Doubt and Certainty

Doubt and Certainty

by Jim Stovall


I believe that we achieve a healthy balance in our personal and professional lives when we have a curious spirit and question everything while gaining all the knowledge possible and applying it in the form of wisdom.  As we achieve more understanding and awareness, we possess knowledge and are constantly in a state of knowing more than we have ever known, but this knowledge comes with a fascinating byproduct which is the growing awareness of the things we don’t know.


Voltaire said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” 


Here in the 21st century, we achieve success and build wealth by creating value in the lives of others.  Most often, the value we provide is something we know as opposed to something we do.  Even people who succeed in providing services, at some point on their success ladder, stop providing the service directly and train others to do it so their efforts are multiplied. 


Ideally, we should always be in the position of being aware of what we know and having an awareness that there are many things we don’t know.  It’s perfectly acceptable and even natural to not know many things, but an awareness of this ignorance is imperative.  The most dangerous people I have ever met don’t know what they don’t know.  These individuals assume they know everything which, of course, is impossible.  Even if someone is a world-renowned expert and knows more about their field than anyone else, in order to succeed, they must be aware that there are many things yet to be known. 


There was a time when Orville and Wilbur Wright probably knew more about aviation than anyone in the world, but if they could get a glimpse of 21st century air travel, they would immediately become aware that there was much they didn’t know. 


Gandhi said, “Every person is my superior in that I can learn something from them.”  Even the most naïve or ignorant person you ever meet can teach you something if only that you don’t want to be naïve and ignorant.  The people who make discoveries, breakthroughs, and creative quantum leaps are those who approach every day assuming there is something waiting to be known, understood, and mastered. 


The legendary filmmaker Frank Capra said, “Don’t follow trends.  Start them.”  In our fast-paced, technological world, it is a mistake to pursue the state-of-the-art because by the time you get there, it will have moved ahead leaving you obsolete.  This was best illustrated by Wayne Gretzky the great hockey star who said, “Don’t skate to where the puck is.  Skate to where it will be.” 


Release your dreams, imagine the world in which you want to live, and move toward it.


As you go through your day today, know all that you can, and embrace the fact there is much yet to know.


Today’s the day!


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email at; on Twitter at; or on Facebook at

The Compound Effect

In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy explains that the compound effects are a series of small, smart choices that are developed into habits.  The steps "at the moment" don't seem that significant.  Whatever you are trying to improve, business, home, social, physical, mental, or spiritual . . . the change is subtle.  Because the changes are subtle, most people simply quit the steps in developing the habits required for the compound effect.  After the eight day of running, they quit because they are still overweight.  After two months of piano lessons they quite because they can't play their favorite song yet.  Or they stop makinig contributions to their IRA because they have another use for that cash.  

The small and seemingly insignificant steps moving them toward their goal, over time will make a radical difference in their life.

Small, Smart Choices + Cionsistency + Time = Radical Difference

Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich Movie

by Jim Stovall


If you were to ask the most successful people in the world in business, sports, politics, or any other arena of life what single book and author has been most instrumental in their success, you would inevitably hear Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill more than any other answer.  I am very excited to be involved both onscreen and behind the scenes in the upcoming Think and Grow Rich movie project.


You, along with your family, friends, and colleagues, can get involved with this monumental project from the ground up.  I have written more than 30 books.  Six have been turned into motion pictures thus far with two more in the works.  I remain convinced that if literary giants such as Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, or Napoleon Hill were alive today, they would not only be writing more books, but they would also be presenting their messages via motion pictures.  I have over 10 million books in print, but I remain keenly aware that there are countless people around the world who will never receive my message through the printed word but will get it via the silver screen. 


Napoleon Hill was born in the 19th century, made his contribution to humanity in the 20th century, and remains one of the most influential figures here in the 21st century.  Any person, particularly pioneers, can only be judged against the backdrop of the time and place in which they lived.  Orville and Wilbur Wright’s historic flight only lasted a few seconds and traveled less than the length of a football field, but it forever changed the world in which we live. 


Any success or personal development author, including myself, who has written a book in the last 75 years invariably owes a debt of gratitude to Napoleon Hill.  The wisdom and perspective I am able to share through these weekly columns, my books, the motion pictures based on them, as well as my speeches are only possible because I, like all of my colleagues in the success field, stand on the shoulders of giants like Napoleon Hill. 

Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, Neil Armstrong, and Napoleon Hill have indelibly made their mark in history not only for where they took us but because they were the first to brave the elements and go where no one had been before.  

As you go through your day today, learn from the masters and get involved with the Think and Grow Rich movie. 

Today’s the day! 

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082

He was 11 years old . . .

A little boy was 11 years old and was begging his daddy to let him go to school. He always wanted to go to school, and finally one day his daddy takes him by the hand and takes him to school. All of his brothers and sisters went to school. They walked for seven miles to get to the school. His dad walks him into the school room at 11 years old. It’s 1854 in Port Huron, Michigan He’s going to be a student and he is so happy. (I was never that happy to be going to school) Six weeks later his dad shows up in his great big hands and his weather beaten face and says “come on we’ve got to go.” That was it. Six weeks of school and he’s walking home with his dad and he’s crying all the way home because that is the extent of his education. He has to work now because his family is starving.

 At 11 years old he is now working on the Grand Trunk Railroad selling news papers to help support his family. Sleeping . . . not even on a seat, but sleeping behind a seat on a rail car.

 Today - There are 1500 patents in Washington DC with his name on them and there are 10 billion light bulbs that light up the world today that are a testimony that when you start something, you don’t have to stop it until you finish.

 It’s not what we try that lights the world.

It’s what we do that makes a difference.

As Yoda said to Luke Skywalker

        Try Not

                There is no try

                        There is only DO.

The Money Shortage Myth

The Money Shortage Myth

by Jim Stovall


Experts tell us that the number one cause of divorce, domestic abuse, suicide, and stress in our society today stems from money shortages.  As a blind person myself who started my business and financial life with less than nothing, I understand this dynamic; however, as a long-term chronic condition, I do not believe in the concept of a money shortage.  Money is not a cause.  It’s a result.


If the electricity is cut off at your house, you might instantly believe you have a light shortage, but in reality, the light is the result and the electricity or lack thereof is the cause.  Many people who believe they are the victims of a money shortage would be shocked to discover they are predominantly the cause of the money shortage.  While I don’t believe people have money shortages, I do believe they experience shortages of ideas, motivation, persistence, creativity, and vision. 


As someone who has worked in the financial services and financial planning industries for over a quarter of a century, I have met many people who were broke when they graduated from college and began their careers.  It is not unusual to experience a tight budget when you are first starting out; but ironically, the majority of these people are experiencing a lifetime money shortage even though today many of them are earning six-figure incomes and beyond.  We can always outspend our income and create a money shortage.  One need look no further than the United States Federal Government to see this phenomenon in action. 


Most of the problems that individuals, couples, and families suffer through that are labeled as a money shortage could have been avoided with a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.  As a multimillionaire today, I certainly can vividly remember when the lack of a few hundred or a few thousand dollars created a crisis in my life, but I see so many people today who can’t afford to replace the worn-out tires on their BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes.  I was shocked to learn in a recent national study that most significant home repairs on million-dollar houses have to be financed. 


We create money shortages in the same way that the federal government does.  We spend all we have and all we can borrow.  Using this formula, you can double your income today or multiply it by ten, and in a very short period of time, you will be experiencing a money shortage. 


The positive side of realizing that we are our own worst enemy financially is that we come to understand that we are in control.  Taking control is the first step to solving any problem.  The next time you feel like you and your family are experiencing a money shortage, examine the numbers closely, and you will likely discover you have a control shortage. 


As you go through your day today, control your money before it takes control of you.


Today’s the day!


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email; on Twitter at; or on Facebook

Will and Will

Will and Will

by Jim Stovall


I have had the privilege of writing these weekly columns for 20 years.  Winners’ Wisdom began in a local business journal in my hometown and has expanded to newspapers, magazines, and online publications literally around the world.  It is read by several million people each week, and whether this is your first occasion to sample Winners’ Wisdom or whether you’ve been with me every week for 20 years, I am grateful for your interest and your support.


Writing a regular column is an ongoing balance between information and opinion.  I always seek to be factual, but I share Winners’ Wisdom from my own perspective which is the only one I have to share.  Whether you agree with me or not, I hope Winners’ Wisdom causes you to think and act.  On the occasions we might disagree, please remember it’s only my opinion, and I am still the world’s leading authority on my opinion. 


In order to improve my skills and perspective as a columnist, I have read countless columns written by a myriad of writers.  In the world of columnists, it seems to me that two individuals rise above the crowd in both their expertise and their impact. 


The most influential columnist of his time, and possibly any time, was Will Rogers.  Will is the favorite son of my home state of Oklahoma.  He wrote a daily column for many years.  This was long before the Internet and the high-speed transmission of digital data.  Will Rogers’ columns were typed on a manual typewriter and transmitted via telegraph from coast to coast and beyond every day. 


There was a question that many Americans greeted one another with during the 1920s and 1930s.  Much like we might ask, “How are you doing?” they asked one another, “Have you read Will yet today?”  Before the Internet and network television, Will Rogers was the glue that held our country together.


Among the columnists working today, George Will could be considered a giant.  You don’t have to always agree with George’s opinion to respect his perspective and his presentation.  George is fond of saying, “You cannot reason people out of a position they did not reason themselves into.”  Before you try to change someone’s opinion based on the height of your logic, up-to-the-minute statistics, or the facts as you see them, determine whether they are holding their current opinion based on emotion or reason.  People who have come to their conclusions solely based on emotion will not change their minds regardless of facts, logic, or current reality. 


Before you engage in any dialogue or debate, determine whether you are arguing against reason or emotion.  I have held a number of opinions that I came to via logic or statistics.  I am perfectly willing to change my opinion if and when the facts change; however, there are other opinions I hold based on emotion.  These opinions are very personal to me, and cannot be so easily altered. 


As you go through your day today, determine whether you’re dealing with emotion or reason before you discuss or debate.


Today’s the day!


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email; on Twitter at; or on Facebook


Land of the Free

Land of the Free

by Jim Stovall


I am very proud, pleased, and blessed to be an American.  These weekly columns are read by people literally all around the world.  I have been contacted by Winners’ Wisdom column readers who live in dozens of different countries.  On several occasions, I have been contacted by readers who are citizens of countries that I was not familiar with and was, therefore, compelled to sharpen up my geography knowledge.


Opportunities abound here in America.  No matter what you may hear in the media, it is easier and simpler to become wealthy in the United States today than ever before.  Tax advantages and investment strategies exist that allow everyone with a little bit of discipline and diligence to become financially independent. 


Throughout my travels across the country and around the world over a number of years, I have conducted my own informal research into immigrants’ work ethic and financial success.  My curiosity began when I met a Somalian immigrant who was driving me from the airport in San Diego to the resort where I was speaking.  He and I struck up a conversation and became friends.  Over the past 18 years, I have made more than 40 trips to San Diego for speeches on the same resort island, and my Somalian friend has been my driver on every occasion. 


When I first met him, he had just arrived in our country and was working diligently to save enough money to bring his family from Somalia to America.  After several years, he reached his goal but continued to pursue his own version of the American dream.  Today, I’m pleased to report that my Somalian friend who will shortly become an American citizen owns a fleet of limousines, a gas station, a convenience store, and equity in several other businesses throughout southern California. 


When he arrived in the United States, my friend did not know our language, our culture, or our business environment.  Today, he speaks fluent, if heavily accented, English; engages in the best of our culture while still having a passion for his African heritage; and has become an astute and shrewd American businessman.  If you were to judge my friend’s path to success from the streets of Somalia to the lifestyle he enjoys today, you would realize that any high school graduate in the United States is more than halfway up the mountain my friend has climbed.  He spent over a decade just getting to the starting blocks where most of us begin our careers; but nevertheless, he has become the envy of many Americans who are convinced that my friend is lucky or found some secret to success.


His success secret is the same one you and I can utilize.  Believe in the American dream, and work hard.


As you go through your day today, remember 95 percent of the people on earth would give everything to be where you are.


Today’s the day!


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email; on Twitter at; or on Facebook

Free Ice Cream . . .

Free Ice Cream

by Jim Stovall


Digital devices make great slaves but poor masters.  I have a friend named Arthur Greeno who owns several Chick-fil-A locations in my hometown.  Recently, Arthur was telling me about apromotion they are running that provides free ice cream for any family dining in the restaurant who will all put away their digital devices throughout the meal.  My first thought was this is a catchy and appealing promotion, but then the hidden and looming danger in our overall society began to dawn on me.


It is sad and disappointing that we have devolved to a point where families have to be bribed with ice cream to sit and talk at the dinner table.  While I applaud Arthur and Chick-fil-A for this initiative, it speaks ill of us all that such a promotion is even relevant. 


This year, my wife Crystal and I will be celebrating our 35th anniversary.  We remain happily married and best friends in great part due to consistent communication.  We both have busy lives and heavy, independent travel schedules but spend time each day just catching up and staying current on one another’s activities, goals, and passions.


I’m a very early riser and get up each day at 4:00 a.m. to begin my reading, study, and planning for the day.  Crystal, who is not naturally a morning person, has made the ongoing commitment to get up at 6:00 a.m. so we can spend an hour together by the fire or out in the garden, depending on the season, to simply talk.  Sometimes we discuss our schedules or plans for the day while other times we discuss current events and issues in the news.  The things we focus on are the things in our lives that are going to improve. 


Recently, I heard a staggering statistic that in the average American home the television is on over seven hours each day, but the average parent spends less than an hour a week in focused, uninterrupted conversation with their children.  Whether it’s friends, colleagues, or your spouse, all significant relationships begin with conversation, and it is that ongoing interaction and dialogue that will maintain those relationships. 


I am very grateful that as I approach my 58th birthday, both of my parents are still productive and active for people in their mid-80s.  Several years ago, it dawned on me that although my parents live approximately three miles from my home, I hadn’t seen them in several months.  We talked regularly on the phone, but that seemed to be a poor substitute for family interaction, so we started our Friday night family dinner tradition.  Every Friday night, travel schedules permitting, my mom and dad come to our house for dinner.  It has become one of my favorite times of the week, and though we often enjoy dessert, I’m pleased to report we don’t have to bribe anyone with ice cream to put away our digital devices and focus on family. 


As you go through your day today, control your technology and don’t let it control you.


Today’s the day!


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email; on Twitter at; or on Facebook



What You Do With What You Have

by Jim Stovall


Efficiency and productivity can offset and overcome virtually any disability, deficiency, or shortfall.  College graduates with degrees in engineering make $4.8 million over their careers while early childhood education graduates make $1.4 million throughout their working lives.  This would seem to indicate that anyone who wants to succeed financially should gravitate toward a career in engineering as opposed to teaching.  While this is logical, it would not be my advice. 


I recommend everyone pursue their passion both in their personal and their professional lives.  While it is true that school teachers earn less than engineers, I personally know public school teachers who have become multimillionaires through diligent saving and investing while you won’t have to look very hard to find engineers who seem to be able to master virtually any mathematical problem except their own finances.


The pursuit of money is a road that leads to dissatisfaction and, quite often, financial ruin.  The pursuit of passion invariably leads to happiness, satisfaction, and financial success. 


There are people who are succeeding in every field of endeavor while there is no career path that guarantees success. 


I have written 30 books to date, and six of them have been turned into major motion pictures.  I have played a cameo role in each of these movies.  In the first several films, I was a limo driver, but in the most recent movie—due to the fact we had a multimillion dollar limo with Raquel Welch riding in the back—I made my movie debut as a bartender. 


Because of these insignificant screen roles, I had to become a member of the actors union known as the Screen Actors Guild.  If you were to ask people randomly to describe individuals who pursue professions that make them rich, you would undoubtedly hear about movie stars, athletes, and recording artists.  As a union cardholder, I can tell you that the average member of the Screen Actors Guild, which represents the elite people in the profession who have acted in at least one movie or TV show, earns less than $1,000 per year. 


We all hear about the astronomical salaries in the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball; however, these salary numbers only apply to the top fraction of a percent of athletes who pursue a career in those sports.  While there are a relative handful of fabulously wealthy recording artists, the rock star lifestyle is only a myth for the vast majority of gifted and talented musicians.  While I would never discourage anyone from a career in entertainment, sports, or music, I would warn everyone against pursuing these professions or any other based on an expectation of wealth and riches. 


As a professional speaker, I have many people contact me who want to join our profession.  They have invariably heard about the lofty speaking fees.  While I am blessed to earn more money for an hour onstage than the annual income of the average family that lives in my home state, it’s important to remember that I made hundreds of speeches for free before I got paid, and had I been pursuing the speaking profession as a road to wealth, I would have quit years before I reached the promised land. 


As you go through your day today, pursue your passion instead of money, and you will have both.


Today’s the day!


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email

Explore . . .

Explore, grow, and have fun building yourself into the person you are going to be for the rest of your life while taking positive risks to better yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. – Pathways to Point 2007

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