Being completely open to what can happen on the spur of the moment, I had a good look at the pre-launch information that he sent me because, even though the book's title referred to making a whole heap of more income, he told me that his definition of income was all the things that "come in" to your life - an idea that is close to my heart. But his publicity material spoke of flashy new cars, that condo on the coast, that ocean going yacht and you simply swimming in oodles of money.
Well, I'm kinda getting sick of the human obsession with money and getting even sicker with the way self-styled gurus prey on ordinary people's obsession with having loads and loads of money. I'm getting sick of the bawdy money-focused antics of some of personal development's great and good - did you know, for example, that there are personal development websites where you can print off copies of cheques from the Universal Bank, right yourself one for a couple of million dollars, stick on your fridge and, lo and behold, the money will simply arrive? Did you know that you can actually purchase, online, fake million dollar bills, stick them to your fridge and the real thing will arrive of its own free will? Give me a break - money is a reward for energy appropriately invested - you've got to do something of value to earn appropriately.
I've chosen my words very carefully because, we all know, there are people out there who do have lots and lots of money who have made it at others' expense. The problem is that we've all been led to believe that we can all live that dream - or, perhaps, more to the point, the American Dream that turned out to be the American Nightmare. You know what I'm talking about - just as the likes of the Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Sean FitzPatrick of Anglo-Irish Bank, President Barack Obama, Gordon Brown. More to the point, just ask ordinary taxpayers from Iceland to Greece, from Portugal to Ireland - or just ask those who are euphemistically referred to as the "new poor" in America - people who have lost their businesses and their homes - just ask the guys who are sleeping in their SUVs in parking lots in Santa Barbara at night.
The obsession with money is no gold-encrusted highway, it's a minefield simply waiting to explode in your face. And, as long as you're obsessed with the pursuit of money, you will not be happy. First of all, you'll never have enough of the damn stuff, secondly, you will do things for it to which, in the cold light of day, a conscientious objector might find offensive. You will put your energy into money and forget about putting your energy into living.
You don't need a whole heap of money to be happy and successful. Sure, you might think you do because that has generally become the modern mantra when it comes to defining success. But look at the research - from eminent psychologists such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and the work done by the University of Chicago and the University of Milan as detailed in Csikszentmihalyi's ground-breaking book "Flow". There are people working on production lines - you know the places that normal people want to escape from to become successful - who are some of the most effective, happiest and successful on God's earth. There are what the slick executive would describe as peasant farmers living in the Aosta valley - it happens to be just the other side of Mont Blanc from where I'm sitting writing this article - who have a simple but full, rewarding and effortlessly happy existence. As I've said to many of my clients, the average age of someone dying in my own village this side of Mont Blanc must be close to one hundred years old. They have everything that they could wish for in their lives and they simply wouldn't know the meaning of stress.
Life is not about money - life is about living. It may sound obvious but it doesn't appear to be obvious to the vast majority of people in this crazy world of ours (at least, in the so-called development world of ours). You've got to start putting the quality of your life first - I mean the quality of your life now, not when you go on holidays, not when you look forward to the weekend, not as you look longingly out of your office window and wish you were on the golf course. Now is what matters. If you think that you don't have enough money now, that thought will ensure that you never will, because you'll never be focused in the only place and time where you can be appropriately rewarded for an investment of your precious energy - in the here and now.