Over the past 15 years, I have read hundreds of books on how to succeed, and specifically, how to make money.
There are many truths I’ve learned.
There’s also a whole lot of fluff out there.
In this article, I will share the core fundamentals of money — what really works.
Along the way, you will also learn:
How to change your mind to become compatible with far more money
How to implement the systems that will make you rich
How to begin thinking and feeling wealthy, in the moment, today
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Read also: How to manage your money as a single person
Really quick: there are actually 3 ways to enjoy this article:
- Watch this personal video training from Dr. Benjamin Hardy on Youtube:
I Read 200+ Books on Money — Here’s What Will Make You a Millionaire
- Listen to this episode of the Dr. Benjamin Hardy Show on any podcast streaming service
- Continue reading this article
- Really, Really, Want To Make Money
“Nearly all rich and powerful people are not notably talented, educated, charming, or good-looking.”
“They become rich and powerful by wanting to become rich and powerful.” — Paul Arden, bestselling author of It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be
Before you become wealthy, you have to want to become wealthy.
This may seem obvious, but deep down, most people, don’t really want to be wealthy.
This is evidenced by their behavior. They want other things more than they want to be wealthy, which then influences the result that they get.
Your level of commitment to becoming wealthy is evidenced by the results you have right now.
Do you want more money?
Why do you want more money?
How much money?
When do you want to have that money?
How do you want to obtain that money?
The single best way to want to make money, is by writing down that you want to make money.
Spending time in your journal will inform both your purpose and your strategy for becoming wealthy.
In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill teaches that to be successful, one must have a definiteness of purpose. A burning desire. A chief aim of what one wants, before one can get it.
What do you really want?
Write it down.
Think about it.
When you do this, you will find yourself wanting it more and more.
Having a purpose and a WHY for acquiring money will both inform the process that you use to get there, and make your desire to get there far more powerful.
“When the why is strong enough, you will figure out the how.” — Attributed to Bill Walsh
When you have a purpose and a why, your “how” will become much more powerful. You’ll develop an emotional connection with your future self. When you’re emotionally connected to your future self, you will make better financial decisions in the present.
You’ll be capable of acting the way he or she would act.
You’ll make decisions that a far wealthier version of you would make.
You’ll stop doing things that would prevent you from accomplishing your goal.
If you really want to be successful, be honest enough with yourself to write it down and be truthful about it. Be as blunt and honest with yourself as you can.
“All progress starts by telling the truth” — Alcoholics Anonymous
Recently, I was on a podcast with Ed Mylett. He shared the story of 2 women, one of whom is honest about her true WHY, and one of whom is not. The honest woman has the self-described WHY, “I want to be famous.”
In the context of the story of the woman who is completely HONEST about her why, he said:
“Your REAL why can sometimes be embarrassing…99 out of 100 people would never admit or acknowledge [that they want to be famous] because it doesn’t seem as sanitized or as perfect as it should be. Most people…have a why that sounds good, but it’s not the real why.” — Ed Mylett
When you get very honest with yourself, you not only clarify what your deepest desires are, but you proactively shape and deepen them.
You’ll find that you actually create your WHY, rather than discovering it.
You create your purpose, rather than discovering it.
You create your future self, rather than discovering it.
Either you want to make money, or you don’t.
How much money do you want? By when? And why?
Write these things down.
Let your future self dictate, filter, and ultimately determine who you are and what you do.
When you truly want to make money, you’ll naturally want to become the person who can get you there.
- Transform Your Identity
Your identity is two things:
Your current story
Your current standard
Your story is how you see and view yourself. Your standard is measured by everything you currently say “yes” to. Everything you say “yes” to, or “no” to, is driven by your identity. Thus, your identity is not only the story you have about yourself, but that which you are most committed to.
To become wealthy, you need to upgrade your identity. You can’t outperform your current identity.
For example, if your identity is trapped in $10,000, you’ll never have more than $10,000. Your subconscious mind will always act in ways to ensure you never deviate from the standard you are comfortable with.
The amount of money you have right now is the “floor” of what your subconscious mind finds acceptable.
To have more money, raise the floor of your subconscious. Elevate the minimum standard of what is acceptable, and what is not.
You will have to do this before you have the money that you want.
The fastest way to elevate your floor is to do things that your former self wouldn’t do. When you take actions only your future self would take, you begin operating from their mindset.
Give yourself permission to do this. Realize that you are now far different from who you were in the past, and therefore your future self and and should be far different (and far wealthier) than who you are in the present.
“The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our lives is change.” — Dr. Daniel Gilbert
You shatter the idea of your past self when you act in ways that they wouldn’t act.
You’ll craft and write a different story, and a different narrative, for yourself.
You’ll become wealthy much faster than you previously understood was possible.
You’ll upgrade your subconscious mind
You’ll raise the floor.
Let’s learn about one of the most powerful ways to upgrade your subconscious next.
- Give Away Money
One of the most powerful things you can do to transform your identity such that you want success, feel like you deserve it, and feel that you can have it, is to give away money.
“You have to feel that you deserve good things or else your subconscious might very well sabotage all your best efforts. If you don’t truly feel that you deserve great financial success, then you are battling an almost insurmountable obstacle; your subconscious. Giving away gifts to charity is an excellent way of once and for all persuading your subconscious that you deserve what lies ahead. In this way, your subconscious will not only end its sabotage, it will begin actively to assist you in your quest.” — Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Over the last 5 years, I have given away enormous amounts of money to organizations and charities I believe in. I’ve also given money away to random people.
Once, I was in an Uber with a lady who was telling me about her desire to go back to college. She needed some money to pay for her tuition.
I asked her how much it was.
It was a little over a thousand dollars. I just gave it to her.
I paid her tuition bill so that she could go back to school and show her daughter that she was capable of succeeding. This was amazing to me. Furthermore, it boosted my desire to make more money, so that I could give even more.
When you give money away, you focus on gratitude and abundance.
When you give money away, you attract more money into your life.
When you give money away, you’ll see yourself as someone who can have money.
Giving away money will make you feel AMAZING.
When you give away money, it increases your desire to give more.
You’ll want to make more money, so that you have more money to give away.
Giving away money will help you ‘tap into’ the identity of your future self, rather than your past self, in the deepest way possible.
Connecting with your future self takes place across 3 levels:
Before you can tap into the identity of your future self, you must imagine it. Many people struggle with this. They don’t actually want money, because they have unhealthy beliefs that it will make them a bad person.
When you give large amounts of money away, you’ll shatter negative beliefs you may hold regarding money. You’ll be able to see your future self, as someone who has money and a healthy relationship with it.
Next is feeling. Feeling takes place in the form of an emotional connection. When you have an emotional connection to your future self, you’ll start boldly moving forward and acting as that person.
Then, your action will take form in tangible results. When you actually see the impact that your money has when given generously, you tap into knowing.
As Florence Shinn has said, “Faith knows that it has already received and acts accordingly.”
Giving away money puts you into this mindset.
- Develop Rare, Unique, And Valuable Skills
To have more money, you need to become really good at what you do.
As Jim Collins said, “good is the enemy of great.”
You increase your income by increasing your value in the marketplace.
You can develop skills and abilities that are both highly profitable and useful. It is entirely up to you.
In our book 10X Is Easier Than 2X, Dan Sullivan and I discuss the concept of “unique ability.”
If you commit to developing rare, unique, and valuable skills, over time, people will pay you 10x as much for the same amount of work. You will have developed a unique ability.
This is also of the core concepts in the book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport.
In the essay “How to Make Wealth,” famed entrepreneurial thinker Paul Graham teaches the fundamental difference between wealth and money.
Money is paper. Money is a finite game.
Wealth is something that you create. Wealth is an infinite game.
If you develop skills and abilities, you are creating wealth.
Your new skills and abilities don’t take away from anyone else. They increase the collective good that can be accomplished in the world.
This article doesn’t take away from anyone or anything else.
There is no finite pie when it comes to wealth.
If you create valuable products or provide valuable skills to others, you do not take a piece of the economic “pie.” You increase the size of the pie.
Because of this, there is no limit to the amount of wealth you can create.
When you commit to developing wealth through rare and valuable skills:
You embrace your uniqueness
You embrace what you intrinsically want and desire
You don’t compete with anyone else
It’s your choice whether or not you want to develop mastery.
Mastery is the difference between making enormous amounts of money, and not.
Next, let’s explore a powerful way to build mastery in your life FAST.
- Invest in Yourself
When I decided to become a professional writer, I invested in a $197 course from a blogger named Jon Morrow.
That course taught me how to write viral blog posts, how to structure and organize my articles, and how to get my work published on big platforms like Forbes and Harvard Business Review.
That course closed a gap between my former and future self.
By investing in myself, I proved to myself that I could succeed.
When you invest in yourself, you shatter subconscious blocks.
When you invest in yourself, you’re telling yourself a different story, one that you can be, do, and have, on a higher level.
Investing in your skills can pay enormous dividends.
Before I invested in myself, I was paying the price of what sales coach and author Myron Golden calls “the price of not knowing.” After I invested in myself, I went on to become the #1 writer on Medium.com for several years and published 6 books.
You should invest in your network. You can literally pay money to be in rooms where you are the dumbest person in the room, and the “average” or norm for the other people there is much higher than you were previously used to.
When I got my first book deal, I immediately took nearly all of the money I received and invested it into joining Genius Network, an entrepreneurial mastermind group.
You are the average of the people you spend the most time around. You can be intentional about those people, and then acclimate to their level.
You also should be clear about being in networks of people who align with what you are currently trying to accomplish. As an example, I was in several networks for 5+ years that I am no longer in, because my goals have shifted. Even this week, I invested in joining a network of people aligned with my current goals.
As Dr. Marshall Goldsmith famously taught in his book of the same title, “what got you here won’t get you there.”
In your life and business, there is a 20% that brings you results and an 80% that is getting in the way.
If you spent 100% of your time (instead of 20%) on the skill that excites you and bring in money, how quickly could you put in 10,000 hours into that skill?
There’s a few things that you do in your life that change everything. There are many things that lead to very little, if not no, financial results.
It doesn’t take that much time to get excellent at what you do if you hire people to handle the 80%. Invest in a team, hiring other people to fill the 80% that doesn’t help you move forward. Dan Sullivan and I wrote about this in our books Who Not How and 10X is Easier than 2X.
Ideally, you find people where your 80% is their 20%. Then, you don’t have to train them. Find people who are already good at doing the things you need help with.
Your first “who” should be an assistant to take care of your logistics: your email and your schedule.
If you have someone to organize you, you can spend much more time in a flow-state, going DEEP into the skills that matter most.
Many people view hiring of employees as a cost, not as an investment. In reality, your “who’s” free up time to enable you to go much deeper into your craft.
Invest in your skills.
Invest in your network.
Invest in your team.
Next, a way to approach the way you invest in assets.
- Automate Becoming Wealthy
When I hired my financial advisor, that was an investment. It cost me money and time.
That investment also provided me with amazing advice.
With anything you want to do well, make it your priority to hire people who already can do it really well — at the highest level. Accountants, tax advisors, financial and wealth planners, lawyers, whoever who need to move towards your future self.
Investing in assets is ultimately how you build wealth.
Every Monday, because of an arrangement my financial advisor and I set up, money leaves my bank and goes into my investment account.
That system that has been set on auto-pilot for years. I set it and forget it.
By simply investing every single week, you’re going to make a lot more money.
This is systematizing your future self.
This is systematizing becoming a millionaire.
- Don’t Lose Money
“Rule #1, don’t lose money. Rule #2, never forget rule #1” — Warren Buffett
Don’t lose money unnecessarily. This is stated in lots of books.
Oftentimes we have to learn this through experience. Hopefully you don’t!
Even me, I’ve lost huge amounts of money on dumb investments.
Read also: 11 ways to reaching your full potential
Chasing things with greed.
Chasing things I’m not aware of.
Taking investment advice from friends who are not experts.
Try not to lose too much money, and hopefully you don’t lose it all.
One of my favorite books on this topic is Peaks and Valleys, by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
It’s ultimately one of the best books I’ve ever read.
In the book, he explains that the great things in life happen because of what people learn in their “valleys,” and the bad things in life happen because of what people do in their “peaks.”
Often, as you start making more and more money, you’ll flush that money down the toilet, because your subconscious and your identity haven’t yet adjusted to that new standard.
The goal is to go from peak to peak to peak, and continually upgrade your subconscious and your standard.
Sometimes life happens. Sometimes you learn from your mistakes and situations. Learn your lessons.
“Lessons are repeated until they’re learned.” — Frank Sonnenberg
If you lose money, it’ll take you twice as long to get back to where you were.
If you’re in a financial valley right now, you were inspired to be led to this article today. You have the capability to learn and move forward to create a peak. Learn the lesson, and then evaluate how not to repeat the same mistakes again.
You’ve got this.
These core fundamentals I’ve learned from hundreds of books are all ways in which you can become very financially successful.
Want to succeed
Transform your identity
Give away money
Develop rare, unique, and valuable skills
Invest in yourself, your network, and your team
Automate wealth (through investing in assets)
Don’t lose money
The choice to implement any or all of these is entirely up to you. When you make the decision to become wealthy, so many other aspects of your life will change. The decision to provide more value to the economy is entirely up to you.
Go for it.
Contributed by Benjamin Hardy, PhD
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