Passive Income Ideas: Understanding the mechanics of making money online
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 marketplace of online commerce.
These are the clearly defined methods for creating passive cash-flow that we’re going to explore together in this blog. 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:
Selling goods or services online and the proven power of FBA
Self-publishing and the satisfaction of seeing your name on a book cover
Affiliate marketing and the simplicity of promoting other peoples’ goods and services
Website marketing to steer traffic to potential sellers
Embedding websites to create links to affiliates
E-mail marketing and the art of directing traffic to a landing page
Udemy and the fun of producing online 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 emphasize 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 analyze 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 online 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 blog. For now, this seems like a great moment to check out the advantages of selling goods or services online.
Selling Good and Services online 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 online 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 with their salaries.
So adding another labor-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 specialize in?
Do you have a skill or service that you could offer online? 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 recognized 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 marketplace 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 characterizes 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 organization 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 online 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 inquiries or returns and pays you a commission.
Your involvement is blissfully minimized 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 inquiries, 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 blog 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-recognized 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 optimizing 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. Podcasts, webcasts and video material for Facebook and YouTube 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 to your Blog. Record the question and answer for your Podcast.
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 labor-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 in people's lives. Just remember that the additional labor 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 specialize 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 labor-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!
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.
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 online.
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.
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 online 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 online 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 acknowledgment, 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 online 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 online labors.
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 to 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 maximize 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 ghostwriter swings into action.
Check the Internet for ghostwriters 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 ghostwriters 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 the 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.
The cover design is a specialized 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 online 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 principal 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 promoting 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 specialized material that can be retailed above $9.99. Remember – profit does 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.
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 specialized 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-favored 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 a 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 specialization.
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 inquiry 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.
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 favorite armchair. And in order to capitalize 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 favor 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 shortcut.
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 specialization.
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 have 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.
Udemy and the Fun of Producing online Courses
If you haven’t heard of Udemy, this is a major platform for online 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 endeavor, 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 specialized 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 online 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 online 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 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 storyboard 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 producing 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 judgment 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 storyboard 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 license 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 online.
Success in selling online 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 organizations 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 online 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 online courses.
We’ve examined five proven ways for anyone to create an online 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 online business. I hope these common factors will prove useful to you because they can obviously be applied to other online businesses too.
They are not limited to one particular field of commercial endeavor. 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 online 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.
The 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 guidebook 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 acknowledgment 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 judgments 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 to 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 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 behaviors to introduce positive and meaningful change into your life. My plan is for you to enjoy the process as well as the outcomes.
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.
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 marketplace.
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 the 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.
Life's Great Piggy Bank
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 the 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.
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.
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 breaking 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.
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 behaviors.
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
Releasing the Chains of Fear
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 in behavior was driven by my change in attitude. Attitude matters. Never forget it. As 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 of 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.
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 behavior 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 demonstrate, 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 sulfurous 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 was 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 behavior. 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 anymore. 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 who's 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 judgments 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. "Its 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.
The 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 forward 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 behavioral framework that seems to match our view of their expectations. Playing all these different roles becomes so natural, so deeply ingrained in our behavior; 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 behavioral 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 behavioral 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 behavior we're displaying is aligned with our vision of success and abundance.
We learn to let go of behaviors 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 blogs of our distant past, our remote ancestors settled in areas where the food, water, and shelter favored 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 behaviors.
We live in a very different world today compared to that of our ancestors yet we still retain essential elements of their ancient behavior. 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 into 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 visualize, 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 the 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 judgment 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 visualize, 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 improved 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 are 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 behaviors 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 artifact 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 behaviors 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.
Learning to be Best Friends with Cash
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 behavior and contains elements of deeply programmed attitudes and emotional responses that were imprinted on our impressionable lives during early childhood. Happily, these conditioned behaviors 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 behaviors that encourage a growing sense of personal fulfillment and we can attune ourselves to actions that totally favor 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 that 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.
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 realized 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 meager 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 characterized 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 humor. He was a brilliant storyteller. But the inconsistencies showed up every day. Other people in the neighborhood had similar jobs yet somehow enjoyed a higher standard of living. They went on holidays. We didn't. Yet those neighbors 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 behavior 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 visualization.
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 artifact 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 practice 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 practice the visualization 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.
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 mean 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 instinctive 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 exorcized 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.
Wealth creation gets a lot easier when you get organized. 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 forward.
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 LifeLine 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 lifeline.
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 prioritize 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 laborers 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 fulfillment. 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.
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 racehorses.
Whatever it is, it's your vision. Find the best pictures, print them out and put them around 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 coloring pens.
Then I spent most of a weekend kneeling on the floor, drawing and coloring an imaginary banknote. 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 real. 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-clean, 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 armor against stupidity.
We've focused very strongly so far on the psychological aspects of influencing our behavior and directing the outcomes of our lives. Ultimately, these are the foundations that will either support our endeavors 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.
This might imply a change of work or perhaps a change in the way you communicate with the organization 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, recognized 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.
The Unimaginable Power of Smart Passive Income
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 principal came to me unexpectedly.