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Any time is possibly the best time to launch a new business or to expand an existing one. It’s also a great time to get ahead in your life.
First, the media goes nuts. They turn a little bit of positivity into a mountain of hope. This makes a lot of people financially excited. People become socially conditioned to expect the best.
If you buy into this social hysteria, you become a perpetrator too.
But if you tune out such stupidity (not watching TV helps a lot) and maintain a grip on rational thought, you’ll see some amazing opportunities popping up everywhere you look.
During such times people get excited and start increasing on expenses. They add more fluff into their lives. They start buying stuff they don’t need.
This causes some businesses to do great, especially businesses that provide stuff we really need. We can get new credit cards and gas-guzzling SUVs for a while. Those non-essentials can be put off.
We also become more sensitive to receiving genuine value. When we spend money, we want to make sure we’re getting a fair deal.
Consequently, businesses that provide genuine value can actually do better during a recession. More people will flock to those businesses in tough times, while the fluff businesses will become more and more paranoid.
In the USA there are a lot of fluff businesses. Many are trying to extract money without providing fair value in exchange. A lot of the dead or dying financial companies are like that. The American auto industry has been contracting as well, at least in part because they’ve been creating inferior products that people don’t really need.
The Stupid Approach to Making Money
Lately I’ve seen a lot of people, some of them friends, do some really dumb things in an attempt to earn more money. They buy into lame money-making programs, join and promote useless MLM schemes, and fall prey to scammers.
The common pattern is always the same — they’re focused on trying to make more money. They make it their top priority. They think about it constantly. But they keep getting sucked into trying to make money without providing any real value, and it’s unsustainable.
In the end this sort of thing eventually self-destructs. The only way to succeed with it in the long run is to find lots of suckers and basically rip them off in order to enrich yourself. Most people have a strong enough moral resistance to this sort of thing that they’ll sabotage themselves from going too far with it. This isn’t a path of long-term abundance. It’s a path of scarcity.
The exceptions are those that are able to sufficiently kill their conscience, so they can remove any incongruities about ripping people off. But again, this is a pretty rare exception. Most people would rather deal with scarcity than knowingly rip people off to get ahead, so they just make the bare minimum to meet their needs and avoid getting ahead.
The Smart Approach to Making Money
There is a smarter approach, however.
Instead of focusing on trying to make more money, put your time and energy into CREATING and DELIVERING real value. Find a way to give people what they want and/or need.
Take note that the keywords here are CREATE and DELIVER.
Creating value means expressing your unique talents and skills in a way that can potentially benefit others.
Delivering value means ensuring that other people are actually receiving and benefiting from the value you’ve created.
If you don’t do both in some fashion, then it’s going to be hard for you to generate sustainable income.
If you only create value but don’t deliver it, then your value isn’t being received by anyone. So how can you receive value (such as money) in return?
I see this problem a lot with creative types such as would-be artists, musicians, and writers. They may spend lots of time honing their craft, but if they don’t actually get that value into the hands of sufficient numbers of people, they struggle financially, and this hurts them creatively too. A goodly number of these people are currently seeing their homes in foreclosure now.
The sad thing is that some of these people work very hard. But they spend too much time creating and not nearly enough time delivering. They watch people they consider hacks pull ahead of them. The hacks may not be as good on the creative side, but at least they’re getting their value into people’s hands, and on some level people are appreciating their work.
On the other hand, if you only deliver value but don’t create it, then you’re delivering someone else’s value. This isn’t a terrible approach in the short run, but it’s a short-sighted long-term strategy if this is all you do. There’s nothing particularly special about delivering other people’s value. Anyone can do it. Anyone can sign up for affiliate programs or join an MLM program or become a reseller. If this is your primary means of generating income, your long-term outlook is weak. The better this works for you, the more it will draw competitors into your field. Eventually everyone will be working harder and harder for scraps. This happens all the time. This strategy can be especially weak during a recession, as more people turn to less expensive sources for the same value you deliver, squeezing your profit margins thinner and thinner.
Bloggers fall into this trap when they rehash other people’s content and don’t really have anything unique or compelling to say. A year later their niche is flooded with competitors doing the same thing. And hardly anyone is earning decent income from it.
The most viable long-term strategy is to create AND deliver value. You can mix and match other strategies with it, but this should be your primary method of income generation. If you get good at creating and delivering value, you can basically write your own ticket and enjoy lots of abundance.
A Choice of Mindset
I have to point out that the pattern of what causes this is so clear, it’s getting a bit ridiculous to see it play out over and over again.
Generally speaking, people who DELIVER value are doing just fine. In fact, I’d say most are doing better, not worse. Many of these people are seeing their incomes go up during this time.
People who don’t DELIVER value are seeing their finances grow progressively worse. This leads many of them to panic, so they head even further away from creating and delivering value (such as by chasing lame money-making schemes), which only quickens the decline to insolvency.
I know it seems logical that if you’re seeing your finances decline, then you should focus single-mindedly on trying to make more money as quickly as possible. People fall into this trap all the time. I used to fall for it too. This is absolutely the wrong strategy though. I know that must sound counter-intuitive.
The correct strategy is that when you see your finances decline and you want to increase your income, then you need to focus on CREATING and DELIVERING more value. If you do that, then you’re doing the very thing that will generate a sustainable income increase.
What is money? Money is simply a medium for exchanging value. Money is what you receive in exchange for the value you create and deliver. If you can increase your outflow of value creation and delivery, you can increase your inflow of money received.
If, however, you try to increase the inflow of money without increasing the outflow of value, you’re trying to get something for nothing. This approach is untenable and will ultimately collapse. Please don’t waste your time on it.
I actually figured this out right around the time I was declaring bankruptcy. I was totally broke, yet I found a way to focus my energy on creating and delivering value instead of on trying to scrape together more money.
I know that when you’re in a financial crunch situation, six months may seem like a long time. But it doesn’t matter if it takes you several months or several years to get in the habit of creating and delivering value. The time is going to pass anyway, and this habit will serve you well for life. Be patient and get started. It doesn’t matter what happens to the economy — if you keep creating and delivering value, you’ll do just fine.
As it turns out, making money is the easy part. If you can create and deliver value to people, the income opportunities will literally come to you. People will practically line up with ways for you to make money. I’m serious.
Here’s how this works.
If you get good at creating value, you can connect with other people who are good at delivering value. They deliver your value, such as by selling it, and they pay you a royalty, commission, or licensing fee.
If you have the means to create AND deliver strong value, you’ll have so many opportunities it will be totally ridiculous. First, you can plug the value you create into other people’s delivery systems, so you can earn ongoing royalties and such. This is easy residual income. I’m still getting checks every month for deals I entered years ago.
Secondly, you can plug other people’s creative value into your own delivery system. You pay them a royalty on the sales, or they pay you as an affiliate. Once again you generate ongoing residual income. As long as you’re selective about the products you promote, doing your best to ensure that they provide strong value, everyone is happy, and everyone wins.
Years ago I decided that this is how I wanted to set up my financial life, and then I focused on creating and delivering value to make it work. There’s no reason you can’t use the same strategy. It isn’t trademarked. 🙂
Once you develop the habit of creating and delivering value, it’s pretty hard to fail. However, it’s very easy to get distracted along the way. Distraction is perhaps your biggest obstacle.
You can’t get sucked into every money-making scheme that crosses your plate. Getting sucked into a job, where you have to trade hours for dollars, is just as bad. These are dead ends you should avoid by any means.
You have to stay focused on creating and delivering value. Everything that detracts from this focus should be viewed as an expense, obstacle, or just plain evil.
This is so important, but most people just don’t get how important it is.
Getting a job is such a bad idea if you want to enjoy long-term financial abundance. The odds of success on that path are so low, it’s not even worth considering.
Seriously, you are better off being broke and homeless, so you can focus on creating and delivering value from that place. You’re much worse off if you have to waste day after day showing up to work for someone else. That won’t move you closer to financial abundance. It will only distract you further.
If I had to choose between being homeless and getting a full-time job, I’d go the homeless route. Having a job would be 10x worse. As a homeless person, I could stay hungry and focused on creating and delivering value. I might not have the means to produce much value at first, but at least I could get out there in front of people and deliver something. It would be a good start on the right path.
A job is just a monstrous distraction. In many ways it’s a modernized form of slavery.
Homelessness is a huge upgrade from traditional employment. Have you ever talked to a homeless person? Some of them find the idea of having a job insulting — it represents a loss of freedom. Sure you smell better and can get a nicer place to live, but you lose your humanity in the process. Perhaps such people realize something you don’t.
Employment is the ultimate form of destitution.
Fortunately, employment is an easy problem to fix. If you have a job, just stop showing up. The rest will take care of itself. Pretty soon you’ll feel some motivation and drive to start creating and delivering value, especially if you happen to like eating.
Genuine opportunities are based on creating and/or delivering value. If you see something that looks like a new opportunity, and it doesn’t require you to create value, and it doesn’t require you to deliver value, then it isn’t an opportunity. It’s a total waste of your time.
Is creating and delivering value harder than getting a job? I would say no, not at all. Having a job is a lot harder. With a job you still have to provide some form of value usually, but all the residual benefits you produce turn into residual income for someone else. So you’re already doing most of what needs to be done, but you aren’t enjoying any of the benefits. In the long run, you’ll probably have to work much harder if you have a job, but the bulk of the rewards will go to someone else. On the one hand, that’s generous, but on the other hand, it’s quite dumb.
I could get a job as a writer and get paid a certain amount for each word I write. But then someone else owns my work, and all the residuals from that work go to them. Alternatively, I could write articles for my own website and retain the freedom to republish them as books someday, use them to generate traffic (and thereby income), license them for various publications, use them to promote my book, etc. The correct strategy is a no-brainer really.
Trying to make money is itself a distraction. When you focus on making money, too many things will catch your eye. You’ll run around like a chicken with its head cut off, chasing down all sorts of things that look like opportunities. You’ll waste a lot of time and energy if you chase dollars.
Creating and delivering value is simpler. This focus is well-aligned with truth, love, and power.
When you create and deliver value, you can be open and honest about what you’re doing. You get to spend most of your time doing stuff you’d naturally enjoy. It’s pleasurable to hone a craft you’re passionate about, whether it be writing articles, composing music, or planting gardens. It’s much harder to do boring, non-creative work day after day. It’s also very empowering to share your value with others and to see that you’re making a positive difference in people’s lives.
Once you make a habit of creating and delivering value as your primary career focus, you won’t want to go back.
There’s More to Life Than Money
Of all the things I do as part of my “work,” making money plays only a small role. Despite having written some popular articles on the subject, I spend little time thinking about money these days.
I don’t even bother to set financial goals anymore. That seems totally pointless to me.
Sometimes months go by, and I don’t even know how much money I’m currently making. I just know there’s always plenty and that I’m earning more than I’m spending. The gap is wide enough that I don’t need to do any special budgeting or fussing with figures.
The reason this works for me is that I focus on creating and delivering value. I know that as long as I keep doing that, I don’t have to do anything special to try to make money. New opportunities just keep showing up. It’s not that difficult to maintain.
At the time it was hard for me to relate to this mindset. It seems a bit too unrealistic and exceptional. But still… I wondered what it would be like to live at that level, where you could just assume abundance and it would be there for you. No striving or struggling. It took a few years, but I’m finally grasping what that sort of mindset feels like.
I’d say it’s not really a complete mindset by itself though. I doubt very much that Dr. Dyer focuses a lot of attention on trying to make money. I think most of his attention is elsewhere, wrapped up in the material he writes about. And that’s exactly where it should be.
This whole abundance mindset might sound really annoying if you’re dealing with financial scarcity right now. I can totally relate. I’ve been there, and I’m sure I’d have been equally annoyed if someone said this sort of stuff to me back then. I’d have been vehement that making money was NOT easy because I tried very hard to do that and failed big at it. Ironically the real problem was that by focusing on making money, I was making a huge mistake.
The key is where you focus your attention. If you focus your attention on making money, I can virtually guarantee that you’ll have a long and difficult road ahead of you, filled with setbacks and disappointments. If money is really what you seek, good luck with that. All you’ll do is give more and more of your power away, and you’ll end up living a pretty empty and shallow life.
Another corrupt form of thinking is to focus your attention on attracting financial abundance. Law of Attraction promoters often present this as a good idea. I once thought it was a good idea too. Now I realize it’s a dead end. It will just run you in circles. The irony is that in order to enjoy real financial abundance, you want to be thinking about money as little as possible.
I know it sounds like focusing on money is the right idea. I assure you that it’s a mistake. If you need to take several years to figure that out the hard way like I did, be my guest. But you’ll be really pissed that you could have saved yourself all that trouble if you simply let these ideas sink in a bit deeper. I hope that on some level what I’m saying strikes you as common sense. But I know I’ll be getting emails five years from now from a few people who went the other route. I hope you aren’t one of them.
I learned that I could create and deliver value even when I had no money and few resources. It wasn’t the greatest value in the world mind you, but at least it was something. I focused on creating something people would like and enjoy. Then I got it into their hands and made sure they enjoyed it. Back then it was a simple computer game. Today I do pretty much the same thing with blogging. The content is different, but the overall strategy is the same.
The DELIVERING part needn’t be complicated. If you just create something and share it online, other people will spread it around if they like it.
If you’ve been putting your value out there for months and months, and you haven’t been able to generate much interest from others, that should tell you that your mistakes are on the creative side. The feedback is that people don’t care for what you’re producing. You think you’re creating value, but the world is saying, “Not good enough; we don’t need or want this.” So you need to adapt to that feedback and use it to improve. Let it encourage you to go deeper within yourself, so you can be more genuine and authentic. Become more real and less phony. Keep working at becoming a more expressive creator until people start to take notice. Then you’re golden.
What About the Economy?
Personally I think that economic recessions, including the current one, are a good thing. Recessions help to weed out the crappy companies that aren’t creating and delivering value people want. Many of those companies were doing a good job at one time, but they failed to keep pace. As our values change, our companies need to adapt. Companies that can’t do that deserve to die off, and the jobs they created should be eliminated. They’ll eventually be replaced by new companies that have a better sense of people’s current needs and desires. Companies that just don’t “get it” will be replaced by companies that do.
Consider the notion of bailing out the failing U.S. auto companies by having the taxpayers fund them. Is this a good idea? It’s okay except for one small problem — it’s STUPID! It’s one of the dumbest things our political reps could possibly do with our tax dollars. An auto company bailout is definitely not in the best interests of our country, nor is it in the best interests of the auto workers themselves. It’s totally short-sighted. And FWIW I think the whole financial bailout was just as dumb.
During a recession some companies are going to die off. That’s a good thing. To artificially prop up the proven market losers is just dumb. Sure, it will have some rippling consequences. But those ripples are necessary. We need that sort of self-correction to prevent bigger problems down the road. We need to send a message that if you fail to create and deliver value people genuinely want, your business will ultimately fail, and no amount of political lobbying will save you. Of course we get the opposite result when too many people think that the point of life is to chase dollars, especially our politicians. Can you blame them though? Have you ever been known to fall into the same trap?
It’s better — and much more compassionate — for millions of auto workers to lose their jobs and be re-integrated back into society, where they can start doing socially useful work again instead of wasting their time doing work that simply isn’t needed anymore. If it takes years, it takes years. There are other companies that are doing a better job of providing what people want and adapting to the planet’s changing transportation needs. Giving more money to the losers is a stupid strategy.
Similarly, if you work for a company that is falling out of sync with creating and delivering value that people want, you should indeed lose your job. It’s better to retrain yourself to do more meaningful work elsewhere than to waste your time doing work that isn’t needed. Becoming obsolete is a trap that can be avoided. Even if you’re an employee, you still need to make sure you’re contributing to the creation and delivery of real value. If you fall away from that, it’s only a matter of time before you get the axe, so don’t be too surprised when it happens.
A Value-Centered Career
How do you know if you’re creating and delivering real value?
Ask yourself these questions: If you stopped doing what you do, who would care? Who would object loudly? Who would revolt?
If you’re creating and delivering genuine value, and you suddenly stop, people will notice. People will definitely care. Your contribution will be seriously missed. There will practically be rioting in the streets.
Such people may not even credit the value to you directly, especially if your contribution remains somewhat anonymous, but they’ll soon detect that something important is missing from their lives. Even if they don’t know your name, the removal of your ongoing value creation and delivery will have a definite effect.
If, however, hardly anyone cares that you stopped, that should tell you something. It means that people just didn’t value your creative output… not really. What you were doing was either unnecessary or easily replaced. You weren’t yet living as a conscious, self-actualized human being. You held back from shining as brightly as you could have.
You have a choice of whether or not you want this to be your fate. You may have been conditioned from a young age to view your life path in terms of getting a job and making money. Go ahead and live that way for a few years if you think it’s intelligent. You’ll soon see what a pointless, soulless dead-end it really is.
When you finally begin to hear that subtle inner voice screaming at you, “This is just so wrong,” realize that it’s still possible to live a life of fun, freedom, and fulfillment — and still make plenty of money and not starve. But in order to get there, you have to focus on doing what really matters. You must clear your head of all that socially conditioned nonsense and stop doing what everyone else is doing.
Start living as a conscious human being, not a mindless minion. Focus on expressing your child-like creativity on a daily basis. Stop thinking so much about making money, and focus on connecting with people and sharing your creations with them instead.
Create and deliver. Create and deliver.
The correct focus for financial abundance is so simple it’s ridiculous. You learned it in kindergarten.
You: “Hey, look at this picture I made!” (Value created)
Adult: “Wow. That’s awesome! You made my day!” 🙂 (Value received)
It took me about 5 hours to write and edit this 6,000-word article. I wasn’t even planning to write an article today. But I got inspired by an idea, so I sat down and wrote the whole thing in a single sitting.
My investment of time and energy on the creative side was fixed. But this article will keep delivering value to people for many years to come. That’s a good investment then, isn’t it?
It doesn’t matter whether or not this article generates income for me. I don’t think about it like that. I just know that if I keep creating and delivering value, I’ll continue to enjoy financial abundance, and I’ll feel really good too. Money is basically a non-entity. It doesn’t motivate action, nor does it serve as a reward. It’s just something that recedes into the background while real life is unfolding.
I’d love for you to be able to enjoy similar benefits if this is something that appeals to you. It all starts with the choice of where you focus your attention. The more you pursue your own creative self-expression, the less you’ll have to fuss over money.
The irony is that this is probably what you tell yourself you’ll do when you finally have enough money, but that sort of thinking is a trap that will only keep you stuck. The way you would live if/when you’re enjoying financial abundance, start living that way now, for that’s the very strategy that will produce the abundance you seek. And when you begin to experience financial abundance, you’ll realize that you never needed it to begin with. You just needed the courage to start expressing the real you under the conditions you find yourself in this very moment.
This article has taken so many twists and turns, I think I’ve left the original title far behind by now. But somehow I think it still fits. 🙂