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The Make Money Now Bundle

 

THE MAKE MONEY

NOW BUNDLE

by

GREG PARRY PhD

BOOK 1

The ART of GETTING WEALTHY

BOOK 2

MAKING MONEY AT WORK

BOOK 3

PASSIVE PROSPERITY FOREVER

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77 HABITS FOR HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL LIVING

By

Greg Parry PhD

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Contents

CONTENTS

BOOK 1

About the Author

Introduction

Life’s Great Piggy Bank

The real thing

Handouts

Jail house rock

Knuckling down

Chapter 1

Total Responsibility

Chapter 2.

Breaking Bad Habits

Chapter 3.

You’ve been complaining to the wrong person

Chapter 4

Check the results

Chapter 5

Learn to Believe

Chapter 6

Scoring with Goals

Chapter 7

Getting Organised

Chapter 8

Awesome Affirmations

Chapter 9

Your Personal Vision for Power and Success

Chaper 10

And……Action!

Chapter 11

Exorcising the Shadows of Fear

Chapter 12

Persistency

Chapter 13

Choose Wisely Your Company

Chapter 14

De-Bugging Your Life

Chapter 15

Building Better Habits

Chapter 16

The Self-Acceptance Accelerator

Chapter 17

Earning by Learning

Chapter 18

Make Your Time Count

Chapter 19

Drawing on the Wellspring of Your Inner Genius

Chapter 20

Get Your Ears On

Chapter 21

Your Word as Law

Chapter 22

Be a Benchmark

Chapter 23

Purge the Past and Become Wealthy

Chapter 24

Choose to be Wealthy and Master the Habits of the Financial Superstars

Conclusion

Appendix

The Emotional Freedom Technique

The EFT Connection

The Revolution in Your Heart and Your Wallet

FREE EXCERPT

101 Habits of Truly Successful Living

Resources

BOOK 2

About the Author

PREFACE

Introduction

Chapter 1: Know Your Business

Step 1: Existing Information (Desk Research)

Step 2: Direct Customer Research

Chapter 2: Clarify your objectives

Chapter 3: State Your Mission

How to Develop Your Mission Statement

Chapter 4: Understand the Skills You Need to be Successful

SKILL #1 — Resilience

SKILL #2 — Resourcefulness

Chapter 5: Practice does not make perfect

Chapter 6: Cash Flow

Chapter 7: Managing People – Including Ourselves

Chapter 8: The Purpose and Power of Targets

Deciding What to Measure

Measurement of Your Financial Performance

Chapter 9: The Extra 10%

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

Chapter 10: Sharing the Rewards

Chapter 11: Accountability

5 Simple Things That Can Help You to Change Your Attitude

How to Change Negative Attitudes at Your Workplace

Chapter 12: Enjoying the Benefits of Success and Reaping the Rewards

BOOK 3

Chapter One

Understanding the mechanics of making money on-line

So where do we begin?

Selling Good and Services On-Line and the Power of FBA

Are we just creating more work for ourselves here?

So what are the options?

We’re open for business – but where are all the customers?

Service

The customer is the key to your fortune

Check List

Chapter Two

KDP and The Magic of Self-Publishing

Sounds great! Where do you start?

So how do you work out what to charge?

Chapter Three

Affiliate Marketing and the simplicity of promoting other people’s goods and services

So, how we do we become affiliate marketers?

Chapter Four

E-mail marketing and the art of directing traffic to a landing page

Chapter Five

Udemy and the Fun of Producing On-Line Courses

Conclusions

Chapter Six – All change

Good timing

Keeping it clean

Check List

Chapter Seven – Life’s Great Piggy Bank

The real thing

Handouts

Jail house rock

Knuckling down

Check List

Chapter Eight – Releasing the Chains of Fear

Fear of Failure

Fear of Success

Fear of Criticism

Fear of Ridicule

Fear of Change

Fear of Who You Are

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of Loss

Fear of Standing Out

Fear of Pressure

The One Life Success Test

Conclusions:

Check List

Chapter Nine – Learning to be Best Friends with Cash

Early attitudes.

When things don’t add up

Open your mind and let some fresh air in

Meet your new friend.

Generosity

5 Star Attitudes

Check List

Chapter Ten – It Figures

Happiness at Work Questionnaire

Conclusions

Check List

Chapter Eleven – The Unimaginable Power of Smart Passive Income

The power of TV?

So what are the options?

Service

The customer is the key to your fortune

Check List

Chapter Twelve – Moving on

Bookish times

Check List

Chapter Thirteen – Moving Up

Having a blast.

Great to know you.

Fast bucks

Real estate

Check List

Chapter Fourteen – It’s all in the mind? Yes – and the mind is a truly vast piece of territory!

Finding the On Switch

The EFT Connection

The Revolution in Your Heart and Your Wallet

Check List

Conclusion

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The information provided in this book is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. This book is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your own physician. The publisher and author are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this book. References are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any websites or other sources. Readers should be aware that the websites listed in this book may change

BOOK 1

Copyright © 2016 by Beran Parry

(OLW07032016)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publishers’ email address: [email protected]

  • Acknowledgements*

Writing can be a particularly challenging experience but the project was supported and encouraged by a bold and brave crew of enthusiasts who generously lent their time, expertise and creativity to the book and I’m grateful to each and every one of them.

The ART

of

GETTING WEALTHY

YOUR PERSONAL PATH

TO PROSPERITY

By

[*Greg Parry PhD *]

About the Author

Initially I trained in the field of Corporate Psychology and Management, gaining a PhD along the way and spending most of my time driving commercial projects and delivering Motivational Training in a corporate environment. And there were catalysts for change that appeared quite unexpectedly. I’ve been privileged to sit at the feet of some quite extraordinary financial giants, individuals who carved out their success from the bare rock of their own determination and dogged persistence. These were highly motivated and inspiring people and it’s largely thanks to their advice and unwavering examples that I’ve been able to create a lifestyle that allows me to enjoy the kind of freedom that most people only dream about.

 

MY INSPIRATION

I have been extremely fortunate to work with a surprising number of self-made billionaires, individuals who were generous enough to share their experiences and their personal philosophy of success with me. Some of them were kind enough to mentor me during my earlier years and this generosity has prompted me to publish and share some of the jewels of their accumulated wisdom and add weight to the argument that success is not an accident.

 

As well as studying the architecture of material success, these individuals also dwelt on the importance of creating balance in life, of creating time to be with their families, to support great causes and to make a difference to the quality of peoples’ lives. They appreciated the freedom that their lifestyles had created for themselves and displayed a breath-taking lack of selfishness in promoting success wherever they found fertile ground in which their advice could take root. One of them described this spirit of generosity as a personal legacy, a way of ensuring that all of his hard-won lessons were not simply confined to the limits of his own life.

There’s a great deal of material in the marketplace today on the subject of success. Against this dense background of conflicting ideas and approaches, perhaps we should determine from the outset what success really entails.

 

I subscribe to my mentors’ philosophy of personal freedom, of creating sufficient wealth to live the way you want to live and to enjoy the gift of this life to the full. You’ll feel a lot better when you share your success with others too. You certainly don’t have to be a billionaire to achieve that level of freedom and personal choice or to make a difference to the lives of others. But you do need the appropriate attitude. You will need determination and you’ll probably need to make some adjustments to how you think, feel and behave. Letting go of old habits, shaking yourself loose from the grip of the past, learning to focus on a much brighter vision of the future – these are all components that will enhance your chances for success and improve the quality of your daily life at every level. It isn’t simply a question of how much cash you’ve stashed away. The picture’s bigger, more detailed, more encompassing and brighter than you might’ve thought possible. Success is certainly about measurable achievement but it also involves a stronger connections to the people around us. It involves a deep sense of peace within ourselves. It encapsulates the concept of personal acceptance. It permits us to choose appropriate goals and to follow the winding pathway to our destination with unbreakable confidence in our ability to get wherever we choose to go. And, if the seeds of wisdom have taken root, to enjoy the journey to the full.

Introduction

Do want to be successful? It’s a simple, direct and straightforward question. Yes or No? If the answer’s ‘No’, put the book down now and do not waste your time reading it. Because it will not make any difference to you or to your life.

If your answer’s ‘Yes’ – and you are sure about the answer – you might need to make some changes to the way you are doing things. This book is in your hands right now to help you make those changes and create a different set of results in your life. Getting what you want is not a fluke. Success is not an accident. It’s a science. It’s a product of knowing what to do and then taking the right action. Then repeating that action as often as necessary on a regular basis. The difference between success and failure often comes down to your willingness to do things that are not comfortable. When you know what you want and you acknowledge what needs to be done, all you have to do is apply yourself to the essential tasks, make the appropriate effort and collect the rewards. That sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? In addition, that should be the end of the book. Thanks for reading it and have a great day!

So where is the problem?

The answer lies in our habits. Humans are supremely adept at avoiding uncomfortable situations. We scatter and diffuse our energy and we lose focus far too easily. We exercise tremendous creativity when it comes to ignoring the important yet difficult challenges in our lives. We prefer to do the things that we like to do rather than the things that need to be done. It happens all the time. It is happening right now. In addition, success, that bright and alluring promise of exceptional achievement, remains frustratingly elusive. Effort alone will not guarantee success. It is the targeted and intelligent application of the right kind of effort that leads to success. It is not simply a question of doing what you want to do but doing what you have to do. There is a major difference between those two approaches and the sooner we appreciate the significance of doing the right thing, the sooner we can step onto the winner’s podium and claim our justly deserved rewards. Too often, the problem is hiding at a deeper level. Developing better habits is a wonderful way to overcome these deeper issues and reveal your amazing potential to lead a much more successful life in every respect.

This manual has been constructed to help you to acquire better habits. We want you to be successful at whatever you do in your life. Successful in your work, your relationships, your lifestyle, everything. Our purpose is to focus on the specific behaviours you can develop to put you in better control of your life, so that you can enjoy the benefits of success and taste the well-deserved fruits of prosperity. What you do creates the results in your life. What you do produces what you get. That is the connection. What you do flows from the behaviours that shape your ideas of who you are. How you behave is an extension of your conditioned responses to the world around you. And the world is brimming with opportunities. It is surprising how often these connections are ignored. Change what you do and you will get a different result. Change how you see yourself and the world around you, and your behaviour changes in step with your new perception. Knowing what you need to do and building a strong, behavioural support framework will encourage you to carry out the essential actions that will enhance your efforts and produce better results. I hope you’re nodding in agreement at this point because this is important. When you realize that you are no longer trapped by the old patterns and outcomes of your past, that you can achieve extraordinary results in your life, even if you feel that you have never been successful before now, you will feel more energized and enthusiastic about the future than you have ever felt before. It is only natural. Success itself is a habit and, as the amazing Mr Tony Robbins likes to quote, it leaves clues.

We are going to help you define the goals that are important to you. We are going to release some of the bonds of fear that have paralysed your willingness to dream and take action. We will help you identify the habits that have been holding you back. We will work together on building better behaviours that will support your goals and ambitions. We will give your will a test run and see if we can boost its horsepower and effectiveness. We will create the right channels for your energy and efforts and open up a world of possibilities for your brand new future. The things we do every day are the things that make a difference. Consistency and persistency will be our foundations. Building the right habits will take you to a totally different place, a better future, a more rewarding life and the satisfaction of achieving the kind of success you have always dreamed of. This is your book. It is your personal guide. It has been created specifically to help you. The effort you invest in the project will translate the habits, methods and techniques into successful outcomes specifically for you. Your effort provides the fuel that powers the engine of transformation. That is the part you get to play in the great process of personal development that speeds you up on the road to success. The answers and the results are entirely in your hands.

I’m really glad you’re holding this book in your hands at this moment in your life. We live in a world where chance plays less of a role in peoples’ lives than it used to. Do you believe that? Let me give you an example. What are the odds that you could meet someone who’d learned the essential rules of success, made a fortune along the way, and then decided to adopt you as their personal project to share the secrets of their hard-won lessons? Pretty remote odds, don’t you think? But that’s all changed. The Internet has given us access to some of the best teachings on success that have ever been available. So you don’t need that personal mentor to sit down next to you and guide you. The lessons and principles have been laid down for everyone to work with. The best lesson that a mentor can impart is the importance of good working habits. That’s how we can translate every day into a fresh set of opportunities. Good habits give us a greater sense of control in our lives. They can support any goal that we choose for ourselves, whether we are focused on work, promotion, more money, weight loss, better relationships – the list is only bound by the limits of our imagination.

Some of these ideas have been around for a long time. That shouldn’t surprise us. The human condition has remained essentially unchanged for millennia so some of these ancient principles have been thoroughly field-tested for countless generations. Stepping forwards into the technologically-enhanced present, our rapidly-developing understanding of brain function and the wider implications of the latest breakthroughs in cognitive behavioural therapy have equipped us with a new and exciting awareness of how we really function as human beings. This revolutionary new knowledge equips us to approach our habits and behaviours from an entirely new perspective, delivering effective techniques that can help us to take control of ourselves and of our lives. It’s an extraordinarily exciting time to be alive. Let’s celebrate our good fortune by making the most of all of this new knowledge to improve our lives at every level.

The good news is that we’re not the first people to attempt this liberating process of self-improvement. It’s been successfully achieved by countless millions of individuals from all walks of life and from every corner of the planet. As long as you’re a paid-up member of the human race, the chances are excellent that the methods will work for you too. The only variable that applies is your willingness to do what’s necessary to make the changes happen in your life. Good habits are the foundation of sustained success.

I’d like to make a timely confession at this point. I’ve mentioned in other publications that I’ve been most fortunate to be tutored and mentored by some quite exceptional individuals. If I could’ve acquired their gifts and wisdom simply by sitting in the same room and absorbing their talents by breathing the same air, my life would probably have been much simpler, but their advice required me to take action and make some effort. This was not always easy. I received similar advice from various individuals and eventually noticed that these principles possess a universal quality that pretty much applies to everyone. I’ve attended countless training courses and seminars over the years and I have to admit to you that sometimes I’ve felt a little disappointed when the presenter started to cover areas that I thought I was already familiar with. Then I’d realise that either I’d forgotten the principle or that I wasn’t using it. The great idea had slipped out of my field of vision, dropped off my personal radar and disappeared from my daily routine. These experiences taught me how much we all need a reminder to get back on track. It happens. It’s a fact of life. It’s part of being human. We forget. This was usually the moment when I’d imagine my mentors rolling their eyes and muttering in disbelief that I’d been so dumb as to forget a basic principle or two in the first place. We need to be reminded about these great ideas and we need to be reminded often. Yes, we do. We need a regular, gentle nudge to prompt us to examine how we’re doing things, to consider how our habits are shaping our lives, to check our behaviours, to make the connection between the way we think, feel and respond to the world around us and the outcomes that result from our actions. One of the motivations for sharing these ideas with you came from a commitment I made to one of my more influential mentors who requested that I find ways to spread the word to other, interested individuals. I know what it’s like to struggle and I truly appreciated the advice of much wiser, smarter people who helped me to get back on track with my life. It’s their views and advice and experiences that I’m sharing with you in this book. My sincerest wish is that the ideas and principles will assist you in achieving everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Life, after all, is a one way ticket. Let’s make absolutely sure that you enjoy the ride.

Before we boldly launch ourselves into our fabulous quest for success and fulfillment, please take a moment to recall the advice of that singularly wise individual we refer to as the Buddha. He told his disciples not to believe what he said unless his words stood the test of reason. My advice to you is to approach this work as an experiment. Whether you believe the methods will work or not is less important than putting them to the test. Try them and see what happens. It’s also true that if you expect failure, that’s the most likely outcome for you. But if you expect success, the methods will surprise you with their consistent power to deliver the results that you’re looking for. The fact is that you won’t know unless you try. And if you’re determined to get the very most from these methods, try with all your heart.

Life’s Great Piggy Bank

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”

Thomas Edison

I’d like to share an observation with you. No matter how you feel about money right now, at the start of this great campaign for abundance, there’s absolutely no shortage of money in the world.

That’s right. Money is extraordinarily plentiful. It’s produced in vast quantities and happens to be one of the most widely traded commodities on the planet.

Money. Money. Money.

Your mind simply can’t grasp how incredibly vast and abundant this amazing commodity happens to be. Its scope and range cannot fit inside your imagination. It’s measured in billions and trillions and that fact alone reveals the enormous scale of this extraordinary mechanism of exchange.

It seems that we’ve always traded from bartering sheep and goats and bags of wheat in ancient times to the modern convenience of digital cash. What an incredible leap in technology. All credit to the power of the human imagination. And now money exerts its influence across the entire globe. A fast and efficient means of communicating value that we cleverly invented many centuries ago. A force that continues to dominate the rhythm and quality of billions of lives every single day.

So how much is a lot?

We’re often tempted to consider money in convenient bundles of value -

A salary cheque

A grocery bill

A theatre ticket

A credit card bill

A mortgage repayment schedule

A personal loan

The price of a new car

But most of us quickly run out of valid comparisons as soon as we step outside of our range of daily, financial experiences. For the majority, a million of anything has no immediate value that we can understand. We say the word but we don’t really grasp its significance.

Ten million? What on earth does that even look like?

A hundred million? Largely meaningless.

When we reach the billion mark, the meaning drops off the edge of our understanding and disappears without a trace. We know that the number implies a really large amount but that’s about as good as our definition gets.

So when we discuss the enormous scale of money on the planet, we might as well be trying to work out the personal significance of inter-stellar distances – they’re just too vast to hold in the narrow confines of our heads. This is revealing. On a personal level, we can relate to the concept of not having enough.

We can understand the effect of having to budget carefully. We might even know what it’s like to be seriously short of cash. I know some truly great people who understand exactly what it’s been like to live in an affluent society and still go hungry. So all of these conditions can be easily understood on a personal level.

They are all immediate, perceptible and measurable. But when we try to understand the immense power and mass of all the money in the world, we can’t possibly process the data. It’s just too big. So we naturally accommodate the small scale implications of personal cash issues but we have no idea how colossal the other side of the equation might be.

Our perspective is naturally biased towards the small scale of personal experience. Our perception ignores the true scale of abundance. I’m repeating this message because it’s too easy to assume that there isn’t enough cash to go round. And this is how we live our lives, focusing on the smallest possible expression of abundance and yet blissfully unaware of what’s really out there. Which leads me to a very pleasant and amusing encounter that took place some years ago.

I sat next to a charming billionaire at a charity event who observed that everyone seemed so intensely obsessed with the few grains of corn scattered beneath their noses that they ignored the tons of grain piled up just outside of their perpetually short-sighted vision.

They were so busy with the pre-occupations of daily survival that they completely missed what was really possible in their lives. He could’ve led a comfortable life in a modestly rewarded profession in his home country – but he stopped one day to notice all the enormous opportunities that were everywhere around him.

It was a revelation.

He ignored his parents’ well-meaning worries and advice, quit the day job and created a business empire from scratch. He became a billionaire and, by the time we met, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying life to the full. I thought I might make an ideal candidate for adoption but he had much better causes to support!

He would never have described himself as the cleverest man in the room but he’d learned how to look for and identify opportunities. And, whenever appropriate, he took action.

He made mistakes. Lots of mistakes. And an awful lot of money too!

I was struck by this man’s words. He presented an amazing example of what was truly possible in an ordinary man’s life.

For him, that change in perspective from the narrow view to the broader outlook provided the catalyst that catapulted him into the financial stratosphere.

The real thing

Billionaires. I’ve met and worked with more than a few. And you can learn so much from the lives and examples of individuals who’ve climbed to the dizzying pinnacle of financial success.

One gentleman was kind enough to share the benefit of his lifetime of priceless commercial experience and advise me in my business. Simply because he was generous by nature and believed wholeheartedly in promoting the potential for success wherever he found it.

His early background was one of abject poverty and single-minded determination. He was tough, completely open and totally direct. You could never mistake the meaning of anything he said. When he gave his word in that slow, Texan drawl, it was pronounced with the certainty of the Laws of Physics.

His approach was to outwork any situation by giving an extra ten percent of his time and effort wherever he could make a difference. He’d done it since he was a teenager, working and struggling to find the money to pay for his college fees.

And it showed in everything he did. He was a great example of how to turn a dirt poor existence into an exceptionally rich life. By hard work, complete integrity and tremendous focus.

By consistently doing the right thing. In later life, he leveraged his business experience and specialized in turning around failing companies. And made another fortune in the process.

He usually gave me advice over dinner and I would inevitably pick up the tab.

He felt that putting my hand in my pocket for dinner would encourage me to take his comments more seriously. He once quipped that when you got something for free, you usually got what you paid for. Dinner and a box of Cohibas in return for the kind of advice that money really couldn’t buy. It was the bargain of the century.

Real-life, genuine, bona fide billionaires. Some of them were indomitable fighters. I noticed that the ones who’d struggled against seemingly impossible odds were always deeply sympathetic towards anyone who was willing to work hard.

They understood the meaning of contending in a hostile or indifferent world and one of them said he always recognized the spirit of a true warrior, one of those solitary, fellow pilgrims on the pathway to extraordinary success. Some even encouraged me to quit my old business and put my efforts into what they considered would be better opportunities.

What they all shared was an unconquerable belief in their eventual success. You could block them. You could knock them down. You could thwart them. But they would always come back.

They never quit.

They might change routes and take a different pathway up the mountain but there was never any doubt about their destination. They had an unshakable belief in their ability to get where they wanted to go.

You don’t have to become a billionaire or even a multi-millionaire to lead a more prosperous life. The mission here is to develop more resources to support your lifestyle choices and your freedom. How far you want to take that goal is entirely at your discretion.

Handouts

During these many encounters, not one of those wildly successful individuals ever offered me any money. Not a dime. They were all exceedingly generous and supported great and worthy causes in all kinds of situations right across the globe. But they never gave me any money.

And this is a useful insight into their knowledge and understanding of success and the pathway to fabulous abundance. Not one of them ever believed for a moment that I needed a hand-out even though there were plenty of times when I thought that I did. They believed that a handout wasn’t necessary because they knew for certain that I could get the job done using my own efforts.

They gave advice. Mostly for free. They gave encouragement. For free. They gave criticism. Always for free! They celebrated with me on occasion but they never compromised my ability to get where I wanted to go by throwing money at my problems.

They’d never received handouts on the way up and some of them had been completely broke along the road to riches. They knew that the struggle would reveal all the hidden strengths required to reach their intended goals. One of them said “Son, you’ve been blessed with a backbone. So you don’t need any backer to hold you up”.

It’s the kind of comment that stops you in your tracks and makes you take a minute to consider what the message really means. It’s the kind of comment that tends to stay with you. You stand a little taller. A financial giant stares directly into your eyes and makes a clear and unambiguous statement about what they see. They’re sharing a truth.

You feel a responsibility to live up to their faith in you. They don’t sugar-coat their medicine. They tell you what they see whether you like the message or not.

They most certainly don’t worry about your feelings. They want you to succeed and fulfill your potential. The messages gradually became integrated into my belief system.

These individuals were intimately acquainted with every rock, stone and pebble on the uneven pathway to success.

Their advice and experience and generosity were priceless.

Jail house rock

A shortage of cash is always a source of stress. But there are always ways to improve the situation. Life is a constantly changing, fluid set of circumstances that represent the possibility of change at every moment. At the other end of the spectrum from the intoxicating realm of the super-rich, we have a fabulous example of a young gentleman who managed to find himself on the wrong side of the law.

His criminal activities eventually led to his incarceration as a non-paying house guest of the United States Bureau of Prisons. When he was released a couple of years later, he found himself living in a hostel with the basic skills of a carpenter and a grim determination to get his life back on track. He got a job on a building site and worked hard, applying himself to his labours every hour that he could.

He always got to work early, did the best he could, cleaned up at the end of the day and showed his boss that he was a totally reliable, conscientious man and a real asset to have on the workforce. Each week he deposited his pay cheque into a local bank and saved every penny he could. He always came back to the hostel exhausted, had a bite to eat and went to sleep.

After three months, he had built a reputation as a model employee and other building companies started to approach him, offering him enticements to join their work crews.

Suddenly, no one was interested in his criminal record. His pay went up, he kept depositing the cheques and, after six months, he was able to put down a deposit on an apartment. And get a car. So that’s one way of fixing a difficult situation. Not a lot of fun. Well, to be accurate, no fun at all. But the hard work and dedication paid off.

Our friend took total responsibility for his circumstances, put the past behind him and did whatever he felt was necessary to get back onto the right track. And he never looked back.

Another interesting individual who strayed a long way from the straight and narrow pathway of virtuous endeavour ended up in court on a series of very serious charges that were linked to his leadership of a large and notorious criminal gang.

Before sentencing, when asked if he had anything to say in his defense, he told the judge there were no mitigating circumstances to excuse him and that he was fully prepared to accept whatever punishment the court felt fit to deliver.

He admitted his guilt, made no plea for clemency and said he only wanted to show his young daughter that punishment always followed wrong doing. And he went to spend a few tough years as a guest in the harsh environment of Club Fed. But he confounded all the expectations of the system and became a model prisoner, served his time, and is now a very successful author and businessman.

The interesting aspect of his case was his willingness to accept total responsibility for everything he’d done as a highly efficient crime lord. He never disguises his past but he has certainly moved far beyond it and has created more success today with his legitimate activities than he ever enjoyed during his dodgy days in the dark and dangerous world of organized crime. People really can change.

It is entirely possible to turn your entire life around and make something truly worthwhile from it. It’s never too late.

Working really hard for a time can certainly boost your income and get you off the ground. Running two jobs, cramming in the overtime, working seven days a week – these are all effective ways to gather enough momentum to make a difference to your life. But it isn’t sustainable. The pressure and the strain of all the work will eventually kill you.

So it’s a short-term answer to an immediate problem. And most problems can be overcome with sufficient effort. Even a mountain can be moved with a shovel if you keep at it.

It’s important to recognize though that there may be better ways to move the mountain than with a shovel and a massive amount of sweat and manual effort.

Knuckling down

The two gentlemen referred to above probably felt that they had little choice about their future lives when they were sentenced. In fact their choices became remarkably simple. They could either carry on as before – and probably guarantee that they’d spend even more of their lives as guests of the penal system – or try a totally different approach.

Fortunately, they both turned their backs on crime and their lives flourished as a result of their better informed choices of daily activity. They both worked hard. No question. But they applied themselves to legitimate activities that produced success and kept them out of jail. I respect that. I understand that visceral commitment to knuckle down. I know what it’s like to hold down two jobs. I remember the challenges of running an extra business on the side to raise more cash, working very long hours. It works. But there are better ways.

The breakthrough moment for me was the realization that there really was far money in the world than I’d ever truly understood or appreciated. When you grasp the enormity of money’s global presence, you tend to feel more confident about increasing your share. When you have more, it does not mean that someone somehow must have less. It does not work like that. Run through that line again.

It’s an important fact to absorb on your new pathway to success and abundance. When you cast an eye over the vast financial resources of the planet, you begin to realize that there really is more than enough for everyone. This is an essential part of the pathway to increased abundance: the profound realization that what you need is already out there. That what you need is only a tiny, microscopic fraction of what’s available.

So now that we’ve established that there’s more than enough for everyone, you’re probably nodding wisely and asking yourself – so how do we turn the daily trickle of change into a flood tide of cash? Good question!

Money is a fundamental part of how successfully we function in society, but we can see right from the start of this adventure in wealth creation that money is obviously much more than just an economic means of exchange.

Money is directly connected to our needs, our levels of happiness and even extends to the way that we see and evaluate ourselves. We express our personal connection to money through our attitudes. So it can be fun to explore how we really feel about the whole question of money and personal success.

We’re going to filter our values through the sieve of another simple quiz to see if you can measure your potential for success. As I hope you’re beginning to appreciate, success in life is deeply related to your attitudes and behaviours.

So take a few minutes to run through the simple test and check out your results at the end.

It couldn’t be easier. Simply choose one of the three answers to the questions and then work out your individual score based on the values displayed at the end of the test

1

(A) I have a clear idea of what success means to me.

(B) I have no idea what success means to me.

© I have a vague idea of what success means to me.

2

(A) I always seek advice and feedback.

(B) I never seek advice and feedback.

© I sometimes seek advice and feedback.

3

(A) I never give up something I enjoy now for something better in the future.

(B) Sometimes I give up something I enjoy now for something better in the future.

© I always give up something I enjoy now for something better in the future.

4

(A) When I experience a setback or rejection, I just give up.

(B) When I have a setback or rejection I learn from the experience and try again.

© Setbacks or rejection sometimes cause me to quit but at other times I try again.

5

(A) I believe I will be successful.

(B) I believe I will never be successful.

© Maybe I will be successful, maybe I won’t.

6

(A) I am always fully prepared for the things I do.

(B) I am never prepared for the things I do.

© Sometimes I am prepared and other times I am not.

7

(A) I would never take a risk because I only want sure things.

(B) I am somewhat open to taking risks.

© I am willing to take risks if the rewards seem worth it.

8

(A) What happens in my life is not my responsibility.

(B) What happens in my life is sometimes my responsibility.

© What happens in my life is totally my responsibility.

9

(A) Change always brings me new opportunities.

(B) Change never brings me new opportunities.

© Change sometimes brings me new opportunities.

10

(A) I give 100% when I'm working on something.

(B) I tend to hold back when I’m working on something.

© I never go all out when I’m working on something.

Scoring: Allocate the following points for the answer you chose on each question:

(1) A +1, B -1, C 0

(2) A +1, B -1, C 0

(3) A -1, B 0, C +1

(4) A -1, B +1, C 0

(5) A +1, B -1, C 0

(6) A +1, B -1, C 0

(7) A -1, B 0, C +1

(8)A -1, B 0, C +1

(9) A +1, B -1, C 0

(10) A +1, B 0, C -1.

Those answers that scored a +1 are the ones that indicate that you have the right attitude for becoming successful. It's time to total up your points.

If your score added up to between 6 and 10, your attitude reflects a positive approach towards success and you get a well-deserved pat on the back. If your score was between naught and five, this is a perfect moment to re-consider the way you really feel about the whole proposition of personal success and think about the changes you might have to make to improve the odds of achieving your goals.

If you scored below zero, you need some serious revisionary work on your attitude and identify the thoughts, feelings and attitudes that are blocking your personal pathway to complete success and self-fulfillment.

Understanding your attitudes is an essential component in the campaign for building a strategy for personal success and financial freedom. None of these attitudes is fixed forever.

Everyone has issues that impact on their progress. Learning to release and re-configure those limiting thoughts, feelings and behaviours is one of the great keys to launching a revolutionary transformation in the quality of your life. It’s the liberating realization that you can do and be so much more than you ever thought possible.

Chapter 1

Total Responsibility

“If you take responsibility for yourself, you will develop a hunger to accomplish all your dreams”

Les Brown

If you’ve read any other books on the principles of success, the first item that usually shows up on the agenda is the subject of responsibility. It’s the only place to start. I’ve been asked the same question too many times by mentors and business tutors alike – How do you account for being where you are right now? I’d take a deep breath because the answer used to involve all kinds of explanations involving family background, abuse during childhood, poor decisions, lack of opportunities, the economic climate – the list went on and on! But the starting point for any discussion was always the same: regardless of what I thought had happened in the past, I had to be prepared from that moment onwards to take full responsibility for everything that happened in my life. This involved a major shift in my belief system. I couldn’t get away with a half-step and avoid taking responsibility for areas that I preferred to believe were beyond my control. I had to give up the habit of blaming other people, external events, my past and the tedious list of excuses that I’d used to explain why I was where I was. The change in my life began when I took responsibility for everything that happened to me. It’s a revolutionary shift in mind-set and it’s an essential pre-requisite for stepping out of the conditions that dominate your past. This is the first habit. Some say that it might be one of the most important too.

Habits are usually comfortable. That’s why we hang onto them. They work automatically. Their familiarity makes them feel comfortable. They become part of the background of our lives, colouring our perceptions, reinforcing our prejudices, describing the world around us in the usual, familiar terms, happily obscuring opportunities and the gift of our true potential. We rarely stop to consider whether our habits are helpful to our lives or to our goals. We hang on to them because they support our antiquated ideas of who we think we are. Even before we can walk, we learn to play roles that make us more socially acceptable. We pick up most of our habits and behaviours during early childhood. We inherit frameworks and attitudes from parents, siblings, school and society for dealing with all the people and circumstances that surround us. And these attitudes can persist far beyond the circumstances of our earliest childhood experiences. They can last an entire lifetime. Just think about that for a moment. The attitudes that shaped your behaviours and relationships when you were four years old can persist throughout your adult life. Underneath that adult facade of apparent confidence and certainty lurks a deeply-insecure four year old! No wonder we sometimes need help. But life doesn’t have to be this way. This is not how we achieve lasting happiness, success and fulfillment. There are better ways to live and embrace the power of our potential. We can build a much stronger foundation for our lives that recognises our potential as adults rather than our limitations as poorly-disguised four year olds!

For decades, we’ve held the view that the brain is in many ways a passive instrument that faithfully serves to interpret the world around us. More modern research, ably assisted by new developments in medical technology, suggests that the old view of how the human brain functions was misguided. Our brains are far more active in interpreting the world around us than we’d ever realised. In fact, the human brain interprets incoming data to reflect and support our belief system of how we think the world functions. Our brains are selective. Our brains filter the data to look for patterns that mirror our beliefs. Surprised? That’s why our belief systems are so important. When you make the connection between how you believe the world works and the way your brain imposes those beliefs on the world around you, you have one of those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments that changes how you interact with the people, events and situations you encounter every day.

Most of our beliefs are inherited. We acquire our view of the world from our family, from friends, from school, from society. We rarely pause to question these beliefs. We assume that they must be valid. They help us to make sense of the world, to make judgements, to understand the world in a convenient form of perceptual shorthand. But this is a moment in your life when you are free to question the outcomes, to question your beliefs and attitudes, especially in light of where you are right now. To ask whether your beliefs are helping you to achieve everything you want. Or whether your beliefs are hindering the process of progress.

The starting point in the process of acquiring truly great habits is to make that first, subtle shift in your beliefs. You begin by taking full and complete responsibility for everything that happens in your life. The normal reaction to this suggestion is a chorus of protests that so much of life is completely beyond our control. I understand that. But your mission is not to control the weather by staring at the cloud formations. The purpose of this shift is twofold. Firstly, you begin to accept that you have a great deal more influence over your life than you might’ve realised. Secondly, you move from the limited position of playing the role of victim and begin to exercise your real power and potential as an influencer in life’s great game. One of my tutors once described the process with a knowing smile as growing up. We move from that lingering condition of childhood dependency where we learned to accept the barriers and fears that defined what was possible. Obstacles always show up but they do not mean that you have to stop or quit. It’s the natural way for life to function. One of my brilliant teachers said that if you don’t have any obstacles, then you weren’t trying hard enough! Obstacles, barriers and limitations are natural features of the landscape. Your job is to overcome them, go round them, neutralise them, remove them or drive straight through them. But you never, ever, let them stop you. Ever. The obstacles do not define the outcome. It’s your attitude that will determine the results. It’s a sad fact but most people quit before they even try to exercise their power or their creativity. Projects, dreams and ambitions are abandoned every single day because people believe that, in the face of opposition, they’re somehow unobtainable. The obstacles become an excuse, a pitiful attempt to confirm that persistent, underlying belief that, deep down, we don’t deserve to be successful. So that’s where we need to start. We’re moving boldly to a position of taking control of our lives and our destiny. You have access to a full range of creative, adult decisions that can move you on to much better, happier circumstances.

There are really only three things that you can totally control, so you don’t have to reserve too much time to practise staring at the clouds, reciting your favourite mantra and making the sun shine through the rain. Let’s list what you’re totally in charge of:

You can control what you think.

You can control what you feel. Yes, you can.

And you can control what you do. That means you can control your behaviour.

From these three fundamental elements, you can determine how you react to everything that happens in your life.

The attitude of accepting responsibility for everything that happens in your life is a powerfully liberating mindset. Things will still happen that will appear to be out of your control but once you accept that you’re responsible for any particular situation you can set about dealing with the challenge with a more positive set of reactions. You move smoothly from the old mindset of screwing up your fists in frustration and asking your mommie why it always has to happen to you and you use your energy to work out what you can do to make the situation better. We’ve all been in situations that were unpleasant. I had to change a tyre on a large vehicle on a slope in 110 F. It certainly wasn’t a pleasant experience. But I didn’t waste an ounce of energy taking it personally. Tyre blew out. Changed the tyre. Sweated buckets in the heat. Blistered my hands. Drove on. Ten kilometers further on, the spare tyre blew out too. It happens. What did it mean? It meant absolutely nothing. It was a nuisance. Nothing more. Nothing less. It was very uncomfortable. But my focus remained on fixing the problem and reaching my destination. All the possible emotional reactions were neutralised before they even had a chance to show up.

Most of us are happy to own the good things that show up in our lives. Very few are willing to take responsibility for the problems that cross our pathways. Responsibility does not discriminate. It covers everything. It’s the building block of personal power.

Summary

Make a powerful decision right now that for the rest of your amazingly successful life you are going to take total responsibility for what happens. The is the Power Option that turns you from playing the role of victim to being a fully fledged volunteer on the pathway to greatness.

Chapter 2.

Breaking Bad Habits

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones”

Benjamin Franklin

The second habit in our list of totally great behaviours is to formally renounce our addiction to blaming others. This is not some minor device to improve our social standing and observe the niceties of good etiquette. This is about eliminating a poisonous and destructive habit.

Everybody loves to blame someone. We do it all the time. It’s as common as breathing. You can hear it in people’s voices. You can see it in their expressions. As soon as a problem shows up, we love to pin the blame on someone else. Anyone will do – as long as it isn’t us! This is one of the most destructive habits known to the species. We blame others for how we think, how we feel, how we behave, for the problems that show up in our lives. As if every problem, disappointment, challenge and obstacle is always someone else’s fault. This is how you renounce your power to make a difference in your own life.

It’s a habit although I’d guess you already knew that. It’s a conditioned reflex. It’d the kind of response we usually learn during early childhood so it’s easy to see how the behaviour can become deeply ingrained in our attitudes. We’re blamed for all kinds of things as kids and we easily pick up the habit of passing on the blame – and the pain – to others. Let’s take a moment to break this habit down into its component parts. Let’s take a wrecking ball to this particularly nasty little habit and see if we can deconstruct it and remove it from our repertoire of responses forever. This is a very significant game-changer. Switching off the knee-jerk response to blame others can transform our relationships at every level. This is a big deal. Understanding that it doesn’t have to be someone’s fault every time something goes wrong tones down the stress response, engages your creativity, focuses your energy and empowers you to respond rationally to your challenges rather than wasting megatons of emotional energy by heaping blame on everyone else. Can you see how blaming others turns them into the victims? Especially when it isn’t their fault? It’s nasty and it’s harmful to everyone who’s involved in the blame game. So let’s stop it. Right now.

So let’s deconstruct the habit. A fascinating piece of research carried out way back in the 1970s identified a curious phenomenon. Whenever we react to something, there’s a moment’s pause before the reaction kicks in. It’s easy to believe that we react instantaneously to many situations but that isn’t always the case. That momentary pause gives us a chance to reflect, to consider our response, to weigh up how we want to react. It’s a fabulous way to modify our behaviour. We can learn to pause and decide how we want to feel. To consider the best option before we react. We understand that the event does not create the outcome. It’s how we react that shapes the results. Learning to pause for a moment before launching into our typical reaction gives us a chance to choose how we want to behave. This is one of the core principles of cognitive behavioural therapy. People get a chance to ask themselves ‘What if…’ before reacting. They get a chance to consider the consequences of their behaviour first. They learn to choose behaviours that produce the best results. For themselves and for everyone else. They get to ask questions such as ‘What if I don’t get angry when people talk to me that way?’ ‘What if I choose to stay calm and relaxed in the face of this challenge?’ ‘What if I decide that I’m the kind of person who gets the job done?’ The possibilities are endless. So is the potential.

Every time we launch into an episode of blaming others, we take our eye off the ball. We hand over power to others rather than acknowledging our own role in the daily game of life. We deny our ability to make a difference. We limit our perception of how powerful we can be in our own lives. Perhaps that’s what makes you comfortable. Perhaps that’s where you prefer to live, waiting for others to change and make your life easier. But life doesn’t work like that. Fortune favours the bold and the sooner we take full responsibility for our lives and give up blaming others, the sooner we can start generating the results that reflect our real potential.

Learning to pause before we react can apply to all manner of situations. It’s a method that’s been successfully applied to anger management, weight-loss programmes, athletics training, stress management and relationship counselling. In fact the method applies to every facet of the human experience. One of the reasons that it’s so effective is the recently explored connection between two very important parts of the brain. This is an area that we’re referred to in other publications and it’s the fascinating relationship between the brain’s ancient survival mechanisms that are driven by the limbic system’s amygdalae and the more recently evolved pre-frontal cortex. The amygdalae are two almond-shaped groups of nuclei which produce the drives that address our needs for food, to react in the face of danger and to ensure the continuation of the species by reproducing. These survival mechanisms are ancient artefacts from our distant, evolutionary past and they’ve served our species well for a few million years. But the more recently developed pre-frontal cortex is in many ways the part of the brain that sets us apart as humans. Knee-jerk, instant reactions usually originate in the amygdalae and, as anyone who’s ever heard a new-born baby cry can confirm, the system is fully operational from birth. The pre-frontal cortex takes longer to develop and only reaches its full potential for expression in our early twenties. The PFC enables us to set goals, to visualise, to make plans and to work out how to get from where we are right now to where we want to be. The PFC supports rational, considered, logical responses so you’ll probably guess where this revelation is heading. The unexpected connection that researchers recently discovered is that these two apparently distinct parts of the brain function in conjunction with each other. As one part of the brain gains dominance, the other becomes more passive. So if we learn to pause, to slow down the knee-jerk response from the amygdalae, consider our options and visualise the outcomes we desire, we stimulate the PFC to operate more powerfully. The limbic system reduces its influence and we become more rational, more focused, more attuned to the best possible results. This is one of the great keys to personal transformation and a powerful mechanism to reduce potentially destructive behaviour and replace it with an altogether more productive way of living.

So now we have a solid platform for building new habits and dismantling less helpful behaviours. Get the PFC fully behind your purpose and watch your life change. Choose how you want to react, how you want to feel, how your future is going to unfold from this point onwards. Engage your PFC and take control of yourself and your life.

Summary

Learn to pause before you react. Take that extra moment to consider how you want to feel. You are not your old habits. You can choose what you think, what you feel and what you do.

Chapter 3.

You’ve been complaining to the wrong person

“My core belief is that if you’re complaining about something for more than three minutes, two minutes ago you should have done something about it”

Caitlin Moran

Welcome to the close, first cousin of blaming everyone else for our circumstances. We just love to complain, don’t we? It’s another human characteristic that’s been well described and researched in detail by the scientific community since the 1950s. The habit is so deeply embedded in our culture that we frequently use it to appear to be more socially acceptable to our peers, colleagues, neighbours and family. The phenomenon was beautifully described by the late, great psychiatrist, Eric Berne, in his book The Games People Play, one of the most influential books ever to appear on the dynamics of human relationships. As the man who brought the theory of Transactional Analysis to the general public in 1964, Dr Berne’s influence on modern psychology lives on and encourages us to examine the roles we play in every situation that involves any form of human interaction. Which of these myriad roles that you’ve learned to play so convincingly represents who you really are? Which of these roles is truly authentic? Dr Berne invited us to become more aware of the daily habit of wearing these behavioural masks. One of my favourite stories from the good doctor involved the ‘Yes, but…’ game. You’ve probably come across it on countless occasions. An individual in a social setting would complain about some aspect of their life and the other members of the gathering would offer advice about how to solve or improve the problem. The game involved the first person acknowledging the advice and then countering it with an objection, using the classic ‘Yes (that might be true), but (here are the reasons it won’t work)’ routine. Eventually, another member of the group would adopt the role of the aggrieved party and start again with a different problem for the group to solve. Dr Berne noticed that when he deliberately broke the unwritten rules of the game, his chances of being invited to future social gatherings would be significantly reduced! However, once you recognise that you’re in a game, you can always choose not to play. How’s that for a new and different choice?

We learn to blame others. It’s usually a role we learn to play. We learn to complain too but most of the time we’re complaining to the wrong person. We complain to people who have absolutely no means to help us, apart from nodding in polite agreement with our frustrations. And the complaint is usually little more than an admission of powerlessness. That’s right. We prefer to complain because it’s so much easier than taking responsibility for our circumstances. If you’re complaining, it can only be because you have some notion that things could somehow be better. People tend to complain less about things that are considered to be inevitable. We vent our frustrations about areas of our life that we feel could be stand some improvement. That suggests that we must have some notion in our heads of an improved version of our circumstances. So, instead of complaining, do something about your situation. It’s time to abandon the habit of complaining. It’s time to make a decision. Make it right now. Stand up and raise your right hand. Now state solemnly and purposefully – ‘I hereby renounce complaining. Forever.’ Say it ten times until you start to believe it. You’ll save a ton of emotional energy. You’ll recognise that you’ve been wasting your time bemoaning your situation. Now, at last, you’ll be ready to take some action to make things better. Remember the sacred mantra – ‘If it’s going to be, it’s up to me’. Start chanting it. Add a background rhythm if you like. No more complaining. And do yourself a favour. Stop listening to other peoples’ complaints. Remember Eric Berne’s deliberate response in the ‘Yes, but..’ game. He’d experiment with different, non-standard, unexpected answers – ‘Oh, I’m sure you know how to fix it.’ ‘Really? So what do you plan to do about it?’ Or ‘Is that so?’ and then he’d change the subject! It’s a game and you can always exercise your judgement and decide not to play.

If you have something to complain about, address the issue to yourself and, if you can’t fix it, talk to the person who can make a difference. That isn’t a complaint in the classical description of the term. It isn’t whining. It’s a rational request for help and assistance and that, my friend, is absolutely fine.

Summary

Quit complaining. You’re in charge now. You’re responsible for your life and how it turns out. Make it totally fabulous. It’s your call.

Chapter 4

Check the results

“The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible”

Larry Winget

Do you have what you want? That’s a simple enough question and I’m guessing you’ll agree that it’s an important one. I’m asking you right now because there’s a lot of temptation from society, friends, family and co-workers to compromise and just accept whatever you’ve got but that’s not good enough. Not for you. I remember a dear lady asking me many years ago why I wasn’t satisfied with my new job and I told her I was grateful for the opportunity but my heart was set on going further. She told me I should accept what I had and be satisfied and I recall saying that, if we were all satisfied with what we’d got, we’d still be living in caves! So the next great habit to adopt is to conduct a regular progress check to see if you’re on track. There are very simple ways to check on your progress but most of us find it uncomfortable to be brutally honest with ourselves. I’m inviting you to take a good look at where you are right now and ask yourself whether what you’ve got is what you wanted. It’s the kind of question that can move us from passive acceptance to active mode. It’s delightfully simple. It just takes a good measure of honesty. No pretending. No hesitating. No ifs, buts or maybes. It’s either yes or no. Either you’re happy. Or you aren’t. Either you have the wealth you want. Or you don’t. Either you’re living in the home of your dreams. Or you aren’t – and one of my friends had the idea that his dream home would be a felt tent surrounded by a herd of yaks on the edge of the Gobi desert! To each his own. I lost touch with him some years ago and I sometimes wonder if that was because the Internet connection might not be very reliable in the Gobi desert. Who knows? We’re going to look at goals and planning for success in a little while but I want to encourage you to take a good, hard look at your life right now and check out what’s working for you and what isn’t. And you might need to make a note of your answers.

In previous publications, we’ve encouraged you, the good reader, to equip yourself with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Must be the Gobi desert influence permeating my subconscious. We love technology but there’s a different connection to the written word when it’s transcribed with a pen or pencil. This is about you. So the work is personal. Writing things down on a fresh sheet of paper creates a different kind of record in our brains than the digitised characters we hammer out on a computer screen. Try it and see. You do remember how to work a pencil, don’t you? In case of any confusion, you write with the sharp, pointy end. Writing with a pen or pencil is a different skill set to using a keyboard. Strangely, I make far fewer spelling errors when I write with a pen. It doesn’t mean you now have permission to lob the PC joyfully out of the window in a celebration of the return to the Old Technology but, for exercises where you want to detect a deeper emotional current in your attitudes and behaviours, nothing beats the pencil and paper approach. It’s just a practical suggestion to make the exercise more meaningful for you.

To give you a helping hand with this new habit, we’re suggesting that you make a list of all the key areas of your life, starting with your personal situation and moving out into the areas where you interact with other people. Then all you have to do is mark each area with a tick or a cross. If you’re happy with a particular area and you’ve added your personal tick of approval, take a moment to think about how you got there and what you do to maintain that situation. Same for the areas that have received a cross. What’s missing? How did you get there? What are you doing that perpetuates the situation? Write it all down. Check out all the areas that are important to you. Work, health, finances, housing, friends, family, love, hobbies, passions, weather. Wait a second. Did you just read ‘weather’? That’s right. My wife decided years ago that the northern climate just didn’t suit her so we started to spend more time in the sunnier, southern places where the sun shines more often. It’s all about choice. Even about choosing places to live with the kind of weather you prefer.

Do you recall the notes in Section 2 on Breaking Bad – Habits? Do you remember the references to the limbic system and the PFC? The questions you’ve just asked yourself and the task of thinking about the answers will stimulate your amazing, problem-solving and incredibly creative PFC to start analysing the situation. This is where people – and I’m including you in that classification – suddenly get bright ideas. This is where inspiration can kick in and show you a whole new way of dealing with the challenges you’re facing right now. This is the moment when the light bulb in your head goes to high wattage and you begin to develop strategies to lead you from where you are to where you want to be. The PFC is a very powerful asset to deploy in the face of any challenge, problem or obstacle. As the limbic system tones down its emotionally-driven responses and the pre-frontal cortex begins to calculate and evaluate alternatives, you may be struck and surprised by the most blindingly obvious solutions to your problems. Often the answers have been staring you in the face and waving to catch your attention. But you’ve managed to ignore them. Totally. Once the amygdalae reduce their influence on your behavioural functions, your versatile and inventive PFC can take the reins and move you onto the fast track to better times. Some people earn a great deal of money finding answers to corporate problems. One astonishingly brilliant business advisor has occasionally been refused payment for his incisively effective advice to major corporations because his answers were sometimes so incredibly obvious. The Board would look at him in disbelief and say that they already knew the answer he was proposing. That didn’t mean the Board had gone as far as implementing the strategy. They hadn’t actually taken any steps to put the answer into practice. In fact the Board had behaved as if the answer were somehow invisible. In many situations, the answer really is obvious. But until you admit the problem and get the PFC on the case, the answer and the problem are destined to remain distant acquaintances.

Summary

Be honest. Evaluate your life and decide what’s working for you and what isn’t. If it isn’t right, make a plan to make it better. The answers are usually right in front of you.

Chapter 5

Learn to Believe

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

Napoleon Hill

One of the great insights we’ve gained from recent research into how the brain functions is that our belief systems really translate into our view of the world around us. In other words, our beliefs shape the way we perceive reality. That should be the most exciting news for anyone interested in building a better life for themselves. We’re born with an incredibly powerful, natural resource at our disposal yet most of us learn to use it only to deny ourselves the happiness, success and fulfillment that are available to us. How crazy is that? We use our beliefs to create limitations, obstacles and barriers to success and that’s a very sad way to use such a powerful gift. But we can change our beliefs. We can make better choices. When we choose to believe in ourselves and in what we can achieve, our brains shift into new patterns of perception that support our new beliefs. We may well need additional skills, new training and personal coaching to fulfill our dreams but everything becomes possible when we start to believe in ourselves. It’s the foundation for our futures. It’s the bedrock that supports our endeavours when we face opposition on the road to our goals. It’s the unbreakable safety net that holds us up and gets us back on our feet when we fall or get knocked down. It’s the ground beneath our feet that gives us the feeling that we’re unstoppable. You can only really appreciate the value of this habit when you take it on board as a full-time asset and adopt it as a permanent feature of your daily existence.

Do you like success stories? I love success stories. I get a real buzz of excitement when I read stories of real people who have overcome impossible odds. These are the kind of stories that reinforce my belief in the beauty and power of the human spirit. These are the kind of positive messages that remind me every day that the limitations and obstacles we encounter in life might be formidable but the power of the human spirit is indomitable. Belief is so important. It’s the ingredient that fuels renewed effort, that refuses to quit, that lifts us up when we fall, that never deserts us, that lights our pathway and keeps us on track. Sounds pretty fantastic, doesn’t it? That’s because it really is an undeniably powerful ingredient in our lives. You can use it for your benefit or you can misuse it to lock yourself inside a cage of misery and limitation that denies everything you’re really capable of achieving. That’s what that nagging little voice inside your head is saying: Life really can be so much better than this! Listen to that insistent voice. It’s the sound of your untapped potential, the echo of your true greatness demanding an outlet to express itself, the call of your unfulfilled success reminding you that everything can change for the better. It’s the urgent call to rise up and redeem your life from the slavery of your conditioning. Come on. Happiness and self-expression are so tragically rare in our civilisation yet they’re integral aspects of the human condition. Why do we deny ourselves the power to express our potential for success? Why do we settle for less when our lives are crying out for so much more? It isn’t simply a question of a bigger house or car, more toys and gadgets, more jewellery and another layer of plastic surgery. It’s a question of tapping deeply into our potential and treasuring the gift of this life, of recognising our gifts and rejoicing in our ability to make a difference, to making a commitment to do what we need to do to achieve success on our own terms – whatever that might mean on a purely personal basis.

We’re going to address goal setting and planning shortly – you knew we’d be getting there sooner or later! – but right now all I’m asking is that you take a good look in the mirror and start repeating your new, sacred mantra for success. Pick the most significant item on your hand-crafted list of items that aren’t working for you and start chanting the magic formula. You start with the words ‘I am…’ and then you tell yourself that whatever wasn’t right is now working for you better than ever. We never use any kind of negative language in our new mantra. Everything is expressed in positive terms. An example? OK. Let’s take money. We could say ‘I am easily creating an income of (you choose the amount) and making my life a fabulously wonderful experience every single day’. Business? How about ‘I am building the most fantastic business and the money and clients are happily flowing into my office every single day’. Relationships? ‘I am so wonderfully happy to be sharing my life with my partner (or whoever’s significant to you in this important area of your life) and enjoying the most fantastic relationship of my life’. Get the picture? We’re deliberately using strong, emotive language here to produce a memorable impact on our perception. Repeat the mantra at least ten times and be prepared to repeat it until you start to believe it. This is a technique that’s employed by world class athletes to enhance their performance and take their training to new levels of efficiency. World record holders have been known to repeat the mantra that they’re standing on the winner’s podium and accepting the wild applause and adulation of the cheering crowds. Belief is the foundation that supports and empowers our endeavours. This is your mantra. Use it every day when you roll out of bed. Use it every evening before you turn in for the night. Absorb the message and the feeling into the deepest fibers of your being. Switch your belief system into positive, empowering mode and watch your life change for the better.

Summary

Belief is the cornerstone of your future success. Begin right now by repeating your new mantra of success until you can feel it in your bones. Repeat the prescription every day.

Chapter 6

Scoring with Goals

“You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it you become someone worth becoming”

Jim Rohn

Once you start looking at your life and get a clearer picture of what you feel is missing, this is the moment when you need to break out your trusty pencil and a fresh sheet of paper. We’ve reached the magical moment of truth where we’re ready to choose your goals. I want this to be a moment of excitement for you. This is a precious episode where you get to choose how your life pans out from here on. This is where your choice of goals will determine your direction in life. This is where you put clear markers in the ground to determine how your future will look. None of these things happen by accident. They happen because of the choices we make. When you take responsibility for your life, when you add a powerful surge of belief in yourself, when you create a clear direction for your energies and ambitions, your life will follow these channels of expression and you will succeed in your aims. You will reach your goals. These principles apply to everyone. I know you feel pretty unique as a human being and I fully appreciate that there’s no one quite like you on the planet. Congratulations. You’re unique. But we share much in common as a species and that includes the potential to integrate these methods into our daily lives and benefit massively from the results. The methods work for everyone. They’re natural. Our brains are wired to do this. We’re just refining the techniques to maximise the results.

Got your pencil handy? Good. Are you learning to love that pencil?! Let’s start withe basics. Goals have to be precisely defined. They have to be measurable. They need to fit within a precise time frame. The more vague the goal, the more vague the results. So choose carefully. Get as much detail as possible into your goal description. Be very precise about the time frame, even down to the hour of the day when you intend to achieve your goal. The more detail you add, the more you will engage your brain’s phenomenal power to create the results you’ve chosen for yourself. It’s as simple as that. And it works.

The goal can be anything that gets you excited. Getting emotionally connected to the end result provides the raw power to drive your actions. Just make sure that you’re precise. Describe exactly what you’re going to achieve. Add the date and the time of completion and make sure you only use positive language.

One of the insights that can add greater depth to a goal, is the decision to choose an outcome that’s bigger or more significant than you’d comfortably aim for. The idea is to set a goal that makes you feel challenged, to choose a result that stretches you. The process will certainly take you further than you probably imagined possible but the real purpose of pushing the limits is to encourage the kind of personal growth that will set you free from the past. All those acquired limitations that grew like weeds around your potential will have to be abandoned as you extend yourself and discover what you can really do. The most effective goal descriptions begin with the words ‘I will..’ You can understand why.

As I’ve mentioned once or twice in other publications, my teachers and mentors could be very demanding task-masters. They expected all of their students – willingly or not – to fulfill their potential and that wasn’t always easy. In fact, feeling uncomfortable with the process was often seen as positive evidence that the students were finally moving in the right direction. We don’t like to be uncomfortable, do we? We resist situations where our old beliefs and familiar comfort levels are challenged. And emotional discomfort can easily trap us in behaviours and reactions that block our chances at achieving anything other than chronic inertia. Breaking free of these old patterns of behaviour and building truly effective habits may require a certain degree of discomfort. All change can appear to be uncomfortable, especially at first. We have to plough through that discomfort and focus on our aims, ambitions and goals. One of the common themes that recurs in truly effective goal setting is the idea of creating a truly significant goal for ourselves that will completely transform our lives. This is a great idea. It challenges our concept of where the limitations might be found. We set a goal that will take us far beyond the frontier of what we thought was possible. That’s how we become greater than the limitations that surround us. That’s how we redefine the potential in our lives. That’s how we touch the full range of our talents. That’s how we become the masters of our lives and of our destiny. That’s a legacy that my teachers sought to share with their students. It’s a legacy that deserves a wider audience. It’s an insight into the human condition that can change our lives forever. And it’s as real as the pencil you’re about to use to write down your number one goal.

Here’s another good reason for writing things down with a pen or pencil – you’re going to carry your beautifully described goal around with you as your most powerful personal accessory. It’s going to sit in your purse or wallet as a constant reminder of where you’re heading. And I want you to take that piece of paper or card out of your purse or wallet and read it out aloud at least three times a day. That’s right. At least three times a day. We need to imprint that message in our souls. It has to become a vitally functioning part of our DNA. It’s your personal compass that charts your new direction and your new purpose. In a world full of negativity and doubts and reasons why things can’t happen for you, you need that daily infusion of positive news to lift you up and keep you pointed powerfully in the right direction. I’ve done this too many times for real with countless individuals and you wouldn’t believe how many of them insisted on interpreting this incredibly simple method to suit their own personal style of failing. ‘I’ll write it on my iPad.’ ‘I never write anything down.’ ‘I’ll remember what to say so I don’t need a piece of paper to remind me’. And they inevitably fail and then they blame the method because it didn’t work! You see the problem? Habits, my friend. Habits. We prefer to do what we like to do instead of doing what works. That’s why we’ve assembled these methods to help you develop the right kind of behaviour. The right kind of attitude. The right kind of habits. There are just too many people who’d rather be right than successful. Write down your goal on a neat piece of paper or card and carry it with you wherever you go. Take it out and read it at least three times a day and your brain will respond to the message.

One of the reasons we need to choose the kind of goals that really extend our view of what we think might be possible is to engage our innate creativity. Our brains evolved to solve the most challenging and complex problems. Most of the time, we drift along in neutral without any sense of how powerful our brains really are. It’s time to choose something suitably challenging for your PFC and give those uncharted neural pathways a chance to flourish and amaze you with their perfectly evolved power to solve your problems.

Summary

Goals create direction, focus and purpose. Choose goals that inspire you. Aim for goals that stretch you. Select goals that work across different time frames. Write them down and carry them with. Read them out loud at least three times a day.

Chapter 7

Getting Organised

“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone”

Robert Allen

You’ve probably heard the expression that poor planning produces pitifully poor results – except that it’s usually described in far more colourful language! Don’t worry, dear reader. We shall always respect your sensitivities. Our next magnificent habit introduces us to the power of getting ourselves organised. Every day requires a plan of action. You need a To Do List. This is one of those beautiful habits that drives success because every day is dedicated towards specific goals and the precisely-defined activities that contribute towards that success.

Our achievements are built on the solid foundations of our daily activities. How do you choose what to do? Easy. You have a goal? Of course you do. You might have more than one, each objective covering different points in the future. You ask yourself what you have to do to get closer to that goal or goals and you write down your answers. That’s the basis for your daily To Do List. This is very helpful. We’re creating structure to support our ambitions. Now we get to choose what we’re going to do every day to bring us closer to our clearly-defined goals. If you find yourself engaging in activities that are not helpful to your mission, you can reassess your position and make better choices. Those choices are the bedrock of your achievements. Choose carefully. Choose wisely. Choose the activities that bring you closer to your stated aims. You don’t have to enjoy them. You carry them out because the mission requires you to do whatever’s necessary for you to be successful. That’s why the goal is so important. It’s the reason and the motivation for you to get busy every single day and concentrate on whatever needs to be done.

I’ve often been invited to observe companies up close to see where things can be improved and it’s fair to say that a great deal of our daily work is little more than a displacement activity. We perform tasks that might be little more than useless but they keep us busy. It’s a common form of distraction. We don’t have to think too much. We get through the day and eventually the clock hits the magical hour when we can get up and go home to another night of brain-numbing distraction in front of the TV. One of my more forceful mentors called it an unholy, living death. He called it the zombie syndrome where vast numbers of people sleepwalk their shuffling way through life without the slightest notion of what’s really possible. I share the belief that life is simply too precious to waste on this mindless kind of existence, this semi-conscious shuffle through each day that denies our real potential.

Planning takes a great deal of stress out of the day and the best time to prepare your daily To Do List is the night before. You go to sleep with a clear picture of what’s required for the following day and you wake up with a plan and a mission. This is a truly great habit to adopt and make your own. Listing the following day’s priorities encourages your subconscious to analyse each task in advance and apply its powers of creativity well ahead of the day’s challenges. The list supports a sense of objectivity that allows for a wider, clearer perspective. You choose the tasks that support your goals and you identify which of those tasks is the most important. Successful people will have somewhere between one and five essential tasks that they must complete on any given day. The key is to deal with the most important task first. This sets the tone for the rest of the day and reinforces your personal sense of accomplishment. Deal with the most important issue first. Get it off your To Do List and you’ll feel that your day has suddenly become lighter, easier and a lot more productive.

Having a well-prepared To Do List delivers a major competitive advantage in any commercial enterprise. As we mentioned before, an awful lot of time and energy is wasted in the working environment. Most people will still be mentally drifting around, getting themselves organised, shuffling around looking for pieces of paper whilst you’ve just nailed your key tasks for the day. That will get you noticed. Being efficient is a tremendous asset to have on your side. It’s a little strange but not every organisation appreciates the importance of being efficient. On a slightly surreal note, I once attended a morning meeting with a company some years ago and we were interrupted every few minutes as the office staff arrived – one at a time – and walked into our meeting room, shook hands with each member of the management team, exchanging kisses and a few words, and then drifting off to the coffee machine for their first hit of the day. I appreciated the friendliness but not the stream of interruptions. One of the managers casually announced that they didn’t really get much done before ten anyway. So the first hour or so of every day was pretty much wasted. I suggested that if the tradition of shaking hands with every member of staff was so important, everyone could get in ten minutes earlier in the day, get the hand-holding ritual out of the way and actually start work at nine. They reacted as if I’d just suggested a return to the days of ritual animal sacrifice. Even in an environment where workers’ right were held to be sacred, when the market turned tough, the company folded and sank without a trace and the management team had no idea how such an event could’ve wiped out the business and all those jobs. They probably still look for blame in their astrological birth charts. Getting organised, choosing the essential tasks, planning every day in advance, tackling the most important item first – these are the keys to sustained success in any endeavour. Like all good habits, the more you practise them, the easier they become.

Summary

A daily To Do List is the essential guide to your daily activities. It is always prepared in advance. No day is complete until the To Do List has been carried out. It’s the tool that turns dreams into reality.

Chapter 8

Awesome Affirmations

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle”

Abraham Lincoln

If you’re human – and I don’t want to assume too much here – you probably have a dialogue running inside your head that gives you a constant running commentary on everything that’s happening. That emotionally-inflected dialogue reveals a great deal about your personal belief system, about your internal model of how the world works and how you interact with everything you encounter, real and imaginary. This constant stream of dialogue reinforces your perception of reality. This is a fascinating aspect of human brain function because, if we change the dialogue, we influence the way we perceive the world around us. Much of the dialogue represents limiting beliefs and the areas where fear or insecurity cast their shadows of doubt. Creating your own personal dialogue in the form of a very positive affirmation will help to re-frame your view of the world. Affirmations are a perfect antidote to the negativity that dogs our attitudes and expectations. They work at every level of the human experience and, as you might expect, there are important rules that govern their creation.

The Building Blocks of Successful Affirmations

a) Always start with the key words I am. These are two of the most powerful words in our language. When we begin a sentence with the words I am, we connect to the subconscious framework that reinforces our view of the world. This is an important tool for introducing change in our lives. So build your new foundation for success on the bedrock of those two affirmative words.

b) The second rule for successful affirmations is to express your vision in the present tense and that’s because the subconscious has no real sense of time. Your conscious mind is fully aware of the idea of past, present and future, marking events by the clock and the calendar, but your subconscious dwells in a permanent state of the present. Describe your wishes as if they’re already happening. This is another powerful access point to the underlying drives and control mechanisms of the subconscious.

c) Always use positive language to describe what you want. You might be surprised to discover how easy it is to neutralise an affirmation by stating what you don’t want! So your statement must express what you want to achieve in affirmative language. If you’re motivated to acquire more wealth, it is not helpful to state that you don’t want to be poor! Your subconscious doesn’t pick up the don’t part of the statement, so you’re left with the exact opposite of what you thought you were affirming. No problem. Just make sure that you express what you want in positive terms.

d) Keep it brief. More words don’t improve the quality of the affirmation. You’re aiming for a short, pithy, power statement. Not a High School essay on what you did during the vacation.

e) Be precise. Nail down your goal or desire in clear and accurate terms. Saying you’re getting a better job could open up a whole can of unexpected worms because you don’t know what your subconscious understands by the vague term ‘a better job’. Stating that you’re the new and highly successful head of your department is much more specific and targeted towards your precisely-defined ambition.

f) Add a verb. Make the statement active in some way to connect more powerfully with your powers of visualisation.

g) Season your statement with an emotional ingredient. This is another of those great techniques for activating your subconscious powers of creativity. You add a strong emotional description. You state how great you’re feeling and your great unconscious reservoir of creative energy aligns itself with your affirmation. Simple but highly effective.

h) The affirmation can only apply to you. Affirmations about other people are at best misguided. The centre of all significant change and transformation is within you. Working to change others just distracts you from the great challenge of becoming a more fulfilled version of yourself. There are countless individuals who want to change the world to match their view of who they are. The great process of change that lifts us beyond our limitations can only take place in our own hearts. The revolution begins with ourselves. That means your affirmations are addressed solely to yourself. And that’s exactly where they belong.

i) It’s been suggested by much wiser and smarter individuals than me that we should add a simple triplet of words at the end of our affirmation to create space for an even better outcome than the one we’ve chosen for ourselves. And the three simple words? How about ‘Or something better’. That’s it. Sometimes we’re constrained by our limitations and can’t fully imagine what’s really possible for our lives so the addition of that simple phrase – Or something better – opens up our affirmation to a more splendid version of our goal that our subconscious would understand immediately.

OK. It looks like a complex process but, in practice, it’s incredibly simple. Here’s an example to illustrate how easy it is. I am joyfully relaxing on the sun-filled terrace of my beach-side home overlooking the Mediterranean. That happens to be where I’m writing these words. So let’s be clear. Affirmations are not some vague theoretical device. They’re powerful mechanisms for creating focus in our lives and for turning our dreams and aspirations into reality. The location I’m in right now is a very beautiful and relaxing place that my wife and I find very conducive to writing. We didn’t find it by accident. No one knocked on our door and said they’d like to give us a beautiful home in a stunning location. It’s a product of our vision, our affirmations and our activities. Please don’t short-change your power to create whatever you want in your life. Affirmations are just too valuable to be casually disregarded. Reading and repeating your affirmation at least three times a day empowers your vision and sets up chain reactions in the neural pathways of your brain. You start to re-programme your views, your outlook and your behaviour. You learn to express those positive feelings that you chose for your affirmation each time you repeat it. Then the affirmation produces those powerful and dynamic feelings automatically. This reinforces the focus and direction of the affirmation. Some people take the process further. They find pictures of the things they want in their life and display them prominently around their home and their workplace. Some people print out the affirmation on a 3 × 5 card and carry it in their purse or wallet. The more you repeat the affirmation, the more you feel the emotional response associated with the affirmation, the more you visualise yourself enjoying the outcome as if it is already happening, the sooner the changes take root in your life. You are no longer confined by whatever happened in the past. You take a fresh, clean sheet of paper and write the future of your choice in bold print and set yourself free.

The affirmation technique is not new. It wasn’t dreamed up in some drug-fuelled, chanting hippy colony in the 1960s. The concept has been around in various forms for thousands of years. We’ve referred to this phenomenon in other publications but the astonishing revelations from the exciting fields of neuro-science and brain function shed light on the mechanics of why this technique is so effective. Our ancient forebears learned the technique by patient trial and error, refining the methods and explaining the results in terms of their cultures and philosophies. Our modern, scientific approach can describe these phenomena in chemical, neurological and purely biological terms that add a deeper layer of understanding to the way our brains interpret the world around us. As a species, humans can manipulate those impressions and alter the way our brains function. We can select more positive outcomes that support more positive behaviours and encourage a greater degree of control over our lives. That’s an extraordinary message of hope in a world that too often sees everything as inevitable. Seize that hope. Craft your vision. Build your affirmations and take control of your destiny. Life doesn’t get more exciting or meaningful when you assume responsibility and control for what happens.

Summary

Affirmations are the great antidote to negativity. They reinforce your drive for success, armour you against disappointment and powerfully engage the vast resources of the subconscious. Affirmations supercharge the drive to success.

Chapter 9

Your Personal Vision for Power and Success

“I have loved a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened”

Mark Twain

Sometimes these great ideas sound like an extract from some New Age catalogue of wishful thinking. I know. I’ve been a victim of my own cynicism too! But the brain is a remarkable instrument that can produce extraordinary results – if we learn to use it the right way. If we develop the right habits and behaviours. Success is built from doing the right things and doing them often enough to get yo where you want to go.

Let’s start this section by taking a closer look at how we process what’s happening inside and outside of our minds and bodies. You might not realise it as you cruise through this book but you’re surrounded by an unbelievably vast amount of information. Every second contains an enormous amount of data. Some research indicates that we receive around eight million pieces of information per second so it’s obvious that we can’t process and interpret everything that’s going on around us. And, to be fair, a great deal of that information is not very useful. The pressure of garments on your skin, the sounds in the background, random thoughts, distractions, memories – the list seems endless. That’s why humans have a very useful filter in the brain that masks the majority of the information in favour of the few things that might be useful or relevant. This filtering system is the key to the power of visualisation because once you begin to imagine that your goals have already been attained, the filtering system widens its scope to scan for anything that can make the vision a reality. So all you have to do to benefit from this truly amazing habit is to read out your affirmations and then close your eyes and imagine exactly what it would be like to experience the results in real life. See everything in perfect detail. Feel the experience with all the positive energy you can muster. Imprint the vision with strong emotional energy. Take your time. Let yourself slip into the vision for a few minutes. Immerse yourself in the scene you’re imagining. Feel it. Live it. Breathe it. Let it become real for you. Be there.

You might recall that your subconscious doesn’t share a common language with your conscious mind. It works mostly on symbolism. That’s why our dreams can be so revealing. If we take the time to understand them. When you charge your affirmations with strong, visual imagery and empower them with positive emotional content, you accelerate the process of change. It’s an entirely natural phenomenon. It’s simply a case of training the mind and the brain to follow a specific set of visually-oriented directions, rather than allowing your thoughts to wander around aimlessly, diffusing your energy and your potential for success. Once again, the method is not new. We may have an impressive list of modern, scientific explanations and descriptions for these techniques but they’ve been successfully employed for thousands of years.

It’s important to make the vision as distinctive and clear as possible. If your imagination will allow it, you can also add the extra dimensions of sound and touch and smell to punch home the power of the vision. The more sensory experiences you can add to the vision, the more real it will appear to your subconscious and the more effectively you will engage the filtering system to work in your favour. The key to success is to add as much emotional power as possible. This is the raw fuel that powers the process.

Some people have difficulty visualising their goals. Don’t worry about it. If you really can’t see what you’re aiming to achieve, follow the guidelines of repeating your affirmation and then use all your mental energy to think about the results. Use the method that works best for your particular way of interacting with the world.

Even if you don’t find it easy to visualise your completed goals, you can still benefit enormously by creating a vision board for your dreams and ambitions. A vision board is exactly what it sounds like. It’s great fun to find pictures of exactly what you want in your life and pin them up on a cork board in a prominent place where you’ll see them every day. Some people find pictures that they use as their screen savers and that’s a great idea too. But the vision board is something that involves physical activity, cutting out pictures and pinning them up. There’s a stronger connection, a feeling of ownership when you physically interact with something. Vision boards work. Make one for yourself today.

Summary

Visualise your completed goal to refine and boost your affirmations. Choose images that perfectly reflect your dreams of success and place them prominently in your home and workplace. Visual reinforcement resonates powerfully in the subconscious.

Chaper 10

And……Action!

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work”

Stephen King

If there’s one fantastic habit that will pave the way to success in your life it has to be your willingness to take action. That’s right. The other habits are incredibly helpful in identifying your goals and ambitions and they also serve to put your aims at the forefront of your agenda every single day. You know what you want. You have your powerful affirmations and your inspirational visions of total success. But the one element that turns dreams into realty is your willingness to do what you have to do, your willingness to take action. It’s one of the features that tends to separate the daydreamers from the achievers and, just like my stern and relentless mentors, cannot over-emphasise its importance.

Successful people are people who take action. They know what they have to do and they get moving even if it involves making mistakes. They learn from their mistakes, correct their actions and renew their efforts. I know. It seems so obvious somehow. But so many people get trapped in the preliminary phase. They get stuck in the detail of the preparations. They get caught in the illusion that everything has to be perfect before they can embark on their great adventure. The reality is that things will never be perfect. They don’t have to be. All you have to do is decide what your goals are, know what you have to do – and get started. Yes, you might need to study. Yes, you might need qualifications. Yes, you might need some training, coaching, support and experience. If that’s what you need, go out and get it. Take action. Move towards your goals. This is your life. It deserves the very best that you can provide.

Now is the moment to quit waiting. There is, after all, only this moment in which you can take action. The past has gone. The future is still unwritten. The place where you can make a difference and do something about your aims and ambitions is this precise moment that we call ‘now’. Make a firm decision to abandon all your reasons for staying put. The list of things we might be waiting for could fill an entire volume. We’ve all got our favourite reasons why we can’t move forwards. I’ve even known people who were waiting for the right astrological conditions to prevail. As if we don’t possess everything we need right now to take those essential first steps that will lead us to the fulfillment of our dreams and goals. You’re the missing ingredient in the great plan of your life. You. No one else. You’re the raw fuel and the catalyst that will transform your life. And whilst it’s a wildly powerful statement that affirms your real potential, it isn’t always a very comfortable revelation.

Something in our culture often conditions us to feel a deep sense of dependence on external factors for our wellbeing. We are trained from a very early age to feel dependent on authority figures for our welfare. We grow up with a deeply conditioned reliance on our teachers, on government, on church figures and religious leaders – and whilst many of these influences can be very positive, we can slip so easily into a passive role that denies our ability to make real differences to our own lives. We do not have to abandon our faith, our principles or our morals to be successful. But we have to understand the connection between our responsibility for what we do and the outcomes that flow from those choices. And sitting in the background, waiting passively for conditions to be perfect is also a decision that inevitably leads to specific outcomes. I understand this mindset. I was brought up in an environment where we were often encouraged to sit tight until ‘the time was right’. There was never any indication of how we were supposed to know if the time was right or not. It was a standard reaction to any difficulty or frustration, as if the power to make the necessary improvements always lay in someone else’s hands. I remember my favourite cartoon from that far-off era of childhood. It was a picture of two vultures sitting on a branch and one of them turns to the other and says, ‘To Hell with patience. I’m gong to kill something!’ Against the background of never believing we were really in control of our lives, that was a superb, quirky and subversive message to challenge the accepted version of how life was supposed to work. Never mind waiting around for the hand of fate to deliver something. Go out and make something happen. I still like the underlying meaning of that message to this day. Waiting until conditions are perfect is a very effective displacement activity and comfortably takes the place of doing what you need to do to move forwards towards your goals.

One of the frequently occurring areas of concern that blocks our willingness to take action is the dark and paralysing fear of failure. It can exert a potentially massive influence on our confidence and determination – if we allow the discomfort of fear to dominate our decisions. It’s an unfortunate fact but we’re often surrounded by people who take great delight in making fun of our failures. They revel in our humiliation. They love to point the finger of ridicule at our efforts and that can leave a legacy of bonded servitude to the demons of our old, emotional pain. Let me share an insight that shocked me when it first became apparent. Only losers make fun of other peoples’ efforts. That’s right. It’s a sure sign of their own fear of success. When they make fun of others’ attempts to get ahead, it just reveals how stuck they are in their own limited circumstances. Sure, you can learn to ignore it but you might also learn to feel a degree of compassion for their self-imposed imprisonment. Their attempts to shred your dreams and ambitions are ultimately meaningless to you. They don’t even register. It’s sad that anyone could invest so much energy in the idea of pain and failure but you will always stay true to your goals, your aims and your vision. And you might just inspire those sad detractors with your own shining example. You might just inspire them to lift themselves out of their trough of limitations and aspire to something greater in their lives.

We’ve described in other publications the importance of cultivating an attitude of being unstoppable. There will always be obstacles. We’ve said it before. They’re a natural part of the journey. But they can never stop you. Criticism, negativity, people making fun of you – these are the minor cracks in the pavement of your amazing odyssey to success. After a while, focused on your brilliant new future, you won’t even notice them.

Summary

Learn to take action. The universe rewards action. Be active in the face of opposition. Do not wait for things to happen. Make things happen yourself. That’s what you’re here for.

Chapter 11

Exorcising the Shadows of Fear

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”

Plato

Hey! I thought we just covered fear in the previous section! Well, I wish that fear only turned up in just the one form but it wears a myriad of disguises and it always knows exactly how to home in your doubts, insecurities and weaknesses. Pretty sneaky, huh? So let’s prime the patented fear-exterminator, kick-start the illusion-shredder and deal with this damaging energy-thief once and for all.

Don’t blame fear for being what it is. Fear is a completely natural product of our evolutionary past, a primitive mechanism that served to keep us alive when danger threatened. Times were different back then. In some ways, we were different too. For a start, as a species we were superbly adapted to our environment. In our distant past, our senses were much more finely calibrated to everything that was going on around us. They had to be. We possessed an acute sense of smell, our sense of hearing was tuned in to our environment, our powers of observation helped us to notice minute details in our environment that could tell us the difference between a hungry carnivore silently stalking us in the bush or a potential steak dinner on the hoof for the entire clan. As we described earlier in the book, that ancient part of our brain, the limbic system, reacted immediately. It issued messages to run or get ready to fight. The fear response produced a rush of chemicals that increased our chances of survival in the face of danger. Nature’s so smart. The problem is that the fear response continues to function in our lives even when there’s no obvious reason to justify its presence. And the origin of so many of our fears? Well, it’s our imagination. We learn to play all kinds of scary scenarios in our heads, imagining how it would feel to be in danger, and our bodies react as if the scene were real. It isn’t real. It’s our imagination. But the body can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. That’s why cinema is so compelling. We might well be watching flickering images on a white screen in a movie theatre but we react, both physically and emotionally, as if the fiction were somehow real. That’s the magic of drama and we’ve been hooked on this form of entertainment for thousands of years. The problem is that we retain this habit of projecting our doubts and worries and fears out into the world around us until all we see are our fears reflected right back at us. So how do we deal with this pernicious and destructive habit? Good question.

First of all, like all good habits, it takes practice. To be fair, you have to practise bad habits too, if you want to make them a permanent feature of your behaviour. If you’ve ever smoked, you’ll probably remember how awful a cigarette tasted when you first tried to smoke it. But, with practice and a little bit of determination, you could get used to it. See what I mean? Practise is the key for all habits. But I suspect you already know that. So here are some of the best ways to neutralise your fears.

a) Rationalise the problem. When you engage the logical, rational part of your mind, you turn down the fear instinct. It’s a result of the direct connection between the limbic system and the PFC and it makes this amazing transformation possible. The reasoning part of our brain instructs the primitive, knee-jerk reacting limbic system to calm down, to ease up on the fear response. Thinking the problem through from a rational, objective perspective shifts your perception from a fearful attitude to one of creative interpretation. Fear doesn’t survive very well in a rational environment.

b) Change your posture. We know that our bodies and expressions reflect how we’re feeling but we sometimes forget that when we change how we hold ourselves we can change how we feel. In a heartbeat. The ingrained fear response causes us to hunch our shoulders and instinctively move them forwards to cover up. It’s an ancient instinct to protect our hearts. Our shoulders reflect how we feel. That’s very useful because the moment you relax and release your shoulders, you disengage the fear response and shift your emotional behaviour from the old anxiety mode to a feeling of being much calmer, more centered, more rational. It works because we’re hard-wired as a species to respond to our shoulder position. So now you know how to exploit that ancient connection and use it fully to your advantage.

c) Breathe it out. OK. Let’s accept that most people don’t breathe very well. It’s part of our culture. We never learn to breathe the way that our bodies require us to breathe so our oxygen intake and elimination of toxins operate at the lower end of the efficiency scale. Breathing a little more deeply, especially with relaxed shoulders, can produce a deeply calming change in how we feel, the world begins to look a little different, problems fall into a clearer perspective, we become more focused, more creative. All from breathing a little more deeply? Oh, yes! Once you start to appreciate the real benefits of breathing naturally, you’ll want to do it all the time. It’s another amazingly powerful habit that will change your life in too many ways to describe in one book.

d) Just do it. There’s a great deal to be said for simply confronting the issue that’s giving you the greatest concern and just dealing with it. There are plenty of titles out there advocating the virtues of confronting our challenges head on. The main benefit is that when you turn to face your problem, you don’t have to dwell too much on the fear and anxiety. You take action. You deal with the issue. And you feel empowered by your ability to face things that are uncomfortable. You develop the confidence of being able to deal with whatever shows up. It’s a major step forwards in your personal development.

e) Write it down. Writing isn’t a traditional product of the good old limbic system that helped us survive for countless generations on the wild plains of pre-historic Africa. It’s more a product of our rational minds and writing down our problems, doubts, fears and anxieties is an effective way to create distance between whatever’s worrying us and our knee-jerk conditioned reflexes. When you describe how you feel in response to each of your worries, you can add that you’re the one who’s creating the reaction as well. Once you realise the connection between what’s going on around you and how you’re choosing to react, your fabulously equipped PFC will lend the weight of its rational analysis to the situation, calming the fears and empowering your creativity. It’s a great habit to cultivate in the garden of your personal growth and success.

f) Give it a tap. The well-established Emotional Freedom Technique – or EFT – has been described in detail in a number of our other publications because it’s so effective in overcoming our fears and limiting beliefs. If you haven’t come across it before, don’t worry. We’re including a full description in an appendix at the end of the book – just for you!

One of my favourite teachers was fond of describing fear as nothing more than a persistent habit. We learn to be afraid of things instead of using our powers of reasoning to disarm our anxieties and address them objectively and intelligently. I understand how debilitating fear can be. I’ve known people who were afraid all the time. Not because of some terrible trauma that had left them emotionally scarred and scared. But because they’d developed the habit of fear to such an intense degree that everything became a justification for the fear response. All habits can be changed. None of us, not a single one, has been condemned to spend our lives living under the shadow of fear. We can learn to be free and that’s a change in behaviour that rewards you amply with the knowledge that you are – finally – in control of your life.

Summary

Fear is natural. Neutralise the habit of fear by rationalising your reactions. Make a list of the things that make you afraid. Take action in the face of fear. Use the EFT to turn down the fear response. Never let fear dominate any aspect of your life again.

Chapter 12

Persistency

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarding genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent”

Calvin Coolidge

I’m not the world’s greatest gardener so I have tremendous respect for anyone who knows how to turn an untamed jungle into a slice of earthly paradise. But I’ve always appreciated the connection between preparing the ground, planting the seeds or young shoots, tending the plot, removing the weeds, watering and adding feed to the soil and exercising patience as you watch for the results. My mother always harboured an ambition that one day I’d become a competent gardener so I worked at it and, during the laborious process of tending a ridiculously large garden, I learned some of the lessons she hoped to impart from the experience. First of all, you have to keep at it. I discovered that once you commit to a gardening project, you have to keep making the effort. It isn’t a one-shot process. You certainly don’t enjoy all the tasks involved in maintaining the project, especially if gardening isn’t one of your favourite activities. You have to attend to things when you don’t feel like it, when you’re tired, when the weather’s bad, when there are other distractions. The moment you turn your back and neglect your garden, the weeds return in force and your precious project is threatened by the chaotic forces of neglect. Yet there is tremendous satisfaction in seeing the results of all your hard labour, of gathering a bouquet of the most intensely perfumed, old-fashioned roses at sunrise and placing them next to your wife’s bedside to greet her as she wakes. If you’ve never tried it, I’d highly recommend it.

There are many important ingredients in creating and maintaining a beautiful garden but one of the most relevant in my experience is persistency. I always felt that this was a close cousin to good self-discipline because persistency demands effort and, on many occasions, you’re the only one who will know when and how the effort has to be applied. And we are not just talking about gardening here, are we? No. We’re talking about the fulfillment of goals, dreams and ambitions. Persistency is a vital component in any undertaking and it is most surely one of the great hallmarks of truly remarkable success. The sad fact is that far too many people quit before they reach their goal. They encounter obstacles. They hit walls of obstruction. They assume that a refusal to their requests marks the end of the line. It doesn’t. You chose your destination, your goal, with great care. You made a commitment to that goal. You wrote it down and made a pledge to bring it to reality. You set out on the pathway that would bring you to the realisation of your dreams. The obstacles and obstructions are not your destination. So move past them. Keep going. Keep your eyes fixed on your destination. Repeat your description of your goals and your affirmations, activate your vision and keep going. Whatever you do, keep going forwards.

The world is full of the most amazing examples of individuals who refused to quit. Despite the odds, despite the well-meaning advice, despite the views of ‘experts’ and the temptation to opt for something easier – they never gave up. There will always be problems, challenges and obstacles. One of my teachers insisted that I prepare three different strategies for handling any difficulty I encountered before calling him for advice. Sitting down with a sheet of paper and writing down three alternative ways for handling the problem always showed me what was possible. The technique empowered me to solve my own difficulties so I never had to call my teacher for help. That’s why he told me to write down my own ways of dealing with the problem first. It also taught me to use my creativity in the face of all kinds of problems but I was also reminded to consider how to overcome my difficulties in the context of moving closer to my goals. Some would even say that the problems and difficulties you encounter are solid proof that you are on the right track. It’s completely natural to encounter resistance to your plans. It’s completely natural to find weeds in your garden. You don’t have to get mad, stamp your feet, call for mommie and quit. All you have to do is deal with the problem. Weeds are a natural facet of gardening. Problems and obstacles are a natural facet of pursuing your goals. Is the effort worthwhile? I’m not a great gardener but, when I see the results of my work, it’s a source of tremendous satisfaction and I think it would make my mother proud to see that I’d eventually learned enough to do a competent job. Never give up. Never quit. Hold those goals out in front of you and don’t let anything or anyone – including yourself – ever, ever stop you. Persistency is a habit. Learn to practise it every single day.

Summary

Persistency usually outperforms genius. The regular application of effort will always get the job done. Recognising what needs to be done and applying the right effort will pave the way to riches, wealth, freedom and success. Now you know.

Chapter 13

Choose Wisely Your Company

“A man has to live with himself and he should see to it that he always has good company”

Charles Evans Hughes

One of the surprising discoveries that has revolutionised our understanding of the power of self-improvement is the well-proven hypothesis that by changing our inner attitudes we can change the external aspects of our lives. It seems so obvious when you think about it but the way we’ve learned to see the world, our internal view of how we think everything works, has a direct impact on what happens in our lives. The view and the outcomes are connected. It’s such an important message that it’s worth repeating at every opportunity. Maintaining a focused and positive attitude towards your goals is extremely helpful in keeping you on track and confident in your power to get where you want to go. But there may some influences in your life that are less than helpful. There’s a well-known saying that sums up this section of the book perfectly and it’s from that master of modern philosophy, Mr Jim Rohn. He said

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’

That might be very encouraging for you or it might be the basis of a few restless nights and a couple of nightmares! The message though is important. Take a long, hard look at the people you spend your time with and decide, coolly and objectively, if they truly represent the kind of life you want to lead. Are they how you want to be? Are they leading the kind of life that inspires you? It’s a tough one but if you spend your time with people who reduce your expectations and remind you of what is not possible, you’re going to encounter more internal resistance to your plans than you need to.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to be tutored and mentored by some exceptionally successful individuals and I count my blessings for those lessons every single day. Their methods and examples changed my life and inspired me to share their teachings in my book The Wealth Magnet. One of the less obvious advantages of spending time with these remarkable individuals is that they embodied the living, breathing virtues of total success. When you spend time in the company of very successful people, something definitely rubs off. You pick up subtle attitudes. You see the world through a different lens. You learn to appreciate the vast number of possibilities that surround you every single day. In other words, your perception changes. The advantage of these personal encounters is that these guys are so far beyond the fantasy world of wishful thinking and prettily-phrased theory. They’re the real thing. One of them described the process as a chemical interaction, a catalytic encounter that possessed the potential to initiate profound change. I believe I understand exactly what he meant. I gained more than a collection of powerful principles.

In another sense the problem is easily summed up with another old expression:

When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Sounds like something your granny might say when you’re going out on a date with someone your dear granny doesn’t approve of! It’s intended to warn us about the quality of the company we keep but the message echoes Jim Rohn’s advice perfectly because, putting it crudely, when you hang out with losers, you’re more likely to pick up their defeatist attitudes and get contaminated by their negative beliefs about what’s really possible in life. It’s like a truly awful form of brain-washing where the bad news is drip fed into your consciousness until you begin to suspect it must be true. That’s a great way to disable your plans and ambitions.

I want to take a short break here because this is usually one of those predictable areas where I get a surprising amount of hostile reactions when I’m hosting seminars. The hostility is, however, expected and we do not intend to dodge the issue on the grounds that it might be a little too uncomfortable to consider. It’s just too important to your plans for success.. A lot of people take the comments very personally and then feel very defensive about their choice of company. Indeed, some people even extend the implied criticism to their families. Now it’s getting really personal. So I’m asking you for a rational response to the challenge of the kind of company you keep. The problem does not require an extreme, knee-jerk reaction. If – like me – you come from a family that was not in any way likely to offer support, encouragement or positive examples of what could be achieved in life, you don’t have to abandon them. You do not have to suspend your love from these people! They might drive you nuts but they’re still your family. The antidote to these situations is to seek out people, places, writings, education, environments and organisations that reflect your ambitions and aspirations. It’s a perfectly legitimate counterweight to the inertia that anchors many people to the same old limited outlook that refuses to acknowledge what’s really possible in life.

Let’s remind ourselves that many people mistrust ambition. It scares them. They usually don’t believe they deserve success. They live in a world of reasons to explain why success has eluded them. You probably know people just like that. You might be related to some of them. Then you start building your personal rocket to reach beyond the stars and it scares the people around you. It freaks them out. The threat of your success destroys every lame excuse they ever made to justify why they have to stick, miserably, exactly where they are. You see, failure is OK, as long as everyone fails. Then it’s normal. But as soon as someone steps out of line and shows that success is really possible, it’s a direct challenge to the status quo and people can get hostile. Sometimes it’s subtle. Often, it isn’t. So you need to exercise some serious discretion about the people you’re spending time with. Make a list of everyone you associate with and decide if they’re positive or negative. We’re surrounded by people who just love to complain. Avoid these people. Find the ones who are positive, the ones who are determined to make a difference, the ones who do not waste their energy complaining. I was once invited to join a neighbourhood group who would supposedly petition local government for improvements in the area, make sure the environment was well maintained and keep an eye on each other’s property. Sounded great. After the first fifteen minutes of listening to this esteemed group of worthies whine, complain and gossip about their uninvited neighbours, I’d had enough. I did not feel the need to explain myself. I simply stood up and announced that I’d heard enough and left. Do you recall the reference in Chapter Three to Dr Eric Berne’s brilliant work, The Games People Play? I was on the edge of a game – the ‘My neighbour’s worse than yours’ game – and I decided fairly quickly that I did not want to play. Dr Berne’s social life occasionally suffered because of his deliberate refusal to play these games. Needless to say, I was never invited back to the neighbourhood whining club. You probably guessed that I’d have refused the invitation anyway. You can choose to play these insidious games of ‘Look at me – I’m the victim’ or you can walk away. You can recognise a game right from the first move and simply decide not to play. It’s fair to say that some people are downright poisonous. I’ve met them. I’ve worked with them. Now I don’t. Your plans for success, your goals, your dreams, your ambitions are simply too important to entrust to the whims of fools, however well meaning they appear to be.

Seek out positive, empowering and supportive people who will willingly share their experiences with you. Aspire to become the positive, empowering and supportive individual who will make a difference to the people around you. That sounds like a truly great mission for you to consider and the habit of hanging out with positive people will work wonders for your faith in what’s really possible in your life.

Summary

Be strong enough to avoid spending time with losers. Negative people just want to bring you down to their level. Seek out people and organisations that reflect your positive ambitions and drive. Soar with the eagles and leave the turkeys behind for Thanksgiving.

Chapter 14

De-Bugging Your Life

“When I hear somebody sigh ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’

Sydney Harris

If only we could clean up the catalogue of unfinished business and lingering piles of garbage that we create in our lives with a quick call to the local vermin exterminator! How much easier our lives would be. But the fact is that we really do create messes throughout our lives and these neglected collections of toxic waste can sit hidden in our subconscious, poisoning our good intentions and interfering with our plans for a successful future. The past possesses this potential to reach out and cast a shadow on the present. So we need to clear it up.

On a practical level, I’ve always encouraged people to be well organised, to have their business and their lives in good order. It just makes life and all the daily details easier to control. You waste less time and you feel that you’re on top of the situation. There are fewer surprises to block, check or delay you. If you’re not naturally well ordered at work, get some training or hire someone who is good at the task. I’ve never encountered a successful business that was disorganised. There’s a big clue right there about the mechanics of success.

But right now I want to introduce a habit that is totally effective in helping you address the backlog of unfinished business and messes that are cluttering up your subconscious storage bins. It’s time to unleash that trusty old pencil once again and a fresh sheet of paper. It’s time to make a list of all the things that are incomplete in your life. We’re talking about arguments, disputes, fractured relationships, wrong doings, broken promises, failures, crimes, guilt, regrets, divorce – I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. Take your time. Write it all down. It’s not for public display. It’s for your eyes only. It can feel like one of those stray threads on a garment but, as you gently pull on it, the rest of the thread is revealed and one memory leads to another. Keep going. Take a break if you need to. I love the courage required to do this. You’re confronting all the unfinished issues in your life. It’s beautiful. Now add all the items that still make you angry or irritated. I know. It might be quite a long list. Now you’re ready to choose the three most significant items on your list and make a clear decision to do something about them. Clear up the mess. Get them off your list. Forever. And here’s a tip. If you’ve got an unfinished dispute, do not offer your forgiveness to the other party. It really does not work. In fact, it will usually have exactly the opposite effect. You can ask for forgiveness, whether the other party offers it or not, and that means that you are taking total responsibility for the situation. That will set you free from whatever happened, regardless of who was or was not to blame.

‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.’

Lao Tzu

When you’ve crossed off the first three items on your Hit List, move on to the next three. This is a magnificent way to clear up the messes in your life and the best part is that you get take full responsibility for the whole process. You might notice that once you begin to clear up the lingering mounds of disgusting rubbish from your past, you’ll feel so much more free, more creative, more alive, more aware, more positive, more in tune with your chosen destination. It’s as if you raise that rusty old anchor that’s been tethering you to the past and set sail for a completely fresh, bright and new future.

Some people apply this technique to the clutter that fills up their working environment and, of course, it works perfectly well. Getting your home and office into good order always feels good. Order implies a higher degree of control. But we must not underestimate the power of the past to influence the present. Clear up the mess and see how quickly your life moves forwards. One of the major reasons for introducing this tremendously effective habit into your life is to let go of the dead weight that’s been holding you back for too long. In my experience, learning to let go is one of the great challenges that all humans seem to face. This fabulous habit will serve you well in bringing order into your life. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

‘Whoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.’

Vincent van Gogh

Another unexpected benefit of this campaign to clean up the past is your renewed willingness to avoid these problems in the future. You recognise the importance of completing tasks and making sure – wherever possible – that conflicts are resolved. In other words, we learn to move through life without leaving a trail of chaos, confusion and debris in our wake. Not every conflict, of course, can be resolved but your willingness to take responsibility for a situation together with your ability to let go of your attachment to the pain that arises from conflicts will help you to move on. You’ll know that you’ve done your best to put things right and, if the other parties prefer to hang onto their real or imagined grievances, the problem is no longer your concern. You feel free to move on because you cannot take responsibility for how others choose to feel.

How does this connect to the concept of success? One of my mentors encouraged me to develop clarity wherever possible in my life. He believed that when we achieve a greater degree of clarity, we improve our ability to focus on what’s important to our goals and to our futures. It’s more difficult to find that clarity when your life is cluttered with distractions. Many of life’s distractions are located in our past. So we have a simple choice. We can hold onto things that we do not need, wasting precious time and energy clinging to events that no longer deserve a place in our lives. Or we can release them and use our time and energy and resources to achieve the things in life that are important and worthwhile to us. We bring order into our workspace. We organise our homes. We clear up the mess. We deal with unfinished business. We put our house in order – at every level. And life will inevitably improve. At every level.

‘Live each day as if your life had just begun.’

Goethe

Summary

Clean up your mess. Get rid of all the clutter and unfinished business from the past. Let go of everything you don’t need and create space for a better, new life and the realisation of your dreams.

Chapter 15

Building Better Habits

‘Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them makes life meaningful.’

Joshua J Marine

However you want to look at the mechanisms that make up your daily life, habits take care of around ninety percent of your behaviour. That’s an astonishing revelation from the field of psychological research but it underlines the vital role that habits play in our lives. Most of the time, we seem to enjoy drifting along, doing things on automatic pilot, staying with the familiar, comfortable patterns of repetitive behaviour that mean we don’t have to think too much about what we’re actually doing. The recent interest in the practice of mindfulness has been seen as a modern attempt to unchain ourselves from these automatic behaviours and develop greater awareness of how we think and feel and react in any given situation. This is one of the platforms of cognitive behavioural therapy and it certainly serves to engage the pre-frontal cortex as an analytical filter to determine whether our behaviours are appropriate or not. But we still rely on habits to determine many of our actions, regardless of the outcome.

‘I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.’

Stephen Covey

We need to recognise that we have habits that help us and we have habits that just get in the way of our efforts to be successful. Something’s got to go! Sounds like a perfect invitation to pick up that magic pencil and grab a fresh sheet of paper. Throughout this book, we’ve been encouraging you to develop much more positive feelings and expectations about yourself and your life. But for a few minutes we’re going to focus on the dark side. You’re going to list all the bad habits that are still lingering in your behaviours. We’re going to list them and then we’re going to do something about them. You need to be honest. There’s no point in pretending to be perfect. Acknowledge the problem, drag it out into the open, expose it to the light of reason and you’ll be in a great position to remove its influence from your life. Forever.

These lists are always interesting and often challenging in their own sweet way. I remember doing the exercise with a very tough and uncompromising mentor who leaned over my shoulder as I was carefully writing out a the few minor bad habits that I thought I still retained. He shook his head slowly and started listing all the habits I’d somehow forgotten to mention. I know. It’s hard enough to write down all your bad habits – but it’s infinitely more unpleasant to have someone list them for you! We finally got to the bottom of the page and my mentor took his hand from the back of my neck and said we’d done enough. For now. And I must admit I felt pretty low. My spirits had slumped as the list progressed. So I know exactly how this particular exercise can feel. But, having listed all the problems, I now had a perfectly clear overview of what was getting in the way of my progress. I had a brilliantly illustrated map of the terrain. And the terrain was not fixed. I could move things around, clear away the obstacles and navigate a direct route to my goals. So the exercise sounds tough. It’s supposed to be. It can bring your spirits down a couple of notches. Problems can do that. But then it shows us how to remove the problems so it’s also a an unexpected cause for major celebration. Feel free to shout ‘Yeee haaaa!’ if the spirit moves you!

‘The mind is everything. What you think you become.’

Buddha

Having tough and uncompromising mentors is a strange kind of a gift to receive. You don’t know what they’re going to bring to the party and their interest in your future inevitably invites some kind of change in your behaviour. Humans tend to resist change until it becomes inevitable. We need to take control of our lives right now. So our starting point for this exercise is a list of all your bad habits. I’ve conducted this work with some truly amazing people and some of their answers might help you to create a fuller and more meaningful list: being late, being disorganised, staying up too late, trying to please too many people, avoiding responsibilities, blaming others, spending too much money, smoking, drinking, avoiding exercise, neglecting family, eating junk food, ignoring problems, getting angry, being sarcastic, boasting, putting other people down, gossiping, breaking promises, making excuses, failing to recognise other peoples’ efforts. Yes, the list rolls on and on. No matter. Your next step is to identify the four habits that strike you as the most harmful to your quest for success. If you have any doubts, you might like to share the list with your partner or a close friend but this can easily turn into a more complex exercise as your dearly beloved excitedly starts adding a whole new list of bad habits that you hadn’t even thought of! Once you’ve chosen those first four critical habits, make a clear note next to each one about how you intend to turn them into positive habits. It’s more than a simple act of renunciation. It’s more than a powerful declaration that you will not do those things anymore. It’s a simple description of how you will behave from this moment onwards. You might need to make a plan to make time for exercise, to spend more time with your family, to quit smoking, to create a firm budget that brings your spending under control, to answer all your correspondence, return phone calls, ensure you’re on time. But since ninety percent of your daily life is made up of habits, fostering great behaviours will make your life so much easier and so much more successful. Take those four bad habits and remove them or transform them into something totally positive that work for your benefit. Your mission is to deal with a block of four bad habits every month until the list has been completed.

Eradicating your bad habits is magnificent but choosing really great working habits for yourself is a passport to self-mastery. There are thousands of examples of wildly successful people from around the world. Read their life stories. Go on-line. Look for stories and descriptions of truly effective habits from the men and women who have excelled in their fields and choose one behaviour to adopt every three months. For the mathematically gifted, you’ll already know that those quarterly habits will add up to four powerful and success-enhancing habits every year. Come on. You’re free to choose. You know what you want. You have your goals and affirmations and vision. Now you can choose the behaviours that will best support your mission. How great is that?

It’s extremely helpful to put up reminders about your new habits around your home and your workplace. Post It notes, signs, screen-savers, brightly-coloured posters, written declarations that underline your new habits. Reinforce the message on every level of your consciousness. And give yourself plenty of recognition for doing what you’ve set out to do. It’s called Positive Reinforcement and it encourages you to do the right thing, to choose the right habits, to focus on the right behaviours. And, just like those amazing new habits you’re developing and practising, it works.

Summary

Habits make up around ninety percent of your behaviour. List the bad ones and make a commitment to turn them into positive, supportive habits. Write them down and publish the new, good habits around your home and workplace. Note the difference they make to the quality of your life.

Chapter 16

The Self-Acceptance Accelerator

‘You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.’

Gautama Buddha

You’ve probably noticed that a good number of these amazing habits for improving the quality of your life focus on the power and influence of your attitudes. If there was one area where I used to get very defensive when I was being questioned by my mentors, it was inevitably around my attitudes. We’d rather accept them as evidence of who we think we are. It’s so much easier to cherish them as part of the background framework of our complex and often contradictory personalities. I learned that this blind acceptance of who we think we are rarely survives the rigours of close and objective scrutiny. We are very much a product of our early conditioning. We don’t need to rely on some absurd, esoteric explanation of past lives and the influence of karmic conditions to seek the answers to our personality profiles. We really don’t need the comforting descriptions of a horoscope to reveal how we function. We need only consider the conditioning we received during our early childhoods and everything is pretty much revealed. We can see more clearly where we came from and, most importantly, who we are capable of becoming once we are free from the bonds of that limiting psychological conditioning.

Our mission in advocating the value of these habits for success is to help you to break free from that early conditioning, to share the message of liberation that you are free to choose what you think, what you feel and how your life turns out from this point onwards. Throw away the notions of fate. You have written your own future with nothing more sophisticated than a pencil. That’s real power. That’s the power of a human being choosing a future that is fulfilling, uplifting, enriched and completely congruent with our latent potential.

‘Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.’

Lao Tzu

Two areas that can cause a whole range of perfectly avoidable problems can be described as our willingness to be loved and our acceptance of our ability to get things done. These areas have been described at length in many publications but they’re important to our happiness and our progress because they’re fundamental to the human capacity for fulfillment. Let’s take a closer look at both of these essential aspects to human growth and self-expression.

Everybody knows and understands the discomfort of failure. It happens to everyone and it’s a regular occurrence in everyone’s life but we seem conditioned to take it personally. As soon as we stumble, make an error, screw up, get things wrong or run into a wall of opposition, we hear those distant voices from our early childhood that told us we couldn’t do things, shouldn’t do things, that even laughed at our attempts to use our talents, that mocked our ambition and reminded us not to reach for our goals. We receive these painful experiences at a formative stage in our development and then we make sure we don’t expose ourselves to situations in the future where we might have to deal with the pain and discomfort again. It’s a natural response. Humans endeavour to avoid pain, both physical and emotional. But the moment you start to use positive affirmations, the moment you begin to challenge those tired, old, negative assumptions, your attitude experiences a radical shift in its expectations. Your failures are seen in context. You recognise that failure is a sure sign of making progress. Success walks hand in hand with failure. They go together. The difference now is that you don’t take failure as something personal that diminishes your self esteem. You embrace it as evidence of your courage, your grit, your determination and your rite of passage. You learn to accept that you really are capable. You learn to look at a problem and say to yourself ‘Hey. I can work this out. I can find a way to deal with this.’ And you do. Because you know that you’re capable. You know that others have faced similar challenges and successfully overcome them. Countless others have triumphed by using their creativity and their willingness to find a way to deal with the challenges. This is the essence of engaging that deep awareness that you are a capable individual.

Love is a fascinating topic for investigation. It’s deeply coloured and interpreted by our cultural conditioning and plays a dominant role in our expectations and experiences of all close relationships. It’s complex. We know. But one of the touchstones for personal progress is our willingness to accept that we are worthy of being loved. Does that sound strange? It’s one of the subjects that can be great fun to introduce to an audience of hard-bitten business people who want to know how to make more money. It’s fun because it’s so unexpected but it can zoom right into the heart of any strategy for success. Failure can certainly leaves its scars in our subconscious but the pain of rejection can leave us unwilling to risk getting involved with people beyond what is essentially a superficial level of expression. This is serious. People get married on this basis. Ultimately, the goal of this exercise is to learn to accept yourself unconditionally. I haven’t met too many people who find this an easy exercise. There’s a great deal of subversive, negative and limiting conditioning lurking just beneath the surface of our conscious minds. But once you start to repeat your new mantra – that you are both capable and worthy of being loved – your attitudes and interactions with others begin to shift. Even your attitude towards yourself begins to move into a healthier and more accepting position. If you feel comfortable with yourself, you will feel so much more comfortable with other people and you’ll be surprised at the difference this makes to the quality of your life and your relationships.

‘Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.’

E E Cummings

In terms of success, it is vital that you possess that generosity of spirit that feels completely at ease with your success and happiness. It’s one of those mechanisms that removes some of the more stubborn, internal obstacles that can sabotage our efforts and conspire to rob us of our sense of achievement. Lovable and capable. Your two new watchwords. Your formula for a much more fulfilling life. Write them down. You didn’t think we were finished with the pencil and paper, did you? Repeat them as often as you can. Add their flavour to your regular recital of your goals. Add the words as you meditate on the achievement of your personal vision. Watch how peoples’ attitudes towards you begin to change for the better. Notice how much more willing people are to help you. These are the natural consequences of using your new and brightly uplifting declaration.

Summary

Learning to accept yourself supports greater levels of personal success. The twin virtues of being capable and lovable support a strong sense of self worth. This is essential in the face of setbacks and challenges. You reveal deeper levels of resilience and creativity as you move towards your goals.

Chapter 17

Earning by Learning

‘Education costs money. But then so does ignorance.’

Sir Claus Moser

I once met a young gentleman at a seminar I was giving and, in innocence, recommended a book to him that I thought might be useful for his future career plans. At the grand old age of twenty-six, he shook his head at me sadly as if he were addressing an elderly relative with diminished faculties and told me that my suggestion was not relevant because he had already read everything he needed to read whilst he was at college. As a consequence, he hadn’t looked at a book in five years. He hadn’t needed to. My initial mistake was that I thought he was joking. But he wasn’t. He was absolutely serious. You couldn’t invent a story like that. It was one of those occasions when logic and my attempts at a rational suggestion to encourage him to read failed in the face of a completely bizarre belief that he already knew everything he needed to know. Such people really do exist and, if ever there was an individual who needed to break free from the bonds of his self-imposed ignorance, that young man was a great example. Learning never ceases. Ever. The moment you stop learning, decay sets in. Learning is a lifelong process. It’s one of the great gifts that you can give to yourself. It’s a wondrous gift to share with others. One of my favourite habits is a result of a decision I made many years ago to read a wider range of material. I usually have five books on hand at any one time and I aim to read a chapter from each every evening. It’s a habit I learned from a wonderful tutor who described the brain as a muscle that deserved regular and vigorous exercise. I particularly enjoy exploring new areas and it’s great fun to get into subjects about which I know nothing. But not everybody takes the time to read.

‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’

Mahatma Gandhi

Evidence from the United States suggests that the average American watches television for six hours a day. Today, the wide availability of the Internet puts people in front of television and computer screens for even longer than six hours a day. That daily average adds up. By the time they reach the age of sixty, the average American has spent fifteen years of their life watching TV. You might want to run through that sentence again. It might just shock you out of your daily diet of the brain-numbing addiction to television. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry but it’s highly questionable whether it’s actually doing us any good. I don’t think we can see much evidence for the evolution of western civilisation on the back of the average TV schedule. But the real question is how you choose to spend your time. If you decide to trade in one hour a day of TV viewing and exchange it for an hour of reading or study, you’ll be amazed at how much knowledge you can gather. Like all good habits, the benefits accumulate and you can broaden your knowledge across an incredible range of subjects. I know lots of people who study languages for fun. I’m serious! They get a real buzz from exercising their brains and developing a great new skill. My mentors usually recommended that I read the lives of inspirational individuals from history, biographies of great men and women, studying and learning the secrets of their success. Sometimes I would read a recommended classical philosopher and then face a detailed examination of my understanding and conclusions. The idea was to give my mind a workout and feed my belief system with positive role models.

‘Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.’

Robert Frost

I enjoy reading but I got into the habit as a discipline. Learning about anatomy, for example, changes the way you understand the mechanics of your own body. Studying the latest research on how your body really functions can give you insights that sometimes contradict the older, mainstream approaches to living a healthy life. The more you read, the more you learn to avoid clinging too closely to any one viewpoint. Reading is supposed to broaden the mind. Following the work of pioneering physicists can often reveal how little we understand about the workings of the universe. But it’s very reassuring to know that some of the finest minds on the planet are working on the problem! Anytime they have want to share their conclusions, preferably in the kind of simple language that I can understand, they’ll always find in me a very willing listener. Study whatever you like and make a point of enjoying it as much as possible. I exercise every single day. I don’t always feel like it but I always aim to enjoy it. Same with reading. It’s a habit. If you don’t have it, the time to start is right now.

The fact is that you can use your daily reading hour to deepen your knowledge and understanding of your own particular work or discipline and that can increase your value to your organisation. Studying for further qualifications can lift your career to a higher level and correspondingly higher earnings. And remember, it’s never too late to start.

‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’

Nelson Mandela

The mind-expanding habit of reading every day can also prepare you for the moment when opportunity knocks on your door and demands to know if you are prepared. Knowing the area you want to work in, studying the details of what you would need to do to if you a golden opportunity came along one day, versed and rehearsed in the skills you’d need to succeed if you got the chance to show the world what you’re made of – these are the advantages that prepare you in advance for when you have the chance to take centre stage and deliver on your dreams. Knowing what to do and how to do it in advance bestows a fabulous advantage and equips you for greatness. There is no substitute for sustained study. Yes, it requires effort. But if you think success falls out of the sky at the whim of some pagan deity, you haven’t been paying attention! It’s about hard work and the more you put in, the more you’ll value the success you achieve. Because you will have rightly earned it.

Summary

Never stop learning. Increase your knowledge. Exercise your brain. Develop your skills and understanding. Make a commitment to cut down on time in front of the TV. Dedicate at least an hour every evening to reading or study and reap the rewards.

Chapter 18

Make Your Time Count

‘Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful, that you do not let other people spend it for you.’

Carl Sandburg

Being brilliantly organised doesn’t come easily to everyone but managing your time effectively can work wonders for your plans and progress. That’s why we encouraged you to work from a daily To Do List, a carefully selected agenda that will always make sure that you take care of whatever you have to do to bring your goals within reach. The next habit that you’ll need along the magnificent and well-traveled road to success might surprise you a little. You need to plan for regular breaks and take some much-needed downtime. That’s right. There’s no point in working like crazy to achieve your great goal if you wreck yourself in the process. You need downtime to rest, to recover, to re-charge your batteries and to take a break from the treadmill. Planning for a break from the work schedule will give you the essential time for re-assessing where you are and what you’re doing. Getting away from the workload will keep you fresh and the distance can provide you with the kind of insights that only show up with the benefit of a more distanced perspective. You need to get away and you need to make it a regular gig. Some of my most creative insights have shown up when I was far away from the familiar surroundings of my office.

‘The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.’

Michael Altshuler

You’ll know you needed the break when you find yourself sleeping much longer than usual. It’s a sure sign that your rest has been compromised and that you were overdue a break. Please don’t ignore this great habit. It isn’t a luxury. It’s part of the plan for your total success and, if you neglect your health and wellbeing needs, your achievements might seem a little hollow if you aren’t fit enough to enjoy the rewards. Deep down it’s probably a hidden case of punishing yourself for wanting to be successful in the first place. But you deserve the whole package – success at every level of your life and that includes your health.

If it isn’t practical to get away from the office for a few days and stay somewhere where you can really relax, you will still need to plan for a day off at least once a week. I know all about the temptation to keep on working, ignoring the warning signs, pushing yourself until something forces you to stop. Schedule those breaks every week to give your mind and your body time to recover. Getting out into the countryside, enjoying a change of scenery, breathing the fresh air – these are great ways to refresh yourself and tap into your creativity. It’s the same positive commitment you use to spend time with your family though I’ve known too may characters who’ve used work as an excuse to get away from their nearest and dearest! In the end, it’s all about balance. Your goals are incredibly important. But so is your health and so are the needs of your family. Despite the pressures and the challenges, we want to make the pathway to success as enjoyable as possible. It just makes more sense to live life that way.

‘Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolise and embed learning.’

Malti Bhojwani

One of my simplest rules for wellbeing is to stand up every twenty to thirty minutes and stretch my body. It only takes a minutes yet it’s a very positive habit to adopt and I commend it to you for the sake of your health. These mini breaks unblock any postural problems that often produce pain and discomfort and give you a chance to breathe a little more deeply. We did not evolve to spend hour after hour, hunched in front of a computer screen. We need to move ourselves and standing up two or three timers an hour is the easiest way to undo the postural damage that results from sitting for too long. It’s such a simple idea but it’s incredibly effective. Once I’m standing, I do a few stretches and walk around, loosening my joints and breathing deeply. It’s such a simple technique but dramatically effective. Try it and you’ll notice the difference right away.

‘I believe that if you truly understand the importance of relaxation, you will make time for it in your schedule.’

Gudjon Bergmann

Summary

You’re working hard so you need to factor in regular downtime. Take a break. Get away if you can but make time for your mind and body to recover. This is not a luxury. This is a necessity and will keep you in the best possible condition to fulfill your goals.

Chaper 19

Drawing on the Wellspring of Your Inner Genius

‘Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.’

Saint Francis de Sales

Humans possess an extraordinary resource that is immensely powerful, freely available yet rarely employed. It’s a pity that we don’t make better use of it because it’s rather like having a Cray Super Computer at your disposal and using an abacus. The resource in question is called the Subconscious and it’s an area of the brain that can transform your life and put you on the super highway to fast track success.

It has not been possible to calculate the difference in scale between the conscious mind and the unimaginably vast resource of the subconscious. Some researchers have estimated a ratio of around ten million to one in favour of the subconscious but, because it is so vast, it’s almost impossible to get an accurate figure that represents the scale of the subconscious data base. And yet we rarely make use of it. One of the problems in accessing the subconscious is the fact that the conscious and the unconscious parts of the mind do not share a common language. The subconscious expresses itself primarily in symbolism but its messages, insights and analysis can prove absolutely invaluable. It’s a connection that is truly worth exploring and the most direct way of tapping into its potential is to meditate.

‘I have lived with several Zen masters – all of them cats.’

Eckhart Tolle

The subconscious connection is often suppressed during childhood, dismissed as an impractical distraction from the rigours of our lessons, a fanciful expression of our imagination that must be subdued in favour of our need to follow the demands of conventional education. This is not an argument against the necessity of conventional education. Far from it. It is an appeal on behalf of the additional resources of the subconscious because this is a resource that may often be overlooked, obscured, yet it remains powerfully, potentially present in our lives. It speaks to us in our dreams. It whispers in the quiet voice of our intuition. It tantalises us with hunches and feelings that we sometimes attribute to supernatural forces! The good news is that you don’t have to be a certified psychic to benefit from the collective wisdom of your subconscious data base. There really is nothing mysterious about this resource. Fortunately we live in age where scientific investigation has revealed far more about brain function than we have ever known before. Today we can understand the brain’s capacity to record and store truly vast amounts of data, layers of information that are far beyond the limited capacity of the conscious mind to hold. That means that we know far more than we realise. The data is held, analysed and available for interpretation in the cavernous repository of our subconscious information storage facility. Our challenge is to engage that facility and learn to detect the answers. Remember the difficulty of having to work with a different language? The subconscious can often appear to be so different from our waking awareness that it can represent some exotic, external agency. But it’s very much a part of who we are, an aspect of our brain’s beautifully complex evolution and a source of extraordinary results. So how do we get in touch with this fabulous part of our minds?

We mentioned the usefulness of meditation as a tool for accessing the subconscious and this is one of the most effective mechanisms for harnessing the brain’s untapped potential. Regular, gentle meditation has been rightly associated with a whole range of health benefits but our mission here is to learn to relax and become calm enough to discern those communication flashes that arise from the subconscious. The key is to calm down, to relax, to breathe a little more deeply than usual and focus on the question or issue that concerns you most. The more you practise the art of relaxing and calming your thoughts and feelings, the more your intuitive faculty will emerge from the background noise of your untamed and largely random stream of consciousness. People experience their intuition in a variety of ways. Some get pictures, images and even written words as they meditate on their problem. Some people get a feeling, an unmistakable impulse to do something that is directly connected to resolving their issue. Many practitioners learn to identify a strongly positive feeling that suggests that the intuition is functioning and offering its analysis and guidance. Relaxing and retreating into the calming inner world of meditation can reveal insights and practical answers to anything that might be concerning you. It doesn’t have to be a mystical experience. It doesn’t have to be explained in any esoteric terms. It’s a perfectly natural function of the brain, a perfectly valid resource that is available to assist you, a very important analytical feature of your mind that deserves your attention on a regular basis.

‘Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, a science of well-being, a science of youthfulness, a science of integrating body, mind and soul.’

Amit Ray

So the next great habit that we’re proposing is the daily practice of meditation. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need any special equipment. You only need a quiet place and a comfortable spot where you can sit or lie down and relax, breathe and focus your thoughts for ten or fifteen minutes without being interrupted. Relax your body. Breathe a little more deeply. Let your thoughts become calm and bring your issue into the spotlight of your conscious mind and tell yourself that you are looking for the best way to resolve the problem. Stay relaxed. Let the giant data processor chew it over. It will always answer, sometimes immediately, sometimes later. Occasionally the answer will reveal itself in a dream. There’s even a widely-respected technique of drinking half a glass of water before going to sleep, thinking of the question you’d like to resolve as you sip the water. Upon waking, the idea is to finish the water and hold onto whatever thoughts, memories or dreams that arise as you empty the glass. It’s the kind of symbolism that the subconscious readily understands and it’s always a good idea to keep a pencil and a notebook handy by the bed so that you can write down your dream experiences in the aftermath of posing a question before you go to sleep.

If you learn to enjoy the kind of feedback you receive from your subconscious, it’s even more helpful to act on the advice immediately. Don’t delay. You’ve just received a hot tip from your personal data management resource so be ready to take action right away. This creates a positive feedback loop to your subconscious data bank. The more you respond to your own subconscious analysis, the more insights you will receive. It’s as if the channel of communication improves with use. To the conscious mind, some of the insights can appear to be uncannily accurate. But we need to remember that the subconscious has access to a truly vast resource of accumulated information. It can calculate probabilities because it’s working with data that your conscious mind wouldn’t even register. Sometimes the intuitive flash appears unexpectedly and you really need to write the idea down right away. Some people record the information and since most cell phones now have a voice recording facility, the task has become a whole lot easier these days. I’ve found that it’s better if you can write the idea down on a piece of paper but you probably already guessed that! Writing with a pen or pencil seems to engage the mind in a different way to using a keyboard but I have been known to jot down ideas on my phone too. You see. There’s hope for everyone!

Summary

The subconscious stores and processes vast amounts of data. Learn to access that fabulous resource by meditating every day. Encourage a better connection between your subconscious and your conscious, waking mind and act swiftly on the conclusions that emerge.

Chapter 20

Get Your Ears On

‘One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.’

Bryant H McGill

The ladies and gentlemen who coached and counselled me as mentors and tutors were dedicated to sharing all the different aspects of the science of being successful. As you can imagine, attitude was always one of their favourite subjects. Choosing goals for ourselves and seeing them through to completion always scored very highly too. Developing the right behaviours and using them every day certainly woke me up from many of my old, restrictive habits. And these topics were all extremely useful. But one of my mentors was always interested in another aspect of human behaviour – one that he felt was critical to long term success. He wanted to know how well we listen. Or not, as the case may be.

‘We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak.’

Zeno of Citium

Communication is critical for success. Everything we do is shaped and conditioned by our ability to communicate, whether the message is going out to the public, to a loved one, a colleague or even to ourselves. So, as you’d expect, there’s a huge amount of material available in books and courses today that is intended to teach us how to express ourselves more clearly. And this is surely a good thing. But my mentor was keenly interested in the les obvious side of effective communication. He wanted to improve our ability to listen. Because, most of the time, we don’t. There have been occasions when I’ve been accused of being psychic. The reality is that I was listening. Nothing more. Just listening with all my attention. That’s when you hear far more than just the words. You pick up tones, intonations, inflections, pauses, things that are more revealing than the choice of words. It’s a very helpful skill to practise and, as long as you’re not afflicted with deafness, we all possess the potential to listen more much more carefully than we might imagine.

‘So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.’

Jiddu Krishnamurti

One of the problems with listening is that we have to compete with the constant dialogue that runs on an endless loop in our heads. It’s really hard to hear what someone else is saying when you’ve got this additional conversation playing in the background. Most conversations are based on waiting for the other person to pause long enough to allow us to get our precious word in. It might be a form of game-playing but it isn’t very helpful to our common interests as human beings. We just don’t listen. Which is a pity because we throw away countless opportunities to develop our businesses and work potential by floating through life without really hearing what other people are saying. Let’s take a practical example. If your business is not prospering the way you’d like, there’s nothing finer than asking your customers what they think. They’re the best people to consult. This is how you learn to improve your products or services. But you have to listen to what they say. And it might not be the happiest news you receive that day. It might, however, be the most useful feedback you could ever hope for because it will tell you why things are not going as you’d planned. It will tell you what you have to do to improve things to get your plan and your business back on track.

On the face of it, listening should be easy. All you have to do is keep quiet and open your ears. Listening, however, is not a passive activity. You have to learn how to listen actively, to be fully engaged with what the other person is saying. It really is an astonishingly powerful technique and bestows massive advantages on the person who cultivates the technique.

One trainer that I worked with many years ago was fond of reminding everyone that people tend to buy from us not because we have the best product or service but because they feel that we understand them as people. That was a great message to deliver to any business and the key to understanding your clients and customers is to learn to listen to them. Yes, there are lots of great questions you can employ to engage your customers but, if you don’t listen to the answers, the exercise is mostly wasted. It’s great fun to practise on friends and family. Ask them simple questions about how they feel, about what’s getting in the way of their plans and aspirations, where they see their best opportunities and what resources they’d need to fulfill their dreams. Sit back, listen deeply and let them enjoy the experience of really sharing how they feel. You’ll be amazed at what they have to say. They’ll probably be amazed too. Because it’s such a pleasure to talk with someone who really listens.

Summary

Listening is the one of the great, neglected, arts that can transform your business and your relationships. Practise the art of listening deeply with full awareness and concentration. Learn to focus and notice exactly how the other person is expressing themselves. It’s a revelation.

Chapter 21

Your Word as Law

‘Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.’

Confucius

We live in a culture where pleasing others can come at a heavy price. We learn to say ‘Yes’ too easily, especially when we’d prefer to say ‘No’ and most of the time we do this purely to receive the approval of the other party, chaining ourselves to their demands because we need their acceptance to feel somehow complete. This is not a satisfactory way of experiencing the great gift of this life. Too much compromise, too many moments of acquiescence, too many instances of diluting the depth and value of what we say.

I attended a seminar some years back that focused precisely on the quality of our communication and one of the great lessons that was imparted during that intense week of self-examination was to recognise the potential power of our word. It bordered on Old Testament fire and brimstone at one stage because we were encouraged in the strongest possible terms to use our word as if it contained the same weight as the laws of gravity! I completely understood and respected the principle. We were investing the power of absolute dependability in our word. When we gave our word, we were speaking with total certainty. There was no force in the universe that could divert the force of our word. You could feel it. We learned to say Yes as if it was imbued with something sacred, something holy and you can absolutely hear it in the voice of every person who speaks with that degree of authority. That’s something each and every one of us can acquire. And it conveys tremendous advantages.

‘The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.’

Socrates

In a world of uncertainty and superficiality, your word becomes a rock of dependability. When you say Yes, it means that whatever you’ve agreed to is guaranteed to happen. But you have to learn to say No as well and say it with the same weight and gravitas that you’ve learned to use when you say Yes. It’s also fine to use the words ‘I don’t know’ too because you don’t have to pretend to be the font of all wisdom and know all things!

This is a great moment to consider the value of what you have to say and one of the extraordinary individuals who tutored me all those years ago made it abundantly clear that gossiping and judging others was a damaging behaviour both to those who spread the gossip as well as to those who were the subject of the gossip. He refused to listen to stories of ‘who was doing who in the zoo’ as he expressed it in his own inimitable style. He reminded me that if I didn’t have something good to say about others, I should keep my mouth shut. Not always easy but a very positive habit to adopt.

‘Your thoughts and your words define your life. Think positively and affirm positive words to enrich your life positively.’

Lailah Gifty Akita

What we say can either serve to embrace others or to build barriers against their inclusion. You are not responsible for the behaviour of others but you are totally responsible and accountable for what you say and do. Take the pledge and renounce gossip. Separate yourself from the corrosive habit of spreading rumours. How do you want people to remember you? Are you known as the one who loves to pour poison into every conversation? Give it up right now. It’s holding you back. It’s damaging your prospects. Deep down, you’re really talking about yourself anyway. So learn to say nice things. Or hold close to my mentor’s wise counsel and hold your tongue! Gossip is a game. As soon as you spot it, you can choose not to play.

Perhaps that’s why a great many successful people are such good listeners. Talking loudly and telling everyone what to do may be the conventional view of a leader but effective leadership is based on great communication and that involves listening. Then you don’t have to talk so much and, perhaps, what you do say will count for more. Think about it. Like all of these ideas, it’s deeper than you might think at first glance.

Summary

Use your word as if it conveys the certainty of the laws of gravity. Make your word an absolute expression of your intent and empower your language with the strength of truth.

Chapter 22

Be a Benchmark

‘I think a role model is a mentor – someone you see on a daily basis, and you learn from them.’

Denzel Washington

We’re encouraging great behaviours here and the sum of your fabulous new habits is that you can become a benchmark to lead, inspire and encourage others. Just like my wildly successful mentors. Sharing the principles of your success by embodying the habits that supported your goals and ambitions is a great way to put something positive back into the world. Here’s a handy list of characteristics that will help you achieve benchmark status.

Set your own benchmark for your personal behaviour

Stay calm, relaxed and positive in the face of all problems

Be a role model to everyone around you

Express compassion for others as you inspire them to rise above their limitations

Enrich the lives and experiences of others by giving something positive to every situation

Step quietly beyond the habits of pettiness and fear

Assume responsibility for everything that happens in your life

Encourage and support others in their endeavours

Recognise the greatness within yourself and within everyone else

Each of these behaviours supports an elevated and delightfully refined way of moving through the challenges and joys of this life. There is a beautiful grace that flows from these uplifting and inspiring attitudes and, if you want to see their benefits flowing into the world and touching the lives of others, become the source of these behaviours and live them to the full every single day.

‘Being a role model is about being true to myself.’

Idina Menzel

Summary

Live up to your ideals and express them in everything you say, think, feel and do. Become the living embodiment of your beautiful principles and inspire others to success.

Chapter 23

Purge the Past and Become Wealthy

‘The lack of money is the root of all evil!’

Mark Twain

Success is usually measured in terms of how much money we have and, whilst there are many ways to evaluate the measure of success in our lives, money remains as one of the prominent benchmarks for determining our level of achievement. So let’s take a closer look at the habits that lend themselves to financial prosperity.

One of the scary facts about money is that our ability to acquire wealth is largely determined by our attitude. That’s right. The programme for wealth enhancement always begins with an examination of how we feel about money. Let’s remind ourselves here that the conscious mind might seem perfectly at ease with the concept of wealth but we need to ensure that the massive resources of our subconscious are also in alignment with the outcomes we desire in our life. If we’re not entirely comfortable with the concept of wealth, the subconscious part of our minds will – unconsciously perhaps – strive to avoid it. I’ve had more discussions with aspiring entrepreneurs over this point than any other. People have argued that they’re completely ready and motivated to launch into the financial stratosphere when it was obvious that their underlying attitudes were broadcasting a very different message. We need to identify any obstacles that are locked away in the deeper layers of our programming and conditioning, drag them out into the open and then move forwards with confidence and a higher degree of efficiency. It’s exactly like releasing the parking brake before driving off.

‘When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in my life; now that I am old. I know that it is.’

Oscar Wilde

Limiting beliefs, guilt, doubt, uncertainty and self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings will show up in the results you achieve in your life. That’s just how it is. So your first tactic is to dust off your favourite pencil, grab a fresh sheet of paper and write down your very own list of limiting beleifs about money. Go on. Write them down. I went through this exercise many years ago and the results shocked me. I couldn’t believe how I really felt about money until I started exploring my reactions to the concept of wealth. It was a revelation and a very powerful example of how much garbage gets parked in the subconscious during our early, formative years.

Once you’ve compiled your list, you can address each statement by challenging it or even by making fun of it. Nothing like a measure of irreverent laughter to shake a belief lose from its foundations. Now you can re-frame your old belief in a completely positive statement. Choose a way of describing your new feelings about money that lifts your spirits, gives you a positive surge of energy, shakes loose your doubts and fills you with a sense of certainty that you and money are becoming the best of friends. This deliberate shift in awareness and attitude can loosen the old, limiting anchors that have held you in place for far too long. Your life will move on. When you repeat your goal statement and visualise the accomplishment of your goals, there will be much less resistance in your subconscious and, when that truly vast and powerful resource begins to work towards the fulfillment of your dreams, things really begin to happen!

‘Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.’

Ayn Rand

Summary

Let go of all your limiting beliefs, especially those negative thoughts surrounding money. Make a list of your doubts or anxieties towards riches, wealth and the material expression of success. Then you can neutralise these obstacles and move more freely towards your goals.

Chapter 24

Choose to be Wealthy and Master the Habits of the Financial Superstars

‘Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.’

Woody Allen

You have to want to be wealthy. It’s a mindset that flows from the depths of your being. You might not know how to become rich at this precise moment but you have to decide that being wealthy is what you really want. Then you have to quantify exactly what being wealthy means to you. You need to define the meaning of wealth in cash terms. Grab that pencil and smooth out a fresh sheet of paper. If money is one of your goals – and having sufficient money allows you the freedom to do so many of the things that are important in life – you need to know how much you’ll need. Writing it down creates the framework that will shape your future success.

Describe exactly what your net worth will be at a precise date of your choosing in the future.

Write down your intended earnings for next year – and be prepared to stretch yourself here.

Commit to a monthly savings figure right now, no matter how small the sum you start with.

Choose a new financial habit to adopt right away that will positively inpact on your financial security.

Make a commitment to take action to free yourself from your debts. Write down what you will do to get rid of all your debts.

Congratulations. Now you’re on the right track.

We’ve described at length in other publications the power of the Life Line exercise and it remains an essential foundation stone for future prosperity. You can use it to calculate how much money you will need in the future to fund everything from the major expenses you expect to encounter to the capital required to cover a very comfortable retirement.

‘Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.’

Henry David Thoreau

Learn to plan more effectively. Most people spend as soon as their salaries hit their accounts. The smarter, wealthier members of the tribe reserve a portion of their income for savings and investment first. Save first. Only consider spending what’s left. Pause before you buy. Step neatly away from the habit of impulse buying. Choose more carefully. Ask yourself if you really need something. Look for bargains. You might find it surprising but the rich are usually careful with their money. They do not see any virtue in paying the highest price for anything. We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a lot tougher to sell a luxury car at full price to a rich person than it is to sell it to someone who can only just afford it. Interesting, huh?

Study the subject of wealth creation. Educate yourself, take courses, become familiar with the mechanics of making money. Learn to make your money work for you. The world is awash with information on how to invest in everything you could possibly imagine. You can pretty much learn everything you need to know about the techniques of investing for free these days. So there’s no excuse not to know how the world of investing really works. You don’t have to become an expert but you do need to be well informed. And, if you need help, get in touch with a professional advisor to bring an objective level of analysis to your financial aspirations.

Becoming wealthy today has never been easier. The world is oriented distinctly towards trade, business and communication. The world is evolving in favour of making money. How do we get on the road to becoming wealthy? Simple. Generating wealth involves simply spending less than you make, investing carefully and regularly and, perhaps most significantly for this book, making more money. A great deal more money.

One of the habits that’s been referred to on many occasions during my business career is the necessity of keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But countless numbers of highly successful businesses have been created on a simple recognition that people need or require a certain product or service. You look around, see what people want or need and decide to provide those goods or services. Frankly, my dear, the Internet has made that proposition incredibly simple and wonderfully affordable. The principles are being employed everywhere.

‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.’

Benjamin Franklin

Sometimes, during the course of a busy day, you hear or notice something that grabs your attention and you realise that you’ve just stumbled across an idea for making money. It happens. You evaluate the idea, decide if it’s right for you, calculate the effort and expenditure required to make it work, make a decision to develop the idea or, maybe, pass it on to someone else in return for a slice of the profits. It’s the habit of seeing the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur and it can make you very wealthy indeed.

‘I will tell you the secret of getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy.’

Warren Buffet

Summary

Success is based on a series of habits and behaviours that everyone can learn. Don’t spend more than you earn. Save first, spend later. Control your spending. Learn how to invest. Train yourself to look for opportunities. Put your money to work for you. Create financial goals for yourself that will stretch you. Dream bigger. Aim for more than you’d normally settle for. Go wild with your ambition. Reach for the stars. Never give up.

Conclusion

Congratulations. If you’ve worked through the methods in this guide book on creating your best habits for wealth, if you’ve applied and assimilated the techniques, you’ve probably begun to experience changes across multiple levels of your life.

You’ve begun a process of change that will touch both your internal landscape as well as the world around you. I believe with all my heart in your right to abundance. I can see the vast amounts of wealth coursing through the lives of countless individuals every day. It’s real. It’s there. It always was. We used to use an expression in a previous business that always helped us to put our challenges into a more creative perspective. We’d often ask ourselves around the board room table ‘Where’s the money supposed to be coming from?’

And the inevitable answer? ‘It’s coming from – wherever it is right now!’ The money is always out there. It’s always available in truly unimaginable quantities. It’s time for you to partake of this bounty. You deserve it. Our world is driven in so many ways by the force of this extraordinary commodity. Put it to work in your life and enjoy the proceeds. Share the good things.

Inspire and encourage others to discover their own potential for wealth and abundance.

Step out from the shadow of your self-imposed limitations. Wake up to the sunshine. Have fun. Smile. You’re making your life and the world a better place to be.

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you”

Carl Sandberg

Appendix

The Emotional Freedom Technique

The EFT Connection

The Revolution in Your Heart and Your Wallet

We’ve explored some of the uncharted landscape of our inner perceptions and begun to understand the depth and range of our attitudes, recognising the influence of our belief systems and creating adjustments that will revolutionise the quality of our lives. But is there a short-cut that can speed up the process of transformation? Is there a turbo-charger that can boost our efforts and get us into the fast lane right now? Can we get the success rocket into orbit today? Well, the short answer to all of those questions is ‘Yes!’ OK. You don’t have to look so surprised. You knew what the answer would be, didn’t you? Of course you did!

Back in the 1970s, a group of psychologists in the U.S. began a research project that focused on the way we often touch different parts of the body when we’re stressed or anxious. These instinctive reactions provided a clue to the way that certain gestures are connected with our fears and doubts and insecurities. The experiments revealed that if a stressed individual deliberately applied fingertip pressure to these points, they could access their behavioural programming and confront the issues that were causing distress.

Once the problem area had been described, it was possible re-frame the issue and even suggests possible solutions. And it worked. The techniques were refined and, with the inevitable enthusiasm of New Age mysticism, some therapists even began to describe the tapping points as ‘meridians’.

We certainly don’t need to confuse the technique with some well-intentioned but naive, mystical interpretations. The tapping points are far too vague to be credited with mystical significance. The collection of points in question are simply tapped gently with the fingertips as the framing statements are made and some analysts now suggest that the tapping movements temporarily distract the conscious mind, allowing access to the behavioural framework of the subconscious.

If you prefer to believe that you’re activating your chakras or summoning the elves of earthly wealth and abundance, well, you’re free to choose whatever works for you. I might not understand your choice but you’re free to interpret everything that happens in your life as you see fit. My mission is to share a well-researched and effective technique with you that can help to re-position your attitudes towards success and abundance and power up your ability to take greater control of your life.

The technique works best when you’re seated and comfortable. Upright and relaxed are the watchwords. You begin by identifying the subject which is currently giving you the greatest cause for concern. EFT has surprised many therapists by the range and extent of its capacity to introduce change into peoples’ lives. The method has even been successfully employed to help people lose unwanted weight. We really shouldn’t be surprised. Everything really is connected.

Choose your issue. It really can be anything. Give your reaction to the problem a score out of ten. If it’s causing you a great deal of stress, pain or anxiety, your score will probably be close to the maximum value. Write down your statement of concern and mark it out of ten. Let’s imagine, for example, that you’re unhappy at work. You might say something like ‘I really hate, despise and loathe the idiots I have to work with and I hate my life because the daily grind makes me unbearably miserable!’

OK. That might sound a little extreme but the idea is that you are totally free to express your feelings in any way that you feel fit. More realistically and in alignment with this guidebook, you might have identified limiting attitudes about money. So your statements might sound something like this: ‘I always feel that there’s never enough money for me and that I can never have the things I really want’. Sound familiar? No problem. We all have limiting beliefs that can get in the way of our potential for success. We start by tapping with the fingertips on the edge of the other hand, on the area between the wrist and the little finger.

1. Gentle tapping is all that is required. Tap on the edge of the hand and repeat your statement of concern. You can close your eyes if you prefer. Breathe gently and deeply. You might want to repeat the statement three or four times and then complete the first stage of the process by stating quite clearly ‘But I love and accept myself completely’.

This is the first hint of how to re-frame your attitudes. You state your problem or concern and then add a conditional clause that effectively states that, despite how you’ve been feeling about the situation, you choose to love yourself and accept yourself. Completely. Acceptance is one of the great keys to letting go of negative, restrictive attitudes and opens the gateway to real change within ourselves. This is the first stage of the process.

2. The next tapping point is the top of the head. How fantastically precise is that? Anywhere on the top of the head will do just fine! Forget the chakra and meridian stories. Just tap gently on the top of your head with both sets of fingertips. Repeat your statement of concern a few times and add a qualification clause. You might say ‘But what if I could learn to accept my innate ability to create and enjoy wealth in my life?’ It’s a questioning statement that challenges the limitations of the old mind-set. ‘What if it could be so much easier than I ever imagined creating real wealth in my life?’ ‘What if I really deserved to be rich and happy and comfortable?’ These re-framing questions expand the limits of what we used to accept as possible. We state the problem. Then we create a positive doubt about our old assumptions.

3. From the top of the head, we now move our attention to the sides of the head, on the temples, perhaps just touching the outer edge of the eye socket or orbits. Gently. Repeating the re-framing question a couple of times.

Perhaps adding a more positive question, ‘What if it were really possible right now for me to make an absolute fortune and change my life for the better forever?’ ‘What if I possess everything I could possibly need right now to be successful and wealthy?’ ‘How would it feel to be living in a world of comfort and opulence, where everything just got so much easier for me?’ You get the picture? We’re moving the issue from its familiar, old, comfortably negative framework into a new realm of positive outcomes. Use your imagination. Be bold. Get hyped up. You’re engaging your hidden powers of creativity. Let them loose. The only defining limits will be the ones you choose to set.

Three or four repetitions of your latest re-framing statement should be enough but it’s always up to you to choose whatever works best.

4. Next tapping point? Under the eyes, just below the edge of the eye sockets. Using both sets of fingertips, perhaps adding an even more positive version of your previous re-framing statement. ‘It really feels so good to realise that I can take complete control of my life and choose how it’s going to be from this moment onwards.’

5. Move your fingertips down to your mouth, one set tapping above the upper lip, just under the nose, and the other set tapping beneath the lower lip. You can repeat the previous statement or move into a more positive expression of what’s possible now that you’re exploring the wider limits of your creativity.

6. This is the moment when you tap on your chest. Remember to keep breathing. Deeply and gently. Statements can stay the same as before or you might add something even more powerful. ‘I fully accept the power of wealth and prosperity into my life. I can feel it flowing into my life as a vast torrent of cash, joy and material abundance.’ This is just an example. A simple suggestion. It’s entirely at your discretion.

Moving further down the body, we cross your arms and begin to tap gently with your fingertips under the opposite armpit. …and then tap just below the floating ribs, repeating our statements and reinforcing the tide of change that’s demolishing our old habits and behaviours and opening up our lives to a fabulous world of happiness and abundance.

We’ve almost finished the EFT exercise so let’s return to our hands. We tap on the outer edge of the little finger a few times, repeating our new statement. Then on each finger in turn, tapping on the outer edge of the index finger to make the process easier. We finish on the outer edge of the thumb before signalling the close of the exercise by gently tapping the insides of the wrists together, repeating our statement and concluding by adding ‘And I deeply and completely love and accept myself unconditionally.’ Keep breathing!

Now all you have to do is reconsider your original statement and score it again out of ten. If the score is lower – great! You’re making progress. If it’s still at the max – try the exercise again one more time to see if you can take the edge off the problem. The important thing here is how you feel.

This is a method that you can repeat every day if you wish. Clearly, the more often you repeat it, the more effective the results will be. But many people experience tremendous breakthroughs with just one session. It is without doubt a very powerful technique for unchaining yourself from unhelpful beliefs and behaviours. It can work at a surprisingly deep level in our behavioural framework and produce extraordinary results in our lives. Use it now to identify any areas in your life that you want to improve and let the good times roll!

Check List

Write down the issues that you want to work through first with your initial EFT experience

Make an appointment in your diary for each EFT session that you intend to conduct for the month ahead

List any other areas of your life that you feel would benefit from the EFT process

Make EFT a regular part of your behaviours for success

Share the knowledge with others

FREE EXCERPT

101 Habits of Truly Successful Living

  • Introduction*

Welcome to your new future.

Welcome to your 101 Habits of Truly Successful Living

We’re starting from the basic premise that there are some areas of your life that probably need help. Well that’s no great surprise. You’re human. It’s part of the package of being a member of the great clan we know today as Homo Sapiens. Welcome to the human condition!

Some of the methods described in your 101 Habits of Truly Successful Living will focus specifically on how you use your mind and body and will help you to master a range of important, practical, physical and mental skills. There are distinct physical connections between how you use your body and the way you think and feel.

Our aim is to teach you how to overcome some of the shortcomings that often get in the way of your full potential. Other methods have been harnessed to target and address the mental, emotional and psychological components that contribute towards living life to the full.

Clearly, before we get started, the first question we need to ask is “Are you really happy?” Have you even stopped for a moment and asked yourself that question recently? It’s a very important issue.

If you have to think about it, the answer is probably “No”! You know if you’re really happy and I’m not referring to some superficial, transient approximation of happiness. I’m talking about a fundamental force within us all that is so powerful that it can sustain us like a miniature sun shining in our hearts. Life is too precious to be wasted on unhappiness. If you suspect that there can be more to your life, this is your chance to discover and deploy that latent potential.

We want you to feel great, to find an outlet for your talents, to feel that you have purpose, to take control of your life, to reap the rewards of your success. The good news is that no one else is going to do it for you. The power and the responsibility are completely in your own hands, my friend. The 101 Habits are designed to help you maximise your potential and to enjoy life to the full. Many of these ideas have been synthesised from countless meetings and conversations with extremely successful individuals, people who went far beyond the theoretical stage and put the ideas powerfully and tenaciously into practice. Some of the techniques have an ancient lineage, often drawn from the traditions of civilisations that spent centuries exploring the underlying nature of the human condition.

As a species, we haven’t changed very much in millennia so the insights and conclusions are as useful for us today as they were for our distant ancestors all those thousands of years ago. Other methods are also drawn from the very latest and often surprising research into human brain function. Whatever the source, we’re bringing methods to you that work!

I want you to accept right now that you are the power source. You are the engine. Your actions will determine the outcome. This is not Harry Potter. This is the beautiful, real world where great things happen because great people – just like you – do the essential things that make a real difference to their lives. And that’s when truly amazing things happen.

So buckle up and enjoy the ride. The journey is about to begin!

1. Purpose. Understanding why you’re here and what you want from the experience

Do you know your purpose? One of the most helpful and perhaps most powerful dynamics in our lives is having a really clear and well-defined sense of purpose. People with purpose don’t let obstacles get in their way. If you don’t have a purpose, it’s far too easy to drift through life without really knowing what you’re here for. So I’d like you to pause for a moment and ask yourself if you really know what you want.

Don’t rush and don’t be surprised if the answer is ‘No’. Most people don’t really know what they want beyond the demands and challenges of their daily existence. So your first task on this first day of revolutionising your life is to take a moment to reflect more deeply and see if you can work out what you really want. It’s your life here and I’m asking you to choose something worthwhile. It can be one of the most revealing exercises in your earthly existence. It can power you up and become your personal, daily source of inspiration. Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down your conclusions.

Write down a list of whatever you want. The list can include absolutely anything: material goods, wealth, better health, peace, great relationships. It’s your list. You write down whatever comes to mind. It’s a private list. It is not for sharing nor is it intended for discussion.

When you’ve finished, put the list somewhere safe and let it lie for a few days. Look at your ideas again in two or three days time. Review your list and see if your ideas, plans and goals look different. Feel free to alter, delete or amend anything. It’s your list. Which items really grab your attention? Which items give you an emotional buzz? Those are the items to start with. Now that you know which items are the most important, you need do something, anything, to make them a reality. Take some time to think about how you could achieve your goal. Get a little wild in your thinking. Get creative. Do some research. See what needs to be done to get you started.

Find your purpose. Then move towards it. Right now. The first step is always the most important.

2. Peace and calm. Loosening the lifelong bonds of stress.

Not a hippy mantra but a powerful insight into human creativity. Stress is a habit. An addictive behaviour that blights our lives and diminishes our natural creativity. Cultivating calm in our lives is a hidden and powerful secret that really increases and enhances our latent creativity. Calm helps us to focus on our tasks without the usual intrusions of tension or stress. Most of your stress is completely unnecessary and an obstacle to real progress. Stress is after all just a habit, a conditioned reflex that you learned in early childhood. A calm mind helps us to broaden our perspective, to remain centred. That inner stillness promotes feelings of confidence and a sense of being more deeply in tune with ourselves. The most effective way to bring calm into our lives is to breathe more deeply and more powerfully, slowing each breath until we begin to release our physical and emotional tension and let the calmness bring a deeper sense of peace to our thoughts and feelings.

Let calmness become your normal state of being and tap into your deeper layers of creativity. Do it now. Do it every day. Let this sense of calm become a natural extension of everything you do.

3. Real energy. Feeling the Force of your natural energy source

Do you get an energy boost from caffeine? Do you ever feel the need to revive your spirits with coffee or caffeine-based drinks? Like many people, I enjoy the taste of good coffee but, if you need a better energy boost, try breathing more deeply and see what happens when you introduce more oxygen into your body. Deeper breathing calms you down, energises your body, improves your thinking and lifts your spirits. And it’s totally free! I’m going to encourage you to breathe more deeply every day until it becomes a natural and life-enhancing habit that you perform without even thinking about it. It’s so powerful, I’m amazed you don’t need a prescription for it.

When you take a deeper breath, remember to keep your throat relaxed. If your throat begins to tense, you’ve filled your lungs as much as you need and you can begin to exhale. If you breathe out powerfully and feel you are really emptying your lungs, you’ll help your body to eliminate toxins and that will boost your energy and concentration levels. It’s a totally free and naturally energising process and it feels wonderful.

Take a moment to try it right now and notice the difference you can make just by breathing a little more deeply. Try it every hour to awaken and refresh your mind and body. Feel the power flowing through your body. This is nothing more than your natural energy circulating through your system and your body will be smiling in appreciation.

4. Dreams. Accessing the profound insights and analysis of the subconscious super-computer

Hope I didn’t wake you but it’s time to welcome you to the importance of your dreams. Everything that happens in our lives is logged and recorded in our subconscious. Our conscious minds are occupied with the business of our daily existence but the vast resource of the subconscious is often neglected because it doesn’t share a common language with our waking, conscious minds.

Dreams provide a connection between the unconscious and conscious aspects of our minds. You can learn to recall your dreams as you wake up and even make notes about the symbolism that populates your dream world. Tell yourself before sleeping that you wish to remember your dreams at the moment of waking. The subconscious processes vast amounts of data and the conclusions are often revealed in dreams. This is a very powerful asset and extremely worthwhile in enhancing the quality of our lives, developing deeper understanding of ourselves and our circumstances, offering precise and timely insights into complex situations. Don’t neglect your dreams. It’s like having the latest Cray Supercomputer at your disposal and using an abacus. Dreams offer their highly personalised messages for your benefit and they are simply too important to neglect. Make a note to tell yourself to remember your dreams every night.

5. Fuel. Respecting your body’s need for the most natural nutrition

A number of highly successful individuals that I’ve worked with held their bodies in very high esteem. They treated their bodies with obvious respect and consideration. That meant that they took good care of themselves and that included their diet. In fact most of them preferred to eat quite simply and modestly but always in accordance with their body’s health requirements. It was one of the ways they stayed in shape and successfully dealt with the challenges that life would throw at them.

Food allergies create too many health problems today and that brings us to the important subject of food intolerance. The main culprits seem to be our old friends wheat and dairy products. The gluten in wheat and the casein in dairy products can produce a whole range of unpleasant reactions. We don’t have to be allergic to these substances. We only need to be mildly intolerant. The effects can accumulate over the course of our lifetime until the body begins to display stronger reactions, eventually leading to a range of avoidable health problems.

The answer is to cut gluten out of your diet for a couple of weeks and see if your health improves. The same approach can be adopted for dairy products. This simple experiment can lead to an overall reduction in allergies, reduce skin problems and inflammatory diseases, improve breathing and, amongst many other benefits, boost your energy levels. If you suspect that you have any food intolerances, take steps today to reduce your intake of potentially allergic foods and increase your well-being. If it’s true that we are what we eat, make today the day that you stop poisoning your body!

6. Positive Influences and the hidden power of our expectations.

Expectations shape the outcome of many events in our lives. Does that sound realistic to you? Do our expectations really influence the way that things happen in our lives? Well, we need to consider the fact that so much happens in our lives as a result of our interaction with other people. If we develop positive expectations in our relationships, this attitude shapes how people react to us. A positive expectation shapes our perception of the world around us. Our brains process data according to these patterns of expectation. When we adopt a positive frame of mind, people mostly react to us in a similarly positive way. This positive behaviour can influence the way people behave towards us and that in turn produces positive results. So our expectations can profoundly influence the outcomes in our lives. Your mission is to learn to expect positive results from friends, family, colleagues and situations. Learn to see positive potential in every condition and circumstance.

Programme your brain to expect really great, positive outcomes. The results can be both revealing and very pleasantly surprising. You might notice that your positive attitude becomes contagious, encouraging the people around you to share in the group spirit of achievement and success.

7. Rest ‘n’ Recovery. New habits to promote great sleep

Good sleep is a vital component of great health and a productive life but most of us haven’t developed the right habits before switching off the lights at night. We need to create a space between the day’s activities and our nightly rest period. This means no reading or television in the fifteen to twenty minutes before we go to sleep. Some experts recommend that we cut out all mental and visual stimulation for the three hours before we sleep but fifteen to twenty minutes should be enough time to switch off our mental activity and relax. That’s the essence of the technique. We switch off and relax. We relax our bodies, let go of all the stress points, breathe deeply and let the mind settle into a natural and relaxed state. This calms everything down and prepares us for rest, recovery and recuperation. You’ll notice the difference when you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face anything the day might bring. That’s a truly great way to improve the quality of your life and put you into a very positive frame of mind every single day.

8. Stretch It. A supple body support a flexible mind

Busy people, busy lives and not enough time to take care of everything. Does that sound like you? We are often asked if there is one thing that busy people can do to make the greatest contribution to health and well-being. Is there one simple answer to this complex question? From a physical perspective, the single most important contribution to your health, strength and well-being is flexibility. That’s right. Flexibility.

People often give up exercise because it becomes painful. Lack of movement leads to a degeneration in joint mobility, a decline in strength and a marked reduction in overall physical and mental conditioning. This decline in exercise often leads to weight gain and movement becomes even more uncomfortable. The answer is in flexibility. Careful, gentle, daily stretching will enhance mobility even in the presence of injuries. Flexibility boosts mobility. If you can move, you can exercise. If you exercise, you get stronger, fitter, and healthier. Exercise boosts brain functioning.

The key to all these benefits is flexibility. A little stretching every day is one of the best long term investments in your health that you can make. You don’t even have to stand up to stretch. You can make gentle, controlled moves while seated. Just make sure every move is pain free and let your natural potential to be a little more supple show up in your posture.

9. Creativity. Unleash the power of your Hidden Muse

Have you noticed how much healthier you look when you’ve been on holiday? Resting properly, relaxing, re-charging your batteries. If we consider the health benefits, we should be getting away for a break every month. Some productivity analysts would probably be horrified at the suggestion of more holidays but proper rest helps people to develop their creativity. Since holidays make such a welcome contribution to our well-being, we should find ways of bringing the holiday experience into our daily lives. This can be done by learning to release the stress that usually accompanies our daily working experience. Learning to relax more can help us to concentrate. Breathing more efficiently can stimulate our thought processes. Feeling well at work means fewer sick days. Unlocking our tension can boost productivity. So even if it isn’t practical to take more holidays, learn to relax and bring that holiday feeling into work every day. The difference will surprise you. The health benefits alone more than justify the exercise. It’s all in your mind, my friend. Use your mind to recreate that relaxed and energy-filled state of wellness that you bring back from holiday. And let every day rock!

10 Identity. Revealing the deeper sense of Self

Who are you? The fundamental problem we face as humans is that we really don’t know who we are. This identity crisis creates inner tension and conflicting thoughts and feelings. We’re conditioned from early childhood to play a series of roles that help us fit into family, society, culture and the work place. But do any of these roles really represent who we are? More importantly, if we really don’t know who we are, how can we really expect to know who anyone else is? If there is one task in our lives that can resolve the really important questions about our existence, it is surely to understand at the deepest level who we are. This is a personal quest for which no adequate words exist. It is a process of realisation and understanding that shifts our awareness from the conditioned reflexes of early childhood into a richer and more meaningful expression of self. Ultimately, it is in answering this most demanding of questions that our purpose can be fully discerned and expressed. Meditation is the simplest way to explore the answer. Take a few minutes to slow down, breathe gently and relax. Let go of all the distractions around you. Let go of all the thoughts and feelings that float across the screen of your inner attention. Relax. Eventually your thoughts will become quieter and you’ll notice a shift in your perception. This is the real beginning of meditation. And people who meditate live longer, healthier lives. Within the stillness you’ll find all the answers you were looking for.

Wealth, Success and Creating the Lifestyle

of your Dreams

Resources

References:

Aldous, R. (2013) Tony Ryan: Ireland’s Aviator. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.

Bannatyne, D. (2006) Anyone Can Do It: My Story. London: Orion Books.

Covey, S. (2013) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Cullen, B. (2005) Golden Apples: Six Simple Steps to Success. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

Fiverr. Online Marketing, Upgrade Your Business to the 21^st^ Century. Fiverr.com. https://www.fiverr.com/categories/online-marketinAmazon Digital Services, Inc.g/#layout=auto&page=1 [Accessed April 9, 2015].

Flynn, P. (n.d.) Getting Started with Smart Passive Income. The Smart Passive Income Blog. http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/passive-income-101/ [Accessed December 9, 2014].

Hansen, M. and Allen, V. (2002) The One Minute Millionaire: The Enlightened Way to Wealth. New York: Harmony Books.

Hillman R. (2015) 17 Reasons Why YOU Should Write a Book! Easy Kindle Riches.

Ilian, G. (2015) Warren Buffett: The Life and Business Lessons of Warren Buffett. Georgillian Publishers.

Kay, K. and Shipman, C. (2014) The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—-What Women Should Know. New York: HaperCollins Publishers.

Krogerus, M. and Tschäppeler, R. (2012) The DecisionBook: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Maisel, C. and Tennant, C. (2015) WordPress Profits: Sell More Products, Make More Money. Udemy. https://www.udemy.com/wordpress-for-ebook-authors-and-course-instructors/?dtcode=dsiOoEF3f8sK [Accessed May 15, 2015].

Mischel, W. (2014) The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Parry, B. (2014) The Skinny Delicious Diet (Your Smart Genetic Pathway to a Leaner New You (Your Permanent Weight Loss Program): Over 100 Paleo and Vegan Recipes. Parry Wellness Media.

Parry, G. (2015) The Seven Secrets of Totally Effective Weight Control (Free Yourself from Food Addiction Forever): Transform Your Eating Habits, Transform Your Life. Parry Wellness Media.

Parry, G. (2015)_] [_101 Habits for Highly Successful Living: Your Keys to Acquiring Excellent Health, Wealth and Happiness. Parry Wellness Media.

Parry, G. (2015) The 7 Secrets to Total Abundance (Unlimited Abundance is Within Your Grasp) Your Future Can Be Better: Your Personal Guide to Attaining Great Health, Incredible Wealth and Lasting Happiness. Parry Wellness Media.

Parry, G. (2014) 21 Days to Total Transformation (105 Daily Stress Management Tips) Feel Great, Look Great, Be Great!: Turbocharge Your Life and Wake Up with a Smile. Parry Wellness Media.

Parry, G. (2014) Sleep Well: 5 Steps to Smarter Sleep ( Sleep Your Way to Success): Feel Fantastic, Look Your Best, Release Your Inner Power. Parry Wellness Media.

Pinkman, A. (2015) Steve Jobs – The Story Of Success. 16 Unknown Before Tips From Steve Jobs You Can Use To Prosper In Your Own Life. Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.

Radcliffe, S. (2012) Leadership: Plain and Simple (2^nd^ Edition). London: Financial Times Publishing International.

Robbins, T. (2015) MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Robinson, R. (2014) Billionaire: How the Worlds Richest Men and Women Made Their Fortunes. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Sams, S. (2014) How to Reach Your Goals and Live Your Dreams This Year. Flipped Lifestyle. https://flippedlifestyle.com/podcast24/ [Accessed January 30, 2015].

Shin, L. (2014) How Pat Flynn Made His First $3 Million In Passive Income. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/09/12/how-pat-flynn-made-his-first-3-million-in-passive-income/ [Accessed December 9, 2014].

Southon, M. and West, C. (2008) The Beermat Entrepreneur (Revised Edition): Turn your good idea into a great business (2nd Edition). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Webb, G. (2015) PREPARE! PUBLISH! PROMOTE! Book 1: Producing Books for Growing Sales (Self Publish – Write Books – Market Books Successfully). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Webb, G. (2015) PREPARE! PUBLISH! PROMOTE! Book 2: Producing Books for Growing Sales (Self Publish – Write Books – Market Books Successfully). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Webb, G. (2014) You Can Be Debt Free: How to Get Out of Debt and Stay There. Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Wizard Martins C. (2014) [_ Awaken The Millionaire Within: Lessons from Carlos Wizard Martins- the professor who became a Forbes Billionaire. _] Amazon Digital Services.

Zhang, A. (2015) Getting Rich Is Glorious: Chinese Secrets to Business and Money. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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77 HABITS FOR HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL LIVING

By

Greg Parry PhD

BOOK 2

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The information provided in this book is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. This book is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your own physician. The publisher and author are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this book. References are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any websites or other sources. Readers should be aware that the websites listed in this book may change

Copyright © 2016 by Beran Parry

(OLW27042016)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publishers’ email address: [email protected]

  • Acknowledgements*

Writing can be a particularly challenging experience but the project was supported and encouraged by a bold and brave crew of enthusiasts who generously lent their time, expertise and creativity to the book and I’m grateful to each and every one of them.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The information provided in this book is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. This book is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your own physician. The publisher and author are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this book. References are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any websites or other sources. Readers should be aware that the websites listed in this book may change.

Copyright © 2016

(OLW25052016)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the Publisher via the email address: [email protected]

  • Acknowledgements*

Writing can be a particularly challenging experience but the project was supported and encouraged by a bold and brave crew of enthusiasts who generously lent their time, expertise and creativity to the book and I’m grateful to each and every one of them.

Making Money

at Work

By

[*Greg Parry PhD *]

About the Author

Initially I trained in the field of Corporate Psychology and Management, gaining a PhD along the way and spending most of my time driving commercial projects and delivering Motivational Training in a corporate environment. And there were catalysts for change that appeared quite unexpectedly. I’ve been privileged to sit at the feet of some quite extraordinary financial giants, individuals who carved out their success from the bare rock of their own determination and dogged persistence. These were highly motivated and inspiring people and it’s largely thanks to their advice and unwavering examples that I’ve been able to create a lifestyle that allows me to enjoy the kind of freedom that most people only dream about.

 

MY INSPIRATION

I have been extremely fortunate to work with a surprising number of self-made billionaires, individuals who were generous enough to share their experiences and their personal philosophy of success with me. Some of them were kind enough to mentor me during my earlier years and this generosity has prompted me to publish and share some of the jewels of their accumulated wisdom and add weight to the argument that success is not an accident.

 

As well as studying the architecture of material success, these individuals also dwelt on the importance of creating balance in life, of creating time to be with their families, to support great causes and to make a difference to the quality of peoples’ lives. They appreciated the freedom that their lifestyles had created for themselves and displayed a breath-taking lack of selfishness in promoting success wherever they found fertile ground in which their advice could take root. One of them described this spirit of generosity as a personal legacy, a way of ensuring that all of his hard-won lessons were not simply confined to the limits of his own life.

There’s a great deal of material in the marketplace today on the subject of success. Against this dense background of conflicting ideas and approaches, perhaps we should determine from the outset what success really entails.

 

I subscribe to my mentors’ philosophy of personal freedom, of creating sufficient wealth to live the way you want to live and to enjoy the gift of this life to the full. You’ll feel a lot better when you share your success with others too. You certainly don’t have to be a billionaire to achieve that level of freedom and personal choice or to make a difference to the lives of others. But you do need the appropriate attitude. You will need determination and you’ll probably need to make some adjustments to how you think, feel and behave. Letting go of old habits, shaking yourself loose from the grip of the past, learning to focus on a much brighter vision of the future – these are all components that will enhance your chances for success and improve the quality of your daily life at every level. It isn’t simply a question of how much cash you’ve stashed away. The picture’s bigger, more detailed, more encompassing and brighter than you might’ve thought possible. Success is certainly about measurable achievement but it also involves a stronger connections to the people around us. It involves a deep sense of peace within ourselves. It encapsulates the concept of personal acceptance. It permits us to choose appropriate goals and to follow the winding pathway to our destination with unbreakable confidence in our ability to get wherever we choose to go. And, if the seeds of wisdom have taken root, to enjoy the journey to the full.

.!

PREFACE

This manual has been forged in the furnaces of multi-national corporations, in hi-tech offices, at board room conferences, in places of learning, in government departments and in the company of some highly successful individuals, business superstars who fully understand and employ the mechanics of running a highly productive enterprise every single day. The many contributors to this book, who generously shared their knowledge and experiences with me, all believed in the principles of success and were willing to describe exactly what it takes to get results, to be a better manager, to be a more effective employee, an inspirational leader, a supportive team player and a resilient warrior on the road to magnificent achievement.

Whatever the size of the enterprise, the same principles apply. The scale of each business might vary enormously but the fundamental dynamics obtain. I was surprised to discover many years ago that the success principles that govern the running of a multi-billion dollar, global enterprise apply equally to a corner store. Surprised? It’s also true that many of the methods that we’re going to explore together in this manual will prove to be delightfully simple to employ yet they carry sufficient weight and punch to be powerfully effective.

I recognized during many of my discussions with hyper-successful individuals that some of the methods were astonishingly obvious – yet too frequently overlooked or ignored – often at great cost. Our pathways are often littered with the debris of our mistakes, our stubbornness and our lack of understanding. But there are always inspirational individuals whose examples can get us back on track, who show us how to grow in our chosen careers and who constantly challenge and expand our knowledge and perspective, helping us to navigate the twists and turns on the rocky pathways that lead to our goals.

We can learn from their mistakes. We can benefit from their wisdom. We can raise our game on the back of their hard-won knowledge. Invariably, many of these highly successful individuals knew the taste of failure and struggled against the odds. Their experience is simply priceless. We can distill their experiences into a collection of tried and tested principles and apply them every day to our commercial responsibilities.

And if you don’t want to become a billionaire or the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, that’s absolutely fine. Imagine the tragedy of rising to the traditionally accepted pinnacles of commercial success and then discovering that you hate the place! Fulfilling your personal goals and ambitions in the working environment is the purpose of this book. And if we can achieve those aims, then this exercise will have proved eminently worthwhile.

Whether you’re coping with the pressures of board room politics, dealing with the stresses of middle management responsibilities, struggling through the daily grind of being an employee, running your own business or considering the glittering allure of entrepreneurial endeavor, these principles can find grip and traction in your daily working life. They can make a difference. That’s exactly what they’re for. My aim is that you will benefit far more from these principles than you ever thought possible and that you will find success, fulfillment and ample reward for your labors. And live happily ever after!

Introduction

When you stop to consider how much time you spend at work and consider the enormous amount of effort that you’re obliged to invest in the process of holding down a job, you have to ask yourself if all the energy expended really is worthwhile. It’s a very revealing question because most people don’t even enjoy their work. They find the process of earning a living very stressful and it seems that most of us might be paying a high price for the pay check that turns up in our bank accounts once a week or month. Does that sound familiar to you? All that stress and pressure and uncertainty. Come on. Ask yourself – honestly – is it really worth it? And, more importantly, could it be better?

The fact is that most people are grateful just to have a job to go to. They surrender their independence, their personal happiness and wellbeing for a few Dollars and the dark, unspoken suspicion that this is probably as good as their lives can get. But I’d like to suggest in the strongest possible terms that this does not have to be the case. Work can surely provide countless opportunities to express your abilities, your deeper levels of creativity and your latent earning power. That’s right. Even in the structured realm of a corporate environment, there is still room to shine, to prosper and to break free of the bonds of servitude. It really is possible to earn more money, even during a recession when salary belts are being tightened. Becoming better at what you do and providing better value to your employer can attract a higher salary. Climbing the corporate ladder and taking a promotion is another perfectly valid way to increase income and expand your skill sets. Sharing your knowledge and experience as a mentor or manager can be very satisfying and most of us would agree that success should not come at the price of our personal happiness.

But the pathway to financial independence is most often paved by those who break free of the daily chore of working for others. The bigger bucks tend to be awarded to those who work for themselves. And the timing for budding entrepreneurs has never been better.

The revolution in Internet trading and on-line shopping has changed the way we do business forever. Now, you don’t need commercial premises, stock, staff, wages or overheads. All you need is a personal computer and the whole world is yours to explore, to find customers and clients, buyers and users, opportunity and profits. You don’t have to struggle with set-up costs because, in many cases, there aren’t any. Products and services are now being offered in an entirely new way and, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s a highly efficient way to make the most of the market. It’s a whole new world and people of all ages and backgrounds are participating and making a handsome living for themselves.

Whatever may be happening in the world of commerce, there are, however, still a number of important, fundamental principles that need to be observed. Whether you’re on somebody else’s payroll or working for yourself, business is still business, and the individuals who follow the principles of business success will always enjoy the advantage of a competitive edge that others may lack. That’s how you get ahead. You distinguish your abilities and contributions and you reap the rewards. The good news is that you don’t have to acquire thirty years of hard-won experience to understand and apply these principles. Those thirty years of trial and error usually involve a lot of unnecessary mistakes! Now you can sit at leisure in the comfort of your home and absorb the priceless lessons of fellow travellers, those highly successful business people and entrepreneurs whose shining examples illuminate the pathways to success. I wish you every success in your career but I also you wish the kind of fulfilment and satisfaction that makes the journey so completely worthwhile.

Chapter 1: Know Your Business

 

“If you don’t understand your business, you don’t know nuthin’!”

 

I remember so clearly being challenged by one of my mentors as he dramatically thumped the table that stood between us, demanding that I explain what I was trying to achieve with my bright, new, business plan.

I explained as well as I could and I remember only too well his reply, seasoned with a string of profanities and expletives, that amply demonstrated his dissatisfaction with my response. Sometimes, some of my mentors could be a little light on patience. Particularly in the face of the twin evils of stubbornness and below-par performance.

He finished his tirade with a classic admonition – “If you don’t understand your business, son, you don’t know nuthin’!” He was right, of course. It wasn’t a particularly comfortable conclusion but a perfect lesson in the importance of clarity.

My understanding of my business goal was indeed incomplete. My mentor blew up the plan before I’d taken my first step in the brilliant new venture. He was a self-made billionaire. He knew what he was talking about. Having him as a mentor could be brutally bruising to the ego but he was far more concerned with helping me to succeed than preserving me in a comfortable cloud of well-intentioned delusion.

You’ve got to get the foundations right. First principles create the foundations. It’s very tempting to soar off into the heights of fantasy and dwell on the excitement of a new project – and that can certainly provide a lot of fun –  but every business needs to be grounded with solid foundations, anchored with roots that are deeply embedded in the basic principles of commercial strength.

You need to know your business. You need to understand the conditions that apply to your business. You need to know where you’re heading. It might be my age, but I’ve lost count over the years of the number of enthusiastic individuals, righteously fired up with bright ideas and that initial flare of pre-launch excitement, who’ve leaped boldly – and blindly – into a new business venture without really knowing what they were doing. It should be easy for me to recognise them – I was nearly one of them!

When I was mentoring and advising embryonic entrepreneurs and established businesses alike, I would invariably ask the same questions. I wasn’t there to take a pick-axe to someone’s precious dreams. I was there to identify the threats and weaknesses that would de-rail the dream and turn their efforts to dust. My mission was to protect and preserve the dream and make sure that all the efforts expended on behalf of the goal were appropriately directed towards specific and clearly identified outcomes. It’s called clarity and, as I’m sure you already appreciate, it’s important. It’s one of those modest little words that can spell the difference between success and failure.

 

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”

Colin Powell

 

So our first objective is to create a sense of clarity, a clear understanding of what we’re trying to achieve. This applies as much to public services as it does to any commercial enterprise.

It’s often surprising to call for a pause in the daily business proceedings and ask ourselves – ‘Why are we doing this?’ It can be an uncomfortable question because, sadly for many managers, the answer isn’t always obvious. People follow protocols and procedures because that’s the way things are done – irrespective of the outcome.

Understanding your business or work and knowing what you’re trying to achieve will help to shape your activities. If you find yourself doing things that are not in alignment with what you’re trying to achieve – stop. Ask yourself why you’re spending your precious time doing something that isn’t advancing you towards your goals. Of course, if you don’t have a clearly defined goal, you probably won’t know if you’re heading in the right direction or not. We need to be able to state in the clearest possible terms what we’re aiming to achieve. This goes far beyond those cosy marketing distractions that turn up in the shape of a simple mission statement.

This is about summing up – in relatively few words – what you’re working to accomplish in language you can understand. That might not be as easy as it sounds but the exercise demands   your attention and your effort. Everything else must become subordinate to that clearly-stated goal. A clear sense of direction lends purpose to our daily activities. This applies equally to individuals as well as to large-scale organisations.

Here is a simple priority activity check list to make sure you have done your homework…

Research in your chosen field of enterprise is a fundamental aspect of knowing your business. Not only can it provide a snapshot of your business in a competitive context, it can also set the direction for future marketing activity. Even a few days gathering information about your marketplace can be of valuable assistance, especially if you are just getting started.   

Here are some ways you can begin to undertake research for yourself:

[*Step 1: Existing Information (Desk Research) *]

 

Start with available, published research information, sometimes accessible in urban business libraries. It can help you understand, for example, how big the overall market is, if it is growing or declining, what the trends are and what competitive products are available. Likely sources of information include:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. national market reports – e.g. Key Note and Mintel, which cover a wide variety of consumer and industrial topics, often with helpful market forecasts. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. trade press – you can easily identify if there is a suitable publication relevant to your market e.g. through Benns media guide or Willings press guide. Obtain copies; what topics are these publications writing about? 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Office for National Statistics  for social, economic, business and regional information, including population census. What demographic information do you have regarding your target audience?

Also take a look at:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. regional directories and publications – for local area/business information. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. national company directories – e.g. Kompass. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. individual company reports, catalogues and websites – for competitor information 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. exhibitions and trade fairs – for market trends. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. trade associations. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Chambers of Commerce.

Consider starting a simple filing system to collect information so that you will always have something to refer back to for inspiration.  Let your associates and even friends and family know which areas you are interested in, so that they can also act as your eyes and ears. If you can’t find something specific to your own marketplace, find out about related products or services that might impact upon your business. Keep speaking to your suppliers and distributors about market trends. They will also be planning ahead.

Step 2: Direct Customer Research

The first stage should help you understand more about relevant market trends and your competitive environment and even help you to profile ideal customer groups for targeting purposes. However, you are still likely to have some unanswered questions about your specific product or service. Stage two therefore is about talking directly to existing or potential customers. Assuming that your budget will not allow for an external research agency to sample your customer base, then you could try gathering feedback yourself. (Please be aware of data protection issues regarding use of databases and making contact; do not confuse research with sales calls).

Questionnaires and suggestion schemes provide an ideal opportunity for gathering relevant information (possibly involving a competition or other suitable incentive), or you may be able to speak to customers directly, especially if you work in a retail environment.

 

Typical areas to probe might include:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. identifying how new customers heard about you. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. understanding what specifically appeals to customers about your particular product/service and how important that is to them. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. objectively identifying your product/service’s strengths and weaknesses in customers’ eyes (and if there is a difference by customer group). 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. asking how they rate competitive services/brands. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. enabling customers to make suggestions for potential improvements/new products or services. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. inviting feedback as you develop new offers – an informal ‘customer panel’. 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. in a business to business environment,  clearly identify all the decision makers involved in the purchase and make sure you understand all their different needs (e.g. an IT product might involve an IT contact, several departmental heads, the Finance department and the MD).

Importantly, the feedback that you gather in the second stage should help you to pinpoint more precisely what makes your business different or indeed ‘unique‘ in the marketplace and what benefits your customers belief that you provide. 

Purpose creates the focus that determines our actions. Actions produce results. When an action takes us closer to our goal, we continue with that behaviour. When an action fails to bring us closer to our goals, we must stop and analyse our actions, consider what we’re doing in order to understand what isn’t working. 

Too often we assume that everybody understands their business. Even at board level. So it’s fun to explore that assumption and get people to write down their mission, their game plan, their responsibilities and their accountabilities. We need to be honest here and it’s fair to state that the majority fall far short of the required levels of understanding to be totally effective in their jobs.

Massive organizations with vast amounts of experience still manage to slip blindly off their tracks and tumble disastrously  - with all the appropriate shock and indignation - down the slippery slope of financial loss and falling share prices. Governments make weak decisions and cause harm to their economies and to the welfare of their citizens. How can that happen? How is it possible?

My mentors would usually argue that the decision makers had taken their eye off the ball. That they didn’t understand their businesses well enough to grasp the potential dangers and shifts in fluctuating economic conditions. Understanding your business creates the overview that places your activities accurately and precisely in the context of your market.

Understanding your job and recognizing the difference your efforts make to the big picture is essential for progress. You might be exactly the right person to suggest a better way of doing your job. You might be that one individual who spots the obvious way to save money and introduce better cost efficiencies to the old working practices and protocols.

It’s part of the evolutionary process and every business is obliged to become more efficient, less wasteful, more cost-effective. It’s part of the package of commercial survival and, if you’re not focused on becoming a better organization, you can safely bet that your competitors will be striving for the very excellence that will one day outperform you and drive you into the dust.

So the first pillar on the road to commercial success is knowledge. You’re smart so you might want to call it ‘understanding’. Choose the word that best describes your comprehensive appreciation of your role and your business. You don’t have to tattoo the word across your forehead to remind you of its importance but you do need to keep its meaning in front of you at all times. 

 

Know Thy Business

 

Success is not an accident. It’s a product of the regular application of intelligent effort. If you don’t fully understand your business, you will create weaknesses and fractures that could destroy your dream when the first storm blows up. And life always manages to deliver storms at the least convenient moments. Knowing your job, your company, your business or your organisation will identify the dangers and imbalances before they unseat you.

Knowledge is power, my friend. Knowledge is power. Many companies ride high on the crests of opportunity but are completely unprepared for the inevitable sea changes that turn the tide and change the prevailing market conditions in a heartbeat.

Knowing and understanding your business will prepare you to locate your operation more effectively and even more profitably within your market place. When changes occur – as they inevitably do – the movements can be understood in the broader context of your well-established business awareness. Then you will find it that much easier to identify and adopt alternative strategies. The changes will be more meaningful than threatening. You might even prosper on the back of a switch in market conditions. It has been known!

I’m going to ask you to think about a few things and then write down your answers. It’s always helpful to have a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil on hand to help you work out what you think and, more importantly, what you believe. There’s something very powerful about writing things down and I’m recommending the pen and paper option because they are more engaging for this kind of exercise than a computer keyboard. You can always copy the results onto your laptop later to feed your addiction to all things digital.

We’re going to start by writing down a short description of what your business does.

If you’re harboring dreams of starting a business, this is the perfect moment to lend some clarity to the enterprise before you even get under way. Write down what the business does or what it is supposed to do. This is a critical part of the process. If you skip over it, you’ll take away an important opportunity to build stronger foundations in your business plan.

I once had the dubious honour of knowing a cheerless and unsmiling financial director whose favourite question to the unsuspecting was ‘What do Ford make?’ The innocent response was usually something like ‘Erm, motor cars?’ The finance guy would sigh deeply as if his entire life was doomed to be afflicted by stupid people and reply ‘No, you idiot. They do not make cars. They make money’. Having met the guy on several, highly unproductive occasions, I have to confess that I wouldn’t have trusted him to mentor a goldfish.

So let’s be clear. Tricky questions and clever answers are not the currency of this important exercise about the fundamental nature of your business. What does your business do? Or what do you intend for your business to do? A lot of commercial effort gets diluted by chasing things that are not related to the main source of your profitability or effectiveness. 

We’ll discuss that particularly thorny issue in depth a little later. Right now we’re looking for a simple sentence that describes what your business has been created to achieve. Once again, take your time. Think about your answer. The more effort you put into this simple exercise, the easier things will become in the future. Aim for a simple statement that sums up what the business or organisation is intended for.

Once upon a time, I worked this exercise on a group of around fifty executives who worked within the same organisation. And they managed to produce around fifty different answers. I didn’t think they could be so creative with such a simple question but it’s easy to see how people can sleepwalk through their working lives following ideas and principles that are largely unconnected to the business’s prime purpose. No wonder that particular company was struggling. It was a classic case of a riderless horse, careering wildly and lacking direction.

But let me dwell a little longer on the importance of creating a meaningful description of your business purpose. You do not need a mission statement here. I’ve seen far too many of those shiny little marketing gimmicks and most of them are utterly meaningless. The thought process that produces the statement of intent encourages you to think things through a little more thoroughly. That will help you to narrow down areas in the future that might turn out to be unnecessary or unproductive activities.

Knowing what your business is supposed to do is the starting point and, unlike the guesses of those fifty executives in the ailing company, your statement has to reflect the commercial purpose that justifies the business’s existence in the first place. And you are not obliged to follow the herd either. You can dare to be different if your business warrants some degree of originality. And a splash of originality will serve to distinguish your business from the rest of the herd.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”

*
p={color:#000;}. Mark Twain

 

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to work in a really effective commercial environment, you’ll know that this brand of clarity can produce a more questioning approach to running the business. If you’re doing something that doesn’t make sense, it’s great to ask why. And keep asking until someone can either explain it or change it. You can only ask those questions if you understand your business. It’s a behaviour that was very much a characteristic of my extremely successful mentors: they would constantly question things that they didn’t understand. If something didn’t make sense they’d get rid of it. Because they didn’t believe in doing anything, ever, that didn’t make sense.

Here is a more detailed way to really describe your business – use this formula and make sure you think carefully before answering the questions

How to Describe Your Business

Indentify Your Type of Business

Find the business category listed below that most closely matches your business. You’ll use the description that follows as a reference when you describe your own business.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Retail. Retail businesses buy merchandise from a variety of wholesalers and sell it directly to consumers. Supermarkets, mail-order catalog merchants, computer stores, dress shops, department stores, and convenience marts are all retailers.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Wholesale. Wholesalers buy merchandise from manufacturers or brokers and resell the goods to retailers.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Service. People with a particular skill sell it to consumers or to other businesses, depending on the skill in quetion.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Manufacturing. Manufacturers assemble components or process raw materials into products for consumers or other businesses.

Project development. Developers create and finis a salable commodity by assembling resources for a one time project.

Write a Problem Statement

Successful businesses share a common attribute: They do something useful for their customers. One way to determine what is useful for your customer is to identify and describe the problem that your business will solve. For example, a window washing service solves customers’ problems of wanting to clean windows but lacking either the time or physical ability to clean windows themselves. If you accurately understand your customer’s problems and needs, your business will have a much greater chance of success.

Describe Your Business Operations

Next, describe how your business will solve your customers’ problem. Take your time and aim to do a thorough job. It’s very likely that the first time you attempt this task, questions will occur to you that you didn’t consider previously. If so, determine a suitable response and rewrite your description. The important thing is not how long it takes to do this, but that you end up with a realistic, well-thought-out business description. After all, it’s cheaper to answer questions and solve problems on paper that it is to fix your problems with real money.

Your business description should explain exactly what you will provide for the customer as well as what you’ll exclude. Each of the choices you make in your business description will affect the amount of money you’ll need to start or expand and how much sales revenue you can expect.

Consider the following questions when writing your business description. These questions apply to most small businesses. Feel free to skip any questions that don’t apply to you.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What problem do I solve for my customers? ( Answer this question in detail above.)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Who is my typical (target) customer?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. How will I communicate with my target customer?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. What products and/or services will I provide? Are there any products or services my customers may expect me to provide that I don’t plan to provide?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Where will my business be located?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Where will I but the products I need?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. What hours will I operate?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Who will work for me, and how will they be paid?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Who will handle critical tasks such as selling, ordering, bookkeeping, marketing, and shipping?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. How will I advertise and promote my business?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. What are the competition’s strengths and weaknesses?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. How am I different from the competition as seen through the eyes of my customers? (Make sure that you answer this question from a customer’s perspective and not from an owner’s point of view.)

Summary

 

Know your business thoroughly.

What it its purpose?

Why are you in this business or organisation?

How do you need to be fully informed and up to date in your chosen field?

Describe your responsibilities at work.

What difference does your contribution make?

What do you do in your work that you believe is unnecessary?

Why is it necessary?

Write down all of your answers and keep them in a file for future reference.

Chapter 2: Clarify your objectives

 

I’ve been in roomfuls of tired and jaded managers who looked as if they would lose the will to live and expire on the spot if they had to repeat their business objectives to me just one more time. And I understand exactly how they felt. I’d been there myself all too often. But their answers were often so deeply stamped with the company’s favourite board room mantras that they’d lost all meaning. The relevance of the statements had evaporated long ago, leaving an empty husk of repeated phrases that betrayed an obvious lack of understanding. My job was to find that missing ingredient and get everyone heading meaningfully in the right direction again.

 

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everyone from the chairman on down by spending his money somewhere else”

*
p={color:#000;}. Sam Walton

 

You now have a statement that describes what your business or organisation is supposed to do. The next question is also an essential component in creating strong foundations for future success. Can you guess what it is? It’s easy. The question is – Why? Why do you have these objectives or purposes? What’s the point? What are you trying to achieve?

This is your opportunity to clarify your objectives. You’ve got a purpose. Well done. That’s a great starting point on the road to success. But now you need to think about what you’re trying to achieve. This can be tricky so take your time. I do not want to play with the language here but purpose and objective might not be the same thing. The purpose might represent a destination, a place you want to go. The objective is what happens when you get there. It’s the justification for the journey. For example, you have a business that, for whatever reasons you’ve chosen, sells things. Great. So you’re in the business of selling cute, little, plastic gizmos. But why? Your answer might be blindingly obvious.

Your answer might be refreshingly simple. But you need an answer that makes complete sense to you. You need to know exactly why you’ve decided to sell these particular items and to understand what your objectives are. Clarity is power. Remember? So let’s hit that legal pad and write down the answer. Work on it. Think about it. Put some effort into the task. Give your brain some resistance exercises to work through here. 

I once had the opportunity to run through a very ambitious business plan with a very tough and demanding mentor who stopped me halfway through my presentation with an imperious wave of his cigar. He looked at me and said simply ‘Why?’ Please bear in mind that this was a major gig for me. The risks were as great as the potential rewards.

Either I’d make a very tidy fortune or I’d be blown up without a trace. And he wanted to know why I was willing to take such an enormous risk. Now I loved the plan. I’d been working through the details for months to minimise the downside. It could really work.

My mentor shook his head slowly and asked again ‘Why?’. He wanted me to explain what was in it for me. Beyond the massive capital payoff. Why did I really want to do it? You see? You really need to have all of your objectives clearly defined. And the person you’re probably going to be answerable to is – yourself. So let’s get those objectives nailed down.

If you’re in a commercial environment, don’t be afraid to state the financial benefits of achieving success. But only if the financial rewards form part of the reason for aiming for success in the first place. What motivates one person to make an extraordinary effort to achieve success might be completely meaningless to another.

Happily, objectives are usually measurable. That’s another reason for having them. They help you to keep score. You can see at a glance how you’re measuring up against your clearly stated objectives. You can evaluate your efforts more objectively and see more easily if your approach is working. Or not. If things are not working, rather than blindly repeating the same old efforts, you can make adjustments to your course – or to your methods – to bring you back on track.

Sometimes your objectives change too. You set off boldly with a clearly defined description of your business and a precise statement of your objectives. And then circumstances change. It happens. That’s why it’s very helpful to check your objectives at least once every month to determine if they’re still relevant to your needs and ambitions.

These statements and descriptions are not chains to bind you. They’re honed and sharpened precision instruments to assist you in achieving success. When the wind changes and the business environment shifts, your business might need to adapt. Having a fresh description that matches your new direction is essential. Sometimes we realise that the objectives are no longer as appealing as they used to be. That’s a perfect moment to re-calibrate your objectives and aim for something more worthwhile, something that will motivate you to make the right effort to get you exactly where you want to go. 

 

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable”

*
p={color:#000;}. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

 

Once you’re comfortable with your business description and your list of objectives, it’s time to add the next magical ingredient to the formula. And that’s the addition of a suitable time frame. Everyone knows that a wish is fairly meaningless until it’s defined and structured within a time frame. And then, as if by magic, it becomes a goal.

The time frame demands measurements and answers. I’ve advised some very enthusiastic individuals whose principle goal was to make a lot of money. And that’s fine. But when I pinned them down and extracted a time frame, they’d become uncomfortable, as if I were trying to impose restrictions on their dreams. But someone had to supply the voice of reason and demand a means to measure the project on a daily basis. Time frames call us to account. Did we deliver on the deadline or not? It’s as simple as that. Knowing how you got to the deadline – or why you missed it – provides essential, analytical tools that show you how to be successful, how to become more efficient, how to avoid the costly mistakes that can de-rail a project right from the start.

Some of the more creative individuals I’ve worked with were decidedly uncomfortable with schedules, time lines and deadlines. But I’ve learned that, overall, structure wins the day.

Being well organised saves so much time. Knowing where all the important information can be found. Having key data, contacts, files and accounts immediately to hand. Knowing what you’re going to do every day, rather than doing whatever you feel like, ensures that the important tasks are addressed. And those tasks are important because you’ve identified them as being relevant to your project.

So you do them not because you necessarily enjoy doing them, but because they have to be done. It’s the kind of professional discipline that works wonders in any business, especially when the particular tasks have been recognised as making a valid contribution to the purpose, success and objectives of the enterprise.

One of the criticisms of this kind of awareness, a comment I’ve heard on more than a few occasions, is that it’s just too time consuming when everyone’s more than busy enough with their daily workload. And that’s my point.

If we perform tasks just for the sake of moving items off our To Do lists, we don’t always stop to consider whether those items are worth our time and effort in the first place. By stripping away the unessential tasks, we create more time and space to focus on the more important items, the activities that deliver the results we’re aiming for.

I vividly recall an occasion when I visited a factory and was walking through the invoicing department. This was in the good old days of manual document processing and I was fascinated by the rubber stamps being slammed down onto various pieces of paper. I was warned with a smile that I mustn’t put my hand on a certain individual’s desk – because, out of instinct, he’d just rubber stamp it! I returned to the invoicing department at the end of their working day and watched that rubber stamp man pile up a stack of files to take home with him.

I asked him what he was doing and he said he had to keep up with the workload. So every evening, he’d have supper, sit in front of his TV, and rubber stamp invoices til bedtime. That was his life and it was one of the sadder scenes that I can remember from my evaluation of the company’s working methods. It really is very easy to become trapped in a cycle of behaviour that makes very little contribution to the organisation’s success. And it takes a certain degree of courage to shake off the familiar, old, comfortable habits that we mistake for being useful or important.

Once you have a clear set of objectives, you might want to keep a copy on a neatly printed card with you in your purse or wallet. It’s a subtle reminder of why you’re doing whatever it is you’re engaged in. Some creative individuals laminate their objectives and carry them round like a credit card that carries within it the potential for unlimited spending power and wealth. The ultimate, personal charge card, based on sustainable, repeatable success.

Here are some goal and objective setting ideas

Most goals are designed to create positive outcomes that you want your business to achieve, but sometimes you also want to set goals which will avoid potential pitfalls and eliminate unnecessary weaknesses. To help you to develop goals that cover all the relevant areas, feel free use the acronym ACES as you work through the following key questions:

*
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Achieve: What do you want to attain in the future?

*
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Conserve: What do you want to retain or hang on to?

*
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Eliminate: What do you want to get rid of?

*
p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Steer clear: What do you want to avoid?

Here are some examples to help you work out your own set of priorities:

Summary

 

Identify and list your business objectives.

Take time to understand why these are your objectives. Write down your answers.

What’s your time frame for achieving your next major goal?

What is your daily goal? Write it down and display it where you can see it.

Purpose creates focus. 

Your objectives shape your actions.

Make a list of everything you to do to achieve your goal.

Keep a copy of your objectives with you all the time.

Chapter 3: State Your Mission

 

Mediocrity is the curse of many organisations. We accept poor standards of effort, behaviour and achievement and then the whole company suffers. Standards slip, usually and unforgivably at the higher end of the pay scale, and the example soon cascades down the company’s hierarchy until every segment of the operation is infected.

This is one of the critical areas of effective leadership that we’ll address a little later on but how do we get seriously fired up and ferociously enthusiastic to overcome our own inertia and the challenges around us? How can we ensure that we remain immune to the cynicism and negativity that permeates so many organisations today?

The answer might be found in the theories of Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist whose influences are still being interpreted and applied today, even though he died back in 1970. He is celebrated for creating, amongst many other ideas, the concept of the hierarchy of needs. In short, after attending to the basic needs of comfort and survival, humans could then aspire to the goal of self-actualisation. This idea was translated into the ‘pyramid of needs’, which displayed the highest level of human motivation at the top of the pyramid and was conceived as the drive that comes from having a powerful sense of mission. Examples were often quoted of people whose overwhelming sense of mission endowed them with an unstoppable sense of purpose.

They could face unlimited opposition, they could be refused and rejected countless times, they could be beaten back and driven down – but they just kept driving towards their goal. It certainly doesn’t imply a violent inclination to destroy the opposition. It suggests a solid and unshakable determination to fulfill the mission. Whatever that mission may be. In any business, there will countless times when you have to face rejection and the inevitable ‘No’ that rejects your offer or proposal. Maslow’s insights converted every ‘No’ into a simple test of your belief system. If you believe in the value of what you’re doing or offering, you just keep coming back. Interesting, eh?

You might not have this sense of mission right now and that’s fine. I don’t want you to worry about it. It isn’t something you can fake along with those nasty, $30 counterfeit Rolexes that people wear to impress their drinking buddies. But if you find that unmistakable sense of mission in your work and learn to engage it, you will enhance your personal drive and commitment by a huge margin. It’s a genuine force multiplier.

As an academic observation, Professor Maslow placed the acquisition of money as a motivator quite low on his pyramid of needs. Being of service to others ranked much higher as a motivator than grubbing for cash. That is not intended to denigrate money in any way, shape or form. But if we understand the dynamics of our own, personal motivation, we’ll know that making a positive difference to the quality of other peoples’ lives tends to offer a more enduring and positive sense of motivation than simply making more money. Of course, you can be of tremendous help and service to others and still make an absolute fortune. The ideas are by no means mutually exclusive.

Whilst we’ve got Prof. Maslow on the agenda, I’d like to mention another of his favourite sayings. It’s one that I’ve always liked. He said

‘If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’.

Whenever I addressed the subject of mission in a corporate meeting, most people would  just roll their eyes and sigh deeply and expect another of those cheesy marketing exercises in creating a handy, immediately disposable, mission statement. That is not the purpose of discovering a sense of mission.

This really is a powerful concept. I have seen remarkable changes in performance after sharing sales training that developed a sense of mission. A sales exec with a real sense of mission is truly a force to behold. They have the irresistible power of belief. And that belief gets translated into sales. Lots and lots of sales. Never ever under-estimate the power of mission. If you choose a product or service for your business that really gets you fired up because it feels that – directly or indirectly – you’re going to make a positive difference to the world, you might just start to sense the raw presence of mission that will lift you all the way to the top.

“In the business world everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience and the cash will come later”

*
p={color:#000;}. Harold S Geneen

Your mission is about getting really clear and staying really focused. It provides your company with direction. It helps you find the right customers…your most profitable customers. I call this your internal branding. Your mission is something that you should write and post in places where every single member of your staff can see it. As the leader of your company, look at your mission often during the day. Remind yourself of it. Then live it and breathe it. Every. single. day.

Your mission statement should be the driving force behind everything that your team does within your company, and externally with prospects, customers, vendors, and associates. It also shapes your internal corporate culture.

One of the reasons your team needs this anchor is to stay on track. It is so easy for business professionals to get bogged down in the day-to-day of our business lives. We get our to-do list tunnel vision and lose sight of the big vision. Your mission statement always reminds each person in your company of your overarching raison d’etre…where you are going…what you are doing…and why you are doing it.

How to Develop Your Mission Statement

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To develop your mission, here are some questions to ask:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What do we do?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For whom do we do it?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why do we serve our clients in the way that we do?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. How do we serve our clients in the way that we do?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why are we in this industry?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why did we start this business?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What image of our business do we want to convey?

When writing your mission statement, remember to choose the most vibrant, exciting words you can find. Get really clear about your passion and values for operating your unique business. Create dynamic, visual images that inspire you to take action. Describe your purpose using unusual, colourful verbs and adjectives to add spice to your statements. Add exciting words like “passion,” “sizzle,” “outrageous,” “fun,” and “marvel” to add a measure of zest to your statement. Keep your mission statement fairly short and make sure that it feels really good when you read it and say it loud. The aim is to capture the essence of your business’s goals and the philosophies that underlie them. It signals to your customers what your business is all about. It successfully conveys the message to employees, suppliers and the community at large.

[_“To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a third metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and it consists of four pillars: _]

well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.”

Arianna Huffington

Summary

 

What is blocking you from achieving more success in your life?

How strong is your belief in yourself?

What is the strongest motivator in your work right now?

Have you ever experienced a sense of tenacious resolve? What caused it?

How could you re-frame your work from the perspective of making a difference to others?

What could give you an empowering sense of purpose and mission?

Write down all of your answers and keep them on file.

Chapter 4: Understand the Skills You Need to be Successful

 

If you had to make a list of everything you needed to be successful, what would you put at the top? What’s the one ingredient that you feel is missing from your repertoire of skills that would transform your life and catapult you to the top of the ladder of success? I want you to think about this carefully because the rational process of analysing any perceived deficiencies often sheds light on things that you may already know. Isn’t that the true art of business consultancy? To step inside a company and tell them exactly what they already know? Well, not really, but you get the idea. You examine your needs objectively and observe the conclusions calmly and dispassionately and, suddenly, you can see precisely what might be missing. I encourage people to develop their education and training all the time. These are assets that are never complete. The great news is that there an absolute wealth of material on the Internet that you can study, often for free, that will enhance your skills and fill in any gaps in your professional knowledge. All you have to do is identify what you need and begin.

After working with businesses and entrepreneurs from around the globe, I would suggest that there are really just two skills that will effectively determine your success and the success of your business. You might already have guessed what they are. We are referring to:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Resilience

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Resourcefulness

Yes, you sometimes have to be willing to be uncomfortable, you need to have a great marketing plan and you must be prepared to promote yourself. But, once you’ve mastered these challenges, the skills of resilience and resourcefulness (and your willingness to practice them) are some of the key ingredients that will truly determine your success.

SKILL #1 — Resilience

Resilience is the capacity to suffer a fall, get back up, and continue to push towards your chosen goal.

While we all wish we could predict the success of our business, it’s impossible to accurately forecast the seemingly random twists and turns you’ll encounter along your entrepreneurial journey.

Some days you’ll be on the top of the world and feel like you’ve got everything worked out.

Then, the next day, you’ll find out that you don’t know as much as you thought you did and you’ll get knocked to the ground. Ouch!

It’s how you deal with the emotional roller coaster and your willingness to get back up every time you fail that will ultimately determine your success.

Your entrepreneurial journey only has three distinct options:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You’re successful. – This is what we all want.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You fail, but you get back. – This is where resilience comes into play.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You fail and you quit. – You never hear about these people, but there are countless numbers of them.

Of course, there will be situations that set you back because of a lack of planning or inadequate financial resources – which is typically caused by a lack of planning – but, unless you throw in the towel and say, “Hey, this roller coaster isn’t for me,” then it isn’t over yet; you haven’t really given yourself the opportunity to succeed and you absolutely have to keep on going.

SKILL #2 — Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is your ability to know and understand precisely where you are and take the first important step towards your goal.

It’s true that the path may not always be clear but, by simply taking the first step, you’ll have a different vantage point which will allow you to see if the destination you are heading towards is really the one you want.

Within five minutes of talking with most entrepreneurs, I can usually tell how resourceful they are just by the things that they choose to talk about.

Do they focus on the opportunities in front of them? Or do they talk about the setbacks and/or their past successes?

It’s the ones who keep their eye on where they are NOW and where they want to go, and their willingness to take the first step, that are inevitably going to be successful.

You can’t win a race by talking about the last gold medal you won…. or should have won.

If you focus on where you are now and where you want to go, you’ll be at your destination in no time.

“If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business “

*
p={color:#000;}. B.S.Forbes

 

I’ve benefited enormously from the personal mentorship of several quite extraordinary individuals, each one a self-made billionaire, people whose practical knowledge and experience made their advice simply priceless. Occasionally they would encourage me to study a new and unfamiliar area, to open my mind to completely new disciplines, to give my mind some resistance training, to look for patterns around me that were often reflected in the subjects that I was urged to absorb. The reality is that we never stop learning. Your mind is one of the most powerful assets that you possess. So put it to work. Give it some push-ups. Give it some weight-training. Make it a little more flexible.

It’s time to break out the legal pad again and make a list of all the skills that you feel you need to be more successful. Perhaps you’ll identify a new skill set. Perhaps you’ll acknowledge that some of your existing skills either need refreshing or an upgrade. It’s all about the drive for constant improvement.

Skills can be learned and, as I’ve just suggested, you’ll find more information and skills training on the Internet than you could possibly absorb in a lifetime. Learning a new skill is a great starting point. But then you need to practise it in order to develop a degree of competence or mastery that will lift your efforts to the next level of success.

But there are other, less obvious skills and attitudes that can also play an important role in your quest for commercial success. Having met and worked with a collection of uniquely inspiring individuals, I can understand the importance of having a powerful and successful role model to guide your behaviour. Before I experienced the privilege of being mentored by a series of billionaires, I relied on the biographies of extraordinary individuals to find my own examples of personal inspiration.

Classical history echoed with tales of greatness and the more modern examples described the attitudes and philosophies that led to commercial triumph in the face of impossible odds and unyielding adversity. So, you don’t need a massively successful super-player to guide, inspire and mentor you. History is overflowing with examples that can lift you out of the mediocrity of the everyday world and remind you that the potential for greatness is within everybody. Without exception. It was a frequently repeated message from my mentors that spoke of the real possibilities that lie dormant within all of us.

This looks like a good time for you to choose a role model for your future success. Think of someone who represents not who you’d like to be so much as how you you’d like to be. There’s a difference. Being who you are is a vital component in the great scheme of life. Pretending to be someone else is a sad denial of the greatness within you. The examples of extraordinary people can help us to discover that same potential within ourselves. Their commitment, resolve and tenacity are the foundations of extraordinary achievement and that’s what we’re seeking to emulate. Dressing and strutting around the office like Napoleon is more likely to get you an interview with a sympathetic psychiatrist than an offer of a Board position, Your Majesty. 

I want to make a short digression here to focus on another element in the formula for creating real success for yourself. Whilst we’re discussing the importance of understanding your business and your objectives and your skills sets and finding a suitable role model to inspire your efforts, you might also benefit from gaining a better understanding of who you really are.

People can suffer enormous amounts of pressure from family, from society and from peer groups to follow a specific career path, regardless of what that individual might want for themselves. Being successful is fine. But if you’re anything like a couple of friends of mine, who’ve both been incredibly successful in the field of law, you’ll understand the predicament of living inside the comfort of a gilded cage. Neither of these highly talented men wanted to study law – but their parents insisted.

The problem is that they’re very good at what they do and that level of competence generates large amounts of revenue, paying for their homes and their Bentleys, the kids’ private education, the wine cellars and the art – but, in the privacy of a relaxed and frank conversation, both admitted that behind their highly polished exterior facades – they detested their work.

Their colleagues would never suspect that they were anything less than totally committed to their careers. Yet they both feel trapped and would love to have the freedom to follow the careers they secretly dreamed of pursuing in their teens – before mom and dad applied the pressure to get them into the best law schools. I remarked to both of them that they would’ve been successful at whatever they’d tried. Small consolation for decades of hidden resentment and the occasional, muted outbursts of rebellion!

Despite their success, they felt that their lives were missing something intangible yet important. We usually refer to it as self-expression and it’s a deep and refreshing wellspring to drink from. We’re back with Abraham Maslow again because he encouraged everyone to aim for what he referred to as self-actualisation. He obviously had a very important and valid point to make.

So it’s important to understand who you are and why you’re doing whatever it is that you’re doing to earn a living. I believe that life is simply too precious to waste on a pathway that someone else – probably with the best of intentions – has chosen for you.

Are you following your dream? Or are you trying to fulfill someone else’s vision of who you should try to be? Do you even have a dream? Have you any idea where you’re going or why the destination is relevant? Take a minute or two to think about it. Make a note of your answer. If you don’t have an answer, even after the previous exercises, we need to do some work to add a measure of purposeful intent to your life. Because if you’re drifting, we need to drop anchor for a while and work out exactly where you want to go. And that moment of decision is right now.

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best”

*
p={color:#000;}. Theodore Isaac Rubin

 

For the rudderless drifters – it’s time to chart a new course.

If you’re sure about who you are and what you’re doing, if you’re imbued with a powerful sense of purpose and know where you’re going and why you’ve chosen your particular destination, feel free to skip the next section. Although if you have anyone around you who might be showing signs of drifting along with the current, you might want to pick up on these techniques and share them whenever you feel the occasion merits an intervention!

Here’s an idea that you might like to note down somewhere special and keep handy for the rest of your life. 

The destination is infinitely more important than the pathway that gets you there

Or “Having a clearly defined goal or destination is much more relevant than the way you choose to get you there”. Same thing. But you might be shaking your head at this point and wondering what it means because the idea probably contradicts your usual way of seeing the world. No problem. Here’s how life really works.

Take a deep breath. You spend most of your life doing the same things, thinking the same thoughts and feeling the old familiar feelings. This is your pathway. This is how you get things done, regardless of the outcome. And over time it sets in concrete. Sometimes you stop and take a look around and ask yourself how you ended up where you are – because where you are is not where you thought you wanted to be.

This is how countless millions of people live their lives. The pathway is rigidly fixed and rarely leads to anything remotely worthwhile. So what’s the alternative? That’s easy! You need a truly worthwhile destination. You need a personal goal that will fire you up, switch on your creativity, scare the nay-sayers and motivate you to take the right steps. Because as soon as you have a truly magnificent goal, you can begin to measure where you are precisely in terms of that destination.

If your pathway is not leading towards your goal – change the pathway. It is completely normal in life to be off track most of the time. The pathway is rarely straight. It twists and turns. That’s why you’ve got your personal goal – your shining new personal map reference – to show you exactly when you’re heading in the right direction or when you’re off course. Now your pathway is drawn in the sand. It can change any time, whenever you recognise the need for a course adjustment. Your goal is set in concrete, visualised in perfect, crystalline detail, drawing you closer and closer every single day. That’s why you have to know what your want. Otherwise you’ll pause one day on the dusty conveyor belt of your life and wonder why things didn’t work out the way you expected. But without a clearly defined set of goals for your life, what did you really expect? 

Take your time here. We don’t need to rush. Ask yourself what you really want. If you’re still not sure, it’s sometimes helpful to roll a really scary question across the table to get your creativity back in the game. So here goes – suppose you only had six months left to live? I know. I apologise. I didn’t mean to scare the pants off you there. But if you only had six months left, what you be doing with the precious time that remained? Probably something very different to the way you’re living your life right now, right? And that’s the point.

Once you grasp how precious your life is, once you get a hint that things really can be so much better, once you begin to suspect that your options are much wider than you ever suspected – you can start to nail down some pretty impressive goals for yourself and begin to work out the best steps to get you started. We have a tendency to drift through life as if we were immortal, constantly postponing the moments of decision and avoiding the discomfort of change. But life is calling out to the greatness within you. Life is waiting for you to share in its magnificence. Don’t waste another day. Don’t waste another moment. 

 

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”

*
p={color:#000;}. Dale Carnegie

 

Knowing the destination is as important for an individual as it is for a company or an organisation. Establishing clearly defined goals creates focus. Clarity of purpose allows for some great questions. You can ask yourself whether your activities are contributing towards the corporate goals. Or not. Companies are notorious for being wasteful of resources. People do things because that’s what they’ve been told to do and their performance is then measured against those instructions. Whether those activities are really supportive of the company’s goals and performance is highly questionable. When an organisation gets into trouble and a company doctor steps in to evaluate the ailing patient, one of the first symptoms of commercial sickness that shows up is a lack of clarity and direction. One of my dear mentors would inform the board of a struggling organisation that they were killing their business and that they would need to subscribe to some radical measures if recovery were going to be possible. During private interviews, he would make it clear that any board member who did not support the recovery measures one hundred percent would be fired.

Turning around ailing businesses made him a billionaire. On one occasion my mentor was confronted by a CEO’s indignant protests because he’d fired a long-standing but stubborn board member who was also a close personal friend of the CEO. My mentor famously stated “I don’t care if your buddy’s been endorsed by the Lord God Almighty Himself. He’s threatening the jobs of thousands of hardworking people in this company and he’s ready to take you and the whole damn business all the way down to Hell in a hay basket. He is gone and you are fee to join him any time you like!” That kind of story traveled fast and was picked up and repeated all the way down to the production lines.

With outstanding leadership and clearly stated goals, the company recovered remarkably quickly. And my mentor’s remuneration in stock options added another great slab of well-earned cash to his billion-dollar asset base. It’s just too easy to sleep-walk through life. It’s just too easy to follow the herd and dodge the discomfort of your flickering dreams. It’s just too easy to build your personal stockpile of excuses and casually renounce your right and power to lead an extraordinary life. This book is part of my personal crusade to help you live an extraordinary life with all the success and freedom you can handle. I’ve had some remarkable help over the years. Part of the payback process was to pass on whatever I’d learned.

Summary

 

List any skills that you feel you lack that would make you more successful.

List any skills that need to be improved or enhanced.

Where can you find the training you need to upgrade your skill sets?

Who is your main role model? Why?

Describe what you’ve learned by studying their lives.

What would you need right now to feel fully self-expressed?

What do you really want? 

Write down your answers and keep them safe.

Chapter 5: Practice does not make perfect

 

Did you ever have music lessons as a kid? Did your parents compel you to play the piano? Are you cringing right now with the memory? Were you one of the countless thousands who dreaded the tearful monotony of practising the same old scales over and over again? It’s amazing how those old ideas persist. We assume that the pathway to success is to just keep on practising. Because practise makes perfect.

But, of course, it doesn’t. Bless all those well-meaning and long-suffering piano teachers but their job was to correct the mistakes until the rendition was performed correctly. Practise doesn’t make perfect. Practise – makes – permanent. And that’s the danger of doing the same thing the same way every time – regardless of the outcome. It reminds me of a job interview where the candidate told me in very serious terms about the enormous amount of experience he had.

I had to observe that, despite the weight of his experience, it was not the kind of experience that our company was looking for. I’ve worked with individuals who insisted that their method of doing business was absolutely flawless, even when it was blindingly obvious that the prospective client would never let them back into their offices ever again.

We have to be prepared to let the results speak for themselves. Throwing away a presentation opportunity because of a lack of skills is unfortunate. But correctable. Blowing up a presentation because you refuse to do it any other way is a tragedy. I’ve never assumed that my methods were the best. I’ve never been in that rarefied position where I believed that I had nothing else to learn. I’ve always been open to a different approach. I’ve always been willing to listen and observe and respect the skills and behaviours of the best. We sharpen those skills every time we use them. Or we blunt them by refusing to acknowledge how to make them better or more effective. 

 

[_’We only practise circular selling here. That means we just cut all the corners ‘  _]

*
p={color:#000;}.  Anonymous

 

One of the other problems with the old ‘practise makes perfect’ approach is the danger of becoming too familiar with the method. This kind of familiarity can easily breed contempt and it shows up in the unfortunate tendency to cut corners. I speak from painful experience. Many years ago I had the sobering experience of seeing my commission-driven income drop overnight like a stone. One moment I was cruising with the best in the industry, feeling pleased with the results and starting to believe a man could really fly.

The next, my income nose-dived and I couldn’t understand why. It was a seriously scary situation. I had enjoyed a ferocious conversion rate. And suddenly it felt as if I’d lost my mojo. It was a very bad moment for my ego and for my confidence. So what did I do? It didn’t take very long but I analysed my last dozen or so presentations to see if I could spot anything obvious and immediately realised that, for the sake of ‘efficiency’, I’d cut out some of the most important parts of the presentation.

You can guess the kind of things that I’d axed – the boring parts. The parts that I knew so well. The parts that I thought I really didn’t need to include any more. The change in my success rate had nothing to do with luck, my horoscope, the relative potency of my mojo or any other esoteric excuse for failure. It was about neglecting an essential part of the process and I paid the price accordingly. But there was a happy conclusion to this episode. I went back to see each of those failed presentations and signed up ten of the twelve. All I had to do was repeat the presentation, put back the missing components, close the deal and get my earnings right back up to where they belonged.

Yes, it was a profoundly unsettling episode and I’m glad that logic prevailed in the end. I’ve offered the same advice and insight over the years to countless sales people whose performance has slipped. We only have to work out what they did to be successful beforehand and we have a great foundation for getting back on track. Most of the work is complete. And seeing those people take off and soar has always been a source of tremendous satisfaction. 

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect”

*
p={color:#000;}. W. Clement Stone

 

The more you practise your skills and the more you take note of the results, the more you can accurately evaluate the effectiveness of how you’re doing things. We need to break the habits of doing the same old things and stay sharp. Watch for any drop off in results. It’s as important to know why you’ve succeeded as it is to understand why a deal didn’t go through. There are no excuses. Just facts, knowledge, understanding and the chance to fine tune the way you do things. Every single day. That’s the kind of practise that produces fantastic results.

Summary

 

Name the five most important skills that you possess.

Why are they important?

How do sharpen your skills and make them more effective?

Have you ever failed in your work? If so, describe what happened and how you dealt with it.

How often do you review the effectiveness of what you do?

Chapter 6: Cash Flow

 

Businesses are, by their nature, long term investment vehicles. They represent an investment of capital, people, energy, ideas, resources and opportunity. Therefore the time frame that you use to judge performance and results is critical. It’s an unfortunate phenomenon that in recent times the short-term performance of a company’s stock has become the dominant means of judging success.

Dividends, bonuses and senior remuneration packages are mostly linked to these factors. This attitude encourages boards to focus on short-term goals and the kind of policies that favour immediate returns. It’s a strategy that does not always guarantee success, of course, but it often neglects the benefits of longer-term, strategic planning.

It’s a business attitude that also favours herd behaviour: if Company A and Company B are following the same pathway, the rest of the corporate alphabet will follow – even if the pathway leads straight over the edge of the cliff. The recent economic crises that centered on the banking industry have all amply demonstrated these short-term, flock of sheep, group behaviours. It’s as much a cultural problem as an economic one. The same phenomenon infects political thinking too, aiming to win votes in the next election rather than secure the long-term prosperity of the country.

This has little to do with the intelligence of the policy makers. This has everything to do with expediency. But f there is one element – outside of the conventional range of habits, skills and behaviours that lend themselves to sustainable success – that will support or sink an enterprise – it has to be cash flow. Frankly, there’s no getting away from it. In my experience, the danger usually seems more prevalent amongst start-ups than in established businesses. After all, a good track record of commercial success and intelligent financial management makes it much easier to raise additional capital either by loans, selling stock or issuing bonds. But what about a new operation with a lot of hope and enthusiasm but no track record? 

“If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem”

*
p={color:#000;}. J. Paul Getty

 

 

When I’ve advised on start-up operations this was invariably the weakest area in the business plan and one of my main areas of concern. I’ve told countless numbers of – usually young – entrepreneurs that it’s the Big C that will most likely kill their new business.

They get the message quickly enough that the C stands for Cashflow and most businesses start with woefully too little cash to sustain them through the first critical months of trading. One answer is to cut down on all expenses until the business is generating sufficient cash flow to justify any increase in spending. A disciplined approach to handling all revenues is essential. 

This might be an opportune moment to discuss the well known case of a prestigious firm that, to everyone’s astonishment, went into liquidation. The fact is that the very intelligent and gifted individuals who ran the organisation spent freely and according to the amount of money that they billed their clients.

Unfortunately, for reasons which are beyond the scope or discretion of this book, they only ever received around fifty percent of the money they billed. That was an accepted but rarely publicised aspect of the business. So the financial problems were obvious and, in some ways, we could even say that they were inevitable. Yet despite this alarming disparity between real and theoretical income, they continued to spend money that didn’t exist and deplete their cash reserves until insolvency was the only alternative.

I’m sure someone’s working on their Master’s right now, using this extraordinary case as the subject of their dissertation. It defies all rational explanation but I refer to it because it illustrates the dangers of inadequate cash flow control in any enterprise. Even with super-intelligent and very capable individuals at the helm. You might conclude that they were, perhaps, lacking in emotional judgement and maturity but they really should’ve known better. If you need a rule of thumb to guide you, learn to say say No to all temptations to spend money. The reality is that fancy offices, thick carpets and expensive furniture are not the hallmarks of success. Success is the hallmark of success.

One of my clients, the CEO of the European, Middle Eastern and African operations of his parent company’s global business, needed bigger offices. So he used the excuse to move out of the city centre to cut down the rental costs, bought all the extra office furniture at IKEA and held a weekend barbecue for the staff who came in to assemble and install the furniture.

That’s the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company who saw no virtue in splashing unnecessary cash on rent or furnishings. Smart guy. He liked his operations to be lean, mean and cost-effective. He once remarked that there was no correlation between the cost of a desk and the IQ or ability of the person sitting behind it. Now that’s a stock I’d recommend to anyone.

“Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t lose”

*
p={color:#000;}. Lee Iacocca

 

There are still too many people who think that you can only raise morale or boost success by throwing money at superficial or cosmetic improvements to the working environment. A brilliant mentor once informed me that a group of successful people would happily sit on orange boxes around a shared tea chest – as long as they were being successful and hitting their goals. As usual, he had a very good point. Expensive, new furniture will usually raise the collective morale for about a week. Then things will slip back to wherever they were before.

If you’ve ever visited a private Swiss bank, you’ll usually notice the beautiful, restrained signs of affluence that greet you as you step inside the establishment. I worked with a good half dozen back in the day and I loved the hand-cut, crystal chandeliers, the Meissen coffee cups, the original masterpieces on the board room walls, the beautiful illusion of wealth and refined prosperity.

After the preliminaries, we’d head straight to the trading rooms and that’s where the banks’ less-than-public reality would make its appearance. These rooms were more like stripped-down, industrial warehouses, minimal comfort, zero affluence, trading screens and operators huddled together, paper bags of food scattered across the tiny desks. I loved the contrast. I loved the carefully-controlled public image and the gritty reality that lurked just a few meters away, behind those locked and sealed, firmly closed doors.

Those guys didn’t waste a cent on anything that wasn’t deemed essential. Neither should you. It’s a life-long principle that you should use whenever you have to spend money. Any fool can blow a fortune on fancy accessories but good economic sense demands value for money for every cent. I was once the proud possessor of a beautiful desk that sat in my head office. It probably cost a fortune when it was first sold.

But when I needed a replacement desk – when my old one fell apart! – I went to a used furniture supplier’s dusty old warehouse and dug around til I found my desk. It cost less than a bundle of firewood. All it needed was a can of furniture polish, some elbow grease and I had a really beautiful desk to grace my office. And whenever anybody commented on my impressive and suitably grand piece of office furniture, I took great delight in repeating how little it had cost. I guess I’m more impressed by thrift than grandiose gestures of lavish expenditure. Must be a lingering memory of my ancient Scottish ancestry!

Start ups need to be frugal enterprises. I’ve seen impressive success stories begin with a small group of people working from a garage using second-hand laptops. I’m serious. Sure you can argue for the latest and the very best equipment. But it’s rarely justified. You’re not here to impress your friends and neighbours.

You’re here to be successful. I knew a very successful salesman some years ago who sank a proportion of his sizable commission earnings into buying a Rolls Royce. Very impressive? Well it was a strangely incongruous situation because he lived in a tiny, low-rent apartment in an unsavoury part of town and had to park his car miles away to avoid the risk of it being vandalised every single night. You’d have expected him to organise a comfortable home for himself first but the prestigious car was more important to his idea of status and self-image. And one day he was gone. He left the company over a minor dispute concerning a commission payment and disappeared without a trace. No one knew where he went. His car appeared on a sales lot and that was the last his company ever heard of him. I believe his financial judgement might have been questionable.

So if you’re planning on starting a new business, you’ll have to to know in advance exactly how much cash you’re going to need. Most initial cash flow projections end up in the waste paper bin. It’s too easy to underestimate the costs and exaggerate the income. And business rarely offers the convenience of linear progression. Businesses don’t usually move in neatly predictable, straight lines. They tend to follow patterns of dips and rises that reflect a multitude of influences. Your first task in assessing your cash flow requirements is to cross off absolutely everything that isn’t essential to the business.

Don’t spend it unless you have to. Your cash is too precious, especially in the early days. Hold onto it and concentrate on developing income from your new business. It has to work. It isn’t a hobby. It’s a source of income. If it isn’t producing income, it really isn’t a business. You might want to run over these paragraphs again and make sure you’ve logged the message in your DNA. It’s more important than most people realise. Don’t wait until it’s too late to absorb the lesson.

“An organisation’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage”

*
p={color:#000;}. Jack Welch

 

Contingency planning is another neglected area in the field of building a successful enterprise. Identifying potential threats to your business is an essential element of contingency planning. The exercise should be conducted every month but it really boils down to a simple examination of anything that could de-rail your business. The list of potential dangers can sometimes switch on your hidden potential for paranoia and slip way out of control so remember to focus on the most likely events that could pose a threat to your success.

The risk of alien invasion shouldn’t really figure in the conversation. Areas such as changes in market conditions, currency exchange rates, bank interest rates, loss of key personnel, a new or more effective competitor, the need to re-new a lease, unforeseen expenses, a fire in the office or anything that you can identify as relevant and potentially harmful to your operation. That’s half of the exercise. Now you need to make plans to deal with each of these contingencies. The process of identifying and analysing these potential problems will give you a ready-made action plan that you can roll out as soon as the crisis arises.

Sometimes the exercise will encourage you to neutralise a potential threat before it has a chance to incapacitate your company. That’s one of the great benefits of the monthly threat analysis. You stay sharp. You become pro-active. You gain the advantage that chess players refer to as tempo. And very few companies follow this very simple, effective protocol. But you’re smart. You’re ambitious. And you’re curious. So now you’ll want to include the threat assessment in your monthly strategy planning. And that will make you and your business that much stronger, that much more likely to survive the vagaries and outrageous fortunes of fluctuating and often unpredictable market conditions. Like a good Boy Scout, you’ll be well prepared.

Summary

 

Cash is King.

Are you in control of the cash flow in your working environment?

Make a list of the things you could do to save a buck every day by eliminating waste at work.

Put the waste-cutting plan into effect right now.

How long could you survive on your present cash reserves?

Name the areas where you are spending money without any appreciable return on the outlay.

How can you increase your capital reserves?

Write our your contingency plan to deal with any potential threats to your business. Review it every month.

Describe how you can eliminate threats before they become a problem.

Chapter 7: Managing People – Including Ourselves

 

One of the common errors that afflicts many commercial enterprises is the temptation to reward a successful employee by promoting them to a management position. Happens all the time. Someone does well – they get a promotion. But the question that needs to be addressed is whether the individual in question is a suitable candidate for the rigours of management. Because not everyone is cut out to be a manager.

Not everyone is emotionally equipped to handle the stresses and responsibilities that go with the job. And management training often leaves a great deal to be desired. Sometimes an impressive array of academic qualifications is seen as adequate evidence that the individual would make a fine and successful manager. I once reported directly to a senior manager who had zero qualifications. I kid you not. He might have had a dubious background but he was a superb manager and taught me the kind of lessons that you would never hope to find on a world-renowned MBA course. This does not imply that qualifications have suddenly become redundant. Far from it. But the practical skills of effectively managing peoples’ activities and aspirations represent a particular skill set that you don’t come across very often.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant”

*
p={color:#000;}. Max de Pree

 

In the world of non-commercial organisations, highly intelligent but woefully unsuitable characters are often thrust, reluctantly, into management positions as part of their career progression. I knew a charming and academically brilliant man who spent most of his posting as a manager in an international institution locked in his office, reading the newspapers and tackling the crosswords.

No one really noticed his lack of engagement and the department continued exactly as it did before his virtually invisible arrival. He hated having to interact with real, living people. How he ever managed to have children is still a topic of conversation amongst his colleagues. Perhaps his self-imposed exile was a better outcome than the dreaded phenomenon of the ‘new broom sweeping clean’.

This familiar exercise in making a mark upon a company is more often connected to the new man’s need for recognition than the need to make meaningful improvements. I’ve seen it often enough and I’ve been been tutored at length on the subject by my mentors. The clean sweep sometimes degenerates into cronyism as the new guy or gal drags in a posse of friends and associates from their previous company and my mentors saw this largely as a sign of weakness.

If you couldn’t persuade your new colleagues to back the new regime on the strength of your ideas and leadership, you resorted to filling key posts with people who were loyal to you or were dependent on you for their livelihood. It’s cosy and makes the new guy feel a little more secure but it doesn’t always bode well for the future. One of my mentors referred to it as the Rent-a-Friend phenomenon – nobody liked you at the new company so you brought your own friends along to make lunchtimes a little happier and less lonely. And these people are thrust into positions of power. I know. It’s a scary thought.

The rules of leadership are incredibly simple. Your word has weight. When you say ‘Yes’ it has the same value as the laws of physics. Same when you say ‘No’. You mean exactly what you say.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You communicate clearly, simply and effectively.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You demand the best from everyone, including yourself.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You do not tolerate excuses so you never make them.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You lead by example.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You never ask anyone to do something that you would not do yourself.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You take care of your people.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You give credit for and recognise peoples’ achievements.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You are accessible and you listen and observe with acute awareness.

And, in case you were wondering, great managers really do exist and I’m more than happy to confirm that I’ve met them. So, despite the mediocre examples that clog the arteries of many a potentially great company, we know that good management really is possible. Good management, effective management, can lift a company to the stratosphere.

One of the more positive characteristics of good management is the willingness to explain clearly where the business is going and how each individual is contributing towards the company’s success. That’s the power of clarity. When everyone understands the importance of the goal or objective, they tend to become more committed to the outcome.

Management is the art of direction. It’s about marshaling and directing peoples’ efforts and activities towards a clearly-stated goal. Right at the start of this manual on becoming a business success magnet, we identified the importance of understanding the purpose of any business’s existence.

The same principle applies to individual efforts. I’ve encouraged managers to sit down with their teams and ask each individual to describe what they do and explain why it’s relevant or important to the company’s goals and success. As I stated at the beginning of the book, it’s the kind of question that can reveal how a board understands its function and purpose.

One non-executive director once quipped that his monthly board attendance provided the finest lunch on his well-paid but very relaxed agenda. Sitting down with colleagues and fostering good communication gives both a voice and a sense of ownership to each participant. Never underestimate the power of effective communication. That means listening at least as much as providing clear direction to teams and individuals alike.

Whether you’re blessed with the gift of being well-organised or whether you prefer the constant daily drama of chaos and confusion, you have to work to an agenda. It’s the only way.

You make a conscious decision and only choose the tasks that will move your business forwards – and those are the tasks that you perform. You don’t select tasks because you enjoy them. You choose them because they have to be done. That’s one of the great ingredients for personal and corporate success: no matter how you feel, no matter what you’d rather be doing, no matter how many distractions are vying for your attention, you carry out those essential tasks that need to be done to further your business aims.

We could easily devote an entire volume to this subject. This is the kind of dogged determination that beats the odds and delivers outstanding results. Please remember that this is not about blind devotion to a routine. This is about the intelligent selection of meaningful tasks that are identified with making a positive contribution to the business goal. When an obstacle emerges that prevents completion of an item on the agenda, you simply move onto the next one. And you keep going.

Plan your day. Allow for breaks to breathe, move, stretch a little, drink plenty of water, gather your thoughts, stimulate your creativity. And get right back to your To Do list. One of the benefits of this kind of approach is an enhanced sense of being capable. You feel empowered because you know that you can handle whatever the day presents you with. It’s a can-do attitude that increases your effectiveness. You also benefit from the incredibly precious ability to do things purely because you choose to do them. There is no substitute for this kind of laser-sharp determination. It’s a genuine, task-oriented focus that is hard to beat. And it can be learned.

If you are determined to deliver the best possible results in your job or business, developing this kind of tenacious resolve will endow your career with a tremendous advantage.

We’ve discussed the subject in other publications from One Life Wellbeing Media Productions and it deserves a timely mention again right here. Learning to develop your will provides enormous benefits to every aspect of your life. This is not something that is immediately familiar within our cultural framework yet it has existed in various forms for thousands of years and has been practised as a core discipline within countless civilisations and philosophical systems since humans first congregated in the earliest cities. We’re talking about the cultivation of the will as an instrument of power and direction in our lives. I want to emphasise here that the will is not some blunt instrument of coarse persuasion that bludgeons the opposition into cowering co-operation!

We’re too fond of seeing the will as a means of conquering by force. Yet it possesses the most sublime and concentrated capacity to create focus and intensity in our lives. The will is incredibly subtle. It’s as if you decide to do something and you make the decision with an effortless grace. And that simple movement with your will automatically produces an absolute certainty in your heart and mind that whatever you’ve chosen to do will now take place. We usually begin the training process by turning the exercise into a game. We learn to make simple statements of intent such as – ‘I am now going to stand up and walk over to the other side of the room’ and then you do it.

Gradually, we add more depth to each statement, teaching the mind to obey the will, minimising the mental resistance until your quietly expressed statement produces whatever action you require. You eliminate the resistance of your own mind and habits. When you share these fabulous techniques with children, they develop powers of focus and concentration that set them on the pathway to natural self-control, success, self-confidence and abiding happiness. I’d love to see the technique adopted universally.

It’s one of the most powerful tools for conquering our modern obsession with instant, constantly-distracted, self-gratification and makes people incredibly strong and more powerfully self-expressed. If you’re interested in the more modern interpretation of the methods, I’m happy to refer you to the works of the late Italian psychiatrist, a giant of his age, the brilliant Dr Roberto Assagioli and, in particular, to his 1973 publication The Act of Will. I’m very fond of giving books to people and I think I’ve given away more copies of this book to friends and clients than any other book that I’ve read. 

At the end of each day, you need to evaluate what you’ve done. That’s right. You need to apply the brutal lens of objectivity and assess what you’ve done. Did you complete your tasks? If not, why not? What did you allow to get in the way? What do you plan to do to make sure you don’t get nudged off course again? Were you effective? What about the standard and quality of your work? Could it have been better? Get in the habit of writing everything down.

You check your To Do list and make the appropriate comments and observations right next to each item. You stay comfortably in control of your work every single day. Then your work doesn’t control you. That’s pretty deep. You might want to chew that one over for a while until the penny drops. Records can be really helpful in so many ways. In one business, we used to write a large, red, capital V in our diaries next to every appointment where we closed a deal. V was for Victory. You’d look through your activities and see a sea of waving scarlet Vs, reminding you of all the successes you were achieving.

That’s a simple and effective way of generating positive feedback from your results. Also reminds me of the old story about two sales guys, sitting in a bar with their drinks at the end of the day, and the first guy asks the other what kind of a day he’s had. Great day, says the other salesman. I got through so much paperwork and admin, cleared up my desk, updated my records, met a client for lunch and had a really great day. The first salesman nods over his drink and says – Yeah. I didn’t make any sales either. 

As an effective manager you have to be prepared to challenge peoples’ beliefs and ask the right questions. As I’m sure you know, asking is always so much more effective than telling. A dialogue in which the conversation is guided by your questions will produce more effective results than simply laying down the law. Your team member responds to your questions and makes a firm commitment to fulfill a certain task and then you can hold them accountable for their word. That’s a very powerful way of encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions. They own the task and the outcome. If they run into difficulties, they call for help. No problem. But they deliver on their agreement. This a fabulous way to achieve extraordinary results. And it works in any environment where humans congregate to serve a common purpose.

Let’s turn our attention now to another important area of management skills. It’s a sad fact of life that people don’t always live up to their responsibilities, their potential or the company’s expectations. So how do you handle performance deficiencies? Especially when the individual in question is consistently slipping below the accepted standard of performance?

The answer used to be divided into a complex matrix of alternatives, a flow-chart that was supposed to deliver the answer after a thoroughly-investigated process of analysis. I’ve worked in these areas of human psychology. I’m familiar with the protocols. They certainly keep legions of behavioural psychologists happily distracted and off the streets. But I’ve got great news for you. The answer is much simpler than you might think. It’s a question of only two words: Can’t or Won’t. That’s all there is. Can’t. Or Won’t. 

The test is also incredibly simple. If someone can’t perform the task or do the job because they don’t know how to do it, they need training. Now you’ll probably be relieved to learn that I’m highly unlikely to become a brain surgeon – not only because I lack the requisite training but also because I lack the aptitude for such a highly specialised career. I’d never qualify for the training in the first place. So, if you’ve recruited someone with the appropriate skill sets for a particular job and they’re failing, you need to assess their training needs.

The acid test for us was to assume that if we put a gun to someone’s head and insisted that they successfully carry out a task, they’d only refuse because they didn’t know how to do it. Simple? Of course it is. Give them the training and support and encouragement they need and they’ll flourish. I’ve seen it up close and personal thousands of times. The deeper challenge emerges when we come face to face with the dreaded alternative – Won’t.

In this case, whether the person can do the job or not is irrelevant.They don’t want to do the job. Then you have a problem. Because no amount of skills training will turn around this particular brand of attitudinal problem. So don’t waste money on courses and training and boosting skills because this individual is in the Won’t category and you need to find out why. It might be a fault in the selection process that resulted in the wrong person being recruited in the first place. You might need to face the fact that this person does not belong in your operation and that you might need to help them move on. There have been occasions when individuals have eased up dramatically on their work load and, since they’re not working in my business, I’ve invited to go and not work for someone else.

Sometimes you have to be a little tough to save people from their own personal brand of folly. Some years back, a bright young salesman came into my office first thing on a Monday morning and told me his girlfriend had just binned him. I knew the girl. Very pretty. Good head for business. It must’ve been very tough to get dumped unceremoniously like that – though my wife remarked with her usual perception that the dumping had been completely inevitable! – so I sat with this young guy as he sobbed quietly and told me he was going home to the comfort of his wealthy parents to get over his heartbreak. Right.

I told him I understood his situation and that he had a very simple choice to make. Either he could be heartbroken – and have a great deal of high-end commission stuffing his bank account to capacity. Or he could be heartbroken – and poor. I asked him to step out of my office and take a couple of minutes to figure out if he wanted to be wealthy or poor. His heartbreak did not figure in the equation. He came back in with a fresh cup of coffee and dried eyes about five minutes later and announced he was going to get over the girl and earn more money than he’d ever made in his life. Now that’s what I call a happy ending. You can’t manage people’s emotions. You can only guide their activities. 

It’s also helpful to take a long, hard look at the person you’re going to be working for. You might learn far more, even if you start off by earning less, by working with someone you can respect and admire. There is no need to become someone you really do not like. Life’s just too short for that kind of completely avoidable pain.

“A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships”

*
p={color:#000;}. Stephen Covey

 

These anecdotes and episodes are purely intended to highlight the kinds of problems that turn up when we’re dealing with real-life human beings and their infinite variety of foibles. No one has all the answers and most of us pay heavily for the catalogue of mistakes we make along the way. But the lessons are usually worthwhile and they equip us to find better ways of dealing with the problems and avoiding the old mistakes.

Usually in favour of new ones! You can usually learn from every situation though, to tell the truth, I once reported to a board-level alcoholic who, once he’d had that first, bracing drink to start his day, was beyond all forms of rational discussion or behaviour. Even though he held onto his job through thick and thin, for me it was an impossible situation and I moved on. It’s a very important principle to observe when you’re applying to join any organisation. As I suggested above, take that long, hard look at the person you’ll be reporting to and ask yourself if this is how you’d want to be in ten years time. It’s a very tough question but it could save you an awful lot of pain. When you work with people, you tend to pick up on their habits and mannerisms. And behaviour is transferable, even if you’re not consciously aware of it.

Being in charge is not all steaks and cakes and celebrations. One of my mentors was a man of strong principles and firm convictions and he was fond of saying that you can’t ever do wrong by doing what’s right. He reminded me that part of the responsibility of being a manager meant that you had to be prepared to fire people. You didn’t have to enjoy it but, if it was the right decision, you should never lose a second of sleep over it. He illustrated his message using an episode from his distinguished career as director of a massive multi-national.

He had a phenomenal salesman who was producing record results. The team to which his star performer belonged was given permission to celebrate and they hired the entire floor of a hotel to party the night away. Unfortunately, things got a little out of hand and one of the sales team members left early to go home. Unfortunately for his partying colleagues, he told his wife about the evening’s debauchery, mentioning the drugs, the strippers and the hookers who’d been hired for the night.

My mentor took the highly indignant and distressed wife’s call personally the next day and he immediately referred the matter to his board before he talked to his number one salesman – the guy who’d organised the unorthodox entertainment in the first place. My mentor explained the seriousness of the situation, making the salesman fully aware of the damage this story could do to the company, and said the board was willing to give him another chance, primarily because of his fantastic contribution to the company’s sales results. I bet you know exactly where this story is heading, don’t you? Everything was detailed in writing, the story logged and quietly filed away and business carried on as usual.

Except the next quarter’s sales broke all previous records and the salesman promptly arranged another full-scale, drug-fuelled orgy in the same hotel as before. Just to celebrate his amazing results. Work hard – play hard. He was telling anyone who would listen that the company would not dare not fire him. He was too important to be thrown out. And he must’ve been somewhere on the far side of shock and disbelief when he was promptly fired on the Monday morning.

And my mentor asked me what I would’ve done in the same situation. I said I’d have tried to find a way to keep the number one sales guy and restrict his wilder behaviour. And my mentor shook his head and explained that I would have been handing over all control to an uncontrollable force that would eventually wreak havoc on the business. One clear warning was fine. The consequences then lay solely in the actions of the salesman. I’m skipping some of the details for the sake of brevity but the lesson took a lot of digesting. My mentor said the guy was out of control, crossed a clearly defined line and effectively fired himself. And no one, absolutely no one, was irreplaceable.

It’s a very interesting case and my mentor had absolutely no regrets about getting rid of the salesman. In a similar situation, what would you do? Forget the fact my mentor is worth over a billion dollars and has been living by these kind of principles since he was a young man. Put yourself in the same situation, think about the kudos of those great results, consider that your company’s results are killing the competition, think about share prices and the value of your stock options. This is your number one guy in the entire country. So what would you do? There’s no right or wrong answer. You just have to join the dots and work out the consequences of your decision. And then be prepared to live with those consequences.

Sometimes it really is much harder to do the right thing. But you can’t do wrong by doing what’s right.

This is a good moment to turn our attention towards your capacity for empathy, an essential quality in getting the best from the people around you.

I want you to think back to the last time you had a conflict with a friend, a family member, a loved one, colleague, boss or anyone else you can think of. Now run through the questions below.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you spend most of the time defending yourself, instead of listening and trying to understand the other person’s perspective, feelings, or complaints?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you diminish the other person’s feelings, tell them they were wrong, or state that their situation was not as bad as someone else’s?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you become intimidating, angry, blaming, or critical to get them to shut up, back down, or give you what you want?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you damage any of their property, break anything in their presence, hit the wall, throw something, take their phone, physically restrain them, keep them from leaving, prevent them from sleeping, read their mail, go through their phone, etc.?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you call them names or say something threatening?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you threaten to abandon the relationship or leave them somewhere on the side of the road?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you see their complaints or needs as irrational, stupid, or irrelevant?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you see them personally as irrational, stupid, witchy, needy, imbalanced, crazy, etc.?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. After the fact, do you have difficulty remembering what their complaints were?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do you still see their complaints as being invalid, stupid, or unreasonable?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Would the other person say that you did not listen to their perspective or understand their feelings?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do you struggle to see what experiences or problems from their past or present could be contributing to the situation?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Do you still believe that you did nothing wrong and that the issue and their reactions had nothing to do with you?

 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above then you probably struggle with empathy and have not taken the time to sufficiently see the situation from the other person’s perspective.

It’s extremely important to accept that everyone has the right to how they feel, to how they interpret their needs, to how they express their opinions, to how they relate to their property, space, privacy, safety, and freedom. Those who have a healthy degree of empathy understand that they simply don’t have the right to impose their will upon the rights of others.

They are strong enough and confident enough to consider other peoples’ opinions and feelings as completely valid and important even when they differ significantly from their own. They don’t touch or break other peoples’ possessions, they don’t intimidate or threaten, invade privacy, or keep others from leaving a room when they want to. They may not agree with someone’s perspective but they know how to listen and they can understand why others might entertain a different belief system or perspective to their own. They may not like the way others deal with particular situations or how they deal with their life but they can understand the emotions and influences that might be responsible for producing this behaviour.

In other words, someone who has developed a strong sense of personal empathy can see beyond the limitations of a given situation and relate to other individuals with an essential degree of courtesy and treat them with the dignity and respect that they surely deserve. In the heat of a marked difference of opinion, it’s easy to lose touch with these ideals but, once the intensity of the moment has passed, it’s much easier to calm down, regain a more balanced perspective and even offer an apology for whatever might have been done or said that contributed to the problem. In this way, empathy often prompts people to exercise greater self-control for the benefit of others and it promotes a stronger sense of self-respect, personal responsibility and the potential to change behaviour whenever that’s appropriate.

Here is a super test to determine your management challenges

Instructions

For each statement, tick the column that best describes you. Please answer questions as you actually are (rather than how you think you should be), and don’t worry if some questions seem to score in the ‘wrong direction’. When you’re finished, you can allocate the following scores to each section and add up your results.

Calculate Total Score Total Score = 0

Score Interpretation

Effective management requires a wide range of skills, and each of these skills complements the others. Your goal should be to develop and maintain all of these skills; so that you can help your team accomplish its objectives efficiently and effectively. Read on for ideas and resources that you can use to do this.

Summary

 

Make a list of the qualities that you believe make a great leader.

Review your daily To Do list and look for ways to make it more relevant to your goals.

The Will is an extraordinary instrument of personal power.

How are training your Will to work more effectively for you?

Evaluating your day to understand the results is essential.

Asking is usually far more effective than telling.

Know the difference between Can’t and Won’t.

You can’t do wrong by doing what’s right.

Chapter 8: The Purpose and Power of Targets

 

So much of successful business is about doing the right thing and doing it consistently. You have to know what you need to do and then get on with it. Is it about generating sales? Do you need to make phone calls? Is it a question of making your website more attractive to bring in more clients or customers? Is it about marketing? That’s where measurement becomes the essential support tool of success.

You decide what you’re going to achieve within a given time frame and you measure your success against that clearly defined objective. It should be really simple but it can become ridiculously complicated. Have you ever been in those tedious meetings where people loudly claim they’re going to produce some fantastically improbable result? And then they fail to achieve even the minimum standard? You tend to come across this kind of bravado more in sales than in accounting but all targets have to be realistic.

And it’s essential that everyone signs up to their alloted target and knows precisely how to get there. All companies are seeking growth, better returns, improved profitability, more efficiency. If you’ve ever worked in a shrinking market, you’ll know how tough the environment can suddenly become. And you might recognise the words of one of my mentors who informed his organisation that since the pie was getting smaller, he was going to take a much bigger slice of what was available and continue to grow the business. That’s a winning attitude. Rather than let external factors dictate his strategy, he set out to take market share from his competitors. And he succeeded. He devised a plan of action and the company carried it out. Everyone knew what they had to do and everyone knew how to carry out their tasks. All they had to do was add the right level of effort and the company flourished even during a downturn in the market. 

Targets are the way-points that check your progress and ensure that you and your business are on course. Perhaps you’ve met those individuals who hit their targets very quickly and then just stop? It happens more than you’d imagine. As soon as they hit their personal finishing line, for them the race is over and they switch into relax mode. Whether they’re capable of maintaining a sustained effort for the rest of the month is debatable but they could easily do more. So why don’t they? A lot of the answer is tied up with an individual’s comfort zone. It’s fun to ask people what they think their real income should be.

Most people have a subconscious threshold of self-worth that can be difficult to overcome. The surprising fact is that when an individual approaches that threshold, they just automatically slow down. Sales taper off. Activity becomes markedly less productive. So you need to know where your own personal income threshold is pitched. Because if you want to move beyond it, you’re going to need some help.

Let’s bear in mind that this is not a product of the analytical, conscious mind. This is a threshold that dwells in our subconscious programming and interacts profoundly with our behaviour. It’s so easy to say that you should be earning X when your threshold is set at about a quarter of that amount. And people wonder why they can’t break through their performance ceilings. Ultimately, as in so many areas of our lives, we want to remove the resistance and obstacles from our subconscious programming and use our energy and potential to achieve extraordinary results.

Targets can help. You can get used to an increased income threshold in small, comfortable, incremental steps. This of course takes time and doesn’t fully address the subconscious resistance issue. Better to use a simple but effective EFT session, which we’ve described in detail in other One Life Wellbeing publications, and re-frame your attitude and your threshold in a couple of hours. That’s when interesting things begin to happen. I moved through my own ceiling when I discovered that I was unintentionally sabotaging deals to avoid the discomfort of breaking through my deeply disguised comfort zone. Did it work? My income took off like a Saturn V rocket. It really works. I was taught these ideas by some extremely successful individuals and I’ve shared the techniques with countless others, spreading the benefits of my good fortune in having these amazing people as my personal mentors. These ideas will work for you too and I hope you’ll spread the good news of how to create more success in business with everyone you meet.  

“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can”

*
p={color:#000;}. Paul Tournier

 

One of the ways to stimulate creativity is to examine your sales base and work out what else your customers could be buying from you. One of my personal heroes is a champion of doubling sales turnover, whatever the product or service. The method is based on understanding why your customers buy from you. Once you understand that particular metric, you can extend the principle to additional areas that your customer base might be interested in. It sounds ludicrously simple but it’s the foundation for creating very dramatic increases in turnover and profitability. And the results kick in very quickly, usually within a few months.

Just to add a measure of controversy to the debate, I have seen a few examples of organisations setting the kind of very high targets for their staff that would normally demotivate and generally upset the employees throughout the organisation. So what was different? Well, in the cases I’m referring to, there was a sizable investment in training and planning, so that each member of staff believed that they had been fully equipped and prepared to handle the planned surge in business. So, despite the substantial increase in targets, the objectives were perceived as being completely achievable.

The organisations had to adapt and change in order to handle the new volumes of business but that was planned for. And it worked. The danger in a desperate, massive increase in targets is that no one really knows how they’re supposed to achieve what appears to be impossible. That’s why targets are often broken down into bite-sized pieces: they’re much easier to digest. In desperate times, some companies opt for the unimaginative ‘let’s just double our efforts’ routine but that kind of increased intensity is not sustainable. The challenging situation is often a call for smarter efforts rather than a crude doubling of existing effort. There’s a difference. That’s why we covered the importance of contingency planning earlier in the manual. It gives you the space to plan for these eventualities in advance.

Success deserves reward and recognition. One famous motivator, whose works are a joy to follow, used to say that no task is complete until it has been acknowledged and recognised by someone else. He used to include cleaning out the garage as a perfectly legitimate example of a mundane chore that was only complete when his wife stepped in to say what a great job he’d done. That’s a very interesting point. It’s very important to have suitable rewards for your successful efforts. The rewards don’t have to be extravagant.

One real-estate developer, whose investment portfolio was measured in billions, would celebrate the conclusion of a successful deal by buying himself a new pair of shoes. He lived very modestly and considered a good pair of shoes a fitting reward for his achievement. And that’s the point. You need a reward that works for you. Some people would book a massage, some a special dinner, others a special item of stationery. The principle is to identify essential tasks and then choose a simple reward to mark their completion.

Bigger targets can be broken down into smaller components and each significant part can carry its own reward. It’s a surprisingly effective motivator. I fully appreciate the story of the lone yachtsman, sailing single-handed around the world. If he accomplished all his tasks and hit his distance target for the day, he would allow himself a small bottle of beer. It was the high point of a grueling, demanding day. And that leads us neatly onto the next point. What happened to the solitary sailor when he didn’t hit his target? 

A missed target does not get any reward. Does that sound tough? Well, business can be very tough and there is no meaning to a target if you get a reward even if you miss it. That’s where the slippery slope begins. Do not reward failure. The round the world yachtsman said it was the most terrible feeling imaginable, missing his target and being denied that tiny luxury of a small bottle of beer at the end of the day. And he was the only person who would know if he had succeeded or failed on any given day. He meted out his own reward and his own punishment. Could you do that? He said that often the failure to get where he’d planned was out of his hands because, out at sea, the ocean was effectively in control of his destiny but he never ever used that as an excuse to pretend that the target was anything but his personal responsibility.  He had to find ways to make up the lost distance, sail faster, smarter, more efficiently to hit his target.

Missing a target is an important experience because it teaches us to re-evaluate our actions and work out where we went wrong. Or how we can do better in the future. The frustration and disappointment are all part of the process. If you want to avoid the pain of failure, you have to do better in the future. Do not reward failure. I do not encourage reward solely for effort either, beyond the supportive encouragement that recognises that we all have to make the requisite effort to succeed. Effort on its own won’t necessarily get the job done. I would prefer to reward the right kind of effort because it’s more likely to produce success and deliver the agreed, targeted results that justify the effort in the first place.

As a manager, you can't manage a vacuum. You can't really manage no effort. But if you have someone who's putting in the effort, you can channel, re-align and correct that effort to produce the desired results. If your colleague is putting in 95% of the effort, your 5% contribution can turn the effort into gold. But if you're doing 95% of the work on your failing colleague's behalf to try to save them, cut the cord right now and cut them loose. You can't manage an absence of effort. Or, more frequently, a lack of willingness to make the right effort in the first place.

“Cannibals prefer those who have no spines”

*
p={color:#000;}. Stanislaw Lem

 

Many years ago I qualified for a truly grand convention with the company I worked for and, as you can imagine, I was really pleased. I didn’t have a ton of experience to help me so I’d worked really hard to break through the qualification barriers and earn a place for me and for my wife on that glittering, black-tie, prestigious event. I really felt as if I’d well and truly earned my place. Can you imagine my disappointment when I discovered that there were several couples on the convention whose places had not been earned?

One of the regions had fared badly and hadn’t produced a single convention qualifier so, supposedly for the sake of morale, the six guys who’d reached halfway to the target were awarded double tickets for the event. The convention instantly became meaningless. In fact it was a serious demotivator for all the men and women who had qualified. Their work and success was devalued. It was bad sign for the future. No wonder the company started to lose key personnel. The successful guys started to slip away to other, more enlightened organisations. I was disappointed that success based on hard work and a lot of industrious effort had been traded for expediency. Don’t reward failure because no one wins.

Here are some guidelines to help you set your business targets

Deciding What to Measure

You have to adopt the appropriate performance measurement in order to identify the areas of your business that need the greatest degree of focus.

Emphasising key business drivers

Your performance measurement will obviously serve you as a more powerful management tool if you focus on those areas that determine your overall business success.

It’s crucial that you tailor your measurement to your specific circumstances and objectives. A manufacturer producing and selling low-cost goods in high volumes might focus on production line speed, whilst another, producing smaller quantities using high-cost components, might focus instead on reducing production line errors that result in defective units.

Finding your specific measures

Once you have identified your key business drivers, you need to find the best way of measuring them. Again, your priority here should be to look for the closest possible link to those elements of your performance that determine your success.

For example, you may decide that customer service is a strategic priority for your business and to find ways to measure this aspect of your operation. But there are many ways of accomplishing this.

You might consider measuring:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. the proportion of sales accounted for by repeat business

*
p<>{color:#000;}. the number of customer complaints received

*
p<>{color:#000;}. the number of items returned to you

*
p<>{color:#000;}. the time it takes to fulfil an order

*
p<>{color:#000;}. the percentage of incoming calls answered within 30 seconds

None of these items have to be more important than any other. The challenge is to find which specific measure (or measures) will enable you to improve your business.

This type of measurement unit is often referred to as a key performance indicator (KPI). The two key attributes of a KPI are the fact that it is quantifiable (i.e. you must be able to reduce it to a number) and that it directly captures a key business driver.

Using standardised measures

There are standardised performance measures that have been created which almost any business can use. Examples include balanced scorecards, ISO standards and industry dashboards.

Choosing and using key performance indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are at the heart of any system of performance measurement and target-setting. When properly used, they are one of the most powerful management tools available to growing businesses.

Selecting KPIs

There are a number of key criteria that your KPIs should meet:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. First, they should be as closely linked as possible to the top-level goals for your business.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Second, your KPIs need to be quantifiable. If you can’t easily reduce your measurement to a number, there will be too much scope for variation and inconsistency, especially if different people carry out the measurements at different times.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Third, your KPIs should relate to aspects of the business environment over which you have some control. For example, interest rates may be a crucial determinant of performance for a given business, but you can’t use the National Bank base rate as a KPI because it’s not something that businesses have any power to change. By contrast, a business’ exposure to fluctuations in interest rates can be controlled and so this might make a useful KPI.

Getting the most from your KPIs

The purpose of performance measurement is ultimately to drive future improvements in performance. There are two main ways you can use KPIs to achieve this kind of management control and influence.

The first is to use your KPIs to identify potential problems or opportunities. Remember, your KPIs tell you what’s going on in the areas that determine your business performance. If the trends are moving in the wrong direction, you know you have problems to resolve. Similarly, if the trends move consistently in your favour, you may have greater scope for growth than you had previously forecast.

The second is to use your KPIs to set targets for departments and employees throughout your business that will deliver your strategic goals.

Managing your information.

As with most areas of your business operations, the more detailed and well-structured the KPI database, the easier it will be to engage as an effective management tool. Computer-based management information systems are ideal for this purpose.

Measurement of Your Financial Performance

Keeping in control of the financial aspects of your performance is a vital part of running a growing business.

It will be much easier to invest and plan for growth if you understand how to tap into your management accounts to find out precisely what’s working for your business and then identify possible opportunities for future expansion.

Measuring your profitability

Most growing businesses ultimately target increased profits, so it’s important to know how to measure profitability. The key standard measures are:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Gross profit margin[* *]- this measures how much money is made after direct costs of sales have been taken into account, or the contribution as it is also known.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Operating margin - the operating margin lies between the gross and net (see below) measures of profitability. Overheads are taken into account, but interest and tax payments are not. For this reason, it is also known as the EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Net profit margin - this is a much narrower measure of profits, as it takes all costs into account, not just direct ones. So all overheads, as well as interest and tax payments, are included in the profit calculation.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Return on capital employed (ROCE) - this calculates net profit as a percentage of the total capital employed in a business. This allows you to see how well the money invested in your business is performing compared to other investments you could make with it, such as putting it in the bank.

Other key accounting ratios

There are a number of other commonly used accounting ratios that provide useful measures of business performance. These include:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. liquidity ratios, which tell you about your ability to meet your short-term financial obligations

*
p<>{color:#000;}. efficiency[* *]ratios, which tell you how well you are using your business assets

*
p<>{color:#000;}. financial leverage or gearing ratios, which tell you how sustainable your exposure to long-term debt is

Bear in mind that even though you are likely to use an increasing number of financial measures as your business grows, one of the most familiar – cash flow – remains of fundamental importance.

Cash flow can be a particular concern for growing businesses, as the process of expansion can burn up financial resources more quickly than profits are able to replace them.

Measuring staff perfoemance

Informal meetings and more formal appraisals provide a very practical and direct way of monitoring and encouraging the progress of individual employees. They allow frank exchanges of views by both sides and they can also be used to drive up productivity and performance through setting employee targets and measuring progress towards achieving them.

Regular staff meetings can also be a very useful way of keeping tabs on wider developments across your business. These meetings often give an early indicator of important concerns or developments that might otherwise take some time to come to the attention of your management team.

Quantitative measurement of employee performance

Looking at employee performance from a financial perspective can be a very valuable management tool. At the level of reporting for the overall business, the most commonly-used measures are sales per employee, contribution per employee and profit per employee. These measures shouldn’t be thought of as an alternative to the broader appraisals outlined above, but can flag up issues that might later be explored in more detail in those meetings.

Expressing employee performance quantitatively is easier for some sectors and for some types of worker. For example, it should be quite easy to see what kind of sales an individual sales person has generated, or how many units manufacturing employees produce per hour at work.

But with a little more effort, these kinds of measures can be applied in almost any business or sector. For example, using timesheets to assess how many hours an employee devotes each month to different projects or customers under their responsibility gives you a way of assessing what the most profitable use of their time is.

Setting SMART targets

It’s a familiar acronym, but a very useful one – your targets should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound:

Using KPIs ensures your targets will meet the first two criteria, as all KPIs should, by definition, be specific and measurable.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Achievable – you need to set ambitious yet realistic targets that will motivate and inspire your staff, but if you set the bar too high you risk deflating and discouraging them instead. Look back at your performance data for recent years to get a sense of what kind of performance boosts you’ve seen before – this will give you a sense of what is feasible.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Realistic – setting realistic targets means being fair on the people who will have to reach them. Make sure you only ask for performance improvements in areas that your staff can actually influence.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Time-bound – people’s progress towards a goal will be more rapid if they have a clear sense of the deadlines against which their progress will be assessed.

Assigning responsibility and resources

Once you have identified the targets based on your KPIs that you believe will deliver the strategic growth you’re aiming for, make sure you follow through by assigning clear responsibility for delivering each of them.

It is fine for your top-level strategic objectives to be abstract and business-wide, but your KPI targets should be concrete and clearly owned by a department or individual.

Hitting your targets is unlikely to be a cost-free process, so be ready to make the necessary resources available when needed. Also, undertake regular reviews to assist with motivation and to make changes if the performance is below the agreed expectations.

Summary

 

Targets create accountability.

How do you set your targets?

What time frames apply to your goals? Why?

What is your personal income or wealth threshold?

How do you intend to break through that barrier to greater success?

Success deserves recognition and reward.

Never reward failure.

Chapter 9: The Extra 10%

 

There’s a popular misconception that it’s the brightest guys who get all the steaks and cakes and benefits in life’s great game. But this might not always be the case. There’s a fascinating body of research that suggests that when clever kids get praise for being, well, clever, they naturally assume that everything in life is going to be easy. But when kids receive praise for working hard, they learn the essential lesson that effort and persistency provide a valuable set of keys to success. The kids who learn to apply themselves tend to do much better in life.

It’s also been said that the more regular brand of intellect can’t see all the options that are available to a very bright mind. So the less gifted individual has a narrower range of options and is, therefore, more likely to take action. The brilliant mind is more likely to get trapped in a web of continuous analysis. And as you probably guessed, it’s the action that produces the results. Even if it’s the wrong action, you learn from your mistake and try a different approach. The key is that you’re doing something practical. You’re taking action. And the universe rewards action. Yes it most surely does.

“Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile”

*
p={color:#000;}. Gary Ryan Blair

 

One of the early lessons that I picked up from a great teacher was that the surest way to outperform the competition was to out-work them. We’ve referred again and again to the advantages of working smart but there will be times when the race is won by sheer, dogged, endurance. My teacher told me that I couldn’t do twice as much as anyone else. The effort would probably kill me. But twice as much wasn’t necessary. He explained that the most common human weakness in his estimation was laziness.

Most people would find any excuse to quit, to stop early, to ease up or lose interest. The secret was to add another ten percent to the day’s work and that simple margin of difference would add up to a major difference in success. I didn’t have to be as well-trained as the competition. I certainly didn’t have to be as smart as the other guys. All I had to do was put in that extra ten percent and the law of averages, probability and persistency would pretty much do the rest. As long as my efforts were focused on the right activities. How’s that for a miracle cure for lackluster performance? Grab it with both hands like your life depended on it and make it your own. You’ll never look back.

I was very fortunate to be introduced to an exceptional mentor who took a great deal of time to offer me his help, his advice and his counseling. He’s a truly remarkable man in many ways and I’ve often referred to him during talks and lectures because he had such a profound influence on me and upon the fortunate individuals that he’s personally mentored. He is a self-made billionaire and the kind of a man you’d trust with your life. Not too many people in the world you’d trust with your life but he certainly qualifies as one of the very few I’ve met. I want to relate an episode from his life that sums up his approach to business and it’s a story that resonates perfectly with the message in this section of the manual. 

He was born into a poor family that struggled to make ends meet and his early life and upbringing were undeniably tough and devoid of all sense of luxury. He was a smart kid but it still looked as if he’d end up working the family farm and scratching out a living alongside his brothers. The family certainly had no means to pay for college fees.

His dad talked with him when he finished high school and agreed that if his youngest son could somehow find the money for college, he would be the first in the family history to enroll and the family would give its blessing to him. But he had to find the money first. So the young man borrowed the rusting, family pick-up truck and got a job with a print supply company in the nearest town, working commission only. His dad gave him a few bucks for gas to get him started.

Our young salesman went from town to town looking for businesses that might need printing supplies. He picked up a couple of small orders but college was still looking like a distant and unobtainable dream. It was a Friday evening and he wanted to go home. It was a long drive back to the farm and he was tired. He arrived at the road junction. Left to go home. Or make a right turn? Who knew where the road led? He had a girlfriend waiting for him. Hot food. Mom’s homemade lemonade on the porch with his girl.

But he turned right. And about ten miles down the dusty road, he found a new building under construction. There was no security at the perimeter gates so he drove right in. It was a new printing works. They were going to print newspapers. He met a man coming out of the building and he turned out to be the owner. He was just about to close up and head for home. But he asked the young man to step inside and get something cool to drink and gave him a chance to present his company’s products.

The young man left a couple of hours later with the biggest order his company had ever placed in its history. And a contract to supply the print works with its future requirements. The commission paid for my mentor’s college fees. So he got to enroll, the first person in his family history ever to gain a college degree. He was asked to address the company’s sales force on a national basis to share the secret of his success. And the secret was something so simple that most people would never ever think to use it. It was that little extra ten percent of effort that changed his life and he used that principle in every working situation he ever found himself in.

He always maintained that he could outperform anyone simply by adding that extra, grinding, irresistible ten percent. Yes, it had to be the right action. That was a given. But his ethics, his values and his persistency eventually resulted in a personal fortune worth over a billion dollars. Now I’ve listened to a lot of experts and I’m always willing to learn, but if you tune into the message of this amazing individual, the proof of his philosophy can be measured in his exceptional and consistent levels of success. I still raise a glass to his health and wellbeing whenever the champagne cork pops and I have a cause to celebrate.

The celebrated management consultant, Joseph M. Juran, suggested that for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes and he named the effect  the Pareto principle , after the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. If you can identify the 20% of your efforts that are responsible for producing 80% of your results, imagine how much more productive, efficient and successful your business will be when you concentrate on doing the things that produce the best outcomes.

It’s a a key principle of management consultancy and many businesses are completely blind to the concept, channeling vast resources into areas that produce very little in return. It becomes a pattern, a question of habit and convention. That’s why the close examination of where your business derives its success is vital for future growth. Write the expression ’80 – 20 Principle’ on a sheet of paper and hang it up where you can see it clearly. Take time to think about its message. Understand its meaning and apply it every day to your work schedule. Make notes of what happens.

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

The biggest factor that stops most people from chasing their dreams and working towards their real goals is fear. Fear of the lack of security, the reduced paycheck and of the unknown future keeps people locked into routines that are just not satisfying. That path leads to sadness, depression, poor health, low income and ultimately an early death. What an appalling prospect. Who on earth would want that?

Don’t let fear be the reason for not achieving your goals. Stop, reassess your real passions, remove the money equation long enough so you can think without worrying about finances, and make plans to move towards your 80/20 lifestyle activities. Maximize what you are good at. Find the activities that produce the most results for you and your business and put your energy where the big rewards are.

Summary

 

Persistence can win the game.

What is your most important motivator to keep you moving when everyone else quits?

You can outperform most competitors with an extra 10% effort.

Look for areas in your own business where the extra 10% will make the greatest difference to your success.

Which activities in your business produce 80% of the results?

How can you increase those critically effective activities to boost your results?

Make a note of your answers and keep them on file.

Chapter 10: Sharing the Rewards

 

Success has many parents but failure is an orphan. I’ll bet you’ve come across that expression before. It’s amazing how quickly people will lay claim to any successful idea or outcome but deny any responsibility for failure. So let’s introduce some liberating clarity here. Failure is a perfectly natural phenomenon. Own it. Embrace it. Learn to love it. Because it will teach you things that you will never learn from any course, tutorial or manual.

Failure involves a certain amount of pain. It possesses an emotional component that is unmistakable. That’s why it affects us far more deeply than any academic treatise on the mechanics of hitting or missing a target. Failure is visceral. The more we feel it, the more likely we are to find a way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. One of my teachers referred to the pain of failure as the businessman’s personal aversion therapy. He meant that if we didn’t like the pain, we’d strive to avoid it i he future by doing better.

Only a certified masochist would keep right on doing the same things and failing. Failure is nature’s way of announcing the need for a change. I recall meeting in the far-off days of my youth an army drill instructor who explained to his squad that everyone was completely free to make as many mistakes as they liked. He smiled and mustered all the evil in his dark soul to add that, having given permission to mess up, no one was ever allowed to make the same mistake twice!

And there’s the problem. Did you spot it?

We don’t feel comfortable around change. We humans – that’s you and me, by the way – much prefer to keep doing the same thing day in, day out, resisting change whenever possible, even if the results are a complete disaster. 

And how do people usually greet our failures? ‘Better luck next time!’ shout our so-called sympathisers. 

Luck has nothing to do with it. 

Try ‘Better method next time’ and surprise everyone, including yourself, with your new-found success.

Our attitude towards failure is a strong indicator of whether we’re likely to succeed in achieving our goals. Failure never tastes good. It can be a bitter pill to swallow, it can even threaten to wipe us out. Yet the pain of failure can encourage us to develop resistance against future failures. It can present us with an opportunity to learn how to do things differently. We can learn to do better next time.

People often fail to understand that failure is only an event, something that comes and goes just like breakfast. The question of how you respond to the event determines the quality of the outcome. Some people become so attached to their failures that the events become the dominant influence of their future behaviour. It’s just something that happens. As the pain and disappointment subside, learn to appraise it dispassionately. Examine the mechanics of the situation, the circumstances that produced the failure. Be strong. Put the feelings of failure to one side and concentrate on your goal, your objective, your mission. Pick yourself up and get going again. Right away. The instant you turn your focus away from the failure and straight towards your goal, the psychological effects of failure are over.

The list of areas where failure can strike covers every possible aspect of the human experience. No surprises there! We’ve probably all had a close encounter at some point of our lives, otherwise we couldn’t have lived. Do you know the bitterness of -

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Failure in relationships

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Failure at school

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Failure to get a job

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Failure in your career

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Failure in examinations

However failure might’ve shown up in your life, please remember that you are not the first nor the last person to go through the experience. There’s nothing new or novel about failure. Even the most successful people have known failure but they did not quit. That’s how they became successful. They did not quit. And neither will you.

Success is often a result of collaboration and a well co-ordinated team effort. Recognising the help and support of colleagues and co-workers is a vital element in encouraging a healthy and productive business environment. We’re back to recognition again, aren’t we? Yes, because the ego often neglects to recognise the importance of others in favour of the self. Once you begin to understand the role that each individual plays in your organisation, once you can objectively evaluate each individual’s contribution to the total success of the business, you can find ways to acknowledge those essential, collective elements that support your individual success.

Rewards can take many forms but most of us are looking for some kind of financial recognition for our success and this is entirely natural. We’ve discussed the importance of wealth as a means of delivering a better quality of life in other publications but it’s such an integral part of our culture and our social conventions that it’s worth highlighting the role that money plays in our world and explore ways to increase its presence in our lives. 

In an earlier section, we referred to the internal, subconscious value that we put on our worth or earning potential and we examined the consequences of living with that invisible barrier floating above our heads. Money is a great way of keeping score. Do you feel that you are adequately rewarded for your efforts? I know some remarkable individuals for whom money really isn’t the motivator. But for many people, the financial rewards are an important indicator of social status and commercial success. How much influence do you exercise over your income? Is it fixed? Do you like it the way it is? Can you earn bonuses? I may have been a little crazy in my youth but I once suggested to an employer that they could keep their company car and salary and I would happily do my job on a commission-only basis. I’d calculated that I’d easily triple my income even if I was using my own car and paying for the gas. They smiled politely and said no.

They were making plenty on the back of my sales and saw no reason to change a winning formula. Well it certainly worked for them. I wasn’t so sure. I’m certainly not recommending working on a commission-only basis but, for some people, it’s a great way to focus all of your attention on getting the job done. Every month you start again from scratch so you have to focus on being effective at what you do because there’s no salary or safety net to catch you if you get things wrong.

But, when you get into it, you set your own income standards and you feel a little special when you beat your own targets. You feel more like an entrepreneur and the rewards enable you to have a more balanced life in which you can travel more and enjoy the fruits of the success you’ve created. As I said, I’m not suggesting that this for everyone but it is one way to lift your earning power way beyond the average. 

When you reach that long-awaited and joyful day when you achieve the success you’ve planned for, you’ll need to have a suitable reward to celebrate your struggle and your achievement. Our immediate assumption is that we’ll just go out and buy something extravagant and that happens often enough.

The road to success can be very demanding so a visible, high-profile reward provides a very obvious reminder of how much you deserve the spoils of victory, especially after a long and arduous contest. Some companies and more than a few individuals celebrate their success with conventional rewards and bonuses but they also look for ways to put something back. They sponsor projects at home and abroad with the precise aim of improving the lot of their fellow creatures.

One entrepreneur declared that the major reward for her success was the opportunity it provided to fund the rescue of animals in distress. There’s a whole lot more goodwill out there than you might imagine but it rarely makes the headlines. If you feel passionate about a particular issue, you can sponsor programmes to make a difference. Some people build the idea into their business plan and start to sponsor good works as soon as the cash starts to roll in.

But we need to exercise a little caution and make sure our generosity doesn’t bleed the fledgling company dry. Remember the vital importance of a healthy cash flow. It’s the life blood of your company and, if your company dies from a lack of cash, your ability to sponsor worthwhile causes will come to an abrupt end far too soon. So exercise discretion and create a prosperous organisation that can support good works for the long, long term. That way, everyone benefits from your prudent creation, management and distribution of resources.

This is another important aspect of building a sustainable and successful business. You need to know what’s in it for you. In the long term. You need to know what you’re expecting from that daily application of effort. The fact is that most salaries barely keep peoples’ heads above the water. Employees tend to survive on their income rather than flourish. I believe we can get better results from staff by providing incentives to be more effective and by rewarding their diligence and productive participation in achieving the company’s goals.

Many organisations already do this and offering stock options can do much to retain valuable and experienced members of the team. You also need to have an exit strategy. If you love what you do, you’ll happily apply yourself to the grindstone til they prise your cold, dead fingers from the keyboard and that’s great. But if you’ve worked out why you’re in business, why you’re doing your job – beyond the immediate needs of paying for food and shelter – you’ll know in advance where the business is heading.

And that will tell you when it will be right to move on or cash in and enjoy the benefits of your success. That’s why it’s called an exit strategy. It’s a plan for quitting the day job at a time of your choosing. One mentor advised me that I should never get into any business without a clearly defined exit strategy. I’m just passing on the advice. It’s up to you to work out how it will fit into your future plans.

Money is always a fascinating subject and we’re sometimes surprised by the very large salaries that are awarded to board level personnel. We live in an age where the higher echelons of corporate pay scales are moving further and further ahead of the average employee salary. It’s another controversial area and one that has prompted a great deal of research that aims to determine whether the amounts that are awarded truly reflect the value of the fortunate recipient’s contribution to the company’s success.

The CEO of a major oil group retired from his position and stated that if he’d received double his salary, it would have made no difference to his performance. Perhaps more significantly, he added that if his salary had only been half of what he’d been awarded, it would have made absolutely no difference to his performance. He certainly did not protest whilst he was receiving all that money so the timing of his observation is somewhat questionable.

But the question remains. Do we remunerate senior executives at a rate that exceeds their value? The issue becomes more pressing when we consider the rewards that senior management continue to receive even when the company is failing and this is another of those areas that prompted stern criticism from more than one of my mentors. They felt that it represented a case of rewarding failure and that’s an area we’ve covered in an earlier section of the manual.

Reward success and reward it across the entire range of the company. Discourage failure. It’s not as if companies fail every day because the board is taking risks to grow the business. More often the board demonstrates an unfortunate degree of lethargy and short-sightedness that aims only at the next quarter’s results. Perhaps we should wait for the academic research to present its conclusions but my mentors were strongly in favour of rewarding and recognising success. And equally in favour of stripping out the mediocrity that can blight a company’s prospects for long term prosperity. We really shouldn’t reward mediocrity.

Here is a list of typical business success and failure areas to consider and assess

Business is an art as well as a science. It’s a matter of practical experience, judgement, foresight and luck. To be successful in business, you must master the basics of business success.

Fortunately, all business skills are learnable. You can learn anything you need to learn, to achieve any goal you can set for yourself. There are no limits—except the limits you place on your own imagination.

There are three major reasons why businesses fail: lack of money, lack of knowledge and lack of support. By mastering the basics of business success, you’ll gain the knowledge necessary to acquire the support and money you need for your business.

So just what are the essentials of business success? There are seven key areas of activity that determine whether your business will live or die:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Marketing. Your ability to determine and sell the right product to the right customer at the right time

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Finance. Your ability to acquire the money you need, and account for the money you receive

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Production. Your ability to produce products and services at a high enough level of quality and consistency over time

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Distribution. Your ability to get your product or service to the market in a timely and economic fashion

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Research and development. Your ability to continually innovate and produce new products, services, processes and responses to your competition

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Regulation. Your ability to deal with the requirements of government legislation at all levels

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Labour. Your ability to find the people you need, deal with unions, establish personnel policies, develop effective training and organisational development

And from this list, comes the very specific, identifiable reasons for business success:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Having a product or service that’s well suited to the needs and requirements of the current market

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Developing a complete business plan before commencing business operations

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Conducting a complete market analysis before producing or offering the product or service

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Thoroughly developing advertising, promotional and sales programs

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Establishing tight financial controls, good budgeting practices, accurate bookkeeping and accounting methods, all backed by an attitude of frugality

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Ensuring that there’s a high degree of competence, capability and integrity on the part of key staff members

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Having good internal efficiency, time management, clear job descriptions, accompanied by clear and measurable output and responsibilities

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Developing effective communication among the staff and an open-door policy for managers, especially the business’s owner

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Generating strong momentum in the sales department and placing a continued emphasis on marketing your product or service

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Making concern for the customer a top priority at all times

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Putting determination, persistence and patience at the top of the list on the part of the business owners

And now that you know the seven essentials of business success and the identifiable factors involved in helping your company succeed, let me share the top reasons for business failure. Thousands of companies were studied to determine the reasons businesses fail. Here they are, in order of their importance:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Lack of direction. Business owners often fail to establish clear goals and create plans to achieve those goals, especially before starting out, when they fail to develop a complete business plan before launching their company.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Impatience. This occurs when business owners try to accomplish too much too soon, or expect to get results far faster than is truly possible. A good rule to remember is that everything costs twice as much and takes three times as long as expected.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Greed. When entrepreneurs try to charge too much to make a lot of money in a short period of time, failure isn’t far behind.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Taking action without thinking it through first. An entrepreneur acts impetuously and makes costly mistakes that eventually cause the business to fail.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Poor cost control. An entrepreneur spends too much, especially in the early stages, and spends all their startup capital money before achieving profitability.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Poor product quality. This makes it difficult to sell and difficult to get repeat business.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Insufficient working capital. An entrepreneur expects—and requires—immediate, positive cash flow that doesn’t occur, leading to the failure of the business.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Bad or nonexistent budgeting. An entrepreneur fails to develop written budgets for operations that include all possible expenses.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Inadequate financial records. An entrepreneur fails to set up a bookkeeping or accounting system from the beginning.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Loss of momentum in the sales department. This leads to a decline in cash flow and the eventual collapse of the enterprise.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Failure to anticipate market trends. An entrepreneur doesn’t recognize changes in demand, customer preferences or the economic situation.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Lack of managerial ability or experience. An entrepreneur doesn’t know or understand the important skills it takes to run a business.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Indecisiveness. An entrepreneur is unable to make key decisions in the face of difficulties, or decisions are delayed or improperly made because of concern for the opinions or feelings of other people.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Bad human relations. Personal problems and conflict with staff, suppliers, creditors and customers can easily lead to business failure.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Diffusion of effort. An entrepreneur tries to do too many things, thus failing to set priorities and focus on high-value tasks.

Business success isn’t a mystery waiting to be solved. It’s an attainable goal, if you simply avoid the reasons for business failure and continually focus on improving the areas that are responsible for business success.

Summary

 

Failure happens. Learn to accept its lessons and avoid future repetitions.

Be prepared to change how you do things as soon as you fail to achieve the results you were aiming for.

Acknowledge the help and support of your co-workers in the business a success.

What’s in it for you? What do you get for your input and do feel you’re getting your fair share?

Do not reward mediocrity. It only encourages poor performance at every level.

 

Chapter 11: Accountability

 

You don’t even have to be a creative genius to find a winning method for success. You certainly do not have to re-invent the wheel. Again. There are countless examples of successful ways to run an enterprise. One of the reasons that I was fortunate to be mentored by some quite extraordinary individuals is that they believed wholeheartedly in success. They wanted to share the experience of success wherever they went. I was always a keen student and was willing to shut up and listen when the words of wisdom rolled across the table.

And they needed to know that I understood the message. They’d interrogate me – I’m serious – until they were satisfied that the message had been absorbed into my thick skull. One of them told me he was willing to use a hammer if necessary!  The world is awash with information and there are thousands of books, courses, forums and websites that will give you plenty of material to work with.

All it requires is a little effort. And that’s where the next problem often surfaces. Many individuals simply don’t put in the right level of effort to break free from their limitations. Others apply their effort in areas that they enjoy but which prove to be largely unproductive. In other words. we do what we like to do. Or we do what we think we should do. Instead of doing the things that really make a difference. Sometimes we need to break out of our comfort zone and do things that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, challenging and uplifting.

If we keep doing the same things, we will pretty much guarantee that we’ll always get the same results. Now I happen to share an appreciation for persistence. It’s something that my mentors also admired very much. But I’m referring to a persistence that’s directed towards a specific and clearly-defined goal. There is no virtue in banging your head every day against the proverbial brick wall, hoping that you’ll knock a hole in the masonry rather than give yourself an industrial scale headache. Especially when you’re so busy head-butting the wall that you completely ignore the door that is waiting for you to walk through to take you past your obstacles, circumstances and limitations. And that leads us to the subject of accountability.

Who carries the can? Where exactly does the buck stop? Who’s accountable for what happens? This is far from being the first book to highlight the importance of accountability but most management consultants prefer to use the term ‘responsibility’ and it amounts to the same thing. If you want your life to improve, if you want to claim the glittering prizes of personal success, if you want to show the world what you’re made of, you’ve got to take full responsibility for your life and for everything that happens in it. Not so easy as it sounds.

There are thousands of self-help books that promote this kind of message but very few people succeed in adopting the principle of total accountability. Why is that? Well, it’s largely because the whole package of being responsible is a painful, stressful and demanding attitude to adopt and most of us would much prefer to blame someone or something else for the way our lives turn out. Let’s be really clear on this point.

Taking full responsibility for everything that happens in your life is one of the most liberating experiences you can encounter. This is not some obscure intellectual concept. You have to feel it to appreciate it fully. We avoid this empowering sense of personal responsibility because it’s a facet of the way we’re brought up. We grow up like a bunch of galley slaves, trained to row together to keep the ship rolling along, praying every day that the captain won’t want to go water-skiing, and avoiding the lash and the beatings that life seems to hand out randomly along the way. But that’s more of a reflection of how our minds have been conditioned from early childhood rather than a revealing insight of how our lives can be. The shift in perception and attitude that tells you that you are totally responsible for everything that happens will change everything.

We discard the familiar mask of the victim and become empowered with a sense of control that makes every fiber of our being tingle. You start to feel alive. Perhaps for the first time in your life. You start to own your life. I’ve known guys who took it to extremes, even owning the weather – which was a little unconventional to say the least – ‘Yeah, it’s pouring. I must’ve wanted it to rain today!’ But their attitude always got them fired up. And that’s an interesting mind-set to bring to any situation in life. Not an ounce of energy wasted in self-pity and screaming at the heavens. The exact opposite. ‘OK. I made this happen. That means I can change it. Easy. No problem’. These guys are a force to be reckoned with. You’d have to shoot them with a silver bullet to slow them down.

Were they born with that magic attitude? No. It’s a learned behaviour. It’s a deliberate shift in the emotional-driven, conditioned reflexes that stops the self-pity response dead in its tracks – before it even leaves the starting blocks. And replaces it with a feeling of ownership for everything that happens. It is a major leap forward that brings the potential for enormous change in its wake and not everyone is ready for that. Which is a pity because the power to unleash so much of our potential is tied up in that refusal to accept total responsibility for everything that happens in life. One vocal participant at a training session called out that – obviously – we can’t be responsible for everything that happens so the concept was invalid. Guess he wasn’t paying full attention. It’s the change in attitude that makes the difference. Attitude is the force that either cripples your efforts or lends them superhuman powers. Attitude. It’s like Henry Ford used to say ‘Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t. You’re right’.

Admitting mistakes is another unexpected way to create efficiency in a business. When people feel it’s safe to screw up – because we are human, after all – and as long as they flag up the problem and get it fixed, everyone learns from the experience. You find ways to minimise the problem. No time and energy wasted on blaming or covering up. Just an acceptance of the problem and a complete focus on getting things back on line. if you’ve ever been fortunate to work in such a supportive and empowering environment, you’ll know just how smooth and efficient the operation can be. It’s safe to admit when you don’t know something. It’s safe to ask for help. It’s safe to ask for clarification. Your contribution is welcomed, appreciated and recognised. It’s one of the ways to get the best out of people. And they enjoy it immensely because they really feel that they belong. And that’s priceless.

5 Simple Things That Can Help You to Change Your Attitude

1. Identify and understand what you want to change.

The first step towards change clearly understands what needs to be changed. Setting clear goals is the key to success in any enterprise. When it comes to changing your attitude, you need to perform an honest and in-depth self-evaluation so that you can identify exactly which of your traits need to be improved, neutralised or totally changed.

2. Seek a role model.

We all need to know that what we’re trying to accomplish can in fact be achieved; that we can be more optimistic, more social or more patient. Identify someone who has the kind of attitude that you want to have, and let his or her life give you inspiration and encouragement to move beyond your temporary failures in your journey towards becoming a better version of who you are.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Think about how your attitude change will impact on your life.

To be able to hurtle through all the difficulties that lie ahead of you in your journey towards self-improvement, you need to figure out exactly what this anticipated change will bring to your life. Will changing your attitude mean a happier family or social life? Will a change in your attitude mean a more successful career or a more fulfilling social life? Will a change in your attitude mean a more successful career or business? Focus your thoughts on the things that would result from your change in attitude and you will have a greater chance of reaching your goal.

4. Choose the right company.

As they say, “Bad company corrupts good character.” You don’t expect yourself to be able to change if you go on surrounding yourself with people who possess all the negative traits that you want to change. Consider befriending new people, especially those who are optimistic and have a healthier attitude towards life. You will soon realise that your effort to change will be easier with these more positive people as friends.

5. Nurture the belief that you are able to change.

Often, the greatest obstacle that separates us from our goals is our inability to trust in what we are able to do. If you don’t believe in yourself or believe that you or your life can change, it just won’t happen—you will either never start, or give up quickly so you will deny yourself the opportunity to succeed.

It cannot be overstated that a positive attitude is a very important element for living a successful and satisfying life, so it is only appropriate to strive for a positive attitude. Even the superstars of the business world have known the pain of having to struggle with a negative attitude. But they never quit. They overcame their old habits of negativity and lack of self-belief and soared to the heights of success. So can you.

How to Change Negative Attitudes at Your Workplace

A negative attitude can be contagious, so it’s very helpful to identify this kind of behaviour and develop and effective strategy for dealing with it. Some people who have negative attitudes aren’t doing anything particularly wrong; they just have a cynical, negative perspective that pervades your business. So what do you do?

To improve the level of optimism at your workplace, keep the following in mind:

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p<>{color:#000;}. [*Acknowledge concerns. *]Don’t gloss over complaints or present a Pollyanna view of things. If appropriate, acknowledge the other person’s point of view and provide clarification on any misunderstandings.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. [*Be part of the solution. *]Instead of allowing your employees to present only problems, encourage them to propose solutions. Ask them to offer at least one resolution to any complaint.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Encourage humor. Humor can diffuse tension and ease stress. But humor should be positive and lighthearted, and should never occur at the expense of others. And in today’s world where sarcasm and cynicism are considered good forms of humor, it’s tougher and more important than ever to use humorous remarks that uplift the workplace rather than add to the negativity.

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p<>{color:#000;}. [*Make time for others. *]Have an open-door policy and be approachable. This encourages employees to be open and upfront about problems and concerns.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Watch your body language. Smile, establish eye contact, listen attentively, and nod in encouragement. Use your physical actions to send a positive message to your staff.

On the flip side, avoid body language that’s perceived as negative. Drumming your fingers; scratching; crossing your arms over your chest; rubbing your face, chest, or neck when speaking; and mumbling are all perceived negatively by others and suggest that you are disengaged or distrustful.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Suggest privacy, if appropriate. If a major setback or crisis occurs at work for an employee, encourage the person to take a few minutes to be alone. That way, the individual can work through strong emotions and avoid scenes or actions that he or she may later regret.

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p<>{color:#000;}. [*Praise, praise, praise. *]When successes occur, share them with others and praise those who made them happen. Recognizing achievements makes everyone feel good.

Summary

 

Describe how you’re responsible for what happens in your life.

Owning your job lends power and commitment to the tasks you perform.

How can you learn to be more in control of your work?

Giving up the habit of blame is deeply liberating.

Learning to check your old reactions and replace them with a sense of being in control is deeply empowering.

How to Change Negative Attitudes in the Workplace

Chapter 12: Enjoying the Benefits of Success and Reaping the Rewards

 

We’ve examined the mechanics of success, explored the importance of attitude, identified the purpose and objectives of your work, picked out the specific skills that you need to advance your goals, built a solid plan that respects the importance of healthy cash flow and found ways to add that all-important extra ten percent of effort that grinds down the obstacles and drives the opposition nuts. We’ve chosen actions that favour the goals we’ve selected for ourselves and sought inspiration amongst a suitable gallery of shining role models. In other words, we’ve got a mission, we’ve got a plan and now all we have to do is carry it out, having put the odds firmly on our side.

“Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to”

*
p={color:#000;}. Harry Emerson Fosdick

 

But what happens when you make it? What happens when you reach your goal and you taste the well-deserved fruits of your success? This is more than the famous exit strategy we referred to earlier. The habits and process that led to your success might have become more deeply ingrained in your behaviour than you realise. Purpose delivers powerful reasons for you to get up every day up and face life’s great challenges. Then one day you wake up and the struggle is over, the contest is won and you’ll need to know in advance what you’d like to do next. You might be surprised how much you miss the daily test of your willpower and resolve, how much you miss fixing problems and overcoming difficulties, how much you miss the unmistakable flavour of victory. Many people imagine that once they’ve held high the prize of their lofty ambitions, life will become a permanent holiday in the sun with lots of freedom and relaxation but this is not a scenario that favours a long term sense of happiness and well being.

Human beings need purpose. A lot of people use the opportunity to upgrade their relationships and pick up a younger partner to re-affirm their fading youth. You read the papers. You know where that leads, don’t you? Humans need a reason to get up in the morning. We thrive when we respond to the challenge of tasks and quests and goals. It’s how we keep growing. For some people, a permanent holiday would soon become a living hell.

You start taking that first little drink of the day a little earlier. You indulge in rich foods, good wine, put on weight and wake up wondering what you’re going to do for the rest of the day. One more little drinkie, just to pass the time? So what are you going to do with the rest of your life? You miss the hustle and bustle, the old daily routine of being productively busy. OK. Just another drink. Hey! It’s ten in the morning. Why not make cocktails?! I’ve seen it. Garages filled to the roof with cases of booze and entrepreneurs retiring to the sun, idleness and enough gin to float a battleship. What a waste of talent and experience. So you’ll probably need a purpose, if only to save your liver from the rigours of all that alcohol.

Just because you’ve achieved one goal – no matter how grand and enriching the outcome may be – doesn’t mean that you can’t create other goals. You most certainly can. The advice of my mentors was to keep busy. Forever.

Find something, anything, useful to do. None of these extraordinary individuals have retired though they could obviously afford to live in the lap of luxury without ever expending a further ounce of effort. But that’s not their way. Keeping busy gives focus, purpose and direction to their lives and I believe they really enjoy making a difference to the world. Some of them give their time for free to educational projects, helping to shape the next generation of entrepreneurs, offering their priceless wisdom wherever hopeful young business people gather to learn and grow. Some are involved in social projects. Others back medical research. A couple of the guys teamed up to build hospitals, schools and orphanages together, funding the allocation and training of staff and raising more money to keep the projects rolling. Are they making a difference? Of course they are. If you met them, you’d expect nothing less of them.

So, if you’re planning on living a long life in which you can enjoy the handsome rewards of your success, start thinking about what you’d like to do with all that richly-deserved success. What do you want to do with all the money and the freedom that your goals and ambition will deliver? Make notes. Imagine yourself exactly as you’ll be when you’ve crossed the finishing line and held high the winner’s trophy. Start to live into your dream. And it will be so.

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on”

*
p={color:#000;}. Walter Lippmann

BOOK 3

PASSIVE

PROSPERITY

FOREVER

 

 

 

 

By

Greg Parry PhD

About the Author

Initially I trained in the field of Corporate Psychology and Management, gaining a PhD along the way and spending most of my time driving commercial projects and delivering Motivational Training in a corporate environment. And there were catalysts for change that appeared quite unexpectedly. I’ve been privileged to sit at the feet of some quite extraordinary financial giants, individuals who carved out their success from the bare rock of their own determination and dogged persistence. These were highly motivated and inspiring people and it’s largely thanks to their advice and unwavering examples that I’ve been able to create a lifestyle that allows me to enjoy the kind of freedom that most people only dream about.

 

MY INSPIRATION

I have been extremely fortunate to work with a surprising number of self-made billionaires, individuals who were generous enough to share their experiences and their personal philosophy of success with me. Some of them were kind enough to mentor me during my earlier years and this generosity has prompted me to publish and share some of the jewels of their accumulated wisdom and add weight to the argument that success is not an accident.

 

As well as studying the architecture of material success, these individuals also dwelt on the importance of creating balance in life, of creating time to be with their families, to support great causes and to make a difference to the quality of peoples’ lives. They appreciated the freedom that their lifestyles had created for themselves and displayed a breath-taking lack of selfishness in promoting success wherever they found fertile ground in which their advice could take root. One of them described this spirit of generosity as a personal legacy, a way of ensuring that all of his hard-won lessons were not simply confined to the limits of his own life.

There’s a great deal of material in the marketplace today on the subject of success. Against this dense background of conflicting ideas and approaches, perhaps we should determine from the outset what success really entails.

 

I subscribe to my mentors’ philosophy of personal freedom, of creating sufficient wealth to live the way you want to live and to enjoy the gift of this life to the full. You’ll feel a lot better when you share your success with others too. You certainly don’t have to be a billionaire to achieve that level of freedom and personal choice or to make a difference to the lives of others. But you do need the appropriate attitude. You will need determination and you’ll probably need to make some adjustments to how you think, feel and behave. Letting go of old habits, shaking yourself loose from the grip of the past, learning to focus on a much brighter vision of the future – these are all components that will enhance your chances for success and improve the quality of your daily life at every level. It isn’t simply a question of how much cash you’ve stashed away. The picture’s bigger, more detailed, more encompassing and brighter than you might’ve thought possible. Success is certainly about measurable achievement but it also involves a stronger connections to the people around us. It involves a deep sense of peace within ourselves. It encapsulates the concept of personal acceptance. It permits us to choose appropriate goals and to follow the winding pathway to our destination with unbreakable confidence in our ability to get wherever we choose to go. And, if the seeds of wisdom have taken root, to enjoy the journey to the full.

Chapter One

Understanding the mechanics of making money on-line

Let’s begin by accepting that you want to enjoy the benefits of a passive income. That’s a great place to start! Passive income can be driven by a number of effective systems, each of which has been thoroughly proved and tested in the real-world market place of on-line commerce. These are the clearly defined methods for creating passive cash-flow that we’re going to explore together in this book. But each method still requires a well-established foundation and this is where most of the effort in your passive income creation plan will be expended. Let me repeat that the process of setting up a system to generate money for you whilst you relax requires effort but, the more attention you devote to the preparatory stages, the stronger your future business will be. It’s that simple. Setting up a well-prepared system will pay dividends in the future. It’s a long-term investment that deserves your time and attention and, as I’m sure you’re aware, passive income does not simply appear out of thin air. It’s a product of making the right choices and being prepared to check and adjust your system to fine tune the results and boost the income streams that flow from taking the right actions.

The fact is that every system begins to some extent as an experiment and involves a certain amount of trial and error. The good news is that all of these methods work. Our aim is to share the best ways of setting up a particular system and using the tried and tested methods to put the odds of success squarely on your side. We’ll do that by providing the guidance, tips and insights that should save you a great deal of time and energy and help you start earning a passive income as quickly as possible.

So where do we begin?

At the beginning, of course! We’ve divided the various approaches to creating passive income into seven convenient sections. You may already have a good idea about how you’d like to proceed but this is a good time to consider all your options.

We’ve detailed the following areas of interest:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Selling goods or services on-line and the proven power of FBA

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p<>{color:#000;}. Self-publishing and the satisfaction of seeing your name on a book cover

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p<>{color:#000;}. Affiliate marketing and the simplicity of promoting other peoples’ goods and services

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p<>{color:#000;}. Website marketing to steer traffic to potential sellers

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p<>{color:#000;}. Embedding websites to create links to affiliates

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p<>{color:#000;}. E-mail marketing and the art of directing traffic to a landing page

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p<>{color:#000;}. Udemy and the fun of producing on-line courses

Each of these methods of generating passive income involves a degree of effort. Let’s be absolutely clear about this. If you ask any self-made person how they became rich, they’ll usually take a deep breath and tell you that it was through sheer hard work. Probably a lot more work and self-sacrifice than most people could ever appreciate. So I want to emphasise the importance of putting in the right level of effort at the start of the project to make sure you’re fully prepared to support your passive income strategy with the right kind of commitment. It’s called passive income because, once you’re set up, the system does most for the work for you. It’s often referred to as smart passive income because it’s a fantastically smart way for you to boost your revenue and raise your standard of living.

You’re going to need to analyse your system and determine exactly what works and what doesn’t. That means monitoring your results and making the necessary adjustments. This is true for any business, of course, but it’s just as vital when you’re planning on creating a long-term passive income for yourself. You’ll also need to consider the best ways to automate your business so that it runs smoothly with minimal effort from yourself. There’s a lot of great software available today that can make your system run automatically and that’s one of the great advantages of developing an on-line business in this technologically-advanced age. Yes, you’ll need a good website to promote whatever you’re planning to bring to market but there are many providers out there who will do a great job for you for a great price. We’ll take a closer look at the technical details of setting up your system later on in the book. For now, this seems like a great moment to check out the advantages of selling goods or services on line.

Selling Good and Services On-Line and the Power of FBA

The concept of selling products as an agent or distributor still offers a fabulous way to make money. The revolutionary twist that wasn’t available during my early attempts to build a second income stream – was the Internet. The Web has changed the rules. In fact, the Web has changed everything. The world’s population is constantly trawling the Internet in search of products and services to buy. The scale of the on-line marketplace is truly colossal.

All you need is a product – or a line of products – and a place on the Internet where people can come and check out your goods and services and make their purchases. It’s so wonderful. It’s so fantastically simple. It’s so delightfully efficient. You can understand now why so many people are making a great deal of money from just selling things on the Internet. No shop. No premises. No staff. No overheads. In many cases, with very little stock. And unprecedented access to a large portion of the planet’s seven billion people! That’s a great way to appreciate the daily musical accompaniment of the digital cash register. But let’s be sure we’re not just creating a second job for ourselves.

Are we just creating more work for ourselves here?

Before we get carried away with visions of vast digital hyper-markets and mountains of cash rolling in, we need to make a very important distinction. Our mission is to enable you to enjoy a better standard of living and a much-improved quality of life. As we mentioned earlier, it’s very challenging to become wealthy as an employee. We want to free you from the limitations and lifestyle restrictions associated with being an employee. The fact is that most people struggle on their salaries. So adding another labour-intensive and time-consuming job to the equation probably isn’t a good idea and certainly not for the long term. That’s why we place great emphasis on smart passive income. Many people get drawn into the digital market with hearts full of expectations and innocence – without working out in advance how much time, effort and money might be involved to make the business successful. You can easily get drawn into the demands of a second job and end up earning far too little in return for the effort. We need smart income, money that flows in – with minimum effort from your good self.

The starting point for this system is for you to take your time to work out exactly what you want to sell. Do you have an idea of the kind of products you want to specialise in? Do you have a skill or service that you could offer on-line? This is where it can be very useful to make a list of the different areas that interest you and see what you can come up with in terms of choosing a range of products or a particular service that you want to sell via the Internet. Having the right product or service is obviously the critical factor when you’re choosing what you want to sell and the more you can distinguish your product or service from the rest of the crowd, the greater your chances of success.

Amazon has created an extraordinary mechanism for shopping and is widely recognised as one of the most reputable companies in the business. This is why Amazon FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon – is such an important way for you to bring your goods to the marketplace. The level of expertise and professionalism that contributes to the Amazon reputation can lend tremendous credibility to your business efforts. If you want to accelerate your income plans, this is one of the best ways to launch yourself.

Decide what you’re going to sell after conducting adequate research into the market. Then all you need to do is sign up for a professional account and make a listing on FBA. You might need help designing an attractive and effective product page that will feature the right kind of keywords for your wares and provide interesting content that will draw prospective buyers to your site. Drawing people to your page is the purpose of using social media such as Facebook or by developing Blogs, Twitter accounts and encouraging word of mouth recommendations.

The received wisdom from the market place is that your product is the single most important element in the whole equation of success. That’s why you need to identify a product that has the highest probability of succeeding. There are some very helpful guidelines that you can use to narrow your search.

Firstly, check to see if your particular product features in the top sales rankings on FBA. If it shows up in the top 5,000, it indicates a measure of popularity and you’ll be able to see what your competitors are doing that might impact on your sales. If you’re going head to head with a major brand, you’re probably going to lose so save yourself a lot of time and wasted effort by re-thinking your product choice. In terms of pricing your product, it seems that the most popular items retail in the $10 to $50 range. That simple piece of knowledge about the most popular price range can help you identify items to sell that will attract the largest numbers of potential buyers. It’s also vital to bear in mind that you’re doing this to make money so you should aim to make a minimum of 75% on every sale to make the exercise worthwhile. It’s also worth noting that profit is not simply the margin. Profit is margin times the number of sales and that’s a very potent factor to consider if you can achieve economies of scale. That translates into moving more products in order for you to buy your stock at better prices.

Another factor that characterises successful businesses of all descriptions is the ability to control the process from start to finish. Fortunately, we live in an age where many aspects of running and controlling a business can be automated, helping you to keep track of stock, income flow and business activity remotely. That’s a very happy way of earning money!

It’s also immensely helpful if you can plan your business to function over the longer term, calculating and setting targets for each month and quarter and charting the results against your expectations. This disciplined approach to building a successful business encourages you to fine tune your model and your plans, especially in the early days when you’re experimenting to find the most efficient way to deliver a predictable revenue stream.

Finally, as we noted at the opening of this section, one of the enormous advantages of selling via FBA is the credibility that Amazon has created for itself as a highly credible and well-trusted organisation that spans the globe. Being part of that immensely attractive success story can only be of benefit for your new business and your ambitions to create a passive income from an on-line sales operation.

So what are the options?

The easiest option is for you to provide access to other people’s products or services via the Internet. You set up a website and you use it – amongst other things – to advertise products or services that people can buy via your very own website or on e-Bay.

When somebody buys something, the order goes from the buyer to the supplier, who processes the business, deals with any enquiries or returns and pays you a commission. Your involvement is blissfully minimised and you avoid the time-consuming – yet important – aspects of the business where contact with the customer is handled by the supplier’s professional sales support team.

This option is so much easier than buying your stock, holding and distributing the products and dealing with the inevitable customer enquiries, concerns, payments and occasional returns.

If you choose to go digital and launch a product or service on the Web, having a good website today is more important than ever before. It’s worth the investment of time and money to get the professionals involved and the surprising news is that there are some incredibly talented and creative website developers out there who will provide you with everything you need at surprisingly affordable prices.

Get the best set up you can because you want it to be useful and welcoming to any visitors and you want your prospective buyers to enjoy the experience. There’s a handy list of possible service providers at the end of the book for you to check. We have no commercial tie up with any of them. We just like to share details of great service providers whenever we find them.

We’re open for business – but where are all the customers?

This is the key to the project. Once your site is up, you’re effectively open for business twenty-four hours a day and people can buy the products or services even while you’re asleep. But where do you find the customers? Good question!

Drawing people to your site by posting great material is a well-recognised method to raise awareness of your existence in the great digital ocean of the World Wide Web. Offering your goods at great prices will also draw attention to your site. Providing up to date and relevant information – for free – on areas related to your business encourages people to visit you on a regular basis. Marketing is the key.

Sadly, the heady days of Search Engine Optimisation are largely a thing of the past. The world has moved on though you’ll still find plenty of people willing to sell you their SEO services as if we were still living under the old regime. The rules have changed. The market has moved on. That’s another way of saying that you absolutely need to keep up to date with the latest techniques for optimising your website. Research on the Internet is still largely free. There are constantly updated libraries of material on the Internet on the best ways to boost traffic to your site. Make full use of the information.

The world is awash with websites selling everything under the sun. Your challenge is to make yours stand out and draw people in to explore what you’re offering. Don’t expect the world to share your personal enthusiasm for a particular area of interest. This is an activity that requires you to be pro-active and creative in attracting visitors.

Penning a relevant Blog to accompany your web business is a great idea. Pod casts, web casts and video material for Face book and You Tube can enhance your visibility and today the technology to produce this kind of material is blissfully simple and easy to work with. You don’t have to be an aspiring Steven Spielberg with a Hollywood studio behind you. You just need to know your subject and present it in an interesting style. Most of the technology can be found on your trusty laptop computer.

Think about the things that your visitors might be interested in. Do you have an answer to a particular problem that could be connected to the general role of your product or service? Highlight the problem and the answer in your Blog. Record the question and answer for your Pod cast. You get the idea, don’t you? Once you get into it, it gets easier and easier. Once again, there’s an astonishing amount of information available for free on the Internet describing exactly how to create any form of recorded material for your website.

Think about who would be likely to visit your website. Who are you aiming your products or services at? You don’t need the entire population of the planet to buy from you. Just a few thousand consumers out of the seven billion that are available. I hope that puts the challenge into a better perspective.

Remember to make it easy for people to buy. The opportunities are seemingly limitless. A dear friend of mine in the medical profession is happily selling his country’s world famous chocolate on the net and making the kind of money that now pays for his half share in a private plane and the joy of flying it every week. Not bad for a fancy brand of candy!

But the Web has made that enterprise entirely possible and he now supplies some of the royal households of the world with exclusively manufactured, premium quality chocolate, via the Internet – whilst holding down a very demanding full time career as a busy doctor. It’s also helping to fund his planned early retirement to a dream house in a beautifully warm and comfortable part of the world. Do you get the picture?

If you opt for the more labour intensive digital shop, well, you might even enjoy the experience. There are people who are making six-figure incomes by indulging their hobbies and running side businesses just for the fun of it. All via the Internet. It could be anything you might be interested in. It could be antiques, clothing, art or car parts, anything that someone, somewhere, is willing to buy or it could even be your own particular interest or expertise.

The key here is to know your product. Offer free advice. Help people whenever you can. You’ll feel so much better by making a positive difference to people’s lives. Just remember that the additional labour of stocking, processing, delivering stock and handling customer issues will in all probability take up far more time than you’d expect. If you enjoy the business, it might not be such a chore. But it has to deliver a serious boost to your income and leave you with the time and the freedom to enjoy the success. Otherwise, why bother? It’s a business. It’s there to make a profit and provide you with a better quality of life. It might be easier to start with a few products and gradually expand the range as the business delivers more turnover and your customer base grows.

People who buy one kind of item from you might be interested in buying related items too. It’s a simple, organic way to grow your business and you’ll be spreading the risk profile by covering a broader range of goods. Make life easier for your customers. If they buy something regularly from you, set up an automatic re-order system for them so that their products always arrive on time without them having to remember to place an order. It’s a fabulous way to build an element of predictable cash flow into your business. And, as a determined and focused entrepreneur, that’s an idea that should certainly make you smile.

There’s another important distinction to take note of and that’s the issue of understanding the profit margin on whatever you’re selling. If you’ve decided to specialise in antiques, for example, you might only need to make a few sales per month to generate a really good income. Whereas, in contrast, a lower cost item will have a smaller cash return per unit sold – so you’ll obviously need more sales to create a worthwhile income. Profit, after all is not simply your margin. Profit is based on your margin multiplied by the volume. Run through that last item again, please. I’ve worked in environments where the profit was calculated at fractions of a penny per unit – but the units sold by the million. A more labour-intensive product range could easily take up more time than you’d anticipated. Adding higher value products to your range that have, by implication, a larger potential net return can boost your overall profitability and lend a more efficient cash flow profile to your business. I sat next to a bridge salesman on a flight some years ago. He admitted that he didn’t make many sales per year – but when he did, the commission on the deal was a major cause for celebration!

Service

If you’re selling a service – and there are huge markets in the world for services – you have to decide whether your contribution is based on personal contact with the end user or whether you can automate the process and use a software system to deliver the goods. In my experience, if you have to deliver the service personally, this creates a limiting factor in the business because of the amount of time required to get the job done. Although on the positive side, you can charge more per hour for the added bonus of your personal or direct involvement. Remember, the mission is to increase income levels rather than simply replace one form of earning with another.

The customer is the key to your fortune

Once you’ve got a client or a customer, your mission is to make sure that they’re more than happy to come back and buy again. Your customer base is the secret of your success. Take care of your customers and they will take care of your business. That rule hasn’t changed. It’s an essential dynamic of the human condition.

Give more.

Offer more.

Let your customers know how much they’re appreciated. Thank them for their support and ask them for ways to improve your products or services. Ask them if there was anything they didn’t like. Knowledge is power and this particular knowledge is priceless. I’ve lost count of the number of major businesses that have lost their way because they lost touch with their customers.

No matter how big or small the enterprise, fulfilling the customer’s wants and needs are at the heart of any business. Ignore that solid, twenty-four carat principle at your peril. Think about that for a while. It goes to the heart of your bold, new plans for success.

The Internet is pulsing with free information. You can learn an enormous amount of useful material by clicking on the websites that provide info on how to start and run a business on-line. Check out the websites that are already offering your planned product or service and see how they’re handling their business. Ask yourself the critical question – ‘Would I buy from that site?’ Your answer will teach you much about the essentials of good website design.

The Internet is moving very, very fast. So be prepared to keep up to speed and make changes whenever required. Techniques that were unbeatable for boosting business a year ago might be completely ineffective today. It’s another reason for keeping your website fresh and up to date. It might even become fun!

Or you could hire some people to take care of it for you. It’s another benefit of generating success: you get to pay other people to handle the things that you might not be very good at. Or you pay people so that you get to have more time to enjoy your new-found wealth and freedom.

Check List

How do you feel about spending your working life as an employee? Write down your conclusions

What is your time scale for achieving financial independence?

Have you fully grasped the scale of the opportunities that have been created by the Internet?

What is your goal from having an on-line business? What’s the purpose? What’s in it for you? What’s in it for your customers? Write down your answers

Write down your three favourite ways of starting a business on the Web. Now choose one of them

Have you set up a website to offer your chosen products or services?

Write down your personal action plan for drawing people to your website

Have you started a Blog to highlight your products or services?

Chapter Two

KDP and The Magic of Self-Publishing

One of the greatest and most far-reaching changes to shake up the world of publishing has been the recent revolution in self-publishing and this is largely the result of KDP – the amazing Kindle Direct Publishing platform. We’re still with those masters of the on-line sales environment, our friends at Amazon, and this is their baby, an extraordinary gateway that allows individuals to publish their work for free and gain access to a large segment of the planet’s reading public. Welcome to the world of the digital book!

Not everyone is made to be a great author but millions of people are achieving success and satisfaction from putting their ideas into a digital book. Besides retaining control of your work, it’s also possible to earn up to 70% of the book’s selling price and the speed of getting your material on-line is incredibly fast. The main advantage of KDP, of course, is that it gives access to millions of potential readers. But self-publishing has changed the marketplace in a number of other quite remarkable ways. If you’ve ever sent off dozens of manuscripts to prospective publishers and waited months without receiving a reply or even an acknowledgement, you’ll know how frustrating the experience can be. Those days are over. Now, you can be in charge of writing and publishing your own material and see your book on-line and available for purchase without referring either to agents or to publishers. It’s a whole different story now and it points the way to a revolution in how books are brought to the market. KDP provides the platform, the software, the expertise and the opportunity. As you might expect, the traditional publishing industry is extremely disparaging about the concept of self-publishing and it’s fair to say that there has been a massive flood of very poor material that’s currently awash on the market. But traditional publishing produces more than its share of very poor material too and a great deal of those professionally prepared, edited, tweaked and promoted books barely sell a copy. If you doubt that statement, just check the statistics. On the positive side of the equation, there are huge numbers of people right now who are making a very good income for themselves from self-publishing and it’s a tried and tested way for more and more people to get their work to the market and enjoy the fruits of their on-line labours.

Sounds great! Where do you start?

Whether you want to write factual books or fiction, it’s incredibly helpful to choose a subject or genre that’s already popular with the great reading public. If you’re planning on becoming a published author and offering your books on Kindle, it’s very helpful to check what’s already selling well on the Amazon Kindle Store. Explore the titles that are producing the best sales and achieving the higher rankings. Look for patterns in the sales figures. Examine the categories that are generating the greatest interest and the highest sales volumes. Take your time to think about the hard facts. Look at the data and see if you can spot emerging trends for the future, areas of interest in a growing sector that you’d be happy to write about. This disciplined approach to choosing subjects to write about can pay handsome dividends because you’ll be launching your products into a well-established and receptive market. Makes good sense, doesn’t it? Think about it for a moment. No matter how passionate you may be about a particular subject, your enthusiasm alone does not guarantee that anyone else will share your interest. So choose your subject and genre carefully. Writing is a demanding enough discipline without expending a great deal of effort to produce something that no one wants to buy or read. Your proof of success is measurable in terms of the income you create for yourself. We could argue that anyone who’s literate could probably write a book but the real test is whether people are willing to buy what you write. That’s why the choices of subject and genre are so important. Do your research and choose well before you even begin to write.

Once you’ve chosen your subject, the next step in crafting your masterpiece is to write an outline of your intended book. The purpose of the outline is to introduce a more focused approach to writing which will help you to maintain focus and encourage a well-organized, better disciplined and coherent structure to your book. If you’re wondering about how to create a good outline, the answer can be found by browsing the tons of free content that’s available in the Kindle Store. All you need to do is examine the contents of the most successful titles. This will give you a very helpful overview of how these books have been structured. You might even identify areas within the best-selling titles that you feel are missing and that can be your clue about how to make your work different from the rest.

Reviews are another area that’s worth your time since they may well provide important insights into structural weaknesses within other titles. We tend to learn more from the negative reviews than we gain from the positive ones. They can be very helpful in identifying specific areas where even a successful title could be improved. That’s your opportunity to produce a better version of a best-seller. Scan the reviews, make notes of the weaknesses and outline a better version for yourself that will increase the chances of sales success and a great return for your literary efforts.

Once you’re happy about the outline, it’s time to start writing the book in earnest. However you approach the task, it is immeasurably helpful to set yourself clearly-defined targets and that means making a solid commitment to write a certain number of words every single day. No excuses. No wriggling. No distractions. It’s a job and it requires effort. That effort shows up in the number of words you write every day. You might recall that Robert Louis Stephenson wrote his sixty-thousand word, ground-breaking classic, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in only six days. Sure, the work still needed to be edited and refined, but the bulk of the work was accomplished in just six days. I like to remember that little detail every time I receive a scary writing deadline and have to push myself to deliver the material on time. The good news is that you do not have to create a literary masterpiece at the rate of ten thousand words a day. But you do need a target that works for you and you need to be serious about a daily production rate and a finishing date. Most of us respond very creatively to these deadline pressures and I can assure you that the sense of personal accomplishment can be deeply rewarding when you consistently deliver on your goals. That’s true for any business activity and we should always respect our writing activities as a totally professional business undertaking. That means we need to be serious about our work. We need to respect the importance of delivering the best material we can generate. We need to be focused and we need to be accountable for everything we do – including any missed production targets.

If you decide to go for the bulk production approach, (where you’re churning out masses of material to maximise your exposure to the market) – and this is one of the ways that some fiction writers operate – you cannot possibly produce all the books yourself. The answer then is to sub-contract the writing part of the business and this is where the ghost writer swings into action. Check the Internet for ghost writers who can be hired to churn out material on your behalf. Like any person who’s going to be working for you, it’s important to check their references to make sure you’ve found a reliable source of material who will produce consistent results for a fair price. You must also be confident in their ability to handle the language you’re writing in. Some ghost writers are not as proficient in English as they should be so you’ll need to check. In many ways, you get what you pay for and would be wise to avoid the lowest end of the market. The better writers command a higher price for their services because they produce better material. It’s as simple as that.

And that’s a wrap!

Some aspiring self-published authors mistakenly believe that the content of their books alone will suffice to guarantee their success. Good writing always helps but you also need to consider the impact of the title and the book cover. Let’s face the facts: in a world that is awash with self-published material, your book has to stand out from the crowd and this is where a great title and an attractive cover can make a world of difference. Cover design is a specialised skill and one that you’ll probably want to sub-contract. The main go-to website for this kind of help is Fiverr, where you can find the specialists you need, all priced at five Dollars. It’s a fantastic resource and an essential tool for getting your cover designed to a suitably high standard. Just be sure that the cover matches your expectations and accurately reflects the book’s contents. The title also requires your attention and your aim is to communicate the book’s essential benefits in the simplest possible language. There are plenty of on-line resources to help you identify the best words to include in your title and a diligent keyword search can help to highlight your book when people are searching for material related to your book’s subject matter.

Are we finished yet? Not quite. You’ll also need a great book description because once a potential buyer has spotted your cover and title, they’ll move onto the book description to try and get an idea of what the book is about. That means that your book description is one of the principle tools for generating sales. I’d recommend that you study some material on effective copywriting because a good book description can make a world of difference when it comes to prompting people to push the Download key and buy your book.

So how do you work out what to charge?

A brief inspection of the Kindle marketplace will reveal that most books retail for $0.99 to $2.99 and that applies generally to the shorter books that contain between ten and fifteen thousand words. Bear in mind that your royalty income is calculated at 70% of the retail price and that figure applies to books that sell in the $2.99 to $9.99 range. When you increase the price above the $9.99 level, your royalty rate drops to 35%. That’s a big difference! Ultimately, it’s a question of volume, and you might want to develop a range of books that will cover a broader range of prices, with the majority of your titles in the higher royalty range, pitched at the $2.99 level and some more specialised material that can be retailed above $9.99. Remember – profit is not simply margin. Profit is margin times volume.

Since you’ve put all that effort into creating something unique and special, you need to protect your work and the easiest way to secure your material is by making sure it’s copyrighted. That way your work remains yours.

When you’re ready to publish your work, all you need to do is follow the easy instructions on the Amazon Kindle website. All books have to be approved but that process is surprisingly swift. The next time you check on Kindle, your book will be available for purchase and that’s a very exciting moment in the career of a prospective author!

All products benefit from promotion and your digital books are no exception. Many writers use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to announce their work, some join writer’s groups to gain maximum exposure for their work, others pay for adverts. It’s a question of experimenting until you find a formula that produces measurable improvements in sales for your kind of book.

Chapter Three

Affiliate Marketing and the simplicity of promoting other people’s goods and services

At first glance, this appears to be one of the easiest ways to generate passive income because it’s simply a case of advertising or promoting other people’s products and services via your own website or Blog. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But it presupposes that you’re the proud owner of a really good website that already attracts a lot of traffic.

Affiliate marketing offers many advantages and it works on a very simple basis – you either receive a commission for every sale that’s generated via contact from your website or you get a fee for each visitor who performs a specified action, such as providing their E-Mail address or completing a survey. The system has become a very popular way of promoting products and services because the sellers only pay for specific results. That translates into a highly cost-effective way of advertising.

If you’ve worked hard to create a loyal following through your dedicated Blogging activities, your readers will be more likely to like and trust your recommendations for a range of products and services. This implied trust must never, ever be abused or manipulated.

Let’s examine the different ways to engage in affiliate Marketing. The obvious method is to design a website that caters for a particular niche market. If you create a website that is specific to a specialised range of products or services, though the connection is less personal than a Blog, you are more likely to attract interest and sales right from the start. You’ve flagged a specific niche in the market and your website is geared up to attract traffic from potentially interested parties. The Blog approach obviously can take much longer because of the length of time required to build up a substantial following. There is more risk to a Blog site because the moment your followers suspect that you’ve sold out and turned your site into a cynical cash register, they’ll desert you in droves and you may never recover from the loss in reputation. Respect your readers. Be open and direct with them. Tell them the truth. Never push any product down their throats. The key to your affiliate marketing success through your Blogging is your integrity.

So, how we do we become affiliate marketers?

The two most-favoured approaches to affiliate marketing are still fairly simple models to work with.

The first model is to include a link in your website to your seller’s website, indicating that the visitor can access those particular products or services those via the link. Like any conventional advert, the link must be updated on a regular basis and the supporting references in your own website need to be kept fresh in order to be effective. The bait that keeps visitors returning to your site is the level of value they perceive in reading your material. So make the visit worthwhile at every level. Make your material relevant, entertaining if possible, easy to read and informative. And keep it fresh. I know. That involves some degree of effort but it isn’t the same level of commitment that’s involved in creating a hundred thousand-word novel, is it?

The second way to run an affiliate marketing strategy is by providing product or service reviews. Your observations, most commonly expressed via a Blog, will usually carry a banner or a link that will direct a visitor to the product or service provider’s sales platform. When a sale is initiated, you receive an agreed commission based on the amount of money spent by the purchaser.

These methods both require a website to serve as a platform for your marketing or reviewing activities. If you don’t have a website, you can hire a specialist to set one up for you and the costs are usually very reasonable.

The main challenge to this kind of exercise is identifying the niche or specific product area that you want to highlight via your website. You may wish to research the Internet for potential areas of interest and identify popular products that sell well. But the critical factor will always be the volume of traffic you can direct towards your website. The more visitors you can attract, the higher the probability of making sales. The Internet is fully geared up to promote this kind of commercial relationship so you can consult companies such as Commission Junction for conventional products services and Clickbank for digital merchandise. This is where you can find a wealth of product suppliers who are all willing to work with affiliate marketers to boost their turnover.

As previously suggested, generating traffic to your website is the great challenge for any affiliate marketing operation. The best ways of getting people to visit your website are probably obvious but let’s start with creating great content. Focus on well-written and informative articles, interesting Blogs, useful advice, reports, free eBooks and anything that relates directly to your area of specialisation. The more traffic you generate the more sales activity you will stimulate. That’s why there has always been such a strong emphasis on driving traffic to your website. It really, really matters.

If this form of income generation seems a little more daunting than you originally expected, don’t worry. You don’t have to pursue this line of business in isolation. There are lots of forums and online communities who will share information and advice for free and keep the affiliate marketing spark alive and well. You might equally learn a great deal by visiting websites that are successfully promoting other products and services and this line of enquiry can teach you the latest tricks and techniques for boosting traffic and enhancing sales. You’ll learn to notice the websites that are attractive and fun to visit. You’ll soon detect the differences between a plainly functional site that fails to connect with you and the more imaginative sites that produce a pleasant emotional response that stimulates your interest in whatever they’re offering. You’ll easily know which one you’d like to work with and how to enhance the appearance of your own website.

One of the risks of early success with your affiliate marketing programme is the temptation to expand your range of affiliates to the point where it’s hard to distinguish the purpose of your site. In most cases, less is more. Avoid the clutter of too many banners. Aim for the most relevant supplier connections that resonate with your site and you’ll avoid the risk of too many banners and links.

Chapter Four

E-mail marketing and the art of directing traffic to a landing page

The Internet has changed the way we communicate. If you can remember the dubious pleasures of writing letters with a fountain pen and mailing your communications in a sealed envelope, you were probably brought up before the revolutionary phenomenon of the global communication network that is the World Wide Web. Today, we write on screens electronically and our communication is pretty close to instantaneous. If you’re reading this material on a screen, for example, you’re a living part of the E-mail generation that has evolved to share its thoughts and feelings and information via the digital networks that cover most of the planet today. And E-mail has provided more than a super-fast way to keep in touch with other people right across the planet. It’s become an excellent tool for promoting, marketing and selling your products and services from the comfort of your favourite armchair. And in order to capitalise on this fabulous opportunity, you’re going to need a good E-mail list to work with.

Anybody who’s ever built a great E-mail list will tell you that you that there are really only two ways to get there: either you can commit some effort and create it yourself or you can spend cash and buy your lists.

If you favour quality over quantity, you’re going to be prepared to put the right amount of effort into the project and start working on setting up landing pages, those dedicated places that are designed to encourage visitors to share their E-mail addresses in return for free goods, services, information, product discounts, free eBooks or membership privileges.

If you want to attract traffic to your landing pages, you might consider advertising on Facebook on the basis that they can direct your marketing drive towards specifically targeted groups of people and this simple expedient can substantially accelerate your list’s rate of growth.

Even in this sophisticated and technologically-advanced age, the old ways can still prove effective. Many people still use a simple sign up box as an option for visitors to request full access to your newsletters or Blogs. It’s entirely voluntary and lots of visitors prefer the idea of offering their E-mail addresses purely because they enjoy the content, rather than being hustled into parting with an important piece of personal information. Much obviously depends on the quality of the material you’re offering.

We mentioned the possibility of buying E-mail lists but, according to the experience of individuals who’ve amassed successful E-mail lists, the addresses you buy in bulk usually have little or no interest in your product or service. The important principle in having an E-mail list is the quality of the contacts that you’ve collected. There really is no merit in having vast numbers of largely irrelevant contact details for people who have no idea who you are or what you represent. They’re strangers. Why would they be remotely interested in you or whatever you’re trying to peddle? It really doesn’t make sense, does it? The problem is that a worthwhile E-mail list entails a great deal of effort so most people are always looking for a short cut. My advice is that you would be infinitely better off saving your money and investing the right level of effort into creating great material for your site that will inspire people to visit and join you as a dedicated follower.

There are some important rules when it comes to marketing to your valuable E-mail list and avoiding the temptation to push your products or services is just one of the most relevant. The more you push your products, the more you’ll push your followers away. Your mission is to provide the best information you can offer in your personal area of specialisation. Demonstrate your expertise. Share your knowledge. Aim to be as helpful as possible. Make a positive contribution to whoever visits your website. Create the highest quality content possible and keep everything fresh as possible. You need to create an experience for people who visit your site that will prompt them to want to return on a regular basis.

One of the techniques that has filtered into the realm of E-mail marketing is the process of automating the frequency of contact with your new subscribers. You first create your master material and then divide it up into logically-segmented portions, which are then distributed to your readers on a pre-scheduled basis. This ensures a regular flow of high-quality material which can stimulate the recipient to feel a much closer connection to your website and establish a sense of trust that is conducive to heightened sales responses.

Your newsletter material and Blogs can take advantage of seasonal promotions to highlight special offers and provide free material to show your appreciation of the readers’ subscription to your site. These techniques reinforce the essential connection between your site’s main purpose to provide worthwhile content and its additional goal of creating sales and income for you as a reward for everything you’re offering to your subscribers.

If you can create a meaningful E-mail list and respect the integrity of your relationship with your followers, it is perfectly legitimate to offer appropriate products and services that may be of benefit to your readers. Be open. Let your subscribers make up their own minds. A polite and respectful suggestion is infinitely preferable to a crude attempt to dump merchandise on an unsuspecting public. If you’re willing to put the hard work into creating a loyal following, you’ll have a very strong, personal incentive to take the greatest possible care of each and every reader who’s trusted you with their precious E-mail address.

Chapter Five

Udemy and the Fun of Producing On-Line Courses

If you haven’t heard of Udemy, this is a major platform for on-line learning and it’s enjoying widespread popularity from both users and contributors. The company claims to have reached more than ten million end users and provides a staggering forty thousand courses to download and enjoy. The beauty of the system lies in its relative simplicity. It allows people from all walks of life to create material in their specially chosen subjects which can then be offered online to the public either for free or for a fee. But, like any worthwhile endeavour, it requires a considerable degree of effort to produce a good course. Whilst there are some very successful courses on Udemy, not everyone enjoys the kind of success that justifies the effort of putting a course together in the first place.

Before embarking on your new career as a video star or an accomplished film producer, you will need to bear in mind that shooting the material is only one part of the total process. It’s an important part but there’s a lot more besides. The recorded sound and images will then need to be collated, edited and refined and that’s another specialised skill set that will probably involve the services of outside experts. They can be expensive skills to hire but, in many ways, they’re essential to the quality of the final product. Depending on your intentions for how you want your course to look, you’ll need more than the basic skills of the average home video enthusiast. Think about how you want your course to stimulate and maintain your audience’s interest. How can you introduce elements of contrast and keep the material fresh throughout the entire presentation? These are the challenges that face every production project and they’re worth considering right from the start of your plan to produce an on-line course.

Planning is essential. In the same way that a book benefits enormously from an outline – the basic plan that describes the constituent parts of the manuscript – the same principle applies to an on-line course. Preparation is the key. If you have to write the material from scratch, that’s going to take as much time as it would to write a book. Don’t underestimate the time and effort required to produce a worthwhile project. Once you’ve decided on the content that you intend to offer in your course, your next step is to translate the material into a script or even a story board that will describe the key points and the flow of the narrative. There’s nothing so disappointing as paying for a course and then discovering that the narrators have invested minimal effort into making the material interesting. You need to distinguish your material from the other 40,000 courses that are currently available on Udemy. You don’t need to aim for an Oscar nomination, but your work will be enhanced by your level or care and by your commitment to produce the best material you’re capable of delivering. It shows respect for your subject matter and it shows respect for your audience.

Before the camera starts turning, take the time to rehearse the course content. If you can present your material in front of someone who isn’t familiar with the subject, you’ll have a perfect opportunity to assess how well you can deliver the course. This is so much better than waiting until the public offers judgement on an untested course. Make your adjustments and corrections before you start recording.

On a more positive note, once you’ve prepared your material, it’s possible to get the course recorded in a five to six-hour session. You’ll need to stay fresh in front of the camera so you might want to break the recording into two or three separate sessions. That’s why the script and the story board are so important. You’ll always know exactly where you are during the recording and you’ll know exactly what comes next. If you take a break from filming, it’ll be so much easier to pick up the strands and ensure a smooth continuity that is the hallmark of professional production work. As I mentioned a little earlier, the more preparation you invest in the pre-recording phase, the better and easier the recording phase will be.

On a technical note, the more competent you feel about your chosen subject, the more expertise you should be able to demonstrate in the body of your course material. But that isn’t a licence for you to get carried away with your enthusiasm or your profound knowledge of your chosen subject. One of the challenges that you will face is to limit your material to areas that are strictly relevant to your course objectives. This is no place to demonstrate your virtuosity in your chosen field and risk straying into areas that may be interesting to you but painfully irrelevant to the course’s purpose. Your mission is to communicate your message simply and effectively.

If you don’t have the necessary experience or skills to edit and finish your recorded material, now is the time to hand it over to the professionals and let them refine, tweak, edit and polish the course until it acquires that patina of professionalism that marks you out as a competent presenter and showcases your presentation style to maximum advantage. It’s a crowded marketplace and, besides producing great material for online consumption, you need to strive for excellence to distinguish your work from the rest of the herd. And then you need to register with Udemy and get your finished product on-line.

Success in selling on-line courses usually follows the familiar rules of marketing. You start with a great product and then you bring it to people’s attention either by social media or by paying for advertising via organisations such as Facebook. If you have a good E-mail list and your material matches the content of your newsletters or Blogs, then you have another perfectly legitimate outlet for your Udemy course and can highlight it to your followers.

Many people report that the process of producing an on-line course can be surprisingly enjoyable. There’s no denying that it can be very satisfying to create a course and share your knowledge of a particular subject. Once you feel confident about the process, you might be tempted to produce a series of courses and expand your repertoire into related topics or perhaps expand your original material into more advanced versions that command a higher price. I would always recommend that you check out other videos in your field of interest, especially the more successful ones, and see how the presenters are delivering their material. Consider the content and see if there are any areas where you could improve on the subject matter. You might easily pick up insights and ideas that will enhance your own course. Learn from the successful models and express your own style. You might just enjoy the experience so much that you will want to devote more time and resources to producing on-line courses.

Conclusions

We’ve examined five proven ways for anyone to create an on-line business and reap the rewards of a passive income. As you consider the information that’s been laid out for you in this book, perhaps you’ll have noticed some commonalities between the different methods of setting up and running an on-line business. I hope these common factors will prove useful to you because they can obviously be applied to other on-line businesses too. They are not limited to one particular field of commercial endeavour. They can be used almost universally. My advice now is that you should take some time to think about which business you’d like to work with and start your planning right away. Don’t delay. Don’t fall into the familiar trap of procrastinating or waiting until the time is right. Get started right now. The sooner you launch your new on-line business; the sooner you’ll reap the rewards. Success does require effort. That’s an inescapable fact of life but your efforts today can generate income for you in the future, even when you’re resting, sleeping or on a dream vacation. That’s the beauty of passive income. It keeps on delivering. That’s why we’ve highlighted the best ways for you to get into the game and increase your income whilst increasing your range of options. Money will do that for you. Improving your financial situation will expand your choices. My deepest wish is that you will find the success that so many others are enjoying and enjoy your new life to the full.

“My formula for success is to rise early, work late – and strike oil!”

John P Getty

Rags to riches. Famine to feast. From want to wealth. The world is full of inspirational stories about people who have risen above the limitations of their circumstances and achieved extraordinary success. How does that happen? How can ordinary people rise above their backgrounds and conditioning and set themselves free from the financial struggles of their daily lives?

Is it really possible?

Is it the hand of Fate that determines how the chips fall?

Are we somehow destined to live a life of limitation that denies us the opportunity to acquire real, tangible wealth? Clearly that cannot be the case. And our mission in this guide book is to share with you the secrets of how to take better control of your life and develop the kind of lifestyle that gives you more choice than you might’ve thought possible.

Whatever your beliefs may be right now, we’re going to put that lucky old rabbit’s foot back in the drawer, shake loose some of our limiting attitudes and apply the practical methods and techniques that lead to a better, more comfortable and richer way of life.

Wherever you are right now, whether you’re struggling with your finances or rolling in cash, we’re going to show you how to make things better. And, putting it as simply as possible, that means having more money.

Wherever we go in the world, money dominates the environment, shaping and influencing the quality of our lives, our politics, our freedom and our choices. It’s a permanent and ever-present fact of life so, whether we love it, hate it or simply endeavor to express complete indifference towards it, let’s accept the obvious reality that money exerts an extraordinarily powerful role in the world today.

Money pre-dominates. And after that brief acknowledgement to money’s undisputed power in our lives, let’s turn our attention to our first and most important question: Would you like to have more money?

It’s very rare for someone to say ‘No’ to that question – and the ones who say ‘No’ tend to congregate under holy orders of complete abstinence in religious retreats.

But, if you answered ‘Yes’, then you’re probably living outside the confines of a monastic community and having to cope with the daily pressures and financial strains of getting by in our modern, technologically advanced and cash-oriented society.

A world where money really counts. It’s so pervasive that we even evaluate people by the amount of money they possess. No? Just take a moment to consider the general state of our cultural values. Think about the role models people aspire to emulate.

Are any of these shining examples of humanity by any chance poor? Of course not. We overlook so many shortcomings in people’s personalities as long as they’re suitably blessed with the redeeming virtue of wealth! We’ve learned to attach very high esteem to individuals who have accumulated the trappings of wealth.

We equate money with status, power, influence and success. That might represent a very narrow and limited perspective on how we see things but that’s how money has shaped and conditioned many of our judgements and prejudices. In other words, money dominates the landscape and, in accordance with its all-pervasive power, our lives are deeply conditioned by its influence. Our mission is to turn that influence into a force for good. A powerful force of good for you, for your loved ones and for the quality of your life.

Humans are wonderfully creative. We specialize in looking for ways to be more efficient. Making life easier is part of our nature and having more money can certainly make life a lot more comfortable from virtually every perspective. So, if you’re looking for more abundance in your life, this book is definitely the right place for you begin your new journey.

This is where you can acquire and apply the practical skills, techniques and attitudes for creating material wealth. Part of the process will give you more time to enjoy life. To do more of the things that you find truly fulfilling. Having more money can create the space in your life to enjoy more personal freedom. Part of the process will probably surprise you by revealing things about how you think and about how your personality traits dominate the outcomes in your life. Another part of the process will show you how to adjust those behaviours to introduce positive and meaningful change into your life. My plan is for you to enjoy the process as well as the outcomes.

“When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I’m older, I know that it is!”

Oscar Wilde

Chapter Six – All change

If you have no experience of making extra money, particularly on a larger scale than before, we’ll be encouraging you to make some adjustments to how you think, feel and behave. It’s obvious really. If we’re determined to have a new set of results, we can’t afford to rely on the old ways of doing things or we’ll end up exactly where we started. Doing the same thing every day tends to produce the same results. And, if we’re intent upon making measurable improvements in our lives, we’ll need a new range of methods to boost our chances of creating those new outcomes.

Good timing

So let me start by congratulating you because your timing really could not have been better. The fact is that there has rarely been a better period in human history for people to break free from their financial restrictions. The whole world is witnessing an unprecedented revolution in technology, communication and trade that has opened up most of the planet to the potential of increased commercial activities.

The planet is becoming collectively richer and that wealth is showing up in the hands of more and more people. Wealth is no longer held exclusively in the hands of a tiny, privileged minority. Businesses can start and flourish with no more than a good idea and a laptop. It’s happening all around you. It’s happening right now. It’s happening to people of all ages. The tide of change is lifting incomes and the possibility of wealth to unprecedented levels.

The scale of the revolution is staggering. And the traditional time frames for acquiring cash-enriched success have become much shorter because there are fewer – if no – start-up expenses, fewer overheads and incredibly low-cost access to the global market place.

Research from some of the world’s most talented social scientists and economists supports these observations. It’s a surprisingly optimistic picture of a better fed, healthier and wealthier global population than ever before in our history.

You made a really great call by being alive at this fabulous moment in human history! So let’s see how we can make the very most of the opportunities that are bubbling and surging all around you at this unique time.

Keeping it clean

Having nodded your consent to the concept of acquiring more money – and, (without intending to disappoint the criminally-inclined members of the community), I trust you’ll appreciate that we’re going to focus exclusively on legitimate and morally acceptable methods of building wealth. We’ll follow the brightly illuminated pathways to abundance that will leave you with a clear conscience, more cash and a healthy slice of well-earned peace of mind!

We’re going to introduce you to a full-spectrum approach to creating wealth that will focus on clear objectives, identify and eliminate the obstructions and direct your energy towards delivering the results you want. We’ll ask you to dream and create a much brighter vision of your future. We’ll explore techniques that will open up your creativity and show you how to tap into your deeper potential.

We’ll get you on track to create the lifestyle that you always dreamed of and set you free from the limitations that our upbringing often imposes on us. We’ll break free from the conditioning that happens when we’re too young to question what we’re being taught. New ways. New days. A better life. Wow. Does that sound good to you? Great. Well, if time really is money, we’d better get started.

Check List

Are you prepared to become wealthier?

Are you ready to make some important changes in your life that will enhance success?

Are you aware that this is an incredibly fortuitous time to be alive?

Do you acknowledge that the world is brimming with opportunities to improve your life?

Are you ready to seize the opportunities that life offers you in your quest for wealth and abundance?

Are you comfortable with the concept of working smarter to create more wealth?

Chapter Seven – Life’s Great Piggy Bank

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”

Thomas Edison

I’d like to share an observation with you. No matter how you feel about money right now, at the start of this great campaign for abundance, there’s absolutely no shortage of money in the world.

That’s right. Money is extraordinarily plentiful. It’s produced in vast quantities and happens to be one of the most widely traded commodities on the planet.

Money. Money. Money.

Your mind simply can’t grasp how incredibly vast and abundant this amazing commodity happens to be. Its scope and range cannot fit inside your imagination. It’s measured in billions and trillions and that fact alone reveals the enormous scale of this extraordinary mechanism of exchange.

It seems that we’ve always traded from bartering sheep and goats and bags of wheat in ancient times to the modern convenience of digital cash. What an incredible leap in technology. All credit to the power of the human imagination. And now money exerts its influence across the entire globe. A fast and efficient means of communicating value that we cleverly invented many centuries ago. A force that continues to dominate the rhythm and quality of billions of lives every single day.

So how much is a lot?

We’re often tempted to consider money in convenient bundles of value -

A salary cheque

A grocery bill

A theatre ticket

A credit card bill

A mortgage repayment schedule

A personal loan

The price of a new car

But most of us quickly run out of valid comparisons as soon as we step outside of our range of daily, financial experiences. For the majority, a million of anything has no immediate value that we can understand. We say the word but we don’t really grasp its significance.

Ten million? What on earth does that even look like?

A hundred million? Largely meaningless.

When we reach the billion mark, the meaning drops off the edge of our understanding and disappears without a trace. We know that the number implies a really large amount but that’s about as good as our definition gets.

So when we discuss the enormous scale of money on the planet, we might as well be trying to work out the personal significance of inter-stellar distances – they’re just too vast to hold in the narrow confines of our heads. This is revealing. On a personal level, we can relate to the concept of not having enough.

We can understand the effect of having to budget carefully. We might even know what it’s like to be seriously short of cash. I know some truly great people who understand exactly what it’s been like to live in an affluent society and still go hungry. So all of these conditions can be easily understood on a personal level.

They are all immediate, perceptible and measurable. But when we try to understand the immense power and mass of all the money in the world, we can’t possibly process the data. It’s just too big. So we naturally accommodate the small scale implications of personal cash issues but we have no idea how colossal the other side of the equation might be.

Our perspective is naturally biased towards the small scale of personal experience. Our perception ignores the true scale of abundance. I’m repeating this message because it’s too easy to assume that there isn’t enough cash to go round. And this is how we live our lives, focusing on the smallest possible expression of abundance and yet blissfully unaware of what’s really out there. Which leads me to a very pleasant and amusing encounter that took place some years ago.

I sat next to a charming billionaire at a charity event who observed that everyone seemed so intensely obsessed with the few grains of corn scattered beneath their noses that they ignored the tons of grain piled up just outside of their perpetually short-sighted vision.

They were so busy with the pre-occupations of daily survival that they completely missed what was really possible in their lives. He could’ve led a comfortable life in a modestly rewarded profession in his home country – but he stopped one day to notice all the enormous opportunities that were everywhere around him.

It was a revelation.

He ignored his parents’ well-meaning worries and advice, quit the day job and created a business empire from scratch. He became a billionaire and, by the time we met, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying life to the full. I thought I might make an ideal candidate for adoption but he had much better causes to support!

He would never have described himself as the cleverest man in the room but he’d learned how to look for and identify opportunities. And, whenever appropriate, he took action.

He made mistakes. Lots of mistakes. And an awful lot of money too!

I was struck by this man’s words. He presented an amazing example of what was truly possible in an ordinary man’s life.

For him, that change in perspective from the narrow view to the broader outlook provided the catalyst that catapulted him into the financial stratosphere.

The real thing

Billionaires. I’ve met and worked with more than a few. And you can learn so much from the lives and examples of individuals who’ve climbed to the dizzying pinnacle of financial success.

One gentleman was kind enough to share the benefit of his lifetime of priceless commercial experience and advise me in my business. Simply because he was generous by nature and believed wholeheartedly in promoting the potential for success wherever he found it.

His early background was one of abject poverty and single-minded determination. He was tough, completely open and totally direct. You could never mistake the meaning of anything he said. When he gave his word in that slow, Texan drawl, it was pronounced with the certainty of the Laws of Physics.

His approach was to outwork any situation by giving an extra ten percent of his time and effort wherever he could make a difference. He’d done it since he was a teenager, working and struggling to find the money to pay for his college fees.

And it showed in everything he did. He was a great example of how to turn a dirt poor existence into an exceptionally rich life. By hard work, complete integrity and tremendous focus.

By consistently doing the right thing. In later life, he leveraged his business experience and specialized in turning around failing companies. And made another fortune in the process.

He usually gave me advice over dinner and I would inevitably pick up the tab.

He felt that putting my hand in my pocket for dinner would encourage me to take his comments more seriously. He once quipped that when you got something for free, you usually got what you paid for. Dinner and a box of Cohibas in return for the kind of advice that money really couldn’t buy. It was the bargain of the century.

Real-life, genuine, bona fide billionaires. Some of them were indomitable fighters. I noticed that the ones who’d struggled against seemingly impossible odds were always deeply sympathetic towards anyone who was willing to work hard.

They understood the meaning of contending in a hostile or indifferent world and one of them said he always recognized the spirit of a true warrior, one of those solitary, fellow pilgrims on the pathway to extraordinary success. Some even encouraged me to quit my old business and put my efforts into what they considered would be better opportunities.

What they all shared was an unconquerable belief in their eventual success. You could block them. You could knock them down. You could thwart them. But they would always come back.

They never quit.

They might change routes and take a different pathway up the mountain but there was never any doubt about their destination. They had an unshakable belief in their ability to get where they wanted to go.

You don’t have to become a billionaire or even a multi-millionaire to lead a more prosperous life. The mission here is to develop more resources to support your lifestyle choices and your freedom. How far you want to take that goal is entirely at your discretion.

Handouts

During these many encounters, not one of those wildly successful individuals ever offered me any money. Not a dime. They were all exceedingly generous and supported great and worthy causes in all kinds of situations right across the globe. But they never gave me any money.

And this is a useful insight into their knowledge and understanding of success and the pathway to fabulous abundance. Not one of them ever believed for a moment that I needed a hand-out even though there were plenty of times when I thought that I did. They believed that a handout wasn’t necessary because they knew for certain that I could get the job done using my own efforts.

They gave advice. Mostly for free. They gave encouragement. For free. They gave criticism. Always for free! They celebrated with me on occasion but they never compromised my ability to get where I wanted to go by throwing money at my problems.

They’d never received handouts on the way up and some of them had been completely broke along the road to riches. They knew that the struggle would reveal all the hidden strengths required to reach their intended goals. One of them said “Son, you’ve been blessed with a backbone. So you don’t need any backer to hold you up”.

It’s the kind of comment that stops you in your tracks and makes you take a minute to consider what the message really means. It’s the kind of comment that tends to stay with you. You stand a little taller. A financial giant stares directly into your eyes and makes a clear and unambiguous statement about what they see. They’re sharing a truth.

You feel a responsibility to live up to their faith in you. They don’t sugar-coat their medicine. They tell you what they see whether you like the message or not.

They most certainly don’t worry about your feelings. They want you to succeed and fulfill your potential. The messages gradually became integrated into my belief system.

These individuals were intimately acquainted with every rock, stone and pebble on the uneven pathway to success.

Their advice and experience and generosity were priceless.

Jail house rock

A shortage of cash is always a source of stress. But there are always ways to improve the situation. Life is a constantly changing, fluid set of circumstances that represent the possibility of change at every moment. At the other end of the spectrum from the intoxicating realm of the super-rich, we have a fabulous example of a young gentleman who managed to find himself on the wrong side of the law.

His criminal activities eventually led to his incarceration as a non-paying house guest of the United States Bureau of Prisons. When he was released a couple of years later, he found himself living in a hostel with the basic skills of a carpenter and a grim determination to get his life back on track. He got a job on a building site and worked hard, applying himself to his labours every hour that he could.

He always got to work early, did the best he could, cleaned up at the end of the day and showed his boss that he was a totally reliable, conscientious man and a real asset to have on the workforce. Each week he deposited his pay cheque into a local bank and saved every penny he could. He always came back to the hostel exhausted, had a bite to eat and went to sleep.

After three months, he had built a reputation as a model employee and other building companies started to approach him, offering him enticements to join their work crews.

Suddenly, no one was interested in his criminal record. His pay went up, he kept depositing the cheques and, after six months, he was able to put down a deposit on an apartment. And get a car. So that’s one way of fixing a difficult situation. Not a lot of fun. Well, to be accurate, no fun at all. But the hard work and dedication paid off.

Our friend took total responsibility for his circumstances, put the past behind him and did whatever he felt was necessary to get back onto the right track. And he never looked back.

Another interesting individual who strayed a long way from the straight and narrow pathway of virtuous endeavour ended up in court on a series of very serious charges that were linked to his leadership of a large and notorious criminal gang.

Before sentencing, when asked if he had anything to say in his defense, he told the judge there were no mitigating circumstances to excuse him and that he was fully prepared to accept whatever punishment the court felt fit to deliver.

He admitted his guilt, made no plea for clemency and said he only wanted to show his young daughter that punishment always followed wrong doing. And he went to spend a few tough years as a guest in the harsh environment of Club Fed. But he confounded all the expectations of the system and became a model prisoner, served his time, and is now a very successful author and businessman.

The interesting aspect of his case was his willingness to accept total responsibility for everything he’d done as a highly efficient crime lord. He never disguises his past but he has certainly moved far beyond it and has created more success today with his legitimate activities than he ever enjoyed during his dodgy days in the dark and dangerous world of organized crime. People really can change.

It is entirely possible to turn your entire life around and make something truly worthwhile from it. It’s never too late.

Working really hard for a time can certainly boost your income and get you off the ground. Running two jobs, cramming in the overtime, working seven days a week – these are all effective ways to gather enough momentum to make a difference to your life. But it isn’t sustainable. The pressure and the strain of all the work will eventually kill you.

So it’s a short-term answer to an immediate problem. And most problems can be overcome with sufficient effort. Even a mountain can be moved with a shovel if you keep at it.

It’s important to recognize though that there may be better ways to move the mountain than with a shovel and a massive amount of sweat and manual effort.

Knuckling down

The two gentlemen referred to above probably felt that they had little choice about their future lives when they were sentenced. In fact their choices became remarkably simple. They could either carry on as before – and probably guarantee that they’d spend even more of their lives as guests of the penal system – or try a totally different approach.

Fortunately, they both turned their backs on crime and their lives flourished as a result of their better informed choices of daily activity. They both worked hard. No question. But they applied themselves to legitimate activities that produced success and kept them out of jail. I respect that. I understand that visceral commitment to knuckle down. I know what it’s like to hold down two jobs. I remember the challenges of running an extra business on the side to raise more cash, working very long hours. It works. But there are better ways.

The breakthrough moment for me was the realization that there really was far money in the world than I’d ever truly understood or appreciated. When you grasp the enormity of money’s global presence, you tend to feel more confident about increasing your share. When you have more, it does not mean that someone somehow must have less. It does not work like that. Run through that line again.

It’s an important fact to absorb on your new pathway to success and abundance. When you cast an eye over the vast financial resources of the planet, you begin to realize that there really is more than enough for everyone. This is an essential part of the pathway to increased abundance: the profound realization that what you need is already out there. That what you need is only a tiny, microscopic fraction of what’s available.

So now that we’ve established that there’s more than enough for everyone, you’re probably nodding wisely and asking yourself – so how do we turn the daily trickle of change into a flood tide of cash? Good question!

Money is a fundamental part of how successfully we function in society, but we can see right from the start of this adventure in wealth creation that money is obviously much more than just an economic means of exchange.

Money is directly connected to our needs, our levels of happiness and even extends to the way that we see and evaluate ourselves. We express our personal connection to money through our attitudes. So it can be fun to explore how we really feel about the whole question of money and personal success.

We’re going to filter our values through the sieve of another simple quiz to see if you can measure your potential for success. As I hope you’re beginning to appreciate, success in life is deeply related to your attitudes and behaviours.

So take a few minutes to run through the simple test and check out your results at the end.

It couldn’t be easier. Simply choose one of the three answers to the questions and then work out your individual score based on the values displayed at the end of the test

1

(A) I have a clear idea of what success means to me.

(B) I have no idea what success means to me.

© I have a vague idea of what success means to me.

2

(A) I always seek advice and feedback.

(B) I never seek advice and feedback.

© I sometimes seek advice and feedback.

3

(A) I never give up something I enjoy now for something better in the future.

(B) Sometimes I give up something I enjoy now for something better in the future.

© I always give up something I enjoy now for something better in the future.

4

(A) When I experience a setback or rejection, I just give up.

(B) When I have a setback or rejection I learn from the experience and try again.

© Setbacks or rejection sometimes cause me to quit but at other times I try again.

5

(A) I believe I will be successful.

(B) I believe I will never be successful.

© Maybe I will be successful, maybe I won’t.

6

(A) I am always fully prepared for the things I do.

(B) I am never prepared for the things I do.

© Sometimes I am prepared and other times I am not.

7

(A) I would never take a risk because I only want sure things.

(B) I am somewhat open to taking risks.

© I am willing to take risks if the rewards seem worth it.

8

(A) What happens in my life is not my responsibility.

(B) What happens in my life is sometimes my responsibility.

© What happens in my life is totally my responsibility.

9

(A) Change always brings me new opportunities.

(B) Change never brings me new opportunities.

© Change sometimes brings me new opportunities.

10

(A) I give 100% when I'm working on something.

(B) I tend to hold back when I’m working on something.

© I never go all out when I’m working on something.

Scoring: Allocate the following points for the answer you chose on each question:

(1) A +1, B -1, C 0

(2) A +1, B -1, C 0

(3) A -1, B 0, C +1

(4) A -1, B +1, C 0

(5) A +1, B -1, C 0

(6) A +1, B -1, C 0

(7) A -1, B 0, C +1

(8)A -1, B 0, C +1

(9) A +1, B -1, C 0

(10) A +1, B 0, C -1.

Those answers that scored a +1 are the ones that indicate that you have the right attitude for becoming successful. It's time to total up your points.

If your score added up to between 6 and 10, your attitude reflects a positive approach towards success and you get a well-deserved pat on the back. If your score was between naught and five, this is a perfect moment to re-consider the way you really feel about the whole proposition of personal success and think about the changes you might have to make to improve the odds of achieving your goals.

If you scored below zero, you need some serious revisionary work on your attitude and identify the thoughts, feelings and attitudes that are blocking your personal pathway to complete success and self-fulfillment.

Understanding your attitudes is an essential component in the campaign for building a strategy for personal success and financial freedom. None of these attitudes is fixed forever.

Everyone has issues that impact on their progress. Learning to release and re-configure those limiting thoughts, feelings and behaviours is one of the great keys to launching a revolutionary transformation in the quality of your life. It’s the liberating realization that you can do and be so much more than you ever thought possible.

Check List

Do you really grasp how much money there is in the world?

Can you appreciate the difference between your personal experience of wealth and the global power of money?

Billionaires are different because they’ve broken through the limitations of their beliefs

Do you accept that change is the most natural phenomenon in the world and the gateway to opportunity?

We can really work our way out of any problem, restriction or limitation!

Money is one of the great gateways to freedom, choice and a better quality of life

Your attitude will always determine your altitude!

Chapter Eight – Releasing the Chains of Fear

“I made my money the old-fashioned way. I was very nice to a wealthy relative right before he died!”

Malcolm Forbes

You’re smart so you’ve probably already guessed that attitude is a fundamental concept in dealing with any issue connected to money and success in general. I recall a particular moment of clarity many years ago when I was complaining – alright, whining – about my financial predicament to my boss, a very smart lawyer who’d made and lost and re-made a fortune.

She was a legend in the business. Though, in truth, she could sometimes be accused of lacking subtlety. Bored to the point of violence by my pitiful complaining, she threw down her half-smoked Marlborough, grabbed me by the tie and dragged me right up to her face and snarled in her gravelly, chain-smoker’s voice – “Listen, junior. You might be broke. But you’ll never be poor!”

And, after the initial shock of being grabbed by the throat, I got the message and, to my surprise, I understood. I really did. Her message was so simple. Being short of cash happened to everyone. But you could always do something about the situation. Being broke could only ever be temporary. Poor – in her philosophy – was an extremely dangerous attitude of mind that would condemn you to poverty forever. Wow.

That was a potent message to receive from a very forceful lady whose belief was unquestionable. The message stayed with me. A cash shortage was simply a sign that it was time to change tactics and boost revenue. Simple. Even being broke could be shrugged off with the right kind of effort. She’d been through the trauma of being broke and she’d worked her way out of it. I liked that approach. It was one of those moments of empowerment that exploded my ridiculous complaints and put me back in the driving seat. And it worked. My situation improved dramatically.

My change of behaviour was driven by my change in attitude. Attitude matters. Never forget it. Like the lady said – “You might be broke. But you’ll never be poor”. Chew that one over. It’s deep.

We’re beginning to build a picture of how important our beliefs can be when it comes to creating wealth and abundance. Great plans and beautiful dreams can flounder on the hidden reefs of our belief system. How we feel is a deeply influential factor in the great equation of success.

As one of my mentors often liked to quote – “Many a battle has been lost before the first shot was ever fired”. He was referring to attitude and how difficult it is to win if you believe that you’ve already lost. How tempting it is to throw up your hands and quit at the first encounter with resistance to your plans.

How difficult it is to create success if you believe deep down that you really don’t deserve it. Attitude. Belief. The way we create expectations that are played out for real in the arena of our daily lives. It happens at every level of human experience but we’re particularly concerned about the way it connects directly to our ability to create wealth, to achieve breathtaking freedom and foster an abiding sense of happiness.

And one of the great obstacles that often lurks undetected just below the surface – is fear.

If fortune favors the bold, at some point we will have to take action. We will have to act on the opportunities that we find. And what usually stops us even before we take that tentative first step? Fear, my friend. Fear.

It’s amazing how creative we can be when it comes to creating reasons not to go ahead. Fear does that. It hits the brakes before we even touch the accelerator. The world is brimming with opportunities. Fortunes are waiting to be made.

Stacks of currency are ready and willing to leap into your wallet and flow into your bank account. And what do we do? We shake our heads, shuffle our feet, suck on our fillings and stay exactly where we are. Because fear robs us of the momentum to move forward. I want you to move forward. Your life wants you to move forward.

The world wants you to move forward. But the only person who’s going to allow any of these great things to happen – is you. And we’re going to have to overcome that inertia, that absence of real movement, and get the show on the road.

So let’s take a look at some of the ways that fear sneaks into the picture and tries to spoil our best laid plans and good intentions. Do any of these items feel familiar to you?

Fear of failure

Fear of success

Fear of criticism

Fear of ridicule

Fear of change

Fear of who you are

Fear of the unknown

Fear of loss

Fear of standing out

Fear of pressure

This is not an exhaustive list by any means but it can feel pretty exhausting just to think about it. Fear does that. It has a strange effect on our energy levels, sucking the life force right out of our veins.

That is – up until now.

Because this the moment when we learn to deal with these issues and take back full control of our lives. Living in fear – and that’s how almost everyone gets through the day – is a form of communal slavery that has to end.

Today.

So let’s turn the light of reason onto these completely irrational responses and root them out of our lives forever.

We’ll start at the top of the list.

Fear of Failure

Some of us experienced the pain of failing at an early, impressionable age. We had to endure the embarrassment, the ridicule, the pain of being wrong, and the vertigo of slipping off our little pedestals of smiling, parental adoration. It’s part of the parcel of expectations that get bundled together during childhood where some of us learn to try to be perfect.

Even though perfection is quite unobtainable, we’re easily trapped in the net of its deep-rooted limitations and soon discover that life is a series of frequently repeated disappointments. Simply put, the emotional pain of failure, of rejection, of acute vulnerability produces a shift in the fabric of our personality.

And so we make sure we avoid situations where we might fail. It’s safer that way. Failure just hurts too much. Yes, we’re very good at rationalizing our responses, dressing our behaviour in the responsible language of adulthood. But, deep down, we’re just afraid of the corrosive pain of failure. Every successful person I’ve ever met has failed on countless occasions. What made them successful was their decision to keep going.

Failure is part of the package. It’s an integral part of life. When you laugh in the face of failure and just get back to the quest, it’s remarkably liberating. If it doesn’t kill you or lop off a limb and incapacitate you, you just keep going. And, as the truly inspiring examples of men and women who’ve lost limbs amply demonstrates, the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity is truly awe inspiring.

I sincerely hope you’re not in possession of a full set of limbs and a fully functioning mind and body whilst still making those pretty excuses to explain why you don’t make the effort to move your life along. Those physically disadvantaged heroes just blew away every excuse you ever had.

I’m a big fan of confronting the illusion of fear head on. You need to dare to fail at something. It doesn’t have to be anything remotely significant. Just test your reaction.

I was failing at something in some way every single day. All I had to do was confront it and admit it. And – well, nothing. The world kept right on spinning and I was still there. I hadn’t imploded in a sulphurous cloud of mortifying self-loathing and embarrassment. I began to enjoy telling people when I was wrong. Then I didn’t have to pretend to be right all the time. Being wrong, failing, made it easier to focus on the more important details.

The moment when you lose your fear of failure, you’re suddenly more willing to experiment, to take chances, to raise your game and run the risk of becoming much more successful. A new opportunity doesn’t fill you with dread. You can assess it coolly, logically and remain beautifully free from the blindfold of fear.

The great news is that even when you fail – and I knew an entrepreneur who owed his banks over three hundred million without the means to cover the interest or the capital – you learn so much that the experience is never ever wasted. It’s a priceless investment in your education for future opportunities. It’s the foundation for greater successes in the future. It’s the living proof that you’re alive and kicking and in the game.

And what about the guy with the massive debt? I thought you might be wondering what happened to him. It might seem strange but he slept really well at night. He always said it was those bankers who’d loaned him the money who were suffering from insomnia! Good point. And, with an extraordinary display of creativity, he managed to negotiate his way out of the financial black hole pretty much intact.

Eventually. Just think about that situation for a second or two. In debt to the tune of a third of a billion and he stayed calm and – he focused on being creative and that clarity of purpose eventually led to a resolution of the situation.

Knowing this amazing guy during an apparently catastrophic phase of his life certainly put my own more modest circumstances into a much clearer perspective!

Fear of Success

Really? Does such a thing even exist? Oh, yes, it most certainly does. I’ve witnessed too many examples of extremely capable individuals who happily expended vast amounts of energy – chopping down trees and laying the fallen logs right across their pathways to glory.

Then they’d stamp their feet and complain bitterly that they simply couldn’t proceed – because their way was completely blocked! You had to be there, slack-jawed with disbelief, to witness such unbelievable acts of self-destructive behaviour. And these were – inevitably – intelligent individuals. Some were truly gifted.

Their raw talent shone so brightly, it must’ve been visible from outer space. Painful to witness. Such a tragic waste of natural talent. Equipped to become massively successful and reduced to dragging their sorry butts along the ground in conditions of enforced poverty and financial distress. So what on earth was the problem?

They knew what success was. They just didn’t believe they deserved it. And that can be a tough attitude to crack. Even at the point of a gun. But I’ve seen remarkable breakthroughs too, situations where individuals have emerged from their delusion of worthlessness and, possessed of great natural abilities, I’ve seen them take off and soar to the heady heights of success.

That means that there’s real cause for hope here. The damage is usually introduced – yes, you surely guessed it! – During early childhood. What is it with our formative years and this accumulation of emotional garbage that stunts our potential for freedom, success and self-realization?

It’s one of the reasons that I wanted to share the contents of this book with you. Too much suffering. Too little joy. Not enough success. Almost no fulfillment. Well, not any more. You deserve better. I really believe you can have a better life.

So let’s do what it takes to get you there.

As you learn to recognize your perfect right to success and happiness, you find that it starts to show up in the least expected situations. It’s as if success had been waiting for us patiently at the edge of our lives, biding its time and waiting for us to wake up and find space for it in our hearts.

As soon as you wake up to your capacity for real success, it just loves to show up and add a beautiful sparkle to your efforts. You’ll see.

Fear of Criticism

This is the less well known first cousin of the fear of failure and it certainly produces a similar feeling. Criticism is one of those nasty little devices that is used too often by the people who want to manipulate or control us. You know the ones.

They rarely offer you good advice and they never recognize your achievements. No matter how much try or how well you succeed, there’s always that ill-disguised look of disappointment, the suggestion that you could’ve done better or – even worse – the implication that you didn’t really deserve the success in the first place. And it’s painful.

Too often, when we lift the lid on this lurking fear of criticism, we discover early environmental influences that crushed the joy out of any achievements. It’s a tough one. But we can learn to create the perfect antidote to this insidious poison that runs silently and deeply in our veins. We can learn to appreciate ourselves.

That’s right. Once we’re free of that unfulfilled addiction for approval that we lacked during childhood, we can begin to recognize our achievements and discover the joys of true independence. We take away the weapons of manipulation and control.

We become so much freer. We develop a profound immunity to criticism. We can afford to do things even if there’s a risk of failure. We discover that, underneath that craving for approval, we’re much stronger than we ever realized.

We may even learn that criticism tells us much more about the critic than it does about the person whose being criticized. We learn to know ourselves at a deeper level. When an individual offers advice, we can appreciate the value of their observation and evaluate it more objectively.

We discover that the criticism of who we are is all too often completely inappropriate. It’s absolutely fine to criticize what we do or how we’re doing something, even if we choose to ignore the advice. It’s one of those ‘Ah, ha!’ moments when we distinguish between the personal judgements that try to take us down and the potentially useful comments about how we’re approaching a particular task or challenge.

Show me a better way or an easier path to my goals and you’ll have my full and undivided attention.

Tell me I’m an idiot and, well, you’re not really telling me something I didn’t already know!

Fear of Ridicule

Kids can be cruel. Any hint of weakness or irregularity and they’re on it in a flash, tormenting and teasing, heaping scorn and ridicule in equal measure, making life a living hell. Unfortunately, there usually isn’t anyone around to explain that it’s the tormentors who have the problem, that it’s the screaming band of taunting children who really need the help.

So we develop a thick skin to hide our pain and embarrassment and try to fit in more with the herd, disguising whatever might have prompted the scorn in the first place, suppressing our individuality within the group, conforming to the lowest common denominators, talking like them, dressing like them, avoiding any areas where we might stand out.

We become perfectly camouflaged within the dense jungle of mediocrity. The last thing we want is to stand out. Being conspicuous is too risky. So we never explore our potential to be outstanding.

But there’s always an antidote to the deeply addictive drug of fear. There’s a tradition in some religious communities that the angel who stands next to the right hand of God is responsible for laughter. It’s an interesting allusion because one of the most potent antidotes to fear is – laughter. It’s so powerful, it really should be on prescription!

Once we learn to laugh at the absurdity of our own reactions, the fear evaporates. Instantly. It disappears in a flash. Fear cannot exist in the same space as laughter. Other people’s ridicule becomes meaningless, the empty braying of asses.

It might even amuse you to understand what the ridicule reveals about the people who are having fun, apparently at your expense. Ridicule only works if the target responds. If you step aside from the expected response, the ridicule misses its mark and the game loses its purpose. You can smile or even laugh at the crude attempt to produce a pained reaction in your emotional framework and wonder why anyone would choose to behave in such a strange way.

Now you’re free from the fear and laughter of others as you begin to scale the heights of success. Of course they’ll want to make fun of you. It’s so much easier to point the feeble finger of ridicule than explain why they deny themselves the opportunity to climb above their own self-imposed limitations.

Be kind. Let your example inspire others to rise above their circumstances. Touch their hearts with the beauty of your inspiration. And smile at their failed attempts to drag you down to their level.

You’re already rising far above those crude and antiquated limitations.

Fear of Change

How often do we cling to the bare rocks of our daily existence, no matter how uncomfortable those conditions might be? We cling on with every fiber of our being because we’re afraid of change. We forge an unshakable bond with our circumstances and avoid all risk of change as if the Grim Reaper himself could be found lurking with his freshly sharpened scythe beneath every hint of moving on.

So we stay where we are. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Financially. It’s completely dysfunctional because change is the very nature of reality. Everything changes all the time.

We’re so perversely inventive, we manufacture the most ludicrous reasons why things have to stay exactly the way they are. “It’s Fate”. “If it’s meant to be, it will happen anyway”. Really? “You have to deserve it”. Why on earth do you imagine that the universe operates on this basis? “Wait until it’s your turn”. What do you mean – is life just some kind of crazy lottery? “It just wasn’t meant to be”. “It can’t be done”. “We’re not the kind of people who get the breaks”. “Know your place”. Wow.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making excuses for living in reduced and difficult circumstances. I’ve heard thousands of reasons why things can’t change. Yet – things most surely do change. Every single day. Every hour. Every second.

Change is the most natural thing of all. And I’ve seen the power of change sweep away all the obstructions and obstacles and limitations and carry individuals to the stratospheric heights of success and abundance.

The moment an individual’s heart changes, everything around them begins to change too. The fabric of our personal reality is deeply connected to the emotional landscape that we maintain around ourselves. Our beliefs are the bedrock of how we perceive reality. The greatest challenge of all is to learn to let go. Especially of all the things that are holding you back.

Imagine yourself halfway up a mountainside, climbing a steep rock face, ice and loose stones on all sides and a bone-chilling wind biting at you as you struggle to keep your grip on the foot and hand-holds that you’ve found to stop yourself from being swept away.

That’s how we live. We cling on for survival, hanging onto whatever’s around us because we’re so deeply afraid of falling. A great mountain-climber, a legend in his extraordinary lifetime, once described in nerve-wracking detail the experience of scaling an ice face during an ascent of a very challenging peak in the Himalayas. He said there were some very important rules that the mountain would teach you.

Firstly – never look down! He had a great point here. There is absolutely no virtue in looking behind you. Nothing can be gained by looking back. Your future is not behind or below you. It’s in front of you.

Second principle – ignore what anyone else is doing. There might be other people attempting the same challenge but, if you focus on what others might be doing around you, you lose the vital connection with what you have to do to move forwards toward your chosen destination.

Thirdly – deep breath – you have to let go. This was always the most terrifying aspect of the entire process. It seems so completely unnatural. Every instinct is screaming at you to hold on, pushing every cell of your body closer and closer to the mountain. And then you have to look up and focus on your goal.

You have to remember why you’re halfway up an ice face in a howling gale and look up at the mountain peak that represents your goal, your destination, and the absolute culmination of your challenge. And then you let go with one hand because that’s the only way you can move on. You let go with one hand and reach for the next handhold. Then you move one foot. And you move up the mountain. By letting go and moving upwards. It was such a powerful speech,

I really felt that this incredible man was speaking to me directly. I was going through a tough time and his message was so beautiful, so uplifting, so overwhelmingly direct that I was inspired to make my first tentative steps to let go of the things I was clinging to. It changed my life. That wasn’t fate. That was a choice based on a remarkable man’s advice and experience.

He spoke of the constant close proximity of death on the mountains he’d climbed and he told us of the pain of losing dear friends and I’d never been in the presence of an individual who was so completely at peace with himself and the great mysteries of life. Learning to let go. Perhaps the greatest challenge for humans to face. But that’s how we learn to reach the highest peaks of personal fulfillment and unimagined success.

Fear of Who You Are

It’s just too easy to live your life pretending to be someone else. We learn to play so many roles during our lifetime that it’s often impossible to work out who we really are.

The roles provide us with the illusion of security, protection, safety, continuity and acceptance. I use the word ‘illusion’ because you have to play a role in order to receive these apparent benefits. You are not being yourself. It reminds me of the oriental concept of having three hearts or faces.

We have one face that we show to the world. Another face that we reserve for our close friends and family. And then the face that really represents who we are – the face that no one ever sees. If only we were limited to just those three faces!

Most people have dozens of roles that they learn to play according to the situations they find themselves in. You often see a slightly disturbing example of this shift in roles when you visit a partner’s family and your dearly beloved suddenly starts behaving in unexpected ways.

A different personality emerges – apparently from nowhere – in the presence of parents or siblings, a personality that is often more childlike, less confident, more dependent, in many ways quite different to the person you fell in love with. Which is real?

The personality you think you know or the ‘new’ version that emerges when parents are around? No wonder these changes often result in heated arguments. They’re guaranteed to produce contradictions. Accusations and confusion abound.

What’s going on? As long as we crave the approval of parent figures, we’ll always shift into a behavioural framework that seems to match our view of their expectations. Playing all these different roles becomes so natural, so deeply ingrained in our behaviour; we don’t even realize that we’re doing it.

And let’s remind ourselves that these roles serve a purpose. They help us to feel that we fit in. They give us the reassurance that we’re accepted. They reinforce our sense of worthiness and acceptance.

When we have to move beyond these limitations and become more aligned with a new model of personal success, we naturally fear the loss of the old connections.

We’re afraid of giving up the comfort of our security blankets, of losing the familiar framework of our comfortable array of roles. But getting in touch with who you are beneath the layers of masks and conditioned reflexes is a powerfully liberating experience that can set the stage for extraordinary discoveries and unimagined personal progress.

We often come across the word ‘authentic’ in these situations as cognitive behavioural science encourages us to be more in tune with who we really are. Once free of the web of restraining roles and superficial identities, we can accept the benefits of success and abundance so much more easily.

We effectively remove many of the behavioural obstacles that may have sabotaged our efforts in the past and grant ourselves the freedom to enjoy life to the full.

We return to the issue of learning to let go.

We consider the value of becoming aware of what we do, what we say, how we feel. We learn to pause and ask ourselves if we’re being who we really are or whether we’re just playing a role to get an instant fix of approval or attention.

We learn to ask ourselves if the attitude or behaviour we’re displaying is aligned with our vision of success and abundance.

We learn to let go of behaviours and roles that do not support our aims.

We learn to be free.

Fear of the Unknown

Humans don’t like change. Much of our existence as a species has been conditioned by the daily demands of survival. Much of our creativity has been directed towards taming the unknown and producing continuity in our food supply.

That’s how we’ve evolved over hundreds of thousands of years.

Our daily mission was to maximize our chances of survival. Our expansion across the plains of Africa – and eventually across most of the planet’s land masses – didn’t happen because of some natural instinct for tourism. We moved on in search of better food supplies and better habitats for survival. In countless examples from these dimly lit chapters of our distant past, our remote ancestors settled in areas where the food, water and shelter favoured survival.

They usually moved on when one or more of these essential elements was compromised and survival demanded a change of location. We still retain this primordial fear of the unknown. It’s easy to forget that our forebears lived under the constant risk of being eaten by a predator.

It’s easy to ignore the threat of disease or accident when there was no recourse to medical support. Our ancestors were undoubtedly tough. But they died early. Survival encouraged us to be cautious, to minimize risk and avoid peril wherever possible.

Hunting wild animals can be a very dangerous way to obtain high quality protein but the risk must have been worthwhile or our ancestors would never have developed the co-ordinate skills and tools to hunt, bring down, kill and butcher a very large and obviously untamed animal; Avoiding risk, avoiding danger wherever possible, resisting change in favor of continuity – these survival traits can still be seen in our twenty-first century behaviours.

We live in a very different world today compared to that of our ancestors yet we still retain essential elements of their ancient behaviour. Our brains exhibit this evolutionary course in the way the ancient limbic system still produces powerful drives to eat, to run away or fight and to reproduce. These were early elements in our evolution, tied in to the necessity to survive and which favored the continuity of the species.

Much later in the course of our development, the brain evolved a vastly more sophisticated faculty that we refer to today as the pre-frontal cortex. This complex – and uniquely human – part of the brain only exhibits its fuller potential from our early twenties onwards and provides the driving force behind our unique ability to visualise, plan and execute goals.

The PFC can be trained to overcome the atavistic drives of the survival-driven limbic system and helps us to evaluate risk with logic, objectivity and cool detachment. This unique facility is the key to overcoming fear of the unknown. We have learned to become calm, to breathe gently, to eliminate the adrenaline rush of the limbic system’s panic response and evaluate a given situation with the PFC’s dramatically revealing, objective overview.

The PFC assesses, adjusts the course of action to match the changing circumstances, keeps the desired end result clearly in focus and allows us to formulate flexible approaches to achieving our goals. This ability to apply logic and rational judgement to a situation cools down the limbic system’s hot responses and gives the observer much more control and choice over the most appropriate courses of action.

We evolved to be creatures that can visualise, plan and deliver our goals and objectives. It’s a natural part of being human.

Fear of Loss

The true spirit of abundance celebrates the potential for unlimited quantities of whatever we seek. The opposite expression of this spirit of plenty is the fear of loss. We can only fear losing something if we feel that it is irreplaceable or if it seems to be in short supply.

This is one of the great obstacles to abundance, this abiding sense that there is too little in the world to go round. It’s so obviously untrue yet the belief persists. We suspect at some deep, irrational level that if we somehow get our hands on more, then someone else must automatically have less. It doesn’t work like that. It really doesn’t.

But when you see pictures of poverty-stricken parts of the world, images of starving children and the effects of famine and drought, you link these emotive scenes to your lingering doubts about whether there’s enough to go round. Many people feel that having more in the face of crushing poverty and want is somehow immoral. In their minds, the conclusion is simple: as long as there are so many starving, impoverished people in the world, it is immoral to have abundance.

So, in the face of poverty and lack, the attitude is ‘Let’s have more poverty so that we won’t feel uncomfortable when we have to see pictures of starving children’. If poverty is a problem, favoring the concept of having less hardly improves the situation. When you create abundance in your life, you have so much more choice about helping those in need. Yes you do. More abundance allows for more sharing. A spirit of abundance is not an isolated, selfish phenomenon.

It’s a powerful expression of the potential for improvement at so many levels, both personally and globally. If you want to help the world, if you want to make a positive difference, develop a strategy for success and spread the good news wherever you go. That’s how to make a very useful contribution to the state of the world.

When you start to understand the real concept of abundance, when you begin to feel its power at a deeply emotional level, when you open your heart to its profound benevolence, your life will move in a whole new direction and you’ll want to share the experience wherever you find yourself.

Fear of Standing Out

We’ve already covered this topic. It’s just another aspect of daring to be different. It’s another way of understanding the costs of pretending to be someone or something you’re not. It’s a simple way to confront the challenge of trying to be less than your true potential. I’ve always taken the view that we need to live up to the promise of our abilities and put them to work.

Everyone – and that includes you, my friend – has talent. Harness that raw potential and harvest the rewards. Live up to your potential. Stop pretending to be something less than you really are. It isn’t about boastfulness or deluding ourselves that we’re superstars.

False modesty is just as damaging. It’s about feeling that it is really is absolutely fine to be you. It’s the beautiful message that whispers from your heart that who you really are is always more than enough. You don’t have to be anyone else.

It’s just fine to be you. You – with all your faults and failings, mistakes and imperfections, doubts and fears, confusion and questions – who you are is enough. We don’t have to be perfect. We can recognize our failings and shortcomings. We can learn to be kind to ourselves. To lighten up. To deal with the behaviours that are getting in the way of a happy and fulfilled life. We can grow.

But, above all else, we can be ourselves. And when you decide that it’s fine to be successful, that it’s great for you to enjoy the rewards of reaching your goals that the past doesn’t matter anymore because you’re looking ahead now to a totally different and brighter future – that’s when your life will move along and you’ll be completely comfortable with the process. Even if you stand out from the crowd.

Because it’s great to be you. And deep down you always knew it.

Fear of Pressure

Self-doubt. It lurks in the background, always ready to question your worthiness, gnawing at the foundations of your confidence. It’s an unwanted artefact from our early conditioning and it usually shows up when we’re facing some of life’s tougher challenges.

Especially when we’re tired or stressed. Nagging hints of failure, dark intrusions into our self-confidence, niggling worries about whether we’re up to the task. But there’s a fabulous antidote. It’s called – laughter and it’s to be deployed with all the energy you can muster. Laughter – even the forced, artificial guffaw of the struggling comedian in front of a tough house – dispels fear and doubt in an instant.

There will always be doubt – as long as you leave space for it to sink its roots into your belief system. The fear of dealing with increased pressure is just one of the ways your doubts will find a convenient pathway to express their insidious influence.

Laugh in the face of your doubts and they’ll slink away into the background. They really do not like to be treated with such obvious disdain! So laugh at them. Never lose sight of your ability to overcome obstacles, to solve problems, to triumph over adversity, to achieve your goals. And what about the pressure?

That just shows you’re taking the abundance project seriously. And it’s so much more rewarding to live with the pressure of success than with the crushing frustration of living an unfulfilled life.

Fear has always been the main obstacle to success. That’s why we needed to address its influence right at the start of this project. Fear diverts us from our goals and objectives. It tells us what we can’t do, what we shouldn’t do, why we can’t succeed, why we should settle for what we’ve got. Fear binds us to the illusion of our limitations and chains us in the dark cage of our uncertainty.

Fear disguises its role in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, hiding behind the veil of old habits, familiar behaviours and other peoples’ expectations. It slows you down. It questions everything but most often it questions your goals and whether you’re capable of achieving success. Step beyond the bounds of your fear and the world opens up with an extraordinary array of possibilities.

Fear is only a natural product of our evolutionary past. It has its place in the primitive mechanism of our survival reflexes. It is not part of our planning and goal-setting apparatus. Setting goals and planning for their success overrides the knee-jerk fear response.

We are fully equipped to learn how to use the part of the brain that evolved specifically to enable us to set goals, to plan and to fulfill our dreams. That part of the brain is there for a purpose. You are about to discover that you are precisely the kind of person that can achieve tremendous success.

You’re a human being. You evolved to be successful. Focusing on your goals, dreams and ambitions is a perfect antidote to the poison of fear. It sets you free. And freedom is one of the great hallmarks of true success.

“A wise person should have money in their head but not in their heart”

Jonathan Swift

This looks like a perfect place to see if we can learn a little more about your attitude towards risk. We’ve identified many of the underlying causes for failing to take action and flushed out the shadows of fear that used to darken our hopes and aspirations.

Now let’s see how you feel about taking chances. Once again, there are no right or wrong answers. The aim is to shed light on how you feel and understand the motivations that often govern your actions.

The test is really easy.

Check each opening statement and tick the answer that feels most appropriate to you. If in doubt, you can tick two answers if you feel that would give a better impression of how each statement affects you.

The One Life Success Test

1. When starting a new undertaking you

a) are likely to doubt its success

b) weigh the pros and cons well beforehand and consult with experienced people

c) rely on luck and ignore possible failures

d) are confident of success and sure you will overcome any obstacles

e) need the guidance of an authoritative person

f) feel it is worth taking the risk as you will be able to extricate yourself, regardless

g) are sure that it will be of benefit to mankind

2. In your business/professional activities you

a) do not usually have competition

b) take competition into account and look for ways to prevent or reduce it

c) battle against your competitors

d) are prepared to fight against your competitors by any means necessary and are confident of your victory

e) are inclined to avoid competition

f) are keen on competitive struggle

g) feel ready to eliminate competitors for the common good

3. When driving a car you

a) always obey traffic laws and avoid dangerous situations

b) generally always obey traffic laws but if you break the laws you never enter into an argument with the police

c) react calmly when fined

d) are ready to break the laws if you don’t expect to be fined

e) generally always obey traffic laws and drive carefully

f) often break the laws, exceed the speed limit while overtaking

g) try to obey the laws as far as they do not hinder your purposes but if otherwise you ignore the laws

4. When faced with the opinion of the majority

a) you’re usually in agreement with it

b) if it differs from your opinion, then you adhere to yours

c) if it differs from your opinion, you express it and retain your own views

d) if it differs from yours, it irritates you since you believe that your opinion is the only right one

e) if it differs from your opinion, you dare not uphold yours

f) it doesn’t matter to you

g) you do your utmost to have it on your side, making all others change their mind

5. When pursuing your goal, you

a) never infringe the law

b) don’t infringe the law explicitly but exploit its loopholes if necessary

c) sometimes infringe the law in minor matters, and think nothing of it

d) sometimes infringe the law if the risk of discovery is small

e) may infringe the law if you see a number of others doing so

f) are likely to violate the law if there is a chance of escaping detection

g) are ready to use almost any means since you think that a great aim justifies any means

6. If duels were permitted, you would

a) try to avoid them if possible, but if challenged, you wouldn’t back out

b) avoid them at all costs

c) prefer to resolve conflicts in court

d) accept a challenge but would settle for reconciliation as well

e) prefer to resolve conflicts by dueling and not in court

f) always be determined to accept the challenge

g) ignore the challenge in order to not allow fate to defeat your purpose

7. In games of chance, you

a) don’t play

b) if playing, gamble for low stakes

c) may play but never beyond the limit of your solvency

d) play for high stakes, sometimes beyond your solvency

e) generally don’t play since you hate to lose

f) when playing, sometimes stake your all

g) don’t play on principle

8. You have a preference for people who

a) you believe are trustworthy

b) are from your network, or someone you know

c) are competent

d) are determined and energetic

e) are committed to you and implicitly obedient

f) are courageous and fond of risks

g) believe in your ideas

9. In social settings you

a) join in with what’s going on

b) talk to people who seem to be interesting

c) are the life and soul of the party

d) want to be respected and acknowledged as having the right side in arguments

e) listen to what is being said but do not have enough courage to join the conversation

f) often seek adventure

g) push your ideas

10. When making a decision, you

a) usually hesitate a great deal

b) decide after assessing the prospect of success

c) base your decision more on luck than on thorough reckoning

d) entertain no doubt about your rightness

e) tend to postpone it

f) decide impulsively, relying only on fate and luck

g) believe firmly in your rightness

11. The anticipation of forthcoming events, whether favorable or unfavorable

a) worries you but you hope for the best

b) makes you think over your actions after a bad turn of events

c) puts you into pleasurable anticipation, leaving no room for the bad

d) makes you cautious, but you believe you will cope with any turn of events

e) makes you anxious, you expect the worst

f) excites you, stimulates your energy

g) mobilises but doesn’t scare you

12. In matters of dress you

a) dislike extravagant styles, and try not to stand out

b) prefer an elegant and “quiet” style

c) choose a striking or overtly casual style

d) choose quality, durable goods

e) dress like the others

f) choose a loud, sometimes eccentric style

g) are content with what you have, paying little attention to the latest fashion

13. As a rule, you enter into intimate relations

a) casually, without commitment or if you are prepared for marriage

b) with partners whose cultural, social and intellectual level is not lower than yours

c) if you are seized by strong feelings

d) with partners who recognize your superiority

e) with your soul mate

f) easily, not looking far ahead

g) when your partners are your companions in some mutual activity

14. When your rights are infringed, you

a) are likely to be reconciled to it

b) act the same way as the majority of people around you

c) will enter into fierce conflict

d) try to avoid such situations

e) assert your rights whatever the cost

f) will defend them

g) will uncompromisingly assert them for the sake of common justice

15. When it comes to conflicts, you

a) manage to avoid them

b) seldom find yourself involved but if so, act defensively

c) often get involved, through your own initiative

d) at times, unexpectedly find yourself involved but never stay involved for long

e) often get involved – those around you are to be blamed for that

f) you go in to crush the enemy

g) try to settle it when you enter into one

16. In life, you are most concerned about

a) your professional competence

b) stable income and job security

c) quickly moving forward in your endeavours

d) being successful in your endeavours

e) your prestige in society

f) being pleased with yourself and your status

g) destiny of mankind

17. You prefer to be engaged in something that

a) gives you moral satisfaction first and foremost

b) improves your living standard

c) arouses keen excitement and passion in you

d) allows you to enjoy your life

e) enhances your prestige

f) allows you to live a purposeful life

g) is very important to the whole of mankind

18. Opponents

a) are the ones to whom you frequently give in

b) are the ones you avoid

c) are the ones you try to destroy

d) constantly get in your way

e) are the ones you enter into a fight with

f) activate you

g) are people with whom you can compromise if necessary

19. If you have a fairly prosperous life, you

a) are not prepared to risk your current assets while knowing you could have gained more

b) don’t want to make any changes

c) direct your activity to improving the life of others

d) are ready to take risks for greater success

e) feel you could have gained more but were unlucky

f) sometimes change it drastically for no particular reason

g) are satisfied but work continuously to improve it

20. When you undertake actions

a) you are often not sure if they are right

b) you feel more confident when others approve of them

c) they are for everybody’s good

d) you are sure of their rightness even if others regard them as wrong actions

e) the warnings of others strengthen your determination to go your own way

f) they sometimes involve risks, so as to test your abilities, courage and luck

g) you rely more on your own opinion than on the opinion of others

21. In routine life events

a) sometimes you want to stay completely alone

b) it’s difficult to you to stay alone

c) you sometimes wish to go somewhere far away

d) you need radical changes in your everyday life

e) people sometimes irritate you

f) you crave strong excitement and thrills

g) you are continually engaged in some important task

22. When making investments you prefer to

a) put your money into no risk but relatively low interest, relatively long-term, programs

b) put your money into programs recommended by a financial advisor, with sound interest but low to medium risk

c) invest into what you believe will grow substantially within 1-2 years

d) invest in rapidly growing companies/markets. Sometimes you might also donate your money to a charity fund.

e) invest substantial sums of money in reputable enterprises or enterprises to which you give your personal credence

f) put all of your assets in, if you feel it will yield quick and significant returns

g) invest in funds which are aimed at promoting the development of mankind and in which you can take part

Conclusions:

Your attitude towards risk is suggested to a degree by your choice of answers but please feel free to disagree with the conclusions. After all, you know yourself better than any simple test!

If you answered mainly a)

This analytical style is largely the most risk-averse, suggesting a conventional approach to life that avoids risk and emphasizes conformity to the rules and laws of society. There is little interest in risk or gambling. We would often describe this personality type as introverted, non-assertive, duty-oriented and non-confrontational. Sometimes these individuals are happier with their own company or with the calm reassurance of a PC screen. Not known to be socially inclined. Analytical rather than action-oriented.

If you answered mostly from the b) menu

Caution is the watchword for this group of analytical personality types who usually possess a pronounced respect for authority. More comfortable within the boundaries and rules of social convention, they tend to be conscious of the risk of loss so prefer to analyze and calculate the probability of reverses to control the downside. Socially they tend to gravitate towards people who display similar attitudes to themselves although they’re rarely described as gregarious. Risk is a quantity that needs to be contained and defined by their innate analytical perspective.

If you’re a child of the c) category

You’re more likely to be an extroverted expressive who enjoys the thrill of risk taking. This suggests an impulsive approach to risks and an aversion to thinking things through. More likely to shoot before aiming. A fairly flamboyant presence. However, as the universe tends to reward action, this impulsive drive for success and recognition can deliver great results despite the possibility of loss through an inattention to detail and a magnetic attraction to high-stake risk.

For those who found themselves answering mostly d)

This is a goal-driven expressive style with a more self-assured, even aggressive approach to life. These individuals tend to need lots of approval, recognition and the visible trappings of success. Often driven by a fierce ambition, success is the purpose and focus of life’s great game. As you might expect, taking risks is seen as a natural avenue towards the achievement of goals. These personalities might be described as throwing caution to the wind.

If your answers clustered around e)

This directive style reflects a strong desire for success but seeks to check and verify the facts and limit the probability of loss. Logic plays its role in the decision making process. These individuals prefer to project a more conventional image of traditional reliability. Careful, cautious, self-reliant yet sometimes seeking the approval of authority figures, risk is seen as a commodity that can be calculated, controlled and neutralized.

The answers that mostly highlighted f)

This variable on the directive style reflects a stronger focus on winning at any rate. Often described as combative, sometimes quite aggressive, forceful, pugnacious and willing to win by force of will, these personalities relish the challenge and danger of risks because the odds usually favor success.

For the patient group who gravitated towards g)

The traditional amiable style focuses on the importance of social connections, idealism and the avoidance of risk. The concept of benefiting the majority is an important aspect of investing. Personal success is less important so risk taking is not a natural characteristic of these family-oriented individuals.

Now that you’re building a better understanding of how you think, feel and behave, we can reflect on whether our attitudes are helping us – or hindering us. You absolutely do not have to become someone else. You do not have to play some exaggerated role and pretend to be a cash-crazy, ruthless tycoon, taking on-line bids in a private auction to sell your granny to the highest bidder! The changes can be subtle.

The shifts in behaviour can be minor yet still significant. When you spot behaviours that are counter-productive, you can assess how you’d like to behave in the future. It’s the natural process of growth, of change, of personal evolution. It enables us to be more adaptable. And it works.

Check List

Appreciate and understand the difference – You might be broke – but you’ll never be poor

Have you identified the fears that have been holding you back? Make a note of them

What steps have you taken to neutralise your fears? Write down your actions

What is your personal attitude towards risk?

How does your attitude towards risk impact on your potential for success?

What adjustments do you need to make to ensure your attitude to risk is helpful to your plans? Write down your answers

Chapter Nine – Learning to be Best Friends with Cash

“Money is usually attracted, not pursued”

Jim Rohn

As we dissolve the bonds of fear that have held you back for far too long, we’re getting closer to the point where we can introduce some fabulous changes into your life, changes that will put you in the driving seat and open up your potential for financial abundance. You might be wondering at this point if you can you still be the same person that you were before.

The answer will depend on whether the roles you’ve been playing so far have worked successfully for you, or not. If you’re getting by, pretending to be a successful version of yourself, you’ll still probably sense that something is missing. You’ll most probably know intuitively that there could be so much more in your life. And you’ll know how easy it’s been to form strong attachments to those familiar, old roles you’ve been playing for so long.

Our mission is not to exchange one set of roles for another, although new roles can make a surprising difference in the short term. We’re aiming for a sustainable evolution that will put financial comfort and success within your grasp as permanent features of your new lifestyle.

That implies change.

And the change that will produce the best contribution to your new plan for financial abundance is in your attitude towards money. We’ve explored the subject before in other works from One Life Wellbeing Media but, as we discovered when we examined the impact of fear in our lives, our attitudes contribute significantly to the outcomes of our daily experience.

So what about our attitude towards money? Once again we have to confront the distinction between the way our conscious minds react and the underlying responses from our subconscious.

As you may recall, the subconscious governs most of our behaviour and contains elements of deeply programmed attitudes and emotional responses that were imprinted on our impressionable lives during early childhood. Happily, these conditioned behaviours and reactions can be changed. They do not have to last forever. They do not have to be permanent. We do not have to remain the prisoners of our early conditioning. We can discard the attitudes that block our capacity for success, that sabotage our potential for happiness.

We can introduce behaviours that encourage a glowing sense of personal fulfilment and we can attune ourselves to actions that totally favour our goals and aspirations. And, as we suggested earlier, our attitude towards money is a vital component in our quest for financial abundance. So we’re going to begin our quest with a new introduction to money. Are you really ready for this? I’m asking because your life is about to become a little more interesting.

Take a deep breath. Concentrate. Let me have your attention here because this is important. Money exists primarily because we believe in it. Run that line again. Money exists because we believe in it. Your purse or wallet contains pieces of paper, fragments of metal and slivers of plastic.

They have value because we all agree that they are worth something. It’s a highly efficient way of communicating an agreed value but, at the end of the day, all you have are printed pieces of paper and stamped pieces of metal and plastic. The pieces of paper and metal function because we all agree that they represent something of value. Your bank account is even more obscure. The value of your money is not necessarily represented by pieces of paper and chips of metal.

Your bank account functions on electronic impulses that represent an agreed value. Your money just slipped quietly into the twilight zone of digital expression. But if your computer screen shows an amount in your account, it’s as real and valid in theory as a wad of printed paper in your wallet or a slice or two of precious metal in your hand. Money exists because we believe in it.

It’s a very powerful, communal belief and we rarely spare a thought about it but the only reason those pieces of paper are valuable is because we all agree that they have a specific value. What we need at the launch of this mighty quest for financial abundance is a new relationship with the whole concept of money.

Early attitudes.

I know a lot about the importance of this critical area because I grew up in an environment where there never seemed to be enough money. Life was a constant struggle and the daily challenge in the family was the unending question of how to make ends meet. There is nothing noble in this tale of self-imposed financial lack.

I remember as a small child helping my mother to put grocery items back on the supermarket shelf because she’d realised that she didn’t have enough cash to pay for the essentials. She was very unhappy and embarrassed about the situation and these episodes can leave their mark deeply etched on our formative attitudes. It’s fair to say that my father deliberately kept her short of housekeeping money to limit her choices and options – so money was obviously used as an unsubtle tool of manipulation in the household.

When my mother got a job working night shifts in a factory to help with the bills, dad stopped giving her the meagre weekly shopping allowance, which meant she had to pay for the family groceries from her own wages. She was working harder than ever but for no discernible difference. I loved my dad. He sometimes complained about the shortages of money but he always somehow had enough cash to back his beloved ponies every week. Seemed like food and clothing were seen more as luxury items!

Don’t worry. We’re not here to judge my dear old dad. I loved him as only a child can love a parent. We’re here to learn something useful about the way attitudes shape peoples’ lives.

When we experience these negative, emotionally-charged events, we easily develop a distinctly negative attitude towards the underlying cause – and in this case the cause always seemed to be connected to money.

On an emotional basis, it can turn ugly as we learn to be afraid of money. We associate money with painful, unpleasant feelings and we unconsciously form the opinion that it’s always something that’s in short supply. So, deep within our emotional framework, we learn to dislike this immensely powerful force and, like so many things that we’re afraid of, we unconsciously reduce our contact with it to the minimum. It becomes a necessary evil. My dear old dad always used to say that rich people were either crooks or conmen. That was the extent of his vision of wealth.

Yet he could’ve had so much more. He died when I was in my teens and I learned after his death that he’d turned down various offers of promotion to management because he hadn’t wanted the additional responsibility. He turned down an offer to give me a scholarship to a private school because he didn’t want me to be ‘different’. These experiences have proved to be extremely valuable in my life. I truly understand the dynamics of the problem. Life was generous enough to frame these problems for me at every turn.

It gradually became clear that the choices and attitudes that characterised my upbringing weren’t simply a question of good or bad decisions. No one was trying to make my life difficult. The people in my life made their choices because they believed they were doing the right thing. They did the absolute best that they could with what they knew. But the outcomes rarely made sense to me. And those circumstances combined to provide the catalyst for change.

When things don’t add up

First of all, I couldn’t help noticing the contradictions in the family circumstances. We were always short of cash but dad could afford to smoke like a chimney and bet on the horses. He was my dad and I thought that’s what dads were like.

He had the wicked sense of humour. He was a brilliant story teller. But the inconsistencies showed up every day. Other people in the neighbourhood had similar jobs yet somehow enjoyed a higher standard of living. They went on holidays. We didn’t. Yet those neighbours could never be described as ‘rich’. There was definitely something amiss.

It occurred to me one day that perhaps as a family we weren’t really poor as such but were simply addicted to living in reduced circumstances. We were addicted to the daily pain and anxiety of not having enough. And I knew at an early age that I had no intention of repeating this dreadful pattern of lost and wasted opportunities. I didn’t have any kind of shortcut and I would taste often enough the bitter fruit of failure but anything was better than living in the dysfunctional and limiting world that my family liked to describe as ‘normal’. And the first breakthrough moments occurred as I gradually made friends with money.

Open your mind and let some fresh air in

Reading opens the doors to a vast array of other worlds. Books bring you into contact with other thoughts and other possibilities. The town where I grew up had a fabulous public lending and reference library which soon became my second home.

I wanted to read about everything and in the comfort of that simple, modern library building, I could sit quietly with the works of the greatest thinkers who’d ever lived and try – often in vain! – To understand their legacy and their teachings. I read everything I could and that included the newspapers too. I didn’t always understand the content but I loved to work through the finance sections.

I was invariably amazed at the seemingly vast sums referred to in the business articles because they were always far too large for me to imagine. As I pored over articles about take-overs and stock issues, government bonds and public borrowing, it dawned on me that money was the force that allowed so many things to happen. It paid for education. It paid for hospitals. It was paying for the public library where I sat so often in a well-lit booth, surrounded by a dozen precious books and the previous day’s newspapers.

Money really was an immensely powerful force for good. I was also very young and impressionable and, against a family background of grinding lack and limitation, the message lit up my life like a solar flare. I felt that there really was more money in the world than I’d ever thought could exist. I didn’t truly grasp its real power and presence but it was undeniably everywhere. And I started to believe that it could really be a tremendous force for good.

This subconscious transition can be one of the most vital steps in developing effective strategies for creating wealth. We have to make friends with money. The dynamics are simple enough. Our underlying feelings towards wealth will always show up in our behaviour and in our lives.

We can discuss wealth creation in great detail, make plans, feel enthusiastic about the agreed outcomes and tell the world we’re finally moving on. But, more than anything else, our unconscious feelings and attitudes will determine the outcome. It’s painful to see these contradictions showing up every day in people’s lives. You have lots of effort on the surface, but no success, lots of intensity and hard work. But only grindingly slow progress. One foot on the accelerator and the other foot firmly clamped down on the brake pedal.

Frustrating? Disheartening? Dispiriting? Yes. Absolutely! But the instant we re-align our subconscious attitudes with success, the foot lifts up from the brake and the machine surges forward. Have you had enough of sitting in the same place for too long, stalled in the great stream of life? It is time for a breakthrough. So let’s do something radical.

I have a very simple three-part strategy to make money your new best friend.

Firstly, you’ll need to accept that this major shift is going to create changes in your subconscious landscape. Yes, it is. It might not make a great deal of sense to your conscious mind but that’s not where your life’s direction is coming from. Money is not some random, neutral, faceless force that appears haphazardly according to the whims of fate.

Money is an unimaginably vast, potent force and we need to give you unique, direct, personal access to its influence. So you’ll need to imagine how money is going to appear to you from now onwards. And we’re going to cast that precious image upon the great canvas of your subconscious. You need to use your powers of imagination. It’s time to switch on your powers of visualisation.

It’s time to give money a face, perhaps a body and even a name. Money – through the power of your imagination – is about to receive a very distinctive and positive personality. One of the best examples I’ve come across is an image of an enormous, smiling genie, exactly like some fabulous character from the Thousand and One Nights, a happy, benevolent character whose immense size reflects the global power of free-flowing currency; A jovial, happy face with twinkling eyes and an expression of complete benevolence; A beaming smile that expresses the perfect spirit of generosity; A smile that is directed right at you; Your own personal genie who loves to shower you with the gifts of good fortune, financial success and material abundance.

Meet your new friend.

The key to this exercise is to create an emotional link with the image in your imagination. As you learn to smile at the image and feel its warmth and benevolence radiating into your life, as you learn to add detail to the image’s composition and allow yourself to feel excitement at the force and presence of this powerful character, you begin to create new neural pathways and connections in your brain and in your subconscious framework. You might like to give a special name to your new friend, a more familiar identity to this powerful artefact of your imagination, a personal name for your new expression of wealth. Choose carefully.

Nothing can be too grand for this personal symbol of money’s vast power in the world. Imagine the figure – whatever you choose, it has to be an extremely powerful, benevolent character – opening its massive hands and pouring cascades of cash into your lap. Laugh at the joy of the experience. Remember, we’re re-framing your deeper attitudes here and the subconscious just loves this kind of symbolism.

It’s a fabulous exercise to practise every day for a few minutes before you get up in the morning. It’s a joyous celebration of what’s really possible in your life to practise the visualisation exercise for a few minutes before you go to sleep each night. Some people have even been known to write their new friend’s name down on a slip of paper and carry it in their purse or wallet, a simple way to keep the private connection going throughout the day.

And it is private. Do not share the details or the name of your new friend with anyone. The moment you try to explain what you’re trying to do, you’ll interfere with the re-framing process and unintentionally add elements of doubt or uncertainty into the new programme. This is your new best friend. You want to feel that there is an unshakable bond developing between you that will unleash unimagined prosperity into your life. This is powerful. You’re learning to re-engineer the fabric of your existence.

Generosity

Next, if you’re ready to receive, you have to be ready to give. As you begin to feel the spirit of benevolence surrounding you every day with its deeply comforting warmth and generosity, you need to start showing to yourself that you’re no longer constrained by the limits of your old attitudes – those feelings that always whispered that there was never enough to go round. Give some change or whatever you feel is appropriate to someone in need. Don’t judge them. Don’t hand over your wallet.

Just start making spontaneous gestures of goodwill. Give to those in need. Just do it. It doesn’t have to be all your money! You’re opening your life to the forces of generosity so now is a great time to start spreading the good feeling around. And that includes a measure of goodwill too. It’s a very powerful dynamic at so many different levels but you’ll soon notice that your natural spirit of simple generosity encourages an even stronger connection with that titanic force of benevolence that you’ve been cultivating through your new friendship with money. Be kind. Be generous. You’ll reap the benefits by doing good things and it will soon start to feel as if you’re naturally inclined to do the right thing.

5 Star Attitudes

Finally, it’s time for you to start behaving as if you were wealthy. That does not meaning selling the kids and buying a Ferrari! It isn’t about spending money either – not yet. And it certainly isn’t about pretending to have money you don’t yet possess. Remember that it’s much easier to sell an expensive car at full price to someone who can only just afford it – the wealthy tend to drive a much harder bargain! No.

This isn’t about fake watches and pretending. It’s about attitude. It’s about feeling that everything is suddenly possible, suddenly affordable, and easily do-able. We’re aiming for a subtle shift in attitude that replaces the tired old belief system that painted life as a constant uphill struggle. The side-step in attitude that allows you to appreciate hand-tailored shirts and the services of a five star GL hotel. You feel instinctively that this is where you’re headed. You begin to know at some deep level that this is how your life is going to be.

You reinforce the re-framing of your subconscious architecture by presenting a radically different emotional response to your life. The limitations no longer constrain you. You start to experience a new sense of inner power, a certainty that anything is possible, a calm confidence in the knowledge that you’re on the pathway to untold success and material abundance. It feels good. It’s beautiful. It’s the dawning of a new day and a new life.

And now that we’ve exorcised the demons of your fear and re-phrased your deeper connections to money, it’s time to take some more action. Welcome to the bright fresh start of your new life.

Check List

Money is largely a product of our group belief in its relevance and values

Do you recall any early childhood experiences that shaped your feelings about money? Write them down

Do you accept that money can be an immensely powerful force for good? If not – why?

Can you describe your vision of your new friend – the presence of benevolent cash in your life? Write it down and keep it safe

Keep a note of the simple acts of generosity that you perform every day for a week

When we imagine a truly wealthy lifestyle, describe what you see. Write it down

Chapter Ten – It Figures

“Frugality includes all the other virtues”

Cicero

Wealth creation gets a lot easier when you get organised. If you’re a disciple of chaos, this is going to be a challenge. We need to bring a degree of order into your financial affairs and this means knowing exactly where you stand right now. There’s nothing quite like a freshly sharpened pencil and a clean sheet of paper to focus the attention and this is where we’re going to start.

You don’t need a Master’s in advanced economic theory either. All you need is a basic knowledge of how to count. Nothing complicated. A calculator might come in handy too. The fact is that most of us avoid dealing with the essential money issues because they scare us. That’s why we’ve devoted so much energy in this manual of financial abundance to removing those damaging old fears and anxieties.

You wouldn’t mind counting your newly-minted millions, would you? Of course not! We want you to feel that you’re in control of your situation, that you’re comfortable with your new financial destiny. So let’s get some clarity into your understanding of exactly where you are right now.

Profit and Loss

It couldn’t be easier. With one sheet of paper and a line drawn down the middle to divide the page into two halves, left hand column = income and assets. Right hand column = outgoings, debts and liabilities. Bottom of the page = the totals. List everything. Whatever you’re spending – put it down on your list of outgoings. The list will tell you pretty much what you’re worth in financial terms. You’ll also get a clear, objective overview of where all the money goes every month.

The initial aim is to give you an overview of what you need right now to make the two columns balance. You’ll immediately spot the shortfalls or surpluses and see at a glance whether or not you’ve got a healthy personal balance sheet. Don’t let the shortfalls scare you. We’re here to make things better. If you’re running a surplus – congratulations! Effective financial planning requires clarity. That’s what this overview is for. If you’re spending more than you’re receiving, the list will show you where the leaks are. It really couldn’t be easier.

Clarity is power. Covering the shortfalls and creating surpluses is the new future and the way forwards.

“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting”

Benjamin Franklin

If you have a surplus, you’ll probably already know that saving is a vital component in creating financial stability. You’ll already appreciate the virtues of having a cash cushion to provide for unforeseen situations or for investing in opportunities. A good rule of thumb is to have at least three months income in cash available, preferably in a simple, interest-bearing account with your local bank. This is the first objective in any plan for creating wealth – building a short term cash cushion.

You’d be amazed how often this first rule is ignored. Second rule: reserving a modest portion of your income for savings every month before splurging on other things. This can be the simplest and most effective way to turn your finances around. It doesn’t happen very often because most people spend their money first before thinking about savings. Put savings first and only spend whatever’s left over.

Save first – spend as much of what’s left as necessary. Cash is king.

You need that reassuring layer of cash to give yourself your first hint of financial peace of mind. It might seem very simple but it’s fundamental and it’s very important.

But what if you’re running a deficit? What do you do when the outgoings outstrip the income? Well, something’s got to give. Your life is calling for change. Take another look at your sheet of paper.

It’s time to get tough.

Have you cut out everything that really is non-essential? Whatever you’re doing, it obviously isn’t sustainable. Ultimately it’s about priorities. If you were a company and running losses, you’d have to make cuts to survive until healthy income levels were restored or else the company folds.

Most of us have been there at some point. But I know too many cases where people in financial difficulty have just kept on spending money as if nothing were amiss, running up debts on credit cards and grabbing loans, digging themselves into deeper financial holes and behaving as if the problems would just disappear somehow by magic. You might need to get tough with yourself.

You might need to get rid of the non-essential items. Set some seriously grown-up priorities. Smoking is a good illustration. I know it’s an addictive substance but tobacco is a fair example. For a start – it’s expensive. If you put your smoking cash into a jar instead of into tobacco products for a few months, you’d be shocked at how much you’d save. The same applies to alcohol and eating out. Sometimes it’s a bigger question such as moving home and finding more affordable accommodation.

Remember – this isn’t forever. It’s a response to a situation where your income today doesn’t match your spending. Yes, we’re planning to improve your finances but we can’t spend what we don’t have. That’s why debt is so debilitating. It sucks the joy from your life. It consumes your income and limits your choices. Reducing debt has got to be one of the early strategies for improving your immediate financial viability. Create some space in your life for regaining better control of your financial circumstances. These changes produce some additional, unexpected benefits. Good financial discipline creates good financial habits, helping you to manage your future success far more effectively than you ever thought possible.

We need a plan.

The next item on our agenda is to build a strong financial strategy that takes our future needs and goals into account. We’ve described in other works from One Life Wellbeing Media Products how to construct a Life Line. It’s a beautiful, visual representation of where you are right now and, more importantly, where you see yourself in the future. It’s a graphic description of how you want your life to unfold. It’s a great way to plan for major expenses and outgoings and can be the basis for creating suitable structures to take care of whatever’s looming on the horizon. It’s incredibly useful. It’s extremely practical. It’s a vital component in any financial planning exercise.

As you can see from the illustration, the Life Line begins with two simple lines – a vertical and a horizontal axis. Nothing too complicated. The bottom line represents time and we usually advance into the future in five-year steps. The vertical line represents our current and future income expectations. Now all you need to do is work out the major expense items that you can foresee for the next five years, calculate the anticipated costs and write them down on the life line.

Then move into the next five year segment and repeat the exercise. This is a powerfully effective way to illustrate potential future drains on your income and assets and the exercise will also include the inevitable drop in income that typically occurs at retirement. Now you can begin to prioritise these future events and make plans to allocate assets for future expenses and lifestyle funding. It can be a wakeup call to make better provision for the future. It can alert you to necessities that sometimes slip past our attention because they’re just out of sight, over the horizon. It can provide hard data to add depth to your plans to create real wealth and abundance. It can provide the stimulus to get you started on your personal plan for financial success.

The Life Line can form the backbone of any plans you might make to take control of your life and create success beyond your wildest dreams. I recommend it to you now because it’s so helpful.

When you create improvements in the quality of your life, you’ll enjoy going back to the Life Line and checking your progress, perhaps upgrading your plans and expectations, enjoying the obvious sense of achievement because you’ve put your life on the fast track to better times. And it feels good. It’s supposed to.

But we need more than the Life Line. We need to dream a little. We need a vision.

The mind is unbelievably powerful. A renowned Karate master was preparing to demonstrate a breaking technique in front of a packed audience as his assistants wheeled in an enormous block of ice. It was an attempt at a world record. You can imagine the atmosphere. The dramatic build up of tension. People holding their breath as the master prepared himself for his confrontation with the ice block. The master struck the ice as forcefully as he could – and shattered his hand and wrist. Not quite the expected outcome and, after examining his broken bones at the local hospital, the doctors told him he would never regain normal use of his hand.

But the master put the failure behind him and focused on repairing the damage to his wrecked bones and tendons. At night, he used to imagine teams of miniature labourers rebuilding the broken bones, surrounding the damage with scaffolding as they worked during his sleep. Soon he imagined new work crews shaping, polishing and finishing the repaired structure of his hand and wrist. Then he added teams of miniature workers, armed with old-fashioned oil cans, squirting lubricant into his joints and tissues.

Four months later, he returned to the exhibition hall where he’d met disaster, now with a completely healed and restored hand and, to everyone’s astonishment, shattered the ice block and broke the record. The mind really is an extraordinarily powerful instrument. And, when it’s directed and focused, it’s capable of achieving extraordinary results.

Now that we’ve examined the state of our current financial health and noted where the strengths and weaknesses are affecting our cash flow, it’s time to add some much-needed depth to our plans for success.

Build a brighter vista of the future.

It is imperative that our new vision of the future is detached from our negative experiences of the past. There’s no point in extending the old model of the past into the unwritten future. We need a vision of the future that is so bright, so powerful, so beautiful that it lifts our expectations far above our experiences of what we used to think was possible.

All those darkly familiar doubts and disappointments from the past are just waiting to whisper ‘Told you so!’ So we need to direct our vision towards a totally different future – an expression of wondrous prosperity that is as far removed as possible from the difficulties of the past.

The obstacles are more densely concentrated in our own hearts than anywhere else in the broad, wide world.

It isn’t the government or the economic climate. It isn’t the political environment or the state of fiscal policy. People are making absolute fortunes every day under the most difficult of circumstances. Let’s flush out the fear and excuses. It’s time to join the incredibly diverse numbers of people around the world who are creating tremendous success right now.

Time to build the Vision

So I want you to take a few minutes to relax somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. You’ll be closing your eyes and just breathing gently for a while. Get comfortable. Relax.

Now imagine yourself in the most wonderful place you can conjure up with your inner eye. See yourself in exactly the place where you’d love to live. See the fittings and furnishings. Imagine the decorations, the artwork, the lighting. Can you hear anything in your vision? Are you near the sea? Can you hear the waves? Can you smell the salt tang of the ocean? Can you hear seabirds? Are you next to the forest? Are you in the city? What are you wearing? This is your vision. Go a little wild. Turn up the intensity. Can you conjure up the feeling of being wealthy? A calm, comfortable sense of ease, secure in the certainty that you have more than you’ll ever need? Can you imagine a sense of deep, inner calm as you sit quietly, enjoying a warm feeling of appreciation that you’ve created all this wealth and abundance?

Now all you need to do is add a simple statement. You’ll need an active word, a verb that describes what you’re doing in your vision. Then you can add a description of how you’re feeling, a positive emotion that expresses the strongest sense of happiness, excitement and fulfilment. And then describe where you are. So the statement might run something like this: ‘I’m joyfully sitting on the terrace of my breathtakingly beautiful beach-side home in Maui, blissfully contemplating the sunset as I share the elation and the magic with my family’. Fine tune the feelings and description to match exactly whatever you’ve chosen for your personal vision.

Now repeat the formula for a few minutes every day. Do it when you wake up in the morning. Take a pause during the day and slip into your vision and power up the dream-scope every night before you go to sleep. Do not share the vision with anybody else on the planet. It’s your personal and private power vision. It is not to be discussed or diluted in any way by sharing.

If you’ve followed other courses from the team at One Life Wellbeing, you’ll already know that this mechanism activates parts of the brain that are extremely helpful in helping us to produce extraordinary results in our lives. We open up the filtering system in the brain that tunes out unnecessary data. But the filter works according to your old belief systems. Now you’re creating a powerful new vision of the future and your filter will start scanning for ways to bring your vision into reach, to unleash your latent creativity and manifest your dreams.

The fact is that we use our creativity all the time. The irony is that we use it mostly to create limitations at every level of our experience. We use enormous energy to tell ourselves what isn’t possible. And now that is about to change for good.

Picture this.

The next part of the process is to start programming your subconscious with illustrations of what you’re planning to achieve. Whatever vision you’ve chosen to represent your future successful self, now’s the time to find some beautiful, bold pictures of where you plan to be.

These are illustrations and other people might obviously see them. You don’t have to explain them or expose your ideas to the doubts and damaging negativity of other, less enlightened individuals! You might choose illustrations of your dream home or a fabulous vacation destination. You might be motivated by a top of the range car or your own stable of race horses. Whatever it is, it’s your vision. Find the best pictures, print them out and put them round your home. After a while, you’ll stop noticing them. They’ll soon become part of the background. But your subconscious will be completely aware of them.

Take your imagination all the way to the bank.

When I first came across this method many years ago, I went down a slightly different route. I bought a sheet of cartridge paper about six feet long by three feet wide and a pack of colouring pens.

Then I spent most of a weekend kneeling on the floor, drawing and colouring an imaginary bank note. I put in as much detail as possible and decided that the note should be worth a quarter of a million. So that’s the amount I drew on the note. When it was finished, I thought it looked pretty good and I pinned it to the ceiling right above my bed. It looked almost realistic. Every night before I went to sleep, I’d stare at that note. It was the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. I made smaller, simpler copies and pinned them up around the house.

There was even one on the back of the bathroom door. And my income accelerated so fast, people thought I must have some secret formula for success. But all I was really doing was engaging the enormous resources of the human subconscious, directing that hidden source of creativity towards the simple objective of delivering a quarter of a million. As my income moved up, my wife asked me why I’d opted only for two fifty thousand! At that time, it was an experiment but the results opened my eyes to what was possible.

Let’s get physical.

We used a similar approach to super-charging my wife’s weight-control plan. She found pictures of super-lean, female body-builders and trimmed the excess muscle from the photos with a pair of nail scissors.

Then she snipped off the heads and replaced them with her own portrait. The result – a couple of dozen photos around the house of lean and fit bodies with my wife’s smiling face carefully taped to the torsos. There were pictures on the fridge, on the ceiling, on the walls – everywhere she might look. And, as you might know from her best-selling publications on effective weight control and healthy eating, the weight dropped off and stayed off. We still need to do what’s necessary to make the dream a reality but we can boost our efforts and the results by engaging the power of our personal subconscious turbo-charger. And move smoothly into the fast lane.

There is very little armour against stupidity.

We’ve focused very strongly so far on the psychological aspects of influencing our behaviour and directing the outcomes of our lives. Ultimately, these are the foundations that will either support our endeavours and plans for success or else they’ll be the shifting sands that doom our efforts to failure. I recall a very charismatic individual that I worked with for a time who was blighted by a bizarre taste for self-destruction. He’d just crawled out from his third and completely avoidable bankruptcy and was re-building his shattered life from scratch with a much younger wife and three small children in tow. He was certainly very talented.

He had an obvious gift for making money. I saw it firsthand. But he always reached a critical point on the success curve where he’d just implode and systematically blow up his business. The conflict between his massive abilities and his underlying desire to self-destruct was truly painful to observe. I remember meeting him for the last time as he and his young family had just been evicted from their beautiful apartment for failing to pay the rent.

It wasn’t the first time it had happened in his life and the problem was completely unnecessary and absolutely avoidable. Friends advised him, warned him, cajoled him and tried to help him but he was determined to repeat his famous impersonation of a depressed lemming and leap recklessly off the cliff without a parachute, dragging as many people with him as possible. Last I heard he was serving time for smuggling drugs – another make-a-fast-buck-and-damn-the-consequences approach that was always doomed to failure.

These underlying attitudes create a critical influence in our lives. That’s why we’ve worked on eradicating the flaws in our thinking and in our emotional framework. Now we’re learning to build on stronger, firmer foundations that will support and enhance our goals and dreams. Now our goals have a dramatically enhanced opportunity for sustainable success.

This might be a good time to see how you feel about your current arrangements.

Happiness at Work Questionnaire

All you have to do is read each statement in the assessment and decide which of the answers most closely matches how you feel.

I have been passed over at least once for a promotion in the past few years.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I often like to fantasise at work about having a better job.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Parts of my job are repetitive and boring.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I find I’m exhausted by the end of the working day.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

My work doesn’t seem to make any difference to the success of the organisation.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

My attitude towards my work and my manager is becoming more negative.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I feel I don’t have the resources to do my work efficiently.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

My capabilities and potential are not fully engaged.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

My recent evaluations have not reflected my performance.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I’m disappointed by my manager and feel let down.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I frequently feel overworked and overwhelmed.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I suffer from stress at work.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I can’t wait to get away from work.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I often feel my situation is worse than it is for others doing a similar job.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

It often seems that I have more bad days at work than good ones.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Sometimes it feels as if the clock has stopped when I am at work.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

People have mentioned that I am becoming more negative at work.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I believe that my employer has failed to keep promises about my future with the organisation.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I don’t know where I’m going with my career or future goals.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I do not feel valued or appreciated for my work.

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree nor Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Conclusions

If most of your answers were in the Strongly Agree and Agree category, there is clearly something wrong with the day job and you need to think about finding some alternative strategies for your employment.

This might imply a change of work or perhaps a change in the way you communicate with the organisation you work for. Sometimes the problems can be successfully resolved by arranging a meeting with your manager or department head to give you a chance to clear the air and work through any disappointments or misunderstandings.

Effective communication is often the key to improving the situation at work. But sometimes you have to find the courage to admit when you’re in the wrong place and that it’s time to move on. The experience is never wasted. You learn from these challenging circumstances. You grow. You find something better.

If your answers produced mostly Strongly Disagree or Disagree answers, you’re suggesting that you’re fairly happy at work and that can only be good for your general happiness. Most people spend a significant proportion of their lives at work so it’s important to feel appreciated, recognised and valued.

Developing a secondary income stream shouldn’t conflict with the sense of satisfaction that can be derived from enjoying the day job. The fact is that most people really don’t enjoy going to work, an obvious inference from the widespread incidence rates of absenteeism and stress-related health disorders.

For those of you who didn’t agree or disagree with most of the answers, we would tend to infer a sense of resignation from the responses. This implied indifference suggests that you might be in a rut, turning up for work because it’s the only way you’ve found so far to earn a living.

The answers don’t imply any sense of joy or satisfaction and this could provide a useful catalyst to start questioning the purpose of your life. Where are you going? What do you want? Is this as good as it gets? This is a perfect moment to step out of the old ways of thinking and feeling and start imagining an altogether better vision of the future. This is your life. Your responses demand a better set of questions that only you can answer.

Check List

Are you running a surplus or a deficit? Write down how those particular circumstances arose

What steps have you taken to create or enhance your essential cash cushion? Write down the answer

What is the most important or striking item on your Life Line? Why is it important to you? Write down the answer

How often during the day do you work on your personal Vision of the Future? Note each time you enter the exercise

How many illustrations of your future have you arranged around your home/office? Do you need more of them?

Describe how you feel about your present working arrangements and write down any changes that you intend to make

Chapter Eleven – The Unimaginable Power of Smart Passive Income

“It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating”

Oscar Wilde

Have you ever volunteered to work overtime to make more money? There were times in my distant youth when it seemed like it was the only way to increase my income. Those were the days! Work harder. Work longer. Die of exhaustion! Yes, it works but, as we suggested earlier in the manual, it isn’t really sustainable as a long term method of cash flow improvement. Happily there are plenty of alternatives. And, as often happens in life, the principle came to me unexpectedly.

The power of TV?

Many years ago, my neighbour ran a small TV rental business. We’d sometimes end the week by going for a beer and, one quiet evening over a couple of pints of the local brew, he asked me if I wanted to make some extra cash. It was in many ways a more innocent age and, long before the arrival of the Internet, the idea was really simple. My good-natured neighbour repaired, reconditioned and hired out dozens of very reliable TV sets.

All I had to do was place an advert in the local paper once a week and offer a second-hand TV for sale at a great price. That was it. My neighbour gave a six month guarantee on every set and I settled into a pattern of moving one TV a week. All I had to do was answer the phone, set up an appointment, and take the cash and carry the heavy old TV set out to the buyer’s car. After a few months, some guy rang me and asked if I was really running a business and I told him that, if it was a business, I’d have to charge a much higher price! It is such a simple idea but effective enough at the time. It was an easy system and I was looking for ways to expand the opportunity when my neighbour happily announced that he’d finally found a fabulous, larger property to buy.

So he sold up and moved away. A long, long way from where I lived – and the blossoming commercial relationship abruptly came to an end. But it got me thinking. The principle was beautifully simple. I could concentrate fully on my regular job and still spend a couple of hours a week on making some extra cash. It was time that would’ve been otherwise wasted in front of the TV. It really got me thinking. I couldn’t compromise my day job by taking any time or effort away from my responsibilities but I could use leisure time or weekends to boost my income. All I had to do was find something to sell. And I was surprised to find lots of opportunities to act as an agent for lots of different products. It was an invaluable experience.

But then someone had the slightly deranged notion of putting me into my first management position and, well, my spare time disappeared overnight. I was so enthusiastic – though in many ways completely inept – that I put all my time and energy into my new responsibilities. Weekends were for planning and administration. Evenings were for preparing for the following day’s meetings and presentations.

My employers certainly got good value for money and all that effort certainly generated some fairly impressive results. And, as a young manager, I was a relatively cheap item on the payroll. But I eventually realised that I was never going to achieve that desirable but elusive financial breakthrough I was always looking for – not whilst I was working for someone else. That was another very important realisation. It was true: I didn’t know any wealthy employees.

J.O.B. = Just Over Broke

Jobs were more like life-jackets that just about kept your head above water. The real catalyst for change appeared as a result of a job interview I underwent with a very thorough and demanding recruitment company. I was tested, checked, measured and calibrated – and soundly rejected for the job I’d applied for! The conclusion from all that testing, revealed that I am a poorly disguised entrepreneur and should never, ever work for anyone else.

I wasn’t sure that I understood the message at the time but I thought about it for a few weeks. And then I headed off in a completely new direction. It was the start of a new pathway, new studies, new qualifications and management positions that eventually led to the foundation of my own company.

The concept of selling products as an agent or distributor still offers a fabulous way to make money. The revolutionary twist that wasn’t available during my early attempts to build a second income stream – was the Internet. The Web has changed the rules. The Web has changed everything. The world’s population is constantly trawling the Internet in search of products and services to buy. The scale is truly colossal.

All you need is a product – or a line of products – and a place on the Internet where people can come and check out your goods and services and make their purchases. It’s so wonderful. It’s so fantastically simple. It’s so delightfully efficient. You can understand now why so many people are making a great deal of money from just selling things on the Internet. No shop. No premises. No staff. No overheads. In many cases is with very little stock. And unprecedented access to a large portion of the planet’s seven billion people! That’s a great way to appreciate the daily musical accompaniment of the digital cash register. But let’s be sure we’re not just creating a second job for ourselves.

Are we just creating more work for ourselves here?

Before we get carried away with visions of vast digital hyper-markets and mountains of cash rolling in, we need to make a very important distinction. Our mission is to enable you to enjoy a better standard of living and a much-improved quality of life. As we mentioned earlier, it’s very challenging to become wealthy as an employee. We want to free you from the limitations and lifestyle restrictions associated with being an employee. The fact is that most people struggle on their salaries. So adding another labour-intensive and time-consuming job to the equation probably isn’t a good idea and certainly not for the long term. That’s why we place great emphasis on smart passive income. Many people get drawn into the digital market with hearts full of expectations and innocence – without working out in advance how much time, effort and money might be involved to make the business successful. You can easily get drawn into the demands of a second job and end up earning far too little in return for the effort. We need smart income, money that flows in – with minimum effort from your good self.

So what are the options?

The easiest option is for you to provide access to other people’s products or services via the Internet. You set up a website and you use it – amongst other things – to advertise products or services that people can buy via your very own website or on e-Bay.

When somebody buys something, the order goes from the buyer to the supplier, who processes the business, deals with any enquiries or returns and pays you a commission. Your involvement is blissfully minimised and you avoid the time-consuming – yet important – aspects of the business where contact with the customer is handled by the supplier’s professional sales support team.

This option is so much easier than buying your stock, holding and distributing the products and dealing with the inevitable customer enquiries, concerns, payments and occasional returns.

If you choose to go digital and launch a product or service on the Web, having a good website today is more important than ever before. It’s worth the investment of time and money to get the professionals involved and the surprising news is that there are some incredibly talented and creative website developers out there who will provide you with everything you need at surprisingly affordable prices.

Get the best set up you can because you want it to be useful and welcoming to any visitors and you want your prospective buyers to enjoy the experience. There’s a handy list of possible service providers at the end of the book for you to check. We have no commercial tie up with any of them. We just like to share details of great service providers whenever we find them.

We’re open for business – but where are all the customers?

This is the key to the project. Once your site is up, you’re effectively open for business twenty-four hours a day and people can buy the products or services even while you’re asleep. But where do you find the customers? Good question!

Drawing people to your site by posting great material is a well-recognised method to raise awareness of your existence in the great digital ocean of the World Wide Web. Offering your goods at great prices will also draw attention to your site. Providing up to date and relevant information – for free – on areas related to your business encourages people to visit you on a regular basis. Marketing is the key.

Sadly, the heady days of Search Engine Optimisation are largely a thing of the past. The world has moved on though you’ll still find plenty of people willing to sell you their SEO services as if we were still living under the old regime. The rules have changed. The market has moved on. That’s another way of saying that you absolutely need to keep up to date with the latest techniques for optimising your website. Research on the Internet is still largely free. There are constantly updated libraries of material on the Internet on the best ways to boost traffic to your site. Make full use of the information.

The world is awash with websites selling everything under the sun. Your challenge is to make yours stand out and draw people in to explore what you’re offering. Don’t expect the world to share your personal enthusiasm for a particular area of interest. This is an activity that requires you to be pro-active and creative in attracting visitors.

Penning a relevant Blog to accompany your web business is a great idea. Pod casts, web casts and video material for Face book and You Tube can enhance your visibility and today the technology to produce this kind of material is blissfully simple and easy to work with. You don’t have to be an aspiring Steven Spielberg with a Hollywood studio behind you. You just need to know your subject and present it in an interesting style. Most of the technology can be found on your trusty laptop computer.

Think about the things that your visitors might be interested in. Do you have an answer to a particular problem that could be connected to the general role of your product or service? Highlight the problem and the answer in your Blog. Record the question and answer for your Pod cast. You get the idea, don’t you? Once you get into it, it gets easier and easier. Once again, there’s an astonishing amount of information available for free on the Internet describing exactly how to create any form of recorded material for your website.

Think about who would be likely to visit your website. Who are you aiming your products or services at? You don’t need the entire population of the planet to buy from you. Just a few thousand consumers out of the seven billion that is available. I hope that puts the challenge into a better perspective.

Remember to make it easy for people to buy. The opportunities are seemingly limitless. A dear friend of mine in the medical profession is happily selling his country’s world famous chocolate on the net and making the kind of money that now pays for his half share in a private plane and the joy of flying it every week. Not bad for a fancy brand of candy!

But the Web has made that enterprise entirely possible and he now supplies some of the royal households of the world with exclusively manufactured, premium quality chocolate, via the Internet. Whilst holding down a very demanding full time career as a busy doctor. It’s also helping to fund his planned early retirement to a dream house in a beautifully warm and comfortable part of the world. Do you get the picture?

If you opt for the more labour intensive digital shop, well, you might even enjoy the experience. There are people who are making six-figure incomes by indulging their hobbies and running side businesses just for the fun of it. All via the Internet, It could be anything you might be interested in. It could be antiques, clothing, art, and car parts, anything that someone somewhere is willing to buy or it could even be your particular interest or expertise.

The key here is to know your product. Offer free advice. Help people whenever you can. You’ll feel so much better by making a positive difference to people’s lives. Just remember that the additional labour of stocking, processing, delivering stock and handling customer issues will in all probability take up far more time than you’d expect. If you enjoy the business, it might not be such a chore. But it has to deliver a serious boost to your income and leave you with the time and the freedom to enjoy the success. Otherwise, why bother? It’s a business. It’s there to make a profit and provide you with a better quality of life. It might be easier to start with a few products and gradually expand the range as the business delivers more turnovers and your customer base grows.

People who buy one kind of item from you might be interested in buying related items too. It’s a simple organic way to grow the business and you’ll be spreading the risk profile by covering a broader range of goods. Make life easier for your customers. If they buy something regularly from you, set up an automatic re-order system for them so that their products always arrive on time without them having to remember to place an order. It’s a fabulous way to build an element of predictable cash flow into your business. And, as a determined and focused entrepreneur, that’s an idea that should certainly make you smile.

There’s another important distinction to take note of and that’s the issue of understanding the profit margin on whatever you’re selling. If you’ve decided to specialise in antiques, for example, you might only need to make a few sales per month to generate a really good income. Whereas, in contrast, a lower cost item will have a smaller cash return per unit sold – so you’ll obviously need more sales to create a worthwhile income. Profit, after all is not simply your margin.

Profit is based on your margin multiplied by the volume. Run through that last item again, please. I’ve worked in environments where the profit was calculated at fractions of a penny per unit – but the units sold by the million. A more labour-intensive product range could easily take up more time than you’d anticipated. Adding higher value products to your range that have, by implication, a larger potential net return can boost your overall profitability and lend a more efficient cash flow profile to your business. I sat next to a bridge salesman on a flight some years ago. He admitted that he didn’t make many sales per year – but when he did, the commission on the deal was a major cause for celebration!

Service

If you’re selling a service – and there are huge markets in the world for services – you have to decide whether your contribution is based on personal contact with the end user or whether you can automate the process and use a software system to deliver the goods. In my experience, if you have to deliver the service personally, this creates a limiting factor in the business because of the amount of time required to get the job done. Although on the positive side, you can charge more per hour for the added bonus of your personal or direct involvement. Remember, the mission is to increase income levels rather than simply replace one form of earning with another.

The customer is the key to your fortune

Once you’ve got a client or a customer, your mission is to make sure that they’re more than happy to come back and buy again. Your customer base is the secret of your success. Take care of your customers and they will take care of your business. That rule hasn’t changed. It’s an essential dynamic of the human condition.

Give more.

Offer more.

Let your customers know how much they’re appreciated. Thank them for their support and ask them for ways to improve your products or services. Ask them if there was anything they didn’t like. Knowledge is power and this particular knowledge is priceless. I’ve lost count of the number of major businesses that have lost their way because they lost touch with their customers.

No matter how big or small the enterprise, fulfilling the customer’s wants and needs are at the heart of any business. Ignore that solid, twenty-four carat principle at your peril. Think about that for a while. It goes to the heart of your bold, new plans for success.

The Internet is pulsing with free information. You can learn an enormous amount of useful material by clicking on the websites that provide info on how to start and run a business on-line. Check out the websites that are already offering your planned product or service and see how they’re handling their business. Ask yourself the critical question – ‘Would I buy from that site?’ Your answer will teach you much about the essentials of good website design.

The Internet is moving very, very fast. So be prepared to keep up to speed and make changes whenever required. Techniques that were unbeatable for boosting business a year ago might be completely ineffective today. It’s another reason for keeping your website fresh and up to date. It might even become fun!

Or you could hire some people to take care of it for you. It’s another benefit of generating success: you get to pay other people to handle the things that you might not be very good at. Or you pay people so that you get to have more time to enjoy your new-found wealth and freedom.

Check List

How do you feel about spending your working life as an employee? Write down your conclusions

What is your time scale for achieving financial independence?

Have you fully grasped the scale of the opportunities that have been created by the Internet?

What is your goal from having an on-line business? What’s the purpose? What’s in it for you? What’s in it for your customers? Write down your answers

Write down your three favourite ways of starting a business on the Web. Now choose one of them

Have you set up a website to offer your chosen products or services?

Write down your personal action plan for drawing people to your website

Have you started a Blog to highlight your products or services?

Chapter Twelve – Moving on

“Money is power, freedom, cushion, the root of all evil, and the sum of all blessings”

Carl Sandburg

Success – and that’s what we’re aiming for here – creates its own challenges. If your business fulfils your objectives, delivers the intended income stream and takes you to a whole new level of prosperity, there might easily come a point when you want to give up the day job and focus your energies exclusively on your new enterprise.

This is where planning plays another useful role. Ultimately, you’ll want the new income stream to produce further income for you through the more traditional branches of investment. You’ll already know in advance where the tipping point will be. You’ll have planned for the moment when the new income stream is worth more of your time, creativity, energy and development. Your second source of income might easily become your full time occupation simply because it generates so much more money.

Most people play safe. One celebrated couple waited until they were earning more in one month than they’d been earning as teachers in a whole year before they quit their day jobs and took their new business to unimagined heights. That’s another great reason to work with products or services that you enjoy – the business could soon become your full time source of income. So – know your products and services. Develop in-depth knowledge. Know exactly why your goods represent great value for money. Understand them thoroughly.

Produce tons of useful information on your subject and be happy to give away useful info for free. Become the go-to site for useful data and helpful advice and people will flock to your digital store to browse, to learn and to buy your products. That’s how it works. As you develop an increasing number of contacts to your web site, you can consider the advantages of providing links and advertising space for other organisations and earn additional revenue from the hits and any subsequent sales. It’s called passive income and it’s rapidly becoming one of the smartest ways to boost revenue and take real control of your future. Passive income frees you from the necessity of slaving away for long hours to make the project work.

As you become more efficient at producing income, you’ll have more time for the things that are really enjoyable. Some people develop the passive income route to have more time at home with the family. Some people create the additional space in their week to pursue new areas of interest. Whatever your needs, wants, interests or ambitions are, having a strong passive income flow can free up your time to give you the space to enjoy your life to the fullest, on your terms and as we suggested a little earlier, the new money can be deployed to produce even more income and free you up to spend all of your time doing the things that are really important to you. It’s called living the dream.

Bookish times

The Internet has sparked another unexpected revolution and it’s dramatically altered the way that we buy and read books. Publishing has experienced an unimagined transformation since the moment when writers could take on the role of publisher and place their work on the Internet as e-books. The access to digital media has grown so fast that Kindle and similar reading devices are leading the way in which writing is produced and distributed today.

It’s certainly becoming more popular amongst writers. Gone are the days when you could wait for decades before an agent or publishing house would even glance at your manuscript before punching out the rejection letter. The cosy world of traditional publishing really can’t sneer disdainfully at the new wave of writers who are marketing their work directly on the Internet. The old publishing route to getting a book printed produced vast amounts of truly awful material and tons of remaindered copies waiting to be pulped!

These days, the market decides directly what works so writers can produce their material for a potential audience and exercise far greater control over the finished product and over the essential marketing and promotional activities. The self-publishing pathway has already been well charted and clearly described. It’s created a fabulous world of opportunity for potential writers everywhere.

Writing is certainly a time-consuming activity and has to be something that you largely enjoy. It would be such a waste to commit to a writing project and find then find that you resent every moment in front of the keyboard. The upside is that whatever you create is available for sale forever.

I once read that the world is overflowing with writers and this may well be true. But it’s important to remember that the world is always short of good writers. So, if you can express yourself well via your writing skills, this could be a truly rewarding environment for you to explore. If you’ve dreamed of becoming a successful, published author, this could be your perfect moment to turn your dreams into a reality.

Fortunately, there are some very helpful publications on how to create and market your e-books and the details are listed at the end of this manual. If it becomes your preferred means to generating income, you should consider the importance of writing material that others will enjoy. Choose subjects that others are interested in and always seek to offer great value for money in terms of the book’s contents, depth and quality. Respect your readers. Treat them as friends and give your best.

Fiction, as you might expect, is still a huge environment to work in. Recent research suggests that some eighty million Americans firmly believe that they could be novelists. A great novelists? Probably not, but there will still be an insatiable appetite in the world for good stories. We love to be entertained and transported by great fiction. Some writers have benefited enormously from attending professional writing courses, learning how to structure and pace their story, develop credible characters and create the essential continuity that defines well-constructed fiction.

Don’t let your ego get in the way of your potential for success. Learn from the great writers whose works still shine brightly across the centuries. Learn from the latest generation of talented authors who continually thrill and enthrall with their skilfully woven tales. If you have a talent for writing stories, there’s never been a better time to launch your career as an author.

A course, of course

Writing has also opened the door to another fascinating area of digital endeavour and that’s the world of on-line courses. If you have an area of interest that you’d enjoy sharing with the rest of the world, this could be another untapped source of business success. All you need is a laptop with a camera and you can record material for the Internet that people can buy and download.

The range is seemingly limitless and the number of on-line courses available today reflects the world’s enormous appetite for more information, more education and for useful advice in general. There are several Internet companies that now specialise in offering on-line courses to the general public. They provide the guidance and framework for creating and launching your very own on-line course material.

We’re developing a picture of an astonishing array of business opportunities that are fully supported by the Internet. From products and services, writing and courses, advice and entertainment – the only challenge you face right now is to choose an area that appeals to you and your particular experience – and get started.

Note well.

You’ll need to keep records too. Make notes of everything you do. Success does not appear by accident. Know exactly which aspects of your business are producing the desired results. Learn to spot the areas where things are not working. Make changes to improve the positive results and eliminate the obstacles.

Calculate how much time you’ll be willing to invest in the new project. Keep track of how much time you actually spend on the business. This is important. It’s an unfortunate fact that an unbelievable amount of time is wasted in businesses on activities that are frankly futile. Not you though. Your business will be super-efficient because you want to have plenty of time to enjoy your success. And that’s highly commendable. It will encourage you to be super-efficient and all businesses just love efficiency.

Check List

How much time have you set aside per week to research the best ways to develop your business?

Where precisely is the financial tipping point in your business plan that would justify quitting the day job?

Assess your ability as a writer and ask friends or family to give you some brutally honest feedback too. Write down the answers

How could you improve your effectiveness as a writer?

How are you recording the details and daily activities, the results, costs and income generated by your new business?

Do you feel that you are in control of the business?

How can you make it more efficient? Spend less time and make more money? Write down your answers

Chapter Thirteen – Moving Up

“Only buy something you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for ten years”

Warren Buffet

This seems like a perfect moment to explore the wider world of investments because you’re going to need to know about other ways to make money. That’s right. Once you start to generate significant surpluses, you’ll want your money to make more money. It’s another variation on the passive income theme that can revolutionise your life and free you up to have much more time to savour the things that are important to you. There’s an astounding amount of information on the web covering every possible asset class imaginable.

There are investment mechanisms out there that you might not have encountered before now, but the rules are very simple. If you decide to make an investment – and your new, brighter vision of a truly abundant future will open up these possibilities in ways you can’t even imagine – you should always follow one important and fundamental principle. Only invest in things you fully and completely understand. Never put money into things you don’t understand.

My dear old dad once told me very sternly that at every poker table there was always at least one idiot.

If you couldn’t work out who it was – it was probably you! He had a point. You have to understand the risks. It’s very tempting to get excited by the prospect of a great pitch but Warren Buffet managed to become one of the richest men on the planet by knowing exactly what he was investing in.

There is always an element of risk in every investment. I would strongly advise anyone who was thinking about investing to learn about the subject. Come on! Knowledge is power. You don’t have to become an expert. You just need to be better informed. And applying specific time frames to each investment can help you to track performance and keep in touch with what’s really happening. Keep an appropriate sum of liquid cash for short term needs. Then work out the different time frames from your trusty Life Line that you’d like to use for other investments.

That will narrow down the individual asset classes that are appropriate to each time frame.

Having a blast.

I’d like to share a secret with you. Outside of the wild stories of excess and debauchery, tales of lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills and sipping warm rice wine from a Geisha girl’s navel, investing isn’t supposed to be fun. Winning is fun. Losing is a long, long way from anything that could be remotely described as fun.

If you’re not prepared for reversals, you’re probably not ready for the stock, bond, commodity or currency markets. Investing is a mechanical process that rewards the regular application of logic, analysis and discipline. Seeing the consequences of an emotional attachment to a stock that’s in free fall is just painful. Cut losses whenever an asset falls and whenever you conclude that there’s a risk of further declines. It’s as simple as that. Professional poker players put a limit on how much they’re prepared to lose at any one sitting.

The desperate or enthusiastic amateur believes that their luck is about to change – right up until the moment they’re broke. Professionals always have a floor in every bet. It limits their potential losses and keeps them in the game for longer. Makes sense, doesn’t it? So learn everything you can about your possible investment choices or take professional advice, factors in the future tax consequences to work out the best possible net return.

You might get better results by favouring less risky assets that enjoy a more favourable tax status. Keep everything as simple as you can. If you have to spend hours every night poring over performance stats just to keep on top of your portfolio, there might be better ways to handle your investments. It can be extremely disturbing to take your eye off the screen for a while to enjoy a rest or even a vacation and then discover that the market has turned upside down whilst your attention was diverted!

I still eat breakfast in front of Bloomberg because I find it so interesting and informative. For others it could be the perfect elixir to cure insomnia. Avoid the volatile sectors that overreact with dizzying velocity. There are less stressful ways to be in the market.

Great to know you.

“When I had money, everyone called me brother”

Polish proverb

You’ll also notice how popular you’ll become once you start to generate additional revenue streams. It’s pretty difficult to disguise the upgrade in lifestyle and people will probably notice. The nice car, the improvements to the house and even the plastic surgery! I’ve seen it all, my friend, and the only important issue was that people were exercising their free will. But you might not be prepared for the constant stream of requests for handouts – from relatives, from friends, from acquaintances and from complete strangers. A word of caution.

Please feel free to lend a hand whenever you feel that it will really help. But be very careful around loans. If you lend money to someone that the bank wouldn’t even remotely consider for a loan, don’t be surprised if you never get your cash back. OK? Better to give the money and not expect a return.

Sometimes, when you give money to someone you know, the relationship becomes a little more intense as they keep coming back, always asking for more. I don’t want you to worry about it. It isn’t a big deal. Remember the wisdom in the old story. Give a guy a fish every day and you’ll make him completely dependent on you for the rest of his life. Teach him to fish and you’ll set him purposefully free on the road to fruitful independence.

It’s often wiser to share the techniques and principles of success rather than create a biased relationship blighted by dependency on your handouts and largesse. And few enough people will ever truly appreciate that you actually had to work and use your brain to produce the wealth. Use your discretion. Avoid the temptation of tipping your cash into financial black holes. It might be tempting at times but, in the end, no one wins.

Fast bucks

You might also need to exercise the appropriate discretion around the inevitable get-rich-quick schemes that will surface around you like ravenous sharks at feeding time. If I start to list all the schemes and scams that I’ve come across over the years, this book will start to look like the first six volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica!

So here’s a really simple rule to keep you and your money safe – if it looks too good to be true, well, it is too good to be true. Get rich quick schemes have only one objective and that is simply to make the guy pitching the scam as rich as possible as quickly as possible – with your money. I was asked some years ago to compile a list of the top ten schemes that I’ve come across but they were all so completely, wildly, crazily unbelievable that you’d never suspect anyone would fall for them.

But people did fall for them, most of the time. If you don’t understand any pitch, proposal or investment opportunity – and none of the schemes I’ve just referred to could ever be described as logically coherent – stay away from it. There are plenty of legitimate ways for you to invest safely, profitably and wisely.

The Life Line exercise that we covered earlier in this work will give you the overview of future specific events that you can begin planning for right now. The Life Line is another great tool for determining what kinds of investment could fit in best with your personal vision of the future. Maturity dates, yields, dividends, projected growth – all of these factors can be calculated and appraised to determine how they will coincide with events that are specific to your individual Life Line.

That will make the individual asset choice much simpler to identify. We’re always advised to keep things simple. There’s a good reason for that. Complexity rarely lends itself to effective control. So make your life easier and avoid assets that require micro-management and split-second timing. You just increase your chances of getting things wrong. Keep it all as simple and understandable as possible.

Faites vos jeux – Place your bets, suckers!

I’ve worked with some very enthusiastic day traders who just loved to play the markets. Like most inveterate gamblers, they only spoke about the winners. There was never any mention of the losses. My advice for the would-be day trader – always decide in advance exactly how much you’re prepared to play with and never go beyond that clearly defined ceiling of risk.

One of my mentors once pointed a very expensive cigar in my face and told me sternly that the amount to be placed at the riskier end of the market should simply represent the fare you’d be prepared to pay for a ride at the fun fair. You pay for the ride. You shouldn’t expect to get your money back. Smart guy. Ultimately you have to understand the risks, the market and your own limitations.

If for any reason you get hit hard in a bad trading position, it shouldn’t break you. It’s uncomfortable but it should never threaten your financial security. Your house and the kids’ education funds are not riding on the deal. Makes Sense? Of course it does.

Another piece of advice that I found to be highly relevant to the subject of investing is the need to be comfortable with whatever you choose. It’s supposed to be a rational decision based on the rigours of logic but, if you wake up at three in the morning worrying about your choices, you’ll need to re-assess your investments and probably make some adjustments.

Worrying means you haven’t evaluated the asset as thoroughly as you should. You need to work out what could go wrong as part of the general risk assessment. If a stock blows up – and that’s an essential lesson in any investment experience – you need to be able to live with the loss. You can learn invaluable lessons from any loss but that’s a very different approach compared to the reckless addiction to thrill-seeking that characterises the undisciplined amateur who suddenly believes they’re smarter than the market. Knowledge. Research. Experience.

A balanced approach to any investment portfolio is to over the risk. Always have an escape plan to limit losses. Talk to the professionals. If they’re any good, they’ll explain everything clearly and in detail and won’t get you involved unless they’re sure you’re up to speed with the proposed investment. The fact is that, like so many aspects of life, we never stop learning. This is especially relevant in the constantly changing realm of investments.

Real estate

Property is another fascinating subject and a great place to expand your business reach and develop passive income. Much will depend, of course, on local market conditions, local ownership traditions, local tax considerations and availability of stock. But the idea of owning an asset – a building or an apartment – and getting other people to pay for it through the simple mechanism of rent, has always been an attractive proposition. It’s a potentially effective means of leveraging your investment capacity and it can be a valuable asset diversification.

If you decide to get involved in property as an investment, please remember that the criteria for a real estate investment are very different from the priorities you’d use to buy your own home. Completely different. You’re not planning to live in your investment property. It should have zero emotional connection to you. It’s an investment. Like a slab of precious metal. Do not get involved emotionally at any level.

The property has a value based roughly on the market assessment of each square foot or meter plus the potential rental income. If market conditions support growth, you might even see the underlying value of the asset increase. That’s it. Make your decision to acquire the asset solely on the basis that it makes complete commercial sense. Use your calculator. Not your heart. Even in a period of low inflation and suppressed interest rates, you still need to be aware of the danger of owning a property and not having a tenant to pay for it.

Calculate how long you could pay the mortgage without a tenant on board to cover the costs. It’s an important consideration. Could you pay the mortgage at current interest rates for six months? For a year? How would you handle an increase in interest rates? An increase is inevitable at some point in the future so you need to have the costs covered. I learned these lessons from property specialists who made fortunes following these principles.

Check List

Investment requires logic, discipline and clarity of thought

What are your plans for developing a better knowledge of the world of investments?

Be prepared to deploy your surpluses to create additional income streams

What would be your preferred way of investing in the markets? Why? Write down your answers

How would you feel about taking a loss in the market? Write down your feelings

Could you see yourself as an active and well-informed day trader?

What is your attitude towards stocks, bonds, currencies and real estate? Note your answers to each asset class

“I spent my money on fine wine, fast women and partying. The rest I just squandered”

George Best

Chapter Fourteen – It’s all in the mind? Yes – and the mind is a truly vast piece of territory!

The human mind is a source of wonder in so many respects. Our minds provide the characteristics that define us as humans. And the mind most surely endows us with an instrument of extraordinary creative power. It can overcome the limitations of our early training and conditioning and direct our unique and highly focused creative power towards whatever we want to achieve.

Human history resonates with examples of individuals and groups of people who broke the barriers of what was believed to be possible. Individuals who shattered and extended the boundaries of our understanding. Brave souls. They redefined the limits of what was really possible. Some risked sailing off the edge of the world in their quest to discover new lands. Many risked and lost their lives in declaring newly discovered scientific principles. Our world is largely built on their courage and fortitude.

One small step….

For most of us, however, a small change is all that is required to launch the revolution that can transform our lives. We can start by aiming for something simple. We can reach out for something that is not too difficult. We can avoid the discomfort of challenging the status quo by attempting something easy. That way we don’t challenge the limits of our belief systems too harshly. And that’s fine.

The revolution begins with that first tentative step. Having achieved our first modest goal, we feel emboldened to attempt something marginally more challenging. And as the goals and achievements accumulate, so we begin to believe that we can strive for more. We expand the range of our limitations, we move beyond the old restrictions. We discover that we are capable of so much more than we’d ever believed possible. We grow. We feel that we can really fulfill our potential. We make time and space to have fun. Life becomes less of a struggle. We begin to feel so much more capable. There’s less stress, less fear, less anxiety. We learn to feel the force of our innate creativity.

Life becomes a precious gift to be deeply valued and treasured. These are always great moments to recognise how far we’ve come. From those first, careful steps on the road to success to a pathway of abundance and the knowledge that we can achieve whatever we set out to do. We develop a feeling of being unstoppable. Not through some titanic application of force but simply by applying the principles of focus, vision, appropriate effort and an abiding belief in our capabilities to make a difference to our lives and the lives of the people we touch. It’s another way of encouraging you to take action.

Even if you begin with a small step. Do something, anything just get started. Movement creates its own momentum.

It’s fair to assert that our attitude, our beliefs, our mental and emotional landscapes have provided the foundation on which our future success will stand. The mind provides the lens through which we are conditioned to perceive our personal interpretation of reality. Opportunities to expand our wealth and experience, to build success and create financial success, slip unnoticed past our blinkered senses every single day. We are largely blind to these opportunities and oblivious to their potential. They usually contradict our belief systems, those limiting mind-sets that emphasise lack and want and limitation.

But the opportunities are most certainly there. By opening our minds to new possibilities and focusing on powerful new visions of a stunningly bright new future, we can re-configure our neural pathways and programme our mental filtering systems to search for and identify the openings and opportunities that bring our dreams into manifestation. The mind is the defining instrument of how we see the world, of how we see ourselves and everyone else.

Shift the mental filters a few degrees and the world looks like a very different place. Our vision shifts in a heartbeat. We can dismantle the barriers. We can dissolve the limitations and discover our real potential for success. Real success works on our own terms.

The world is one enormous oyster – just waiting to be opened.

Finding the On Switch

Motivation is a very powerful influence in the quest for success. When obstacles emerge to block our progress, when difficulties arise, when reversals blunt our enthusiasm – these are the moments when personal motivators rush to the rescue and get us swiftly back on track. So we thought this would be a great time to help you assess your own motivators and we’ve prepared a simple quiz to assist you in understanding what makes you tick.

It’s very easy! Just place a tick on the answer that reflects most closely how you feel about each of the statements. Shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to complete the test. Ready? Let’s get started.

You are more comfortable with work that offers a “job for life” philosophy

Rarely Maybe A Lot

The more security you seek in your working environment, the less likely you are to seek situations that involve risk.

You prefer to have warm relationships with other people

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Loners are more likely to be willing to take risks because they are generally less concerned with the approval of their peers

You like to influence the actions of others

Rarely Maybe A Lot

People who see themselves as leaders feel driven to influence others. This does not automatically endow such individuals with effective leadership qualities.

You have high self-esteem

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Higher self-esteem enables individuals to take more risks in life and so, despite the inevitable setbacks, they tend to achieve more.

You prefer to work with well-established organisations

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Seeking a position with a well-established company suggests a preference for security and an obvious aversion to risk

You seek recognition from others

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Achievers usually expect the recognition of their peers and their superiors.

You relish opportunities to excel

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Driven individuals have a constant need to succeed so they’re frequently ready for challenges which will showcase their talents

You prefer to work with managers who are team-orientated

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Individuals who are risk averse generally prefer the supportive environment of a team-oriented approach to work

You seek opportunities to serve a good cause

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Sociable, people-oriented individuals relish a good cause but will generally avoid risk and confrontation

You like to get continual feedback from others

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Driven individuals can sometimes seem detached from the rest of the company and we should ask ourselves how best to engage their talents outside of the company/team context

You expect people to fully understand your values and your work

Rarely Maybe A Lot

It’s one of the mechanisms for recognition that team players often exhibit. Common values that affirm the company’s goals and objectives suggest a need for a largely predictable environment

You strive for dominance over others

Rarely Maybe A Lot

A characteristic of self-motivated and driven people, the need to be boss is strongly pronounced but does not inevitably guarantee effective leadership qualities.

You enjoy tasks that fulfill a higher purpose

Rarely Maybe A Lot

It’s very helpful to recognise the strength of motivation that can drive an individual to overcome incredible odds in the service of a higher cause.

You enjoy receiving symbols that reflect high worth

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Status expresses itself very strongly amongst the goal-driven members of organisations, where every perk and token of achievement is regarded as sacred.

You enjoy receiving regular appraisal

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Getting feedback from others can be very reassuring and can serve to confirm the individual’s status within a company, though these individuals are largely averse to taking risks.

You thrive in a learning environment

Rarely Maybe A Lot

The idea of personal growth is very appealing to risk-averse individuals whereas the risk-takers are more focused on the goal and its rewards.

You desire real control over people and resources

Rarely Maybe A Lot

The imperative of the goal encourages some individuals to seek absolute power over the company’s resources in order to maximise the chances of succeeding. This can produce an outstanding general or a despot.

You like to participate in the decision-making process

Rarely Maybe A Lot

The more comfortable you are with taking decisions, the more likely you are to be comfortable with directing your own destiny and taking risks

You prefer to have control over your own time

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Some people function perfectly well within the structured organization of a business yet the more entrepreneurial individuals prefers to set their own pace and their own agenda.

You require recognition of your achievements

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Achievers want to stand out from the crowd and receiving recognition is a vital part of their motivation to do well

You prefer to have freedom from close supervision

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Entrepreneurs don’t like supervision. Feedback might be acceptable but nothing that ever hints at supervision

You prefer individual payment agreements

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Goal-driven individuals require clear agreements on what they will receive for their contribution.

You need adequate support structures

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Team-players prefer to have support to enhance the team’s performance. Self-motivated drivers probably don’t understand what a support structure is.

You seek the honour of your successes

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Team players can often derive great satisfaction from being part of a successful effort whereas the self-motivated individual is highly driven by the honour of personal achievement

You want to be the one to determine strategy

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Self-motivated individuals usually want to be in control. It goes with the territory. That’s why they are more comfortable with taking risks

You prefer a lack of constraints

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Freedom is a desirable commodity for all self-driven individuals and they prefer to operate with a minimum of limitations or supervision

You are energised by a supportive climate

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Many people actually thrive in a supportive environment that offers support and encouragement yet the self-motivated striver often prefers to operate away from the team, running on their own drives and imperatives

You want to receive the tangible symbols of being valued

Rarely Maybe A Lot

The more recognition you seek, the more you wish to stand out from the crowd.

You want real rewards for your efforts

Rarely Maybe A Lot

If you feel that your contribution outweighs the efforts and results of others, you will expect the rewards to match your success. This is a typical characteristic of self-motivated, driven people.

You are energised by completing jobs

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Having the will to complete tasks even in the face of difficulties is a strong indicator of a motivated achiever.

You like new opportunities to acquire wealth

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Money is a powerful representation of personal success so the more you seek its presence in your life; the more motivated you will be to achieve the success that is crowned with financial reward

You want positive feedback for good performance

Rarely Maybe A Lot

The need for recognition is another powerful driving influence that can push people to extraordinary levels of success but almost everyone appreciates recognition of a job well done

You respect professional qualifications and status

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Qualifications don’t usually impress the goal-driven individual. They respect achievement that reflects wealth, status and power.

You need long-term commitment

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Team-players derive much of their motivation from performing within the team environment and this suggests a reliance on mutual support and long-term trust. Self-motivated individuals tend to have much shorter-term ambitions. Their focus is on the next goal.

You enjoy public recognition

Rarely Maybe A Lot

Once again, recognition is the raw fuel that drives many business people. It’s often surprising to discover how important status can be to an individual who craves success

The EFT Connection

The Revolution in Your Heart and Your Wallet

We’ve explored some of the uncharted landscape of our inner perceptions and begun to understand the depth and range of our attitudes, recognising the influence of our belief systems and creating adjustments that will revolutionise the quality of our lives. But is there a short-cut that can speed up the process of transformation? Is there a turbo-charger that can boost our efforts and get us into the fast lane right now? Can we get the success rocket into orbit today? Well, the short answer to all of those questions is ‘Yes!’ OK. You don’t have to look so surprised. You knew what the answer would be, didn’t you? Of course you did!

Back in the 1970s, a group of psychologists in the U.S. began a research project that focused on the way we often touch different parts of the body when we’re stressed or anxious. These instinctive reactions provided a clue to the way that certain gestures are connected with our fears and doubts and insecurities. The experiments revealed that if a stressed individual deliberately applied fingertip pressure to these points, they could access their behavioural programming and confront the issues that were causing distress.

Once the problem area had been described, it was possible re-frame the issue and even suggests possible solutions. And it worked. The techniques were refined and, with the inevitable enthusiasm of New Age mysticism, some therapists even began to describe the tapping points as ‘meridians’.

We certainly don’t need to confuse the technique with some well-intentioned but naive, mystical interpretations. The tapping points are far too vague to be credited with mystical significance. The collection of points in question are simply tapped gently with the fingertips as the framing statements are made and some analysts now suggest that the tapping movements temporarily distract the conscious mind, allowing access to the behavioural framework of the subconscious.

If you prefer to believe that you’re activating your chakras or summoning the elves of earthly wealth and abundance, well, you’re free to choose whatever works for you. I might not understand your choice but you’re free to interpret everything that happens in your life as you see fit. My mission is to share a well-researched and effective technique with you that can help to re-position your attitudes towards success and abundance and power up your ability to take greater control of your life.

The technique works best when you’re seated and comfortable. Upright and relaxed are the watchwords. You begin by identifying the subject which is currently giving you the greatest cause for concern. EFT has surprised many therapists by the range and extent of its capacity to introduce change into peoples’ lives. The method has even been successfully employed to help people lose unwanted weight. We really shouldn’t be surprised. Everything really is connected.

Choose your issue. It really can be anything. Give your reaction to the problem a score out of ten. If it’s causing you a great deal of stress, pain or anxiety, your score will probably be close to the maximum value. Write down your statement of concern and mark it out of ten. Let’s imagine, for example, that you’re unhappy at work. You might say something like ‘I really hate, despise and loathe the idiots I have to work with and I hate my life because the daily grind makes me unbearably miserable!’

OK. That might sound a little extreme but the idea is that you are totally free to express your feelings in any way that you feel fit. More realistically and in alignment with this guidebook, you might have identified limiting attitudes about money. So your statements might sound something like this: ‘I always feel that there’s never enough money for me and that I can never have the things I really want’. Sound familiar? No problem. We all have limiting beliefs that can get in the way of our potential for success. We start by tapping with the fingertips on the edge of the other hand, on the area between the wrist and the little finger.

1. Gentle tapping is all that is required. Tap on the edge of the hand and repeat your statement of concern. You can close your eyes if you prefer. Breathe gently and deeply. You might want to repeat the statement three or four times and then complete the first stage of the process by stating quite clearly ‘But I love and accept myself completely’.

This is the first hint of how to re-frame your attitudes. You state your problem or concern and then add a conditional clause that effectively states that, despite how you’ve been feeling about the situation, you choose to love yourself and accept yourself. Completely. Acceptance is one of the great keys to letting go of negative, restrictive attitudes and opens the gateway to real change within ourselves. This is the first stage of the process.

2. The next tapping point is the top of the head. How fantastically precise is that? Anywhere on the top of the head will do just fine! Forget the chakra and meridian stories. Just tap gently on the top of your head with both sets of fingertips. Repeat your statement of concern a few times and add a qualification clause. You might say ‘But what if I could learn to accept my innate ability to create and enjoy wealth in my life?’ It’s a questioning statement that challenges the limitations of the old mind-set. ‘What if it could be so much easier than I ever imagined creating real wealth in my life?’ ‘What if I really deserved to be rich and happy and comfortable?’ These re-framing questions expand the limits of what we used to accept as possible. We state the problem. Then we create a positive doubt about our old assumptions.

3. From the top of the head, we now move our attention to the sides of the head, on the temples, perhaps just touching the outer edge of the eye socket or orbits. Gently. Repeating the re-framing question a couple of times.

Perhaps adding a more positive question, ‘What if it were really possible right now for me to make an absolute fortune and change my life for the better forever?’ ‘What if I possess everything I could possibly need right now to be successful and wealthy?’ ‘How would it feel to be living in a world of comfort and opulence, where everything just got so much easier for me?’ You get the picture? We’re moving the issue from its familiar, old, comfortably negative framework into a new realm of positive outcomes. Use your imagination. Be bold. Get hyped up. You’re engaging your hidden powers of creativity. Let them loose. The only defining limits will be the ones you choose to set.

Three or four repetitions of your latest re-framing statement should be enough but it’s always up to you to choose whatever works best.

4. Next tapping point? Under the eyes, just below the edge of the eye sockets. Using both sets of fingertips, perhaps adding an even more positive version of your previous re-framing statement. ‘It really feels so good to realise that I can take complete control of my life and choose how it’s going to be from this moment onwards.’

5. Move your fingertips down to your mouth, one set tapping above the upper lip, just under the nose, and the other set tapping beneath the lower lip. You can repeat the previous statement or move into a more positive expression of what’s possible now that you’re exploring the wider limits of your creativity.

6. This is the moment when you tap on your chest. Remember to keep breathing. Deeply and gently. Statements can stay the same as before or you might add something even more powerful. ‘I fully accept the power of wealth and prosperity into my life. I can feel it flowing into my life as a vast torrent of cash, joy and material abundance.’ This is just an example. A simple suggestion. It’s entirely at your discretion.

Moving further down the body, we cross your arms and begin to tap gently with your fingertips under the opposite armpit. …and then tap just below the floating ribs, repeating our statements and reinforcing the tide of change that’s demolishing our old habits and behaviours and opening up our lives to a fabulous world of happiness and abundance.

We’ve almost finished the EFT exercise so let’s return to our hands. We tap on the outer edge of the little finger a few times, repeating our new statement. Then on each finger in turn, tapping on the outer edge of the index finger to make the process easier. We finish on the outer edge of the thumb before signalling the close of the exercise by gently tapping the insides of the wrists together, repeating our statement and concluding by adding ‘And I deeply and completely love and accept myself unconditionally.’ Keep breathing!

Now all you have to do is reconsider your original statement and score it again out of ten. If the score is lower – great! You’re making progress. If it’s still at the max – try the exercise again one more time to see if you can take the edge off the problem. The important thing here is how you feel.

This is a method that you can repeat every day if you wish. Clearly, the more often you repeat it, the more effective the results will be. But many people experience tremendous breakthroughs with just one session. It is without doubt a very powerful technique for unchaining yourself from unhelpful beliefs and behaviours. It can work at a surprisingly deep level in our behavioural framework and produce extraordinary results in our lives. Use it now to identify any areas in your life that you want to improve and let the good times roll!

Check List

Write down the issues that you want to work through first with your initial EFT experience

Make an appointment in your diary for each EFT session that you intend to conduct for the month ahead

List any other areas of your life that you feel would benefit from the EFT process

Make EFT a regular part of your behaviours for success

Share the knowledge with others

Conclusion

Congratulations. If you’ve worked through the methods in this guide book on creating wealth, if you’ve applied and assimilated the techniques, you’ve probably begun to experience changes across multiple levels of your life.

You’ve begun a process of change that will touch both your internal landscape as well as the world around you. I believe with all my heart in your right to abundance. I can see the vast amounts of wealth coursing through the lives of countless individuals every day. It’s real. It’s there. It always was. We used to use an expression in a previous business that always helped us to put our challenges into a more creative perspective. We’d often ask ourselves around the board room table ‘Where’s the money supposed to be coming from?’

And the inevitable answer? ‘It’s coming from – wherever it is right now!’ The money is always out there. It’s always available in truly unimaginable quantities. It’s time for you to partake of this bounty. You deserve it. Our world is driven in so many ways by the force of this extraordinary commodity. Put it to work in your life and enjoy the proceeds. Share the good things.

Inspire and encourage others to discover their own potential for wealth and abundance.

Step out from the shadow of your self-imposed limitations. Wake up to the sunshine. Have fun. Smile. You’re making your life and the world a better place to be.

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you”

Carl Sandburg

I am so delighted that you have chosen this book and it’s been a pleasure writing it for you. My mission is to help as many readers as possible to benefit from the content you have just been reading. So many of us are able to take new information and apply it to our lives with really positive and long lasting consequences and it is my wish that you have been able to take value from the information I have presented.

Thank you for staying with me during this book and for reading it through to the end. I really hope that you have enjoyed the contents and that’s why I appreciate your feedback so much. If you could take a couple of minutes to review the book, your views will help me to create more material that you find beneficial. 

I am always delighted to hear from my readers and you can email me personally via the publishers at [email protected] if you have any questions about this book or future books. Let us know how we can help you by sending a message to the same email address.  

Thanks again for your support and encouragement. I really look forward to reading your review.

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  • ISBN: 9781370336210
  • Author: Beran Parry
  • Published: 2016-12-19 06:52:24
  • Words: 112849
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