30 Powerful Lessons From A Book That Will Improve Your Life Immediately
This is the book that should be on everyone’s to be read list
If there’s any book you should put on your to-be-read list this year, this should be it.
Happy Sexy Millionaire is a book that dismantles popular lies about success and reveals unexpected truths about fulfillment, love and happiness. It’s packed with countless nuggets of wisdom and invaluable life-lessons that would almost overwhelm you if you tried to digest everything all at once.
The author narrates his life experiences and explains that being a happy sexy millionaire is really about being truly fulfilled, loved and successful. It was a delightful read and I highly recommend that you read it yourself.
That said, here’s some of the lessons that have had the most impact on my life so far.
- Happiness comes from within
The author worked his ass off for many years and made bucket loads of money but it didn’t make him happier. In fact, he felt just the same way he did back when he was broke.
The first life-shaking revelation that I’ve come to learn was that I had always been happy. I was happy this whole time! When I was broke and when I wasn’t, when I was single and when I wasn’t, when I had no followers and when I had millions. — Steven Bartlett
Give up the idea that something must happen before you can become happy — because happiness comes from your heart, not your achievements.
- The only worthwhile comparison is you yesterday versus you today
When we see people doing things we’re not doing, we compare, we crave, we become insecure, we want to be in their shoes, and this creates instant unhappiness and anxiety.
We always think that we’re in competition with one another, but the only person we are really in competition with is ourselves.
You are by any logical definition unique, so any comparison is inherently and logically unfair. If you want to live a fulfilled life, forget about others and work on yourself.
- Take time to notice the things that go right
Taking time to constantly notice the things that go right in our lives means that we’re getting a lot of little rewards in our lives everyday.
If a person could do only one simple thing to increase their health and happiness then expressing gratitude on a regular basis must be it.
Be grateful because gratitude can turn a meal to a feast, resentment to love, a grudge to forgiveness, an enemy to a friend, a disease to hope and you to enough. — Steven Bartlett
Keep a gratitude journal. Do anything you can everyday that makes you remember how blessed you are. Practice the Jar of Awesome technique. Gratitude will transform you from feeling that what you have isn’t enough to feeling like what you have is more than enough.
- More money won’t make you happier
According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchal pyramid of human needs, our most basic worries will come from the need for physical survival — such as food, water, shelter and safety. However, once a certain level of the pyramid is fulfilled, the next level up is what motivates us, and so on and so on.
This is why money doesn’t scale satisfaction after a certain point — once a level of the pyramid has been fulfilled, having more resources to fulfill that same need won’t deliver the same degree of motivation as it had previously.
In reality, all that stack of excess cash sleeping in your bank account is not happiness, it’s just more money.
- You’re not a loser if you quit
Sometimes it’s better to be a quitter than to be a hero. Not many of us like the idea of quitting but that’s exactly what we should be doing more often.
Have you ever asked yourself questions such as: Why am I doing this? Is it working for me? Is it really worth it? Is there an easier way? What could I be doing instead? It’s probably because your inner voice is trying to tell you what’s good for your soul.
Embrace the idea of being a successful quitter. Giving up is not for losers — it’s actually for the brave. If it’s not worth it, it’s probably time to quit it. And if you ever feel like quitting, you should read more on the author’s quitting framework: I talk more on it here in one of my previous articles.
- Happiness lies not in seeking more but in enjoying less
We humans are insatiable. We achieve big goals. We enjoy them for a short while but soon after, they lose value in our eyes. We take our past achievements for granted. We want something better. Psychologist call this hedonic cycle
If you keep having everything you want, you’ll only want more. If you keep wanting more after having more, you’ll end up miserable because nothing will ever make you satisfied.
Not having everything you want is part of what makes what you have so special.
- Your chaos is your order
There’s often some sort of discomfort in the act of striving for a goal — such as hard work, rejection, failure and fatigue. This is why we dread hard work and sometimes, confuse it for chaos.
On the other hand, it may feel good to achieve your goals, but there are bad sides to it as well. Once you achieve a goal, the joy fades away sooner than expected and you end up wanting more. An accomplished goal also brings with it a loss of orientation and a risk of being swayed towards the feeling of purposelessness.
This explains why we’ve been missing the whole point. It is the act of striving for something that that keeps you stable, not the achievement of it. It is the pursuit of happiness that becomes your happiness, not the happiness itself. Paradoxically, it is your chaos that becomes your order.
- Your sand timer is real
We don’t live as if time is all we have and that the time we have is limited. We believe that death happens to other people but we don’t have the emotional fortitude to believe that it will happen to us.
Think of it as a sand timer. If you could see your precious time pouring away through the neck of a sand timer, would you still spend hours pleasing people, or wondering what insignificant people think about you?
The truth is — your sand timer is real, it’s right here in front of you, right now, pouring away as you read these words. It will follow you wherever you go and it will never stop, pause or reverse. The person you are now is a consequence of how you used your time in the past and the person you’ll become in the future is a consequence of how you use your time now.
Your time is limited, spend it wisely doing what you should be doing, not wasting it living someone else’s life.
- Here’s the most common problem people have with finding happiness
We now live in a world that has embraced constant forward motion. We have lists of unachieved ambitions. We have social media that creates the yardstick of success. We struggle to feel truly accomplished despite our achievements.
This problem is fundamentally a result of thinking that we’re never enough. It’s the most common problem people have with finding happiness.
Knowing that you’re already enough creates the driving force for real ambition. It gives you the focus, genuine motivation and the consistency that you will need to pursue the things that genuinely matter to you, for your own reasons.
- Focus on your intrinsic ambitions
Ambition comes in two forms: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic ambition inspires you to be more than who you are for external validation and to conform with the standards of others. When you’re extrinsically motivated, you do something in order to gain an external reward, such as money, recognition or in the avoidance of trouble, such as losing a job.
On the other hand, intrinsic motivation comes from within and drives you to keep to your real self. It makes you engage in activity only because you enjoy it and get personal satisfaction from it.
When it comes to real fulfillment in life, what matters is your intrinsic ambitions. It will take care of you and ensure that you’re ultimately happy in life.
- Understand the rationale behind your ambitions
When external pressure is too strong, you probably won’t be able to differentiate between your intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Your intrinsic desires will stand no chance of being heard, pursued or achieved.
You’ll eventually live your life genuinely believing that you want something you don’t actually want — something that won’t actually truly fulfill you. It’s only upon achieving that extrinsic goal that you’ll realize as the author did, how empty it ultimately is.
The key is to be focused on the goals, not the rewards. Focus your attention on what you want to do, not you want to happen after doing it.
- Responsibility precedes power
Humans are experts at taking responsibility for the great things that happen to them, but when life delivers misfortune, failure and hardship, taking responsibility becomes an impossible task.
If you believe you have control and responsibility over what happens in your life then you’re more likely to do what is necessary to change your situation when needed. If on the other hand, you believe you don’t have control over what happens to you, you’re less likely to take necessary action to effect the needed change in your life.
So… the next time you encounter an unfavorable situation; will you take responsibility or point blaming fingers? The choice is really yours.
- Your best life won’t seek validation
You’re not broken. Society just makes you believe that you are.
So much unhappiness comes from trying to prove to other people that you’re happy or significant. But it’s not the accomplishment of society’s expectations that will make you the happiest and most fulfilled person ever, it’s the rejection of them. It turns out that validation is an inside job — only you can validate you.
The most convincing sign that someone is truly living their best life, is their lack of desire to show the world that they’re living their best life.
If you truly care about being successful and fulfilled in life, you have to become the author of your own script, the one written by your heart, not one directed by your society.
- There is no self-development without self-awareness
Self-help gurus will often preach that growth is achieved by learning new things, but the truth is, growth is achieved by learning and unlearning at the same time. Reading books is a great way to learn. Reading yourself is a great way to unlearn. If you can do both, you will make progress — if you just do just one, you won’t.
If there’s a single force in this world that’s holding you back, it probably isn’t other people, your boss, the political party in charge or even your circumstances; it’s you, and the stories you believe about yourself.
There’s no self development without self-awareness. You can read as many books as you like but if you can’t read yourself, you’ll never learn a thing.
- Progress happens when your intentions and actions become the same thing
There’s a difference between our intentions and our ultimate actions, and that difference can be summarized in a sentence: ‘You’ll do what you want to do, not what you want to want to do’.
Wanting to do something and wishing you could do something are two different things. Everyone buys books, few ever read them. Everyone wants growth, few accept pain. Everyone wants to be happier, few ever change.
Intention is nothing without action, but action is nothing without intention. Progress happens when your intentions and actions become the same thing.
- Focus is key
When you value something, you must be absolutely clear on it. If you’re unclear, then things you don’t value will overstay their welcome, steal your time and gradually push you away from your chances of a fulfilled life and towards the prospect of living an unfulfilled one.
- Become the best in your field by stacking complementary skills
There are some pursuits in life that require the mastery of just one skill, for example: a chess master becomes the best in the world by being the best at one skill — playing chess.
However, our careers are much more complex and multifaceted, and doesn’t depend on mastering one skill — they’re defined by our ability to be pretty good at a bunch of uniquely complimentary skills. What this means is that to become the best in your industry, you don’t need to become the best at any one aspect, you only need to be very good at a variety of complementary skills — skills that your industry requires for personal success.
It’s actually easier and more effective to be in the top 10% in several different skills (your stack) than it is to be in the top 1% in any one skill.
- Success consists of consistently doing the little things that add up
Most people need consistency more than intensity. If you apply consistent effort to anything, no matter how little it is, you will achieve tremendous results not immediately, but over a long period of time.
I don’t know if there’s a ‘secret to success’ but I do know that every major success story I’ve ever come across holds one thing in common — being consistent over time.
Success is 2% brains and 98% consistency. It is the result of your consistency invisibly compounding for you, over long periods of time.
- Your willpower isn’t limited
Research has proven that willpower depletion only exists for those who believe their willpower is depleting. In fact, individuals can show extreme levels of self-control and willpower, so long as they believe their willpower to be a limitless resource.
What does this mean for you?
You become what you tell yourself you are. If you think you don’t have the willpower to work hard consistently over a long period of time, you won’t. If you think you have the willpower to stay consistent and stick to your plan till the end, you will.
The longer you conform to the stereotype of your label, the harder it becomes to ever become anything but that label.
- Five things people regret later in life
If you don’t take corrective steps today, here’s the top 5 things you’re likely to regret later in life
Allowing your potential to remain trapped behind strangers’ opinions.
Spending more time living in the past than in the present.
Time spent with people that don’t want the best for you.
Never taking risks.
- Live your life on your own terms
At the most fundamental level, what we all want is to be happy. We mistakenly think stuff, status and external approval will get us there, but it’s the little things like friendships, internal fulfillment and our honest passions that ultimately hold the key to happiness.
If you strive for internally driven goals, you’ll have the motivation to help you to achieve consistency, avoid burnout and edge closer to mastery. But if you strive for external goals just to be as successful as other people, you’ll only become a shadow of someone else.
It turns out that the only way to become great yourself is by living your life on your own terms, in your own way, and for your own reasons. After all, the only great person you have the possibility of becoming is the greatest version of yourself, and that is a pretty great person.
- You’re not what happened to you, you’re how you choose to handle it
There’s little you can do to stop bad news from finding you in life; but when it does find you, your future and those you love will largely be determined by how you react to it.
The chaos you find yourself in is nearly always less fatal than it seems in the moment. Reminding yourself that you’ve survived every moment of chaos that life has thrown at you so far and you’re still here now, is a great indicator that you have what it takes to survive whatever you’re facing.
In the end, you are fundamentally the by-product of not what has happened to you, but how you choose to handle it.
- Embrace uncertainty
Some people just can’t seem to deal with any uncertainty in their lives because they want to avoid the short-term discomfort it might bring. What they don’t know is that they are inadvertently opting for long-term misery by choosing to remain in their current situations that destroy their happiness.
You are guaranteed to make bad choices until the day that you die, and that’s fine because that’s life. For those who have the courage to choose uncertainty over the certain misery of a current situation, bad choices in your past become nothing more than a mistake that served to help you make good decisions in the future.
- How to handle high-emotion, ego-wounding situations.
The best reaction in high-emotion, ego-wounding situations is nearly always no reaction, but in the moment, this feels impossible to pull off.
When your emotions go up, your decision making power goes down. So firstly, you need to have the self-awareness to know that your emotions, ego or bruised self-esteem have taken control and you must do everything in your power to prevent those forces making the decision on your behalf, in that moment.
If you can’t seem to achieve that, then consult a friend, pause, wait, sleep and tell yourself that you will address this in the morning. If you feel an urge to ’win’, take revenge or protect your ego, then your rational mind is no longer in control. Do not listen.
- Here’s how to measure real success
There’s absolutely no doubt that working hard for a long period of time will lead you to success. The problem isn’t working hard, the problem is what you’re working hard at the expense of.
What are you sacrificing in order to maintain your current level of success? Is it really worth it?
In the end, you don’t want to win at everything that didn’t matter and lose at everything that did.
- How to select a good job
If you want to have a ‘dream job’, here’s the 4 most important factors you should consider:
An engaging work.
Work that helps others.
A job you’re good at.
Make sure you’re not working with arseholes.
- Find your passion is bad advice
The issue with the ‘find your passion’ narrative is that it implies that once you’ve found it, everything will follow: challenge, income, progress, success and fulfilment.
Its all a lie.
Your passion is not a one-stop shop. People also have multiple passions. Passions are fluid and evolve with age, wisdom and experience. Moreover, you can create your passion instead of looking for it like hidden treasure.
- Marriage may not work for you
Marriage might be a good arrangement that increases happiness and improves the quality of relationships for some, but for others, it won’t be.
Love should be a personal and unique experience and how you choose to foster your own love should be equally personal, not dictated by law or religion through marriage. Sometimes people are happier in relationships when they don’t cohabit, have more freedom and are less attached.
- You’ll never be like someone else
Stop comparing and conforming. Trying to be someone else is the fastest way of losing yourself and becoming a nobody.
Appreciate the fact that people’s circumstances are fundamentally unique. Everyone is different, no one is like you and that’s what makes you incredibly lucky.
Embrace you uniqueness as it will give you the key ingredients to live a successful and rewarding life.
- All that really matters is now
Happiness is now or never!
Until you give up that idea that happiness is somewhere else, and that your happiness depends upon any kind of outcome tomorrow — in a new relationship, a new promotion, a new dress size, a new sports car, or in becoming a millionaire — it will never be where you are.
CONTRIBUTED BY Emeka Nwanedo
Read More: The Best Book on Money I’ve Ever Read