Don Yaeger has received his fair share of inspirational advice.
As someone who has spent his career studying high performers, first as a sports journalist and then as the author of numerous celebrity biographies, he has had firsthand insight into the lives of some of the world's greatest professionals and what makes them so successful.
But of all the tips he's received throughout his decades-long career, there is one that stands out above all the rest, the New York Times bestselling author told CNBC Make It.
It was this: "You'll never outperform your inner circle."
The standout guidance came from legendary University of California, Los Angeles basketball coach John Wooden.
A personal mentor to Yaeger, the late-Wooden one day challenged him to put the advice to the test using a quick exercise, which can be applied by anyone in just a few minutes.
All it takes is a piece of paper and a pen.