The 30 Day Challenge, Success in Business, RITTR and CANI!

by John Zajaros on November 7, 2009

The History and Power of The 30 Day Challenge: Success in Business and a Tool for Life!

I have been thinking a lot about the whole 30 day challenge concept for a while now and have come to the realization that there is a significant flaw in this powerful concept.

While the 30 day challenge is incredibly powerful concept, one I have used repeatedly throughout my life, there is a failure factor built in. I will discuss the flaw in a moment, and it is important when considering whether to run your own 30 day challenge or to participate in someone else’s. However, to begin with let’s discuss the power of this useful concept, a notion that has been around for decades…at the very least.

Interestingly, I tried to do a search to gain an historical perspective on the impetus for, and the story behind, the 30 day challenge and found nothing of value. So, I will keep this focused on the past 75 years or so, paying particular attention to the past 35 years.


Because it was 35 years ago I first came across the concept, and it was a tried and true method of achieving results then, so I am certain it has been around for, at the very least, several decades.

BTW, I hope you get the time to review my article on the Law of 250 and success in business, online and offline. It is at The Internet Marketing Quest Revealed! Let me know what you think, OK?

Interestingly, Earl Nightingale, known as the “Dean of Personal Development,” speaks of going all out for 30 days, a 30 day “test” if you will, in his recording of The Strangest Secret, the first voice recording to sell over 1 million copies. The Strangest Secret was first published in 1956, so that’s almost 54 years ago…or as long as I have been on this Earth!

Scary thought!

Generally, anything with that sort of staying power, and a phrase that can generate between 50 and 60 million results (without quotes) on Google, and 228,000 results with quotes, has to have real power, even today.

Interestingly, there appears to be something of a paradox with the concept, and with the challenge itself.

Or, does it go deeper than that?

On one hand, the 30 day challenge appears to be a useful tool for motivating people, prompting them to act, at least in the short term. On the other, there appears to be a flaw built into the system, and we will get to that.

But first a bit of history!

The first time I ever heard anything about a 30 day challenge, and challenge wasn’t the word used then, was in the mid-1970s.

The 1970s and early 1980s was a very exciting time in sales and marketing, many of the greats toured the country and sales, marketing, and self-improvement seminars were quite common. Significantly, during this period most of the self-help and self-improvement messages were either tied to sales and marketing, as in the case of Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, J Douglas Edwards, Zig Ziglar, and Dale Carnegie. Or, they were assigned to the religious or spiritual milieu or genre, as with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, an amazing and amazingly popular book! Well worth the read, regardless of your religious affiliation or convictions.

During the 1970s and 80s, I was very big into the whole how to close the sale, self-help, self-motivation, and self-improvement movement.

The 1970s was before the time of Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, it was a time of when many of the greats mentioned above such as Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Zig Ziglar, J Douglas Edwards, Tom Hopkins, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale were in vogue. Wayne Dyer had just come out with Your Erroneous Zones (published 1976), followed by Pulling Your Own Strings, both widely accepted and very popular. The 1970s, particularly after the end of the war in Vietnam and the national nightmare of Watergate was finally put to rest with Nixon’s resignation, was a wildly optimistic period. Jimmy Carter’s feel good style mirrored the mood of the country, at least for a few years.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, I purchased all the self-improvement, sales and marketing, and motivational material I could get my hands on. As a young man making 5 figures a month, a huge sum back then, and still respectable today, I invested heavily in my education, informal as it was at the time; and, I soaked up everything written and recorded by any of “the greats,” anything and everything I could get my hands on. It was during this period that I discovered a treasure trove of information at Nightingale-Conant, for me a marriage made in Heaven! That, of course, led me to Earl Nightingale’s recording of The Strangest Secret.

My life was quite literally changed forever with that recording! I listened to The Strangest Secret until I had every word, every syllable, memorized. I put it into action immediately and by 1980 I was building my first business; and, the rest is history, as they say!

The idea of doing something for 30 days all out, just focusing on that had never occurred to me, as simple as it seems today. Yes, I had heard phrases like:

“Make each day your masterpiece.”

“Make each day count.”

“Live for today.”

I had heard those and many more. I also understood the notion of getting the most out of each and every day, something I practiced religiously. But for some reason the idea of putting them in capsule form and going at it for a specific period of time had simply eluded me. Again, I went all out, like “gangbusters” each and every day…I simply failed to connect the dots. Yes, I had read Think and Grow Rich.

• I had a mastermind group of sorts.
• I had specific goals mapped out.
• I had my affirmations on 3 by 5 cards that were so tattered and torn from being looked at each and every day that I routinely had to rewrite them (from memory
after a while), just to tear up a new batch!
• I had pictures of the Ericson 25’ sailboat I wanted and then purchased.
• I had a picture of the Honda 1000 Goldwing I wanted and then purchased.
• And so on and so on!

With everything I had accomplished, hitting my first of many 10k+ months in income by 23 years of age, it wasn’t until I heard The Strangest Secret and put it all together than I took my income and my life to a whole new level. I would love to tell you I listened to the recording and 30 days later I was on my way but life doesn’t work like that, at least not unless you believe some of the hype being sold on the Internet!

My journey to the next level,, my application of the Ultimate 30 Day Challenge that forever changed my life, was set in motion by the recession of the early 1980s. Without getting into a lot of the details, the recession of the early 1980s was just as bad, or worse, than the recession we are currently experiencing.

The funny thing about people, funny as in peculiar or idiosyncratic or simply forgetful, is that people forget quickly and only remember selective bits and pieces of the past, usually not the painful stuff (“stuff” of course is a technical term–ask George Carlin). Of course that’s part of the reason we are forever doomed to repeat the past, we erase from our memory the painful things we should at least take note of and try to remedy. It is easier to simply forget than to fix!

But the recession of the 1980s took down forever the industrial base of this country. The steel industry never recovered and many would argue the automobile industry was forever transformed, as well. The textile industry of the Northeast vanished with barely a trace, entire cities forced to file bankruptcy. The Rust Belt, mainly the Midwest from Pennsylvania to Illinois and south to the Mason-Dixon Line, was hit hard and certain pockets in the Midwest and Northeast had some of the highest unemployment in our nation’s history. The country was reshaped and industries that had driven the country for decades either vanished completely or were seriously damaged. Some companies went abroad, never to return.

The country, and in fact much of the world, felt the impact for several years before the turnaround and recovery of the mid to late 1980s once again moved the country and the world forward.

It was during the recession of the 1980s, complete with a complete halt in sales and marketing for many industries in the Midwest and interest rates at 22%, I was in Cleveland, Ohio (ground zero or within 150 miles of it), that I was forced by dire circumstances to put my ultimate 30 day challenge into action. While still working at my present job, I began to formulate a plan, the plan took shape, and once it took shape I outlined the very first of many 30 day challenges.


Because I had no way out! In essence, it was sink or swim, the economy was about to make me just one more of its casualties…and that just wouldn’t do! Not at 25 years of age, so sir!

So, I implemented a plan, invested all the money I had left, by then $50 for a little tiny office and a telephone answering service; and, a few bucks for some flyers and postage, and I went to work. Interestingly, I had the support of my current employer, a great man who knew he couldn’t hold on to all of his people through the terrible economic conditions the area was struggling with. We had Ford, GM, Chrysler, US Steel, and Republic Steel all within a few miles, it was as if the entire country had collapsed.

The Rust Belt became the Disaster Belt!

But people will always spend money on certain things…and I happened to pick one of them. I would love to tell you I tested and analyzed and researched but in actuality, I just did it!

What is the saying?


Well, without getting into the details, I will save that for another day, we started making money. We did OK the first 30 days, a little better the next 30, and by the fourth 30 day challenge, one run consecutively after another, our entire business model at the time, just one all-out 30 day challenge followed by an even more frantic all-out 30 day challenge, we were making mid-five figures! That’s from a $50 investment plus some postage and a few flyers in one of the worst economic climates since the Great Depression! Interestingly, we actually received the flyers free from the printer on barter after we got going, trading our services for his.

Things fell into place, almost by magic!

Tony Robbins said something in one of his Power Talk recordings that rings so true and is appropriate here:

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!”

The same sort of thing happens with goals and forward movement, whether the forward movement is part of a directed 30 day challenge, or is simply part of a goal directed overall plan of action, once you set a thing in motion, the right people, circumstances, and tools become apparent and available to you.

It is like LUCK:

• Labor

• Under

• Correct

• Knowledge


Have you ever noticed when you are heavily into something, driven and focused, all of the sudden you become aware of things you never noticed before, experience things you never knew existed? Once you open yourself up and become focused on a specific goal and direct your energy into a specific arena and provide a specific time frame for it to appear…things begin to happen!

It is like looking up in the sky!

Try looking up in the sky whenever the sky is clear and you will notice a lot of shooting stars!

Are there more now than there used to be?


You notice them now, so there appear to be more of them, simply because you are now looking in the direction! They were always there! It’s just that you are now ready to see them!

It’s like that with goals and the 30 day challenge! You are now looking in the right direction, so you will see the opportunities, the tools, the knowledge, and the resources that were there all the time…you are now laboring under correct knowledge, so you will see what has been there all along!

So, what’s the downside?

Well, it isn’t a downside with the 30 day challenge; it’s not a downside with the challenge, it’s a downside with human beings. It is a word one of the Internet marketers of note, Eben Pagan is big on:


Distraction is the arch enemy of success and it is also the arch enemy of The 30 Day Challenge!

You see, in today’s world many people suffer from what I call socio-cultural ADD/ADHD.

People just do not stay on task for very long and, when they embark upon a specific course of action, they are easily distracted. Additionally, if results are not easily or immediately apparent, the risk and the reality of distraction becomes exponentially greater. There is a fundamental flaw in the psyche of the modern mind, a failure to stay on task. The old American “stick-to-it-ness” of the past seems to have vanished in favor of the 3 second rule and the 1 minute video culture.

Heaven forbid people have to read a book!

War and Peace? Never!

I recently heard an Internet marketer say it took him purchasing a CD to be able to get through a book he felt he needed to read. This is not atypical! This is a symptom of the video generation and it is only getting worse. The prospect of sitting down and reading a book, say War and Peace, would probably send a significant portion of our population to the emergency room with an anxiety attack!

That may be overplaying it a bit…but just a bit!

That’s the flaw in The 30 Day Challenge, it’s not results, it’s distraction and attention; and, those are inextricably linked!

So, how do we combat this seemingly fatal flaw?

With results!



Tony Robbins’s notion of CANI! Constant and never ending improvement!



Reducing it to the ridiculous!

The combination of CANI! and RITTR makes a step-by-step approach not only achievable, it will keep you and the members of your team, if you are managing more than just yourself, on track.

By focusing on each day, on each hour or even just a moment, building one success, one accomplishment upon the next, before you know it you have built something amazing, all one small piece, one small moment, one small success at a time.

Just as the paragraph above notes, by reducing your year, month, week, day, hour, and moment you bring everything into focus and, while still having the big picture in mind, you are able to bring your efforts to bear upon the task at hand, thus accomplishing more in a moment than many do in a week…or a month, a 30 day challenge!

The combination of laser-like focus and the knowledge that everything in life is progressive means you can do great things.

Constant and never ending improvement leads to motion, motion to momentum, and momentum leads to overwhelming success by way of enthusiasm and inertia. Just like a dynamo, at first slow and almost imperceptible in motion, it becomes an irresistible force, unstoppable and undeniably powerful.

The 30 Day Challenge, first brought to my attention as a 20 something kid, has been responsible for my absolute faith in our ability to do anything we set our minds to, anything! By setting small and achievable goals, building one moment upon the next, one accomplishment upon another, we build one 30 day challenge into a lifetime of challenges and triumphs.

The result is a life full of excitement and successful in every sense of the word.

Will there be failure along the way? Certainly!

But for every failure, there will be an incredible harvest of successes.

The secret is to keep focused, continue setting goals, and remember CANI! and RITTR!

All things are possible if you have faith in yourself and in the concepts built into the premise behind the 30 day challenge…that anything built upon a solid foundation will have an positive and lasting effect upon your life.


“Whatever the mind of many can conceive and believe, it can achieve!”

I believe that with all my heart and mind, so did Napoleon Hill when he said it in 1937!


John Zajaros
Skype: johnzajaros1

PS, I love this movie…but then I love most sports movies with a theme! Al Pacino is perfect and there isn’t a middle-aged man alive that hasn’t felt these emotions…and probably a lot of other men and women, too! Just click anywhere here!

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