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How to Become a World Champion

By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
Monday, December 12, 2016

I don't know about you, but I'm fascinated by "world champions" – folks who have literally reached the top of their game.
I've been fortunate to meet a lot folks like this (in a variety of fields... namely sports, business, and music).
A lot of my own success comes from learning directly from them, and mimicking things they do.
I'm SO curious about them. How did they get there? What did they do differently that allowed them to come out ahead of all the others?
You can learn as much from their failures as their successes. Take my good friend Sean Poynter, for example...
Sean is a world champion... He won the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Championships in 2013 and 2015. His goal this year was to defend his title... but at the event a couple weeks ago, he lost.
I talked with Sean about this over Thanksgiving. (He grew up in a house 100 yards away from my house.)
We went out to lunch, and I asked him to give me one word to describe his successes in 2013 and 2015, and his failure in 2016.
He answered quickly: "PREPARATION." Here's what he told me...
In 2013 and 2015, I was prepared physically, mentally, and with my equipment. I had accounted for every possible situation, and I knew how I would react and handle. I was overly prepared. In 2016, I made a mistake...

Sean was competing in paddle surfing at the ISA World Championship in Fiji's legendary "Cloudbreak" surf spot.
Sean's career has been an extraordinary journey...
I remember seeing Sean out in the water during a hurricane when he was about 11 years old. He was tiny, even for his age – just a little freckle-faced kid. I thought, "Am I going to have to save this kid?"
Then I saw him catch a wave... And he surfed it like a man. He surfed it better than I did! This kid was going to be just fine in the ocean.
A couple years later, at age 14, he was invited by his sponsor Volcom to spend the winter on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii at the infamous "Volcom House." Situated right at Pipeline surf break, it was the most testosterone-filled surfing lineup in the world... the ultimate proving ground in surfing. And Sean proved himself.
When the Great Recession hit, all of the money disappeared from the surfing industry, and Sean lost his sponsorship. He came home to Florida in his late teens, trying to figure out what to do to continue a life on the ocean.
During that time, I introduced him to standup paddle surfing... I put him on the board for the first time and showed him the basics. He was instantly better than everyone else, just like in surfing when he was 11 years old. Seriously... a couple years later, he became the ISA world champion.
When Sean says he was "prepared" to be the champion, here's what he means...
As an example of physical fitness... When he went to spend a month in New Zealand specifically to train with some Olympic-level trainers, they asked him to do sit-ups until he couldn't do anymore... After he had completed 1,600 in the first hour, they told him he didn't have to keep going. The guy is fit!
As an example of mental preparedness... Early on, Sean worked with a sports psychologist/hypnotist to knock out self-doubt. I've seen it... When Sean has a 25% chance to succeed, he acts like he has a 100% chance. And when he fails, he gets back up and believes he has a 100% chance again.
For his equipment... He has possibly tested more prototype high-performance surf paddleboards than anyone in the last few years. He has his own pro model with what is likely the top brand in paddle boarding.
So what went wrong in 2016?
He was prepared physically and mentally... but equipment-wise, he made a costly decision. He didn't go with the "tried and true" equipment. Instead, he brought prototypes that he'd never ridden before, that were different than what he'd ridden in the past. And it cost him.
"You have to be overly prepared, in every aspect, to be the world champ," he explained. "This year's winner, Zane Schweitzer, deserved it. He was overly prepared in every way. And he earned it."
My relationship with Sean has been a ton of fun...
We paddled a "tag team" 32-mile race across the "Channel of Bones" – the open ocean between Molokai and Oahu in Hawaii. Sean was kind enough to include me in this race... even though including me ruined his chance to do well in the race. And we did a father/son surf trip together – with his dad and my son – that I will never forget.
Now, we'd like to bring a small group of DailyWealth readers in on the fun...
I asked Sean to host a group of readers in Mexico from February 15-19 next year... This way, in the heart of winter, you can spend a few fantastic days in your bathing suit, getting a sunburn.
Sean will be there. My friend and colleague Porter Stansberry will be there. And I will be there.
We'll talk about investing, of course. We'll talk about what it takes to succeed, of course. And we'll talk surfing, of course – Sean will be our surf coach each morning and afternoon...
It's the most exclusive opportunity we've ever offered to spend a few days with Porter and me without a heavy agenda.
We want to keep the group very small... We will likely limit it to about a dozen folks.
If you're no good at surfing, don't worry. There will be plenty to keep you entertained. And you'll still have a great few days with Porter and me in the sun.
If you're interested in joining us in Mexico, you can learn more about the program right here.
I hope to see you in Mexico in February!

Further Reading:

"Stansberry Research may not exist if it wasn't for surfing," Sean Goldsmith writes. "One reason Porter and Steve wanted to start working together is because they were surfing buddies. And surfing also changes your world view." Learn more here: The Story Behind the Stansberry Surf Escape.
"Money can buy you a lot of things in life... But it can't buy you fitness," Steve writes. "You have to earn that yourself." Read more here: A Hard Life Lesson Learned on Molokai Last Week.

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