For as long as there has been money there have been ‘Get rich quick’ schemes. The shelves of bookstores are lined with rich people offering their secrets. Social media is full of tips on how to be successful.

In fact, I am starting to reach the conclusion that the best way to get rich quick is to write a book entitled “How to get rich quick”!

I find all this rather exhausting. The tips usually involve getting up at a ridiculously early time of day, eating a handful of pulses, and making lists. Lots of lists.

I have two issues with these tips. Firstly, they assume that being rich is something for which we should strive. My research when writing two books on financial wellbeing (the relationship between money and happiness) tells me that my wellbeing does not need to depend on my wealth.

Secondly, many of the tips are ‘one size fits all’. Sure, get up at 5am if you’re a morning person. My circadian rhythms are different however, and regularly getting up at 5am would not result in pleasant outcomes for anyone!

They also conveniently ignore reality. Can you imagine hearing this top tip from a famous businessperson: ‘The real secret to my success, is this: Have wealthy parents.’

My objective has always been to be happy, not wealthy. I call this being ‘moderately successful’ – by which I mean earning enough to live the life I want. On my terms, based around my wellbeing. Here, therefore, are five of my tips to help you to also be moderately successful.

1. What is success?

How will you know when you have enough? One business owner I coached had many times more money than he needed following the sale of his business, but described himself as being ‘bereft’. At no point while growing the value of his business had his financial adviser or accountant asked him what the money was for.

My first tip, therefore, is: Own your success. Once you define what success means to you, then you will know when it has been achieved.

This tip comes with a caveat. By ‘success’, I don’t mean size of bank balance or house. I mean being happy – doing things that give you meaning and purpose, and having quality social relationships.

2. Take a nap

This is possibly the most controversial tip of all! I find there to be an element of machismo involved in those tips from ‘the top’. A lack of sleep seems to be crucial to be a famous and rich entrepreneur.

There is both anecdotal and scientific evidence that a short nap during the day increases productivity. A nap will help to clear out the inbox of your brain.

I avoid booking meetings between 12.30 and 2. I confess to a little enjoyment from telling people that I can’t have a meeting at 1.30pm, because “that’s when I nap”. They laugh nervously, and then realise that I am serious!

3. Don’t make plans

If you want to be truly successful, we are told, you must create a plan, and stick to it. ‘Plan for tomorrow today’ goes one wealthy person’s tip.

But where’s the fun in that!?

I prefer to leave a few loose ends. If you fill your diary, you won’t have any free time in which to think, or to react to interesting things that might come up.

4. Don’t aim for growth

Growth is the key mantra for business advice. If you don’t keep aiming for growth, your business will stagnate, so we are told.

Everyone wants to be involved with the next big success. Governments pump money into high growth businesses. Start-ups are where everyone wants to invest. Everyone is out searching for unicorns.

What about the business that give people employment, makes profit each year, has positive impact on the world, doesn’t need to take risks and makes you a happy owner. Is this not a great aim for a business as well?

5. Do/Don’t follow your passion

There are some who declare that they became wealthy because they followed their passion.

Then there are the consultants who suggest the opposite, that we should find a should a job or start a business, and then find the passion within the job.

Which is right? Neither. And both. It depends on you.

If you have a passion that can be turned into a business, follow it. To do otherwise is likely to make you unhappy.

If you don’t have a passion that can be made into a business, do a job you think looks interesting, and find the passion within it.

Which highlights what is wrong with all these tips from the rich and famous – what worked for them won’t automatically work for you. So, the ultimate tip is surely this: do what is right for you.

Chris Budd has published six books. In addition to three novels and The Eternal Business (about Employee Ownership Trusts), he wrote the original Financial Wellbeing Book in 2015. He has written c100 episodes of the Financial Wellbeing Podcast. His new book, The Four Cornerstones Of Financial Wellbeing is out now.

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