Understanding The Stock Market & Trading

The Stock Market and financial trading is probably one of the most misunderstood mechanisms on the planet. Anyone you ask will have an opinion about it, but very few actually understand what it is or how it all works.

This is a real shame, because the stock market and the various trading instruments that exist today have lowered the barrier of entry to this field monumentally in recent years, and the stock market is now accessible to pretty much everyone.

There are lots of misconceptions about the stock market, and the people who use it as a trading tool, and so it’s important that we understand the basics to be able to dispel the myths and sort the good advice from the bullshit.

So, what is the stock market?

Well, the stock market is basically a place where people trade emotions. I say that, because although the nuts and bolts of the stock market are the stocks, commodities and currency markets on one side, and the myriad of investors, retail traders and financial institutions on the other, the values of those stocks are largely based upon people’s collective emotions at any given moment. This is what you’re seeing when you seeing price action moving on the candle charts; it’s a visual representation of the mean average of the presiding emotional sentiment in the market at any given time.

So the components of the stock market are simply:

  1. Company Stocks/Shares (Apple, Facebook, Google etc.)
  2. Commodities (Gold, Silver, Platinum, Oil etc.)
  3. Currencies (FOREX – Foreign Exchange)
  4. Indices (these are collections of companies and so their value is the mean average of the value of all the companies within the index – an example would be the FTSE100, which is comprised of 100 of the top blue chip companies in the UK at any given point in time)
  5. ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds – these are funds that are a marketable security tracking an index, a commodity, bonds or a basket of assets like an index fund)
  6. Investors (companies and individuals of various sophistications buying and selling stocks and shares on the market)
  7. Financial Institutions (banks, funds, brokers, and traders buying and selling on the stock market)
  8. Retail Traders (everyone else trading stocks and shares on the market)

Looks a little complicated doesn’t it? Well, it’s really not.

In order to simplify, look at it this way – it is the same as buying and selling food at a street market where prices fluctuate over time, only in the stock market this happens at a much faster rate.

For those who take the time and make the effort to understand the mechanics of it, there is the potential for rich rewards where every day your money works for you, rather than you working for money. Financial freedom is attainable for each and every one of us, all we have to do is take the time, and make the effort, to learn the rules of the game.

It doesn’t matter if the stock market is in the middle of a strong bullish rally, or a crashing bearish descent – when you know the rules, you can make money either way.

Ever since I started learning about trading the stock market and investing I was confused as to why more people didn’t know about it, and why more people weren’t doing it. It seems to me like this is something that they should be teaching our kids in school, as it stands to return significantly more handsomely than any bank on your pot of savings – if you know what you’re doing.

And it’s really not that hard; the rules are simple – it’s having the discipline to stick to them rigidly that is the challenge for most.

I should tell you now that 90% of people who try to learn how to trade end up failing and wiping out their accounts, and this is somewhat responsible for why it has a bad name. I cannot stress enough that there is no such things as a risky trade or a risky investment – only risky traders and risky investors. Those people who don’t have the education, the cohesive plan or the experience in the markets to have the first clue about what their doing, and who are basically gambling their money on the stock market. This is why 90% of traders fail – it’s a lack of knowledge and understanding of the rules of the game.

Trading Instruments

There are various different instruments that are available to retail traders these days, all with slightly different mechanisms but all based around the same set of skills. If you can trade the stock market, then your skills should be transferable across spread betting, trading CFD’s and investing in physical stocks and shares.

The main different instruments are:

  1. CFD’s (Contracts for Difference) – these pretty much do what they say on the tin, and is the main instrument I am trading at the moment due to the versatility of the social trading platforms available. When you trade on platforms that operate on a contract for difference basis you do not own any of the underlying asset, and so do not benefit from any dividend payments. All you are doing when you open a position is taking out a contract with your chosen broker agreeing that if the price of the asset increases or decreases from a fixed entry price then either you pay your broker a set amount per pip of price movement (if the price moves against direction of your position – up or down), or your broker pays you. When you close the position, you close the contract and either ending up taking profits (if you guessed the direction of the market correctly) or closing out for a loss if you guessed incorrectly. One of the big advantages to trading instruments likes CFD’s and Spread Betting is that you can use leverage to increase your asset holding without needing to invest or tie up the total value of the asset invested. However, be warned, whereas this drastically increases your ability to make significant profits, it also drastically increases the likelihood of having a catastrophic loss that wipes out your account – proper risk management should be observed at all times when trading
  2. Spread Betting – this works in exactly the same way as CFD’s, and you’re trading the same stocks and commodities on the same charts, only the profits you make trading through this instrument are completely tax free. This is because it’s called Spread ‘Betting’ and so because it’s classed as ‘gambling’, any profits are not currently subject to UK tax. This makes it an excellent instrument for generating a residual or passive income. Both Spread Betting and CFD trading allows for very easy entry and exit from trades, powerful leverage if used correctly and guaranteed stop losses and take profits for protecting your trading equity. They both also allow for you to enter positions to profit when the markets are both falling (bearish) and rising (bullish), by either going short (selling) or long (buying)
  3. Investing in actual Stocks and Shares – this is where you actually own the underlying asset, whether that’s a share in a company or some sort of ETF. This process is subject to higher broker fees when buying and selling, and so is better suited for longer term swing trades or long term investments. This method only allows you to profit when the asset increases in value or through the repeat dividend payments – if you own shares in companies that pay dividends then you will generate a regular passive income that can be used to reinvest in more shares and add to the compounding of your wealth. The more shares you own, the more dividend you get paid, and so the compounded growth is never ending and grow like a snowball rolling down the Alps

Fundamental or Technical?

There are two different techniques when it comes to trading – fundamental analysis, and technical analysis.

Fundamental Analysis is where you look at the financial and economic data for a given asset and make your trading and investment decisions based on the results of what you find in that data. This could be company financial reports, earnings reports, or economic data such as inflation rates or political announcements. This would be the best method for discerning quality assets for long term investments, as it’s important to be able to have confidence in an investment over time by confirming that the asset in which you’re investing your hard earned money is financially sound.

Technical Analysis is where you look at the price action data on the charts. There are several different types of charts and many different methods of technical analysis, but you only need to master a few to be a successful trader – even mastering one method will return profitable results if you stick to the trading plan without deviation. This looks at historical price data on charts relating to different time frames from 1 minute up to weeks and months of price data per candle, and provides insightful information about likely areas, or zones, where the markets are likely to react from and change direction. This is where technical analysis provides numerous trading opportunities – in recognising patterns, and in understanding how the mechanics of the markets are structured.

Ultimately, you’ll probably end up favouring one over the other and this will govern how you build and execute your trading plan.

Trading Psychology

“Success is 20% mechanics, 80% psychology”

– Tony Robbins

Trading psychology is without a doubt the hardest part of trading to master. Never mind all the charts, terminology and financial data – mastering your mind, your discipline and your emotions trumps them all.

The effect a losing trade can have on our psychology can be profound, and for most is what leads to emotional trading that generates massive losses and even wipes out people’s entire trading accounts. Emotional trading is a big NO, and this is the single most important reason for having and using a detailed trading plan. Having a written plan that details exactly what your methods are, and specifies your researched and back tested criteria for entering and exiting trade positions, will remove the need to make any decisions when you have money on the line. It’s when you have money riding on an open position that your primal croc brain starts to fuck with you and allowing this to take over your thinking when trading is the beginning of the end for most traders.

You have to learn to be your own trading coach and mentor – or go out and find someone who can fulfil that role for you. The best resource I’ve come across so far that really helped me gain control of my psychology when trading and which has helped me to remove all emotional trading from my trades was the following book by Brett N. Steenbarger:

This book gave me all the tools I needed to understand the inner workings of my own psychology when it came to trading, and indeed gave me skills which transferred over into others areas of my life such as sport and business. A really excellent book, and highly recommend – in fact, it’s a must if you’re thinking of embarking on the journey of learning to become a financial trader. Without it, the risk of your emotions taking control and devastating your trading account is all too real.

The stock market, by it’s very nature, goes up and down in cycles. As I hope I’ve shown in this short blog, there are the vehicles available today that allow everyone with access to a computer, smart phone or tablet and an internet connection to trade on the financial markets. Most platforms come with free virtual trading accounts that allow you to trade the markets in the first instance with fake money. This provides the opportunity for gaining valuable experience in the stock market, watching and learning how it moves, and means you can try out new techniques, systems or adjustments to your trading plan without putting any of your hard earned capital at risk. Once you see that you are consistently generating profits over a period of several months, you can then begin trading with real equity with some degree of confidence that you know what you’re doing and have a trading system that is profitable when followed with discipline.

Everyone has the ability to be financially free by taking the time to learn this skill, and doing so is going to not only put your future in your hands, but also has the potential to return significantly on capital invested – more so than any bank or other financial institution is going to give you that’s for sure.

From Beginner to Trader

I will be running a ‘From Beginner to Trader’ course around the Oswestry/Welshpool area very soon for anyone who is interested in learning about how to trade the stock market using the instruments I’ve described in this blog. The course will take a complete beginner who knows nothing about the stock market and trading through learning the skills needed to become a profitable trader. Course material will be provided in a live training environment, and you will come away from the training session with:

  1. A solid understanding of the mechanics of how the stock market and it’s various instruments work and move
  2. A solid understand of both fundamental and technical analysis, and strategies for utilising both methods in your trading
  3. A tool box full of tried and tested technical indicators for providing high probability entry and exit points for your trades
  4. A trading plan for intra-day trading on the 5-minute time frame
  5. A trading plan for swing-day trading on the higher time frames (4 hour, daily, weekly)
  6. A trading plan for pattern trading according to price action and technical indicators, as well as a thorough understanding of what key support and resistance levels are and how to define them on your charts
  7. How to buy and sell assets tax free – both through leveraged instruments and through physical stocks and shares
  8. A road map for finding quality shares for longer term investment
  9. An understanding of the emerging crypto-currency markets and how to maximise trading profits trading these alternative currencies
  10. A risk management strategy that will stop you blowing your account and that will keep your trading equity protected by minimising your losses and maximising your profits
  11. An understanding of the importance of psychology in trading, and techniques for mastering your emotions when engaged in live trades

Financial freedom is the ultimate goal – to every day have the choice of what you do, where you do it, and who you do it with. No constraints, no limits, no worries.

The beautiful thing about that? That the more people there are in the World who have that level of freedom and choice in their lives, the more people there will be in the World who have the desire and capability to help everyone else up to that level.

I’d love to see you on my ‘From Beginner to Trader’ trading course as I know it will change the way you think about money, and it has the potential to change your life if you implement the lessons you will learn in the course. Please register your interest by completing the contact form below, and I’ll send you an e-mail with all the details including how to register:

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The Entrepreneur Revolution

Today’s post is inspired both by the conversations I’ve been having with other business owners and entrepreneurs over the last few weeks, and by the inspiring book by Daniel Priestley – Entrepreneur Revolution: How to develop your entrepreneurial mindset and start a business that works. It’s an excellent read, filled with inspiring and thought provoking insights into the emerging world of entrepreneurs.

Obviously, entrepreneurial types have been around for as long as social groups have existed, so the existence of such people in the world should come as no surprise. However, we are now witnessing an acute landscape of change, and one in which the entrepreneurial mindset is not only fertile, but also increasingly more necessary.

Jason Silva made an interesting point in a recent interview with BUILD in New York City when he talked about how the rate of change in the world, like technology, is increasing exponentially. That means there is more change happening at a faster pace now than ever before, and it is getting faster and time moves on. The result of this has found us standing on the precipice of a serious paradigm shift. Right now, at this point in time, the rate of change in the world has increased to the point at which that process of change is now noticeable across one human lifetime, and this has never before been the case.

Sure, there have been major catastrophic events that have caused mass extinctions and had a major affect on the flora and fauna of the Earth, but I am talking about the rate of progress and that’s completely different. I’m talking about the progress we are making in our technological advances, the progress we are making in medicine and understanding the laws that govern life on this planet and beyond, and the progress we are making in understanding the universe we live in and how we relate to each other on an energetic level.

And so here on the precipice we stand. What lies ahead, we can only begin to imagine – but it’s so important we take that jump. In fact, we no longer have the choice. The momentum we have built to this point will push us through and into our next phase of existence as a race. These are exciting times, as this has massive potential to be a very positive shift for us spiritually and culturally.

Even our parents didn’t grow up in a world where the rate of societal change was so profound, and maybe this goes some way to explaining why they can sometimes so easily be left dazzled by the onslaught of the technological world the now engulfs us. Maybe is goes some way to help explain why they struggle to let go, when by comparison the younger generations adapt to change as easily as a leaf shifts it’s flight path in a gust of wind.

My generation and younger have grown up with this level of change – we grew up with it, watching it mutate and transform the world around us, even as we ourselves transform from babies, to teenagers, to adults. We have lived this pace every second of our lives; it’s part of us, and it even helped to shape who we have grown up to be, as it will for every generation that follows.

This observation blew me away, as it makes so much sense.

Relating this to business, it tells us that there is no longer any space in the market for company’s who wish to find a niche and rest on their laurels, failing to adapt and grow with the market place. This is where modern entrepreneurs thrive. They move at a fast pace and they are always thinking 10 steps ahead of where they are, with clear vision and passion driving them to get to where they need to be. Standing on the verge of a major paradigm shift, with change the only thing in life that comes with a 100% guarantee, now is the time of entrepreneurs.

This position is further compounded by the exponential advancement of technology – specifically, automated robotics. Make no mistake, technology is decimating the jobs market and it will continue to do so at an ever increasing rate over the coming months and years.

Elon Musk has recently been in the news speaking of his advocation for a basic minimum financial allowance for everyone on the basis of the same argument. With the way that technology is evolving, and the speed at which advances are being made, it isn’t going to be long before most service and engineering jobs are fulfilled by machines. Robots already build our vehicles, and we are already serving ourselves via supermarket ‘self-service’ checkouts. That time is all but here. Ask yourself – could your job be done more cost effectively and more efficiently by a machine utilising technology that exists today? For a lot of people, the answer will be a resounding yes.

So, what does this mean for the jobs market?

In my opinion, it will result in an inevitable shift of focus to creative pursuits and will therefore result in more innovation at an exponential rate. If people aren’t able to take the millions of jobs they currently utilise for income because those jobs are now taken by machines, then what will they do? Become entrepreneurs that have the freedom and time to perpetually innovate, dream and speculate. Can you imagine the power of an intelligent species that has taken care of everyday needs through the development and implementation of advanced technology, and who therefore has ever waking hour to think about, plan and take acton on making the world a better place and exploring the expanses of the universe?

It’s a powerful vision at the very least.

Who knows what the future holds in store for us, but given the way the landscape looks right now, I would say that the age of the entrepreneur is well and truly upon us.

It’s time to start thinking a little differently, and, as Daniel Priestley would say, it’s time to make a Dent

Take Responsibility for Where You Are

“The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life”

– Hal Elrod

One of the biggest societal challenges we face in this modern, often faceless, digital World is a complete lack of accountability. This is mainly the result of a lot of people in society – I would argue most from my own personal experience – being completely unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, their decisions and actions, and ultimately taking every opportunity to blame external forces as a way of explaining away the point at which they find themselves in their lives, and why they aren’t where they want to be.

These people are lying to themselves.

I tend to hear the same old excuses time and time again – I don’t have time, I can’t afford it, I’m not qualified, I haven’t got the right education, I don’t know the right people.

All nothing more than excuses, and when you hear someone speak in this way it’s usually the first tell tale sign that they are ignorantly drifting through life on a whim and a prayer whilst blaming others for their misfortunes or lack of opportunity. For goodness sake, please don’t be one of those people.

Do you think you would hear those excuses from someone society would deem to be classed as ‘successful’? No chance.

You have the same number of hours available to you each day as Richard BransonElon Musk and Warren Buffet. You don’t need money to make money, so ‘I can’t afford it’ is not a valid excuse – Robert Kiyosaki and his wife started with nothing, living out of a beaten up old car for weeks when they first started their journey as entrepreneurs, and yet they are now multi millionaires with international businesses that help educate people worldwide. Besides, most people who use the excuse of having no money usually still spend money on liabilities that they don’t need (like the latest technological gadgets, and generally bigger and better material belongings) so it’s more a case of their operating on a values hierarchy that is out of alignment with their desired outcome. If someone values partying at the weekend more than investing in their future then they won’t ever have any money spare to invest in themselves because that isn’t a high enough priority in their values hierarchy (yet they still complain at every opportunity about how life isn’t fair and the system is out to get them).

Don’t get me wrong, there are most certainly many underprivileged people in the world – even today in the 21st century – and for clarity, I am not talking about these people (though the same principals can apply, just in vastly different circumstances and at a different scale). I’m talking about the guy down the street who earns £60,000 a year and still complains that he doesn’t have enough money, that he hates his job and that there’s nothing he can do about it because the system has him held to ransom. I’m talking about the people who complain that immigrants are taking all their jobs leaving their landscape of opportunity a barren waste land of hopelessness and despair, whist simultaneously denouncing those same immigrants for sapping the country through their unjust benefit claims. Well, which is it – are they stealing our jobs or sucking the country’s benefits system dry and sending all the money overseas? When you hear someone making claims such as these, it’s an early warning sign that whoever you’re talking to is desperately grasping at any excuse they can find to explain why they’re not responsible for the situation they are in.

The sad thing that people with such attitudes seem to fail to realise is that by taking this approach – that being the approach of blaming everyone but yourself for your failings and shortcomings – they are disempowering themselves, and removing their control over the direction their lives are taking. These people are not directing their own lives – their lives are directing them. They believe that in order to be happy they have to control things that cannot be controlled – like other people behaviour – rather than seeing that the only person they need to master control over is themselves. This is a surefire way to leave yourself feeling like a victim of life’s whims, with no way to change anything in your life for the better. Hell, most people have never even given any thought to where they want to be or what their end goal is, so how on Earth do they expect to get to a destination, or travel a life path, that leaves them happy and fulfilled when they don’t know what makes them happy and fulfilled? Most people understand that if you get in your car without knowing where you’re going you’re unlikely to get to a destination you find desirable – you’ll get to a destination, but without the proper route planning it’s pot luck as to whether you end up somewhere you want to be or not. Unfortunately, this is how most people seem to be living their lives – no direction, no responsibility and no congruent focus.

I cannot control what others say to me, but I can control what I say to others. I cannot control the economy, but I can control my investments in a way that evolves as the markets evolve, I cannot change a bank’s decision to reject an application for a loan but I can control my thinking in such a way that I allow myself to consider what other options are available thus increasing my resourcefulness and therefore increasing the resources available to me. I cannot control the way things are in the World, but I can control my perception of those those things and make an effort to learn something from each situation that allows even the biggest challenges and setbacks to add value to my life. Focus on controlling what you can and being aware of and learning from the rest, rather than focusing on the things you can’t control and allowing those things to define you.

Do you see now how ridiculous it is to blame circumstances outside your control for what you perceive as your life’s shortcomings? The first step to changing this is to accept the things you cannot change and have the courage to change the things you can. It is the realisation that although you have no control over what life throws at you, you have every control over how you react to it. For example, if someone verbally insults you then you have a choice; you can’t change that fact that someone has verbally insulted you, but you can decide how you react to it and thus whether you give that event any power over your life. You could choose to get really upset and return some verbal abuse of your own, and then spend the rest of the day complaining to everyone you see about how vile people are and how the youth of today are moronic thugs. You could pick the victim mentality, and ask self-defeating questions like, ‘why do people hate me?’, ‘why can’t I even walk down the street without people hurling abuse at me?’, and ‘this always happens to me’. self-deprecation gets us nowhere, and has an immense power to instantly put you in one of the most unresourceful states imaginable. When this happens, we find ourselves with a lack of resources and therefore do not have the tools we need to achieve the results we desire.

Read that last bit again, but backwards; we aren’t getting the results we desire, because we don’t have the tools to achieve those results, and we don’t have the tools because we chose to react negatively to an externally driven situation and put ourselves in an unresourceful state.

An example of how we might be unresourceful following the example detailed above, is that because of our negative self talk we have put ourselves in a depressed state where we feel valueless. This results in a lack of focus on the things that are important to us, and we don’t get the results we want because we have failed to focus on the things that will get us those results – we were too busy focusing on the negative event of earlier that day, allowing it to negatively shape our thoughts, degrade our view of our own self-worth and infect every action that followed by diverting our focus and attention away from what’s important to us. Successful people realise that when that happens it’s because of a choice they made and they take responsibility – not only that, but they are highly self-aware and because they have taken responsibility they empower themselves to make the necessary changes in their life to grow from the experience and to do better next time. Unsuccessful people blame others, and as a result give themselves no opportunity to learn from the experience and grow from it emotionally. What they fail to see is that it is they who have taken away their own opportunity for growth!

Conversely, someone who gives no power to negative events, but instead makes every effort to see the lesson in them, no matter how hard that may be sometimes, will keep their focus on what’s important to them and will realise a level of personal growth incomparable to those who choose to adopt the ‘victim’ mentality. Those who keep their focus on the things that empower them and add value to their lives and the lives of others, whilst being aware of and learning the lessons from the challenges they face along the way, are the ones who have the most resources available to them because they make a conscious effort to exist in a resourceful state. These people don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking – they kick the door in and introduce themselves. They don’t wait for or expect someone else to make them happy of fulfilled – they see the best in everyone, take the best from every experience, and take responsibility for their own happiness and fulfilment in life. After all, allowing your happiness to be dependant on the whims of others or other external factors is a surefire way to completely give away any control you might otherwise have, leaving yourself powerless to live the life you truly want.

No one can change a challenge into an opportunity if they don’t first take personal responsibility for their lives. How can you expect to solve a problem if you don’t know there is even a problem in the first place? Be honest with yourself – it will pay dividends in the long run.

It has been a long hard road for me, and the challenges will never end, yet I take responsibility for everything in my life; good and bad. I understand that no matter what life throws at me, it is always an opportunity to learn something and to use that new knowledge to be a better person, and to give myself better tools with which to leverage my life and give me the resources I need to reach my desired outcomes. This approach to life is what gives me the ability to continuously build and adapt my own personal road map for success.

We each need our own road map, and we are each responsible for building our own from our dreams, experiences and values. I am a huge advocate of modelling successful people (a concept first introduced to me by the infamous Tony Robbins) but we are all individuals in this world and so although it is important to model others who already have a proven model for getting to where we want to be, it is also imperative to adapt the models of others in accordance with your own experiences and values so as to evolve what you learn into a road map for success that’s personalised for you as an individual. This is something I have been studying fervently for the last 4 years, and I can help you do the same. The effect that living in this way has had on my life has been nothing short of astounding – I am a million miles from the person I was even a year ago and not because I have changed as such, but because I have taken the best bits of who was an evolved them into being even better whilst taking the bits I wasn’t happy with and evolving them into things that work for me rather than against me.

The first step is the hardest part, but it’s the best thing you’ll ever do and once you see the results, you’ll never look back.

Take responsibility for where you are, and then take responsibility for getting to where you want to be. All it takes is a choice – everything starts in your head, and where most people fail is getting their dreams and ideas out of their heads and into reality.

If you want help getting your dreams out of your head and onto an achievable personalised roadmap to get you on the path to achieving your dreams and goals you can e-mail me at littlegreyjk@gmail.com or fill out the contact form below for a no obligation consultation.

Financial Wealth: What, How & Why

On the back of Tony Robbins releasing his latest book Unshakeable: Your Guide to Financial Freedom, I want to talk a bit about how my philosophy on financial wealth has evolved over the last couple of years and my current view on why building personal wealth is so important.

We’re all aware (or at least should be) that there are many definitions of what wealth means to a person. There are many extremely wealthy people in the World who have very limited resources – for example, people who are blessed with the unwavering love of a family and support network yet barely scrape enough money together to pay the household bills each month. These people are emotionally wealthy, whilst being financially poor.

Accepting this, today’s focus is going to be around describing what financial wealth is, how it is generated and why it is important to build personal wealth in the first place.

First, some background.

Over the last 10 years I have managed to do a complete 360 on what money and financial wealth means to me, and how I leverage it in my life. When I was in my early 20’s I was playing in a rock band and living for the many and varied social experiences that provided for me. I was also hanging around with people who called themselves socialists, and who generally had a very dim view on money and the effect it has on people – in their eyes, and mine at the time, money was the source of all evil.

My view today couldn’t be more different and I wrote a full post describing my current view on money explaining how it is one of the most ingenious systems we have devised, with it having the power to harness the resources and will of an entire global species – it is the ultimate tool for progress and provides and incredible amount of leverage to get things done. What let’s it down is the people behind it – not the system itself. You can read more of my thoughts on the subject HERE.

Money often gets a bad name because of the unethical and dishonest intentions driving it. After all, it’s like any other tool – if it’s put in the wrong hands it can be extremely destructive. With a system or tool that possesses the insane amount of leverage that money commands, the downside has the potential to be as powerful as the upside. This is why, as we all know, it is so important to ensure the powerful systems we design are used correctly, and with the best of intentions. A bullet in a gun can either be used to kill food to feed your starving family, or it can be used to murder them – same tool, same level power/consequence, completely different outcome as a result of the different intentions driving it.

I hope you can see how ridiculous it is to blame money – or any other tool for that matter – for our short comings. It’s about time we take responsibility for ourselves, so we can harness the full potential power of the systems we’ve designed to effect massive evolution on our planet before it’s too late.

So, what is financial wealth?

Simply put, healthy financial wealth is when you stop working for money and start making your money work for you. Most of us are stuck in jobs that leave us feeling overworked, under-appreciated and under-paid. We have locked ourselves into this limiting pattern where we have convinced ourselves that our only options for increasing our personal wealth is to work harder, more often and for longer. Is it any wonder most people just accept their situation for what it is and make do? It doesn’t make sense to do more of what you hate to realise a relatively insignificant rise in personal income whilst in turn leaving you with less free personal time to enjoy the additional income. Besides, even earning hundreds of thousands per year through employed income would mean paying significant sums of money over to the tax man and you would still have to put most of that away to be able to have any hope of saving enough for retirement.

Financial wealth is a change in mindset from exchanging your time for money, to making your money generate income you can live off so you can focus your time and energy on leading a fulfilling life. The key to financial wealth is working less, not more!

Remember what ‘job’ stands for – ‘Just Over Broke’

Now I’m not saying you should go out and quit your job tomorrow, and neither am I suggesting that this path is any easier to walk than the job route, but the journey is rich with fulfilling experiences and can be extremely rewarding when you know what the rules are and how to play the game. For most people who don’t have rich parents or a nest egg of savings they can call on, a job will be necessary to fund the first few years of the wealth building process but it should only be seen as one of the many stepping stones to the attainment of financial freedom and as such, only temporary.

How can the average person achieve financial wealth?

Financial wealth, and ultimately freedom, is something that is an inalienable human right and that can be achieved by anyone in the western world who makes the effort to take the steps required of them. This involves learning the rules of the game, increasing your financial literacy and intelligence, and putting what you’ve learned into action.

Remember, knowledge is only potential power – real power is in putting that knowledge into action in your life.

In the beginning, I recommend reading a lot of books, watching a lot of on-line content and talking to knowledgable people who are already executing their plan to realise their own financial freedom (or even better, those who have already got there). I didn’t say it would be easy, and I certainly didn’t say it wasn’t going to take hard work and dedication – suck it up; if you want the life you’re dreaming of then you’re going to have to damn well work for it. This, and this reason alone, is why most people will never achieve financial freedom – they are lazy, comfortable and apathetic. These are the people who focus on wealth for the wrong reasons and who have no purpose behind their actions, as we shall discuss in more detail in the ‘why’ section that follows.

Building wealth starts with saving some money; remember, money is a tool with the power of leverage and as you will see, utilising as much leverage as your personal risk/reward plan allows is key to expediting the process of wealth building. The best way to save money is to open a separate account where it can be stored safely without getting mixed up with your personal family finances. It really doesn’t matter how much you save per week or month, just that you save something. Everyone can save something – even if that’s 50p a week in a jar on your bedroom windowsill. If you never start – even with saving relatively small amounts – you’re guaranteed to fail. By starting with even the smallest contribution to your fund, you are growing your financial freedom fund every day/week/month/year and as it starts to grow in value, so does the power of leverage you are able to command.

Once you have a pot of money – whether it’s a few hundred or a few thousand – you need to start thinking about shifting your focus on how you can start making that pot of money generate income for you. There are many ways to do this, and my top five are listed below:

  1. Investing in the stock market – Tony Robbins recommends a well balanced portfolio of index funds to keep fees and costs to a minimum and to achieve market based returns
  2. Investing in commodities like Gold and Silver – commodities like gold and silver should be, in my opinion, part of any sensible investors portfolio for the simple reason that as the stock market goes down, commodity prices rise and vice versa providing a level of security against such bearish markets
  3. Investing in property for capital gains – there are two property investment strategies, and this is one of them; it should be noted that there is no guarantee that property prices will continue to rise, though overall they do tend to follow a similar sort of pattern to the stock market – although it does regularly crash, the floor it hits is usually higher than the floor it hit during the previous bearish period and it usually returns to strength hitting new all time highs. This being the case, and as with stock market holdings, investors should be prepared to hold their investment interests for long periods in order to realise the best returns. Be warned though that profits from gains will be subject to CGT and this should be accounted for when calculating your potential returns
  4. Investment in property for cash flow – this is my preferred property investment strategy and is not concerned with repaying the principal loan of a given property resulting in an increased cash flow from rent due to utilising the leverage of interest only mortgage repayments. The amount of leverage it is possible to utilise in these types of property investments can be insane when structured correctly, and can be a very lucrative source of increased personal cash flow. Buy to let mortgages are assessed on the ability of the property in question to generate roughly 1.25x the monthly mortgage repayment, and so in theory there is no limit to how many properties you can structure under this arrangement within reason and assuming you manage your portfolio effectively. A small portfolio of 10 or so rental properties realising a couple of hundred pounds in additional cashflow each month is going to get you to a point whereby your living expenses are covered by your passive income relatively quickly and is not subject to the same volatility as the stock market or ‘flipping’ properties – in fact, in difficult financial times, rental demand tends to increase and so rental property investments are extremely good at weathering the storm of a financial crisis… so long as the bank doesn’t pull the rug out from underneath you
  5. Start a business – this one by far is going to take the most amount of time and effort and so should not be considered lightly. On average 400,000 businesses are incorporated each year in the UK alone, and of these 20% will no longer be around after 1 year. 50% will have failed within the first 3 years. Again, the reason behind this shocking level of failure is that the people starting these businesses often don’t do what is required to really set themselves up for success. They don’t embark on the journey of learning the new skills required to set themselves up for success, and thus the pitfalls of business eventually catch them out along the way and force the closure of their baby. Owning your own business can be an excellent investment if you put the effort into it, as you are investing in something in which you have a legal insiders view that you have significant control over – there is no such thing as a risky investment, just risky uneducated investors. Whether you build your business to provide regular income, to solve a need (such as a property management business to manage your investment property portfolio) or to eventually sell for billions it can be a fantastic way to build long term wealth

Anyone can incorporate their own business, save a few quid a week towards their wealth building fund and invest their money in accessible ways that will begin the process of making their money work for them rather than the other way around. All it takes is the desire for something better, and the willingness to learn.

But, why?

Ah, the million dollar question.

I’m sure most of you are expecting the following answer at this point; you should focus on building personal wealth so you can be comfortable in life, provide for your family, have a life rich with experiences of all shapes and sizes and not have to waste your time going to work every day for a boss you despise.

Well, yes but that answer only focuses on the effect increased personal financial wealth will have on you and your immediate family. Although these are excellent reasons which should not be discounted, and that I’m sure highly motivating, I have a much better one.

We all have an obligation to build personal financial wealth to the point where we all have financial freedom not because of what that freedom means for us but because of what that freedom means for what we are then able to give back to the World around us.

Money is a tool which provides a powerful leverage over the World we live in. We have a duty to ensure that there are more good people wielding that kind of leverage than bad people in the World, and that we use the leverage we hold power over to consciously go out and make a difference in people’s lives. I have met so many millionaires over the last few months and there are two things that consistently amaze me – how much of a difference they are personally making to the underprivileged and under resourced people in the World, and how little we hear about it in the media.

If it bleeds, it leads. Rich people building schools and wells in Africa who bypass the system of charity organisations because they want to make sure 100% of their money goes to the cause as opposed to being swallowed up by the operating costs of some not-for-profit doesn’t sell newspapers or hook people into news shows. It’s a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. These people are not interested in fame or fortune – they are interested in, and solely focused on using their power of leverage to change the World for the better.

This is why YOU have a duty to become financially free and to build your own personal wealth. The Governments of the World are part of the problem, on average only 8-10% of the money you donate to charity actually makes it’s way to the front line, and most people are too lazy and comfortable in their sheltered existence to give a shit. If you truly want to see a better World then you have an obligation to get up off your arse and start being the change you want to see – if you want to see a World filled with people who are financially free, living their dreams and furthering the evolution of the human species, then step up – change starts at home. Lead by example, show others the limits they’ve previously imposed on themselves are a choice, and light the way by using the leverage you empower yourself with to help build a World where everyone is afforded a basic standard of living.

If that’s not something worth building wealth for, then I don’t know what is. The personal benefits are just a pleasant side effect.

Thank you for reading, and I hope my words have helped you think about wealth and money in a slightly different way. This can be a particularly emotive topic for some people, and I would like to encourage active discussion in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if this has changed how you think about money in your life I’d love to hear how.

If you would like to discuss any of the subjects in today’s post in more depth, or discuss strategies you can implement in your life to set yourself up for success, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at littlegreyjk@gmail.com – I am in the process of launching a coaching service around business, health and personal development and would love to hear from you.

Have a fantastic day!

You’re Either Growing Or You’re Dying

You’re either growing or dying – there really is no middle ground.

Whilst it may seem like we’re neither growing nor dying due to a lack of noticeable motion towards one or the other, that sense of static is nothing more than the illusion of stillness resulting from a temporary equilibrium in your movement between each polar opposite. To say it another way, you are dying equally as much as you are growing, and the result is the illusion of stillness. Maybe if you were able to measure your movement towards growth and death at a smaller scale, you would see that you’re not still at all, but always moving towards one or the other.

Unless we make a conscious effort to make progress towards our growth, the default of death and decay takes over. It’s so important to pump life into our actions – passion and purpose – because without this life force injection, everything slows down and stops. When you stop, you die. You’re heart STOPS beating. Your nervous system STOPS transmitting or receiving. Your brain STOPS thinking. The more life you can put into each action, the movement you will conjure and the more alive you will be able to be. Movement is life, and movement thought of in a different way is simply perpetual change.

Change is the only thing that’s guaranteed in life, and change is what keeps us alive.

I’ve never understood people who are afraid of change, and who find themselves unwilling to move with the motion of life’s natural flow. It is what gives us energy, it defines the very nature of our existence. Change should be embraced, because change is overflowing with potential power waiting to be harnessed. When things change, you make a choice to either focus on the loss or the new opportunity – with every change comes fresh new opportunities. Are you going to wallow in an non-resourceful state as a result of the way you have chosen to view a given situation, or are you going to take off the blinkers by accepting the situation for what it is and opening your mind to new opportunities?

The wings of change can be a lot of different things, but one thing is guaranteed – they will always be there to drive motion into our lives. Accept that, learn to move with them, and you will find it much easier to jump into life’s flow. Flow is an amazing state – one I have personally experienced in both my career as a musician and as a martial artist. It is a state of being completely at one with the Universe, with no thought, yet acutely aware of, and connected to, everything. It is a sense of knowing deeper than any other I have ever experienced. It is a feeling of connection, gratitude and acceptance so deep and powerful that it’s a million times more potent an experience than any drug on the market. There is nothing like it.

If you’re interested in the subject of flow and want to learn more, I highly recommend the following book by Steven Kotler where he delves deep into the subject of flow states and how super athletes have been tapping into these states of decades to push the limits of human potential (click the picture below for more information):

The principal of being either in a state of growth or a state of dying is applicable to all aspects of life. It is as true for the muscles in our bodies, as it is for business and for our mental fortitude.

If we lift weights and exercise, then we are building muscle by facilitating muscle growth through movement and by making the muscles we want to grow do work. However, if we stop lifting weights or exercising then we will see our muscle mass decrease as our muscles atrophy as a direct result of a lack of sufficient levels of exercise or movement. Now, as described earlier, it may be that our muscle mass and relative strength stay at a consistent level but this does not mean it’s neither growing nor dying. All this means is that you are doing sufficient levels of work through movement and exercise to facilitate the same level of growth as the level of atrophy – the result being neutral overall. The muscle is still atrophying, and it is still growing; you just don’t see the physical effects of either because one is balanced out by the other.

This principal can also be applied to business. A business is either growing, or it is dying. Now, a business can be growing in different areas at different times, and this doesn’t mean that in order for a business to be successful it has to be growing all aspects of it’s operations all the time, at the same time. For example, you may focus on increasing – or growing – your turnover during the first two quarters, and then switch your growth focus to systems and processes so they can be developed to support the new turnover level. You may then chose to shift your growth focus to your team, or asset base. Even though the growth focus shifts to different areas of the business during different parts of it’s life cycle, the nett effect is the same – the business is growing in one way or another.

It is important to ensure that you cycle your growth focus in your business as described above, especially if you don’t have the physical resources to grow every aspect of the business at once. If you leave one area of the business behind whilst you grow others – for example, growing your turnover without growing the systems and processes to support it – you will be setting yourself up for a mighty crash. Trust me – I know from experience by having had to take this hard road in my business.

Think of your business like the building in which it resides; if you simply carry on with your day to day business and make no effort to undertake general repairs and maintenance to the building, over the years it will deteriorate and, if no work is undertaken to remedy the effect of time, will crumble back into the Earth. However, if you carry out the periodic maintenance, repairs and improvements as required, not only will you continue to occupy a premises that meets the needs of your daily business activities, but that will also have continued to grow in value as time moves on. The point? Whether it’s HR or customer service, make sure you’re undertaking maintenance, repairs and improvements to all aspects of your business perpetually. If you’re not, someone else is, and it won’t be long before they overtake you.

This principal is also true of your cognition and mental fortitude, and can be thought of in much the same way as the analogy with the muscle. If you don’t feed your mind, it will wither and die.

“Education isn’t something you can finish.”

– Isaac Asimov

Failing to feed your mind by learning new skills, seeing new sights, and engaging in new experiences is a surefire way to result in atrophy of the mind. The more you learn, and the more effort you put into understanding the World around you, the more motion you give to your thoughts and creativity and it is this force of motion that breeds life. Want to feel more alive? Get more motion into your thoughts! Think about more things, and think about them in different ways and alternate perspectives – do it as often as possible. Nurture your natural thought processes to promote growth of the mind, and to increase it’s capacity for learning and understanding. The more we learn, the more we understand. The more we understand, the less we realise we know and the more we want to learn! A beautiful feedback loop, and a powerful one at that. The more you use your mind, the sharper a tool it will become and the more potential power you will realise that can then be used to really move the dial in your life and the World at large.

You’re either growing or you’re dying – which one are you?

We Are The Wheels Behind Change

My life mission statement has changed an awful lot over the last 18 months.. the first major change being that I now have one! Parallel to the personal shift I have experienced, my professional mission statement and the way I view what I do and the effect that has on the World is also drastically different.

What Are Studio People?

Studio People are the magic behind the orchestra; the bit that everyone knows is there yet very few people pay any attention to. We are the magic that binds all the different instruments and sections together in space and time, with seemless form; we are the conductor. We play a vital role in the show, but nobody sees us. We are the cameras and the lights sitting just out of sight. Our mission is to focus flow, unabated and relentless, forming worlds within worlds as magical people enter spaces built not for them but for their creativity; their burning passion, the fire within. Spaces where anything and everything is possible, where the only limitation is the limitation you choose to impose upon yourself. We recognise that everything we see around us began as an idea, a thought within the mind of humankind – we create spaces where thoughts flow free in the hope that when cultivated and nurtured they will be born unto the World by their creator, set free and let loose to infect the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life; a global pandemic and an unstoppable force for change. It’s the people crazy enough to think they can change the World that do. So I guess we’re in the business of thought hotels; thoughts come in from all different societies, cultures and backgrounds and as we layer them down and play them out we learn new things about ourselves; we begin to understand our place in it all. We see – no, we feel the power of our creative energy touching everything around us, and it is our place in facilitating this internal paradigm shift in people the World over that drives us to do what we do. We are the wheels behind the change, and together we are changing the hearts and minds of the World.

This is what I see when I look at the business my family has worked hard to build over the last two decades, and it is a privilege to be a part of something that has the power and reach to change millions, if not billions, of lives all over the planet. We recognise the importance of content in a World as connected as the one we find ourselves in today, and we believe it is our duty to set people up for success in creating the most inspiring, paradigm shifting content possible. Content has already revolutionised the World, and we haven’t even seen the whole of the tip of the iceberg yet in terms of how connected the World can and will be and how much content we as a species will be hungrily digesting daily. We have the World at our fingertips, and it is our obligation to shape that World into something we can be proud to leave to our children and the generations to come – the content we create and broadcast is the instrument through which the songs of our lives come to life and become physical beings, empowered and tenacious, hungry to make a difference.

Now, if you’d have asked me the same question in the summer of 2015 you would have got a very different answer. I would have told you that we design and build recording studios, but don’t get excited because we’re basically just a glorified construction company. Bit of a difference, huh? Isn’t it amazing the difference clarity of vision and passion can make. I was obviously disillusioned, but why? It was the same business after all. It was because I desperately wanted to find my purpose in life, and I felt like I had none. I was wondering, lost in a World that seemed filled with pain, desperation and corruption. I couldn’t reconcile what I was doing with any higher purpose, and I had fallen prey of social conditioning that led me to believe that business was evil and only served selfish ends. Little did I realise that I was just naive and ignorant, commanding little understanding of, well, anything (apart from music and Tae Kwon Do). I had closed my mind to the the doors of possibility that were there all along, and so the things I saw in the World were just my reflection staring back at me. 

Now that I have this level of clarity, and command a deep understanding of what drives me through my life day by day, I am able to look back and see that there was always a thread that ran through my whole life; a series of events of the same or similar themes that provided clues as to my calling, my purpose. I look back now and see that the subject of my passion and purpose was there all along, I just didn’t see it. Looking back and seeing the dots link together like that never fails to amaze me, and it can be very difficult sometimes to ignore the reality of fate at work – that someone looking over your shoulder, nudging you in the right direction, and delivering you to experiences that you need in order to learn and grow as a human being.

Whatever you do, are doing or are about to do, I cannot understate the importance of finding the fuel for the fire of your passion; it will change your life forever in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. You are never just something, you are everything, you can be anything. It starts with a choice, a decision and massive passion in action every single day – two years ago I worked at a construction company, today I am Managing Director of a company that’s changing the World through content creation by creating spaces that allow people to attain states of flow and inspiration that even the best drugs can’t touch. 

The only thing that changed was me.

You can see more about my family’s business and keep up to date with our progress in working with our clients to change the World by visiting us at www.studiopeople.com – come and say hello a be a part of our mission for change, we would love to hear from you.

Know The Enemy & Know Yourself

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”

– Sun Tzu

The biggest problem with problems is the unknown. The worry and anxiety that sets in, the sheer blinding panic, is not the result of an objective assessment of the situation. Instead, those debilitating feelings and emotions are the result of missing information that is preying on your mind. It’s the missing details, the depths trouble that have yet to be revealed in your mind.

You could say, the biggest battle you will ever fight will be with yourself.

As in fighting, as in life, it is not usually the case that challenges and bumps in the road are insurmountable – though this is definitely how we seem to be programmed to see them (at least, for the most part). The biggest part of any challenge is convincing yourself you are a person worthy of it. Changing your focus in line with this alternative perception allows you to have control over the challenge, and more importantly how you view the challenge and your ability to not only meet, but exceed it.

Sun Tzu was an brilliant philosopher, studied by millions across the mighty span of history. His quote featured above is as true and poignant today as it has been since it left his mind to come forth and inspire the world all those years ago. Regardless of the problem, of it’s size and scope, of it’s breadth and depth, you must know it utterly and completely – this is the only path to overcoming it and growing from it. You must stare it straight in the face and, against all odds, study it’s features. Get to know it’s character – look deep into it’s eyes. If it’s core is dark and void of hope, then go there and find out exactly how void it is. Stroke it’s face – feel the potential pain it threatens, and embrace it – whether a challenge or fear, know it until you can know it now more because this and this alone gives you power.

Now look inside yourself. You have no choice but be honest about who you are, and what you stand for – you can bullshit yourself all day long if that’s the game you want to play, but we both know where that will lead you. It takes courage to look deep inside yourself like that – to stare yourself in the face and see all that you are. I know. You will see darkness in there – it’s in all of us – and you will see the purest of light. Most people just focus on the light, whilst simultaneously ignoring the stuff they don’t like. This is naive, and the result is stunted spiritual growth. That’s not knowing yourself, that’s knowing yourself selectively and failing to take responsibility for your own personal self improvement. As a friend said to me today – “the word ‘responsibility’ literally means to be able to respond effectively”. Paying attention to, and taking responsibility for yourself as a whole and complete being is the only way to truly know thyself. Who are you when your back’s up against the wall? Do you know? Do you have any control over that person? A lot of people don’t, falling straight their primal ‘fight or flight’ response and succumbing the powerful effects of their endocrine system, and the related antiquated operating system that governed us at a time when we had to worry about being eaten by lions. By all accounts, not a state of mind that is of much use in modern day struggles, so take my advice and leave it at the door.

Know your enemy and know yourself – become one with your challenges in life and instead of defeating you they will build you up, make you stronger and help you grow. In this day and age, being ignorant is a choice; know everything, and run from nothing – be the sponge that soaks in everything life has to offer you, and use the abundance of tools available to you. Learn from everything; light and dark are equally excellent teachers, and we have much to learn from both – do not run from either. Believe in yourself – the only limits on your life are those which you impose upon it; don’t make that mistake.

The bigger the challenge the better; the bigger the challenge, the more worthy of it you are.

What is Money?

Money comes in many different forms; whether it be printed paper in the form of a fiat currency or 1’s and 0’s in a computer system. Then we have materials which posses intrinsic value, such as commodities in the form of gold, silver and platinum – these things have value because of their relative scarcity and ornamental beauty.

“In finance, intrinsic value refers to the value of a company, stock, currency or product determined through fundamental analysis without reference to its market value. It is also frequently called fundamental value”

Money is also used for many different things, from purchasing your morning coffee on the commute to work to acting as a tool of exchange on the black markets. As can be seen from my example, money can be used for bad and for good in equal measures. That fact, however, does not make money intrinsically good or bad in itself. Money is just a tool; a medium through which exterior forces act.

Ultimately, money is nothing more than a conceptual system – an idea – a perception of value relating to some element of physical matter (be that paper in the form of pound notes, or solid gold bars). Intrinsically, a ten pound note is worth nothing more than the paper (or more recently plastic) it is printed on – it’s the idea, or perceived value behind it that gives it the value that individuals, societies and countries are willing to exchange upon.

For example, printed money (otherwise known as IOU’s or fiat currency) used to be based on the gold standard. This meant that it’s value was backed by a quantity of gold held by the issuer of the printed money, to the same value as that of the printed money in circulation at any given time. Prior to that, our currencies were in the form of coins forged from precious metals that had a high perceived intrinsic value. We exchanged that actually material we considered to have intrinsic value, rather than a promissory note. The Bank Charter Act of 1844 marked the establishment of the gold standard in the UK, but our currencies are no longer backed by the equivalent value in precious metal holdings and so they are no longer backed by the gold standard. Instead, the value of a country’s currency is now based on the perceived value of it’s economy, which in turn is based on the overall financial performance of the country and it’s components as a whole. This is partly why currency exchange rates can be so volatile in times of uncertainty, or economic downturn.

Essentially, the point I’m trying to make is that money is nothing more than an idea or concept created within a human mind, with a physical system built around it. Thus, the concept is open to interpretation as a result of the differing perceptions and different viewpoints from which different people approach the concept. The result is the potential for increased dynamic leverage, with multiple approaches to deliver results in your favour – so long as you know the rules of engagement, and you understand what it is you are dealing with.

I used to be one of those people who thought that money was the scourge of the Earth; the most vile and evil instrument man ever created. The more educated I have become on what money truly is, and the potential is has as a tool to be leveraged, the more I have realised my prior assessment to be incorrect. It’s very easy to blame others or outside factors for our faults, or for things that don’t go our way in life, but ultimately we can only solve the problems and challenges we face in life when we look within. What about myself can I improve upon to help improve this situation? How can I change my outlook or my actions to produce a more positive result? These are excellent questions, and ones we are all guilty of not asking ourselves often enough.

Money is a tool; it gives us leverage, and the potential to move mountains, and that is very exciting for us as a race. Allow me to reframe; we have found a way to leverage the entirety of the human race towards a focused outcome.

“Money talks, bullshit walks”

When you see it for what it is, or rather what it has the potential to achieve, the concept of money actually becomes very exciting. Money is how we trade, it is a system we have built for ourselves that is recognised and leveraged Worldwide. Every person known to the global grid relies upon money in one form or another as a trading commodity to exchange various different goods and services. It’s the focus of direction we are lacking – we already have the perfect infrastructure to effect huge positive changes in the World, all we need is the collective focus of our species as a whole. This has never before been more possible than today – we are more connected now than we have ever been in recorded history, and we have information, quite literally, at our fingertips. We are the Gods of our time, commanding an understanding of the laws of our Universe and relative control of our immediate environment to an extent not previously realised. As our knowledge increases exponentially with time, so does our potential as a species.

Reality check.

The problem with money is how misunderstood it is, and how we misguidedly try to blame it for the wrong doing of the person doing wrong with it when it is not eligible as something to be blamed. It is inanimate. It is what we made it to be; for this we must surely take full responsibility! The simple fact is, we are misusing the system we created – we must strive to use it more wisely. There is a very good reason why most of the wealth in the World belongs to less than 0.1% of the global population; the variance in the level of financial literacy between people. You see, it’s not that the World is set up in favour of the rich, so much that the rich know the rules of the game, and therefore play it impeccably well. Think about it; if you’d never heard of Monopoly before, and then attempted to play against a seasoned pro, I’d lay money on you not faring very well and eventually suffering substantial losses to the more experienced player. In a lot of ways, games such as these serve to teach very important lessons about life, and how the World works. Unfortunately, our children don’t learn anything about financial literacy in school past how to add, divide and subtract (I’m of course exaggerating, but I hope you get my point – I would have been much better off learning about interest rates, investment portfolios and how to manage my household finances than learning pythagorus theorem which I have never used since!) and and thrust out into the World to ‘figure it out for themselves’. Hardly the best way to set our younger generations of leaders up for success.

Money is a powerful to leverage to get results in your life, whatever your goals may be. It is imperative that you strive to increase your financial IQ in order to better understand how you can leverage money to your advantage (and believe me, the ways are many), and how the economic and financial systems of the World work. You have unlimited access to all this information via your smartphone or iPad, so ignorance is no longer an excuse – it’s a choice. If you’re pissed off about so few people having so much of the money, whilst you’re left with pittance then get up off your arse and do something about it; learning the rules of the game is a great place to start.

These tricks of the trade, tax benefits and loopholes are available to everyone for the most part – the problem is that most people either don’t even know they exist, or have no idea how to find out, or don’t even think it’s possible for them to benefit from them. All you need to do is learn the rules of the game, because that’s all this is – from life, to your job, your social experiences and financial systems – it’s all just a game.

Learn to play the game – in a time when we are so connected, with limitless information at our fingertips, there is no excuse to not know the rules. The potential for greatness lies within all of us, and our level of success in life is determined by how much we strive to learn and improve daily and by how much action we take in our lives. Take action now!

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

– Bill Hicks

 

National Achievers Congress 2016: London – Day Two, Key Learnings

After another busy week, I am pleased to be writing about my key learnings from day two of the National Achievers Congress in London. This post is also filled with value, and if you enjoyed the key learnings from day one, I’m sure you’ll love what’s to come! If you missed my first post from day one, you can check it out HERE.

After seeing Tony Robbins on day one, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was sceptical about whether day two would be able to live up to the high standards of what felt like the headline act. That said, and although the content from both days were very different, I learned so much from the great speakers we had on day two. The day was kicked off by…

Jason Vale

Jason is The Juice Master, best selling author of no less than Twelve Books (with his thirteenth due out imminently) on health, addiction and juicing, motivational speaker and lifestyle coach. Jason’s book ‘7lbs in 7 Days: Juice Master Diet’ was so popular that he knocked the Da Vinci Code from the top spot on Amazon and Play.com!

Jason bounded onto the stage on Sunday morning full of energy and ready to rock, but he wasn’t always as slim and vibrant as he stood before us that day. His past saw his suffer from severe psoriasis, eczema, asthma, hay fever and obesity. He used to drink heavily, guzzling anything up to 14 pints of larger a day, and smoked 2-3 packets of cigarettes a day! Is it any wonder his body had turned on him? He turned his health, and his life, around through juicing (hence the subject he’s famous for) and is now on a mission to bring the health benefits he’s found from the practice to the people of the World. He regularly appears on TV, and even made his own documentary about the positive health benefits a juicing lifestyle can afford those who embrace it.

In a lot of ways, a truly motivational guy with a great story.

Jason managed to go way over his allotted time, but the crowd loved his energy and personality and more than once chanted for ‘more, more, more’!

Due to the nature of the things that Jason shared with us, and my background in personal training and health and fitness in general, a lot of what Jason was talking about wasn’t new to me. That said, I am sure he inspired many in the crowd to take a closer look at their diets and to hopefully make some positive changes in their lives.

He shared with us his view that addiction transcends logic and intelligence, and I have to say I agree. Whether it be drugs, alcohol or food, addiction is a condition of illness that pays no mind to our logical minds. I should know, having once been a smoker back in my college days and early 20’s. Yes, that’s right – not only am I a health and fitness professional, but I’m also one of those annoying reformed smokers who drives everyone mad by stating the obvious about how smoking will kill them and that they’d be shocked if they could see the state of their lungs right now! Anyway, I digress.

Another interesting statement he made got my mind going as he described what happens to you when you overeat – particularly crap – in a way I hadn’t previously considered. When you overeat rubbish food, you fall asleep; this is nothing new to anyone who’s gorged themselves around the Christmas dinner table and then plonked themselves in the living room to ‘rest their eyes’. But, why do you feel so tired after a big meal like that? Well, the way Jason described it was that you fall asleep literally because your body doesn’t have enough energy to keep you alive and awake at the same time, all due to the enormous amount of crap you’re now forcing it to have to process! Interesting way of putting it.

He ended his talk with an analogy that utilised a fish bowl, a plastic fish and lots of crap food… and all in an almighty rush due to the organisers from Success Resources threatening to send in the heavies to physically remove him from stage if he didn’t wrap it up pronto! He explained it in terms of the fish being our health and wellbeing, and the water in which is resides being the environment we create in our bodies. He proceeded to pour all manner of shite into the fish bowl such as chocolate, crisps, and soda (to name a few) and we could quickly see the water becoming severely polluted – this being a metaphor for what we’re doing to our bodies. He explained that the fish then started to show signs of dis-ease and so he chucked some antibiotics in there, along with a few other pharmaceutical concoctions which made it seem to the fish like the symptoms were no longer there so he could happily eat more crap. The point here is that although the symptoms had seemingly gone away (or rather been masked by the ‘medicines’) the problems persisted. This is an even worse situation to be in, because you’re then damaging your body and don’t even feel it! Ultimately, his analogy was a way of explaining that pumping yourself full of drugs is not the answer, it will only mask the pain and make things worse in the long run. Clean the water, and you heal the dis-ease without the need for help from pharmaceutical companies.

If you suffer from any sort of dis-ease, Jason recommends eating clean whole foods as a starting point – and again, I have to agree. You get out what you put in. The food and drink that you put in your body literally is the building blocks from which your body makes new cells, repairs damage and uses as a source of energy. Put shit in, get shit out. Simples.

JT Foxx

Next up was the polarising wealth coach JT Foxx. He is an entrepreneur, real estate investor, philanthropist and the World’s No. 1 Wealth Coach. He has clients in over 40 countries around the World, in six different continents. He had his own syndicated radio show in Canada and the US and has appeared on major news networks such as CNBC and the BBC. He has also been featured in major magazine publications such as Forbes. His motto is ‘your success is my success’, as he has created countless entrepreneurs and real estate investors by helping them take their lives and businesses to whole new levels. I have a tonne of notes from his talk, so let’s dive in!

“Don’t talk – act; don’t say – show; don’t promise – prove”

One of his points was that doing the things that got your business to £1m will not get you to £10m – something I wholeheartedly agree with. As Einstein once said, if you want different results, you need to take different action! Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the first sign of insanity.

The four most important things in business are:

  1. Branding
  2. Marketing – any business that’s based on referrals alone is not a business as it’s not a business model that’s saleable
  3. Relationships – to extrapolate on this point, JT stated that you are only 5 key relationships away from earning £1m, and only 10 key relationships away from £10m
  4. Coaching – you will never succeed without a coach (on this point, I agree completely – my own journey over the last 12 months has seen me work with my business coach and mentor Gavin Preston and as a result of working with him I have doubled my company’s turnover in 12 months to just below £5m, and my personal growth has been exponential – to say I am 10x the man I was a year ago would be a serious understatement!)

To be successful, you need to be uncomfortable. One of my favourite quotes is, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. You are not going to progress in anything by staying comfortable. Would I be a Tae Kwon Do World Champion as I sit here today if I was never uncomfortable? Would I fuck! You have to face adversity, push through the tough times and keep challenging yourself every single day in order to learn new things and progress in life. When you face adversity, you get re-introduced to yourself – you get to know who you are when the odds are against you and you’re at the brink. You get to know yourself in ways you couldn’t have even imagined, and you get to realise a rate of personal development and get clarity on things in your life in ways that will blow your mind. We must push through our limits, and we will see that we can always go a little further and that is one hell of an empowering feeling.

Back to JT.. he says that no one buys products, they buy people. Fear is a choice and focus is more important than intelligence. All of these are true, and I would agree that emotional intelligence is more valuable in this day and age that standard IQ. It’s not about the products you offer, but more about the message behind the products – the why. Think about why Apple lovers are such die-hard first adopters. They got the message. Sure, Apple make some nice products, but their company ethos speaks to the core of a certain type of person – the rebels and the misfits. Harley Davidson is the same – you’re not buying a motorbike, you’re buying into a culture, a lifestyle, a way of thinking and living!

He also shared with us his system for risk assessment management, which is a process he uses to assess the potential risks against gains of any given investment or business decision:

  1. What is the best case scenario?
  2. What is the worst case scenario?
  3. What’s the most realistic scenario?
  4. Count: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, DECIDE!

The whole premise of this, is to stop yourself from getting inside your own head too much; follow your gut instinct, and let you heart decide. Pretty good advice. It’s so easy to overthink a big decision, when really the first answer you mind gave you was the right one – think about it too much, and you’ll be lucky to see the wood for the trees.

Create a STOP doing list of things in two categories; transactional and transformational. Transactional things are physical things, like exchanging time for money or picking your nose. Transformational things are those that are in your head, your mindset. After all, the main thing that will make you £1m is, why you?

The three keys of a good business are that it’s sustainable, predictable and consistent. You must create a brand and make money fast.

On a side note, he mentioned that the greatest drug in the World for women is confidence, and also that too much confidence is the downfall of most men.

Another good point he makes, is that you need to hire people in your business to do the transactional work so that you – the business leader – can focus on the transformational work. I completely agree with this; if you’re too busy being the technician doing the work, then you’ll leave yourself no time to be the visionary that can really shift the gears in your business. Visionaries do, dreamers talk.

In terms of investment advice, he shared with us that 10% of your assets should be invested where they’re 100% at risk, and 25% of your assets should be invested where they’re risk free. A well spread and balanced portfolio is the name of the game.

JT Foxx is certainly very confident, and a lot would say arrogant (hence the polarising comment), but he certainly has evidence of his results that show, without a doubt, he knows his shit.

Next up was…

Paul O’Mahony

Paul is a cool Irish cat with a fantastic rags to riches story of success. He’s an entrepreneur, social media mogul, author, Sunday Independent Columnist, and business coach. Probably the thing I love most about Paul, is his mission to take young people and teach them the principals of how to be successful in business before they’ve even left school – because as we all know, it’s not like our education system teaches anything to our children that sets them up for life in the real world of business. Knowing Pythagoras theorem is lovely, and being able to memorise and regurgitate facts shows fantastic memory, but let’s be honest – none of those things are going to help you in the real World with the advent of Google. Who gives a shit if you’ve memorised a boat load of facts? I have Google on my phone, and thus have the World’s boundless information at my fingertips. To this end, our systems of, and approach to education, need a serious overhaul. I digress… and I intend on going into this topic in more detail in a subsequent post.

Paul shared loads of great insights with us, the first of which being the premise that if you help other people get what they want, you will get what you want; in this case success.

There are seven types of problems in life:

  1. Financial
  2. Physical
  3. Social
  4. Mental
  5. Familial
  6. Vocational
  7. Spiritual

If you can be the matchmaker between the people who have problems and the people who have the solutions, you’re onto a winning formula. After all, what business model to the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons follow? Just that. They may have their own brand products, but for the most part they fill their shelves with other people’s products and sell to the customer. They are matchmakers! You see, there are loads of people out there who are great at coming up with solutions to life’s problems, but who are either awful at sales and marketing, or simply don’t care for it. That’s where you come in as the matchmaker. Find top quality products, and sell them to the people for whom they solve a problem – both will always exist in abundance. There will always be entrepreneurs who create products and solutions, and there will always be people with problems that need to be solved – they might change over time, but the basic principal pervades.

What we’re talking about here is affiliate marketing, or the ‘Tesco’ model – they provide the warehouse, others supply the products and the former take a commission on everything they sell. Sounds like a great system to me!

If you want to get somewhere in life then you have to fully commit to the outcome you desire; there’s no point in going at it half arsed. You have to want it to the very core of your being. As the quote goes, “once you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful”.

Collecting contact details is a powerful marketing strategy, and Paul shared with us great ways to do this whereby the person you’re collecting details from doesn’t even have to type their details in. He just uses a very clever landing page from social media and the persons details are automatically filled in for them as a result of them already being signed in to their social media account. All it takes is two clicks, and you add them to your list. On average, Paul estimates you can make $1 per month from each e-mail address in your database, so if you’re looking for a return of $4,000 a month as a wage, then you simply have to collect 4000 e-mail addresses into your database.

“If someone else can do it, so can I”

We must always make sure we’re asking ourselves the right type of questions, empowering questions rather than disempowering questions. This takes some pre-contemplation. For example, instead of asking ‘why can’t I do that?’ ask ‘how can I do that?’ – I touched on this topic in an earlier blog post on asking better questions, which you can read in full HERE.

As Paul’s playground is social media, he goes on to disseminate some fantastic tips on getting the most out of you social media marketing. For example, using leads on Twitter will automatically store a persons name and e-mail address without them actually having to input any information (as was alluded to earlier). Twitter also allows you to set your marketing strategy so that you only pay for the ads which actually convert into sales! That’s right, you only pay for ads that actually make you money! Sound too good to be true? Such is the level of technology today, and so few people are even aware of the level of functionality available to them, never mind actually using it to it’s full potential. The same applies to Facebook ads.

Facebook is great for this, because you can target those people who have already bought through a Facebook ad, you can build tailored audiences so your advert is only ever shown to people who are actually interested in what you’re selling, and you can focus your ads towards those who have a higher than average spend on-line. The functionality of these platforms for social media marketing today is the best it’s ever been, and that’s exactly why 2016 is the year to get started – this is just getting going, so I would advise jumping on board before everyone else does to capitalise. Further, where Google ads are now very oversubscribed and competitive, Facebook ads so completely under-utilised – of the roughly 2 billion people using Facebook worldwide, only about 2 million actually utilise Facebook advertising! Put in other words, out of a room of 1000 people, only one of them is advertising through Facebook. The market is wide open. You can also upload your database to Facebook, see if those people have accounts, and then Facebook will build you additional custom ‘client lists’ based on your existing database.

You need to utilise the Gary Vee technique though, and sell with a Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World – check out his book at the link for more information on this principal, but it’s basically that you don’t go straight in for the sell. First you have to earn the right by providing value added content as your jabs, and then when you’ve earned it go in for the kill (sell) with your right hook.

My closing thoughts on Paul was something he said about money. He said you often hear people say “money doesn’t grow on trees”, but he has an interesting counter to this… “where the fook do you think the paper we print the money onto comes from?”

Next week moved in to the land of books and authors with…

Gerry Robert

Gerry is a cool cat with a great story and an admirable mission. He brought himself from a position of poverty to becoming a multi-millionaire, having amassed an impressive $100m over the last 20 years. He is an expert in branding, marketing, sales and publishing, and founded Black Card Books which is one of the fastest growing publishing companies in the World (based on title acquisitions). On top of all this, he is a best selling author, columnist, speaker and consultant on a global scale, having spoken to over 3 million people around the World. Check out his best seller Millionaire Mindset: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Income.

Gerry runs a boot camp for budding authors called ‘Publish A Book and Grow Rich’ which is aimed at people who feel inspired to write books to help others be the best versions of themselves in their chosen field. Given that I have been planning on writing a book for a few months now, and already have well developed ideas for 4 different books on different niches within the business and self-help market, I chose to sign up for his programme which runs later this year. I’m very excited to get the opportunity to learn from one of the best, and will write a blog after the bootcamp to disseminate my experience. My plan is to write and release two books next year, and then another two the year following, so – watch this space!

We were privileged that Gerry shared his key principals of publishing a book to grow rich over the weekend at the NAC, and the key points are as follows:

  1. Determine your objective
  2. Write the right content
  3. Design an AWESOME cover
  4. Capture leads
  5. Use it to boost sales of your system, solution or product (the book acts as a lead in)
  6. Use it for free publicity
  7. Get others to pay for everything (genius!)
  8. MAKE IT A MUST (this is probably the most important point, as if you don’t make your goals a must, they are much less likely to ever come to fruition)

You need to first determine what purpose your book needs to serve – are you writing it to gain publicity for your business or product, to establish yourself as a Key Person of Influence in your industry, or as a branding and marketing tool to develop a speaking career? Determine your objective so you are clear from the outset on what you need to do to achieve your intended outcome.

Forget traditional publishing; why bother when the tools are available to self-publish and you save an external publishing company creaming a percentage of the profits off the top! Sign up for an authors account on sites like Amazon Author Central and literally do it yourself – you can even get hard copies produced through these mediums, or chose to outsource printing to China.

His advice for new authors is to aim for 80-100 pages for your first book, broken down into 8-10 chapters and with 8-10 pages per chapter. Each chapter should deal with 8-10 needs, desires or problems for which you can provide some valuable insight.

Once you have your book, you should create a single page website for it that you can use to capture leads, and use it to give the book away for free in PDF format in return for people’s sign up and contact details before the release of the official version. As we learned from Paul earlier, the money in marketing is in the database.

Once you’ve written your book, an important change occurs in how you are perceived by the World and by your potential clients – you are no longer a salesman, you are a thought leader and an educator. This instantly gives you way more credibility, as those people you now approach are not concerned that you’re just going to try and sell to them; indeed, they now come to you rather than you having to chase them down because they want your insights!

Another powerful way to gain leverage through your book is to decide if there are any people or companies you want to meet, be affiliated with, or want to endorse you and to write about these people or companies in your book. Make reference too them, and you instantly give them a reason to read the free copy you send them! This hugely increases your chances of obtaining an endorsement or setting up an introduction.

Other than selling your book either in physical or digital format, you can increase the revenue realised from your book by selling advertising space on the back 4-5 pages. This is completely unobtrusive from the readers point of view and is a great way to get the costs of writing, producing and publicising your book paid for by others before you’ve sold a single copy. Approach companies that are synergistic to the content you are providing, but that don’t directly compete with you – this way, you’re adding value to the reader by pointing them in the direction of other companies or people who can offer them services they will consider to be of value without giving revenue away to potential competitors in your marketplace. Added value like this is huge.

Another great way to make some additional revenue prior to official release is to sell a ‘bonus chapter’ – this is basically selling space to someone else to write a contributing chapter in your book which provides added value content for your readers, and excellent promotion to the guest author whilst raising up-front capitol to help pay your costs.

BOOM! How’s that for some serious added value!

Other speakers worthy of mention

I want to use the final paragraphs of this blog to pay credit to two other speakers whom delivered added value on day two, but for whom I did not take notes for several reasons.

The first is Allan Kleynhans who I saw speak at a Unleash the Power Within pre-seminar in Birmingham, and where I signed up for the event being held in London next year. He told a powerful story about his life experiences growing up in South Africa and the horrors he experienced fighting in their army from a young age. He went on to tell us how these experiences, which he calls SEE’s (significant emotional events), affected his life as he grew older and resulted in a terrible drug addiction and serious mounting debt. One day, a friend of his, whom he hadn’t seen in years, introduced him to the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill which changed the course of his life in a massively positive way. As a result of the books lent to him by his friend, he purchased Tony Robbins books and tapes and eventually attended one of Tony’s UPW seminars. Attending this event was the catalyst for him getting sober and turning his life around. This man is a truly beautiful soul, and his compassion for others struck my heart when I had the pleasure of speaking with him over the weekend. If you get the chance to see Allan speak at one of his seminars, I urge you to seize it with both hands – he is an admirable human being, with an inspirational story of personal transformation.

The other man to whom I with to pay credit is the amazing Olympic Ski Jumper Eddie The Eagle. Eddie told his story of how he slept rough in a small village in Switzerland, scraping food out of bins to feed himself, so that he could practice ski jumping – his passion – everyday. He is a truly inspirational man who has overcome great adversity in his life to achieve his goals. I won’t butcher his story here, but I urge you to watch the film that has been made about his life – more information on that HERE.

Summary

I had a fantastic weekend, and I learned so much. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was overwhelmed with the quality of the speakers and the content they delivered. They added so much value to my life and that of everyone who attended and for this I am truly grateful I was afforded the opportunity to have the experience. The highlight for me was obviously Tony Robbins – I have been a huge fan for months now, read several of his books and watched HOURS of his on-line content. The man is immense in every way, and I am so excited about spending a full four days with him and a group of like-minded people at his UPW event next year.. not to mention the fire walk!

I hope you have enjoyed reading of my experiences and key learning from the weekend, and my hope is that it’s added as much value to your lives as it has to mine – I am already taking massive action on much of what I’ve learned and the rewards will be enormous. After all, knowledge is only potential power – the real power is in taking action on the knowledge you obtain.

Thanks for reading!

With love and passion,

Jamie Keeling