The Keys To Success

“I shouldn’t have read this.”

Sounds good.

“It was like reading a book.”

Uh-huh.

“It gave me a headache.”

Perfect.

I thoroughly enjoyed these comments someone left on my article.

Thank you for the chuckle.

With that out of the way, let’s get started with today’s topic.


What is success? The answer to this question varies. It varies, because people are in different stages of their lives. Their situation, personal values and various other reasons can change what success is. Traditionally, though, being financially successful is considered to be the ultimate form of success.

But when it comes to financial success… there’s only one way to keep score. You either have it or don’t have it. That’s as simple as it gets.

“The most important business card is the one you put in the ATM.”

Anton Kreil

Today’s article was inspired by InstituteOfTrading’s 10 Secrets To Achieve Financial Success. You can watch it for free on YouTube:

Worth the watch, but perhaps it is best to return to it after reading the article.

I truly mean inspired, as I think while the message of the video holds true, things also have changed as of late. And, of course, I have my own take on things.

And, unlike the video’s title would suggest, I won’t be talking just about financial success. Though, neither is Anton.

Respect Money And Be Indifferent Towards It

Source: Mufid Majnun

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

1 Timothy 6:10, King James Bible

There are many old adages about money:

  • Money doesn’t bring you happiness
  • Money is the root of all evil
  • More money; more problems
  • etc.

Depending on the perspective, these sayings may ring true to some, but let’s be honest – most would prefer to have more rather than less money.

Money may (in certain circumstances) bring with it, trouble. It may not exactly be the reason for your happiness. And it may, indeed, be the root of at least some evil.

But take a moment think about the alternative: a world with no money. A barter economy (look up double co-incidence of wants) where one must look for something that they need for something that they have.

For me it isn’t so difficult to imagine this kind of world. In many online games it’s all about trading. For example (and while I’m personally not too familiar with it) PoE (Path of Exile) is a game where there is no money. All trading is done via barter. Games, incidentally, are great for experimenting with different real-life concepts without having to actually live through it. If you think about it, it’s a bit like wargaming.

Barter economy works, to some extent, but it is time consuming to get what you want. You need to advertise for the things you want and what you are willing to trade for them. It takes a lot of time and patience, and there are no safety nets. This kind of economy slows everything down and it ultimately is in the way of human progress. It also encourages hoarding, stealing, scamming and, yes, even wars. For in barter economy, whosoever has the most “stuff,” is the richest man on Earth.

Money is the (well, I suppose, a) means to an end. It is there to smooth things over. When you buy something with money, you get what you want, and the seller can use that money to pay his workers and with whatever is left, buy what he wants. Money is the medium of exchange.

Everything around you is the result of a monetary system. We got where we are today over hundreds of years of various monetary systems.

This simply means that money has a function. It makes society work. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have more money.

Side note: just imagine trying to buy a Starbucks latte in a barter economy.


Source: Fahmi Fakhrudin

Like the Bible quote says, it is not money that is the root of all evil; the love of money is the root of all evil. In other words, greed is the root of all evil.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have more money to make your own or your family’s life more enjoyable. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to have money to help others. And, to those who haven’t done it, being able to provide someone else with a livelihood (a salary) is actually a pretty good feeling in itself.

There is a level of greed in wanting to help oneself and those around you. Anton refers to this kind of greed as positive greed. But where there is a positive, there is also a negative.

Money becomes a problem when it becomes the end itself. Money for money’s sake.

Site node: Michael Saylor makes a good point when promoting bitcoin: gold (a commodity, but also functions as money. Some say (even the Bible) that gold IS money) has been the cause of many wars in the past. People hoard it, and whoever has the majority of it in a gold-based economy, is essentially the king of the land. But while they may be the king of the land, many covet their position and their possession. Bitcoin solves this problem by not being a physical *thing*. I still like gold, though.

In a perfect world this wouldn’t be a problem. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world.

Negative greed happens when people start to worship money. They start to use shortcuts, the “more for me, less for thee” kind of mentality. Sometimes it actually gets worse than this and it becomes outright tyranny: ALL for me; NOTHING for you.

Now that I think about it… I must’ve heard a slogan like this before… Ah yes!

But I don’t think I need to explain greed much more than that. Just know that it is okay to be a little greedy, as long as your heart is in the right place.


For an individual, it would be difficult to change the world. There will always be greedy people willing to do anything to fulfil their own agenda. What an individual can do is change their own perspective.

What is the opposite of love? Many would be quick to jump to the conclusion and say hate is the opposite of love. This is not true. Indifference, not caring, is the opposite of love. Emotion versus no emotion. Here one can make the poignant observation that indifference is also the opposite of hate.

Side note: there is another problem that must be mentioned: there are some people that, rather than being indifferent towards money, choose to not care about money. You can’t not care about money. People around you use it, they clearly do care about money, and so should you – at least to some degree.

Anton brings up another interesting point: (when talking about money) there are only two inputs to an enterprise: capital and labour.

Money is a commodity. Labour itself is a commodity. The both of them have prices.

For capital the price is interest. For labour the price is the price the labour is willing to work for. This simply means there is such a thing as labour market.

Without capital markets there wouldn’t be labour markets (without capital markets there would essentially be a slave “market” and tyranny, you see). Because of these markets we are able to allocate resources as optimally as possible. This is because there is demand and supply for capital, and there is also a demand and supply for labour.

People who have done well for themselves know money doesn’t bring happiness. They are essentially the same as they were when they had none of their riches. Now they’re just a little older and wiser.

But what they also know is that more money doesn’t (in general) bring with it more problems. With more money, you have more options; more freedom to choose and do what you want to do.

Money itself doesn’t bring happiness, but not having money certainly doesn’t do that either. All having more money can do is help you become happier; it can not do so on its own.

That’s all there is to it.


Source: GR Stocks

Except that’s not all there is to it.

I disagree when Anton says the following:

“…small problem is that these days it is very popular to have this view of the world, this view of money, that this system is broken and doesn’t work. Well, it does, because there is no better alternative. It isn’t perfect, but there’s no better alternative.”

Anton Kreil

The reason why I disagree with this is that our current monetary system (a Keynesian system) is a grand experiment that is coming to its end. It is the reason why we were able to have this great growth for roughly a hundred years, but it also brought with it these boom and bust cycles. Each boom is followed up by a bust, and these boom/burst cycles stretch and create ever bigger booms and busts, because that’s how the system works. We’re nearing the end of this experiment.

We could have had sound money and sound money principles, with slightly slower growth this entire time. We didn’t, for some reason, even though we knew gold-backed currency can accomplish this.

Nowadays we even have a technology, the blockchain technology, that could be used to replace the old system with an even better system – assuming we know how to do it correctly (it would have to be decentralized).

The other problem is this: Anton says that people do not really take the time to understand the function of money, which is correct. He goes on to explain the function of money and how it makes society work, which, again, is correct.

But what he leaves out is this: money is also a tool. Like any other tool, it has a use. The screwdriver is a tool with a function, and that function is to turn screws. Hammer is used to hammer in nails.

What is the function of money as a tool? It is a tool of control. The more money you have, the more control you have over life. Money can also be used to control other people: give someone money, and they’ll perform a task for you. From this we can gather that whoever has the most money is also in the most in control of him or herself as well as others.

This is all fine, of course. Except, there’s one big problem. The problem is that some people have the ability to print money (currency). In today’s environment it means someone has (theoretically) an infinite amount of money and therefore an infinite amount of control.

If you spend a moment to think about that, it is pretty obvious that the system is broken. It is rigged. And not just a little bit.

And, to this, I’m certain we have better alternatives.


From all of this the reader should be able to come to the conclusion the capital markets exist for a reason. Once you understand the capital markets and the function of money, there is no reason to hate or love money. Moreover, money doesn’t care about your feelings, and in fact, money itself doesn’t have feelings.

For the most part, the only way money becomes a problem for you is when you mismanage your finances. But if you manage your finances well, you will probably end up being more relaxed, more comfortable and you’ll end up having more choices. It’s okay to be a little greedy.

Understand money; respect it and be indifferent towards it.

Define Assets And Liabilities Properly

Source: Anne Nygård

“For every liability you have, you are somebody else’s asset. If a home loan is a liability for you, it is an asset for your bank.


Learn to control your cash flow.”

Manoj Arora

What is an asset? A valuable quality, person or a thing.

What is a liability? Disadvantage. Something for which one is liable; an obligation, responsibility, or debt.

As a general rule, you want to minimize your liabilities while maximizing your assets.

Anton goes on to talk about debt.

There are two types of debt: debt that you take on as a company, and debt you take on as a person.

When you take on debt as a company, you are the director of the company. The company has the exposure to the debt (and the risks involved). This kind of debt still is a liability, but it differs from personal liability by being a limited liability. This means you are not personally liable for the debt; the company is.

When you take on debt as a person, the situation is different. You are personally taking on the risk.

Debt comes with risks involved. As in, one who’s in debt must make the payments on a schedule. If that person or a company fails to make said scheduled payments, they could end up insolvent. You do not personally want to be in that situation.

Wealthy people know this. They never want to be held personally liable for anything if possible (smart thing to do), so they make arrangements to make it so. When they buy a house, they will either buy it outright with cash, or in some cases, they’ll take on a loan using their company. Wealthy people do not want liabilities; they want assets.

For a bank, debt is an asset.

When people take on a mortgage, it often ends up being the biggest liability they’ll take over the course of their lifetime. The house is an asset, yes, but the debt is a liability. And the debt in this case (mortgage) can end up being 3-4 times the value of the house.

On paper, it’s pretty clear it doesn’t make sense to take on a mortgage unless you have to. Why do people do it? They feel like they have to. They feel like they have no choice. They’ve also been told that house is an asset and that you’re being left behind by not owning one.

Is this true? Here’s a chart:

Well, the prices are going up… but occasionally they also go down. And there’s also the upkeep one has to consider. A house is not a risk-free investment.

The mistake people often make is they take on debt to pay for a lifestyle they can’t afford. And then they double down, and take on even more debt.

Here’s a chart from Statista:

The household debt is ballooning out of control in the US. The rest of the world isn’t doing much better, if at all better. And mortgage is by far the largest liability in an average household.

But the thing is, people do not realize there is an alternative to being in debt. They could just rent an apartment if they can’t outright buy a house.

The reason why many won’t do this is because they think a rent is a liability; that it is in the same basket as debt.

This is not the case. Why? When you rent, there is no risk. You can walk out at any time. This is valuable, because freedom is an asset.

If you have debt, you also have a responsibility. You have an obligation to pay back the money you own. Having debt locks you in place. You must work and you can not move. When you take on debt, you are borrowing from your future. Time, as it happens, is also an asset.

You do not want to have any debt if you can avoid it.


What we just went through were mostly monetary assets and liabilities. The topic, however, goes deeper than this.

Everything that brings value to your life is an asset. Your health is an asset. Your friends and colleagues can be an asset. Your skills and talents can be utilized as an asset. Always try to build on these; have more assets than liabilities.

Now, everything that brings value to your life is an asset, but at the same time, everything that takes value out of your life is a liability. Time is a valuable resource. Some people and things like to waste time; ditch them.

We’ll talk more about this later.

Build and Own Your Own Infrastructure

Source: Christian Wiediger

“Rocks in my path? I keep them all. With them I shall build my castle.”

Nemo Nox

Anton continues from his previous point and says that while you are working towards financial success, you need to be prepared to swallow your pride.

It is alright if you at first work for a corporation. It is alright to rent, or share and apartment with other people. Even if it takes you 10 to 15 years to accomplish your goal, it is still worth it.

What one should do while they are working towards their goal is minimize their liabilities. Actually get rid of them entirely. No mortgage. No car loans. No credit card debt. None.

Ultimately, you will also need to build and own your own infrastructure. This means owning a business or a brand (why not both?). You can do this while you’re working, but it is essential you do not have any liabilities while you are doing it.

It will be hard work, but it can be done.


Before I started working on this blog, I had already been writing for multiple other websites. It is not my first time writing articles, nor is it my first time writing a blog.

I managed to get a job as a ghost-/copywriter and also as a translator on multiple occasions. It pays well enough if you are good at it.

It was, however, not to my taste in the end.

The reason why I’m now writing this blog, and it is all for free, is because previously I was selling my work for pennies. It just felt awful to receive a (relatively) small amount of money as compensation for my creative work that would be on display somewhere else (and under someone else’s name), making the website owner money for as long as the site was operational. I did not get any recognition for my work, and so, I wasn’t building my own infrastructure for the future. I knew I was getting the short end of the stick.

It felt so bad to be working in such a manner that I figured I’d rather work for free as long as it meant I get to work for myself, using my own name.

This shouldn’t surprise you, but there are authors out there that have never written a book. Yet, they have authored entire book series. I don’t know why it is so, but it just feels bad when someone takes credit for someone else’s hard work, without even mentioning the name of the original creator. This is why I make it a point to link to the videos I get (some) of my talking points from.

Side note: realistically speaking, none of our ideas are truly our own. Everyone derives inspiration from somewhere else. It would be impossible to always give credit where credit is due. There’s no need to worry about it too much.

I know how to make money from a blog. I could advertise my blog more if I wanted to. Yet, I don’t do it. It is deliberately so. I am not interested in reaching mass audience, or making money (currency units) from this endeavour. It is a niche site for niche audience.

Basically, if you are reading this, you are probably a weirdo. Congratulations.

I truly believe the world is heading towards a disaster. Based on my research, (financial) Armageddon of sorts is upon us. I’m not too worried about this, but it just means that (at least in my case) making money isn’t exactly my top priority.

Side note: In case the problems I often discuss do not materialize for some reason, I may have to reconsider my approach. Either way, at least I have my own “thing” ready if such a scenario presents itself.

For now, my priority is making other people think by sharing ideas, concepts and relevant media.

If someone derives value from my work as is, it is enough for me.


Let’s continue with the article.

Seek Out Alternative Education

Source: Sergey Zolkin

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

Mark Twain

Anton talks about the importance of travelling (I agree) and the concept of risk in the video before this point, but I will skip those bits for the purposes of this article. Watch the video to hear his points.

He goes on to mention the traditional education system. He says that the question of “how to make a success of yourself?” is clearly not a part of the curriculum. I couldn’t agree more.

You need to look at the infrastructure any teacher is part of in the traditional education system. They are part of the system and they are getting paid by the system. This by default makes them protective of the traditional education system. It is what pays their bills after all. It is a conflict of interest.

Since becoming a success is not part of the traditional education system, the teachers are incentivised to not teach anything about it to you (assuming they know how to be successful in the first place). The goal of the traditional education system is to make you useful to someone else; not to yourself.

More or less everybody goes through the traditional education system. This includes your parents as well. Your parents are (in general) protective of you and want the best for you. Because they’ve been gone through the traditional education system, they will try and make sure you will do what is (in their opinion) the right thing to do.

Parents, too, have a conflict of interest. The conflict of interest in this case is emotion. They want what is best for you, from their point of view. They also want you to take the least amount of risk possible to achieve the greatest amount of success. They do not consider what you want, they “know” what works. Become a lawyer, doctor or an engineer – this is what they know. This is their idea of success.

The problem with this is that only you know what you want, and only you know what works for you. It is up to you to figure out how to make what you want become a success story.

The other problem is that when you go and present your business idea to people (including your parents) who have gone through the traditional system, they will give you the default answer, which is something akin to: “That looks risky.” “You probably shouldn’t do it.” “Why not get a university degree instead and find a traditional job?”

This means that you are unlikely to find any support for your “risky” ideas of starting a business and working for yourself.

It is then when you need to think for yourself:

  • Are the people giving you advice (your parents, teachers and even your peers) successful?
  • Are they rich or are they poor?
  • Do they really have your best interest in mind? Or is it their (emotional) interest they’re after?
  • If they aren’t successful… why are you listening to them when it comes to questions about success?

If they continuously make poor decisions, they probably aren’t the best role models as far as financial success goes.


Based on what we have just gone through, your real education begins after you are out of the traditional education system. It is up to you to find the right venues, people and sources of information that help you achieve success in your chosen field.

There are million ways to make a million dollars. You don’t have to become a lawyer, doctor or an engineer.

Only you know what works for you; you don’t have to listen to the naysayers.

Value Your Time

Source: Ben White

“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.”

Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

Time is valuable. Time is, also, fleeting.

Personally, this fact doesn’t bother me. We’re here only for a moment, might as well take in the quiet moments as well. Also, my brain needs a break every now and then.

At the same time, the clock is, indeed, ticking by. Second by second. Minute by minute. Day by day. All year round.

While I don’t personally put much value on just having money, Anton makes a great point in this part of the video.

Him and the cameraman are standing on the London Bridge, observing the passers by.

“You know what we were talking with the traditional education system…

this is the end result,” he begins the explanation.

“Essentially what they are doing in this labour market is, they are working for nothing. Because at the end of every month their salary’s coming in, net. They’ve got their liabilities. They pay out. What’s left they spend. So, essentially, they are swapping their time… for free. That’s what they’re doing. That’s the end result of coming through the traditional system.”

These very same people have business cards with fancy titles written on them. But when they put their card in the ATM at the end of the month, there’s nothing. All this without realizing their most important business card is actually the one they put in the ATM.

“If you are a person that always thinks they’re right, for some reason. Well, I would say this to you: put your card in the ATM, and see the number that looks back at you. That will tell you whether you are right or wrong, or not. There’s only one way to keep score.”


I saw this video a few years back. It had great impact on me as a person. It changed my way of thinking.

Today I can say I have no liabilities. The “score” tells me I am right, more than I am wrong, at least as far as financial success goes.

There’s only one way to keep score.


If you find yourself on the wrong side of the equation, clearly, you do not value your time enough.

There are ways combat this.

To begin, you need to put yourself and your personal goals as the first priority in life. Nothing and no one else can take this priority.

Your objective should be your number one goal. Staying focused and reminding yourself of it constantly will keep you on your toes when making decisions.

With this in mind you should be able to then take a look at your current situation. Are the people around you adding value to you and your objective?

I genuinely mean this. Successful people hang around other successful people for a reason.

If the people around you aren’t up to your standard, or they are in the way of progress, ditch them. It really is better to be alone than with the wrong crowd.

Side note: you are the sum of the 5 closest people to you. Make it count.

Next you need to take a look at the things you do daily. Does whatever you are doing help you reach your goals or not?

If the answer is no, get rid of it. This includes your smartphone (and its various apps) and other entertainment devices.

Here I have to say, as a writer, I find value in some kinds of entertainment. I find value in alone- and thinking time. I use both for inspiration. If utilized properly, a smartphone can be used as a value-add rather than just a time sink (that being said, most aren’t doing this). You need to determine for yourself whether it (whatever “it” is) actually is valuable to you or not.

You know best what works for you. Keep that in mind.

Put yourself first and never lose focus.

Mainstream Media Is Useless. Don’t Consume It

Source: D A V I D S O N L U N A

“General, or wider news media, is really the same, in terms of utility, as financial news media. They’re both pretty useless if you want, or if your objective is, freedom and success. Because what you actually need to have (as we’ve discussed already) is objectivity, clarity and independence of thought in order to put yourself on that road to freedom and success.”

Anton Kreil

Agreed.

The last two years, for example, have been hell, and it is mostly so thanks to the mainstream media rumble.

The mainstream media is useless because it has an agenda, and the agenda is the agenda itself. It doesn’t matter what country you’re in, this will always be the case.

The reason this is a problem is that even if mainstream news only reported facts (heh…), it would still be an issue. Even if there was no bias behind the reporting, they can’t possibly cover all the news.

So, what ends up happening is simple: the mainstream media shows you this, but leaves out that (whatever this and that is). In other words: “look here; don’t look over there.” They choose what is important and what is not important.

But, this doesn’t really work. In Finnish there is this fantastic saying: ryhmässä tyhmyys tiivistyy. It roughly translates to: in a group, stupidity intensifies. It talks about the idea of conformity. This is what mainstream media creates by default, simply by being mainstream media.

Side note: Conformity is the tendency for an individual to align their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours with those of the people around them. Conformity can take the form of overt social pressure or subtler, unconscious influence. Regardless of its form, it can be a powerful force—able to change how large groups behave, to start or end conflicts, and much more. Source: psychology today.

Here’s Park Dietz talking about media’s responsibility:

The message is still relevant today. And it applies to areas outside of serial killers as well.


Allen Savory talks about science:

He mentions that science today is very much so based on conformity.

The problem with this kind of approach is that new kind of science and new kind of ideas can not come from the mainstream (it wouldn’t be ‘new’ if it was mainstream). They always come from the outskirts of science and academia.

Rick Rule often says that he believes our individual creativity, tenacity and overall goodness of character can overcome our collective stupidity (paraphrasing).

If you want to create something new (including a new life for yourself), you must search for answers outside of the mainstream media and mainstream sciences.

Seek out alternative points of view and education.

Choose Role Models That Suit Your Objective

Source: Zachary Bedrosian

The heading is pretty self-explanatory: seek out role models that suit your objective.

What perhaps is not so clear is how to find such role models.

A mentor is a fine example of a role model. I’d guess most people are aware of the typical type of mentors that are “always” (not really) present, kind of (but not quite) like a father-figure, guiding you along the way. This kind of mentor/role model can be great if you are able find one.

Side note: when it comes to mentors, it’s good to keep the first law of power in mind. What is the first law of power you might ask? Never outshine the master. Look up 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene.

But role models don’t always have to be present, or even available for you to contact them. They don’t, in fact, even have to be alive. We have books, movies and videos full of information from great role models.

It is up to you to find the ones suit your objectives.

Some Other Tips

“Regarding the creative: never assume you’re the master, only the student. Your audience will determine if you’re masterful.”

Don Roff

We’ve now gone through what it takes to be financially successful.

But life isn’t all about finance and economics. There are other things that are important as well.

Health is, indeed, wealth. This is true when it comes to both physical and mental well-being. One should actively participate in activities that offer a boost your health, both mentally and physically.

Reading and thinking for yourself aren’t outdated concepts, and studying history can be fun.

And while it may seem like a waste of time, creative pursuits can help you understand the world around you better than most other things.

When someone asks why, it’s good to keep this in mind:

“Never Explain Anything”

H.P. Lovecraft

Some things only make sense to you. You don’t have to explain it to others.

Ultimately, it is you who determines what success is. It is also you, only you, who knows what works for you.

That being said, being financially successful can help you become a success in other areas of your life.

Get your finances right (or at least not horribly wrong) and everything else will follow.

4 thoughts on “The Keys To Success

    1. Thanks.

      If you mean the quotes I started the article with, all came from the same source. I take it to be his way of saying it made him think. Seems alright.

      Like

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