Everyone needs money- even the most idealistic amongst us- the question is- can we make it more easily than we have been doing up until now?
The best way to master something is to find someone already doing it and copy them.
So if you want to learn how to make money find some rich people to copy- the thing is, what exactly do you copy? Writer A.E. Van Vogt (more on him later) studied three exceedingly rich men who, in 10 years, he had observed actually getting rich while he was 'just sitting and thinking up stories'. So he decided to investigate and came up with twelve traits all 'wealth creators' have.
Here's some of my own experiences it that area:
I once met an exceedingly rich man for one night only at a book party. He was the friend of my agent and he’d made a fortune – several hundred million dollars- in the waste business.
He was very personable, very short, wore a loud shirt when everyone else was in a suit variation, was interested in other people, spoke only about his next plan- financing a movie- rather than what he had done. What I remember most was that he bought a sailing dinghy, a special kind, for my friend because he’d remembered once how she’d said she’d always wanted that particular type.
I know a little better two guys I was at college with who are now both multimillionaires. One has made at least $80 million. Both have ‘energetic’ personalities though one gets tired easily and both sleep 9+ hours a night- so much for the idea that all self-made millionaires sleep four hours a night. Both are ambitious and like to get what they want. Both have a lot of friends and are sociable.
Another friend, a very wealthy carpet dealer, told me he got rich only after his father died and he ‘had to get serious’ about making money. No more playing around. He’s one of the great jokers and story tellers I know.
I know another millionairess who is again very generous, sociable, organised and lively, great company.
I never knew such people when I was younger and had the same notions as most- that the self-made millionaire was likely to be a crook, a bastard or just plain lucky. Over time I started to investigate what psychological traits these people all shared. Not that these would guarantee making money, but they may, I reasoned, be a necessary condition for actually making yourself wealthy.
Most are familiar with the Biblical quote: "the love of money is the root of all evil." For love, how about 'giving an excess of attention to'; it is also commonly observed of entrepeneurs that they only started really making money when their activity was more important to them than the money it yielded. Dr Johnson wrote, "no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money" but that doesn't mean the content and meaning of the writing is LESS important than the money.
I, like most people, probably, love the idea of thinking the right thoughts, chanting the right mantras and hey presto- money turns up. Of course all the guides to this type of money making emphasise YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE to make it work. In my view that kind of self-belief is the hard bit, and you only get it through developing the right personality traits. It’s like the cartoon character running up the imaginary stairs- as long as he believes- they remain- as soon as he doubts- bang crash he’s back on the ground again.
In other words self belief can only get you so far. In 1934 Maurice Wilson tried to climb Everest using the power of prayer alone- with little gear and no skills or food. He got pretty high -22,000 feet- but died in the process. You have to actually do stuff, and practise it and get better if you want real world results. Just as if you want to win the lottery you at least have to buy a ticket.
How do you buy a ticket? OK, there are things you should do- like finding something to sell and selling it, or writing a book and selling it, or finding a niche and providing added value that people will pay for- all that kind of thing. But, and here’s the big but, it will fail to generate much income unless your ‘money self’ is in the driving seat.
What do I mean?
One of the tenets of lifeshifting is the multiple self. None of us is a single self except in the sense that we have a single ‘observing self’ who watches all the others as they roll in and out of action during the day. (See the lifeshifting entry above for more on multiple selves.) What we think of as ‘ourselves’- our ideas, beliefs, habitual actions- all these are aspects of just one of many selves that inhabit our body. You may have one ‘self’ for work, another for the family, another that only seems to roll out when you’re with pals from years back. Some try to weld them all into one- never works- others try and keep them separate, use them in the situation they best suit. For example, here in Egypt you have to be pretty loud, direct and no nonsense in a service type situation. Not always but in the main. That behaviour in the UK would count as a bit rude and pushy and would backfire sometimes. Here it gets respect. So when I go shopping in the UK I reign myself in and disengage my ‘over assertive’ self. Another example: when I did aikido in Japan I put myself in ‘student’ mode which actually meant I mimicked how I was as a kid. What I didn’t realise, as a student I was mainly good at ‘appearing a good student’ ie. getting in the good books of the teachers. Because I was naturally fast at lessons I also got good marks but this had nothing to do with my ingratiating style. But to progress in aikido, for which I had only a modicum of talent, I needed a different personality, one that didn’t care about getting it wrong, who loved the rough and tumble of it, and relished being a bit tough. Only when I did a full time course did this personality get to emerge.
So what has this to do with making money?
I think it is observable that certain traits characterise a ‘money perosnality’ just as certain traits characterise an ‘entertaining personality’. But don’t take it from me. Go and try and meet some self-made wealthy people, successful entrepeneurs and people who are able to make all they need doing what they like doing.
You may not want to be like that but you’re still going to need money so maybe it would help to know what traits comprise a ‘money personality’.
In this series, then, I want to outline and examine the 12 traits A.E. Van Vogt stated were those of the Money Personality. Van Vogt was a fascinating polymath, a sci-fi writer, insightful psychologist and businessman and in 1972 he wrote his seminal The Money Personality. It’s deeply idiosyncratic and some parts need careful study, but the ideas are still clear, fresh and compelling. What I want to do is bring out those ideas and give them a more modern setting- but for reference you can’t go wrong getting an old copy of the book which is pretty easy through Amazon.
In each one of this series I’ll go over a different trait in the order Van Vogt deals with them. What he emphasises is that each trait ON ITS OWN will not make you money. However, if you have all of them then you’ll, almost automatically, be on your way.
One clear example is the simple skill of being able to hang on to the money you already have. Mike Tyson has made in excess of 300 million USD in his life. Now he’s in debt. Minus money. Some people have every trait to make money except the crucial last piece of the puzzle- being able to hang on to it. A fool and his money are soon parted- so don’t be a fool, I guess, but also observe ways to hold on to money by first realising that may be a problem. Everyone who cannot hold on to money either hasn’t thought about it or thinks it ‘isn’t a problem I can’t handle’. Merely by sincerely identifying a problem we are already solving it, one way or another.
None of these traits will help you make money directly. But if you have all 12 then it would be very unlikely if you didn’t become wealthy, or ‘wealthy enough’- if that is your aim. You can even start chanting and beaming out money acquiring thoughts once you have all the traits in place.
So here’s the first: Be a non-victim.
Weird eh? What’s that got to do with making money? And if I’m already a non-victim does that mean I am set to make some money out of it? Well, no. Being a non-victim is a habitual stance you’ll need in your money making activities. You’ll probably find it will also appear in all your activities, including ones that have nothing to do with making money. That might be a pain, and in time I am sure you can learn to switch it on and off. But you must be able to switch it on. Anytime you need it. And that takes practice. Start right now.
Next time you buy something that breaks- take it back and don’t leave without a refund or replacement. Be calm, be quiet, but be implacably firm. Make it into a game. Take other people’s stuff back for them. Develop tricks. One I have employed is to tell bank staff- “I’m that kind of customer who’a real pain- so connect me to the special person you have who deals with the problem client.” Works great at getting to the people who actually listen.
When you’re employing someone and they don’t do a good job point it out. Point it out without anger but point it out. When someone you employ says they will do something and doesn’t, remind them, don’t let it slide.
If, in the context of a relationship you feel the language used is carelessly abusive tell the person to stop. They may not, but tell them anyway. The point is not whether it works everytime, the point is developing the attitude.
You need the attitude not the ‘win’. Because with this attitude you’ll look after your project, keep it on track, and not let other people’s agendas bend you off course.
Van Vogt states males are 80% victim personalities, females 20%. So if you are a woman chances are you are not a victim type. If a man, there’s a high chance you are. Remember- this is not about being tough, good in a fight or macho- it’s about not being given the run around, not being told one thing and given another. Men hate to ask directions? Why? Because then their victim personality will show up- how? Because they feel ‘they’ll have to take the directions offered’ even if they are wrong. Or they might be ‘insulted’ or made to look ‘not in control’. Women don’t think like that. If the directions come from an idiot they’ll ignore them. They cut to the chase: tell me the right way. Give me the information.
Men hate to appear ‘uncool’ so they don’t ask the price in advance. Then when they get stuffed they pay it to avoid ‘looking like a cheapskate’. Get the picture, men are vain about appearing petty and this allows them to be manipulated.
Now being petty is a hateful characteristic, and herein lies a few of the paradoxes of making money. Some of these traits, taken too far may make you rich, but they may also make you unbearable.
There is a difference in being petty, and appearing petty.
Being not-petty involves being generous- with time and money- but on your terms- not when someone sticks a gun in your face. Not when a waiter breathes down your neck- in fact make it a rule to give double tips – but only if the waiter applies no ‘pressure’- any pressure and they get nothing.
Being a non-victim is basically about: not being afraid to ask for the information, not being afraid to appear naïve or foolish, not being afraid to talk straight and not in jargon.
Every entrepeneur I’ve met talks so simply about money it’s refreshing. They aren’t afraid, like an MBA is, to appear naïve in their search for the information: where’s the money? Who’s paying? How much? You don’t need jargon to talk about this.
But as a non-victim you need to avoid the desire to go one further and ‘get even’. When it gets to that you should be out of the game. Getting even is a good political skill, don’t get me wrong, and gangsters live by it. But to make money all you need to do is walk away. You see once you have been victimised you’ve lost that little game. Walk away. The object is to get in there first so no victimising takes place.
How? By having accurate complete information. By being calm and prepared. By having a fall back plan. By being in a playful mood that allows you to walk away from any deal that looks bad. By not caring what people think of you. Victims are people who try to control appearances because they think appearances matter. Forget it. Look at the reality, look at what is really going on. You need never be afraid to ask what is really going on, or to take a closer look. And if people won’t tell you- then you’ve found a victimiser, which is the hypertrophic version of a non-victim. A non-victim on overdrive, a bully in other words.
Bullies are found evenly divided throughout the rich and poor, it certainly isn’t a money making trait. Just in case you were thinking…
If you’re already a non-victim fine, but if you aren’t then work on it. Doesn’t have to be forever. It’s a game, a work out. But you need the skill.