(Image/Gair Maxwell)

How do you measure, quantify and define what it takes to become a SUCCESS?

Depends on who you ask.

Richard is an otherwise ordinary, average guy who wound up doing a lot of asking.

An extraordinary, way above average amount of asking.

Some would call it obsessive compulsive asking.

For close to a decade, Richard invested thousands of dollars, travel miles and sweat equity to conduct more than 500 face-to-face interviews with some of the world’s most insanely successful people. Just so he could ask them questions.

He was a man on a singular, laser-focused mission; to get a deeper understanding and crystal clear picture of the critical, intangible factors that create SUCCESS.

Richard carried a pocket tape recorder with him constantly and every chance he got he would ask people such as Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, Richard Branson, Al Gore, Rupert Murdoch, Goldie Hawn, the guys who started Google and many others about the unwavering principles that drove their success. Thousands of hours later, Richard had dissected and analyzed every word and every thought they shared to create one of the world’s largest and most detailed databases on SUCCESS.

He distilled that data into 8 words, 3 minutes and one enormously successful TED Talk.

His three-minute TED Talk from 2005 in Monterey, California is consistently ranked in the Top 20 of all-time, generating more than 10 million views and launching Richard himself into the SUCCESS stratosphere. In other words, he became a product of his own teaching and in doing so was able to reinvent himself and his career along the way. He is routinely invited all over the world to deliver keynote presentations on what he calls The Eight to be Great to some of the planet’s biggest and most influential organizations.

Some might call him a modern-day Napoleon Hill of Think and Grow Rich fame.

And now you’re invited to join us at the kitchen table for the Story Behind the Story of SUCCESS with international author and success expert Richard St. John on this edition of The Reinvention Chronicles.

“We are born with the seed of joy. It’s up to us to nurture it”


8%20to%20be%20great%20book-richard%20st_%20johnI first crossed paths with Richard St. John about 6 or 7 years ago at a speaking event in Maritime Canada and felt an immediate connection to the timeless insights he revealed through Eight to Be Great. Since re-locating to Ontario, I was fortune enough to re-connect with Richard on LinkedIn and when I discovered he was based in downtown Toronto, my immediate thought was he had to get this guy to share what he knows on The Reinvention Chronicles to a growing global community fascinated by the art, science and study of what it takes to recreate and re-imaginate any business or career.

One of the things Richard exemplifies most is that success is meaningless unless it comes jam-packed with meaning. Long after he has left this earthly plane, my friend can rest easy knowing that he created a body of work that will endure in a meangful way and insppire people for centuries.




At about the 4:25 mark of our conversation, Richard reveals what he experienced in pushing himself beyond his personal and professional comfort zone to begin his interview project. He clearly demonstrates what it takes for anyone to recognize and overcome the many imagined fears and limitations that block the road to success and reinvention. In Richard’s case it was as simple as asking the founder of Ben & Jerry’s a simple question. And then doing the ten thousand hours of lonely work before he ever shared his findings publicly. While many people sit around and dream of success, others wake up, roll up their sleeves and work bloody hard at it.

Are there imaginary fears that are stopping you from taking that all-important first step that leads to the bloody hard and lonely work?

Because when it gets right down to it, success is just a matter of luck.

Just ask any failure.


As Richard so eloquently explains (with mountains of data to back him up), there is no such thing as an easy road to riches and fame. It will demand what seems like a never-ending series of experiments along a path of uncertainty; which is exactly what he experienced in his own journey. In Richard’s case, success was bumping along, experimenting and going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.

What is the discipline, skill or subject area you need to experiment with next as a baby step along the road to reinvention?


p.s….Here is the Three-Minute TED Talk from 2005 that changed everything.

Is this a great world we live in or what?

Photo: Satish Neupanep.p.s…By anyone’s measure, Richard himself is a success – beyond the trappings of fame and fortune.

He has incredible work-life balance having competed in 79 marathons on all seven continents.

He and his beloved Baiba have climbed two of the world’s seven summits and been adventuring happily together for 44 years.

He still works hard at his craft everyday, compiling more research and working on a new book. hopefully to be released in 2017.

And in characteristic Richard St. John fashion, he is still experimenting. He explained to me a few days ago that his most recent unedited TED Talk was full of errors, flubs and mistakes, but he wanted to share it in the hope it makes the point that anyone can come up with great ideas.

p.p.p.s…. The best known of the original “success” gurus was Napoleon Hill who interviewed the most successful people of his day including Henry Ford, Charles Schwab, Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison. He was an advisor to U.S. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and his timeless, 1937 masterpiece Think and Grow Richhas sold upwards of 100 million copies.


If you are curious about having Gair deliver a thought-provoking, high-voltage and potentially soul-stirring presentation to your organization or upcoming conference, brace yourself for this type of feedback. You can learn more about his energizing, mind-shifting, rock-your world keynotes, seminars, customized workshops and business coaching programs at www.gairmaxwell.com.


Originally published in Chronicles..

Gair’s critically-acclaimed book, “NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS” waits patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com. His newest E-Book, “THE REINVENTION CODE” – 7 Timeless Secrets to Unlock New Beginnings in Business & Life is available as a free download

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