Benjamin Hardy | Crain's Utah

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Benjamin Hardy


Benjamin Hardy is a graduate student pursuing a doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Clemson University in South Carolina. But he’s also a successful entrepreneur – the No. 1-rated writer on for the past two years – and an author, whose latest book, “Willpower Doesn’t Work” was published by Hachette. His thesis is that “gutting it out” won’t deliver the kind of results that creating an environment to foster your accomplishments will.

The Mistake:

I’d expected this new book to be a New York Times bestseller out of the gate, and it didn’t end up becoming one.

I'm really good at growing my audience and growing an email list. I'm not as good at nurturing and creating loyalty.

Having a big email list is not the same as having a devoted [and engaged] followership.

What you do shapes who you are; your personality is shaped by your behavior.

The lesson:

My focus was never actually on nurturing my [email] list, and now it is. Now that I'm focused on this, I can actually do something about it, I can actually track and measure it, and that which be measured gets improved. I'm going to focus on this now, and mentally trying to be more of a giver.

The quality of my work and the quality of my motivation and desire to serve is going to directly be translated into the quality of the email that I send out, for example. There's so many components of actually getting people engaged. You have to learn good marketing, you have to create better content and you’ve got to be consistent.

I just think the power of investment – to invest in relationships, mentorships and [in your] environment – is a way to fast track your progress and it's something that most people won't do.

Most people invest a lot of money in entertainment, but very few invest their money in relationships and education, and where you put your money in a lot of ways determines what you’ll become.

I believe in investing in better products, better food, better relationships, better education. All of those things transform your psychology because as I talked about in the book, what you do shapes who you are; your personality is shaped by your behavior.

If you start putting money in the right places, you can create environments very quickly, and you can upgrade your psychology.

That's kind of how I've been able to go as a graduate student to making a seven figure income is because when you're surrounded by people who are making a ton of money, you can learn from them.

You can do business like that, you can think like them, but those people are not just hanging out waiting on the side of the street. You actually have to put yourself in their environment and then you need to adapt to that environment.

I just think you need to proactively create your environment or you're going to reactively be the product of the environment that you're not necessarily excited about.


Follow Benjamin Hardy on Twitter at @BenjaminPHardy.

Pictured in Benjamin Hardy. | Photo by Debbie Lefever.


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