has it?
It’s happened to everybody.Success is a necessity, not a preference. Click To Tweet
When it happened to me, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like what would come out of my mouth. While it didn’t happen a lot, it did happen. I thought, “I’m going to put in my visualization that I’m going to be flexible, patient and thoughtful.” I’m reading that every day. Fifteen days in, I’m no more flexible, patient or thoughtful than I was at the start. About the 21st, the 22nd day, my precious wife, Ginger, said something irritating and in that moment, I was flexible, patient and thoughtful. I didn’t have to think about it. That’s who I had become.
It’s a tipping point. That 21-day thing of the brain getting reprogrammed.
I have done this with so many people. It is amazing about this 21-day mark. Some things the subconscious mind is going to accept at ten days in. I have consistently seen that around the 21st day, it then accepts everything.
I love stories. I always use the analogy of, if you’re planting a seed, you can’t keep digging it up going, “Is it growing?” If you’re baking a cake, you can’t keep opening the oven and be like, “Did it rise yet?” That’s what we tend to do with our goals and our thoughts. We don’t give it the full time to bake in this case, 21 days.
That brings up something else that’s interesting. This works on everyone, but it’s not for everyone. Maybe that’s even a negative about this. What I mean by that is it works on everyone because it’s pure science. It has to work. It cannot work. There’s one caveat to that. It’s not going to work if you don’t do it. It’s not going to work if you are trying not to do a habit or the other thing is if more success is just a preference, which is the case with most people as opposed to a necessity. It’s not going to work. More success has to be a necessity for you because if it’s not, you’re not going to spend twelve minutes a day.
Those twelve minutes a day, is it a journal that you’re writing in? Is it words you’re reading over and over? Is it making sure you’re top of mind on your action steps? What do the twelve minutes look like?
It’s pretty much all of the above. Keep in mind and picture this, you’ve compressed your life down to one sheet of paper, front and back. It’s sitting in a plastic stand that sits on your nightstand. The first thing in the morning before you get other things into your head, you spend twelve minutes a day to read it. You’re reading what’s moving the needle in your business. You’re reading the way you want to be with your spouse. You’re reading the things you want to make happen with your consistent exercise and how you eat. In the career, you’re feeding your succinct business plan, your strategy for success and your three things that move the needle. Also at the bottom of the visualization, you’re tracking every week on Sundays, the key behaviors associated with your goals. It’s that combination that has such a transformative effect on you.
The website is ThinkItBeIt.net. You have a five-day free email course that anybody who goes to the website can get. They can start to explore from that.
You can text me at 44222 and then the word, Genius, and that gets you the five-day email course.
John, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your success formula. You obviously are walking your own talk, which gives credibility. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show. Is there any last thought or quote or inspiration you want to leave us with?
I’ll share with you a story you might find interesting. When I created this a few years ago, I decided to go find the top expert in the world on success and achievement. I determined that the person is Darren Hardy. He is an amazing guy. I figured out a way to get to him. I’m able to sit down with him for three days and visit with him. Finally, we sat down and he looked at what I’ve created, this visualization. He studied it. He said, “This is good.” He looked a little closer and he said, “This is good. You’ve got a problem, though. Most people are not going to spend twelve minutes a day on anything to impact their success. That’s how it is.” I was like, “Darren, how can that be?” It’s twelve minutes a day. It’s based on the top book ever written on success and achievement. He goes, “I know, John. You’ll do it, I’ll do it. That’s a dirty little secret of the success in human achievement field is that most people won’t do anything to impact their success and achievement. The people that were a success is a necessity as opposed to a preference. They’re going to do this. It’s going to be their advantage in life for creating success.” I was like, “That’s what I experienced.” It was pretty gratifying to have him say that. Now, that we’ve done this with a lot of people and I get the inputs from how it’s changing their lives and how the template that we have makes it easy to do this, it’s gratifying.
Thanks again, John.
- Think It, Be It
- Think and Grow Rich
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- The Secret
- The Science of Mind
- Your Thoughts Create Your Reality
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