The Secrets to Living a Successful Life, Making Money and Being Happy

I recently decided to stop blogging for a while to concentrate on other things in my life. One of these things was my working life - I wanted to take my freelance business up a notch, to have more freedom and ultimately, to make more money. I'm not ashamed to admit that - can anyone who clicked on the title of this post honestly say they wouldn't want more money? (If you can, then there's probably not much point in reading the rest of the post, tbh.)

I work for a bank so I'm around money all day. Pretty much every currency on the planet. You might have noticed that I don't generally talk about my day job online, not only because it bores the hell out of me, but also because I'd rather keep my personal life off the internet. This is probably the one and only time you'll see me mention it, and I'm only doing so now because it's relevant to the point I'm trying to make.

I wanted to make more of my own money, rather than handling other people's all day and receiving a set wage. With your own business there's no limit to how much you can make. I've already been able to cut my hours down at work to focus on my own stuff, but the ultimate goal is to work for myself full time.

Over the past couple of months I've immersed myself in books, videos and podcasts which talk about everything from how to grow your business, to how to have more self-belief, to how to make money doing something you love and stick it to The ManI've been surprised to discover that, whatever the subject matter of the book/podcast/whatever, all the advice comes down to a few key points. Things that all successful people intuitively know and implement in their lives. I think they're actually things that we all know deep down, but don't want to admit. 

Since I started practising these habits daily, I've noticed a substantial, positive difference in all areas of my life. I'm more focused and determined, I'm achieving more, my relationships are stronger, my mood has improved exponentially and life in general is just better. I'd feel bad if I kept these 'secrets' to myself and didn't share them with other people when they could improve their lives, too. So here are five realisations I've come to which have had a huge impact on me lately.  

(Before we start, please note that these things aren't necessarily easy, especially if you're like me and they don't come naturally to you. You'll consciously have to work on them. It's like working out - if you want results, you need consistency. There's no shortcut to success.) 

1. Your thoughts become your reality
Your mind is an extremely powerful force. What you focus on, you attract. Once you learn to harness the power of your mind, you'll be able to change your life. Fill your head with positivity, motivation and useful information from books, YouTube videos, podcasts and inspirational people you know, and you'll literally re-programme your brain for success. Don't just read one book or listen to one podcast a month; become obsessed with learning, growing and improving yourself. Read/listen in your spare time, on the commute to work, while you're cleaning the house or doing the weekly food shop, and instead of watching whatever's on TV, watch documentaries about your passion. I've listed some of my favourite self-help books at the end of this post to get you started.

2. Confidence is key
You're going to need to become completely clear on what you want and have the confidence to go after it. Self belief will get you further than anything else in life. Write down your goals - this changes them from an idea or a wish into a physical reality, and studies have shown that having your goals written down will make you 42 per cent more likely to achieve them. Read them to yourself when you wake up in the morning and before you fall asleep at night, and really believe that you're going to achieve them (even if you don't believe it at first, just keep telling yourself that you do and eventually you will). Don't be afraid to take risks, to put yourself out there, to talk to people and to ask for what you want (I know; scary, right?). You're going to have to feel the fear and do it anyway a lot of the time. It will get easier after a while though, I promise. 

3. Never give up
No matter how talented you are, if you want to achieve your dreams, you're going to need a bulldog-like tenacity. Also known as determination or persistence, tenacity is the ability to keep going and see things through until the end. It's having the discipline to work even when you don't feel like it and the refusal to give in when things get hard, and not let failure discourage you. Take a break by all means, but do not quit

4. Work smarter, not harder
You might think that you'll have to work yourself into the ground to achieve what you want. Well, you'll be pleased to know that you don't have to (unless you want to, of course - but why would you, really?). Don't waste your time on unimportant tasks that won't get you any closer to where you want to be. Write out a list of things that need to be done and prioritise them from most important to least important. Then work on them in order of importance - don't do, say, number 7 on the list just because it'll be quicker. See if you can delegate the least important tasks, or just don't do them at all if you can get away with it. Concentrate on one thing at a time and see it through to the end before you begin the next task. And don't let yourself get sidetracked by other people, your phone or social media: minimise as many distractions as possible. Working longer hours doesn't necessarily make you more productive - you could work all day and not accomplish anything of real value. Learn how to manage your time to get the most out of it. 

5. Invest in yourself
You are important, and therefore it's important for you to invest in yourself and your personal growth. If you're still reading this post then I know that you want to better yourself, make more money, have more freedom and be happier. These things won't just happen without a little work. But you're worth it. Buy yourself books, take courses related to your interests (or self-help courses), spend time working on you. Work hard at your passions. Don't try to go it alone; surround yourself with people who will support and help you. Whether you have spare time, cash or whatever, invest it back into yourself and watch yourself grow. 

I know that most of these things are easier said than done. It's all well and good me telling you to change your thoughts, be confident and never give up, but unless you're willing to put in the work, none of these tips is going to work for you. You won't have magically changed the way you think just by reading this post. Money hasn't appeared out of thin air and you're probably no more confident in yourself than when you started reading. However, I hope what this post has done is given you some tips and inspiration to start turning your life around. If you put these ideas into practice every single day I guarantee you'll begin to see a positive change...and it might happen sooner than you think. I know you can do it. Other people are living their dreams, and if just one person on this planet is able to, that means we all are. 

Books I recommend 
I've read/listened to a lot of books recently. Here's a list of five which have helped me the most so far. (Affiliate links have been used here. If you purchase anything through one of my links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

1. Life Leverage by Rob Moore (UK link) (US link)
This is seriously one of the best books I've ever read, which is why it's at the top of my list. I think everyone who's self employed or an entrepreneur needs to read this. It covers pretty much everything you'll need to know about running your own business and mastering your life, especially if it's all new to you. 

2. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (UK link) (US link)
I love Jen Sincero's books because they're no-nonsense guides to realising your worth, living a life you love and not letting doubt get in your way. I love her humour, too.

3. You Are a Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero (UK link) (US link)
Another one by Jen Sincero, because her books are just that good. This one focuses solely on how to attract money into your life and the limiting beliefs and taboos surrounding money that you need to let go of if you want more of it. 

4. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (UK link) (US link)
I think most people have probably heard of this book, which is all about the Law of Attraction and how to manifest abundance in your life. It's been turned into a documentary (also called The Secret) which is available on Netflix so you can watch that to get the gist of it before you buy the book, if you wish.

5. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz (UK link) (US link)
This book was written in the 1950s and is still useful and insightful for people in the working world today. Key points talked about are believing in yourself, rejecting excuses, eliminating fear and, you guessed it: thinking big. It's quite a long book but worth the read.

What are your favourite personal development books/podcasts? Please share them in the comments as I'm always looking for more inspiration and I'm sure they could help others too. 

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