When I started becoming interested in self development and designing my life, rather than just going along with it, one book I came across was The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S Clason.
It is a great little book.
The story behind the book goes, it was a set of parables and stories found on some ancient clay tablets. The stories tell tales and life lessons from a man, who, was the richest man in Babylon (an ancient city since lost, that was meant to be one of the richest cities in the world).
Here are 10 life lessons (some of which I learned the hard way) from The Richest Man in Babylon:
Save 10% before tax
Every month when you get paid, save 10% before you pay taxes. And figure out how to live on the rest.
Now, this is easier said than done. I’ve done this twice and failed the key part of this lesson which is: Don’t spend that 10%.
When I first learned this idea, I started saving my 10%. And month by month… my money grew. It grew surprisingly fast.
But, being in a rush to make money, I made a poor decision to “invest” my growing savings into my business, to try and force that to grow faster. (I was wrapped in a weird… well cult I guess, that had a bizarre obsession with “making XYZ money teaching guitar”. That was a lesson hard learned on not letting other people set my life goals)
The second time I spent it all, I had not planned my taxes properly and got hit with a massive tax bill.
Since I started figuring out ways to earn more money, I started saving my 10% again. It’s note a huge amount, but this time, I’m keeping it. And it will grow.
Save your 10% and keep it.
Invest the 10%
Invest it in real investments, not digging yourself out of a hole.
The idea is to create a little army of dollars, all working for you, night and day, to make you more dollars.
You will probably find that, once you start saving the money, opportunities come your way. Some good, some bad, undoubtedly some by con-men.
One of the safest long term investments, is to use dollar cost averaging to invest into a tracker fund. A tracker fund is a fund that buys a bit of everything on the stock market. Dollar cost averaging is where you spread risk by investing a little bit each month. On average, this strategy can get you something like 8% a year return.
Learn more about investing. You might prefer that, or property or something else; but find some way to make your money more productive.
Control Your Expenditure
Don’t spend more than you earn. Keep your spending to roughly 70% of your income, or less.
It’s a pretty simple rule. Again, one I’ve broken, and caused trouble for myself.
Guard Your Treasure from Loss
Not only does the richest man in Babylon recommend this, so does Warren Buffet.
Grow your treasure, and don’t lose it. Then compound interest works in your favour long term.
Guarding from loss means:
- Planning your taxes so you don’t get a surprise bill
- Not making rash or bad investments
- Not spending it on junk
This ties in with another rule from the book:
Better a little caution, than a great regret
Invest in What You Know
The Fourth Law of Gold: Gold slippery away from the man who invests it in businesses which he is not familiar, or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep
Self explanatory. Don’t invest in something without knowing about it. Michael Jackson knew about music, so he invested in the rights to The Beatles masters.
Warren Buffet knows about the stock market and how business works, so he invests in businesses.
Grant Cardone knows about property, so he invests in property.
Don’t let people without a proven track record invest for you, and don’t invest your time into people without a proven track record.
Where Determination Is, A Way Can Be Found
When I was learning guitar, the thing I craved more than anything else, was to develop intense speed.
It took me nearly a decade of trying different solutions, but eventually, I got it. Different books, DVDs, magazines, teachers; I tried all sorts of things and made a ton of mistakes, but eventually got there.
When I interviewed Par from Sabaton a few years ago at Hellfest, interestingly one thing he talked about was his determination to, no matter what the challenge, figure out a way to get what he wanted.
Women Want to be Desired
If your woman doesn’t feel desired, she is going to feel invisible.
And if she feels invisible, she isn’t going to stay around.
Have The Soul of a Free Man, Not That of a Slave
Go thy own way and may the gods of the desert protect thee for the way is far and barren of food or water
There are two choices in life: Decide who you want to be and shape yourself in that image, or, let others shape you in any which way they want.
I’ve been guilty of both.
Choosing what I want and the direction I want to go in always creates conflict of some kind… and always leads me to feeling happiest and creating the things I want.
Allowing other people to choose goals for me always led me down a path of unhappiness.
People will tell you they have the answer, they might be incredibly convincing that they have the answer… and surprisingly, for $XYZ they will give you the answer.
A free man chooses his own path.
Do Everything Full Hearted
Yet he owed it to Arad Gula to do something, not a half hearted attempt. He and Arad Gula had never done things that way. They were not that sort of men.
– The Luckiest Man in Babylon
Finally, a rule I haven’t broken. When I made my record, I went full-heart on it.
I practised my arse off, went into a recording studio, found some of the best musicians I possible could, and created something special.
I ended up with a record that got better reviews than some major label releases.
Do everything full hearted. Throw yourself into it.
If you are going to start a blog, blog every day. If you are going to learn guitar, find a great guitarist to learn from. If you are going to write music, sit down and write every day
…allow no day to pas without a line written…
– Johan Joseph Fux, Gradus Ad Parnassum
Attract the Goddess of Good Luck
Sitting around doing nothing guarantees one thing – that you get nothing.
Taking any sort of action is going to be better than hoping for something to happen.
This has been happening already with my music.
I released my album, sold a few copies to friends… and then nothing.
The world refused to acknowledge what I had created.
I hadn’t realised that selling a record, is a completely different game to releasing a record.
So I sat, thought, and made myself a database of several hundred review websites. And emailed all of them. I got some reviews, some interviews, I started to get my music out into the world a little bit.
I got a few write ups in magazines, with PowerPlay Magazine in the UK doing a great review.
But it wasn’t creating the results I wanted, so it was back to the drawing board. Reviews give you some cool things you can talk about or add to your advertising, but they do not do a whole lot for you.
I recently started on a new path, of experimenting with Facebook advertising. It’s building exposure for my music, led to having my music played on a few small radio stations and some record sales.
It’s still not where I want it to be, but it is in the right direction.
And the more I do… the more good luck I seem to have.
The more action you take, the more good luck you will have.
Men of action are favoured by the goddess of good luck