This is a book I completed in 2013. It had the working title I've given it here - Understanding, Changing And Controlling Life Using Flow. In the end, when I put it up on Amazon I just gave it the title 'Flow'.

Understanding, Changing And Controlling Life Using Flow

Introduction

This book contains an essentially simple idea but one that hopefully can be of use to people. It sets out a particular way of looking at life in terms of 'flow'. It's a way of understanding and analyzing situations and then working out why they're working or, more likely, not working (because otherwise why would you feel the need to read a book like this?), and then working out how you should change the flows so as to try to fix or improve the situation.

There is a four-stage process. First of all you have to understand the existing flows, then you need to work out what the flows should be to give you the situation you want, then you need to work out what you need to do to change the flows, then you get on with doing what you have worked out needs doing. In this way you change the situation, and, if your thoughts were right and your actions are right, you'll get the situation you want. Do that persistently enough with enough situations and you can create for yourself the life you want.

The approach set out in this book will either appeal to you and you'll see how you can use it to get what you want from life, or you won't 'click' with it at all, in which case there are plenty of other 'self-help' books out there that you can read. Many of them seem to stress how much you should fantasize about success, picturing it vividly in your mind and imagining that your dream life has already become real. The idea that day-dreaming can make you successful is an appealing one, especially for lazy people, and some of these self-help books sell in their millions, so quite a few people must want to believe that they can effortlessly get what they want, but I think this sort of advice is a load of nonsense and deliberately deceitful. Success comes from action, although admittedly that action might consist of little more than producing an outflow of words. The people who write big-selling self-help books know that just reading a book never made anyone successful, but these writers are successful because they produce a massive outflow of books that brings them a massive inflow of money, and they achieve it by using 'flow pumps' such as literary agents, major publishing houses, bookshops and internet book distributors. These writers know what is involved in becoming successful, but they're certainly not going to tell their readers because they might then not only lose customers but possibly even create some new competition for themselves.

There are also lots of financial advice books out there that can appeal to those people who struggle financially and can't afford to live the way they want to live. (Isn't that the majority of people?) But these books generally just tell you how to live within your current income and perhaps get a little bit more for the money you now have available to spend. If you read books like that, you'll end up staying pretty much the way you are now, and that isn't what you want. What you need is more money, and that involves playing a totally different game. To get a greater inflow of money you'll need to do what the writers of successful financial advice books do and somehow produce some sort of big outflow of goods or services that people will be prepared to pay you for.

As far as thoughts and actions are concerned, there seem to be two approaches to life - what you might call the negative and the positive - and they can both work. The negative approach involves telling lies, trying to trick people, taking what you have not earned or are not really entitled to, hurting people and indulging in either criminal activity or morally dubious activity, all so that you can get what you want, regardless of how much hurt, harm or loss it causes other people. This approach can work perfectly well, and indeed it is almost compulsory for those who want to succeed in politics, or who want to be a big player in the worlds of finance or business. But this is a risky sort of game to play, and if you don't play it properly, or you happen to get caught and punished by people who have more power than you, you can end up losing everything, even your freedom or your life. You also need a particular mindset to succeed at this approach to life. You have to feel good about being bad. Indeed you really need to enjoy 'getting one over' on other people and hurting them, and possibly even ruining their lives. Also it seems that dishonesty and immorality work best, and with the least risk of retaliation and retribution, when done at a high enough level, on a big enough scale, and with the right people. (That is, with those people who have the same moral code as yourself, and the same motives and goals.) The rule seems to be that small infractions of the law or of generally accepted ethical behavior get punished, while people who commit big infractions are more likely either to get away with their misdemeanors completely or just get a token slap on the wrist from their friends in authority. The wrong-doers can then get on with enjoying the fruits of their misdeeds, and quite likely go on to commit a few more misdeeds as well. If you don't reach this high level, however, it's possible that not only will you not reap much in the way of rewards from your illegal or immoral behavior, but you might not even get to keep the benefits you've managed to secure for yourself. The authorities will simply take from you what you've got, possibly including your liberty, and maybe even your life. You also run the risk of suffering physical retribution from the people you've tricked, or even from people who simply do not like people who behave the way you do. So this is a high-stakes approach to getting money and other things from other people. This book will sometimes refer to it, but it doesn't recommend it. You just have to be aware that deceit, lying, disloyalty and the exploitation of advantages and power is commonplace in human affairs, and even if you don't want to practice 'badness' yourself, you still need to be able to recognize it, to be on your guard against it, and to know how best to deal with it when you come across it.

In this book, however, I'll mostly work with the idea that it is best to play the game of life by the positive rule of “What you give is what you get.” This certainly isn't always true, and good, honest, generous people can get cheated, hurt and let down, or they can just be plain unlucky, but this still seems to be the safest and best basis on which to approach life and to deal with other people, and generally it is the way that you are most likely to get good results, meaning you will get the inflow you want and you will be able to keep the benefits that come your way.

As an aside, it's just worth mentioning that even bad people, in their own way, have to play by the same basic flow rules as good people, in the sense that they have to take responsibility for having the greatest impact on the flows of the greatest number of other people.

In the first chapter I'll describe the different flows as I see them, and then we can look at how they can be changed and used so as to give you a good chance of getting what you want from life, which of course really means getting what you want from other people.


Chapter One - The Different Flows

General Explanation And Illustration

There are three types of flow: inflow, outflow and internal flow. These three flows can be physical or abstract, so any situation can be seen in terms of one or more of just six flows: physical inflow, abstract inflow, physical outflow, abstract outflow, physical internal flow and abstract internal flow. It is these flows that you want to identify, understand and change when things are not going the way you want. If you can become aware of what flows are taking place, both for yourself and for any people that you are dealing with, and you can decide what you need or want these flows to be like and the changes you need to make to get them into that new, desired state, then you can change situations so that you get what you want.

Dealing with situations really means dealing with people - both with yourself and with other people. Life is a 'people game', and success comes from doing the right things with the right people.

Inflow is anything and everything that comes into you or your life. Physical inflow can be things like food, drink, cars, sex, being with friends - in other words, any thing or any activity that physically impacts on you. Abstract inflow, on the other hand, is the intangible stuff like love, respect, hatred, criticism, and suchlike, that makes an impact on you. This impact manifests itself by affecting the emotions that you are feeling, or the thoughts you are thinking, or both. You can't touch this abstract inflow but it is important because it produces physical consequences with regard to your internal flow and the outflow you consequently produce, so it has to be taken very seriously. When it affects your internal flow, that influences your outflow, so of course it is something that other people can and do use to manipulate or trick you and get you to do what they want. It is best to try to be objective and dispassionate about any abstract inflow that's coming your way and deliberately try not to allow it to affect you in a way that you have not chosen and given a lot of consideration to. Be aware of it, analyze it, work out the motives and intentions, if any, of the person causing the abstract inflow to come into your life, and then decide rationally and unemotionally how you will react, if at all, and therefore what action you will take, if any. Be in control all the time. In other words, you choose what your abstract internal flow and your outflow will be when any abstract inflow enters your life. Always what should guide your choices should be the desire to get all the flows in your life the way you want them.

Outflow is the other side of the coin. It's what you send out, or are responsible for sending out, and it really only has significance to the extent that it impacts on other people. Of course it then becomes their inflow. Just as you have to attach your own value to any inflow that comes into your life from other people (which originates as their outflow), so too other people can decide for themselves what significance, value and importance they attach to any of your outflow that becomes their inflow. As with inflow and internal flow, outflow can be either physical or abstract. Abstract outflow could be the emotions mentioned above - love, hate and so on, even indifference - and things like words and music, for example, which are essentially intangible, and which you send out to other people. Just as it is easy for other people to fake the abstract outflow they produce and transmit to you so that it becomes your inflow, so you too can fake the abstract outflow that you send out to other people and make become their abstract inflow. Take politeness, for example. You can be polite to people that you actually dislike. Your nice words don't match what you are really thinking and feeling (your internal flow), but even so you send out the outflow of nice words, smiles, and so on, because it makes your life easier and pleasanter and avoids conflict, which means it prevents you possibly being on the receiving end of an outflow of aggressive words and perhaps even actions.

So abstract inflows and outflows are not necessarily what they seem because they might not correspond to what is really going on with people's abstract internal flows, namely with their true opinions, feelings and intentions. 'Bad' people generate false, deceptive and misleading abstract outflow to trick the innocent, the trusting, the good-natured and the ignorant. They pour out deceptive words, giving false information and promises, and they fake emotions so as to manipulate the abstract internal flow of their victims in an attempt to get those people to think and do what they want them to think and do, which usually is to produce some sort of outflow (money or sex, for example) that the manipulator wants as their inflow.

Physical outflow is fairly obvious. Punch someone, and that is physical outflow. Kiss someone, and that is too. Own a widget business and sell a thousand widgets a day - those widgets are your outflow. Giving someone a birthday present is physical outflow. A plumber who comes and mends someone's broken boiler is producing a physical outflow of labor and parts. The customer who gives money to that plumber is producing an outflow of money. The president of a country sending troops to invade another country is producing, or at least is responsible for producing, a physical outflow of soldiers, bullets, bombs, and so on.

This obviously touches on the point that your outflow is not just that which comes directly from you, but includes all outflow, from whomever it comes, that you are responsible for causing to be produced.

Money is worth a little consideration because it is interesting in that, like several other things, it can be regarded as being both abstract and physical (and it can be both inflow and outflow of course). It can be physical notes and coins, or it can just be numbers on a screen. In the latter case some people will say that it is abstract. Indeed money is just created out of thin air by governments, or at least by their central banks, and that in itself would seem to be a pretty abstract process. One minute the money doesn't exist, the next minute the central bank has created it, presumably by tapping some keys on a computer keyboard, and has transferred some big number to the bank account of the government's treasury. In return the government might invent some new debt - negative money - in the form of bonds and treasuries, either printing them on paper or again just having them exist in a computer somewhere, and then giving these to the central bank.

Money these days really does seem very abstract in comparison to old physical gold and silver coinage. But it really only exists to be exchanged for physical things and physical acts. Therefore I think it's quite fair also to see money as physical, because it can be, and is meant to be, translated from mere numbers into, say, cars and houses and food, and getting people to mend your car and decorate your house and cook your food, and so on.

The money-value of things is not fixed, in the sense that the value of a thing can depend on how potential buyers value it. In other words, the value of a thing can depend on what is going on in a potential buyer's internal flow. Hence a rich person will pay the equivalent of an ordinary person's annual income for a watch that tells the same time as an ordinary person's watch. Of course the rich person might have a quite practical motive for this, which could be to outflow a signal telling other people that the wearer has an excess of money that they can outflow at their discretion, with the implied message being that, “If you give me what I want as inflow, I may outflow some of my excess money to you.”

Although governments can create rather abstract new money, people other than governments (and banks and other financial institutions) generally have physically to do something, or at least make something physical happen, in order to get money. So that is another reason why I would say money really needs to be seen as both abstract and physical.

There are a couple of points about outflow and inflow that have already been touched upon. Firstly the same flow is different from the point of view of the different people involved in the flow exchange. Give someone a present, and that present is your outflow, but for the person who receives it, it is their inflow. So the same thing can be both outflow and inflow depending on whose perspective it is being looked at from.

Another thing is that flows tend to connect to one another, to change form and value as they move between people, either because the flows themselves really do change or because people's perception of them changes. Flows also give rise to other flows. So, for example, if you give someone a present, the person is likely to give you words of gratitude in return. Your outflow became someone else's inflow, and that inflow had an effect on their internal flow, and then their new, or changed, internal flow caused them to produce an outflow of nice words. These nice words become your inflow.

Flows often move in circles in this way, going between and amongst people, changing and creating new flows as they do so. By being aware of these connections, interactions, causations and cessations you can create (and stop) and alter flows, especially other people's, in addition to your own, and so get the inflows you want and therefore, in broad terms, the life you want.

Going back to the present-giving example, of course the recipient of your present might actually have felt annoyance in their abstract internal flow as a consequence of receiving your present as their inflow. Perhaps they already have whatever it is you've given them, or they were expecting a better present, or they are irritated that they will now have to buy you a present in return. This makes us realize that we may have a problem, which is namely that we can't always be absolutely certain what flows are taking place in a situation, and this applies in particular to abstract flows, and we can't predict with absolute certainty what internal flow and outflow our own outflow to other people might cause them to have and to produce. That is why flow manipulation has to be seen as more of an art than a science. The consequences produced by your outflow can never be absolutely certain or guaranteed. You might see your outflow in one way and expect it to produce certain consequences, but the receiver of it might see it quite differently, meaning they would have internal flow that you didn't anticipate, and they would therefore consequently act quite differently, perhaps totally differently, to the way you expected. The outflow they produce might be not at all what you want. Indeed if that outflow becomes your inflow in some way or alters your inflow indirectly, it might be something that you very much don't want.

Words too, like money, can be seen as being generally abstract, but also, in a sense, physical. Of course they can be printed on paper and then they are in a sense in physical form, but more importantly, just like money, words can and do have physical consequences. So I would say that they really need to be judged according to the physical consequences they produce. Indeed words are pretty irrelevant except to the extent that they produce physical consequences. That's why con-artists, politicians and lawyers like them so much. They cost nothing, they can be created at will, and they can take whatever form and be stated as having whatever value the producer of them decrees (although it will be for those people getting the inflow of words to agree or disagree with the valuation the producer of the outflow of words attaches to them), and yet they can have physical consequences, getting you things (including money, of course), and making people do things you want.

It is for the people who are on the receiving end of abstract outflow, such as words, to decide for themselves if the outflow that's being directed at them is as genuine as they are supposed to believe it is, if it has the value they are expected to believe it has, and if it will or should be allowed to produce any physical consequences, including whatever they themselves may decide to produce as physical outflow (along perhaps with further abstract outflow) as a consequence of the words they are receiving as inflow.

With any inflow of words, and also images and sounds, you need to give this abstract material your attention and consideration (in other words it enters your internal flow and there you examine it) and try to work out what its significance is, what its producer has as their intentions and motives behind getting it into your mind, what that outflow-producer is trying to make you produce as outflow, and therefore what changes you should or shouldn't let it make to your internal flow and therefore to the outflow you produce. Is the outflow-producer trying to manipulate you and use you as a pawn in some game they are playing? The answer often is, “Yes.” Of course it won't always be, especially if you are dealing with run-of-the-mill people who are rarely working to an agenda.

If money is what governments create to manipulate and control their citizens, then words too are created by people in the same way and for the same purpose. They can be a sort of fools' gold, given to fools by clever people in return for real, tangible things and physical actions. The power of words, and images and sounds, should never be underestimated. Their effects can be huge. If, for example, you are the president of a country and you utter words commanding the people in your armed forces to go and maim and kill other people, and perhaps get maimed or killed themselves, then obviously those words are hugely powerful. If you or I uttered the same words (assuming you're not a politician or in the armed forces), nothing would happen, except we might possibly get locked up by our government for inciting violence or hatred. They would be exactly the same words being uttered in both instances but there would be markedly different consequences, or a lack of consequences.

So words are a sort of magic material out of which people can weave their physical lives. Learning how to use them and how to get the right ones to the right people is sometimes the only skill you need in this world to be successful and get the life you want. You outflow words and get an inflow of the money, physical things and actions you want in return. That perhaps is life's greatest game. It is skill at this game that often makes the difference between rich and poor, low class and high class, success and failure. So try to become skilful with words. Treat them with care and caution and respect. Aim (if it appeals to you) to become expert at getting what you want just by outflowing words and sounds and images.

As far as outflowing images is concerned, probably the most important image you can outflow to others is your own appearance and your behavior. As far as the words and sounds you are responsible for outflowing are concerned, the most important ones are likely to be those you yourself say and make.

Of course there will be many people who will see words as not being so important or of such consequence in their lives. For example, if you are passionate about being a sculptor, it will be your sculptures that you will want to be outflowing, and so long as they sell and they are praised (you get an inflow of money and … nice words!), you might think that people won't care about what you say or how you look. However, you will still have to say the right things and make a favorable impression on potential buyers, or on your agent or whoever else gets your work out to potential and actual buyers.

Finally we have internal flow. This is what is going on inside you, or inside some other person or other people. Again it can be physical or abstract.

Physical internal flow is food passing through you, blood flowing through your veins, air going in and out of your lungs, electrical signals passing through your nervous system, and so on.

Abstract internal flow is stuff like thoughts, emotions, decisions, opinions, guesses - all the intangible stuff, essentially relating to what is going on in the mind. You can of course feel physical effects from these (abstract internal flow creating physical internal flow), such as increased heart rate, a red face, sexual arousal, and so on. So again here we have flow connectivity, influence and creation. Abstract flow causes and influences physical flow. This is probably the most important lesson to be learned. Use the abstract to create and alter the physical.

Physical internal flow likewise can cause and have an effect on abstract internal flow. For example, if someone bumps into you in the street (physical inflow affecting your physical internal flow, causing, for example, bruising, or a flow of adrenaline into your blood), then you may well feel anger or annoyance, or choose to outflow some reproving words, all of which reflect the change that has just taken place in your abstract internal flow.

Your internal flow has a great deal of bearing on whether or not you produce outflow, and, if so, what that outflow is. Your own abstract internal flow is the most important flow in your life because it governs what outflow you produce, and that determines what inflow you get. Your internal flow is what you should really most concern yourself with. All other flows tend to come as a consequence of it. Of course many flows will be externally created by forces beyond your control or influence, but they will still have been caused by some other person's internal flow (if we are talking about human events and not events of nature).

There is, by the way, one very simple rule in life - never concern yourself with anything you can't control or influence.

On the next page is a wonderfully amateurish drawing I've done to illustrate the three flows.

(At this point in the ebook there is a very simple drawing of two matchstick-type figures with circles for heads. Inside their heads are circular arrows representing their internal flows. Then there are arrows going from each figure to the other, representing their outflows. Then there are arrows coming to each figure from the other, representing what is coming to them as their inflows.)

All the flows connect to each other and influence or cause each other.

As an aside, it's amusing to think that someone like me, without any artistic ability, if they went to the right art college and met the right dealer or rich art-patron, could still potentially become a rich and famous artist. Certainly I can think of a couple of rich, famous artists my own country who have no conventional artistic talent, and yet who have succeeded by following this very same route. By going to the right institutions, connecting with the right people and getting credibility and value because of these connections (inflow of increased perceived worth arising from the changes taking place in other people's abstract internal flow because of the inflow of information about the high-value connections the artists have made), they are able to sell their works (sometimes, indeed often, physically produced by other people) for high prices. As mentioned earlier, what something is worth - in this case an artist's work - depends upon what is going on in the abstract internal flow of potential buyers. Of course one could say that being able to make valuable, profitable connections is in itself a talent and one that is worth far more than merely having conventional artistic ability. The point here is that flows have different values according to the context in which they exist, how they are presented, who they emanate from, who they flow through, who they flow to, and so on. The flow game is a game of production, reception, perception and response. There are many variables in the flow game.

You should aim, I suggest, to be responsible for making sure that flows are flowing all the time, and that they are as good, big, valuable and impactful as you can make them, within any limits that you yourself might choose to set on those flows or that circumstances and other people impose on you.

One aspect of the above illustration of a lack of talent not necessarily being something that will prevent you from getting an inflow of wealth, prestige and fame is that ability may well be the last thing you have to worry about when it comes to getting on in life. Mere competence will take you a lot further if exercised in the right way in the right place with the right people than talent will take you when exercised in the wrong way in the wrong place with the wrong people. Indeed ability only really seems to be essential if you are going to enter into fair, direct competition with other people, and as a rule, unless you really are superior to others, this is something that you should avoid.

It is also worth noting that you can be successful by exploiting other people's weaknesses as well as by beating people with your strengths.

Focus your abstract internal flow on being responsible for the production of outflow - yours and almost certainly other people's as well - that will cause you to get the inflow you want. This outflow that you are responsible for producing either has to be something that people need or want, or it has to be something that they have no choice other than to accept as their inflow. In return for that inflow they should produce outflow that you want, and that will probably be something that comes to you as inflow that you want.

Examples Of Flow

Here are some examples of situations and the different flows going on in them.

You're chatting to a friend in a bar. Your words are your outflow (abstract). Your friend listens to them. Your words are your friend's inflow. You take a sip of your drink. That drink is your inflow (physical). When it's inside you, the drink is part of your internal flow (physical). You think to yourself, “That's a nice drink.” That thought is your internal flow (abstract). Your friend offers to buy you another drink. That offer is their outflow (abstract, becoming physical if they actually carry it out). You consider their offer. Your consideration of their offer is abstract internal flow. You say, “No,” and explain you have to go home now. Your explanation is abstract outflow. To your friend, your explanation is inflow. They feel disappointed because they'd wanted to have a chat with you and ask your advice about something. For your friend, their feeling of disappointment is abstract internal flow, and your advice would have been welcome abstract inflow for them. For you, the advice that you never got to give would have been outflow, and would have required abstract internal flow on your part to form it.

At work the next day, you finish writing a report for your boss. You give it to them. That report is your outflow. The printed report can be seen as physical, and what is in it can be regarded as abstract. The information and suggestions you've put in it, although abstract, will produce physical flow consequences if they are put into effect.

The next day your boss calls you in and points out several shortcomings in your report. You feel angry, as much with yourself as with your boss. Your boss's criticism is your boss's outflow (abstract). For you, it is abstract inflow. Your feeling of anger is abstract internal flow. It can of course produce physical flows, both internal and outflow, for example with an internal flow of adrenaline as you get annoyed, and later with not just an abstract outflow of angry words to a colleague as you express your annoyance and disappointment, but also physical outflow in the form of the aggressive and pointless act of hurling in the bin the report that the boss gave back to you to rewrite.

You've been fed up with your boss for a while now and you decide to look around for another job. That feeling and that decision are internal flow (abstract). You start contacting other employers. Contacting these people is physical outflow for you. You tell them how good you are and what you can do for their companies. This information is abstract outflow on your part. You can reduce their companies' costs (an outflow they'd like less of) and generate more revenue for them (the inflow they want more of). You're hoping (internal flow) that they will want to take you on. You would then become literally a physical inflow into their organization. Unfortunately you find no one has any job openings for you at the moment, and at the end of the month you're still with the same employer. You look at your bank statement. Your salary has gone in. Your salary is the inflow that keeps you tied to your employer and producing outflow to give to them in the form of reports and of doing whatever else they require you to do. Of course for your employer your salary is seen as part of their outflow, and your reports can either be seen as their inflow or, because you do such things regularly for them, as part of their internal flow.

Your elderly neighbor's cat gets stuck up a tree. You say you'll climb up and bring it down. Your offer is outflow (abstract). Climbing up and rescuing the cat is also outflow for you, but physical. You hand the cat to the neighbor. They go into their house and come out with a cake they baked earlier on and they give it to you as a way of expressing their gratitude. Their gratitude is abstract outflow for them and the cake is physical outflow. For you, their gratitude and the cake become your inflow. The cake will soon be part of your physical internal flow. The feeling of satisfaction you get, both from the cake and from your neighbor's gratitude, is your abstract internal flow.

You go to the gym. You're trying to lose some weight and shape up a bit. You want to improve your looks because you haven't been in a relationship for a while and you think looking better might help you attract someone new and also good looking. The exercise is obviously an outflow of movement and energy (physical). You could say there's an inflow of health, fitness and improved looks. These improved looks are actually outflow as well, going out to other people, becoming their inflow, and contributing towards the opinion they form of you (their abstract internal flow). Being fitter, your physical internal flow improves, and this makes you feel more confident (abstract internal flow). And all of this because you want a new mate to inflow into your life.

Let's say you start a new relationship. How could that be described in flow terms? You want the mutually enjoyable inflow and outflow of the physical actions involved in sex. There's also the physical outflow and inflow involved just in being in each other's company and doing routine things together. There are also the abstract flows of kind words and expressions of love. You obviously weren't feeling too good before the relationship, but now you feel better. So previously you had rather negative abstract internal flow, but now it has become positive. Perhaps your friends had been teasing you a bit about not having a partner (negative abstract inflow), but now you have a new partner that negative inflow (your friends' negative outflow) has stopped. You might even be getting positive inflow from them instead in the sense of receiving praise for having such a nice new companion. That, of course, further improves your internal flow.

You should now begin to be able to spot the flow elements in various situations yourself. A good thing to do is look at situations in your own life and try to work out what flows are taking place. You can also look at other people's situations, and it's also interesting to look at 'the big stuff'. Why would a debt-laden country be issuing (outflowing) new debt and creating new money through its central bank (which becomes inflow for the government which will then outflow the money)? Why does the country not attempt to pay down its debt by increasing its inflow of money from taxation and reducing its outflow of money in the form of state expenditure? Why is one country invading another even though the first country is not itself being attacked or threatened by the second country? (Outflow of force by the first country when the second country's government has no intention - that is, collective abstract internal flow - of outflowing force against the first country.) What is going on in the minds - abstract internal flow - of the people in the first country who ordered the invasion? They must surely see some inflow of benefits - physical and/or abstract - arising from their actions. What is that inflow that they believe they will get? Who will actually get this inflow - the president, the members of the country's administrative bodies, its citizens? Perhaps it will be special interest groups such as weapons manufacturers and the large corporations that will get security contracts and rebuilding contracts after the initial invasion. (Inflows of money for them in return for outflows of materials and people.) Perhaps the invading nation wants to secure future inflows of oil from the invaded country.

Every situation can be evaluated in terms of flow. It's then interesting to work out who has the most control, or influence over the flows and who, if anyone, is benefitting most from the flows that are moving around, presumably in terms of getting the best inflow and the most satisfactory internal flow, and who is perhaps being disadvantaged by having their flows made worse.

What Seems To Be Abstract Flow Is Sometimes Really Physical Flow

What we might think of as abstract flow is sometimes really physical flow. For example, let's say you believe you want to be famous. Fame is abstract, but what you might really mean when you say you want to be famous is that you want certain physical things to happen. You might want to have people recognize you and come up to you when you're out and about. You might want to get invited to lots of parties and functions. (Inflow of invitations for you, then you outflow yourself, and you get physical and abstract inflow from the people you meet.) You might want to see yourself on TV and the internet and in magazines and newspapers. All these are physical things, so really fame in your case would be physical inflow, achieved by outflowing yourself and whatever particular talent or quality it is that makes you famous.

It's generally better to see things in physical rather than abstract terms whenever you can because the physical is usually definite and measurable whereas the abstract generally is rather vague and uncertain. This way you can know whether you're producing the right outflow and getting the right inflow according to any goals you might have set for yourself and any plans you might have made. (Those would be part of your abstract internal flow.) Don't, if you can help it, be distracted by seeing things in abstract terms or having situations presented to you as if they revolve around abstract principles or abstract qualities when there is actually some physical reality underlying the situation in question. Remember that the abstract is what other people use to trick you with (as well as being what you can use to trick others with) in order to cause some physical flow to take place that they desire. The physical is what life is about, and it over-rides the abstract any day of the week. Abstract flow only becomes significant when it manifests itself in the form of some physical flow.

An example of something that seems abstract but is often really physical is love. When people talk about love they can mean sex, money, companionship, having someone to do specific activities with, having someone provide them with somewhere to live, and so on. We talk about it as something abstract either as a form of shorthand for what is involved in it or as a euphemism for the physical underlying reality, but ultimately it often boils down to something physical and material. Always try to translate abstract into physical, and see the physical reality beneath the abstract idealism, deception or obfuscation.

Status is another abstract concept, and in many ways it does involve abstract flows, but there still have to be physical flows beneath it all. Your status (abstract) can be said to flow out from you to other people as you go through life, impacting on the people with whom you come into contact, or even those who simply hear about you, read about you or see images of you on a screen. It affects their abstract internal flow as they recognize and take account of your status, letting it alter their outflow in terms of their words and behavior to you or about you. If you are high status they will talk and act differently to the way they would talk and act with someone of lower status.

Your status can be conveyed by your looks, clothes, the way you carry yourself, your accent, the words you use, the information you convey about yourself and your family, occupation, possessions, way of life, hobbies, and so on. All these things have to be outflowed by you to the other person if they are to gauge your status if they do not know, or know about, you already, if they are to gauge your status, and also to judge how it compares to theirs. Yet all, or most of, these abstract things that are flowing out from you are really either physical, or they arise from physical things. So, your clothes are obviously physical, your body is physical, as is your posture. Your face is physical. The food you eat and the exercise you do is physical, and that strongly affects the way your body and face look. Your possessions are physical. The other members of your family are physical. The work you do, even if it is a 'suited and booted' job, requires you physically to be somewhere and doing something, although it may be just talking and writing. So you see that even an abstract notion like status really comes down to physical things, at least for the most part. (One could argue that the attitudes, thoughts and emotions in your head affect your status too, and that they are abstract, but whilst I'd accept that, I would even argue there that they are affected by the physical circumstances of your life and upbringing, and of your parents' lives, and their parents' lives, and so on.)

You can't invent your own status at will because it has to be accorded to you by others. It is a perception in the minds of others. But how they see you will depend on what they believe the physical characteristics of both you and your life and background to be, and your actions and behavior will certainly play a major role in determining what status others decide you have. And although none of us can alter the circumstances of our birth (outflowing, as we do, from a 'higher' or 'lower' class family, as the case may be), we can resolve (have an intention in the abstract internal flow that goes on in our minds) to produce physical outflow (work, social activities, forming connections with particular people, for example) and get physical inflow (money, material possessions, friends, a highly regarded partner, for example) so as to lead other people to attach higher status to us than we might otherwise have. So we can make efforts strongly to influence our perceived status in the minds of others even if we cannot determine it absolutely. So there is definitely a large physical component to an abstract quality like status and to many other supposedly abstract things.

As said before, don't be taken in by people's attempts to try to attach mysteriously abstract explanations and definitions to things. For every abstract word they use, try to break it down into its underlying physical components. When people try to maintain that something - like class, for example - is abstract and therefore somehow rather mysterious, unfathomable, and therefore difficult to grasp and emulate or acquire, they are often trying to hide the fact that it is based on perfectly understandable and possibly rather basic physical flows that can potentially be reproduced by anyone, such a person then being said to have the mysterious abstract quality in question - in this case, class. (I think someone once said, “Class is just ancient riches.” So the first step in raising the your class-level is probably going to be to get wealth - bigger than average net money inflow - and then try to make sure your family keeps it for as long as possible as part of its internal flow.)

Focus on the physical every time (even when you yourself are playing abstract games - mind games). This seems to be what smart people do. They focus on producing and dealing with abstract flow purely so as to achieve some change they desire in their own or other people's physical flow.

When people are feeding you with words and images, ideas and opinions, arguments and persuasion, look for the physical flows they might really be referring to, and in particular what they're trying to do to your physical inflow and/or physical outflow. If there really seems to be no physical relevance, no physical consequences, and it really is just abstract talk (outflow and inflow as the conversation goes backwards and forwards between you and them) then probably you're just having your time wasted, or you are wasting it yourself, although it may well of course be quite a pleasing thing to do. Flow exchanges that don't produce some physical consequences are really quite meaningless, but they can of course act as a way of cementing and maintaining a connection between people.

Love, romance, fame, respect, dignity, freedom - all abstract concepts are best regarded as meaningless or irrelevant unless you can see how they manifest themselves in some physical way and can identify the physical flows that constitute them.

Abstract Flow Creates And Governs Physical Flow

Having said that you should generally try to disregard apparently abstract flows - like hatred, love, duty, loyalty and all the other human concepts that people have invented and with which they will sometimes try to bamboozle you and with which you will no doubt try to bamboozle others too - and instead focus only on physical flows, either actual or potential (meaning you have to recognize them and then treat them objectively), you still need to work on the basis that it is your abstract flow that will dictate how successful you will become in life, and it is by manipulating other people's abstract internal flow that you will get them to produce outflow, and accept inflow, that you want. Your abstract internal flow governs your very identity, and it dictates how you behave and what you do. Your abstract outflow, when it is right and it is directed to the right people so as to become their inflow, influencing their abstract internal flow and thereby the outflow they produce, will enable you to make people do what you want. Your aim is to exchange the intangible for the tangible. For example, promises of undying devotion in return for sex. Saying, “If you give me your money, I can grow your money much better than you can and provide you with an outstanding pension and a very comfortable retirement in thirty years' time.” That sort of thing.

What goes on in people's minds causes what they physically do. Their abstract internal flow (which can be affected by their physical internal flow) dictates what they unconsciously feel or they consciously decide they physically have to do, most likely believing that it is in their best interests to do it. And of course it is what people physically do that makes life the way it is.

Work on the basis that everyone's physical outflow is caused by their abstract internal flow. (There are exceptional times, in war for example, when you can to some extent disregard people's abstract internal flow and get them to do what you want by giving them a physical inflow of violence and pain.) You have to think you want to eat (that is, have the desire and the decision in your abstract internal flow) before you produce the physical outflow of getting something to eat and then eating it (with the physical inflow of food then becoming part of your physical internal flow). You have to decide at some point, or at various points in your life, what work you'll do or career you'll have, if any. (Work being the production of outflow that causes other people to outflow money that becomes your inflow. If you're lucky or clever, your work will be the most important outflow of your life.) It is your abstract internal flow that affects and shapes your whole life by governing what outflow you produce and what inflow you get as a consequence.

The further away your work and your personal life take you from impacting on, influencing or controlling your own and other people's internal flows, probably the less successful you are going to be and the lower status and poorer you will be.

The powerful physical results than can be achieved by triggering changes in your internal flow and other people's is remarkable. You can of course affect a person's internal flow (including your own) by feeding it both physical inflow and abstract inflow. Your goal usually will be to affect the outflow of the targeted person so that it is such that in some way or another it comes to you as inflow you want. Otherwise you will want it to be directed to yet other people so that they do what you want, or so that something happens to them that you want to happen. In the latter situations your desired inflow might simply be the knowledge that what you wanted to happen with these other people has in fact happened.

A somewhat unpleasant example might, for example, be the people who trick other people into becoming suicide bombers. The manipulators are not themselves stupid enough to die for the cause they profess to believe in. They want to stay around hopefully to see flow states existing in the future (that will benefit them in some way?) that are different from the ones currently existing and that will be furthered by the bombings. They hope to bring about these new flow states (including inflows of money, or political power, to themselves?) by sacrificing the lives of a few people. The skill that the manipulators need in order to achieve their aims is to be able to manipulate the internal flow - in particular the abstract internal flow - of the potential suicide bombers so that they decide to do what the manipulator wants and blow themselves and other people up. To get someone not only to kill other people but also to kill themselves in the process requires a good understanding of human psychology and an ability to mold it.

It's said there are only two real motivators - greed (or need or desire of some sort) and fear. These are usually symbolized by the carrot and the stick. Also, however, there is the use of one or both of these along with deceit, either straightforward lying or by telling incomplete truths. These are the abstract tools that can be used to get people to become suicide bombers, and of course to manipulate people in general. In the case of the former, for example, you might attempt only to exploit young people, who are more inclined to be idealistic, and even then only ones who are zealous believers in your particular religion or political cause. It would help if they had a hatred of people who didn't hold these beliefs. Such zealots would be much easier to persuade to do what you want than, say, indifferent people. Perhaps you could use the old religious trick of promising your intended bombers everything they want in some future life, or heaven, if they do what you want them to do. Another approach, however, especially if they come from a very poor family, is to offer money to their family on condition that they persuade the would-be suicide bomber to go ahead with the planned attack. (It's debatable whether this is using abstract means or physical. The offer to the family is abstract, but the money is physical.) Another approach that is debatably physical rather than abstract is simply to point a gun at someone, having strapped explosives to them, and say that if they don't go and do what you want them to do, you'll kill them on the spot. Actually if they do then do what you want, you have still really achieved your goal by abstract means, having not actually physically shot them, but merely having uttered that wonderfully powerful abstract thing - a threat. Another semi-physical way to get someone to blow themselves up is to give them an inflow of drugs to alter their internal flow to such an extent that their abstract internal flow becomes yours to command.

If you found you weren't skilful enough to manipulate the abstract internal flow of relatively normal people, another approach would be to take someone who is so mentally backward that they don't have the intellectual ability to understand the consequences of what they are being told to do. (Their abstract internal flow doesn't have sufficient powers of comprehension to understand what other flows will result from their outflow.) A bomber could also be lied to (fed false abstract inflow) so they achieve your goal for you unwittingly. (This is the approach adopted by people who trick a supposed friend/lover into acting unknowingly as a drug mule for them. “Darling, put this present for a friend of mine in your suitcase and pop it through their letterbox when you've flown back home, will you?”) With the bomber, you could put a bomb in a bag of what you tell them is just shopping and then ask them to go and wait for you at a spot where you know there will be crowds of people. You say you will be with them in ten minutes. Then you detonate the bomb remotely.

There are lots of ways to work with other people's abstract internal flow. (Hopefully not so as to achieve bad consequences, as in the above examples.) You will want to push and/or pull another person's abstract internal flow so that it becomes the way you want it so they do what you want them to do (accept inflow and/or produce outflow).

This is largely what life is about - working with abstract internal flow so as to achieve your physical goals. Make this happen and you will get the positive physical inflow you want, which should (if you have chosen your inflow wisely) give you good internal flow. That is your reward. But also the production of outflow and the interaction with other people's internal flows should also in itself cause you to have good internal flow. Indeed as much satisfaction can come from successfully working with other people's internal flow as from actually getting them to produce the outflow that you want.

So smart people often want to get physical flow by producing abstract outflow, such as words, sounds and images. (A mathematician might achieve their aims with complex new equations.) For example, in my country we have quite a few media 'personalities' who often criticize the capitalist system and advocate idealistic, liberal or socialist views, but who owe their pleasant, rather exclusive lifestyles and nice houses and cars and their kids' expensive schooling to the talking they do on television and radio, or the books, musicals or screenplays they write. In other words, it is largely abstract outflow that gets them all the physical benefits and delights of capitalism. Indeed the whole essence of what could loosely be termed show business is the exchange of words, sounds and images for money, although it can of course also require a great deal of physical outflow to produce what ends up as the essentially abstract outflow of, say, a film, a television program or a recorded concert.

If working with other people's abstract internal flow is important because it can cause them to do something that gives you the physical flows you want, you won't be surprised that first of all you have to control your own internal flow and get it the way it needs to be before you should try to work on other people's internal flows.

You can hardly expect to master other people if you can't even master yourself.

Here's a pleasanter, more positive example than the previous one about suicide bombers of how abstract flow creates physical flow. The board of directors of a Western company sits down to discuss opening a new factory in a particular developing country. Abstract things like suggestions, figures and opinions flow from one person to another until a decision (an abstract thing) is reached. What are the physical consequences of all this abstract flow and the ultimate decision? A new factory is built and opened after a considerable outflow of money, materials and human labor (and human thought as well of course) and it starts producing a physical outflow of goods that are then physically moved and sold all around the world.

In this case abstract flow has given rise to lots of physical flow. In the board meeting, the abstract flow also produced lots of new abstract flow and also changes in the directors' abstract internal flows. For example, if one director made a proposal, the other directors would have to have abstract internal flow going on in their minds that considered how good that idea was, the pros and cons of it, whether it should be rejected or whether it could be improved upon before being accepted, and so on.

Further down the line, as the agreed project developed, architects would have been employed to design the new factory, with all the creative brain activity that such work involves. Perhaps some bribes had to be paid to bureaucrats to get permission for the development to go ahead. Someone could have it in the internal flow in their head that they would prevent the factory from being built unless they received a certain amount of money as inflow for themselves. The directors then have to consider in their abstract internal flow whether they should outflow this money, or whether less could be offered, or indeed if it is acceptable to pay a bribe at all. Alternative locations might be considered for the factory.

Assuming they decided to go ahead and pay the bribe and the money changed hands, their positive decision (positive abstract internal flow in their minds) would result in the bureaucrat's negative abstract internal flow suddenly becoming positive.

So the factory gets built and employees are taken on (physical inflow of employees, abstract inflow of them onto the payroll of the company). They get an inflow of wages (an outflow of money from the company's point of view), and the company's customers get an inflow of goods that the workers have produced as outflow.

So abstract flow can give rise to a lot of physical outflow and inflow, and to changes in internal flow, and to more abstract flow, giving rise to yet more physical and abstract flows, and so on, theoretically ad infinitum, creating and connecting and changing continually.

As already indicated, physical flow can also give rise to abstract flow. If I walk into a low beam in someone's quaint country cottage, I will get the physical inflow of a blow to the head and this will almost certainly produce some abstract internal flow, most likely negative feelings of anger or embarrassment. There could also be pain, although it's difficult to say whether that should be regarded as physical or abstract internal flow. For me it would be physical, and my awareness of it and my response to it in my mind would be abstract, no doubt manifesting itself in some outflow - physical, in the form of holding my head and making some noise, and abstract in the sense of uttering words that expressed annoyance, anger or whatever. So the physical flow would have given rise to abstract flow and to more physical flow.

To sum up, internal abstract flow should be regarded as the originator of physical flows. (Even walking into a beam requires me not to be paying attention.) Secondly, flows are connected with one another, one giving rise to another and influencing it. Thirdly, the abstract gives rise to and influences the physical, and vice versa. Fourthly, the most important flow for any person should usually be their own abstract internal flow. This is what you work with to get yourself to produce outflow that will initiate new chains of connected flows that you calculate will produce (or at least have a possibility of producing) the inflow that you ultimately desire.

Recognizing, Understanding, Using And Changing Flows So As To Improve Situations And Help You Get What You Want From Life

So the idea is to try to identify the flows in your life, or in some situation that interests you, as they are now, then decide what you would ideally want them to be like, then calculate what you need to do to change them, then do what you have decided needs doing.

One of the commonest desired changes is to have more money (a greater and/or more profitable money inflow). People are always saying that they should be richer, and talk about having Champagne tastes but a beer income, but what people don't say, usually, is, “I have less income flowing into my life than I want because I'm not producing valuable enough outflow. If I want a Champagne lifestyle I must somehow produce a Champagne quality and quantity of outflow and get it to people who want it and who will in return outflow money to me that becomes a large, profitable inflow for me.” Yet that is what they need to be saying to themselves, and then acting on it. They need to get their minds focused on cranking up their outflow.

Usually the easiest part of doing flow recognition and change is to identify what your current flow states are. You know what your home is like. (You could regard it as internal flow in your life because it is there all the time and largely unchanging, or you can see it as an inflow of accommodation, comfort, facilities and so on … and perhaps also as a cause of cash outflow.) You know what your inflow of income is. You know what your internal flow of thoughts and feelings is. You know which people inflow into your life in the form of friends, neighbors, work colleagues and so on. So recognizing you own personal flows is usually fairly easy. Recognizing the flows that are going on in the lives of those people who are an important part of your life is not always so easy, largely because you can't know exactly what inflows and outflows are moving through those people's lives, and you certainly can't be sure what is really going on in their internal flow. The best you can do is make a reasonable guess on the evidence available to you. Can someone really know how satisfied or dissatisfied their spouse or partner is? Can they know for sure what their children or friends think about them? No, but they can see how those people behave, and they can hear what they say, so that is the evidence they must go on. It's a case of working with the evidence that reaches our minds through our senses. Beyond that it's more or less educated guesswork, perhaps colored by wishful thinking, perhaps colored by suspicion or envy or resentment, perhaps influenced by other information we receive from third parties, and no doubt influenced by experiences that we ourselves have had with other people in the past.

Assess the flows as they seem to be to you now, then put your abstract internal flow to work on generating ideas and visions about how you would like the flows to be. The best way to do this is to have an imaginary film playing in your head of what your ideal flows would be like - how much money is flowing into your life, from whom is it coming, why is it coming, what outflow are you producing to get it, what people are flowing into your life, why are they entering your life, and so on - and then work back in incremental stages through the steps that you believe would lead you from where you are to where you want to be. Then the thing is to look at the first, most immediate step, work out what you need to do now to move all existing significant flows from their current state to the state they should be in after the first step has been taken, and then do what you have decided must be done. You will then be one step nearer to achieving your goal, and you then work on taking the next step in the same way.

One point to make is that big ambition and the craving to make a giant leap from where you are now to some grand 'over the rainbow' state tends to be fanciful and self-defeating. You can hold your big ambition at the very back of the mind as an ideal long-term goal, but for now you should just work on achieving the next reasonable, feasible step towards that goal.

Do people make big leaps, from pauper to oligarch, or from humble state employee to tyrant? Of course they do, but such big success is extremely rare, and it's too prone to the vagaries of luck, making the right connections, beating the competition, achieving a monopoly, and other factors that are almost impossible to plan and arrange, and which certainly can't be guaranteed. If you make your happiness dependent on becoming President of your country or the world's richest person, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. The leaps you need to make to become so super successful are so great that you will either end up doing nothing, or the attempts you make to jump up ten achievable steps in one single, almost certainly unachievable, leap will fail and you will achieve nothing. With such an approach you run the risk of becoming disillusioned and possibly even being deterred from lowering your sights and taking the achievable steps that would at least improve your situation and lead you some way towards your big goal.

A good attitude to have seems to be broadly to feel OK about your flow states now, but to realize that they could be better and you'd be even happier (have better abstract internal flow) if you made some relatively quick, not too big, not too difficult changes to your current flows. Think like that and it probably won't be long before you're able to get a significantly better life for yourself. Also then, because you'll have put the wheels of change in motion, some opportunity for big success, if that's what interests you, might come your way. Really that would mean that you would have the chance to become responsible for producing better, bigger outflow, probably by connecting with people who are better, bigger flow producers than you are at the moment or who can distribute the flow you create to more (and perhaps richer) people, so that you get better and bigger inflow.

If securing huge inflow for yourself isn't your definition of success, then your success will probably take the form of your being responsible for initiating and making continue outflows that have an impact, perhaps a greater one than currently, on the flows of a greater number of people.

As far as opportunities are concerned, you need to be on the lookout for them all the time so that if they are there, you will spot them and be ready to seize them and make the most of them.

Breaking down big long-term goals into easier, smaller, more achievable short-term steps is the sensible way forward, and is the approach most likely to improve your life and it has the best chance of ultimately getting you to where you believe you want to go. So for the time being just focus on the next step and on doing the things you need to do and can do now without too much difficulty or trouble.

Returning to the common ambition of wanting to have more money, what, for example, might be an obvious next step to take? Of course it depends on where you are now. If you have a small business, you need to make it bigger - produce more outflow to get a bigger inflow of money. If you work for a fixed pay-packet, you know you need to do something extra, or different, or both, and to become responsible for producing and selling more outflow. What that outflow could be will depend on your abilities, character and the opportunities available to you. If you are a creator of some sort, such as a designer, a writer, an artist or a musician, you probably need to find some way of getting more or better flow pumps (dealt with later) to get your creations out to more customers and/or to customers who will pay more for your work.

Any step, any plan of action, that isn't utterly specific and that can't be written down in one paragraph at most, and better still in one sentence, needs to be reconsidered and rewritten until it is simple to understand and simple to attempt, even if it might not be simple to achieve.

Remember at all times that almost without exception the key to success is to change your outflow in some way, and to focus your abstract internal flow on achieving that change in outflow. Your inflow should then improve in the way and to the extent that you desire simply as a natural consequence of the changes you have made to your other two flows.

The Problem Of Not Being Able To Know All The Flows In A Situation

You might think, or hope (both being states of your abstract internal flow), that you know what the people most immediately involved in your life are doing and thinking, but you can never really know. How can you be certain that your spouse isn't cheating on you? (That would be an outflow of sex, time and affectionate words and actions to someone other than yourself - not a situation that your abstract internal flow is likely to regard as pleasing.) Can you know absolutely that a business partner isn't stealing money, or running up debts, or gambling themselves, and your business, into financial difficulties? You can't be absolutely certain. You can sensibly believe that these things are not happening because you have yet to see any evidence of them, but it's almost impossible ever to be a hundred percent sure about anything. Therefore you always have to work with your best informed opinion, or guess, of what other people's flow states are or will be. For example, you might have a widget business and believe that people in a new market will want to buy your widgets. And indeed they might want to. But you might not know that the government there likes to set up domestic companies to compete in supplying things whenever a big, new demand is created by imported goods, or they might want to deter people from buying imported goods by introducing high import tariffs on anything that seems to be becoming popular.

The sensible thing to do in any situation is to investigate as much as possible - or as much as is reasonably or feasibly possible - so that you can work with facts rather than assumptions, and particularly with the facts that will have the greatest bearing on your chances of success.

Fortunately you can be rather more certain about what your own flows currently are, and that's why it always make sense to focus your efforts on these, at least initially, rather than forming plans that are dependent for their success on other people's flows being what you think they are. But of course success, at least in the financial and social sense, requires you to have certain types of flow relationships with certain other people, or certain types of people, so you're always going to have to take into account and work with other people's flows. Nonetheless, first work to alter your own internal flow and outflow, and then try to connect with the right people in the right ways. That means you have to outflow yourself to meet them, or (a poor alternative) outflow words to them in a more remote, less effective way by somehow writing to them or phoning them, and then establish your desired flow relationships with them, which will usually involve a mutually beneficial exchange of flows between you.

The 'right' people are generally those who will accept your outflow, either as the end beneficiary (or victim) of it or as an intermediary (a flow pump) getting it to other people. You will usually want some sort of inflow channeled back to you in return for your outflow.

Another problem with assessing flow situations is that flows often don't stay the same, so even if you do a correct assessment of what some flow is today, it might not be correct tomorrow. Therefore in practice you need to do regular, or even continuous, reassessments of the flows in situations that you're involved in, or want to be involved in, or that simply interest you.

If one flow changes, it will often cause another connected flow to change, so that the situation becomes yet more different from what you previously calculated it to be. This is obvious in both big and little ways. For example, if you're in a good mood (good abstract internal flow) and you consequently approach someone and produce pleasant outflow for them (you smile, your behavior is nice, and you say nice words), the other person is likely to repay you by giving you good inflow (they produce similar outflow to yours which then becomes your inflow). However, if you're having a bad day and your internal flow and outflow are negative, you're also likely to be on the receiving end of equally negative inflow. You have the same people in very similar situations, but the flows are quite different.

Another example of knock-on flow changes might be something like this. Imagine if you're the owner of our mythical widget factory and you're happily producing a good outflow of widgets for a big customer in return for a big, profitable inflow of income from them. Then a widget factory opens up in a cheaper part of the world and offers your customer widgets of the same quality for half the price for which you can afford to sell them. Your customer switches supplier, and immediately your flow situation has changed drastically. (Your customer's flow situation, on the other hand, has changed very much for the better, being now much more profitable for them.) You can see that all sorts of flows might change after this, and not just your own, but of course you are likely to be mostly concerned about your own situation. Your inflow of money might now be much less than your outflow. You have to lay off staff (outflow of staff from the business). Those staff now don't have an inflow of salaries and wages. This changes the flow dynamics in their relationships with their partners at home. Similarly your own relationships with family and friends might change with the drop in your inflow of money. Probably you will have more negative internal flow as you worry about the change in your circumstances and what to do about it, and your health (physical internal flow) also starts to get worse. Negative internal flow often causes people to send out negative outflow to the people close to them, causing those people also to produce negative outflow in return, and it can become a vicious circle of ever-worsening flows leading ultimately to the breakdown of relationships.

So because the consequences of flow changes can be so serious - for better or worse - you should be regularly, if not constantly, reassessing the flows that significantly impact on you, or that you desire to have impacting on you, as well as the flow states of the people you are connected with in some significant way, or that you wish to connect with in such a way. One idea is to imagine possible flow changes that might happen and then try to work out what changes you would make to your outflow, and perhaps your internal flow, if those changes did take place.

In any situation you will only ever be able to know your own flows for certain, and even then that's only if you're observant and objective, and of course a lot of people really can't see themselves clearly. Some people are just plain unaware, but others are in a state of denial or self-deception about what flows are really going on with regard to themselves. This really is a fatal weakness. Firstly, if you don't know what material you are working with, you can't know what you could make with it. Secondly, when you are dealing with other people, you will see yourself as a certain person, and expect others to see you as you see yourself, but they will see you as someone quite different, so already your understanding of their abstract internal flow is wrong, and you have no chance of manipulating it in the way you want or expect.

You need to be able to view yourself accurately, impartially and dispassionately. If you can't do this, you might, if you're lucky, have family or friends who will tell you the truth, but this is very rare.

With regard to the case of never really being able to know for certain what flows are going on with another person that you are in a close relationship with, you could adopt a cynical (pragmatic?) attitude and just have indifference about the relationship as part of your internal flow, along with a plan of action as to how to change your flows if the relationship ceases or it becomes unsatisfactory to you, or the other person, for some reason. For example, a possible change of outflow on your part might be to redirect your existing outflow (your personal presence, your appearance, your words, your money) into different places so that it reaches new people who might believe, having received your outflow as their inflow, that is in their interest to enter into a relationship with you (which means an exchange on inflows and outflows between you).

Imagine you have what seems to be a pleasant relationship with someone. The only thing you can know about them is the physical outflow they're producing while they're with you, and the physical inflow they're getting from you as their inflow. You can't know their internal flow, so you can't really take at face value the abstract flow (of words, for example) coming from them. And even though you can see their physical outflow when they're with you, and therefore be sure of that, you can't be sure whether it is genuinely in accord with their abstract internal flow or whether there is a discord between the way they would like to behave and the way they actually behave. You don't know, for example, that while they're listening to you and smiling at your outflow of words, they are not in fact thinking about the shopping they want to go and do when they can get away from you. Or perhaps they're thinking about someone else they'd like to be with. Likewise you might have a particular view of the outflow that you are sending out to them, but they might see this inflow that they're receiving from you in a rather different light. Let's say, for example, you tell them a joke that you find amusing. You think their inflow is an amusing joke, which obviously means their abstract internal flow should consist of amusement and pleasure. But perhaps they don't understand your joke, in which case their inflow is just meaningless words, and their internal flow consists of bafflement. Worse still, perhaps they find your joke somehow offensive or against some principle or belief of theirs. Then they will have decidedly negative internal flow as a consequence of what you thought was your positive outflow.

Once you start trying to work with other people's flows, therefore, you enter to at least some extent the realm of guesswork and hope. Hope is a rather foolish thing to have as a constituent of your internal flow at any time. You should feel neutral about things, conceive a plan of action to produce a desired reaction in the other person, produce your chosen outflow, and then wait to see if the subsequent outflow from the other person is what you calculated it would be. If it isn't, try altering your outflow, or try working on someone else.

As far as guesswork is concerned, as already mentioned, this should be reduced to an absolute minimum by making it as educated and informed as possible. Relevant past experience also helps.

Sometimes you just have to work on the basis of trial and error, reacting and changing your outflow according to the outflow that the other person produces in response to it. This uncertainty is why your major concern always has to be with yourself and controlling and changing your flows according to circumstances and your desires. That ultimately is all you can really control, or at least it is what you can have the most control over and what you (should) have the best knowledge of.

Some Ways Flows Connect And Relate To Each Other

As mentioned, flows connect with and influence each other and give rise to new flows. Often different flows seem to be in balance with each other as well. If you're unpleasant to other people (negative outflow becoming their inflow), you shouldn't be too surprised if they are unpleasant to you (their negative outflow becoming your inflow). If you want a greater inflow of money, sell a greater outflow of goods or services. If you sell yourself, do it for the highest price possible.

The general rule is 'What you give is what you get'.

Of course that rule doesn't always work out. If you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (even if it's a sensible place to be and it's two o'clock in the afternoon) you might get mugged. You lose some money. You get roughed up. Your attackers get away. Negative inflow for you (pain, bad experience, financial loss), but positive inflow for your attackers (your money). It just doesn't seem right or fair or … balanced. In that case maybe the flows really aren't in balance. The muggers get away scot-free and enjoy your money. That can't fair. But then, we've always been told life isn't fair, haven't we? Flows don't necessarily have to balance out, or at least not in the short term, and not directly between the people involved in a particular flow exchange. (Notice, however, that the muggers still had to produce an outflow of effort, and violence, and running away, to get the inflow of your money.) Yet even in a case like this, if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, the flows might still balance out in some sense. For example, let's say the muggers who mugged you keep on mugging other people. Eventually they get caught and do time in jail. They fail to benefit materially in the long term from the crimes they've committed. The people they mugged suffered some short term physical and psychological unpleasantness, and short term financial loss, but otherwise their lives probably continued as before. Perhaps you could argue, in a case like this, that the flows do balance out eventually. The muggers get a lot of negative inflow (a few years in jail, then being released with no money and limited employment prospects, always to be under the future watchful gaze of the police) and this negative inflow in a sense therefore balances out all the negative inflow they caused their victims.

Or possibly an alternative scenario is this. The muggers do get away with your money and enjoy it very much, but last year you did something horrible to someone else (outflow of bad actions on your part, arising from you having bad abstract internal flow about that other person). It might be that the bad inflow of the mugging experience balances out the bad inflow you caused to enter into someone else's life, so there is an indirect balancing out here, rather than a direct one.

Here's another, more positive example of another indirect, extended flow circle. You work for a company. You don't have much contact with your immediate boss, but you have more contact with his secretary. You're always nice to her. In other words you produce good outflow in the form of politeness, charm, all the information and paperwork she needs to keep her boss happy. This is her inflow from you and she likes it, especially as some of the other staff she has contact with are not very pleasant. Your outflow causes her to have good internal flow.

Now, her boss is told by those higher up the food-chain to make someone redundant. Quite frankly he's not that bothered who goes. He's just glad he's not losing his job. He talks it over with his secretary. She puts in a good word for you and suggests for redundancy another member of the staff that she remembers as sometimes being rather arrogant or off-hand with her. The boss goes along with her suggestion, and the other person is 'let go' while you keep your job.

So what have we got here in terms of flow? Your internal flow leads you to produce nice outflow to the secretary, which becomes her inflow and gives her positive internal flow. That causes her to produce positive outflow (words) about you to the boss (his inflow) when redundancies are being discussed. This causes him to have positive internal flow about you and that results in him producing positive outflow (from your point of view) in the form of his deciding not to make you redundant. This is good inflow for you, and gives you good internal flow. The circle's complete, and there's positive flow all round (except for the person who got made redundant at the secretary's suggestion, but then this is a payback for the negative outflow they directed to her.) Really it would seem that this situation, on balance, is quite fair. The flows seem right. They seem deserved.

As in this latter instance, it can be the case that the person or people you need to be directing your outflow to (here it's the secretary at least as much as, if not more than, the boss) are not always the ones you think it might be. For example, if you want to publish a book, it's no good giving copies of your manuscript to various people who are your friends to see what they think of it. Their opinion counts for nothing. In the old days you had to direct your outflow (manuscript) to a publisher or agent and get them to accept it as their inflow. Only their opinion counted. Now, of course, in these days of self-publishing you just go ahead and publish your book yourself and then see what sort of sales you get. In this situation it is only the views of customers and potential customers that counts because they are the people that you want to accept your outflow and to get good internal flow from so doing.

Looking back at the way publishing used to work, although you wanted your book (outflow) to be read (inflow) by readers, the only way you could get it to them was through literary agents and publishers, so the flow circle would actually go like this.

Your outflow (manuscript) goes to an agent. They read it (inflow) and like it (your outflow has caused them to have good internal flow). They send it (outflow) with a recommendation (positive outflow) to a publisher. The publisher reads the agent's recommendation and your manuscript (inflow) and likes what they read (good internal flow) and agrees to publish your work. That agreement is outflowed back to the agent, becoming their good inflow and therefore causing them to have good internal flow. The agent lets you know (their outflow, your inflow, creating good internal flow for you). The book is printed (paper and ink coming into the printers as inflow, lots of internal flow going on at the printers), and then the book goes out to distributors and shops (their inflow). They sell it (their outflow). Customers buy it (their inflow). They produce an outflow of money in return and give it to the shops, which receive it as their inflow, a percentage of which they outflow to the publisher (their inflow), a percentage of which flows out to your agent (their inflow), a percentage of which flows out to your bank account (your inflow, and your primary reward for writing the book). The readers like the book because it produces good internal flow for them. Reviewers read your book, also getting good internal flow from it, and produce a positive outflow of praise, which, although it becomes your inflow too, more importantly is inflow for potential customers, and so affects their internal flow that they buy your book.

With good sales and good reviews, you resolve to write another book.

And so the flows go on, connecting with each other, influencing each other and creating new flows.

Flow is like something organic, even viral sometimes. You become aware of a lot of it through the physical senses, but some of it - perhaps the most important stuff - you have to perceive with the mind.

If you're ambitious, what you want to do is create flow that produces an interconnected, ever-growing chain, or web, of positive flows. Create the right outflow and get it to the right people, and it may well grow and multiply and flourish and cause you to get a lot of the inflow you desire, and/or to have the impact you want to have on other people.

So although perhaps we can't always say that flows are always in balance if only because sometimes it just doesn't seem that they are, or perhaps it's even very clear that they aren't, but the most positive and the simplest approach to understanding situations and working out what you need to do to get what you want is to work on the basis that flows between people are generally in balance, and that one flow gives rise to another appropriate flow, be it positive or negative, and the flows broadly match each other in quantity and quality.

So that's the basis we'll work on, but with an eye open for other people not producing the outflow of behavior we feel they should, for example by inflicting negative flows on us when we don't deserve it, although we ourselves might also inflict negative flows on others if it's a matter of self-preservation or if it's the only way of getting something that we really want.

As an aside, one way of looking at, say, fraud, or some other immoral or illegal behavior that seems unfair and unbalanced, is that a representation is made that some greatly desirable outflow is on offer (such as a big, easy profit that you would very much like as your inflow) in return for you making some financial outflow on your part. Your greed and naivety (bad internal flow) makes you fall for this and part with your money. Then you get little or nothing in return. To you it seems the flows aren't in balance. Your financial outflow didn't produce the desired inflow of profit. Indeed you didn't even get your outflow of money back. But perhaps the flows were in balance. Perhaps your outflow of money bought you inflow in the form of a lesson that was worth exactly the amount of money that you lost.

As they say, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. In flow terms the equivalent might be to say that if the flows, or proposed flows, don't seem to correspond to each other in a way that seems appropriate and reasonable, then something somewhere is probably not right and you should tread cautiously or walk away. Flow situations that seem unbalanced, or actually are unbalanced, should be regarded as unacceptable by at least one of the parties involved in the potential or actual flow exchange.

But we will work on the assumption that flows produce other flows that are appropriate, and that they balance each other out in terms of quality and quantity. Sell a million widgets and you will get a certain amount of money inflow. Sell ten times as many widgets and you will get ten times as much money inflow. Double the quality and price of the widgets and you will get twice as much money inflow per widget. The important thing is to be initiating these chains of connected flows, being responsible for creating outflow, so as to cause desirable inflow to come back to you. The longer, bigger, better quality, more widely spread, more far-reaching and more enduring you can make these flow chains, making them become the biggest and best possible inflow for the biggest number of people (and perhaps people of the highest quality in some way too), the better you will do and the bigger and better will be the inflow that comes into your life.

Here's an example of flows connecting and balancing. You're a busker playing your music on the street. What's your outflow? It's your music. What's your inflow? The money people give you. What's the inflow of the passers-by? Your music. What's the outflow of some of the passers-by? The money they give you. What's your internal flow? Enjoying performing and enjoying getting money. But perhaps actually you're grudgingly thinking you can't stop until you've got enough money to buy certain things you need. Perhaps you feel slightly bitter that you could have been a big star with fame and all the trappings of wealth if only you'd got noticed by someone in the music business when you were younger. Who knows what your internal flow is apart from you? And what is the internal flow of the people giving you money? Only they will know. It could be pity - feeling sorry for someone who performs in the street for money. It could be envy - the thought that they'd always wished they were brave enough to perform in front of other people. It might be that they were horrible to someone at work that morning and they want to try to get rid of the feeling of remorse by doing something nice for someone else, so they give you a little money. Again, you can never really be sure what someone else's internal flow is, but humans are much the same everywhere, so there's generally a limited range of internal flows they're likely to have in any given situation. (Obviously some extreme characters will have wildly unexpected and/or inappropriate internal flows.) You can at least see their physical actions, however, and that is what matters to you, and that is why ultimately you'll always focus as much as possible on physical flow, regarding the abstract flow in a situation as being important only to the extent that it is converted into physical flow.

Going back to seemingly unbalanced flows, here's one more example. A politician runs his country as a violent police state and steals huge amounts of money and lives a splendidly luxurious and self-indulgent life. Negative outflow, and yet lots of positive inflow (for him). How can the flow situation be seen as being in balance in any way? Perhaps there are high wages (positive outflow from him) to his police force and other 'enforcers' (positive inflow for them). Perhaps for people in the state bureaucracy, life is really pretty good (inflow of pleasant, easy work conditions and a high standard of living). And what about those for whom life is pretty bad, for whom there is plenty of negative inflow and little positive inflow? I don't know for certain the answer to that one, but perhaps the rigidity and predictability of such a bad system is actually the inflow that a lot of people really want. Or perhaps the ruling elite will eventually suffer such an inflow of pain and loss that it makes up for all the pain they've inflicted on other people and all the property and wealth they've stolen from them. Or perhaps the suffering that the excluded or persecuted feel is a lesson they deserve, equaling in positive value the negative value of their suffering, the lesson being that they should have seen this situation coming and they should have made serious efforts to get wealth and then to get it out of their country to somewhere safe, and they should have prepared an escape route for themselves to somewhere where they could live a better, safer life. My suspicion is that if we look at any particular country, there will be individuals for whom the flow situations are seemingly unfair and don't appear to balance out, but if the country is viewed as a whole over a long enough timescale, the flows in totality do balance out.

Yet there is an additional point which is worth making in connection with the above example. Your life is as big as the quantity and quality of outflow you are responsible for producing, but that outflow is only significant to the extent that it becomes other people's inflow. But the alternative way of measuring the scale and significance of your life (although not of measuring how good it is in legal and moral terms) is to measure the impact your outflow has on other people's lives and how many lives it has an impact on. This means that a mass killer (in a similar way to our tyrannical politician above) will not be seen as a good person, and the flows they create will seem to be unbalanced and unfair, but the outflow they are responsible for producing (bullets) is matched (negatively) by the impact it produces on other people's lives.

As we've seen, there is a negative approach to life where bad outflow can get you good inflow. Unfortunately it is also possible for the opposite situation to occur where good outflow can result in you getting bad inflow (such as if you go to the aid of someone being attacked and you end up getting attacked yourself and maimed). All it's possible to say is … beware! Keep your eyes open, look out for problems on the horizon, and always see what the downside risk is as a situation develops around you.

Bad flow situations can, however, be as balanced as good flow situations. So, for example, someone running a big illegal drugs operation has a lot of responsibility for producing a great outflow of drugs, for which they themselves get a great inflow of money and pleasure. If you like, the scale of their responsibility is matched by the impact their operation has on other people's lives, even though in this case that impact includes mental and physical problems and death.

Likewise with the tyrant and their country. The tyrant has taken on huge responsibility, and consequently the impact they have on other people's lives is huge, even though some of the impact involves murder, torture and theft.

So if you can't see how flows are balancing out, look to see if the responsibility someone has for controlling flows matches up to the impact they have on other people's lives. Probably you'll find they match.

Returning to the issue of getting rich, it is usually a matter of maximizing your outflow so as to maximize your profitable inflow of cash, but there are of course ways of getting what some people would regard as a disproportionately high inflow of money in comparison to the outflow you are producing or have produced. This essentially usually seems to come down to a mixture of luck and/or connecting with people who can make it possible for you to get a lot of cash inflow (and perhaps status, fame, friends, and so on, as well).

The Law Of Reciprocity - Base Your Actions On It, Even Though It Doesn't Always Seem To Apply

If you want to make a million dollars, give other people something that they attach a value of at least a million dollars to. You want friends? Meet the sort of people you want to be friendly with (outflow yourself to them) and outflow friendly words to them and invitations to engage with you in the sort of activities that they (and you) enjoy. Somehow you have to find a way of giving the equivalent (in terms of quantity and quality) of what you want to receive. (This is if you are adopting the positive approach to life rather than the negative approach which involves outflowing force and deception with no concern for honesty or fairness.)

Of course a lot of people dream about getting something for nothing. That is why lotteries and other forms of gambling are so popular. Players hope to pay pennies and get back millions. Does it ever work out? Of course. I think with the national lottery in my country it's about one player in 14 million who gets to win the big, life-changing prize. But with odds like that you'd have to be crazy to pin all your hopes of achieving financial success and security on the buying of a lottery ticket. You need to increase the chances of your getting what you want massively by getting out there and doing things for and with other people. That is the approach that is most likely to achieve results. The game of life is, to a large extent, quite simple - serve other people. Even tyrants serve other people by taking responsibility for the inhabitants of their nation. Drug dealers serve other people by supplying them with the inflow of drugs they crave. (Bad abstract internal flow causing addicts to have to inflow stuff that gives them bad physical internal flow and further bad abstract internal flow.) Usually your inflow will be in proportion to your outflow when you serve other people. Make your outflow big and good and get it to the people who want what you've got and who've got what you want and exchange flows. The more you want, the more you must give, and the more responsibility you must take for impacting on the flows of other people.

Apparent Randomness And Unfairness In Life

We've already said that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people, sometimes in ways that seem completely random, undeserved and unfair. However, it's worth looking at all such situations closely to see if this is really the case. Quite often the person having the good or bad luck has contributed in some way to what has happened to themselves.

Of course there is randomness in life, and it's quite possible for a fine, upright citizen, who leads a healthy life and who produces lots of positive outflow that benefits and is appreciated by other people, to be hit by lightning, or get struck down by cancer or Alzheimer's. But if some things genuinely are random, unforeseeable and unpreventable, then there is simply no point in worrying about, or even thinking about, such things. Yet often what appears to be someone's bad luck is the result of that person's contributory negligence. For example, quite often these days in my country you see flowers by the side of the road marking a death that has occurred involving a vehicle or vehicles. Are such deaths bad luck? From the evidence that comes out, the cause of the misfortune is often drunkenness, or carelessness when crossing a road, or young men trying to show off to their passengers by driving far too fast. So-called accidents of that sort arising from such behavior isn't bad luck, it's a natural, although not necessarily inevitable, consequence. The bad fortune in such situations could be said to be inflicted on the person who, behaving sensibly and safely, gets killed by the person who is behaving irrationally, irresponsibly and dangerously. This is why, as well as controlling your own flows and making them as good and positive as possible, you have to be aware of the actual and potential flows of the people who can have an impact on your life in some way.

There are plenty of people in this world who have very bad, very negative internal flow, and who allow this to be expressed in terrible, hurtful, loss-causing outflow, which becomes negative, damaging, painful, even fatal inflow for other people. That's just the way life is. As said, all you can do is be on your guard and look out for, and keep away from, people who have negative, or even just careless, abstract internal flow. Keep away, as much as is possible or reasonable, from the people and places, the activities and behaviors, that increase beyond acceptable limits the probability of unwanted negative inflow coming into your life and into the lives of other people that you care about or have significant connections with in some way.

As for bad people having good luck, yes, bad people can win the lottery, or inherit money, and those things probably are completely random (although of course the bad person still has to outflow some money if they want to be in with a chance of winning the lottery). But if, say, a woman marries a rich man, that shouldn't be referred to as good luck if she deliberately set out to bag such a man. If a man is born into a good family, that is lucky, but if he then goes on to become the head of a big multinational corporation, that probably isn't luck, but rather a mixture of ability, hard work, and following the sort of career path that is natural for people from his sort of background.

Yes, often there is luck involved in life, but if it is at least partly connected with an intention in somebody's abstract internal flow, and an effort on their part to put themselves in the right places, amongst the right people, and to do the right things, then really they have created, or at least helped to create, their own luck. And with bad luck, look to see if there was some negligence in someone's flows before the supposed bad luck struck. If there was, then whatever happened to them wasn't bad luck, it was deserved. Their bad internal flow and outflow created their bad inflow.

If You Keep On Doing What You're Doing, You'll Keep On Getting What You're Getting

It's one of the most obvious sayings around, but it exists because people go around whining about their lives being unsatisfactory, or how they've got a dream about how their life will be at some unspecified time in the future, yet they do nothing about it. Instead they just keep going on with their lives as usual. You really have to shake yourself up and make a serious effort to change things if you want to change your life. If you're not going to do that (and most people don't), you might as well shut up, accept things as they are, stop dreaming, and stop complaining too.

What is the first change to make if you want to change your life or some part of it in some way? Yes, you have to change your abstract internal flow - your thoughts and emotions. You can also help things along by changing your physical internal flow (doing this by exercising and making your physical inflow healthier), largely because this tends to make your abstract internal flow better than it would otherwise be. Remember that the only emotion worth having is some sort of positive desire that will manifest itself in some positive action - positive, that is, in the sense that it is intended ultimately to get you the inflow you want, or to make some flow change or production that you want in other people's lives. Other emotions are ultimately pointless, ineffective, destructive or even self-defeating or self-harming in some way. Either feel indifferent and neutral, having a calm, untroubled, unconcerned mind, or have a strong, positive desire to produce positive outflow that you can direct to other people to the effect that it achieves some flow goal you really care about. No other emotions should be entertained.

If you're going to change your physical internal flow, you'll need your abstract internal flow sorted out first so that it can tell you - order you! - to change your physical internal flow. To keep it in its new, improved condition, you abstract internal flow must provide you with the necessary self-discipline. The aim is to get your body and brain as free of any unnecessary, undesirable or excessive flow as possible.

Start to exercise greater control over what you take into your body. You also want to control what you physically allow into your life. You can't bring new physical inflow in without moving on another couple of steps in this process, but you can look at your existing physical inflow and exclude that which not only has a negative impact on you and your life. Also, however, you should exclude that which doesn't have a positive impact on your life. In other words, get rid both of physical inflow that is bad for you in any way, and physical inflow that doesn't make you or your life better in some way.

Next you deal with abstract inflow in the same way. Exclude that abstract inflow which brings something negative into your life or which does not add something positive to it. This means switching off the television, not wasting time reading fiction, not browsing for hours on the internet, not allowing friends to contact you so that they can waste your time with pointless conversations, and so on. Exclusion is the name of the game. As with all flows, you must continually, or at least regularly, check the state of your flows so as to spot and get rid of anything that is negative or not positive.

The final stage - the one that will bring more and better inflow into your life, which is what most people's main motivation for wanting change usually is - is producing better and greater outflow and getting it to the right people. As has been said, you don't necessarily have to produce this outflow yourself, but you do have to be responsible for the production of it and for its distribution and transmission to people, and to try to ensure that that situation continues as long and continuously as possible, and for the people getting this outflow to produce outflow that you desire and for it either to be channeled back to you or for it to go to other people of your choosing.

With your internal flow and your inflow cleaned up, you now focus your abstract internal flow almost exclusively on what outflow you are going to be responsible for producing, and making sure it gets out to the right people. So immediately you get on with outflowing the words and actions that either are, or give rise to, the outflow that you want to send out to others. If you are something like an artisan or a tradesman, you will get on with outflowing physical goods and services yourself. Even so, you will still need to outflow words, your appearance, and perhaps images and sounds, even with this sort of direct, physical work, so that you can advertise your services, secure and keep customers and get on well with them, and do the same with any suppliers you have.

However, your own words and actions may in themselves constitute all the outflow you are going to be responsible for producing. If so, they should be used along with outflow pumps (see later) to increase the quantity, quality and 'reach' of your outflow so that it gives rise to you getting commensurately more and better inflow from the people that your outflow goes out to.

So, those are the steps to take if you really want to change your life.

Flows Are Usually Right If They Are Flowing Easily, Or At Least Without Insurmountable Or Disheartening Obstacles And Hindrances

There's an old saying - “If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again.” However, some wit rather astutely added words to the effect that, “Then if you still haven't succeeded, give up and try something different. There's no point being a fool about it.” Generally it seems that if you're doing the right thing, and doing it in the right way, several things will happen. Firstly you'll get positive results of some sort (meaning some sort of positive inflow will come back to you). The results might not be as great and wonderful as you hoped for, but you'll be getting some sort of worthwhile inflow in return for the outflow you're producing and sending out to other people. That, of course, will tend to make your abstract internal flow positive and encourage you to continue and to try to develop your outflow so it becomes bigger, better and reaches more people.

Secondly, you will find that any obstacles you encounter will not be insurmountable, so you will not find that you have wasted a lot of time and effort going down an unproductive dead end. For example, let's say you've set your heart on being a successful musician, but everyone you approach to work with tells you you're not competent enough. Then you need either to pursue a different goal, or you need to go away for a year, practice like crazy, and then come back and approach people again. If they still say you've got nowhere near enough ability, you probably should assume that your biggest failing is not just your lack of musical talent but also a lack of self-knowledge and ability to see yourself objectively and accurately. You need to discover where your abilities really lie and see where they coincide with a passion to produce outflow rather than just to continue fruitlessly continuing to produce your current outflow.

Thirdly, one of the best gauges of whether or not you are producing the right outflow (but not necessarily as reliable as the above one) is if you find that the problems you encounter don't deter you from pushing on along your chosen path. Indeed rather you see them as interesting, absorbing, possibly even enjoyable, challenges. You like overcoming them, and you see them as being unavoidable things that you must encounter and deal with on your way to success. Of course even when you're successful you're still going to have problems and disappointments, so you really need to feel comfortable, even good, about having to deal with problems.

The reason why I say that this latter indicator is not as reliable as the second one in proving that you are basically doing the right thing in producing your current outflow is that there are some people who are so stubborn as well as being so lacking in self-knowledge that they will persist for their whole lives in doing things that they are not good at and that it is not in their interests to do. They can be almost completely unaware of their own nature and abilities, but also of what is really going on around them, what is happening as far as their own actions are concerned, and whether it is good or bad, successful or unsuccessful. That is why it is better, if you are not successfully getting the inflow you want as a consequence of the outflow you are responsible for producing, to get an honest appraisal of yourself and your activities from someone who is impartial, a dispassionate observer, knowledgeable about your particular chosen field of outflow production, and who has no vested interest in whether you continue to produce that outflow or not.

Continually Assess All Flows

As mentioned earlier, flows are continually changing. Therefore they need to be checked and tested and measured regularly. If you don't know what is really happening, you will be basing your plans for present and future flows on false premises, and you are almost certain not to get the results you want or expect from any outflow you produce. Indeed you may well be unpleasantly surprised by the inflow that you find coming your way.

Do all flows change? Yes, but they change at different rates, to different extents, over different periods of time, sometimes continuously and smoothly, sometimes irregularly and intermittently, sometimes frequently, sometimes infrequently, sometimes expectedly, sometimes unexpectedly. Some flows remain pretty much unaltered for a very long period and then suddenly there is a dramatic change. So you need to have the fullest knowledge possible of what is happening and what is likely to happen, but also of what is unlikely to happen but possibly could happen, so that firstly you can stay safe and have some predictability and stability in your life, secondly you can plan on a sensible and realistic basic what flows you intend to produce and get in the future, and thirdly so that you will be able to get, or at least have a reasonably good chance of getting, the flows you want. Take nothing for granted, and, as always, get the best, most accurate information you can.

For illustration, here's an example of flows changing.

I knew a guy who was running a successful small business. His turnover was just getting up to the level where he could have floated it publicly to get the millions needed for his family to be financially secure for the rest of their lives. They already had the nice house, the nice cars, and a couple of helicopters (which they leased out for other people to use, but which they themselves could still use too, so defraying the running costs of the machines.) Then one of their big customers, who had got into financial difficulties, went into liquidation and was unable to pay this guy's business. This is where flows connect with and affect each other, because, with there being a shortfall in the cash inflow of the business we're talking about, they too didn't have the necessary cash to outflow to the people they owed money to. So they stopped paying those people (letting the cash shortage problem flow on to them) and arranged with one of the big accountancy firms for the company to go bust in a legal and orderly manner. What cash and assets were available to the business were outflowed to this man and his family and their pension fund, and the man then bought back the company, without its debts, for pennies.

You can see how this man dealt well with a change in cash inflow, allowing the problem to flow past him and onto his company's creditors, and to arrange for everything worthwhile in his business to remain within his family's internal flow.

The important thing with flows is to try to be in control of them, and to have contingency plans in place for possible, not just probable, changes. You can see here how in businesses it is the flow of cash that is important, along with the ownership of assets (letting ownership of them flow to a family pension fund, trust fund or family charity, for example, if your personal ownership of them is at risk). This man also had the sense to outflow himself (and a sizeable chunk of money) to a top accountancy firm so that the outflow of money and assets from the company, and the eventual outflow of the company itself, minus debts, from administration back to himself, would be legal and unchallengeable. This shows the importance of connecting with the right people in a way that benefits them and you.

With flows you want to be able to keep one step ahead of the game, having plans in place for dealing with any possible flow changes - good or bad - that might take place. This applies not just to money matters, but to relationships, and to all other things too.


Understand, Change, Control - One

Examples Of Recognizing Flows In Unsatisfactory Situations And Changing Some Flows To Make The Situation The Way You Want It, Or At Least Make It Better

It's a good idea to look at situations you're not happy with and first of all work out what flows are taking place. Then you decide how you would like them to be. Then you can work out the changes you need to make. For example, let's imagine you have a small business that manufactures widgets out of a material called widgetite and you sell them wholesale in your own country to several regional distributors. What sort of flows are going on here?

Firstly you've obviously got a physical inflow of widgetite and a physical outflow of widgets. You might regard the manufacturing process as internal flow. We have an outflow of money to the supplier of the widgetite, and an inflow of money from the widget buyers. But of course there's more. What about the abstract internal flow in the mind of the person who set up the business? What was it that made them think of opening a widget factory and then actually decide to do it? Perhaps it was constant inflow from a demanding wife telling him to better himself. Perhaps it was having a chip on his shoulder (negative abstract internal flow) about being brought up in a poor family and having a nagging resentment of this that made a desire to be successful in business become a constant part of his abstract internal flow. Perhaps he met some business owners and they told him it was easier, pleasanter and much more profitable to own a business than to work in one as an employee, so his internal flow decided that he wanted to have the same inflow of financial and social benefits that his business friends were getting and he would therefore set up in business.

Always, in practically every situation, it's people's abstract internal flow that is most interesting and important. However, from a material point of view, if the business owner wants a more profitable business, there are standard flow changes that can be made. In this case they would perhaps be a) buying in the widgetite at a lower price, b) selling the widgets at a higher price, c) making the manufacturing process more efficient, d) selling more widgets, and so on. But what instigates these changes is a desire in the abstract internal flow of the business owner or its management to make more money, i.e. get a bigger net inflow of cash that can be spent at the discretion of the owners and/or management.

Actually the owner could decide to deliberately build up the business's turnover with negative cash flow (by 'over trading' and having debtors - customers - increase faster than creditors - suppliers and staff), with the shortfall being made up with an inflow of cash credit from bank loans, or factoring, or equity finance, with the specific intention of selling the business for a high price based on its turnover and on-paper profits and so getting a sizeable, personal cash profit at that point.

Of course there are also all sorts of other flows going on in this business. There's an outflow of money from the business to its employees. In return there's an inflow to the business of work from the employees.

Let's say old Bill, a worker in the factory, resents John, one of the younger, newer employees, who has just been appointed supervisor over him. Resentment is now part of Bill's internal flow. Consequently he produces a lot of negative abstract outflow about the situation in the form of negative words. John doesn't care (indifferent internal flow). He knows he's got a greater inflow of salary than Bill, and now he's a supervisor he doesn't have to produce physical outflow in the form of physical labor, unlike Bill. In fact the only outflow he has to produce now is words. All of this produces pleasing internal flow for John. Bill, however, needs to watch out because John has realized that Bill is producing less outflow of work than the younger employees, and if Bill doesn't make his physical outflow of work (and negative words) a lot more pleasing to John, he'll find himself looking for a new job.

In another situation, we have one country deciding to invade another. What flows can we imagine going on here? Perhaps the president of the invading country only got into his exalted position because various businesses and financiers paid for his campaigning. Now they want to be paid back. Their businesses can supply the weapons and equipment necessary to fight a war (physical outflow in return for an inflow of money taken off existing taxpayers or from newly issued government debt and/or money creation). Other firms will get money by being awarded contracts for rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure in the invaded country, or providing security services, and so on. An outflow of money to the President's election campaign will result in these people getting back a much greater inflow of money so long as the President goes to war as agreed.

War can have other flow advantages apart from financial ones. Imagine you're a political leader who is on the receiving end (the inflow end) of a great outflow of criticism from the public and the media about your handling of the economy. The public and the journalists have internal flow in their minds that is critical about you, the President. If you want to stop their outflow of criticism, you need to change their internal flow. One way to do that is to give them an inflow of something that is of greater interest than the economy or you yourself. So give them a war. Let them have an information inflow that says their very existences are in peril from some enemy. (The threat can be imaginary or real, it doesn't matter.) That gets people's internal flow to shift from being focused on you, the President, and your handling of the economy, to being focused on their own safety.

So you invade some real or imaginary enemy's country. Then the fighting becomes the focus of people's internal flow. That should, if you've persuaded your people that the war is necessary and desirable in order to safeguard their lives and property, get you some respite from being criticized. That makes it more likely that you can hold on to power and remain in office, controlling the flows of the nation. Of course in practice the war will most likely damage the economy further - except for those who benefit financially from being directly involved in it - because of its cost and the need for the country to go further into debt to afford it, but this just illustrates that a) the public are generally not very perceptive of flows and their consequences, and b) that it is people's thoughts about what is happening that matters, not the facts of a situation.

People's internal flow is much more easily manipulated than many of us might like to believe, imagining, as we do, that we are rational and objective rather than creatures of emotion. If you can produce the right outflow of words and images, using the media, you can often so affect people's internal flow that you are able to get them do what you want. That is, you get them to produce the outflow you want them to produce, or perhaps you get them to change their inflow in some way. In a sense this is all you need do in life. This is all that politicians do, after all. They talk in parliament, or the Senate or Congress, and they talk at rallies and constituencies, and they go in front of the TV cameras, and they talk. They themselves don't produce any significant physical outflow.

So, if you can outflow the right words and images and get them to inflow into the right people's minds so that you manipulate, or at least influence, those people's abstract internal flow the way you want, you can potentially get them to do what you want and produce or change their flows to make them the way you want them to be. As mentioned, fear and desire - or push and pull, if you will - are the two big emotions to work with in people's abstract internal flow, and you can also play with their physical internal flow, generally by introducing something into, or denying something to, their inflow. (Think of plying someone with drink to make them tell you the truth or go to bed with you, or starving them in a concentration camp to make them weaker and more docile.)

Remember old Bill in the factory? He lost his job. John went to the boss and produced a lot of negative abstract outflow (words) about how Bill's outflow of work was unacceptable in comparison to that of the other younger workers. Really Bill just wasn't worth the outflow of salary that the company was making to him. Also Bill's constant outflow of negative words about other workers and about the company and its supervisors and its management was getting everyone down (causing bad abstract internal flow).

And so it was that Bill was 'let go'. He became outflow. He was paid to accept early retirement, the outflow of money the company had to make being recouped over a year or two by not having to outflow his salary any more. (Make a cash outflow now to reduce cash outflow in future.) The internal flow of everyone else in the workplace improved significantly, and this resulted in the workers being even more efficient and productive. (That is, they produced a greater outflow of widgets relative to the company's outflow of wages.)

Bill's abstract internal flow improved briefly, but then, without work to give himself something to complain about, and having nowhere to go to keep him out of the way of his wife, Mary, he began increasingly to express his dissatisfaction with life to her. (The same sort of outflow of negative words that got him into trouble at work.)

What can we say about the flow situation in Bill's household?

First some background. Bill has been married to his wife Mary for quite a long time and he is quite a bit older than her. When they first met all those years ago, Bill had a job (the same one he's just been 'let go' from), an old car, and a down-market house he lived in - the same one he and Mary live in now. Mary wasn't working, and she lived with her parents. Her internal flow told her it would be a good idea to have Bill's money, transport and accommodation flow into her life. Putting it rather crudely, all she had to do was physically let Bill flow into her. (What passes for romance is often a sort of hard-headed business dealing, although it's usually tacitly done.) The deal was cemented, and she was able to leave her parents' home.

Now, however, it is many years later and Bill is retired from his low-paying, low-status job. So what inflow is he providing Mary with right now? For a start, he isn't providing the inflow of a salary any more, although his pension isn't too awful by many people's standards. Also he is now at home all the time, so he is providing Mary's ears with a big inflow of negative words, and her eyes with too much inflow of his physical appearance. All this is making Mary's internal flow worse than it had previously been. However, she has had some positive inflow, from a friend - an inflow of information. The friend told her that because Mary and Bill still had one child, a daughter, at home - the other two children, boys, having grown up and moved abroad with their jobs - that if Mary kicked Bill out and divorced him, Mary would almost certainly be awarded the marital home by the divorce court. Also she could get a percentage of his pension, and also a percentage of the cash payout from his old employer. And if Bill did get another job - although that was rather unlikely at his age - he would have to pay a percentage of his new income to Mary as part of the maintenance that she was sure to be awarded for looking after their daughter. In addition to this inflow of information from the friend, Mary had in her abstract internal flow some more information. Her mother was dying. (Her father had died years ago.) She wasn't going to pass away immediately - it could a year, maybe two - but the best guess of the mother's doctors was that the cancer (very unwanted physical internal flow) would finish her off in that time.

What is the relevance of all this in terms of potential flows in the future? If Bill remained cluttering up the house with his unprofitable and somewhat unpleasant presence, he would be negative inflow for Mary. If the status quo continued and eventually Mary's mother died (outflow of life from mother, and outflow of mother from life), with the mother leaving her house to Mary, being her only child, and Mary waited until she had inherited her mother's house to divorce Bill, the divorce court would be unlikely to award her Bill's house, telling her instead that she should go and live in her mother's old place. The court might even suggest that Mary have Bill's house but she give her mother's house to Bill. (Inflow of the property to Mary followed by immediate outflow of it to Bill.) But if Mary kicked Bill out now before her mother died (outflow of Bill from marital home) and divorced him quickly, what might be the situation then? It would remove some bad inflow (Bill). Then there would be an inflow of some of Bill's cash and pension, and possible extra inflow if he worked again. Plus there would be an inflow into her ownership of the marital home. And then there would be an inflow into her ownership of her mother's house in due course.

So in total there would be a reduction in negative inflow and an increase in positive inflow - a positive net flow balance. But would it involve any negative outflow on Mary's part? Not really. She didn't mind going through a divorce. It couldn't be any more irritating and stressful than remaining married, so her abstract internal flow wouldn't be worse. Indeed without Bill around, Mary rather thought that she might outflow herself onto the singles scene, and that would require her to spruce herself up a bit. Get healthier. Do some exercise. So her physical internal flow would improve as well.

With the flows seen in this way, Mary kicked Bill out and filed for divorce.

That is the way to look at flows. Recognize them, decide how to change them to make them better, and then get on with making those changes.

Try doing the same with yourself and your current circumstances.


Chapter Two - Inflow

Work Out What Inflows You Really Want

What inflow do you want, of exactly what sort and quality, and how much of it? It's important not to be influenced by other people as to what you should be wishing for. Money? Fame? Status? Why, if they're not important to you? This is where you need to have a truly accurate knowledge of yourself. If you don't know who you really are, you can't know what flows you genuinely value and need. Some things should seem so important to you that they seem essential. You must have them. Yet they must ideally also be good, for others as well as for you. And they must be attainable. There's no point pursuing what it is not within your ability to achieve or acquire.

In your imagination (which is obviously a constituent of your abstract internal flow) you should be able to visualize exactly what your ideal life would be like. Where are you living? In what sort of property? Who with? Are there children around? Friends? What work are you doing? Are you a public figure? Reclusive? Every little detail should show up in this 'film' that plays in your head. All the flows you want should be there, and they should be accurately identifiable and quantifiable.

We often come under a lot of pressure from family, friends, school, and so on, either to conform to society's conventions and pursue standardized goals, or to try to fulfill someone else's dreams for us. There's the somewhat common thing of parents pushing their kids to have the careers that they themselves never had, or indeed to follow in their footsteps, or to produce grandchildren for them, and so on. Don't live other people's lives for them. Live your own life. Live it according to your own desires and abilities.

When you really know yourself, and you can clearly see yourself in your mind's eye living your ideal existence, you will know what needs to flow into your life - properties, partners, friends, clients, customers, money, status, respect, etc. - but you should also see what outflow you need to be producing and who you need to get it to in order for you to get that inflow. You will also appreciate what sort of internal flows you need to have going on, and how your inflow and outflow will shape them and impact on them.

Once you know these things, it is time to act. Get your internal flows correctly ordered first, and then get on with producing your chosen outflows. After that, if you've got things right, you'll get the inflow you want, and you can have an effect on other people's lives and affect their flows in the way that you want.

Too Much Of The Inflow You Desire May Be Bad For You

There are some inflows, like money, about which it might be reasonable to say you can never have too much. You might say the same, for example, about good friends. And yet this isn't necessarily true. Friendship takes up time. Have too many friends either in your life or coming into your life and you'll have no time for yourself, or for things other than friendship. As for money inflow, of course any excess beyond what you require immediately can just be stored for future use, but again the getting of money takes time, so unless you enjoy the pursuit of wealth as an enjoyable game in its own right, you should really work out what would be an adequate amount of money for you to be able to live the sort of life you want, and then once you've got it, you should stop actively chasing after any more. After all, what would be the point of wasting time trying to obtain more than the maximum amount you are sure you will need for your entire life?

If you set a limit on the amount of inflow you require of a certain thing, you won't waste time, thought and energy producing unnecessary outflow just to get an excessive amount of that inflow. Of course if you are passionate about producing the outflow that happens to bring you that inflow, which is the ideal state to reach in life, nothing will stop you from continuing to produce it. (Indeed the key thing that this book really aims to stress is that life should be about the production of good outflow that is appreciated and valued by others, or that causes an impact that you believe is desirable to be made on other people.) In such a case, so long as the inflow your outflow gets you is not detrimental to you in any way (e.g. you get money, power, fame, respect), you can just enjoy as much of it as you need so as to feel satisfied and then ignore (or, in the case of money, stockpile) the excess.

There are other obvious things where you can say that too much of the inflow you want is bad for you. Food and drink immediately spring to mind. It seems to be the curse of the developed world that people are able to afford more food than they physically need. The same clearly applies to harmful things like alcohol and other drugs where, quite frankly, the right amount of inflow to aspire to have is probably 'zero'. The point here really is that limits need to be set and then adhered to, so self-discipline is critical.

If you set limits on inflow that comes to you directly as a consequence of producing outflow, then effectively you will also be creating limits for the outflow you need to produce.

Limits can be set on abstract inflow as well as physical inflow. We've already said that abstract inflow that is negative or not positive should be stopped, but even abstract inflow that you regard as good probably needs to have a limit set on it. For example, when I look back on my younger years, I realize I was over-fond of reading. It wasn't especially unusual at times to get through a slim novel a day. Now I think that reading is largely a waste of time. It's OK if you can learn something from a book or article that you can put to good use in your life, and reading fiction is, in moderation, perhaps, a pleasant, fairly harmless way of passing time if there is nothing more constructive you can do, but time should be spent living life for real, not vicariously, remotely, and detached from genuine experience. Actually it might even be better to be having no inflow and instead just to get your abstract internal flow creatively occupied with considering how you can work on your outflow.

There are quite a few things - inflow and outflow - that are rather pointless or which even have a negative impact on people's lives, so there'll be a bit more about that in the next section.

Stop Any Unnecessary, Negative Or Excessive Inflow

In many ways the worst sort of inflow, possibly excluding alcohol and other drugs, or junk food in excess, is that which occupies our minds not only pointlessly (like dealing with unnecessary phone calls and messages from people, and browsing on the internet or playing games) but, even worse, which gives us a false view of life (such as films, television, and media content in general). The only way to know reality is by direct physical experience, and then to a lesser extent by talking to other people who have direct experience, but of course their views may be different from what yours would be because their experience of anything is colored by their own attitudes. Yet people seem to love being fed with words, sounds and images which misrepresent reality and/or which can be of no use in helping the receiver of them get the real-life physical flows they want. They lazily love having other people feed them with inflow which can be absorbed without effort, rather than getting on with physically doing what is necessary to be responsible for the production of some outflow that will get them what they want, which is what they should be doing. They voluntarily let themselves be distracted from what is important in life by irrelevance and by falsehood.

If you like films, get involved with the making of them. If you like books, write them. If you like playing screen-based games, create your own games and sell them.

There are two important actions to take with regard to inflow. Other than with the possible exception of inflow that unavoidably comes from work-outflow, it is critical to limit it or exclude it. Even seemingly good things, we have seen, should be confined to staying below a certain desirable level, because beyond that level they begin to have more negative consequences than positive ones. But many things in life should be excluded from your existence altogether. Superficially they may not seem harmful at all, and often they are enjoyable. For example, reading newspapers seems harmless enough, and it provides a pleasant way of passing the time. Indeed people like to say that it's important to be well-informed about current affairs. But it isn't important to be well informed about what's happening on the other side of the world. It isn't important to be well-informed about what will never directly impact on your life or on the lives of the people you are connected to. It is not only unnecessary information, but it is quite likely to be false, or at least to be colored by the opinions of the people bringing the information to you. So by voluntarily allowing yourself to absorb this stuff, you are both wasting your time, which you would be much better off spending on working on improving all your own flows, but also you are almost certainly not as well informed as you imagine. You are merely misinformed and pointlessly informed.

The general rule is, if it's not useful to you and doesn't benefit you, exclude it or minimize it. As far as information is concerned, if you can't use it to help you make your life become more like what you want it to be (or to stop it becoming worse) it is not information that you should allow to inflow into you.

Many of us waste much of our lives by letting in the wrong people, the wrong things and the wrong actions. We read stuff that gives us information that does not help us in any way to get the life we want. We watch television. We allow useless, or even positively harmful, people to waste our time, either by actually being with us, or with their phone calls and their emails and their social media messages. We allow them to distract us from what we should really be doing (which is, remember, focusing our internal flow on producing the outflow necessary for us to get the inflow we want). We also fill our lives with possessions we don't need and that we often don't truly want. They shouldn't inflow into our lives because they just clog up the physical internal flow of our lives, as well as demanding that our abstract internal flow focus on them. We do time-wasting activities. We have hobbies which occupy us when we could be doing something that impacted more on other people and which also gave us more positive inflow. We watch films and read novels that give us a false, fantasy view of life, instead of facing up to the nitty-gritty of what it is really like. Also look at how people are always fiddling with their mobile phones, never doing anything whatsoever of any use or significance. Mobile phones, and now tablet computers, seem to be the time-wasting fetish objects of the 21st century.

To see what is negative flow is often not too difficult, at least for those people who can be objective and accept the evidence. You don't have to be a genius to realize that it is advantageous to give up drugs, smoking and drinking and to have a very light, low carbohydrate diet made up of raw salad, vegetables and fruit, and lean, high quality animal protein (if you are not vegetarian or vegan). However, to spot what is not positive, rather than what is negative, is not always so easy. Yet it is important to eliminate or minimize any flows that are not positive so that it frees you up and puts you in the best state possible to get the best flows you can in your life. As far as inflow is concerned, look at what is coming into your life, your mind and your body, and then ruthlessly decide what you would be happier and better off not having. This culling applies to people as well as activities and possessions. We pick up friends and acquaintances and partners, and of course we have family members playing a part in our life, and we spend time with them sometimes just because we feel we ought to or because it's what we've done for a long time, but you are free to choose who and what comes into your life and is allowed to stay in it, and you should exercise that freedom.

Many people seem to stay in friendships and relationships not because they want to but because they're too lazy to make changes or they're frightened they might end up with someone worse, or with no one, or they don't want to offend the other person. Fear is a bad motive for doing or not doing things. Desire is a good motive. So be brave and just drop the people that don't make your life positively better. Yes, this can be a rather brutal thing to do, but it can be the biggest, most life-changing move you can make. People can and will put pressure on you, and even become quite nasty, in their attempt to force you to stay in some sort of relationship with them, but these are exactly the sort of people you want to be rid of. Good souls will always be prepared to release you and will wish you well as you try to move on to being with new people and a life that suits you better and brings you more of what you want.

As for material possessions, we often clutter up our lives with things, the ownership of which does not only not benefit us but actually burdens us in some way. We get into debt to buy a status symbol car when really we know we are only doing it to impress others or to try to fit in with what other people have. We might buy excessively large and/or expensive houses. We eat too much. We drink too much.

What is it that you really need, that you feel you really wouldn't want to live without? Have it (assuming you can afford it and can get it). Beyond that, why have anything else? There can of course be things that you don't personally want but you calculate that by having them it will enable you to get other things you do want by making the right sort of impression on important people. If cars bore you but you are socially ambitious and want to mix with well-off, high status people, you could see it as being almost essential to have not just a car, but a car that is of the sort that your intended friends tend to drive. The same applies with doing business - you are often expected to drive certain makes of car if you are to have business credibility. Perhaps ideally you'd like to bum around in casual clothing but you want to attract a particular type of high-grade person to be your partner, or you need to create a high status, conservative impression because of your profession. If so, you go out and get smart, expensive clothes to wear. That's OK. It's a small sacrifice for a worthwhile reward. You're letting in some inflow you don't really want in order to enable you to get inflow you do want.

You should only allow into your life things and people and activities that you see as being positive and essential for you to have the life you want, or that you regard as being a means of getting something else that you want in your life (or to keep there or to keep flowing into it). All other inflow (and internal flow, if it is something already in your life) should be got rid of.

I remember reading about a writer who, adopting this approach to life, stopped reading newspapers, watching television, listening to the radio, having a mobile phone, and basically had little communication coming into his life other than what was essential for his work and for maintaining his close personal relationships. He only spent time with the few people that he valued. He was then much more free to spend time doing what he really wanted to do, and what he knew it was his life's work to do, which was, not surprisingly, to write. By cutting down on his inflow, he was able to dedicate himself to providing his readership with a better and bigger outflow of words.

There's a lot to be said for emulating his approach to life.

If there isn't a good, positive reason for something to be in your life or to come into your life, don't let it be part of your internal flow or your inflow.

Once You've Decided What Inflow You Want, Your Desire For It Is Only Relevant To The Extent That It Motivates You To Produce The Outflow Necessary To Get It

Once you have decided what inflow you want, clogging up your abstract internal flow with thoughts about it is pretty pointless. You don't want to be thinking about it anymore other than to reassess it occasionally to make sure that it is still what you want. So put it out of your mind and get on with doing what you need to be doing to get it. That is what you really need to be thinking about.

Naturally as your situation changes and you learn more about life and about yourself and what you really like and don't like, and what you can and can't do, and what opportunities are available to you and what obstacles are preventing you from getting what you want, you should reassess your ideas about what you believe would now constitute your ideal life. Yet that can probably be achieved perfectly well by doing it once a month. Even then, you should be able to come up with a picture of what you want with, say, no more than half an hour's thinking and visualizing. Beyond that, there is nothing to be gained from dwelling on the subject any further. Let the concept of your ideal life sit in the back of your mind and let it act as a motivator and an encouragement for you to get on with producing the outflow necessary to get that life. Get all your abstract internal flow focused on the production of outflow to direct to the people who can and will in return give you the inflow you want, or direct it to people who will outflow something to other people to make some impact you want on those third parties.

Consider Only Valuing Inflow That Comes As A Reward For Producing 'Work Outflow' And 'Socially Beneficial Outflow'

A good rule to have is that if there's no effort involved in getting a particular inflow (in other words, you haven't had to apply yourself to producing some outflow, perhaps other than money, as a condition for getting the inflow), and if enjoying the inflow doesn't involve direct face to face interaction with other people, then it probably isn't inflow that is particularly worthwhile or beneficial, and so you should consider not allowing it into your life, or at least do so only infrequently and in moderation.

Every inflow is really irrelevant other than the inflow that comes from your work and the inflow that comes from interacting positively and beneficially with other people. Inflow that is enjoyed as purely selfish pleasure is (perhaps over-generalizing somewhat to make a point) something that may best be avoided. Pleasure has a way of becoming debilitating indulgence or a waste of time. Perhaps the rule should be to have a rather ascetic attitude to pleasure, keeping its enjoyment below the point at which it starts to produces negative rather than positive consequences.

This 'exclude and minimize' approach can produce a calm but somewhat detached attitude as you basically 'switch off' from everything and everyone that you regard as irrelevant, useless or somehow not positive. But it is meant to allow you to become obsessed with being responsible for producing your desired outflow and getting it to those people who will then produce further outflow that you regard as somehow desirable. All obsessions should be regarded with caution, but there are worse things in life than to be obsessed with your work and with connecting meaningfully with other people. People do have inbuilt characteristics which are difficult or even impossible to change (a sort of hard-wiring of the brain) and which will dictate how they act and react.

It really can be rather nice to be so focused on, and so certain about, what you want to give and to get that you are unconcerned, unmoved and untroubled by everything else. It means that even when people bring negative flows into your life, it simply doesn't matter. If the people you want in your life suddenly start producing negative inflow for you, they are no longer what you want as inflow and therefore you can let them leave your life without having any negative feelings about them. If the negative inflow is brought into your life by people who aren't normally a part of it and that you calculate you would not want to be a part of it, then you can just laugh off their negativity. All you have to do after that is endeavor to keep them out of your life in future.

Every unwanted inflow, and internal flow, should be got rid of from your life or kept out of it. Few people are strong-willed or ruthless enough to manage this, but it should nonetheless be an ideal to aim for. Of course you will realize already that the same should also apply to your outflow. You have to stop yourself from producing any outflow that will not give you the inflow you want, or that will not produce some flow changes you desire for some reason in the lives of other people.


Understand, Change, Control - Two

Bad Inflow, Good Inflow

Here's an example of someone enjoying bad inflow and wasting their time. A teenage boy is in his bedroom, playing a computer game by himself. Not with anyone else. Not over the internet. He's just amusing himself. He's happy. Is his activity of any significance? To himself, yes, because his outflow is basically his own inflow, and he's giving himself some wonderful and absorbing internal flow. His computer game is allowing him to have some self-indulgent pleasure. He's producing lots of outflow, pressing buttons and twirling a joystick. His inflow is lots of wonderful sounds and fast-moving, pyrotechnic, action-packed graphics. Yet he is affecting no one but himself. His outflow is impacting only on himself. He's producing what might be called a 'self-centered flow loop'. It is totally focused on, and only involves, himself. One of the greatest mistakes in life, I believe, is to indulge in these selfish flow circles where you are only interested in your own gratification. Do this and you have really avoided having any meaningful role in life. Almost as bad, it has to be said, is to direct your outflow to anybody and everybody regardless of whether they want it or not, or to direct it to people who not only won't give you the inflow you want in return for your outflow, they will actually give you bad inflow in return for it. For example, in my country now, people are often uninhibited in public, badly behaved and inconsiderate, swearing and being rude and aggressive (only to be expected, I suppose, with the financial and social decline taking place in many statist, big-government, countries in the developed world). Such people produce negative outflow and direct it at anyone they choose, but not surprisingly they don't get much good inflow in return. However, they don't care because they know their government will provide them with accommodation and money, so they don't have to worry about pleasing other people anyway to get through life.

This is what happens when governments distort and disrupt natural human flows.

Going back to that teenage boy in his bedroom, his flows are pretty pointless, although they give him good internal flow. So who is producing positive outflow and receiving positive inflow (presumably arising from having good internal flow going on in their minds and bodies) as far as the boy and his room are concerned? If we broaden our view of the flow situation to take in people outside the room who somehow connect with the flow that is going on in there with this boy, and we look in more detail to see what inflow he, and perhaps his whole room, is getting, and what outflow is being made or has had to me made to get that inflow, we might recognize the following.

The boy is getting an inflow of excitement and satisfaction from outflowing activity to play the computer game in his room. The computer game is software that had to be inflowed into the computer. Somebody had to create that game (lots of positive abstract internal flow in some clever game-designers' minds) and then outflow it (positive outflow) to the boy in return for an inflow of money. And who outflowed the money to purchase the game from the game producers (or at least from the people who sold the game)? In this case, the kid's mom. So, we have a parent producing valuable outflow so the kid can provide worthless outflow. How did the parent get an inflow of money to be able to outflow it in return for the game? In this case they had to work, meaning they had to be responsible for the outflow of goods and/or services in return for an inflow of money. So again we have someone - the mother - producing valuable outflow. The boy has a computer to play the game on, and there's a desk to sit at, a chair to sit on, clothes to wear, a bed to sleep in when not playing games, a room for all this to go in, and a house for that room to go in. What we have is a parent, or parents, producing worthwhile outflow to get the inflow necessary so that a teenage boy can produce worthless outflow. Quite frankly a child in a village in a third world country who repairs punctured bicycle tires in return for some money (outflow of desired service in return for desired inflow of money) is producing more worthwhile outflow than our kid in the developed world.

All the stuff in the boy's life, apart from being his inflow, also has to be someone else's outflow. Someone must have produced the computer. Someone must have produced the component parts of the computer. Someone produced the game. Someone wrote it. Someone marketed it. The desk the computer sits on, the chair the boy sits on, the bed he sleeps in - all these are outflow produced by other people. Someone even had to get all these things to him, so those people's outflow of logistics services also contributed to the boy's inflow. Electricity is needed to run the computer. That electricity is the outflow of the electricity company that supplies the home where this boy lives. Everything in this kid's room is someone else's outflow. Huge numbers of people have taken responsibility for producing the outflow that has become inflow in this kid's life. Those are the people who are really significant, because their outflow has become someone else's inflow. That is the flow that counts. The boy himself is of little significance other than as a mechanism that allows others to produce significant outflow.

Hopefully that situation will change when the boy gets older and starts to become responsible for producing worthwhile outflow through his work and social activities.

Because this is an invented, but not unusual, scenario, we can alter and add to it. Our teenage boy might actually be a game designer. He's playing a game so that he can keep up to date with what the competition are doing. Then he can write something better. He's already produced two games which are selling well through a company that his dad set up on his behalf. (Big outflow of games, big inflow of money.) In fact all the stuff in the kid's room is paid for by the kid himself with money earned through his game production company. So he's actually responsible for producing valued outflow that allows him to afford the inflow of things he wants and needs. Admirable! The inflow he gets from playing a competitor's game has some point to it and some value. The inflow of material things he gets is deserved. It is earned.

In the first scenario we assumed a parent worked (outflow) to get the money (inflow) to spend (outflow) on buying stuff (inflow) for the teenage boy. Let's now imagine that the kid isn't a game designer, just a time-wasting game-player, and that he's being brought up by a non-working single mom who's on state benefits in a publicly funded home. She buys all her kid's stuff. How does this change the flow situation?

Actually, inside the household, it doesn't. There's an inflow of money, accommodation, goods and services, and an outflow of money. However, there's no longer an outflow of work on the parent's behalf. Someone else outflow's work instead to get an inflow of money, then they outflow tax payments to the government, for whom it is inflow, and they then outflow it to our single parent in the form of cash and subsidized accommodation.

The heading of this section is 'Good Inflow, Bad Inflow'. You already know, of course (in your abstract internal flow) that 'good' and 'bad' are subjective. They depend upon how your own abstract internal flow interprets the words. A politically left wing person will applaud government transference of work and money flows around society. A right wing person who believes in self-sufficiency and people taking responsibility for their own welfare will not approve of people responsible for producing work outflow having to outflow high taxes, or for that money to be given as inflow to people who aren't responsible for producing work outflow.

What constitutes good and bad inflow, outflow or internal flow must, at the end of the day, be a matter of personal choice. Of course what legally constitutes good and bad is chosen for us by government and is imposed on us, and what is morally good and bad can be decided by other members of the society in which we live, who will then put pressure on us, or possibly force us, to go along with their collective judgment at the risk of being punished if we don't. However, operating within these physical constraints, you should exercise your freedom of choice to live the life you want.


Chapter Three - Internal Flow

Focus Your Abstract Internal Flow On The Production Of Outflow

Of course it's fine occasionally to 'switch off' and spend some time relaxing and doing nothing purposeful, but time not focused on producing outflow that gets to others and prompts them to produce some outflow that you desire is really time wasted. So ideally your time should almost always be spent producing such outflow and that is what your abstract internal flow should be focused on.

If you accept that it's your outflow that gets you the inflow you want, and if you accept that it's your internal flow that gives rise to your outflow, then it would seem to make sense at all times to be focusing your thoughts on producing outflow. As for your emotions, they should be subservient to, and give positive support to, your rational thought process and your decision-making. You should be focused on the outflow you are producing now and that you will produce in the future, and how you can improve it or increase it or direct it in a better way (meaning to direct it to people who will react to it in what you see as a more desirable way). Really there is little need to have your abstract internal flow focused on anything else, except perhaps on keeping your physical internal flow in the best condition possible, and on enjoying and controlling your inflow.

Of course people do get distracted, allowing themselves to become mentally and emotionally occupied with some interest in people and situations that they really shouldn't be concerning themselves with. Also they can dwell too much on pleasurable inflow - either actually having it or getting it or fantasizing about it. But you know that if you get your outflow right, your inflow will pretty much take care of itself.

The Significance And Importance Of Physical Internal Flow

Physical internal flow - food, drink, drugs, smoke, air, violence, sex, and so on - is mostly relevant for the impact it has on your abstract internal flow and on your ability to produce the outflow you want to produce. Because both of these are critical to your being able to shape your life and make it the way you want, you will want your physical internal flow to be such that it aids your abstract internal flow and your outflow production as much as possible, and certainly you will not want it to be such that it impacts on them negatively.

Generally, your physical internal flow is governed by what you let, or put, into your body as physical inflow, so you need to control, and probably change, what this is and what it is going to be. However, abstract inflow can also impact on your physical condition. So, for example, if you work in a high pressure environment - maybe a call center where you have to phone people and try to sell them something - and you have a boss who is always criticizing you and pressuring you to meet targets, and your co-workers are always swearing and being abusive, this abstract internal flow will have a negative impact on your physical internal flow. In such a case, you either have to learn strategies - mind techniques - for dealing with the stress, or you have to remove yourself from such a stressful environment. The same applies if you are in any form of negative relationship with anyone. If you're in a bad marriage and nothing can make it better, get out of it.

Your physical outflow can also affect your physical internal flow, for better or worse. 'For better' might be if you do some exercise or sport that keeps you physically fit. (Participating in such activity may also give you positive abstract internal flow too.) 'For worse' might be if you do cripplingly heavy manual work, or you do something physical that involves constant repetitive movements. In such cases you really do need to stop doing such physical activity as soon as possible.

Going back to the physical internal flow that arises from what you physically inflow into your body, that will of course be governed by your abstract internal flow, so you need to think about and resolve what you will let into your body. Here I would say that - unless you need a high food intake because of being a sportsperson, or doing heavy manual labor, etc - less is better. Not taken to an extreme, of course, but just take in as few calories as you need to be healthy. Those calories should come from natural food as much as possible, and not from processed food. Refined carbohydrates must be one of the worst things it's possible to have in a diet.

Negative substances such as alcohol and tobacco smoke should ideally be excluded altogether.

As an aside, there are of course occasions when people don't have control of their physical inflow. For example, there are occasional cases of people being poisoned. A mugging, street attack, torture or rape involves the involuntary inflow of violence to the victim. Prisoners on death row in certain parts of the world probably aren't totally keen on having electricity or lethal drugs pumped into them. Some people live in towns tainted by industrial fumes or car fumes. You can't always control what gets into you or into your life. (You can, however, control your reaction to it and your decision as to what to do about it.) But with what you can control, you should make it as good as possible for the purpose of aiding your abstract internal flow and your production of outflow.

Resolving Conflicts Of Abstract Internal Flow

Quite often people think they want something but really they would like it only so long as it could be given them for free and without any effort on their part. Probably the commonest day-dreamy wish is, “I'd love to be rich.” This is usually thought by someone who has neither the zeal nor the obsession nor the risk-taking capacity to do what is necessary to get rich. So how can you tell what you really want? Generally it's easy to know. If nothing stops you from keeping on making efforts to get what you want (producing outflow), then you really want it. If, however, you're wistfully thinking about how nice or interesting it would be to have something, but you're not taking any action to get it, then you don't really want it.

If you think you'd like to be slim, and you keep saying to other people that that is what you want, but actually you're overweight and have been for many years, then what you really want is to be overweight, even if you don't realize it, can't accept it, and don't know the problem you have in your abstract internal flow that is causing you to stay overweight. (Things like excessive eating, or alcohol or drug abuse, are usually symptoms, not problems in their own right, arising from something - some experience - that has negatively affected your abstract internal flow. Identify it and resolve it, and the problem and its symptoms will usually cease.)

When you really want something you have an essentially unbeatable desire to get it. You have powerful, relentless, constant, goal-focused abstract internal flow.

It's such a waste of your life, your energy, your words - and probably other people's time - to imagine that you want something when you aren't passionate about producing the necessary physical and abstract outflow to get it. You're essentially believing that you're someone you're not, and that is really the biggest mistake you can make in life. 'Know yourself' is probably the best advice of all time, and has been around in recorded form since humankind has been able to write. If you really know yourself, there will be an integrity, a consistency, and a complete lack of inner conflict, in everything you do.

If your rational mind is saying one thing and your emotions are saying another, more often than not it is your emotions that will overcome what reason is telling you to do. Many of us know what we should be doing (lose weight, give up our vices, get into business, ditch our family and our current bunch of friends, and so on) but we never do it. It's because we need the motivating power of passion to make us put our reasoning into effect. Some of the oldest, classic self-help books around stress this, and nothing has changed since they were written. Any conflict in your abstract internal flow, any failure to achieve goals that you know you should be moving heaven and earth to achieve, stems from not having a passionate desire to do what your rational mind is telling you needs to be done.

In such a situation, where emotion is pulling you one way and reasoning is pulling you another, you really have little choice but to follow your passion. (Only people with extraordinary will-power and self-discipline are able to overcome their basic emotional 'pushes and pulls' and do just what reasoning tells them they should be doing.) You should try to find some form of outflow production that you are emotionally drawn to but which still has the potential, if tackled properly, to get you the inflow you want. (Either that, or change your inflow requirements.) Try looking to see what are the activities, and the sorts of people, you feel passionate about and that fill you with enthusiasm, then think what outflow you could produce that you would love to produce and that would let you connect with those people. Those people also need to be pleased to get your outflow, and in return they should outflow something to you that you would love to have as your inflow or, if it goes to a third party and impacts on them, produces further flow consequences that you find desirable. Then you would have set up a perfect loop or chain of flows and there should be no conflicts in your abstract internal flow.

It never hurts to do some honest self-analysis and work realistically with what you discover. Set your flow goals in accordance with who you really are and what you really need from life in order to be both happy and productive, making some sort of significant contribution to - or at least impact on - other people's lives.

Better No Abstract Internal Flow In Your Mind Than Negative Flow

They say it's better to say nothing if you can't say anything positive, and likewise with your thoughts and emotions, it is better to think and feel nothing rather than anything negative. If you can't think and feel something positive, empty your mind and be indifferent. Nothing positive is achieved by thinking negative thoughts. The only thoughts that you should have in your mind are those that are focused on what you are doing right now and will do in the future, those that are concerned with working out what you want, and those that are trying to work out what you should do to get what you want. All other thoughts are pointless. Indeed the title of this section could be broadened so that it reads 'Better no abstract internal flow in your mind than negative flow or pointless flow'.

Negative abstract internal flow is pretty obvious. Thinking about how much you dislike someone or how much you dislike a certain situation or activity is clearly negative. Instead you need to think about what you can do to change the situation or the activity. If you can't change things, change your thoughts. If you can't do that, think nothing. You might seize such occasions to meditate, to empty your mind and open yourself up to receiving inspiration.

Worrying too is a negative thought process, and it's pointless. The only thing to do in a worrying situation is to identify the options open to you and go with the best one. It might be that the best option has to be resigned acceptance (as when being led to the scaffold), in which case, accept the situation and try to be indifferent about it.

Pointless thoughts are a bit vaguer to define because there's more of an element of personal choice here. But for example, when the talking heads on television pontificate about what the political leader of your country might do next, what's the point of you (assuming you're an ordinary citizen) giving what they say any thought or having any feelings about it? In fact you shouldn't even be letting such images and words inflow into your mind. If your political leader does anything that will impact on you, you'll be informed about it directly. If any financial changes are going to be made that affect you, you're either going to be too small to do anything about it or you'll be big enough to have an accountant or financial advisor who will warn you and suggest what you should do to keep your situation as good as possible.

If you see in the newspapers, or on the internet, articles telling you that there's been an earthquake thousands of kilometers away, what's the point of you having thoughts about it in the internal flow in your mind? Unless you're obsessively charitable and you're going to send money or resources which will assist the recovery effort (assuming they don't get squandered on charity workers' pay or stolen by corrupt people somewhere), or you're going to jump on a plane and get over there yourself to help dig survivors out of the rubble, it's pointless having any thoughts or emotions about the situation. Indeed the real mistake is allowing such irrelevant and pointless information to be part of your abstract inflow in the first place.

Remember the rule - only concern yourself with things that concern you and that you can act on. In normal circumstances, you should be focused on your own goals and interests.

Dissatisfaction is only useful as a motivating force to make positive changes. If you have an ordinary job, live in an ordinary house and drive an ordinary car, but really you want to have a rich person's lifestyle and possessions, is it a good idea to be thinking about how dissatisfied you are with your life? No. You only need to be thinking about what you will do to try to get rich. Should you be thinking about how you are going to do a few D.I.Y. jobs around the house at the weekend, or about how you really should clean the car on Sunday? No. Your mind should be occupied with thoughts of the life you want and what you need to do to get that life, and your time should be spent doing what you have decided it is necessary for you to do to get your desired lifestyle. Of course you might say that from a pragmatic point of view you've still got to do domestic chores, but often people find that by the time they've dealt with life's trivia, they have little time or energy left for dealing with what's important. People say, quite reasonably, “I need to work with the situation I find myself in now and make the most of it,” but this is the mentality of all people who don't seriously intend to change their lives. It's like being in a hole and deciding to put a bit of carpet on the floor and to slap a bit of paint on the sides of the hole when in fact you should be putting all your thoughts and efforts into getting out of the hole. Of course keep your life in order, but don't 'make the most of it the way it is now'. Instead get on with seriously changing your flows. If you're having a break from that, or when there's nothing significant you can do as far as making flow changes is concerned, use that time to keep your existing life orderly and under control.

You really have to develop an obsessive fixation on getting the flows that you want, and that focus must be so strong that there is an unwillingness to allow yourself to be distracted by anything else. If you can develop an abstract internal flow that is strongly enough focused on what you want and on what you are doing and are going to do to get it, no other thoughts and emotions will be able to break into your flow. That will automatically exclude anything that is negative or pointless.

Until you can get to this stage, the best thing is to mentally pull yourself up short when you find yourself thinking or feeling anything negative or pointless. Negative thoughts and emotions are easier to spot and deal with than pointless ones because there are more of the latter and they enter our lives automatically all the time. Here the approach is always to be asking yourself that wonderful question, “Why?” “Why am I listening to the national weather report when I'm not going to travel anywhere today and I can look out of the window to see what the weather is like here and now?” “Why am I sending out messages on social media? What exactly am I hoping and expecting to gain by that?” “Why am I talking to my friends about shopping, or their relationship problems, or some sports event that happened last weekend?” “Why am I talking to myself inside my head about how stupid and corrupt politicians are?” “Why am I feeling envious of that person over there in the nice, new, expensive car that actually I would like to own myself? How will feeling envious help me get such a car?” “Why am I buying myself another watch when I have two already?”

Question your thoughts and emotions all the time, and gradually you'll get greater control over them. You'll eliminate the ones that are negative and pointless, and you'll get more focused on getting the flows in you and in your life that you really want.

Having Control Over Your Internal Flow Gives You Control (Or At Least Influence) Over All Other Flows

You cannot control all the flows in your life absolutely because you must necessarily interact with other people and you cannot control their flows. Also sometimes other people will impact on your life and introduce some flow into it totally against your will and/or totally unexpectedly. But if you can control your internal flows you can control, or at least influence to the greatest extent possible, all the other flows coming into and extending out from your life. The control of your internal flow must therefore be your prime aim if you are to have the highest chance possible of getting the life you want.

You know you must be goal-focused, focused on getting your flows as good as they can be and as near to your ideals as they can be, but even if you have absolute focus, without self-discipline and self-control it is almost impossible to achieve anything. Therefore it makes sense to devote yourself first of all to developing your willpower even before you seriously make efforts to produce the outflow that you think will get you the inflow you want and that will make the sort of impact on other people that you want.

Developing willpower is the mental equivalent of strengthening the body. You do it by making yourself go up against some form of resistance. Physically you make yourself do particular strenuous activities that you would not normally do or even want to do. To strengthen the mind, you do the same thing. You must make yourself do things, or think things, that you would not normally do or think, and you must make yourself not do or have something that you would really like to do or have. As far as thinking what you would not normally think, try meditating, do some in-depth self-analysis, work out what you want in life, work out what you need to do, can do and would like to do to get it, and practice visualization - meaning you see yourself in your own mind living the life you want. When it comes to developing willpower by making yourself resist something you want, one practice might be to have fasting days where you have nothing to eat all day on a particular day. You could even do it for several days. Obviously you need to check first with your doctor that it's OK for you to do this.

If there is some activity you enjoy doing and you know that it is essentially a waste of time, albeit a pleasant one, and that engaging in it is taking up time that should really be spent in trying to move on and get the life you want, then you could exercise your willpower by making yourself cut down on the time you spend doing the activity or even stop doing it completely. The same applies to people. If there is someone you enjoy being with but you know that being with them will do nothing to help you move on and get the life you want, spend less time with them or stop seeing them altogether.

The whole idea of developing willpower is that it should not be easy and it will not always be pleasant (that is, unless you get to the stage of taking pleasure in exercising your willpower for its own sake). You will need great willpower in order to persist in the pursuit of your goals and to deal positively and successfully with all the obstacles, setbacks and disappointments that you will inevitably encounter.

Control Of Your Internal Flow Is The Only Power You Really Have. Fortunately It Is The Only Power You Need

Because you cannot control, only influence, other people's flows, ultimately all you have to work with is yourself - your mind and your body. It is what you outflow to others that governs the sort of life you'll have. What your body does is whatever your mind tells it to do. So really everything in your life begins, and ends, with what is going on in your mind - your abstract internal flow. Therefore the only thing you really need to control and work with is what is going on inside your head. All other flows will follow on as a consequence of what you do there. Success and failure are decided there. Of course sometimes 'Fate' may defeat even people who are doing everything right to achieve the life they've resolved to get for themselves, but barring that, all your time and effort that isn't spent outflowing words and actions should be spent on training, exercising, focusing and using your mind to make sure that all your flows are as good as they can be.

Apart from thinking about your own health (that is, physical inflow into your body, and the state of your physical internal flow), all you need to be thinking about is the inflow you want (and this should not just be money and material possessions for your own selfish use, but instead it should be things and activities that you can share with, and use to benefit, other people) and the outflow you'll produce to get this inflow, and then your mind should be strong enough to get you producing that outflow (which will include physically outflowing yourself) and trying to get it to the right people.

Having the right thoughts and emotions gives you the greatest chance of getting what you want, so guard and control your internal flow zealously so that at all times it is exactly what you have chosen, and your abstract internal flow is focused on getting you to initiate some specific, positive outflow intended to achieve some particular goal.

Beware Of Emotions - Even Seemingly Good Ones. Positive Emotions Should Reinforce Rational Decisions

Although earlier it was said that if you have doubts about what you really want in life you should go with what you're passionate about, and that emotions tend to over-rule rationality anyway, you should still be thinking objectively and sensibly about what you want and how you're going to get it. The purpose of having some positive passion should be to give you the energy to achieve what your brain tells you is, for you, a desirable, reachable goal. Positive passion that is a driving force for some action that isn't right, sensible, and logical might not just be wrong, it could be dangerous, and disadvantage or hurt you and/or other people.

Most people know the definition of love as being a temporary insanity. When you love another person, it tends to show that you are ignoring the facts, and your view of the other person is being tainted by emotion rather than being objective. So as far as love is concerned, the general rule is, “Don't love people or things, love your work.” But even with work you can end up doing what is wrong if you let yourself be guided and motivated only by desire and enthusiasm. Your passion should be rationally explicable, to yourself and others.

We said that negative and pointless thoughts and emotions should be excluded from your abstract internal flow. Now, a further qualifier is that if you feel enthusiastic about following a particular course of action (that is, outflow that you want to be responsible for producing), you should first analyze it dispassionately and objectively to make sure it is desirable and achievable according to logic and commonsense, and that the inflow you are trying to secure with your outflow, or the impact you want to produce on certain people as a result of your outflow production, is what you really want.

Beware Of Hobbies And 'Interests'

Pastimes are all very well if you've retired and given up entirely on trying to achieve anything significant in life. That's fine. Why not just pursue pleasure? Occupy your time in the most pleasing ways you can. Even then though, are you sure you wouldn't really rather be doing something that makes some worthwhile contribution or improvement to society?

If you haven't reached that stage of life, however, or if you haven't given up completely on doing something good for and with other people (and good for yourself too, of course), why not remain focused on achieving some desirable goal or other? It was Noël Coward's opinion that, “Work is more fun than fun.” (He clarified the point by adding, “That is, the right kind of work is. It has to be the kind of work you're truly passionate about. Work that you would continue to do even if no one paid you a dime. That work is more fun than fun.”)

I would say, keep producing some sort of work outflow until you drop. Keep being responsible for producing the greatest amount of the best possible outflow and getting it into people's lives. Don't waste time on hobbies and interests. At least, don't waste more time than is necessary for establishing and maintaining useful contacts and for giving you some pleasant social life outside your work (if you feel the need for it).

Autosuggestion, NLP, Self-Hypnosis And Other Mind-Directing And Strengthening Techniques

You already know you should visualize yourself living what you think would be your ideal life, receiving the inflow you want and producing the outflow you need to produce to get it. You know that you need to have strong will-power, focused thoughts and controlled emotions to get the flows you desire. You know that it's better to have an empty mind, perhaps meditatively opened up to receive inspiration, rather than to have anything negative or pointless in your mind. So what about other mind-ordering, mind-controlling and mind-strengthening techniques? The answer has to be, if they work for you and you can point to real material, physical results that come from using them, then use those techniques. The one caveat I would make, however, is that although the techniques may work, just make sure that you are using them properly. Remember that a lot of self-help material gets you to focus too much on what you want, rather than on what you need to be doing to get it Also financial self-help books focus on getting you to stay the way you are but just be a little smarter with the money you've got, rather than telling you that you should be acting vigorously to get a greater inflow of money by producing a greater outflow of what people will pay you for. It can be the same with these mind-assisting techniques. There is no point visualizing yourself being rich if you're not also visualizing yourself doing what it is necessary to do to get rich. There is no point saying to yourself, “Every day I get richer and richer,” if you don't also say to yourself something like, “Every day I try to produce and sell more widgets in order to get the biggest profit I can, and I am always thinking about how I can increase and improve this profitable outflow of widgets, as well as doing anything else that will add to my inflow of cash profit.” You don't get rich by saying you're rich or imagining yourself being rich. You have to get that outflow flowing out to the people who will in return give you the inflow of money you want. There is no point hypnotizing yourself to the effect that in any situation you will act and respond as if you are a billionaire if in fact you're just an employee in the same ordinary job you've been doing for the past decade.

By all means use mental techniques to aid you in achieving your goals, but they have to aid you by disciplining and assisting your abstract internal flow so that you become responsible for producing ever greater and better outflow and having an ever greater (and hopefully positive) impact on the lives of as many other people as possible.

Being 'In The Flow'

Sometimes people are said to be 'in the flow'. This to me means that their abstract internal flow is entirely focused to the exclusion of everything else on what they are experiencing at the moment, and that should of course be the production of outflow. Any obstacles or problems they encounter are not felt to be insurmountable or discouraging. They don't interfere with the person's utterly focused abstract internal flow.

Clearly this is an ideal state to be in. If you get in this state, you will be doing as well as you can at something you want to do and that hopefully is worth doing. It isn't really a state that you can just choose to fall into, but rather it comes about naturally if you are doing what you should be doing, and you are doing it as you should be doing it, and you are not allowing yourself to be distracted by anything else. If you get in the flow, and you are doing the right things, you will have the maximum chance of achieving success, however you happen to have defined that for yourself.

Being in the flow is often associated with being creative and/or solving some problem, so that might give you some incentive to relish, rather than dread, tackling challenging situations, and dealing with problems, and being under pressure to come up with fresh ideas to get yourself where you want to go.

Try To Be Aware Of, Understand And Manipulate Other People's Internal Flow

You focus on your own internal flow because of course that's where (in the abstract part of it) you create your ideal life. Then you produce appropriate outflow so as to try to make that vision become a physical reality. But you have to get other people to accept, and ideally to want, your outflow to such an extent that they feel it is appropriate to do or to give to you what you want in return. So having allowed your outflow to flow into their lives, their abstract internal flow must tell them to produce some outflow that you want. If you want their outflow to come back to you as your inflow, you must make sure that it can, and does, get back to you.

What you need then is to have a general understanding of human abstract internal flow and what triggers certain reactions in it, and you might also need a particular understanding of the abstract internal flow of the exact type of people you want to send your outflow to.

Kids get taught a lot of stuff at school, college and university, and a good percentage of it is pretty close to being completely useless. What children and young people generally aren't taught are social skills, an understanding of human psychology, and an understanding of the mechanics of money. Expertise in these three areas is probably enough to get a person a successful and happy life even if they don't have any specific technical skill or any other abilities. Indeed social and psychological skills seem to be enough to make quite a few career politicians successful even when they have little or no knowledge or experience of anything outside politics. In my own country, a high percentage of politicians are lawyers, so they do at least have some knowledge of the law, but a lawyer is really just someone who gets money for playing with words, although, like politicians, they have to do it with the right people and in the right places (and fill in the right paperwork to get Other People's Money). Politicians and lawyers alike, however, are doing what you have to do, and what everyone has to do, which is to get other people to accept your outflow and then react in the way you want.

Having said that inflow such as reading is largely a pointless waste of time, it does of course depend upon what you read. Studying applied anthropology, sociology, psychology and economics, for example, could prove very advantageous and profitable for you. If you can get a good understanding of how people's minds work, how they behave and how they react to certain stimuli, and also study in greater detail the mindsets of the specific type of people you are interested in and want something from, you can then more confidently move on to the next stage, which is to try to learn how, using words, appearance, images, sounds, behavior and actions, you can so affect what is going on in other people's abstract internal flow that you get them to desire your outflow and produce in return whatever outflow you want them to produce.

Life for some people, especially at the top of the socio-economic-power pyramid, is almost entirely a mind game. The people who rule there use their minds to manipulate the minds of other people so as to control, or at least influence, what those people will do and/or let be done to them.

You need to do the same to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.


Understand, Change, Control - Three

The Internal Flows Of A Couple We Met Earlier

Remember old Bill and his wife Mary, the couple we met earlier? We know what is in Mary's abstract internal flow. She wants to divorce Bill, and to do it as quickly as possible so as to give herself an economic advantage and to improve her life personally and socially too. As for Bill, what is in his abstract internal flow? Little, other than general negativity, or so it would seem. He doesn't know of Mary's intentions, and as far as we know he doesn't have any negative thoughts or feelings directed towards her specifically. Not yet, anyway. He's the perfect victim. He's just a generally negative person who is dissatisfied with his life, and he expresses this dissatisfaction with an outflow of negative words.

Words we usually regard as abstract, but of course speaking is a physical act, and if you've ever had to spend much time in the company of a constant complainer you'll know it can easily cause you physically to feel bad. This is because the outflow of words gives you increasingly negative abstract internal flow, and that affects your physical internal flow, for example by making your muscles feel tense, or your body starts producing the wrong sort of chemicals and it pumps them into your blood. All this may make you want physically to express your annoyance and frustration with the other person, so you end up with an ever worsening flow loop that fluctuates between the abstract and the physical.

Words then, as we have noted, are like money in that they might be regarded as abstract but they can also be regarded as physical, not just because they can be physically spoken or written down, but because of their immense power to produce major physical consequences.

In your own interests, you should aim to become very skilful at using words.

Notice with Bill that although he is dissatisfied with his life, he doesn't do anything, or even try to imagine anything, that might improve it.

What internal flows, and attempts at manipulating another person's internal flow, might we imagine taking place in the Bill/Mary situation? Mary is in the lead position here because she has a positive goal to aim for - achieving a quick divorce. What she needs in her abstract internal flow is a plan, made up of sub-goals, which collectively will tell her what outflow she needs to produce to achieve those sub-goals, the achievement of which will then lead her to achieve her main goal.

So, what her abstract internal flow decides is that first she needs Bill out of the marital home, and second she needs to appear to have reasonable grounds to divorce him. In my country we actually have a 'no blame' culture in divorce, which means one spouse can behave perfectly well and the other can behave badly, and the bad spouse can still divorce the good one, and if the good spouse is the one with all the money, the bad spouse can nonetheless be entitled to receive a handsome chunk of the good spouse's money. (The division of money and real estate will of course depend on factors such as the length of marriage, spouses' work histories, who is going to look after the children, and so on.) But even so, it is still considered necessary to have some sort of plausible explanation (rather than naked avarice!) as to why one spouse wants to divorce the other.

Mary sees (in her mind) that the justification for getting Bill out of the house can also be the justification for requesting a divorce. She goes for 'bad behavior with threats of violence aggravated by alcohol'. So her outflow now needs to be directed at provoking such behavior from Bill. In other words, she needs to use her words and actions to so affect Bill's internal flow that he behaves (or at least appears to behave) badly enough to justify his being thrown out of the house and divorced.

And, time is of the essence.

I'll compress the sequence of Mary's outflow and its effect on Bill's flows.

Mary starts always having drink around the house and encouraging Bill to drink whenever he likes, supposedly in order to stop him feeling depressed. (Providing alcohol as part of his physical inflow so as to get it into his physical internal flow.) Bill is increasingly tipsy on a regular basis. Mary encourages him (abstract outflow) to go more often to see a drinking mate of his who lives a few miles away. Bill has to drive to see his mate, who can't drive because of losing his driving license last year. (Guess why!) One night Mary anonymously phones the police to say Bill is driving while drunk and gives them the number of his car. The police stop him and do him for drink driving. This is an instance of someone (Mary) not using abstract outflow to get someone (the police) to give their outflow directly back to her, but rather to make them direct their outflow to her husband (namely their ability to cause someone to lose their driving license).

So, out flows Bill's driving license from his life.

Now his internal flow deteriorates further - physically with too much inflow of alcohol, but more importantly his abstract internal flow worsens and he becomes more depressed and aggressive - which is exactly what Mary wants. One night she outflows a tirade of critical words to Bill. The effect on his abstract internal flow causes him physically to outflow shouting and pushing and shoving. This is the cue for Mary to call the police and have Bill cautioned for domestic violence. Later she does this again, with the same result. Mary tells the police she is concerned about her daughter's safety. Now she goes to a lawyer and files for divorce. Bill's internal flow worsens further. Mary provokes a fight again, and again calls the police, but before they arrive, Bill storms out of the house and catches a taxi over to his drinking buddy's place, where he says he's going to stay for a few days. Mary has the locks at the house changed and gets her lawyer to secure a court order banning Bill from coming within a certain distance of the property. Then she presses on with the divorce, basing it on Bill's bad behavior.

Mary has been able to achieve all this through the mere outflow of words, which have affected the abstract internal flow of Bill, the police, and a lawyer. It has obviously also affected the outflow they produce. By doing this, Mary has achieved a goal that she focused her abstract internal flow on. Her outflow of words made it become reality.

Of course this is an idealized scenario (at least from Mary's point of view), and things could well have not worked out exactly as she intended, because what goes on in other people's abstract internal flow is not always so predictable. Therefore their outflow of actions will not always be what you want or anticipate, but one of the key points here is that it is the person with the goal, and the plan of what outflow to produce to achieve that goal, who sets the agenda, and it is easier for them to manipulate the other person's internal flow and therefore their outflow if that other person does not know what the intentions and plans are that are in the manipulator's abstract internal flow. The manipulator is effectively then the leader, and the manipulated person unwittingly becomes a follower of the manipulator's plan. This is why you should always have a plan in your mind, not just so that you have a chance of getting what you want, but so that your focus on what you want and how you are going to get it will help prevent you inadvertently being drawn into someone else's plan.

If anyone's mind is going to be manipulated (apart from you manipulating your own, of course) it should be other people's, and you should be doing the manipulating.


Chapter Four - Outflow Production Is What Gets You What You Want

Accept Your Current Situation As Your Starting Point

First of all, and briefly, there is a tendency for some people to say, “I was born into the wrong family and the wrong circumstances,” or, “With my disability I'll never be able to achieve what healthy people achieve,” or, “Getting on in life is all about who you know not what you know, and I just don't know the right people,” and so on. It doesn't matter. You start from where you are now and you use whatever resources you have. (And if you're going to say, “I have none,” then you'd better get your abstract internal flow focused on thinking up ways as to how you can find or create something, anything, that other people will value. Perhaps it will just be a positive attitude that you'll be able to offer other people!)

Ask Yourself All The One Word Questions

Which are of course - What? Who? Where? When? How? Why? (With the addition of 'How much?') Then apply them to the outflow you're thinking of being responsible for producing.

A Plan That Isn't Acted On Will Always Remain Just A Dream

You've worked out what your ideal life will be like, you've determined the outflow you need to produce to get it, so now get on with producing that outflow.

What Outflow Should You Be Producing To Get The Inflow You Want?

Produce the outflow that you are able to produce with passion and competence. Have an impact on other people's lives by doing what you are good at doing and by doing what it gives you good internal flow to do. The idea of producing outflow - generally - is to get the inflow you want.

Remember the old rule - do the work you would do even if didn't need money.

Who Do You Send Your Outflow Out To?

You send it to the people who as a consequence of getting it will produce outflow that you want them to produce (which will usually be something you want as your own inflow). These people must also want, or have no choice other than to accept, your outflow. They will be, if you like, the 'end users', 'end beneficiaries' or 'end recipients'.

(The reason why I have put in the latter term is that on very rare occasions you may wish for absolutely no outflow to come from the person on the receiving end of your outflow. For example, if you have an old fashioned Italian-style revenge murder committed, all you want is for your chosen victim to die. Actually, however, this wouldn't be the end of the flows, because the murder would really be intended to outflow a signal to other people that you will not be messed with. To do a pure flow stoppage, you would need to murder an unknown, relationless, friendless bum and then dispose of the body so it was never found, and you would have to refrain from telling anyone what you had done, and not leave any evidence at all to indicate to anyone what you had done.

But unfortunately even here, the flows don't end. Your act would affect your abstract internal flow for the remainder of your life, and that would have some impact on the outflow you produce and the inflow you get.

Perhaps with your own death the flows connected with your act would end, but I am not even convinced of this. My suspicion, which I cannot prove, is that flows never end.)

There might be intermediaries along the way to pass your outflow further along lines of distribution to these 'end' people, and probably also to channel back to you the outflow they produce in return for your inflow. Of course sometimes you'll just have a direct outflow-inflow relationship with people. For example, let's say you’re a cabinet maker making hand-crafted furniture in a workshop. People come to you, place an order with you, give you money, and you give them the piece of furniture you've made for them. A straightforward direct flow exchange. But if you want a greater amount of inflow, your outflow will have to be greater, so you will almost certainly need more extended and more indirect channels of distribution. For example, you make tables and sell them to a shop. The people who end up owning your tables now don't outflow their money directly to you, they outflow it to the shop, then the shop outflows it to you so that it becomes your inflow. Your outflow doesn't go directly to the end user now. It goes to the shop and they outflow it to the customer.

Think about whether you want or need to have a direct flow exchange relationship with people who want what you're offering and who will do what you want and/or give you the inflow you want in return, or whether you want to insert other people (or perhaps technology) into the flow chain. If you do, think about who or what would be best, taking into consideration the goals you have in mind.

Where?

Where are you going to produce your outflow? Where are the people who ultimately want it? Where are the people who will distribute your outflow and gather in for you the inflow that you want? If you need people to help you produce outflow, where are they? If you need materials, where are they to be found?

People and things of a certain nature tend to be found in certain locations. Know where those places are and get some outflow to them to initiate whatever flow exchange you want to have happen.

How?

How are you going to produce your outflow? How are you going to get it to the people who will give you what you crave? How are you going to multiply your words and actions (or at least their effect) so that the outflow that you are responsible for becomes as great as possible, perhaps impacting on the lives of millions of people (if you're that ambitious)?

Actually the theory of how the latter is achieved is quite simple, but actually making it happen is fairly difficult. It will be dealt with later. As with most things, it comes down to outflowing yourself personally to the right people, and then outflowing to them words, and perhaps sounds, images and other things, depending on what flow loops you're talking about creating, so as to make their abstract internal flow prompt them to say, “Yes! If I deal with this person's outflow, I will get the inflow I want.”

When?

This is the easiest question to answer. The answer is always 'now', or if not 'now', then 'as soon as possible'. Start putting your plans into effect immediately. Get that outflow outflowing. Get it to the right people. Multiply it. Do it all as soon as you.

Of course some things you can start making an effort to achieve immediately, but actually achieving it may have to take a set period of time that simply cannot be altered. For example, becoming an architect or a doctor. You can't just become one now. But what you can do is start outflowing the work effort (studying hard, for example) right now.

Why?

Really this is the question you should ask before all others. In many ways it is the best question one can ever ask in any situation. Why have you set yourself the flow-goals you think you want to achieve? Do you actually know yourself well enough to have set goals that are right for you? If you've decided on a certain path to achieve your goals, why have you chosen that particular path? Is it the best route to take from where you are now to where you want to be? Why do you think you are going to be able to produce the outflow you've decided to produce? Why do you think your intended receivers of it will want it? Why will they want to give you what you want in return for it? Why don't you have enough self-discipline to make yourself do the things you know you need to do?

“Why?” really is a question to be asking all the time in all situations. Why do I have this person as a friend? Is it just because we went to school together all those years ago, even though we now have almost nothing in common? Why do I force myself to spend time with, and be nice to, these relatives of mine that I don't even like? Why have I set my ambitions so low? Why am I living in this small town when really I'd like to live in a big city?

Keep asking yourself, “Why?” Every time you come up with an answer, find a question to ask about that answer. Keep drilling down until you get to the essential truth beneath it all, the underlying essence on which the first thing you questioned is ultimately built. You want to know the reality underlying every aspect of your life, and then you want to work with that reality to get for yourself the best life possible that is right for you and who you really are.

Don't Waste Time Producing Pointless Outflow

Pointless outflow is that which doesn't become someone else's inflow and that doesn't cause them to respond to it by producing whatever outflow you want them to produce, the latter being either something that you get as inflow or that goes out to someone else you want it to go to.

Unsuccessful people fill their lives, their bodies, their minds (their abstract internal flow), with unnecessary inflow and with the wrong inflow. The other side of the coin is that when they do produce outflow, it too is unnecessary or wrong. Also they waste their time producing outflow that simply doesn't reach anyone. In Russia I sometimes see a character in a comedy show who keeps talking to his television, arguing with whatever is on it, telling the program off. There are people like that in real life. Don't be one of them. There should be a purpose behind all the outflow you produce, which is to get it to other people to so affect their abstract internal flow that they produce some outflow that you want them to produce.

Try Substituting The Word 'Sell' For Outflow

Selling is really what life is about. At the very least you have to sell yourself - maybe not for money, but for something that you want. You sell yourself when you enter into a relationship or acquaintanceship. You sell yourself when you try to borrow money from the bank for your business. You sell yourself to a potential future employer when you apply for a job. Effectively you are saying, “These are my good points. This is what I have to offer. Do you wish to accept these qualities I have? Will you tolerate any deficiencies I may have? Give me your decision, please. I want you to accept me because if you do, I want something from you in return.”

In business, of course, you'll still have to sell yourself somewhere along the line (somewhere in the flow chain) but you'll also literally be selling some product or service.

One of the interesting things about the self-help gurus is that they know that all that matters is selling as many of their books and audio and video recordings and tickets to their self-help conventions as possible. They won't tell you this, because it's not in their interests for you to become successful. They want you to remain unsuccessful so you keep on buying their guff. But at the end of the day, they're rich because they sell a lot of stuff. If you want to be rich, you must sell a lot of stuff too, or you must sell yourself for a high price to people who want you.

See your outflow, including the outflow of yourself to other people, as something for which you want to find a buyer, someone who will give you what you want in return for what you are offering to outflow to them. You might just be selling a nice appearance, a charming, interesting personality and some good conversation, but sell it nonetheless, and get something you want in return for it.

Selling is not something to be despised or looked down on. We all do it, even if we are not aware of it. Even drop-outs have to convince other drop-outs that they are 'of their ilk' if they want to be accepted in the “I'm a rebel and a non-conformist” community. With their speech, appearance and behavior, they are saying, “Look, I have the same attitudes as you. I too am unconventional. Do you accept that you and I are similar in our fundamental dislike of mainstream society? If so, let us be friends and spend time together and form some sort of relationship.”

Selling should become natural and enjoyable to you. It should become ingrained and habitual. You should relish trying to get people to accept what you have to offer so long as they will do something you want in return.

As Bill Nelson said, “It's a fair exchange.”

Find The Special People

Why are they special? Who are they? Where are they? How do you get noticed by them? How do you connect meaningfully with them? What is it about you that would interest them and make them let you and/or something connected with you inflow into their lives in some way?

The obvious reason why some people are special is because they can give you what you want or do what you want or they can help you in some way to connect with others who will do those things. Of course some people can also be special in the completely opposite, negative way in that they are obstacles or hindrances to you getting what you want. With these people there is only one thing to do - get them out of your life as soon as you can, however you can. If you can't do that, at least try to minimize the impact they have on you and your life. (Sometimes, assuming you don't work for them or get business from them, your own government will fall into this category.)

Concentrating on the more positive, useful group of people, it's interesting how often people's lives seemed to be changed dramatically by connecting with just one particular, special person. That person has the contacts and the experience necessary to enable you to move onwards and upwards, socially, financially or in your vocation. Such personal connections are probably the most important factor in almost anyone's life, so it is worth putting a lot of thought and effort into working out who is special from your point of view - and that will of course depend on what you want - and then working out how you can connect with them. Bearing in mind how critical it is to make this happen, you should resolve to do absolutely everything within your power to make it come about. Get to meet the right people in the right way in the right circumstances and convince them you have something worthwhile to offer them in return for their help.

Find One Or More Mentors To Guide You And Help You

Having even just one good mentor advising and helping you can make all the difference to your life. Usually you will want someone who is successful in your chosen vocation. They can show you the ropes and stop you from having to learn from hard, bitter, and often fruitless, experience. Without a mentor you either may never achieve success, or you make take so long to achieve it that it is of little use or interest to you when you do eventually achieve it.

Outside your vocation, the other sort of mentor that can be useful is a person with great social skills and experience, from whom you can learn how to get on with people and to have them find you so likeable, interesting and worthwhile to be with that they are inclined to help you in some way or to give you something you want.

Again you need to work out where these people can be found and connect with them. You have to connect in a way that is notionally as an equal, however. It's no good going to work as a cleaner in a rich person's house or as a chalet maid at an up-market ski resort and expect to be taken under the wing of whatever wealthy, successful, high status people are there that you are serving. They, if they notice you at all, will just regard you as beneath them and will not be interested in having anything to do with you. Instead you have to connect with people in such a way that you can make it clear that there is an 'activity connection' between you, and that although you may be many rungs beneath them on the ladder, you are actually on the same ladder as them.

You may ask why, in flow terms, a successful person would want to outflow advice, help and connections to a person who is not successful. Obviously the answer must be that in some way it gives them good inflow and/or good internal flow (or it may ameliorate some bad internal flow). An example of the latter instance might be someone who has had an easy ride through life, being born into a successful family, inheriting a business, having a lot of lucky breaks, but feeling rather bad (negative abstract internal flow) about how fortunate and easy their life has been. They feel the inflow life has handed them is more than the outflow that they personally have produced really merits. So to ameliorate their guilt, they wish to produce extra outflow in the form of helping someone who hasn't had the inflow of good fortune they've had. This extra outflow they produce (mentoring you) helps their abstract internal flow by making them believe they have moved closer to making their outflow balance with their inflow.

With other sorts of people who might be prepared, or even happy, to mentor you, you can't really ever know their motives for doing it because you can never know for certain what is going on in their abstract internal flow. Someone who's come up the hard way might have trodden on a lot of people to get to the top in their chosen vocation, and now they want to counterbalance that - the awareness in their abstract internal flow of how much they were disliked when they were clawing their way to the top - by getting an inflow of warm feelings from people around them, and one of their tactics for achieving this (which probably also includes getting involved in some charitable activity) is to be seen to be outflowing help (lovely, warm, generous positive outflow) to someone like you.

There can be any number of reasons why a person might mentor another person and produce valuable outflow for that person, but rest assured that it is because in some way it is making their own internal flow better (and/or perhaps even their inflow, either now or eventually).

It's Not Necessarily The Outflow You Personally Produce That's Important, It's the Outflow That You Are Responsible For Being Produced That's Important

Of course if you are a performer of some sort, like a professional sports person for example, then it is your own personal outflow that you will be selling. However, if you are the owner of a widget factory, your outflow is widgets. You're not expected to make the widgets yourself. You just have to make sure that the widgets get made. You have to be responsible for the greatest, most profitable outflow of widgets possible.

Of course in life in general, whatever sort of life you have, your own personal outflow - appearance, speech, behavior, actions, making connections - will be of huge importance, so you will always have to put a lot of attention and effort into doing it and getting it right. As far as making money is concerned, however, you will either be like a star performer, or you will want to be the manager of a team of star performers, or you will want to be like an agent, getting money basically for selling star performers from one team to another.

As far as business is concerned, responsibility can mean having overall control of the running of the business, and/or it can mean owning the business, in which case you may or may not be actively involved in the running of it. As far as I can tell, the greatest potential for money-making (big inflow of cash profits) goes to those people who own businesses.

If you're going to be an employee (and why not, if that's what makes you feel good?) you really should be seeking to take on as much responsibility as possible in the organization, doing this by moving as high up the hierarchy as you can.

Love Producing Your Outflow And Find People Who Love Receiving It As Their Inflow ..

… and who will in return love doing what you love them to do and/or give you what you love to receive.

Now … that is the sort of love that really matters! Not the half-mad, unrealistic, romantic love one particular individual might have for another person … but rather, practical, worthwhile love that manifests itself in real action.

Always Be Outflowing Yourself In Person To Other People

But of course make sure they are those special people or mentors mentioned earlier.

With today's technology there's a tendency for people to connect with others indirectly rather than face to face, yet I believe that really worthwhile relationships are started and continued by people physically getting together with other people. No matter how wonderful technology seems to get, the basics of human interaction remain the same, and people respond much more strongly to other people in the flesh than to an image on a screen, or a voice coming out of a speaker, or a written communication. You want to make a strong impression on those people you consider worth impressing, so get yourself to the places where you can mix with them and physically get near them and talk to them. Perhaps engage in some activity with them that they like. That's how to have the best chance of forming the sort of relationships where the flow exchanges you want can take place.

Know that there's no point going to places where you won't find people who interest you.

Judge Your Outflow By The Inflow It Gets You

That, after all, is why you're producing outflow. Even if your outflow is designed to get the recipients of it to produce outflow that impacts on third parties, the inflow you will want is the inflow of information that this has happened, or the inflow of recognition from yet other people that you have made it happen. So with our arch terrorist using manipulative outflow to get suicide bombers to outflow lethal force to third parties, that terrorist will want an inflow of information confirming that the outflow for which he was responsible (outflow of lethal force) got to the people he wanted it to get to (the third parties) and became their inflow (involuntarily) and caused them to produce the outflow he wanted (outflow of their body parts and their lives). For him, the flow circle is satisfactorily complete.

As an aside, knowing that 'good' and 'bad' are subjective (obviously being decided by each individual's abstract internal flow), the terrorist will see this as a 'good' chain of flows, although we (hopefully, in my abstract internal flow at least) would see it as bad. The terrorist, by the way, would not see the flow chain as being complete and finished. It would be intended to trigger changes in the internal flows (abstract), and consequently in the outflows, of certain people. That could be the citizens of an invading country, or people who are not of a particular religion, or certain politicians, and so on.

So if your outflow isn't getting you the inflow you want, you need either to stop it or to change it. If you're changing it, maybe you have to make it of a different type, maybe increase its quantity, maybe direct it to different people, maybe alter its quality, maybe alter the inflow you're demanding in return for it, and so on. If you can't work out what you need to do, and you can't find a mentor to advise you, you'll just have to work by trial and error until you hit on what succeeds for you. This can be time-consuming and expensive, however, so it is certainly better, by one means or another, to get the inflow of information or assistance from other people that will allow you to shortcut the process.

If You Are Financially Ambitious, You Should Aim To Be Responsible For The Maximum Amount Of Outflow Possible

Money is a quantity game. Many people have got rich by outflowing huge amounts of junk. The quality of the outflow for which you are responsible only has to be whatever the people taking it in as their inflow reckon is acceptable to them. Going beyond that level can be self-defeating if it doesn't yield greater profits for you. (This applies in personal relationships too. If you want a relationship with a low grade person, you can produce a lower quality of outflow - appearance, behavior, expenditure, and so on - than you need to outflow to have a relationship with a higher grade person.) Being financially ambitious just means you want a big net inflow of money, and this usually comes from being responsible for a commensurately big outflow.

Clearly this isn't always the case. You can get great inflow without producing great outflow. Suffice to say, however, that it still requires - if we're not talking about winning the lottery - connecting with someone who is producing, or has produced, great outflow, or who is connected in some way to such a person.

The Shortcut Way Of Seeing Outflow … As Something That Impacts On Other People's Flows

Because outflow is only relevant to the extent that it has some effect on other people's flows - by becoming their inflow in some way, affecting their internal flow, and/or affecting the outflow they produce - it can in some circumstances be easier to focus more on the effect that is being had on other people's flows if you are having a problem identifying exactly what outflow is being produced. For example, if you look at the President of a country, you can understand that they talk. In fact that's basically all they do. They do it in their parliament or government, whatever form that takes, and they do it on TV, and they have conversations that aren't disclosed to the public (or even to other politicians). Decisions are taken, either alone or in agreement with others. And that is all the President seems to do - just outflow words to people. And yet the consequences of it are felt, or are potentially felt, by all the nation's citizens, and indeed by citizens of other nations too.

The effects are probably easier to spot and describe than are the specific chains or loops of outflows that cause them (with the necessary inflows and internal flows of the people involved in those chains or loops). For example, take an individual soldier who is sent abroad to take part in the invasion of another country and who gets killed. The soldier's death is a consequence of a decision taken by the President and/or their government. To track the outflows of words spoken by all the people down the governmental and military chain of command that caused and enabled the soldier to be in someone else's country, unwanted, and then to be on the end of an outflow of lethal force from someone in that country would be very complicated. Even just dealing with the very end-point you would have to look at the outflow of the other soldiers around, the outflow of military equipment, of officers' decisions, of the enemies' decisions, of the inflows that affected those people's decisions, and so on, all of which would have had an effect on the killed soldier and the circumstance around him and leading up to his killing. Why was he in the place he was when he was killed? Was it an outflow of specific orders from other people that put him there? Was it his own internal flow - his initiative, his reasoning, his decision-making, his being under the influence of some substance - that caused him to produce an outflow of movements that put him there?

Rather than get bogged down by the complexity involved in such long chains of so many people's flows, it is possible, and easier, to shortcut flow analysis by just jumping to what is important, which is the impact that someone's flow, in this case that of the President and/or their government to decide to send soldiers to another country has on another person or other people (in this case for a specific soldier physically to outflow himself to a place where the enemy killed him). Of course we politely assume the killing was done by the enemy, and not done by an outflow of that wonderfully named thing - 'friendly fire'.

But you always have to remember that flow chains rarely, if ever, have a beginning and an end. The President decided to invade a country. Perhaps you have to trace various flows back to his childhood to understand why, and then you could go back through the flows of his parents to explain his childhood, and so on and so on indefinitely. And with the dead soldier, perhaps after his death his wife remarried, had more children, and got involved in, and created, a whole new set of flow chains and loops.

Because flow connections are essentially never ending, if you are interested in them you have to decide what you want to be the significant events of a particular flow chain that you will regard as the beginning and end, or you might just look at a particular flow loop in simplified terms - outflow of widgets, inflow of money, that sort of thing.

Let's say your income this year was the same as last year but the amount of money taken by the government in tax is higher. It's because some people in government decided to take more tax from citizens and their decision was outflowed in a long and complex way through a vast number of people to whoever it was that ultimately was able to take the tax off you. You don't care about all the flows that led to this. You're just interested in the impact it has on you. You have less money than you otherwise would have had. Forget the flows. Just look for the impact of them that is significant to you.

You lose your job. It's because the board of directors decided to cut the number of people their company employs. You can identify the impact of their decision very clearly. The actual chain of outflows running from the board of directors down through the company until it got down to the person who gave you your dismissal notice would be quite long and difficult to analyze. In such situations the easiest, thing to do is to focus on what you see (in your abstract internal flow) as the final impact - you losing your job - and, if it's of some relevance or interest to you, the originators of the outflow that gave rise to that impact - in this case, your board of directors.

But we know flows tend not to have an absolute origin and end. (Somebody explain to me what was going on before the universe was created.) There is always some flow before what is seen as an originating flow, and there is always some flow after what is regarded as the end result of a chain of flows. People just subjectively decide for themselves what is an originating flow, because for some reason it is regarded as important in their abstract internal flow, and the same with what is decided to be the end of a chain of flows.

So in the previous example, if you lost your job, you may think that the decision originated with the board of directors and that the flow ended with your redundancy. For the board of directors, however, their decision was a result of seeing their company's outflow of their products decline because foreign competitors are now outflowing the same sort of products, but for a lower price. Therefore the board of directors' decision was not, at least in their view, their own choice, but rather it was something forced on them as a consequence of their competitor's outflow. They simply had to reduce the company's outflow of money on salaries and wages to keep the company in existence.

For you right now, you regard losing your job as the ultimate impact of a decision that originated in the minds of the directors. For them, however, your redundancy as such is of little significance. They are thinking about what is going to happen to the company next year - whether to lay off more people, or perhaps shift production abroad. They might not even know who you are or that they employed you.

And as for things from your point of view, what happens if after your redundancy you get a great new job at a new place and at a much higher salary? Then you might see your redundancy as being a positive thing. The outflow from the board of directors now becomes good, not bad.

Likewise with the soldier. We think the government originated the cause of flows that resulted in him being killed. But perhaps the government viewed the invaded country as being about to support a wave of terrorist attacks here in the government's own country. (An outflow of lethal force, giving rise to an outflow of civil unrest and anarchic behavior by the state's citizens.) Perhaps also the invaded country was about to cut off oil supplies to the invading country and disrupt oil supplies from other countries too. The government then would have produced its outflow (the decision to invade) as an almost unavoidable consequence (at least according to their own abstract internal flow) of the inflow of information they were receiving. The enemy, they would say, left them with no choice but to outflow soldiers and weapons, and deploy them in the invaded country.

As for the soldier's death, his family might regard it as the end consequence of the government's decision, but for the government it isn't an end of anything. And for the firm of funeral organizers that have to deal with the funeral of the soldier, it certainly isn't an end. It is just another funeral to do and to make a profit out of - one of many in a long chain of them that they have done and will continue to do.

What for one person is the end of a chain of flows is for another person just a beginning. What for one person is of great significance is of no significance at all to another person. Your good is my bad, and my misfortune is someone else's opportunity.

The point is that because flows never absolutely have a beginning or an end, we subjectively decide for ourselves what we will regard as a beginning and an end of a chain of flows, but really what we are saying is that certain particular points in chains of flows are regarded by us in our abstract internal flow as being important and significant in some way, and either good or bad. Our abstract internal flow processes life, and its flows, subjectively, and sometimes even arbitrarily and illogically. That is a weakness in us that we should resist. It is also, however, a weakness in others that we can sometimes exploit to our advantage. We can work with other people's perceptions of situations at least as much as we work with the bare, objective facts of situations.

The real, physical flows may be a lot less important than how they appear to be to people in their abstract internal flow, and that is why we can achieve more by working with people's abstract internal flow than by working with life's physical flows. If we manipulate other people's minds, we can get what we want.

Remember that as a shortcut, in incomprehensibly complex chains of flows, you just look at what you regard as the points of significant physical impact in those chains.

A Secret To Being Successful Is To Take On As Much Responsibility As Possible

Responsibility for what? See it either as being responsible for the best and biggest amount of outflow possible, or being responsible for having the greatest impact on the flows of the greatest number of people possible.

Responsibility takes many forms. You can be C.E.O. of a business that employs thousands of people. You can be a musical performer who gets on stage to entertain an audience of thousands of people. You could be President of a nation and be responsible for the lives of millions of people.

The big rewards that this life has to offer go to the people who take on the most responsibility. If you're not prepared to get noticed, to stick your head above the parapet, to be criticized as well as praised, and you can't take decisions or deal with the consequences of those decisions, you can still have a very pleasant life, but it will be a small life. You won't be able to achieve much of significance, and you may well essentially be just a passive pawn in games played by smarter, harder people who have accepted, or even seized, responsibility from, and over, others.

If you're ambitious, don't wait for opportunities to come to you to take on responsibilities. Take them without asking. Let's say you work in an organization. Look for some of the ways you can take some of the workload off your boss (especially by doing the things they're not keen on doing). If you're in sales, take on a bigger area, or arrange for people to start working under you if you don't already have a team. If you join an organization, don't just be an uninvolved member, be active, organize events that other people can get involved in, be an instigator, make things happen, become an officer of the organization, take control in some way. Perhaps set up a new branch somewhere that you can be head of.

If you're ambitious, you want to be as near the top of the pyramid as possible. You want to be the performer on the stage, the sports person who is the focus of the attention of the crowd, the President standing in front of the cameras and delivering a speech. You want to be the owner of a business. You want to be an employer, not an employee. You want to be the person who is being watched and listened to, not one of the watchers and listeners, just a face in the audience. Don't be one of the majority that follows. Be one of the minority that leads.

Outflow Pumps - Big Success Is Impossible Without Them

What is an outflow pump? It is anything that multiplies your outflow. Without them, the success you can achieve will be limited.

Your own personal outflow, the outflow for which you are directly responsible, is simply what you do and say. With just those things alone, and nothing else, you cannot make much of an impact on the world. You need other people, other people's money, material things, technology, networks, businesses, the media, etc., to multiply that limited personal outflow of yours if you are going to make an impact on the flows of as many other people as possible.

So, for example, there are some famous artists in the world who don't produce their own art. Instead they pay other artists, who are not famous, to produce it for them, and then they attach their famous name to what has been created. The unknown artists act as flow pumps for the famous artist. They multiply the outflow of art that the famous artist is able to produce and sell under their own name.

The famous artist does not then go out and directly sell their art to buyers. Instead the art is passed on to art dealers, art galleries and art auction houses. The dealers, galleries and auction houses are also flow pumps for the artist's outflow, pumping it out to buyers in greater quantities than the artist could ever manage if they had to do the selling themselves.

Now, if you own a widget factory, the factory acts as a flow pump for your outflow of widgets, enabling you to produce far more than you could ever produce just working by yourself. The people in the sales force you employ are flow pumps, finding people who want your outflow of widgets as their inflow and thereby enabling you to increase your outflow. The distributors that buy your widgets in bulk and then sell them on in smaller amounts to local traders are also outflow pumps for you. Taking it further, the employees in the factory are outflow pumps, as are all the machines that manufacture the widgets. (Imagine how few widgets you could make and sell if you had to manufacture each one physically by hand yourself.) Your company's bank loan acts as an outflow pump, giving you the money to increase your outflow. The advertising agency you use to promote your business and bring new buyers to you is an outflow pump.

An outflow pump is anything that you can use to transmit and/or multiply the effect of your own personal actions and words to increase the inflow of it into other people's lives.

If you are an actor you can go on the stage of a theater and perform to an audience. It won't be a huge audience, but the theater, with all the people who work in it and who promote the show you are in, is a flow pump, getting your outflow (your performance) to a bigger audience than you would be able to achieve purely by you own efforts.

Now imagine that instead of performing on stage you perform in a film. The cameras recording your performance are essentially flow pumps because they create a record of your performance that enables your performance to be seen not just at the moment when you do your acting but indefinitely into the future, and at locations around the world, not just in the spot where you did your original acting.

Taking this situation in more detail, you produce your outflow (your performance). Normally that would be an end of it. Anyone who wasn't there at the time to see it would have missed it forever. However, your outflow became the inflow of the camera, and there it is stored in some permanent or semi-permanent form in its internal flow. Of course it isn't going to stay there. It can now be outflowed and inflowed into other devices, and it can be held in the internal flow of these devices. It can be copied many times. Your performance now has the potential to be multiplied often and indefinitely. That is why the camera recording your performance counts as an outflow pump. Of course to get your outflow to be the inflow of audiences around the world requires even more outflow pumps. If it's to be shown in cinemas, those cinemas will be outflow pumps. But to get your performance, and the film it appears in, into those cinemas, requires film distributors. They are outflow pumps for you. If your film is going to be shown by various television stations, those stations are outflow pumps. Again it won't be you who deals with these TV stations. That has to be sorted out by other people, and they too are outflow pumps acting on your behalf.

It's easy to see that the bigger, better, and more outflow pumps you have working to get your outflow to the end-users or end-beneficiaries of it, the better it is for you. If you're ambitious you should seek out every effective, efficient way of leveraging your outflow so that it becomes the inflow of, or has an impact on, the greatest number of people possible, and also that it has, if appropriate, the greatest quality possible and the greatest quantity possible.

You can see now how the C.E.O. of a large company is able to achieve so much just by taking decisions. The whole company acts as an outflow pump, transmuting the C.E.O.'s decisions so that they become manifested physically, and then multiplied, possibly all around the world, to the extent that the C.E.O. has decreed. The C.E.O. himself or herself, however, outflows nothing except words and their behavior.

The same applies to the President of a country. The country's army, navy, air force, money-collecting and money-spending departments, indeed the whole apparatus of the State, all acts as a massive flow pump, taking whatever the President, and the President's government, has decided, and making it physical, and multiplying and outflowing it to the locations and the people dictated by the President and the government, on the scale and to the effect that they have decreed.

Flow pumps are largely the explanation for why some people achieve little and some people achieve a lot.

Remember when people had to do physical work? Let's say a lumberjack had to cut down trees. A certain outflow of energy, of muscular movement, would bring down, say, ten trees. Now with the use of machinery the same physical outflow might bring down one hundred trees, or even a thousand. The same outflow of human energy now produces a vastly increased outflow of timber to sell, thanks to machinery acting as an outflow pump to manifest and multiply the decisions (abstract internal flow) and physical movements (physical outflow) of a person who a few years ago would have been swinging an axe.

Which brings us on to the really important feature of outflow pumps. (That is if your motive for producing outflow that others desire is to get for yourself inflow that you desire.)

Outflow Pumps Are Great Because They Often Also Act As Inflow Pumps

Let's say you're an actor who has an agent who finds you work. What the agent is doing is finding you people who want your work outflow. But also your agent will collect in the money that is due to you for your work. Therefore not only is your agent an outflow pump for you, they are also an inflow pump for you.

If you have a widget factory that supplies (outflows) widgets to regional distributors, those distributors pump out your outflow to local traders, but they also get an inflow of money from those traders in return and they pass that inflow (or at least a percentage of it) on to you.

This is the attraction of outflow pumps. They usually act as inflow pumps, boosting massively the inflow you can get for your own personal outflow of words and physical actions, which, as you know, is ultimately all you yourself personally are able to outflow. Anything more than that personal outflow, even if you don't realize it, will have been achieved by the use of outflow pumps of one sort or another. These pumps also, either directly themselves, or indirectly, allow you to get more inflow than you could gather in yourself.

If you can't identify an outflow pump, you need to take a step back and view the situation on a bigger scale. So, for example, with your widget factory you might realize that your sales force collectively acts as an outflow pump, but you should also realize that the sales force doesn't gather in the money due from the sales they make. It is your accounts department that does that, and acts as the inflow pump collecting in the money from the sales that your sales force makes. But really it doesn't matter (except for the person who has to micro-manage your business). Step back, and what you see is that you have set up a business system (and, by the way, see later why small businesses, such as independent sole traders, don't really count as businesses at all) and that that system exists solely to outflow widgets and inflow money profitably. The fact that separate, particular flow functions within the system are carried out by separate departments is not really significant to you as the business owner, although intellectually you should always understand and be able to analyze the flows that make up your particular business model. And don't forget that the sales force don't outflow the widgets themselves, in the same way that they don't inflow the money. They are just intermediaries. They are flow pumps. What they do is outflow themselves to potential customers and existing customers and bring you an inflow of orders. In order to pay your sales people their commissions, you have to outflow the widgets (with all the flows entailed in manufacturing them and getting them to your customers) and then gather in the inflow of payments due for them.

Don't look more closely at flows than is necessary for your purposes. If you're going to manufacture a new automobile, your flow analysis is going to be horrendously detailed. If you a budding actor or artist or musician, pretty much all you need to know is that you might need an agent to be an outflow pump for your work and to gather in an inflow of money for you. (Bill Murray, by the way, doesn't have an agent, and he seems to do quite well, but then he's established enough to have people outflowing requests to him all the time for him to work for them, rather than him having to outflow requests to them asking if they have acting roles they can outflow to him.)

Pump Up The Outflow To Pump Up The Inflow

You want more money? Produce more outflow that people will pay you for. You want more fame? Get more images and sounds of yourself on TV, in films, in any media you can, and do more live performances. In other words, get on with producing the outflow that you love and are good at producing, and get it into the best flow pumps you can, then just keep a close eye on making sure that the inflow due to you is actually getting channeled back to you. Pump up the outflow to maximum volume, maximum velocity, maximum impact, maximum quality, then check that the inflow coming back to you is as it should be. Your main focus should be on whatever outflow you are responsible for producing and the impact it is having on other people's flows.

But of course you also want to make sure you are getting what you want from all your outflow production.

Wrong Outflow, Misdirected Outflow And Blocked Outflow

You don't need to be a rocket scientist - who are, of course, not highly paid, not of high status, not famous and not powerful, and are therefore, bless them!, merely intelligent rather than clever - to realize when you are getting your outflow production wrong. The inflow you will be getting will be wrong too. It will not be what you want, or it will be negative, or it will be inadequate. The rule is simple. Judge your outflow by the inflow it gets you (or by the impact it has on the world, the knowledge of which will be satisfactory inflow for you).

You can never just blithely continue to produce outflow without any regard for its consequences. Yet this is what many people do. Having set off at a gallop down the wrong path in life, they stubbornly persist in racing along it. They keep doing either what has no effect on other people, or they do what is disliked by them. They keep on doing what doesn't get them the inflow they want.

Look objectively at the evidence. Check the inflow you are getting and observe what impact your outflow is having on other people. The latter will not necessarily directly bring inflow back to you, other than the information that the flow chain you have initiated has produced some ultimate inflow/outflow that you desired. Think, for example, of graffiti artists. Their work doesn't bring them any particular return (inflow), but they get a satisfying inflow of awareness (becoming part of their abstract internal flow) that their work is inescapably the visual (abstract) inflow of all of its passers-by. Yet objectively commonsense should tell them to stop doing what they are doing because they are getting nothing of value back for it. They should instead be trying to outflow their work to an art gallery.

Let's say you're engaged in petty crime. Why is it bad? Because it's petty, meaning it yields little profit, and you may lose your freedom if you get caught. It's a mug situation - big downside and little upside.

Even with crime, you should either do it on a big scale or not do it at all.

Let's say you have a tea room that makes a reasonable profit but you would like to be rich. You should try to open a hundred more tea rooms. If you're smart, you'll franchise your tea room formula. But all you should care about is selling (outflowing) as much tea as possible so that your business can get the biggest possible inflow of money.

Let's say you're a brilliant musician but you're just doing gigs in bars for beer money. Go find an agent or promoter who will enable you to do bigger gigs, and then concerts, and then get on TV.

If the inflow-evidence or the impact-on-other-people-evidence shows that your outflow is not achieving what it should be achieving, change your outflow.

You Don't Have To Produce Outflow Yourself, But You Must Be Responsible For, And Control, And Preferably Own, The Outflow You Cause To Happen, And You Must Own The Inflow It Generates ..

… or at least as much of it as possible.

If rich people don't actually do anything except talk, how come they get rich? It's simple. They are responsible for getting other people to produce outflow which brings in the inflow of money that makes them rich. This is the key to getting on in many areas of life. You don't so much have to worry about what you yourself are capable of doing as to be skilled at getting other people to do things for you.

People are tools for you to use. They are flow pumps.

Of course some rich people actually have to produce outflow themselves. An example might be a big movie star. The outflow that the movie star produces is their acting performance. Is that what makes them rich? No. It is simply the seed of what makes them rich. You can outflow an acting performance with your amateur dramatic society that is not dissimilar from the performance that might be put out by the big movie star, but it won't get you rich. The main difference between the two situations is that the big movie star's performance is recorded. The recording can then be moved through distribution networks so that it is seen (and sold) in cinemas, seen (and sold) on television, and sold as downloads for people to buy. It is the selling of the recording of the performance that makes the big movie star rich.

Obviously many people are involved in getting that recording distributed and sold. The great thing is, however, that after giving the initial performance (and possibly doing some publicity work to promote the film) it isn't the actor who is actually doing all the work to get the money rolling in, it is the distributors/sellers of the film in which the actor appeared who get the money flowing back to the actor.

It is vital to get other people working to get your outflow out to people who will give you the inflow you want.

Take, for example, someone who owns a factory, and someone who works in that factory. The worker may never see the owner. The owner might even live in another country. The worker produces the widgets, or whatever, that get sold, and other employees collect in the money from the sales of the widgets. The owner himself, or herself, doesn't do any work - at least not any physical work, and yet they are the person making the most money from the operation. How come? It's because the owner is ultimately responsible for, and owns, the outflow and inflow of the business.

That is the sort of person you want to be.

You can get through life just by producing an outflow of words, but you must gain control and ownership of the flows that you are responsible for.

Even Seemingly Impersonal And Inconsequential Outflow Might Still Be Someone Else's Inflow

And it might be good or bad. In my country we have a fairly rapid decline in the standards of people's behavior. (The joys of big government, and so-called democracy, that makes people believe they aren't responsible for their own lives because the government is meant to be responsible for everything.) For example, people will throw down litter in the street, even when there is a bin nearby. Rather than being of no consequence, it displeases people other people, including me. The visual inflow of the rubbish is not something my internal flow enjoys. Rightly or wrongly, it has a negative impact on my internal flow. It also makes the litter collectors from the local council produce a greater outflow of work than they would otherwise need to do. In short, dropping litter is both unnecessary and it impacts negatively on the flows of other people, despite the fact the people doing it aren't directing their outflow at any particular person or group of people.

There was a guy in a little town where I lived, and if he saw litter while he was walking around, he would always pick it up and put it in a bin. This is the other side of the coin. He wasn't specifically doing something for other people, but he had a positive impact on other people's lives, or, should we say, he reduced the negative impact of litter droppers' behavior.

Flows can often work in indirect ways, and take a roundabout route to get to the end beneficiary or end victim, so always be aware of your outflows and what effect they might be having on other people.

Even if you're just walking or traveling amongst the public, you are still producing outflow, even if you don't think you are. Your appearance impacts on other people. Your physical movements affect where other people will have to move. It is difficult not to be having some direct or indirect impact on other people, and therefore on their flows. Indeed, this really is what life is all about. You know that you can measure the importance of your life by the impact you have on other people's flows, so be as aware as you can be of the flows that you are creating and also of the ones that are coming to you, and which are already in you.

When Producing Outflow Is What Makes You Happy, That Is The Ultimate Happiness

Producing outflow should give you the best possible inflow and it should give you the best possible internal flow. This is the ideal to aim for. Producing outflow that is taken in by others who then produce the outflow you want is the big goal in life. Your abstract internal flow should be almost exclusively focused on your outflow production.

Loving your work is the best happiness you can have.


Understand, Change, Control - Four

Getting Rich, Successful, Famous And Happy. The Busker Becomes A Rock Star

Remember we mentioned an imaginary busker earlier on?

So, there is our busker performing his music on the street. There's a low limit to the money he can earn and the fame he can get for himself in this way. For extra money, while still continuing to busk during the day, at night he goes to bars and clubs and offers to play for them. This gets him more money and he begins to become better known. One evening a woman comes up to him after he's finished performing his set. She says she works in the music industry and she can get him a recording contract and start arranging for him to do some concerts, not headlining, but as a support act. Is he interested?

He certainly is. Over time, the busking stops, the appearances in bars stop, and our young friend finds himself doing more concerts, more recordings, some session work with big names, and even some appearances on TV. His promoters put some videos on social media that people can watch for free. Some of them become pretty popular. All of this achieves one important thing. It gets his outflow to more and more people. His fame increases (inflow of recognition). The demand for him to perform increases (other people offer outflow of requests and money if he will give them his outflow). He gets wealthier.

A male busker on the street no doubt has some sort of attraction for a certain sort of woman, but a high-earning, famous musician has a much greater appeal, and quite possibly to women who are more attractive and more demanding. (These women have different abstract internal flows, and their inflow demands are different from the women who think a street busker is attractive.) Our ex-busker soon finds himself with a very attractive, high maintenance model wife.

Because the woman from the music industry was able to act as a flow pump for our guy so that his outflow reached many more people than it ever would have if he had remained performing on the street, his inflow also increased accordingly, and because of both of these things he became attractive to people who previously would not have been interested in him.

Work on improving the quality and quantity of the outflow you're responsible for, meet people who can leverage this outflow up to a higher level, make use of machinery and technology to leverage the outflow even more, and then just watch what happens to the amount of inflow you get.


Chapter Five - Bad Outflow Can Get Good Inflow, And The Same Outflow Can Get Varying Inflow

Why Bad People Can Get Good Inflow

It's well known that murderous, dictatorial politicians are able to steal massive amounts of money from their countries and enjoy huge material benefits. How can this be justified in terms of flow? Quite simply, they abide by the rules of flow. Our alternative to looking at the outflow someone is producing, which can be quite difficult to identify because of the great number of flows and the long chains they form before producing a result that interests us, is to say, “How many people is this person able to have some impact on?” With a dictator, the answer is, “Every single citizen of their nation.” (And, of course, people beyond their borders too.) Therefore we can understand that the inflow they get is proportional to the number of people on whose lives they are having an impact on and the extent of that impact.

It doesn't necessarily matter whether your outflow is good or bad. People who own businesses that manufacture and sell alcohol that helps ruin many people's lives are able to get extremely rich. Big-time drug dealers and smugglers are able to get extremely rich. Politicians who can't open their mouths without outflowing lying or deceptive words are able to acquire wealth, status and honors, and even to be respected by naïve people. (One of my favorite socialist politicians in my own country, who was supposedly against privilege, when offered a title, said, “I'm accepting it, but only to please my wife.” Some politicians can't speak without revealing the turd on their tongue.) But being good or bad is not necessarily significant so long as it's done at a high enough level, in the right way, with the right people, and in the right places. What matters more is this - are you taking responsibility for having an effect on other people's lives and having some impact on, and control over, their flows?

That is what matters.

Same Outflow But Different Inflow

Remember our busker? When he was busking he was poor and low status. But once he was headlining big concerts and getting his outflow pumped up and pumped out, his inflow of fame, money and high grade people went up accordingly. Yet really there was probably hardly any difference in the outflow he was producing from what he produced in his busking days.

So, same outflow, but different inflow. The reason his inflow changed is that his outflow was being magnified and multiplied and delivered to many more people.

We said earlier that you can get rich without producing much outflow. First here's an example of someone producing good outflow and not getting rich.

A woman becomes a perfect, pleasing, hard-working, loyal wife to a poor man. Her husband continues to do work that keeps him, and her, poor. She shares his poverty.

This woman is never going to get rich, even though she's an admirable person, producing outflow that reflects the goodness, and unworldliness, that is in her abstract internal flow.

Now let's look at a woman who marries a rich man. She has a kid by him. This, from a cynical point of view, acts as an insurance policy in case she wants to divorce her husband. It will get her a better settlement than she would otherwise get if she didn't have a kid.

Now, maybe she's a good, positive, helpful wife. Maybe she isn't. It doesn't really matter. If she wants to, she can produce much worse outflow than the wife we looked at who was married to the poor man. But this woman will have the benefit of the rich man's wealth while she's married to him, and if she gets divorced she'll get a good share of his wealth transferred to her. In other words, it makes no difference what her outflow is like, she'll still get an inflow of this particular man's money. Financially she can't lose.

So we have situations where the same outflow will get you different inflow, but also worse inflow can actually get you better inflow. The influencing factor in deciding the inflow you will get is who your outflow is going to, and also how much inflow, and what sort of inflow, they are able and willing to give you, or that you can take from them, in return for your outflow.

Think carefully about who you're directing your outflow to - not just the end-recipients, but also the intermediaries dealing with your outflow as it goes on its way to the end recipients. You're looking here for both quantity and quality of course. This is what will decide the quantity and quality of the outflow that end-recipients will produce for your outflow, and which will (if this is what you want) get sent back to you as your inflow.

The Same Flow Situation Can Have A Good Side And A Bad Side

Television is perhaps a good example. It's generally pointless, or it can even have negative consequences, to watch television. It wastes time unconstructively at best, and at worst it fills people's heads with incorrect or negative thoughts and gives rise to unjustified emotions. In other words, TV gives people bad inflow and bad internal flow.

Yet on the other side of the equation there is nothing wrong with making money from being involved in the production and transmission of material for TV. As well as being lucrative, it can also be enjoyable. In other words, working in TV can give you good inflow and good internal flow.

You can see here (if you agree with the premise that television-watching is essentially not a good way of spending time) that the smart people - the ones who are making money or earning a living and having direct contact with other people by working in television - are the ones who are taking part in the creation and production of outflow. The less smart people are the ones getting that outflow as their inflow.

This is often the way in any flow situation. There is a cleverer side to be on and a less clever side to be on. If you're just getting inflow without having to produce any sort of outflow, you're probably on the wrong side. If you can't be on the smart side, it's probably best to steer clear completely of that particular flow situation.

Where money is flowing, you should usually aim to be on the receiving end of some of that flow, and of course to get money you usually have to produce outflow of some sort. Generally I would say that the production of outflow, or being responsible for and having ownership of its production, is what you should be giving most consideration to in most situations. Of course there will be times when you think you should be paying more attention to the inflow you want. Let's say, for example, that you want to buy a house. Obviously you want the inflow - the house that will flow into your life and into your possession - to be as ideal as you can find and get. Yet even here outflow is critical because you want the money you outflow to go to the person or people who can enable you to acquire the sort of property you desire, and you want that outflow to be no more than is absolutely necessary. So even here there will be almost as much consideration given to outflow production as to hunting down and securing the best inflow you can get for that outflow.

Going back to flow situations that have a smart side and a less smart side, probably one guide you can use is that the smart side is usually the active side, while the foolish side is the passive one. So, it is better to be a politician than a voter, better to be performing on stage than watching in the audience, better to be the owner of a chain of restaurants than someone who spends too much time eating in those restaurants, and so on.

Do Con-Artists Write Self-Help Books For Fools To Read?

Like lots of people I've read lots of self-help books. None of them has put a penny in my pocket. Not one of them has enabled me to get a house or a car that I wouldn't otherwise have got. Not one of them has made me feel better, although they might possibly have helped temporarily to fill my mind with comforting fantasies and enabled me to waste time in a reasonably pleasant way.

Who are the people who benefit from self-help books? It is, of course, the people who write them, produce them and sell them. In other words, the people who benefit from self-help books are those people for whom the books are outflow, not inflow. The people on the winning side of the equation are not fools and they know exactly what they are doing. They are producing something to sell. They know that no one ever got anything just by dreaming about it. No one ever got to be successful by imagining that they were already successful. You have to be passionately producing outflow and getting it to the people who will, in return for it, give you the inflow you desire. The creators of self-help books deliberately seem not to want to tell people to produce outflow, which is what really changes people's lives. Instead they keep saying that you can change your life simply by filling your abstract internal flow with thoughts and visions of you getting the inflow you crave.

Thinking about what you want, other than very briefly and so as to arrive at a well-considered and definite resolution and plan of action as to how to attain it, is a waste of time, and therefore not only will it not enable you to change your life for the better, but it actually prevents you from doing what is necessary to bring about those changes. You need to be getting on with changing your outflow. That is what your internal flow needs to be focused on.

What the writers of self-help books want is for you to stay in your current situation and to remain dissatisfied. That way you'll keep buying their books, and their audio and video products, and perhaps you'll even cough up a small fortune to go to their seminars and presentations where you'll be fed lots of happy-clappy nonsense about how a positive attitude and plenty of visualization and encouraging self-talk, or NLP, will turn your life around.

It's utter nonsense (but very profitable for the people talking and writing that nonsense). Self-help gurus outflow words purely with the intention of getting an inflow of money from fools. They are on the smart side of the situation.

Just make sure you don't find yourself on the less smart side, passively absorbing pointless inflow, and, even more stupidly, giving the outflowers the inflow they want.

Get active. Get producing. Make things happen.

Is It Ever Right To Inflict Negative Outflow On Other People?

Ideally you shouldn't, but if there appears to be no other way of getting a situation to work out the way you want, then so be it.

Probably it wouldn't be wrong to assume that the world is to a large extent run by bad people, at least in the sense that they are dishonest with their words, even if they are managing not to be too dishonest or immoral in their actions. They control the resources and set the rules that the rest of us must obey, they have power - power to deprive people of their money and property and to inflict incarceration, violence or even death on us. They also hand out money to people who are obediently playing the game by their rules or, better still, working to enable them to stay in power.

Of course some people will say, “Ah yes, but eventually bad people always come a cropper.” Maybe, but unfortunately maybe not. There are plenty of bad people who live to a ripe old age and who die peacefully in their beds.

Basically, if your internal flow isn't troubled by inflicting bad outflow on others (or, better still, if your internal flow rejoices in inflicting bad outflow on others), and if your bad outflow gets you the inflow you want, and if you're sure you can get away with it and you won't suffer some serious retribution, then go ahead and do it. But don't think of directing bad outflow to others unless you somehow have the power to prevent them from producing retributive outflow of their own and forcing you to have it as your inflow.

You have to bear in mind that it's the person who has the power to produce the greatest physical outflow that is the boss. If one little country invades another little country, the world's big countries are likely to say it's wrong and do something about it. If the world's most powerful country decides to invade a little country, other countries might mutter and grumble about it, but they won't do anything because they know the big country can produce an overwhelming outflow of force, and the little countries don't want to find themselves having that as their inflow.

Ideally, of course, you should get the inflow you want by producing positive outflow. Generally the more positive outflow you are responsible for producing and controlling and directing to other people, the more important you are and the higher your status and fame and wealth. But quite frankly it does also work for producing negative outflow as well, for example by being a crooked politician or being a crime boss.

One thing that should be said is that whether some outflow is regarded as positive or negative is often down to personal opinion. In other words it depends on what sort of abstract internal flow a person has as to whether they see something as positive or negative. I remember hearing about an American sniper who was proud he had killed something like 200 people because he believed it was what God would want. (Always be wary of people who claim to know what God wants.) Some of us might not view his actions so positively.

And think of this. If some person gets hugely rich by building up a media empire that inflows into people's minds pointless or misleading words and images, is that sort of outflow positive or negative?

It tends to come down to personal opinion of course. People have to form their own judgments, and it is rare to be able to come up with an absolutely firm and clear statement on anything that someone, somewhere would not want to deny or contradict. Good and bad, positive and negative, tend to exist in shades of grey, but there is undoubtedly a lot of evil in the world, and evil people are at least as capable (and they may even have a higher chance) of getting the inflow they want and having the impact on other people that they want to have.

How Technology Is Widening The Gap Between The Smart People And The Not-So-Smart

The difference between the two different sorts of people is usually simple and clear-cut and has been stated or implied already. The top people are busy being responsible for the production of outflow (and that is what their abstract internal flow is focused on) whereas the mass of people are busy absorbing that outflow as their inflow and letting it influence or even take over their internal flow.

Radio, television, films, newspapers, magazines, the internet, social media, computer/console games, even mobile phones with their games and 'apps' and endless unnecessary calls and messages going backwards and forwards - the top people produce these things and the content for them and the communication, distribution and support systems that they need, and the masses waste their lives using these things for no productive purpose, merely giving themselves excessive and unnecessary inflow and allowing their internal flow to be occupied with pointless or negative thoughts and emotions. In effect the 'lower downs' have effectively allowed themselves to be taken over by the 'higher ups'.

A smart child when it comes across a successful computer/console game will be thinking, “Could I produce and sell something like this?” An ordinary child will just become obsessed with playing the game.

Technology should be something you use to enable you to be responsible for producing more and better outflow and getting it to more people. It can of course also act as a means of getting inflow, such as money or personal connections or sex, channeled back to you. It shouldn't be used just to get yourself worthless and unnecessary inflow and to clog up your abstract internal flow with unconstructive thoughts and emotions.

Beware Of (But Consider Using) Apparent And Promised Outflow Rather Than Real Physical Outflow

Recognize actual flows rather than apparent flows. See the reality behind the façade that others put up to fool you. Consider using deception yourself to secure the inflow you want, but ideally only do so as a last resort.

Much of life involves deception. Believe what you see more than what you hear or read. Even with what you see, however, you should hesitate to assume that everything is exactly as it appears. If it's on a screen or a page, distrust it. Even if it's happening in front of your very eyes, there can still be trickery, deception and misrepresentation involved.

Basically, if you don't need to have an opinion on what is being shown to you or told to you, just ignore it. Keep it out of your internal flow altogether.

A lot of life is based on appearances rather than reality. If a financial advisor wears nice clothes and speaks nicely and has a few initials for qualifications after their name, we believe them when they tell us our money will do better in their proposed investment than we could do with it ourselves. But of course a bit of research would tell us that the average investment fund does averagely well, and then out of it come the fund's management fees and the fees that keep the financial advisor able to buy nice clothes and have a nice life. Broadly speaking, we'd do better if we closed our eyes, stuck a pin in a list of investments, and then put our money in whatever investment we selected that way.

We might believe that a particular person in the public arena looks wonderful, but without make-up and expensive clothes and good lighting and the use of some good image manipulation software, they might actually look rather ordinary, or possibly even rather bizarrely proportioned.

We can believe that highly paid people have special abilities, and maybe they do, but maybe they also just happen to be where the money is, and they get paid a lot of money just because there happens to be a lot of money around them with which they can be paid. (Remember you'll do better being semi-incompetent in a large, rich organization than you will being extremely competent in some little family business.)

There are well-known manufacturers of stylish electrical goods whose products tend to sell for multiplies of what is charged for other manufacturers' less stylish products. The expensive goods often don't do their job any better, or even as well as, the less stylish goods, but some people are happy to be parted from more money than is necessary just because the same basic mechanicals are enclosed in a fancier casing.

Appearances count for a lot in life, but you need to know the reality that underlies the appearances. Also, even when you do know what the reality behind something is, you have to decide for yourself what importance and value you, and other people, will attach to it.

Promises are similar to appearances. They might not be matched by what turns out eventually to be the underlying reality. Promises might be made manifest, but they might not. It's always seemed to me that the higher you go up the economic, social and political ladders, the greater the divergence is between reality, on the one hand, and words and appearances, on the other. There is a great deal of deception in life, and the greater the stakes that are being played for, the greater the chances are that there will be deceptions, and the greater those deceptions will be.

This is a two-sided situation. You can be the one who is being fooled, but you can also fool other people to get what you want. However, if you try to deceive others, you may well get what you want, but what will be the price that you will have to pay, if or when your deception gets found out? OK, quite often there may well be no price, or at least no significant price, to pay for being discovered to be a liar, or 'economical with the truth', as politicians phrase it. How often do fund managers or investment advisers get punished for their false and fanciful claims? How often do high level politicians suffer serious harm or loss because of the lies they've told? If a woman lies and tells a rich man she wants to marry him because she loves him rather than saying she loves his money, what is likely to happen to her? She'll get married, have an affluent life while the marriage lasts, and then get a nice divorce settlement when the marriage ends. Then she can continue having a nice life. Deception and promises can be a cheap and easy outflow to produce, and yet they can still reap great rewards for you in terms of the inflow they get you.

But use lies and promises carefully, and be on your guard against being on the receiving end of them. Recognize them and don't accept them as inflow, and certainly don't let them influence your internal flow.

Should You Exploit People's Ignorance, Naivety, Weaknesses And Failings?

I think really this is all a matter of degree and intent. Other people will be out to exploit your weaknesses, so why shouldn't you exploit theirs? It's a natural part of human life. Ideally perhaps life shouldn't be like that, but it seems to be nature's way.

The thing with ignorance, weakness, and so on, is that it is relative and subjective. We all think we're smart, but the next person might see us as being extremely simple and unworldly.

I think there are two types of exploitation. One is acceptable and even necessary. For example, the person who owns the widget factory knows that, relative to him or her, the factory's employees are, in a sense, of a lower caliber. If they weren't, they would own the factory. But this isn't bad exploitation (if it is exploitation at all), because, yes, it serves the factory owner's purpose, which is to get a big inflow of cash profit in return for producing a big outflow of widgets, but it also gives incomes to those employees who, presumably, think that working in a factory is the best that they can do with their lives at the moment. There is a big difference between a factory owner and a factory worker. The factory owner is fully aware of the relative mental weakness (poor quality abstract internal flow) of the factory workers, but the workers might be unaware of their deficiency. (If they're aware of it, they'll feel resentment instead of wanting to do something to bring themselves up to the level of the factory owner.) Often people don't see their own failings, but instead prefer to blame other people for somehow preventing them, or not letting them, have a better life. Arguably with such people in such situations it is no bad idea to take advantage of them, or at least to use them, for the simple reason that the people of lesser ability do get income and accommodation for slotting into their natural place on the ladder of life.

The other sort of exploitation is what we might call 'financial advisor exploitation', and I would say this is unacceptable for people who are morally idealistic, but it is OK if you are ruthlessly focused on getting the inflow you want and are therefore willing to produce any outflow that will get you that inflow, even if what you are doing involves deceiving other people and causing them to suffer harm and/or loss.

Financial advisors, by the way, merely say to you that if you put money in this particular investment, it will provide you with the most benefit that they can currently find for you. What they actually mean is that if you put money in this particular investment, it will give them the highest commission they can currently get for themselves. They may even know that the investment has a high probability of not being able to return to you all your money, let alone give you a return on it. Maybe you won't get any of your money back. It's not important. What's important is that they get their commission.

This sort of straightforward exploitation of other people's ignorance or weakness, achieved by telling lies, has to be carried out deliberately. You are producing negative outflow so as to secure positive inflow for yourself. Financial advisors do it. Politicians do it. Lawyers do it. Salespeople do it. Seducers do it. If you have very high moral standards, your abstract internal flow won't let you attempt deliberately to trick people in this way, but exploitation of other people's vulnerabilities is such an everyday part of life that it's difficult to avoid it, so you yourself might as well use it on occasions if it gets you what you want, and if producing it doesn't make your abstract internal flow feel uncomfortable.

Emotional Manipulation Is More Likely To Get You What You Want Than Rational Reasoning

Use words, sounds and images to manipulate other people's emotions.

Regrettably humans are not rational. The heart rules the head for most people. Yes, if you're sitting in on a meeting of a board of directors, then OK, you should appeal to their reason. With most people, however, you want your outflow of words, your appearance, your facial expressions, your gestures and your body language to be designed to influence their emotions. Your goal is to trigger their abstract internal flow to go the way you want it to go so that it will cause them to produce some outflow that you want. That outflow might be an outflow of words, perhaps in order to manipulate some other people, or an outflow of violence in order to coerce other people to do something, or it might be an outflow of money, or an outflow of sexual acts, or even of some kind deeds. Whatever it is, you only have two ways of getting it, and that is either by reasoning people into doing what you want, or you can work with their emotions to trigger some desire or fear in them that will cause them to do what you want. Because humans are creatures of emotion, I would say that the latter approach generally has more chance of succeeding than the former.

You can get everything you want in life, not by deserving it, or by giving people a rational reason as to why you should get it (which should of course include the false or true assertion that if they let you have what you want, they will get something they want), but rather by outflowing appealing (or threatening) words and sounds that inflow into their ears and eyes, and by outflowing appealing (or intimidating) images that inflow into them through their eyes. These words, sounds and images have to overcome any rational resistance and trigger an emotional response that goes in your favor.

For example, a very attractive woman can easily get men to outflow money and good deeds to her, even though her intellect and her personality may not justify such favorable treatment. A famous pop star may be able to get other people to do things that they wouldn't normally do simply because of those people's natural inclination to want to oblige someone famous. What they do may not necessarily be rational or even sensible, but they feel emotionally compelled to do it.

As hinted above, to manipulate others emotionally, you want to seem to them to be either appealing or threatening. (The 'pull' approach and the 'push' approach to getting what you want.) Charm, charisma, graciousness, scariness - these qualities of character, appearance and behavior, along with an outflow of information (true or false) about yourself can work wonders when trying to get what you want from other people. Along with an understanding of how people's abstract internal flow is affected by what you are causing to be pumped into them, this is potentially all you need to know in life. It is a great psychological game, sometimes played honestly, sometimes with trickery, but you should try to become skillful at it.

But be on your guard against others using it on you, or having more skill at the game than you.

The Word Game - Producing An Outflow Of Mere Words So As To Get An Inflow Of Other People's Money And All The Physical Things You Want

What do rich business owners actually do? For that matter, what do a lot of middle and high-ranking employees actually do? What do politicians do? It would seem that often they don't actually do anything except talk.

You can generally get more money in life from just talking than from actually physically doing something. Manual workers, you may have noticed, are rarely rich. Of course you have to be paid to talk by the right people, and you have to say the right words to the right people to get the big money inflow, but produce the right outflow of words in the right circumstances, and you will get the sort of financial inflow that will get you some very, very pleasant internal flow indeed, and allow you to buy all the physical inflow you want.

Words should be used to influence other people's abstract internal flow. Words are powerful tools. Indeed sometimes they can be used as weapons. Be on your guard against being influenced by other people's words, but use words yourself to influence other people's abstract internal flow so that they do what you want.

The key, of course, is not just to be a skillful producer of words, but also to find the right circumstances in which to practice your skill. If it's money you're interested in, that usually means connecting with, and/or being a part of, government, or some large, wealthy organization, or connecting with rich individuals. So, for example, you might want to be in a non-western government where you can steal some of the country's money, or you could work in a bank, or a hedge fund, or you could sell high-ticket items like yachts and jets to rich individuals. But the most important thing is to get where the money is.

Marrying for money just means selling yourself to a rich individual. The right words will help you achieve this aim, if it's what you want, but you will need to outflow looks, personality and some pleasing actions too.

Religion, Politics, Salesmanship, Advertising And The Media As Examples Of The 'Dark Arts' That Can Be Used To Become Successful

Religion is trickery. It is deception. Can you think of anything else in life where you are asked to believe something without any evidence to back it up? TV evangelism is the selling of nonsense. Watch TV religion, and after every session of gibberish there will be an 'invitation' for you to 'donate' money in return for some video or audio recording or to be able to attend some gathering or other. TV religion is the selling of words and images to fools.

Religion teaches us a good lesson. Give nothing real or anything materially useful, just words, sounds and images, and get real money in return.

Politics likewise is just people being paid taxpayers' money in return for talking. However, the difference is that politicians' words can have significant physical consequences (invasion, death, imprisonment, loss of money, property, and so on). Often the words being uttered are untrue or do not reveal the whole truth, and they are often intended to deceive the electorate.

Getting your hands on public money in return for doing nothing except talking is not a bad ambition, so long as your abstract internal flow is not troubled by the requirement to be dishonest and to conceal important facts.

Salesmanship is often deceptive, but in practice it can be as good or as bad as you choose to make it. So long as you're dealing with physical things rather than financial services, where there is usually something deceptive or at least not entirely straightforward going on, then you can be involved in selling and largely remain honest. You are at least offering people some physical inflow in return for their outflow of money. Yet even with straightforward selling of goods there will often be something not entirely 'straight' about the whole process. For example, in my country there's a well known double glazing firm that, when their salesperson comes to a potential customer's house to quote for doors, windows, or whatever, they will always start off with an extremely high quote. They do this just on the off chance that the potential customer is naïve or 'not all there' and will accept the crazily high quote. If not, and they find themselves dealing with a person with some sense, they then come down to a half or even a third of the original figure quoted.

But in general, selling, especially if you are selling other people's stuff, is an excellent way of getting money in return for just talking. (Selling other people's stuff gets rid of the risk of being lumbered with something that you've bought in to sell but can't find a buyer for.)

Journalism too is a way of getting money for an outflow of words. Some journalism has value, for example if it involves giving advice that will affect the flows of the readers or viewers by whom it is accepted as inflow. A lot of journalism, however, is merely entertainment masquerading as news or information. As mentioned before, the media is one of those things that has a clever side and a not so clever side. Allowing the media's outflow to become your inflow is often a stupid thing to do, but working in the media and being paid to produce that outflow is probably quite clever.

Working in advertising can get you good inflow too. Most advertising is not so much dishonest as irrelevant. It aims not to list facts about what is being sold, but instead to arouse emotions in people when they think about, or consider, whatever it is that is being advertised. The advertisers are using words, sounds and images to manipulate people's abstract internal flow and prompt connections to be made in it between the idea of the product and some other idea. They want people to think, “If I buy this product, other people will think I am high status, or successful, or sexy.”

Advertising is a creative and manipulative art.

Disbelieve advertising, or at least try to stand back and view what is being said objectively and dispassionately. But by all means go and work in advertising. It is supposed to be 'the most fun you can have with your clothes on'.

Integrity Is Important, But It Has Different Meanings In Different Occupations

Imagine if a politician who wanted the support of their colleagues to get into high office said to them, “I will always tell the public the truth. Indeed I shall tell them the whole truth.” Firstly, you would wonder how anyone like that ever got into politics in the first place. Secondly, as soon as they uttered those words, their political career would be finished.

So does that mean integrity is not important for a politician? Yes, it is, but it has to be the sort of integrity that other politicians understand. Integrity to a politician might mean being loyal to their party. It might mean that they can be relied upon not to reveal the machinations of what really goes on in government. It might mean being prepared never to reveal that government is self-serving first, and serves the general populace second, and even then only to the extent necessary to allow the politicians' self-serving to continue.

What would integrity mean to a drug dealer? That the drugs supplied are of the quantity and quality agreed. That they are delivered when agreed, at the destination agreed, so long as they are not confiscated by law enforcers. And if someone in the drugs trade is apprehended by law enforcers, integrity would mean that they would not reveal the identities of other people involved in the drugs supply chain.

You should have integrity, but that should only mean that you abide by the rules and standards of the people with whom you work and/or are socially connected to.

Deceit, Lying, Corruption And Immorality Become More Prevalent The Higher Up The Success-Pyramid You Climb

At least it seems to be so.

Yes, the people at the bottom of the socio-economic pile are prone to these negative characteristics too, but they don't have what it takes to be successful. Although the people at the top can indulge in the same behavior as the people at the bottom, what seems to count is not whether you're bad or not, but whether you know how to use badness - lying, disloyalty, stealing, and so on - to be successful.

If you're a poor nobody and you behave abnormally, you might get locked up, but if you're a rich somebody and you act the same way, people may well tolerate your behavior, describing you merely as being 'eccentric'. The difference between bad people who are successful and bad people who are unsuccessful seems to be that the successful ones are responsible for huge amounts of outflow to other people, and/or they have a great impact on, and possibly control over, the flows of lots of other people. Successful people take responsibility not just for their own lives but for other people's lives too. Unsuccessful people quite often won't even take responsibility for their own lives.

Why do top people resort to what is generally regarded as bad behavior? Presumably it's because there's so much at stake at the level at which they're playing that they need to do whatever is necessary to become a big 'flow-meister'. Life at the top of the human food chain is largely a game played with words, with underlings doing anything physical that is required. The reward for being a skillful player with words and appearances is to gain control of flows - flows of money, people, and material resources (the latter two usually being governed by money anyway).

How far would politicians get if they were honest? Imagine if would-be politicians told ordinary voters in our modern pseudo-democracies what their real motives and intentions were. They would never get anywhere near the seat of power. The same applies in global affairs. When one country invades another, the ordinary people can't be told the real reasons for the invasion. A fake reason has to be invented to fool the populace. The same applies with government revenues and expenditure. The figures are never accurately disclosed. Government money is squandered, misdirected and misappropriated, but the people are kept in the dark about this. False reasons are given as to why government has to keep on getting bigger and bigger. Inflation figures are 'massaged' so that they don't reveal the true effect of the government's incontinent money creation. The same with the taking away of people's privacy and liberty - it is always said to be necessary for a socially good reason, and not just so that government can maintain and extend its power over people.

The same seems to apply in the world of big business and finance (which are of course connected to politics). Imagine if banking was revealed to be a money-creating scam. What if insurers revealed that some insurances are compulsory just because they'd paid politicians to legislate to make those insurances compulsory? What if financial advisors had to admit that when they suggest an investment to you, it is solely because they want to earn as much commission as possible for themselves out of the money that you are handing over? What if hedge fund managers had to admit that they were just gambling with your money and that they had no more idea than you whether the 'investments' they made would go up or down?

Life would either grind to a halt or it would disintegrate into complete chaos.

Lying and deception are unavoidable features of life. The same applies to corruption. If people know you want something desperately and they have the power to grant or deny it to you, they will naturally seek something for themselves in return for letting you have what you want.

You want something desirable to flow into your life, so you must let something the other person desires flow into their life too. It's natural.

One of the problems with education is that, apart from teaching people what will be of no use to them, it also involves telling people that life is not the way it really is, and that people are not the way they really are. Corruption is just the natural exchange of mutually beneficial flows. What makes it unacceptable is not that it happens, but that it is supposed to remain hidden from the mass of people who have been taught that they should outflow an honest day's work in return for the inflow of an honest day's pay. Clever people's lives, however, seem to involve playing a game of selecting and blocking people in return for benefits, and exploiting advantages, establishing monopolies to eliminate competition, and so on. The majority of people appear to be tricked by a minority who sit at the top of the human pyramid.

As for so-called immorality, it's as natural as corruption, lying and deception. It needs to be limited, however, because if it was indulged in too much, society would be unmanageable and life would become disorderly and unstable.

If you are very ambitious, you probably need to have ruthlessness, dishonesty and corruption hard-wired into your internal flow, at least to some extent, and certainly you need to be able to recognize it when you come across it in others.


Understand, Change, Control - Five

The Dictator, The Seducer, The Politician And The TV Evangelist

Let's take four people to see how producing bad outflow can get you good inflow.

There are plenty of dictators in the world. They steal their country's money. They have people imprisoned and killed. They rig elections, if they bother having them at all. (Ignore the real inflow of votes and declare the election outcome to be whatever you want it to be.) Clearly the internal flow of dictators is worse than that of most people. They cause an outflow of violence and incarceration. They steal the nation's inflow of money from the sale of its oil and other commodities. But how do they achieve this?

They achieve it simply by paying their employees to do what is required. They share their stolen money with people who can produce the outflow of actions that they want to see take place.

An outflow of money can often get you all the flows you want in life.

The reason why dictators have such great control of flows and have such an impact on the lives of so many millions of people is that they have seized responsibility for the flows of all the people in their nation. This is usually done in a conspiracy with other people who agree to do what the dictator wants (produce the outflow of violence, laws, tax collecting services, and so on, that the dictator wants) in return for getting a big inflow of money, real estate, and other physical and material benefits.

You should show other people that it is in their interests to further your interests. Get helpers to whom you can offer the flows they want if they will help you get the flows you want.

Let's look at a seducer. Imagine you're a guy who's unsuccessful with women and you want to change that situation. Assuming you can't, or won't, make yourself tall, handsome, witty, rich, famous, and so on, then to become a successful seducer you might have to resort to outflowing lies. The simple ones are things like, “I love you,” and, “You're the most special person I've ever met,” but you can also lie about your job, your friends, how good your family is, how you're going to inherit a fortune pretty soon, and so on. Of course you can also do honest stuff, like improving the words you outflow so that you become kinder, politer, more considerate and more interesting. You can also improve the image of yourself that flows out to other people by improving your diet, getting fit, wearing better clothes, and so on. All these changes to your outflow will make it more likely that you will get a greater inflow of sexual partners and sex.

As such, none of this is necessarily particularly harmful. Indeed so long as a relationship continues with a seduced person, that person should feel quite good about you, about themselves, and about the relationship. The pain only comes if any lies you have told get revealed for what they are, or if you are after a short-term conquest and you lead the seduced person to believe that you are looking for a long-term relationship.

Politicians, as we have noted, outflow lies and deception, but it certainly seems to get them good inflow in terms of salary, expenses, and the use of government property, equipment and employees. So perhaps it is worth considering dropping your moral standards if it is going to get you the inflow you want.

Let's look at an imaginary TV evangelist. He, or she, will outflow either gibberish (if it is taken from a religious book or is some other unbelievable, unprovable nonsense) or it might be just plain commonsense. The intention here is to outflow words, backed up by appropriate gestures, and an appearance of sincerity, that holds out some sort of hope or bestows some sort of forgiveness from an imaginary being to people who are not thinking properly or who are inadequate or unhappy in some way. The words should comfort, but they might admonish, but either way, there is a two-fold intention behind them. Firstly the person outflowing those words aims to create a sort of dependence in the listener or viewer. That is, the person hearing the words should have their internal flow tell them that they need an inflow of more similar words from the same source. Secondly, the main and ultimate goal of the TV evangelist is to get the viewer or church-attender to hand over money. It's a game of outflowing words for money, which is the best sort of business there is. The viewers and church-attenders end up poorer by being deceived by the bad outflow that they receive and accept as their inflow. However, one could say that their internal flow is improved (misguidedly, admittedly) by the evangelist's outflow, so perhaps it isn't too bad a flow exchange that is taking place. It would be better if the outflow recipients were able to recognize and deal with reality, rather than have their internal flow taken over by deception and fantasy, but so long as the church doesn't take all their money, or take so much of it that the believer's life is impaired, then no really serious harm is being done.

The TV evangelist knows that their outflow is intended solely to secure an inflow of money, but the church's 'flock' doesn't realize this, so that allows the deception, manipulation, and inflow of money, to continue.

This is one of the key things with regard to manipulating other people's abstract internal flow. You must know what you are doing, but the other people mustn't know. You must know what inflows you are after, what abstract internal flows your intended victims currently have and will have, and what outflow you need to produce to bring this about. They will not be aware of any of this. They must be unaware of the game that is being played.

You see then that it can be quite beneficial (to you) deliberately to produce bad outflow, so if it is the only, or the easiest, or the best, or the most convenient, way to get the inflow you want, it is worth considering.


Chapter Six -Success? Happiness? What Do You Want?

What Would Your Flows Be Like In Your Ideal Life?

You should have at all times in your mind a clear, precise, detailed vision of the flows you want in your life. This visualization needs to be a permanent part of your abstract internal flow, sitting in the back of your mind and guiding and influencing all other abstract internal flow that you have.

There's a well-known saying - “If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else.” Admittedly in reality in life it isn't easy to know exactly where you want to go because in part you have a fantasy version of where you want to end up (meaning the sort of life you want to be living), and of course it will change as time passes and as your experiences, achievements, circumstances, abilities and desires change. As you travel along your road through life, you'll find that the various stages do not work out quite as you expected. Perhaps having kids will be better or worse than you imagined, as might be being married, or owning your own business, or traveling the world. Even so, at any given time you should have a specific intention in your mind as to what circumstances and set of conditions you want to be living in as soon as you can manage it, and what you will be doing when those circumstances come about.

In theory we should be planning out our whole lives so that they would be to our choosing and liking. Rarely, however, in practice can we make this work out precisely as planned, but it can certainly work out in broad, general terms. However, when people are young, they aren't really capable of planning out their lives sensibly simply because they have the ignorance and inexperience of youth. When more mature, with a greater knowledge of life and of yourself, you should have a pretty good idea of what you want to be doing with the rest of your life. Even then, however, that idea will change with time. But that doesn't devalue the proposition that you should always be working to a plan that encompasses short, medium and long term goals that aim to achieve what you consider to be desirable flow states.

There are certain things that are sensible to want at any age, like having enough wealth, particularly unearned income, to be able to live how you want, where you want, and only to do work that you passionately want to do. Also it would make sense to want to have a circle of good, useful friends, and partners, and mentors. But detailed goals, especially if long term ones, might not be such a good idea. Instead the idea perhaps should be to have fairly specific ideas about the important factors, but not to get into too much detail in your long term goal setting. For example, to say that you want to be living in a particular house is probably too restrictive a goal (although in this case you should always be keeping a look out to see if it is for sale and making sure you have sufficient money to buy it if it is for sale, and perhaps even going to the owners and asking them if they are interested in selling.). However, it would make sense to say that you want to make money by working in a particular business or occupation, and you want to live in a particular location, and that if you have children you want to be able to send them to one of several private schools in that area. These reasonably specific, but not absolutely restricting, desires and aims make sense. When you form shorter term goals, however, it is a good idea to make them increasingly specific and detailed.

As you achieve, or fail to achieve, your short term goals, you will need to keep reassessing, and perhaps amending, your medium and long term ones.

Is Success The Same As Happiness? If Not, Which Do You Want?

Is success the same as happiness? If you say yes, then you're going to have few problems defining what you want out of life, and it should be easy to define what you want in terms of flow. If you think success and happiness are not necessarily the same thing, however, then you may have a problem deciding whether to pursue one or the other or both. Happiness is probably not as difficult to define as success, because it is just a feeling we have inside ourselves. In other words, if our internal flow feels good, we're happy. We can then ask, what is it that gives us this desirable internal flow? But if happiness and success are not one and the same thing, what is the difference, what is success, and what should we pursue - success or happiness?

If we believe that happiness is a state of internal flow, then success, if it is different, is something that we are likely to judge in terms of outflow and/or inflow. In other words, it has to be objective and measured in terms of what is going on outside ourselves, rather than being like happiness, which is subjective and internal.

A common definition of success is 'being rich'. What does that mean? It simply means you've had a much greater inflow of money than outflow of money. Of course everyone has to decide for themselves what difference between inflow and outflow constitutes wealth for them. Another definition of success might be achieving a particular position in society, being well-known, or receiving particular prizes, awards, qualifications or titles. So although success can be measured objectively, it still has to be defined subjectively by every individual.

Success then seems to be something that exists by reference to what is outside ourselves, and it is either measurable in absolute terms, or it is measurable relative to something, or relative to other people. Happiness, on the other hand, is an internal state which is difficult to measure, and we know from experience that we can have it one minute, lose it the next, and regain it the next. It fluctuates. Probably so long as it remains on balance positive rather than negative over a certain period of time, that is good enough for most of us, and we will regard ourselves as being happy during that time.

Do happiness and success go together? They can do, but not necessarily. I'm sure we've all had the experience of wanting something, then when we've succeeded in getting it, we've discovered that it isn't what we imagined, that it hasn't been worth the trouble we put into getting it, and that it doesn't make us happy.

So what should one pursue - happiness or success? If the two do not involve having the same outflows and inflows, which is obviously the ideal, then there probably has to be some sort of pragmatic compromise. For example, it's clear that if you spend your teens and early adult years just doing what makes you feel happy, you may end up paying a high price for this self-indulgence by failing to secure the money, possessions and social position that would have come from sacrificing a little of your youthful happiness in order to achieve some desirable material and social success.

It seems then that it is necessary to take a sufficiently long term view of things to see what the consequences would be of pursuing either success or happiness at the expense of the other.

If you pursue happiness when you are young, you will pay a price for that later on. But if you are one of those people who always promise yourself that you will do what you want at some unspecified time in the future, you may never get happiness. A balance has to be struck. When young, you must do what is necessary to secure money and social standing. Of course you can enjoy yourself at the same time, but not too much. When you are financially and socially secure, you can then indulge a little more in pleasure-seeking. But of course you might not want to then because by that time you might have developed a passion for your work, or perhaps for your family if you have settled down, and those things will be where you get your pleasure.

The luckiest people on the planet, I think, are those whose work is their pleasure. External success is not something they pursue. Fame and wealth come of their own accord because of the work they do. Success for them is doing the work that makes them happy.

Try, if you can, to get to that state.

Ambitious people will put the pursuit of success before the pursuit of happiness, but the achievement of their goals will in itself bring satisfaction.

Work, Money, Family Life, Social Life

Unless you're a sociopath, a misfit, or so totally obsessed with some sort of outflow production that you have no room in your life for non-work relationships, then friends, a partner and children (if you've decided to go down that path) will be very important to you. However, I would still say that money should come first.

I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said something to the effect that a person's first duty was not to be poor. Someone else also said something like, “Money isn't everything, but money is involved in everything.”

Really money isn't important … so long as you've got enough of it. However, because it is necessary for everything in life, getting enough of it should be your first priority.

Some people say health is more important, as though one could only have either health or money, which clearly doesn't make sense. Health is a separate issue. Obviously you should make your health as good as it can be, or at least as good as you want or need it to be for the lifestyle you want. In flow terms this means being careful with the food, drink and other substances you allow to inflow into your body. Also you should outflow energy in the form of exercise, preferably with other people. You also need good, positive, constructive abstract internal flow so that you have good mental health.

Taking health and money together, there are two questions that resolve the issue. If you had good health, would you rather have money or not have money? If you had bad health, would you rather have money or not have money? In both cases a sensible person would obviously want to have money.

It is important to choose to pursue money, but the pursuit of good health should automatically be ingrained in you.

Assuming you've got money and health sorted out (the money inflow presumably coming as a consequence of the work outflow you're producing, but possibly coming into your life by some other means), the next flow situation of importance is usually a partner, and perhaps children if you've decided you want a family. Certainly health and money make it easier to have, hold onto, and maintain good relationships with partners and children. A partner and children are really what I mean when I use the word 'family', rather than blood-relations other than your children. Relations, as we know, should be treated like friends - if they're not good enough to be your friends, they shouldn't be in your life, and if they are good enough to be your friends, then you should treat them in the same way that you treat your friends. You should attach little or no importance to the fact that they are your relations.

With family, probably the most important things are stability and security. What could this mean in flow terms? It means the internal flows in the relationships should be largely unvarying and they should be positive and predictable. The more flows this applies to, the better. Also the bigger the flows, the better. This will also go for the inflows into the family, and the outflows that it makes in work terms and in social terms. The latter could be participation in, and contributions to, the local community, the children's schools, a workplace, various societies, organizations, clubs, charities, and so on. With finances, generally it makes sense to want the biggest inflow of net income that is reasonably possible, and this usually entails one or more people in the family being responsible for a similarly big outflow of goods and/or services. Within the family there should big, positive interpersonal flows. This means that the words and actions flowing between family members need to be positive, loving, supportive and frequent. Actions need to be kind, considerate and helpful. Of course words and actions arise from people's abstract internal flow, so the most important thing within a family is for family members to have the right abstract internal flow going on in their minds with regard to other family members. There should be no deceit, dishonesty, hypocrisy or lack of integrity, otherwise there will be an outflow of conflicting words and actions within the family, and this will weaken and ultimately destroy the family unit.

With friends and relations it's a matter of asking if they bring (or could bring at some time in the future) some desirable inflow into your life. Many people seem just to want to have personal contact with others for the sake of having personal contact, but really you should exercise greater discrimination. You want some positive inflow in return for outflowing your time, your attention, your words, your actions and your resources. Flows have the value that they are perceived to have by the people involved in the flow exchange, so in a friendship, if it is to endure, both parties need to believe (that is, to have as part of their abstract internal flow) that the flow exchange between them is somehow producing a net positive inflow for each of them. They need to believe they are getting more than they're giving, that what they're getting is on balance positive.

Of course really you would think that the flows in total would balance out and be equal when viewed objectively, but flows are rarely seen objectively. Every individual's abstract internal flow attaches its own values to the flows it perceives. That is a large part of the game of life.

Friends should be useful and bring a net balance of positive inflow into your life that you want or need and without requiring you to produce unacceptable outflow or take in unacceptable inflow. The same should also apply to relations. With a partner and children, perhaps more tolerance has to be exercised, sometimes because of the importance of keeping the family unit intact. Yet even here a line should be drawn as to what flows are acceptable in, to and from the members of the family unit.

Problems With Defining Success And Happiness In Terms Of Inflow And/Or Internal Flow

A lot of us say things like, “If I had lots of money, I'd be happy,” or, “If I could only find the right partner, I'd be happy.” The problem with that is that we are making our happiness dependent upon what is external to us - other people and other things. Better perhaps to turn things around and say, “My internal flow would be as good as I need it to be if I were producing a particular outflow, the production of which gives me pleasure, and which results in my getting inflow that I want.”

Success is different for different people. It's like happiness - every person has to define it for themselves. External factors can, however, act as markers as to how well you're achieving your own idea of success and happiness. Several rich people have said that money (once you have the first few millions) is not important as such - it's just a way of keeping score as to how well you're playing the money-game.

“I want millions of dollars.” “I want to travel to all the countries of the world.” “I want to be President of this country.” All these goals are external, and if you don't get these inflows of success, you will be unhappy. However, if you define success and happiness in terms of producing outflow, then suddenly you have much greater responsibility for, and control over, your own feelings and sense of satisfaction.

For example, you might say, “I enjoy selling as much of these particular goods or services as possible.” “I like the work I do for this international company and I enjoy having to travel internationally as part of my job.” “I love being involved in politics and taking on as much political responsibility as possible.” All these activities give you a chance of achieving the success-goals that interest you, but your happiness is now dependent on producing an outflow of work rather than on achieving particular results.

Happiness is having a particular state of abstract internal flow. Success can be measured by inflow, but it is better to measure it by the volume and quality of the outflow you are responsible for producing. You can then use the resulting inflow as a 'score-keeper' of that outflow. But the danger in defining success purely in terms of inflow is that it takes your attention away from creating the outflow that you need to produce in order to get that inflow. Become obsessed with producing the right outflow, and, to a large extent, your inflow, and your internal flow, will take care of themselves.

If you know what inflow you want - fame, money, sex, certain types of people as friends, a certain type of partner, a family - and if you have worked out what outflow you can produce to cause these things to flow into your life, and you know who to direct that outflow to so that they will give you the inflow you want, you no longer need to think much about inflow, you need to think almost exclusively about outflow. Then you just get on with producing that outflow. That is really all your abstract internal flow needs to be concerned with and focused on most of the time.

Of course occasionally you should assess whether you still want the same inflow, and whether your outflow is still causing you to get the inflow you want, but apart from that it's just a matter now of focusing on your outflow.

It's rather liberating when you get this sort of focus. A lot of the turmoil and confusion and doubt that many people suffer from disappears from their abstract internal flow. You know what you need to be thinking about. You know what you should be doing. Nothing else matters (except, of course, enjoying the inflow that comes your way). If other thoughts come into your head, you can immediately banish them. If you have feelings about anything other than what you should be concerned about, you know those feelings are pointless and you can immediately banish them. The only feelings you should allow yourself to have are positive ones relating to producing your outflow and receiving your inflow. Apart from that, the only 'negative' feeling you should allow yourself to have should be … indifference!

With this sort of outlook, you can now define your goals in terms of outflow. Let's say you're materialistic and you love the fine (expensive) things in life. You know they cost money, so that means you need a big inflow of money. With this in mind, you start up a widget factory. You sell a million widgets a year and it puts a certain amount of money in your pocket. But you want more money so you can enjoy more fine things. You don't have to keep thinking about whether you want more money or not. You know you do. You don't have to keep thinking about whether you want more fine things. You know you do. So what do you need to think about? Only one thing - selling more widgets. Your entire focus should be on selling more widgets (and doing so more profitably). Everything else, apart from enjoying your money inflow and the fine things you can buy with it, is essentially irrelevant and can be ignored.

Of course in reality life isn't that simple, largely because people tend not to be selfish, ruthless or focused enough to keep things that simple. The career woman gets married and has a family. The man with wanderlust falls into a relationship that holds him in one place. Life then becomes a matter of compromising. Ideally people would simply focus 100% on getting the life they want, having the resolution and courage to pursue it, and discarding and ignoring everything else (and everyone else), but of course they don't. For the vast majority of people, life involves compromise, balancing work goals with consideration for family, friends and non-work interests.

But let's imagine someone who knows what they want and who has a simple life in terms of the outflow they're happy to produce and the internal flow they want in return for it. In addition they know who wants their outflow, and these people respond by producing outflow that our protagonist is happy to accept as their inflow. So let's call our protagonist 'A' and the recipient of their outflow 'B'. The virtuous flow circle can be described like this: 'A' has positive abstract internal flow (thoughts, feeling, passion, focus, ideas) about producing outflow. 'A' makes the outflow happen. (Don't forget that you don't necessarily have to do things yourself. You just have to be responsible for making things happen.) This outflow is accepted by 'B' as their inflow. 'B' has positive internal flow because of this inflow, and as a consequence produces positive outflow which is directed to 'A'. 'A' accepts it and as a consequence has positive internal flow.

And there you have a positive, virtuous flow circle. In concrete terms it could be that 'A' manufactures widgets. They're delivered to 'B'. 'B' is happy with them and sends payment for them to 'A'. 'A' is happy to get the money and to have some profit that they are free to spend on getting the inflow that makes their internal flow good.

Of course any individual's life is usually made up of many such flow circles (as well as being made up of broken or unbalanced flow patterns which ultimately lead to one or more parties involved having bad internal flow). Let's say our widget manufacturer is a man and he's married and his wife likes playing tennis. With his profit he might buy his wife an expensive new tennis racket. That's an outflow of money to the sports shop and an inflow of the racket from the shop (therefore their outflow) to the man, which the man in turn outflows to his wife. The wife has good internal flow from this inflow and consequently outflows gratitude, displays of pleasure, and so on, to her husband. Our widget manufacturer has good internal flow because of this inflow. That particular virtuous flow circle is complete.

It would seem then that from this there are two things. Firstly, you should aim to set up virtuous flow circles. Secondly, when you know what the virtuous flow circle should be like, and who and what is involved in it, you should focus entirely on producing the outflow that gets the flow circle started and continuing.

Deal with internal flow first. As far as abstract internal flow is concerned, how important is it just to feel contented? How much discontent are you prepared to feel in order to achieve the success goals you want to set for yourself? Usually it's a matter of striking some sort of balance that is acceptable rationally and emotionally.

Many people are trapped in their comfort zone. They might not be entirely happy, but they're not unhappy enough to do anything about it. People stay in jobs that bore them, in relationships that they find unsatisfying, and in places where they would rather not be. They think that the discomfort involved in getting what they really want from life is going to be more than the discomfort they currently feel, so they stay with the life they've got. These are people who don't make things happen in life. They aren't prepared to try to get what they want. These people are rather disappointed with their lives.

And there's nothing necessarily wrong at all with being like that. If you don't try to achieve your ambitions, you won't have to take on difficult challenges, and that way you won't have to find out whether or not you're up to meeting those challenges.

But really, what internal flow do you want? Passive semi-contentedness? Or do you feel there are challenges that you are eager to meet? Do you want a lot of mental stimulation and activity? Do you want to be riding an emotional roller coaster all the time? Only you can answer these questions. What feelings inside your head and your body do you love having? What thoughts do you like having? Where are you going to draw the line between emotional contentedness and objective success?

Without knowing the answer to these questions, you can't really answer the question of what inflow you want and what outflow you are able and willing to provide for other people to get it.

Let's take a social climber (inflow of status coming from outflowing oneself to the right people and places, and also probably being responsible for the right sort and amount of work outflow). What internal flow does such a person want? They want to regard themselves as being equal to people they regard as high status, and to regard themselves as superior to people they regard as low status. They may also externalize their reference points by wanting to hear from other people that they are regarded as high status. This at least is a pretty objective, empirical goal, rather than the subjective one of having a feeling or an opinion that may not actually be justified. External, objective goals are better than internal, subjective ones because the former are provable.

Let's say this person wants to be regarded as an equal by people who are said to be important in the local business community. This can become almost a tick-box exercise. What distinguishes the leaders of the local business community? It might be that they all belong to the local golf club, they all belong to a particular social club, they all own businesses or are professionals; they all earn above a certain figure, they're all married, they all live in certain areas and they all drive a car from one of a limited number of manufacturers.

Armed with this list, our social climber can work out exactly what his outflow must be if he is to get the inflow he craves, which is being regarded as equal to these particular people. The critical outflow is either going to be the provision of professional services or the ownership of a business with its responsibility of providing an outflow of goods and services. Everything else really hinges on this. Without being a professional or a business owner, he falls at the first hurdle. Of course even once he has succeeded in being a producer of such outflow, he still has more work to do, such as outflowing himself to potential spouses, outflowing himself socially to mix with the people by whom he wants to be accepted, outflowing himself to the clubs he wants to join and offering himself up as a potential member, outflowing money to buy a suitable car, and so on.

It seems to be the case that people who are drifting in life fail to analyze what they need to do in order to get the life they really want. Lots of people want wealth, but they rarely sit down and ask themselves exactly what they should do to get wealth. They buy lottery tickets. They fantasize. But what they don't say is, “Wealthy people, other than those who inherit, marry or win wealth, have certain things in common. For example, they own businesses, they are highly paid professionals, they are popular performers, and so on. Therefore I must do one of those things and produce the same sort of work outflow that they do.”

And that's it! It's that simple. You want money? OK, you can marry it, win it or steal it, but otherwise you must sell some product or service (a performance being a sort of service). There is no other way. Either you outflow your looks, your pleasantness, your usefulness, your obligingness, your skill, to an appreciative rich person or a rich organization, or you take responsibility for producing a big, valuable outflow of products, services or performances to people who appreciate what you're doing enough to pay you good money for your outflow.

But there is of course another, more negative, way of getting rich. This is the politician's and criminal's way of doing it. (The only difference between a politician and a criminal is that a politician is able to pass laws that make their criminality legal. The criminal doesn't have the power to do this.) If you can become a powerful enough politician in certain countries, you can take pretty much what you want. But if politics doesn't appeal to you, or if it doesn't suit your ability and character, then you can try stealing what you want. The downside to this approach, unfortunately, is that you're always looking over your shoulder. If you get caught, you lose your freedom. Probably you lose your ill-gotten gains as well. Better, then, only to steal when you've reached a high level and are well connected. Otherwise it is safer to play within the rules set by top people and to become part of the system.

On the subject of crime, a lot of crime is just business that falls outside the law, but all the rules of conventional business still apply. If you think, for example, of the families who made fortunes during America's prohibition years (and those families are quite often now socially and politically well-connected and well-regarded because a blind eye has been turned to the original source of their wealth), they had to organize the outflow to their customers of dependable supplies of dependable quality liquor, just like a legitimate business. The drink had to be produced and distributed and sold. The same applies to drugs. To be a successful criminal you need to have the same abilities and characteristics that any successful legitimate business person has. A good criminal from one of America's well-regarded families would be able to succeed almost as well (but less profitably) in conventional business as in illegitimate business. Indeed many American families that started off in crime are now successful in legitimate business.

With success and happiness then, you need first to resolve the abstract internal flow you want, compromising between emotional needs and rational needs, then you work out what inflow you need to produce that state, and who can give it to you, and then you work out what outflow you need to be responsible for sending out to those people in order to cause them to give you the inflow you want.

A quick word about physical internal flow - largely this is covered by the food, drink and exercise you have as your inflow, and which therefore goes to make up your internal flow. There's also drugs and alcohol, of course, which shouldn't be part of your internal flow at all. Intellectually it usually isn't difficult to work out what you should be putting, or letting, into your body. The problem is having the discipline to do what you know is good for you and the discipline not to do what you know is bad for you. You need rationally to decide what you want your physical state to be like, and you need to work out what inflow will result in you achieving that state. After that it is purely a matter of self-discipline to organize and control the necessary inflows, along with an outflow of exercise/sport.

Self-discipline - the control of your own mind so that you do what you have rationally decided you should do - is the most important of all the characteristics and personal abilities you can have.

Defining Success And Happiness For Yourself In Terms Of The Outflow You Need To Produce In Order To Get The Inflow And Internal Flow You Want

This is where life begins to turn around. You know you want to be happy (good internal flow). You know you want money, and friends, and a certain status in life, and a good partner, and health, and all the other things that you dream about having, plus no doubt a few other goals that are peculiar to you. Now the thing to do is to work out what outflow you have to produce (that you are able to produce and you would enjoy producing) that will, as a natural consequence, result in you getting the internal flow and inflow you desire.

Let's say you have a goal of acquiring a certain amount of money over the next twelve months. You have an idea of what you can sell (outflow) to get money flowing in, and you reckon after all your costs are covered you'll have a clear profit margin of ten percent. You therefore know that to make the amount of money you want to make, you are going to have to sell stuff to the value of ten times that figure. You now have an outflow goal to try to achieve, and you know that if you do achieve it, you'll also achieve your inflow goal.

This is the approach to take to everything, not just money. Once you've decided on a particular inflow goal, and you've worked out what the outflow needs to be to make it possible to achieve that goal, all you concern yourself with after that is getting on with producing the necessary outflow.

Say you want more friends to flow into your life. You might set yourself an outflow goal of joining a new club, society or association every two months during the next year, then go to at least one meeting a week of these groups. That will naturally lead to opportunities to form friendships, so this makes it likely you will achieve your inflow goal of getting more friends flowing into your life.

Perhaps you want a partner to settle down with? Resolve to meet and go out with one new potential partner a week. (Outflow yourself to potential partners.)

You want to learn a foreign language? Resolve to sign up for a course at the local college. (Again, you're outflowing yourself to the right place, to be with the right people, doing the right thing.)

And so on. You should always have outflow goals that you are pursuing.

No matter how you end up seeing success, you need to define the outflows you have to produce to achieve that success. Then your focus, your obsession (fully engaged abstract internal flow) will revolve around the production of that outflow. Having such abstract internal flow will bring great purposefulness and certainty into your life.

Time/Money Freedom - Do You Really Want It, And Would You Be Suited To It?

It's interesting to see that when some people win a big amount of money in the national lottery that allows them never to need to work again, they actually continue working, or they might quit their job but then after a while they ask to go back. It seems that some people are so used to having a structure imposed on their lives by other people that they can't cope with being free from such control. They aren't comfortable having the freedom of choice that their new-found wealth gives them. Perhaps they don't have the initiative to think of ways to occupy their time constructively, purposefully and pleasantly. This seems to indicate that some people are craving for inflow that they shouldn't really desire, and that it wouldn't really suit them to have if they did get it anyway.

There are also people who get money and freedom and then go to pieces, becoming dissolute and decadent, eventually blowing their fortune and ending up back where they started.

There are a few points here. Firstly, before you start dreaming about inflow goals, you need to know yourself, or at least you need to know your chief characteristics. Secondly, it helps if your basic character has formed and has some strength to it so that it won't be swayed too much by changes of fortune and circumstances. Thirdly, if you set your goals in terms of producing (positive) outflow, it is much more difficult to go wrong. Certainly you might not achieve your outflow goals, or it might prove more difficult and/or less satisfying than you imagined, but you will at least know at all times what you are trying to do. You will (hopefully) also be involved in benefiting other people (admittedly so as to get the inflow you want). Without outflow goals, there is much more chance of you having problems, in the sense that your abstract internal flow will become directionless and/or misdirected, and/or your life will become unbalanced because you are not producing some appropriate outflow to counter-balance the inflow you are getting.

Try to focus on, and be busy being responsible for producing, outflow, making the biggest and (hopefully) best impact on other people's flows that you can, then your other flows have a good chance of looking after themselves satisfactorily.

What Is The Difference Between Successful People And Failures?

Successful people decide what they want to happen, then they try to make it happen. Unsuccessful people let life happen to them and they do what other people want them to do.

Do you want to attempt to get the life you want? Most people aren't prepared to make the attempt. Instead they make do with whatever life brings their way.

Although the stress that self-help books tend to put on visualizing the ideal life that you want is overemphasized to the extent that it takes your focus away from producing the outflow that could get you the life you want, it is nonetheless important to know what you want, and always to have it in your mind, driving you on to do what is likely to enable you to get what you desire. You must have an unshakeable determination to get what you want. You must accept that it is entirely your responsibility to do what is necessary to make this happen. You have to be somewhat obsessive and remain motivated at all times. Never let yourself be distracted, tricked or used by other people who, quite naturally, will want you to help them achieve their goals rather than your goals.

But of course the way you get what you want is by helping others get what they want, so course you can help others achieve their goals, but it has to be on condition that it also moves you nearer to securing your goals.

Unsuccessful people seem to fall into situations and into relationships that they should never have got into, and then often they don't make any, or much, effort to get out of those situations and into ones they really want. They react to things rather than decide what they would like to happen and then make efforts to bring it about. Such people are passive rather than active, or, more accurately, proactive.

Another handicap that hinders many people is their inability to think on a large enough scale. If you want the sort of wealth that might be necessary for you to have a big, full, interesting life and the financial freedom to live it the way you want to live it, then you'll need to be responsible for producing a greater outflow of goods and services (or personal attractiveness, charm, wit, and so on) than many people can conceive of producing. Small-minded people have small lives. If you want a big life, you'll need not only to be able to hold big ambitions in your head (in vivid detail and with a passionate craving to see them manifested), but you'll also need to be able to have a concrete plan of action about how you're going to make a big enough impact on the flows of enough other people to get the inflow of money, status, respect, admiration, good friends, or whatever else it is you want. A desire for big inflow must go hand in hand with a desire to be responsible for great outflow (and you must of course also have the ability to produce such outflow).

Unsuccessful people not only don't have such ideas in their heads, they may not even have their own ideas in their own heads. They may have other people's ideas there. A lot of people take in such an unrelenting inflow of the outflow produced by other people that they don't have the time (or perhaps even the ability) to order and control their abstract internal flow so that it is always purposefully and pragmatically focused on producing outflow that will get them desirable inflow.

People who spend hours watching TV, or playing computer/console games, or surfing on the internet, or fiddling with their mobile phones, or going around all the time with earphones in their ears, drowning out their own thoughts with music - these are not the people who are going to be making much happen, either in their own lives or in other people's lives, and such people obviously won't get the life they want because they aren't even thinking about the life they want, let alone about what it might be necessary for them to do for and with other people in order to get that life.

If your internal flow isn't focused on the inflow you want and the outflow you need to produce to get it, then your mind is being wasted. You won't even get off the starting blocks when it comes to choosing and getting the sort of existence you really want.

Find People Who Seem To Have The Sort Of Life You Believe You Want, And Try To Emulate Them In Ways That Suit Your Own Character And Abilities

What they have flowing into their lives will probably be the initial attraction for you - wealth, fame, status, and so on - but it's their outflow that gets them all these things, and that is what you should be wanting to emulate. Similar inflow to theirs should then come to you as a natural consequence of producing similar outflow to that which they produce.

One thing about trying to emulate people that you think you want to be like is that the more remote they are from you, the more difficult, and indeed impossible and dangerous, it is to try to do what you think they do. Really you need to have direct contact with someone who can be both a role model and a mentor to you. The advantages of this are obvious. On the one hand you are more likely to find out the truth of what they have done to get where they are, with all the necessary fine detail. On the other hand, if they are prepared to have direct contact with you, it must presumably mean that they are interested in you, at least in some way and to a certain extent, and therefore there is a chance they will want to help you.

If you just decide that there is someone you've seen on television, or the internet, or in newspapers, or magazines, and that you'd like their lifestyle, you might be able to see broadly what they do - sport, music, business, films, whatever - but you won't know exactly what they really do, or how they do it, or where they do it, or who they do it with, to produce the outflow that gets them their inflow. So it really is important physically to be with those people who can be useful to you or whom you might want to emulate. Having face to face contact with them is essential.

The most practical thing you are likely to be able to do is to connect with someone who is available to you now and whom you would like to be like. This is better than idly dreaming about being with some distant, unreachable figure who's a superstar in their field. Connect with someone you know now and that you find admirable in some way. Then opportunities might arise later to connect with people you regard as better.

Life in some way is a game of connections. The more people you connect with, and the better those people are, the more successful you can become. So always be on the look-out for the next person who can help you on your way towards your ideal life.

In flow terms this means that you are always looking to outflow yourself into the right places so as to be with the right people - the right people being those who can give you, or help you to get, the inflow you want - but of course you yourself will also have to be producing, or be able and willing to produce, an outflow that role models, mentors and useful friends will find interesting and attractive and that will induce them to want to be involved with you. For this, you need to have some idea, or at least a guess, about what they might have going on in their internal flow, and what outflow you can produce to maneuver it into going the way you want. What are they looking for? What are they interested in? Do they have a problem you can help them with? Find this out, and then produce an outflow of appearance, behavior, actions, words, information, goods, services - anything that can make a suitable impression on them - so that it 'ticks the boxes' with their internal flow and makes them decide to connect with you.

A Lot Of Things Only Seem Interesting When You Don't Have Them Or Can't Do Them

This is the old 'the grass is always greener' idea. In practice a lot of things can be interesting initially but once you've become accustomed to them, they just feel ordinary. Also we tend to have fantasy ideas about what things are like. Being a film star seems glamorous, but (apparently) it involves a lot of hanging around, doing many retakes, doing as you're told, doing promotional appearances long after the film has been made, and so on. It's a job. The difference, of course, between this job and a more conventional one is that if you get to the top, you can get paid a lot of money for doing it, and you get to be famous. If you love acting and love being the center of attention, then becoming a film star would be a sensible ambition to have.

As was said earlier, however, your goal should be the production of outflow (in this case it would be your acting performances) rather than receiving inflow. If you think in this way and focus on doing your work as an actor rather than on getting money and fame, even if you don't get to the top, you should still feel happy and satisfied because you would be doing what you love.

There's a well-known saying - “Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.” In little things it's not important. If you have a desire to get a particular make of old car and you don't have to alter your whole life to achieve that goal, then go and get the car. You might love it. You might find it disappointing. If it's the latter, you can always get rid of the car and move on to pursuing other easily achievable goals. With big goals, however, the achieving of which would essentially take over your whole life, there are two things worth doing before pursuing them. Firstly, have a really good understanding of yourself and your genuine likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, investigate as much as possible what you're pursuing so that you know the reality of it, not the fantasy version of it that you might have at present. Try to get some experience of what it is you think you want.

You think you want a yacht? Try to find out why they say the second happiest day of a person's life is the day they get a yacht, but the happiest day is the day they sell their yacht. Try to find a way of getting onto yachts. Hire one. Work on one. Get friendly with someone who owns one. You might find, after you've experienced it, that yachting is sick-making, boring, troublesome and expensive. If so, at least then you'll know it's an ambition you can happily ditch before you've wasted time and effort trying to achieve it.

Perhaps you think you want to sleep around. So, get on and make an effort to do it. You'll find out whether it's achievable, whether you like it or not, or whether in fact you're really a person who wants to be in a steady, committed relationship with just one person.

Little ambitions should be achieved and experienced as soon as possible. Big ambitions should be treated with caution, especially if they're caused by a desire solely for the imagined inflow that comes when the ambition is achieved. If you don't have a passion for producing the outflow that will get you the inflow you crave, then probably you've chosen a wrong ambition to pursue. As has been said, your ambition ideally should be the production of outflow. You want to do things for and with other people rather than being obsessed with getting inflow. Your abstract internal flow should be filled with an obsessive desire and enthusiasm for the production of this outflow.

How Big A Life Do You Want?

Don't make your ambitions bigger than they need to be to make you feel satisfied and contented. Do you really want to be famous? Do you really want to own a company that employs thousands of people? Do you really need to be super-rich to be happy?

Big ambitions for most people are self-defeating. Most people don't have the ability or character necessary to achieve them.

Examine your true nature carefully and honestly and set yourself ambitions such that the achievement of them is possible. You just want to get yourself in a state where there is nothing more you want.

As far as I can tell, people who are going to be outstandingly successful show signs from a young age of being remarkable in some way. For example, financially successful people can be found when they are school kids already selling stuff to their school friends, whereas ordinary people would just be giving or lending those things to their friends. People who are going to go on to become famous performers are already eagerly performing on stage when they are kids, and they are already getting noticed for their ability and confidence. It is unusual, I think, for people suddenly to discover when they are half way through life that they have some special ability and a passion to exercise it for and with other people. There are of course exceptions, however, where people have unexpectedly found their 'niche' quite late in life and then gone on to become successful because of it.

Tunnel-Vision Focus, Relentless Determination And A Refusal To Be Deterred By Anything Is The Key To Achieving Your Goals

There's a saying that 'less is more', which can mean that the more you exclude from your life, and the more you limit your thoughts and actions and focus them on achieving a particular goal, then the more chance you have of getting what you want, and you'll do it more quickly than would otherwise be possible. Indeed, without the qualities listed in the heading of this section, it's quite likely that you won't achieve your major ambitions at all.

Being focused (ideally to the point of obsession) is key to getting what you want. If you aren't focused almost to the exclusion of everything else, then you probably don't even really want what you think you want, or certainly not enough to be able to get it.

In which case, why bother making the attempt at all? Don't waste your time.

Even with a focus bordering on tunnel-vision, you are still likely to go through periods of doubt. Your commitment will waiver. The occasional momentary lapse in the pursuit of a goal is perfectly understandable, but the moment should pass and your commitment should return.

Maybe you're unsure if you still want the goal you've set yourself. Perhaps you have doubts about whether you'll be able to produce the outflow that is necessary to achieve it. But unless you really have changed your mind about getting a particular goal, you should never give up.

Problems, disappointments, obstacles, set-backs - these are all just tests of your resolve. You know when you really want something because any negative event in your pursuit of it just spurs you on and makes you even more determined to get it. You will expend even more energy producing the outflow necessary to get it.

If you are to achieve anything truly significant and worthwhile in life, your abstract internal flow must be absolutely determined and resolute.

Getting what is really worth having in life is never going to be easy.

Playing Life As A Flow Game

Once you have a stable, dependable, adequate income, a home, a partner (if you want one), kids (ditto), and friends, everything else can be treated as a game. The game of course is to be responsible for the best outflow possible and/or to have the greatest impact possible on the flows of other people. Of course you'll decide for yourself what these flows are and what impact you're going to have on the lives of other people, but really, once you've got the basics of life covered, you can afford to relax and enjoy the game for its own sake. This absence of desperation in you means not only that you can think in a clearer and more detached way about what you want in terms of flow and what you'll do to produce it and get it, but also it makes you better able to deal with the people and problems you come up against. Your ability now to view your outflow production and the manipulation of other people's internal flows as a game rather than a grim matter of survival means that you'll enjoy what you're doing, and it will probably make you, and any flow deals you're offering other people, seem more attractive. Your ease will enable you to adapt quickly and easily, if you want to, and change the outflow you're responsible for sending out to other people. This confidence will make it more likely that you will get whatever inflow you're trying to get from other people.

I remember seeing a soccer player once being interviewed on television just after his team had lost a game. This particular man earned more in a week than most people earn in a year. He was being asked the usual rather silly and repetitive post-match questions by a lot of journalists, and, obviously running out of things to say, he then said something to the effect that, “We lost, which is disappointing, but at the end of the day it's only a game.” That is the attitude you want to have. Not only was this guy smart enough to know that sport is essentially a pointless, unimportant activity, but he could afford to be relaxed enough to say as much. Win or lose, he'd be kicking a ball around next week and picking up his super salary.

That is the situation you want to get into. Get the important flows in your life satisfactorily dealt with so that you can say (to yourself, if not to others), “Now I'm just playing a game.” Then go for it to the best of your ability. Have some fun, but of course try to achieve the best results you can. Take the view, however, that you'll be happy no matter what the outcome of your actions is.

Ask Those Special One Word Questions To Try To Define What Success And Happiness Will Be For You

Remember them? - Why? Who? What? Where? When? How? And we can add, “How Much?” One should always be questioning. Somebody once said the most important question in life is, “Why?” This person said that if you kept asking, “Why?” you would eventually get to the very heart of a matter, and it is only when you truly understand something that have any chance of working with it correctly (or deciding not to work with it).

Let's say I live in country 'A' but I would really like to live in country 'B'. At any rate, I definitely wish I wasn't living in country 'A'. I can start asking questions and coming up with answers. Why am I living in country 'A'? Because I was born here, and I don't see how I can afford just to up sticks and go to another country, like country 'B'. Why do I think I can't afford to live in country 'B'? Because it costs about the same to live there as to live here, but if I left here I'd have to give up my job and then I'd have no income. (You notice, of course, that people's answers are often also their excuses for not doing what they should be doing or what they want to be doing.) Why don't I find a different source of income that would allow me to live in country 'B'? Why don't I brainstorm new ways of earning money that would allow me to live there? (Creative abstract internal flow.) Why don't I join expat groups and ask people in country 'B' if they have any ideas as to how I could earn a living there? Why don't I start a business now here in country 'A' that, if it were to become successful, could be run by staff, leaving me free to live in country 'B', or at least spend a lot of time there?

I think 'Why?' really is the best and most important question you can ask, and if you persist with it and follow the answers to where they lead you, what you discover can be revelatory. It can show you where you're going wrong at the moment and it can disclose to you what you should really be doing and what changes you should make to start getting your ideal life.

The next question is 'Who?' Some people would say that this is actually the most important question. Who can give me the life I want? Who wants the outflow I want to produce? Who can give me the inflow I crave? Who, of all the people I know, or know of, is the person I most want to be like? Who can open doors for me and make opportunities available to me? One might even ask, “Who do I really want to be?” or, “Who am I really meant to be?” or just, “Who am I really?” But these 'Who?' questions should definitely be asked so as to find out what flows you should be aiming to achieve, who can enable or help you to get those flows, who will be a part of them, and so on.

The next question is 'What?' This one somehow feels a bit vaguer, but you can feel it's usefulness in questions like, “What material things do I really want in my life?”, “What things and activities and people would it benefit me to exclude from my life?”, “What benefit do I get from being involved with this person who is taking up my time?”, “What sort of people do I want as my friends?”, “What amount of income do I really need to be happy?”, and so on.

Keep questioning all the time. Unless you already have exactly the life you want, you should always be asking questions about what you should do in order to get more of what is positive and less of what is negative.

The next question is “Where?” This can be asked in all sorts of contexts, but my favorite is to connect it to the question “Who?” For example, “Where do I have to be to be with the people who will give me the flows I want and accept the flows I am happy to be responsible for producing?” We've touched on asking, “Where do I want to live?” but also you might want to find out where you, or your kids, should get educated, and where the clubs are that you should join, and where you might go to meet a potential mate, and where the best employers are, and where your best customers and clients are to be found.

Quite often people become successful because of the people with whom they make meaningful connections. To form personal connections of this sort you obviously first have to meet those special people. You need to find out where they are. They might be found in particular universities, organizations, clubs, companies, government departments, and so on. Find out where they work and where they socialize and get into those places.

The question “When?” will usually have one answer - “As soon as possible!” More realistically, if this isn't the most exact and helpful answer, it will need to be expanded, and a timetable will have to be thought out. If a teenager is asking himself or herself when they could become a family doctor, of course they will want it to be 'as soon as possible', but in practice they will have to draw up a schedule of finishing schooling, going to university, getting experience in a hospital, and so on. They will then arrive at the earliest date they could realistically expect to become a family doctor. The same applies to many things. You'll need to work out a schedule and then act in accordance with it.

In all cases, however, even when you can't actually achieve something now, you should still get started on doing something about it now. Get your internal flows in the right order and condition, and then begin to produce some sort of outflow that will move you nearer to getting the inflow you want. For example, if you're that teenager who wants to become a family doctor, you might resolve immediately to start studying very hard (producing an outflow of studying activity) those subjects which, if you get good results in them in exams, will increase your probability of getting into the very best university for studying medicine.

The question “How?” really gets down to the nuts and bolts of making things happen and achieving results. You know what flows you want to have. The big question is “How will I have, produce and receive them?” Deal with the big picture first of all, and then drill down until you get into finer and finer detail as to how exactly you'll get the flows you want. For example if you want to be a rock star, you first ask yourself, “How does someone get to be a rock star?” and you work out the steps that lead to success, like performing in bars and clubs first, then trying to get a recording contract, then getting a promoter to arrange for you to do concerts, and so on. Then you might have to ask yourself other questions like, who are you going to form your band with, where are you going to practice, what transport are you going to use to get to gigs, and so on. In this way you work your way through the whole process of getting to be a rock star, asking all the questions necessary so as to arrive at meaningful, helpful answers. Then you start doing what you have discovered you need to do.

(As mentioned earlier, it is better to define your goals in terms of outflow, not inflow, so in the above case you might say, “I want to produce as many recordings as possible of the best quality and originality of which I am capable, and I want to perform as often as I can in front of as many people as I can.”)

The last question is “How much?” (or “How many?”). One could glibly say, “As much as possible!”, but really one should have a more exact answer. How much money do you really need to be happy? How much time do you want to spend working? How many children do you want? How many homes do you want? How many (or how few) calories should you consume if you want to remain slim? How much outflow do you need to produce to get the amount of inflow you want? Anything quantifiable should be quantified. The goals you set yourself should be measurable, in terms of amount, quality, and time taken to achieve them. Be precise. Don't be vague. Vague ambitions are rarely achieved. Indeed, how could you even know when, or if, you have achieved them?

But ultimately I still think the most important question has to be “Why?” “Why do I want to be a rock star?” “Why do I think I want to get married and have a family?” “Why am I working in a job that bores me?” “Why am I not rich?” “Why am I living in a cold country when I really want to live somewhere hot?”

“Why?” is the over-arching question that needs to be answered before and after all the other questions have been answered.

Execution Is More Important Than Originality

You don't have to re-invent the wheel. You don't have to come up with startling new ideas to become successful. (If we all had to be totally original to be successful, there would be only a handful of successful people in the world.) You can do what other (happy, successful) people do, but just do it better, or cheaper, (or even more expensively in some cases), or more efficiently, or in a better location, or for and with different people, or market it better, or impose your own personal character on it. Originality is not necessary. Ideally there should be something that differentiates your products or services from those of any competitors, but in practice those differences can be illusory or just nominal. A lot of people are doing and selling similar things, but they manage to earn a living, and some even become outstandingly successful.

There is actually some danger in originality. Will it work? Will people like it? Perhaps people will prefer what they are already familiar and comfortable with.

In business the originator of a new idea or product sometimes ends up carrying the costs not only of creating the thing but also of adapting and developing it to make it acceptable to the market, and by the time it is nearly acceptable, they have gone bust. Other people then step in, put the final touches to it, and turn it into a success.

Sometimes it pays more to hang on to the coat tails of an originator rather than try to be one yourself.

With regard to personal characteristics, you want to be wary of deviating much from what is currently considered conventional, normal and appropriate.


Understand, Change, Control - Six

A Happy, Ordinary Person

Imagine someone, a boy, who works out in his teenage years that he doesn't want to be rich, he doesn't want to be famous, but he doesn't want to be working class like his parents. He just wants to become comfortably middle class and have a stable, settled life with a partner, children and decent friends. A boy like this, coming from a working class background, with their parents and their parents' low class friends as the only immediately available role models, might formulate a flow strategy along the following lines.

There's obviously no point copying the flows of the parents and their friends as that will only lead to our teenager remaining working class. What they therefore do is look at the way these people behave and speak. The boy notices their abstract internal flow, which, let us say, tends to be negative, and tainted by emotion, and largely purposeless. Our teenager works out that it is therefore likely to be sensible to have an opposite sort of abstract internal flow. They therefore begin thinking rationally and dispassionately, and they start setting themselves short, medium and long term goals so that there is always some purpose to their thoughts and actions.

The parents and their friends have a certain sort of physical internal flow too. This is shaped by their inflow of food and drink, which tends to be excessive and of low quality, usually processed food rather than natural food, and with a lot of carbohydrate. Our teenager therefore adopts a meager diet of raw, natural food, along with some good quality cooked protein. There is no alcohol, no smoking and no drugs.

The teenager sees what his parents' and their friends' abstract inflow is like. It consists of television, talk about sport, and the contents of the occasional celebrity gossip magazine. Our teenager avoids television, has no interest in sport (although he does participate in it in order to keep fit), no interest in celebrity gossip, and he decides to read only non-fiction books that are designed to provide him with information and advice that he can use to achieve some of the goals he is pursuing.

His parents and their friends never gained any significant qualifications, and they never went to university, so our teenager aims to do well in school exams and to go to university. The parents and their friends also never chose a particular career to pursue, instead just drifting into whatever jobs were available when they left school, so our teenager, after a lot of reflection and self-analysis, decides to qualify to become a lawyer.

The path has been chosen. Now our teenager has to outflow good speech and behavior, along with a lot of hard work and some participation in middle class social activities. During the years of study, the teenager, now a young man at university, keeps his abstract internal flow ruthlessly and determinedly focused on his goals. He has a small inflow of money from doing some casual work. He outflows applications for internships to the best law firms around and manages to secure one. In due course, when he has finished his degree, getting the inflow of a first class degree, the firm that gave him the internship outflows to him an offer of a position with the firm.

Our young man is now middle class by profession and by virtue of his social activities (perhaps, for example, by being a member of a golf club and a tennis club). Through his work and social activities he has acquired middle class friends, and will acquire more. The final step is the acquisition of a partner and family, and this is achieved in due course by him outflowing himself to places and events and on dates where he meets the sort of people with whom he might be able to find someone compatible with whom he can settle down. This happens. Children follow eventually - two of them, which is the number our character has decided is appropriate. His family has a fine inflow of money now, with two middle class incomes coming in, and there is an inflow of fine friends and an outflow of respectable and pleasurable work and social activity.

Having moved geographically a long way away from the place where he grew up, he rarely sees his parents.

Our character has successfully made the transition from working class to middle class, and of course his and his wife's children grow up middle class too. The family has the sort of contented, comfortable life that our character was determined all those years ago to secure for himself. He resolved that he would not simply drift through life and remain in the circumstances in which he was then being brought up, nor would he stay amongst the sort of people by whom he was surrounded at that time.

He understood the flows that were going on around him and in his life at that time, and he understood what flows he actually wanted to have, then he calculated the changes he had to make to his internal flow and his outflow in order to get the inflow that he wanted to come into his life, and then he controlled those flows so as to get the inflow he wanted.


Chapter Seven - Making Money

Financial Self-Help Books Usually Just Teach You How To Stay Poor

Many, if not most, financial self-help books just show you ways of living within your current income, which obviously you regard as inadequate, otherwise why would you be reading a book about personal finances?

Of course everyone should live within their income, no matter what it is, and they should try to get as much 'life' out of that income as possible. Yet if your complaint is that you can't afford to live the way you want to live with the income you have at present, it's obvious you need to get more income. Yes, by all means learn how to spend money well and wisely (if you don't already know how), but ninety-nine percent of your thinking should be dedicated to producing saleable outflow that will result in you getting a greater inflow of income. You want to be doing more living, not less living, so you need to find a way of increasing your profitable inflow of money.

Generally you don't want to risk outflowing money - or at least no amounts of any significance - in your attempts to secure a greater inflow of money. Business is a minefield - often little more than gambling that an idea you have will appeal to other people and you will somehow be able to supply them with what they want and make a cash profit in so doing. You cannot be certain that activities in a new field, or a new venture, will succeed and be profitable, so if you are going to gamble, do it with other people's money. See if you can get other people to fund any idea you have. This also gives you an opportunity to have others assess your money-making idea. Obviously if they like it, they're going to want some interest on their investment, or some equity or profit-share.

Another approach to money-making is to sell other people's stuff. In other words, you act as a broker or salesperson getting a percentage, or commission, when you successfully sell something. Obviously if you want to make as much money as possible, you will want to sell as much as possible, so you might want to sell 'high ticket' items. There are all sorts of such things. For example, yachts, airplanes, real estate, expensive art works, armaments, or almost anything in wholesale quantities. If you sell 'low ticket' items - for example, running an employment agency and providing low paid workers for factories and warehouses - you will need to do a much greater number of deals, although hopefully they will be 'repeat order' deals where your clients want to be provided with what they want, and what you can provide for them, week in and week out.

The main thing in money-making, however, is always to try to ensure that you have more cash inflow than cash outflow. In other words, positive cash inflow. This isn't always easy, but if you remember what a philosopher said a long time ago, that, “Business is simple. It is other people's money,” then you will have your clue as to how to do it. If, for example, you act as a broker, incurring few expenses, then you may briefly be out of pocket very slightly for a short while, but once you get your first commission payment, you are in a positive cash flow situation. If you operate a cash business - owning some sort of retail operation, for example, where people pay you before they get whatever it is they are buying - then you can get positive cash flow if you get credit terms from your suppliers and don't have to pay them until after you have sold what they have supplied you with. If, however, you have a business where you don't get paid until a long time after you have made the sale, you will not only need credit terms from your suppliers, but you will need to obtain bank finance or equity finance, or perhaps a factoring arrangement, so that you personally don't suffer negative cash flow. It may be alright for a business to run a negative cash flow, at least for a while, but the business should always be putting cash in your pocket (or, more likely, your bank account).

Another thing is to avoid giving personal guarantees for any debts your business or venture incurs, or in return for anyone putting money into it. You do not want to have personal liabilities.

If you focus your thoughts (abstract internal flow) on your current situation, you will stay in that situation. You already know the resources you have and the way you live at present, so you don't want to be thinking about these things, other than of course to keep things on an even keel and under control while you work to change them. You need to have calculated how you want to live in future (what flows you want in your life) and to have worked out what outflow you need to be responsible for producing in order to get that life. That is what your thoughts should initially be focused on. After that, there should be total focus on the production of outflow, and making sure it gets to the right people, and ensuring that those people then do what you want. Usually, of course, if we're talking about business, you will want them to outflow money and then get it channeled back to your business, where you can turn it into your personal cash inflow.

Remember that the only financial advice most people need is, “Get a greater and more profitable inflow of money.” You need to be doing more than, and/or doing something different from, what you are doing for other people now in return for money. If you don't do this, your situation will not improve. So focus all your thoughts on selling something - goods or services, or even yourself - to people. Of course you have to decide what you can sell, to whom, how to produce that outflow, how to get it to your clients or customers, and how to channel money back from them to you. And of course you need to know that you can do all this at a profit. Then you will want to know if you can grow your sales. Can you use other people, organizations, systems or technology to pump out more outflow and gather in more cash inflow? Hopefully you can answer all these questions positively. Then start selling and keep selling. That is the only way you are likely to improve your financial situation … unless you think you have a chance with one of the other ways of getting money!

Getting Money - Sell, Steal, Marry, Inherit, Win

There are different paths you can take to material success (which is, if not the most important thing in life, the foundation of a good life).

Hoping you win enough money to see you through the rest of your life is just foolish, and anyone whose only attempt to become financially secure and well-off is to buy lottery tickets or indulge in gambling isn't really committed to bettering themselves financially at all.

Inheriting wealth is a possibility for some people, but it is usually not an absolute certainty, and at the very least the timing of receiving an inheritance can never usually be predicted exactly (although you can of course try to help things along a bit!). Therefore if you believe you are going to inherit wealth, you should still make your own efforts to make money and then treat any inheritance that comes your way as a bonus.

Marrying for money is still not particularly uncommon, and certainly financial considerations usually figure somewhere in at least one of the parties' approach to any proposed marriage. If you are going to try to marry for money, treat it like a job and approach the task ruthlessly, with dedication, and without allowing emotion to influence your decisions or behavior. You can even marry for money with the specific intention of getting a financially favorable divorce at the earliest available opportunity. If you do this, do your homework first. Find out about all your proposed spouse's earnings and investments and assets, make sure there's no 'pre-nup' limiting the amount you can attempt to go for in a divorce, and also find out how divorces are treated in your part of the world.

I know of one man who, having been a lifelong bachelor, got married in middle age to a woman who had a child. This woman got the man legally to adopt her child after they were married, and then when she divorced him a short while later, the man was legally responsible for the child and so had to pay more money to the mother to provide for the child. The woman had also realized that all her husband's money was tied up in property (real estate) and so he couldn't try to hide or run off with his wealth during the divorce. This is the sort of planning that needs to be done if you are going to marry (and divorce) for money.

Again, however, even if this is a route you want to go down, there is still no harm in looking for ways you can make your own money by selling some goods, services or performances.

Stealing money is appealing for some people. There is a big downside, of course, in that not only might you not succeed in doing it, or perhaps not on the scale that you need to secure the life you want, but also that you can suffer loss of money, possessions, liberty and even limbs or your life if you are caught and punished. It's a risky game. If it's one that appeals to you, the first rule is simple - get where the money is or where the saleable goods are. One of the best places to be for stealing is in a rich organization or company or even in some part of the government. Get where the money is, be authorized to handle it or deal with it in some way, then try to figure out some way of stealing some of it in such a way that there is little chance of your theft being discovered.

In some countries the rewards for getting to the top of the political greasy pole can be significant. Backhanders and straightforward theft can line your pockets admirably. I believe (although I can't say I know it) that this is much more commonplace than we might like to believe. The only time when you might feel (or pretend to feel) ashamed of taking part in such practices is if you get caught. If, however, you are guided in your approach to life by a code of what is morally right and what is morally wrong, this sort of way of getting money will not appeal to you (although it has been said that people who are not corrupt are only so because no sufficiently tempting opportunity to become corrupt has yet presented itself to them).

If you're not corruptible or already corrupt, you're probably not cut out for politics or for being anywhere near the top of a large organization.)

The last way of making money is the usual one and the most positive one - selling something. Indeed even marrying for money and stealing money might be said to involve selling, in that the person wanting to marry someone has to sell himself or herself as an attractive proposition. To get where you want to be in order to do some stealing, or perhaps bribe-taking, you will have to sell yourself as a suitable person to the people who can put you in a position to steal. To be able to demand bribes of people, you have to have something they want and to be able to control whether they can have it or not. You control the flow of whatever is wanted and you just make it clear you won't let it outflow to the bribe-payer until they outflow some money to you.

Probably the most limited and restricted position to be in if you wish to make more money is to be a regular salaried employee, working fixed hours for fixed pay. If you are going to work for someone else rather than starting your own business, or being a performer of some sort, then there should be some financial upside to your pay, for example in the form of commission, bonuses, expenses or share options.

As mentioned earlier, very often the best things you can sell are things that belong to other people. For example, in a recent property boom, big money was made by companies that sold properties that were being built by developers. These companies didn't have to risk huge amounts of money, and time, building anything. They just sold, for a commission, or for a slice of the sale price above a certain figure, the fruits of other people's work and investment. It was a low cost, low risk way of making big money with potentially unlimited upside. And when the real estate crash inevitably came, the selling organizations could be dismantled quickly and at little cost while the property developers, on the other hand, found themselves stuck with unsalable properties and huge debts to repay.

Really one of the biggest moves a person can make if they want to have a chance of making big money is to cease being directly employed and instead to become self-employed, and/or an employer, and/or the owner of a corporation. On the negative side, I believe I once read that out of every hundred people who become self-employed or start their own business, only ten of those people will still be in business ten years later, and of those ten people, only one person will have earned more over the ten year period than they would have earned if they had been just a regular employee working for someone else. Whether this is true or not, it's certainly necessary to go into business and self-employment with your eyes open, and preferably with financial acumen, good business skills, and, if possible with an existing actual or potential client-base in place before you even start trading.

The requirements for making money are simple. You must be responsible for producing the greatest outflow possible of goods or services (including perhaps performances of some sort under the latter heading), and you must be entitled to some or all of the inflow of money that that outflow gives rise to. Otherwise money can come from selling yourself to someone rich, or taking on the greatest amount of responsibility you can so as to have the greatest impact on, and/or control over, other people and their flows.

Even idealistic arty types need to know that art, for example, or literature, or performances of one sort or another, are still a form of business and that what is produced must be sold. It is selling your artistic creations that entitles you to call yourself an artist. If you don't, or can't, sell your work, you're not an artist, you're just someone who has art as a hobby. Likewise if I write books and don't sell, or can't sell them, then I'm not a writer, I'm just someone who passes their time by writing. Getting paid is necessary for you to claim that what you do counts as work or business.

As well as money being desirable in its own right, it also acts as a measure of the scale of your work and the value put on it by other people. So money can be seen as reflecting your contribution (outflow) to society. Otherwise it can be seen as a reflection of the impact you have had on other people's lives, although that impact may be viewed by others as bad rather than good, as might be the case with stealing, or with marrying and divorcing purely for money, or being a tyrant.

It is worth endeavoring to become skilful at making and managing money, however you do it, so that you can get as much of it as you need or want, you can hold onto it, and you can use it wisely. Always be selling something. At the very least be selling yourself (to people who've got what you want and who will give it to you).

Money Gained Other Than By Producing Outflow Often Doesn't Stay Long With People Who Get It That Way

Inherited money, and money that is won in, say, a national lottery can be a mixed blessing. The problem is that the person getting the inflow of money still has the same abstract internal flow that they had before coming into the money. In other words, they now have money, but they still have the mindset of a poor, or at least poorer, person. Of course it is possible to change and to begin to think and behave like a moneyed person, but what money does is enable a person to be more like the person they really are, so if they are stupid and irresponsible, money just allows them to be more stupid and more irresponsible. Certainly I can think of cases where people have won sizeable chunks of money and then proceeded to blow it all within a few years on reckless, out-of-control behavior. However, if you're already a well-adjusted, well-balanced, responsible individual and you win or inherit money, you'll probably handle your good luck quite well and it will simply make your life a bit better than it was already, but not substantially different. A better car, a bigger house, that sort of thing, but essentially you'll continue to live pretty much in the same way as you did previously.

Earlier I said that some people may not be well suited to living a life unstructured by work. But then even with money there's nothing to stop a newly enriched person from staying in their job, or starting up some business to keep themselves occupied. Actually the latter is rather dangerous. The worse thing someone can do if they have no experience of business and they suddenly come into a significant chunk of money is to believe that if they throw a load of that money at a business idea, the business will become successful. Not necessarily so! Remember what was said earlier about business quite often being more of a gamble than a certainty? Resist the temptation to put your own money into a business idea. If other people won't back it with their money, it reveals their opinion that your idea isn't right and/or that you aren't right to make it work.

As an aside, it is interesting to consider that if you are going to leave money to people in your will, it could actually make sense to leave it to people who already have money rather than to people who have never had any or who have had it and lost it. If you do the former, your money will be going to a better home and will be better looked after than if you do the latter. It is unlikely that the latter sort of people will look after your money well, use it well, or make it grow further. In fact there's a good chance they'll just spend it on self-indulgence in a short space of time.

In business there are times when economic booms are taking place and almost everyone makes money. During these times, otherwise incompetent and unknowledgeable people believe that it is their own cleverness and ability that has enabled them to make money, rather than just general economic circumstances. When the inevitable economic downturn comes, however, and it becomes much harder to make money, their lack of business ability reveals itself. Hopefully they then realize that it was actually only luck that temporarily lifted them up, and that they should keep away from business unless another general boom comes along.

In some ways a lucky break can be one of the worst things that can happen to certain people because it stops them, at least temporarily, from facing up to the reality of their personal failings and their lack of ability. It delays them from getting on with making necessary changes to their flows and having to deal with the deserved consequences if they don't.

A married person who gets divorced after having been provided for throughout their marriage by their spouse can also come unstuck if they don't know how to handle or make money once they are on their own. Having said that, however, if they were smart enough deliberately to marry someone who could provide for them, they might well be smart enough to find another similar person if they want or need one. Possibly the failed marriage might have given them a big enough divorce settlement to allow them not to have to worry about money for the rest of their life. In this case, we might say that the real estate, cash, pension, investments, income, and so on, that they receive in the divorce settlement is not really a lucky windfall at all, but rather it is money deservedly earned for being astute and able to choose and use another person skillfully. Indeed this skill can reap better rewards than many people without it are capable of getting from working hard all their lives.

Learn to choose and use other people well according to the inflow they can give you now and/or in the future, and taking into account the outflow they will require you to produce in return. Do this, and you may well have a rich, full and interesting life.

Going back to people who get any form of undeserved good fortune, it is important to recognize it for what it is - just luck. It doesn't make you a better or more able person than you currently are. You still have to work on improving yourself. Money, however, can give you more scope for making improvements. Unfortunately it can also give you more scope for becoming a worse person.

As with undeserved good luck, the same applies to undeserved bad luck. Don't let it get you down, and don't let it deter you from continuing to pursue the flow goals that you have set for yourself. Bad luck should be regarded as a temporary setback and you should cope with it with equanimity.

Whatever your circumstances are at any given time, make the most of them and look to see what are the best opportunities currently available to you to improve them.

Small Business People Are Not Really Business People

A self-employed tradesperson is just that - an employee whose employer is himself or herself. This can work out well, giving the individual more scope to avoid taxes, and perhaps a degree of flexibility in being able to choose what work to do, when to work, where to work, and who to work for. But the critical thing is that an individual self-employed person doesn't get any money unless they go to work, just like a regular employee.

Genuine business is totally different. One of the worthwhile things that can be gleaned from some self-help books is that a business is a self-contained, self-perpetuating system that can not only function independently of the owner's presence and participation, but it should actually be able to grow without the owner having to be involved in it in any way, other than perhaps to keep an eye on the figures to ensure that it is still functioning profitably. In practice very few businesses owned by a sole individual or by one family are big enough and well-structured enough to meet this ideal, but it's what everyone who wants a genuine business should be aiming for. A business is a system for producing outflow and collecting a profitable inflow of cash for the business's owners.

With an ideal business you should be able to check up on it from afar while you are where you want, doing what you want. It should be putting money in your pocket so that you can live in this way. This requires a certain scale to the business's operations, the right structure to it, the right employees in it, and those employees doing the right work and being properly monitored and controlled. Of course you need the right customers too, providing your business with a good and preferably growing demand for your products or services. Then all this activity needs to be carried out in such a way that it throws up big, regular cash profits for the personal use of you, the owner.

Going back to small business people, it's debatable whether generally they are better off than regular middle-ranking or high ranking employees. Of course if it's a choice between being a low-level, low-paid employee, or being self-employed, it's probably better to be self-employed. Likewise if you're one of those people who doesn't like the structure and rigidity and lack of choice involved in regular employment, then you too should consider being self-employed. However, even as a self-employed person you'll still need sufficient self-discipline to do enough work to earn a reasonable living and to meet the requirements of your customers or clients.

Perhaps the saddest reason for becoming self-employed is because you can't find employment anywhere, even though that is what you really want. Yet sometimes this can work out well and provide you with a better work-life than you would have as an employee. But of course there is also a chance that things will not work out so satisfactorily.

As mentioned, if you want big success, you almost certainly need to break away from regular employment. But if you are not materially very ambitious, then being a so-called wage-slave may well be the best thing for you.

'Cash Flow

Never be distracted from focusing on the net inflow of cash coming to you, and watch the outflow of cash you're having to produce to get it. People sometimes look at figures on paper showing how their business's turnover is going up and how much money is owed to them by their clients or customers, but ultimately it's cash that counts. The aim of the game - the money game - is to get positive cash inflow. That is, an excess of cash inflow over cash outflow. Outflow as little cash as necessary to get the biggest net cash inflow possible.

Don't Be An Employee, But Still Sell Yourself

Some of the biggest earners in life are actually people who sell themselves, or at least some sort of performance, or some thing or material that they personally produce. Examples are musicians, artists, actors, writers and sports people. The great thing about selling yourself is that pretty much all the cash inflow you get is profit. If you have a business, such as a widget factory for example, you have big overheads and costs (cash outflows) involved in producing the outflow of widgets that you are selling. If, however, you are selling yourself, you are likely to have very few overheads and costs relating directly to the outflow you are responsible for producing. For example, a writer has hardly any costs. An artist has to buy a few materials, but hopefully they can sell their work for much more than its material cost. An actor just has to get to the theater or film set or television studio. Musicians need their own instruments. A sports person just has to get to wherever they are performing.

Of course in practice only a small number of people are able to earn more than a basic living from selling their own personal outflows of these types, but it does at least hold out the potential, if you can become successful enough, for you to be able to earn big sums of money. There is also the added benefit that because you are producing outflow that is peculiar to you, you are able to express and reveal something about yourself, your abilities, your beliefs, and so on. You can give some expression to what is in your abstract internal flow. You will also get an inflow of some degree of fame (or possibly notoriety) if that is something that interests you.

The Quickest Businesses To Build Up Are Often Those That Deal Either In Intangibles Or In Other People's Stuff

Business might be the most usual way to achieve wealth and financial freedom, but it can be treacherous and, if handled wrongly, it will actually give you negative cash flow, not positive cash flow. In other words, get business wrong and you will suffer a net outflow of money, not get a net inflow of money.

If you build a house with the intention of selling it, it will cost you a lot of money and take you a long time. Then you may be able to sell it or you may not. If you do sell it, you may be able to sell it at a profit, you may not.

Let's say you want to sell cars. You could go out and buy a car and then try to sell it at a profit. Perhaps the car will turn out to have a fault you didn't spot and will require you to spend a lot of money repairing it, or you'll have to try to off-load the car at a loss, or run the risk of trying to sell it without disclosing to a buyer that it is faulty.

If you sell other people's stuff, you make some profit when a sale is concluded, but if something doesn't sell, you are not lumbered with it.

If you are a real estate agent and a house sells, you get your commission, or your slice of the sale proceeds over and above a figure agreed with the property owner. If the house doesn't sell, it might have cost you a bit of time, but financially there's been no cash outflow (or very little) so the lack of a sale is not as much of a problem or disappointment for you as it is the property owner.

If you have a car auction site where people can come and sell their cars, every time a car is entered into the auction, you get some money, and if a car sells, you get more money in commission on the sale. If a car doesn't sell, it's not your problem. In fact you've still got some money anyway.

Sell other people's stuff if you want to reduce and limit your cash outflow whilst still being able to get cash inflow. You reduce your commitment when trying to sell things, and you have no ongoing liabilities when things don't sell.

Selling intangibles is also a good idea, and broadly I would say this refers to selling services, and selling words, sounds and images. Being a real estate broker is in a sense selling intangibles. Yes, the real estate broker sells real estate, but really they are selling their services as an intermediary. But there are other more clear-cut examples where nothing physically changes hands. For example, one of the greatest ways of making money is to be a consultant. This hinges on having and making contacts, and convincing those contacts that it is in their interests to pay you for information you have that they don't have. You'll outflow your knowledge and advice to them if they'll outflow their money to you. Cash inflow earned this way is almost pure profit because you're just selling words.

If you look at some of the world's most famous, and profitable, websites, what you're looking at are words and images on a screen, and sounds coming out of speakers. With just these as their outflow, the websites are sometimes able to earn huge inflows of money. Of course they are providing outflow that viewers and listeners want as their inflow, and there may be some link to material possessions changing hands, but the website owners and controllers themselves are producing nothing more than words, images, and sounds.

Look to see if there is a way you can do something similar, getting money in return for something intangible.

Get Money For What You Invent And Create

There's a lot of satisfaction (excellent abstract internal flow) to be had from being creative, especially if you can get an inflow of money in return for outflowing what you invent and create. This sets up a perfect flow circle where your abstract internal flow is occupied with doing something that is enjoyable, productive and also unique to you. Then if you can outflow it to others and they appreciate it sufficiently to want to produce an outflow of money in return for it and transfer that outflow to you so that it becomes your inflow, you have a totally positive flow circle.

Of course inventing and creating are difficult enough activities in themselves, but actually marketing and selling what you have invented or created may prove even more difficult. You will need either to establish contact with potential end-users (buyers) yourself, and/or with producers and intermediaries who can get what you have created/invented to end-users. You may also have the problem of preventing people cloning your work or producing something similar to it that competes with it for buyers. Then after all this you have the problem of ensuring that any money due to you is actually gathered in and that it flows back to you.

You cannot successfully be creative, inventive (or arty or talented or even merely competent at something) if you do not also have some business sense to enable you to get some appropriate financial inflow in return for what you are outflowing.

If you are a creative sort, and especially if you aren't cut out for being an employee and you also don't fancy running a business and employing other people, then creating and selling your own work could be the best option for you.

Create And Acquire Assets

Here I'm defining an asset as something that gives you a net inflow of income without you having to produce any, or much, outflow of work in order to get that inflow of money.

A business that is set up so that it gives you an income with no input, or little input, from you is an asset. Rights to something are an asset if those rights can be granted to others in return for an inflow of money. Real estate can be an asset if you can rent it out (although it can be a liability if debt has been secured against it). Copyright is a particular form of asset that allows you to get money whenever whatever you own the copyright to is reproduced and sold. Patents can be assets if a manufacturer will pay you to produce what you have patented.

Financially it makes sense to secure as big a net inflow of cash for yourself as possible, and because you presumably want to be as free as you can to live your life the way you want, you should want as much of that inflow as possible to be unearned.

You can get assets in two ways - either you acquire existing assets somehow, or you create them. As mentioned previously, it can actually be fun and satisfying to create or invent stuff, and this certainly applies to assets. Write a book, and you may get income if it sells. Produce a musical recording, and you may earn money when it is played by radio stations. Produce a film, documentary or video and you may get an inflow of money when it appears on television or in cinemas.

It is well worth making the attempt to create assets if you have the ability and the inclination.

Of course you can acquire existing assets by inheriting them or getting them through marriage/divorce, but otherwise you'll have to buy them. But be careful. You'll be outflowing your own money in the hope that not only will you get it all back at some point, but you will then get additional money on top so that you then have a positive net cash inflow. Until that point is reached, however, you have a net outflow of money (negative cash flow). This may well be the way that most people think of acquiring assets (if they think about it at all) but that doesn't mean it's the smartest way. Try to get existing assets for free somehow, if you can, or create your own, or see if there is a way to use other people's money to acquire assets in such a way that you benefit by receiving some or all of the income from that asset, and/or you get ownership of the asset transferred, in part or completely, to you over a period of time or at some specific time in the future.

With bought assets, you want the highest yield possible. For example, if you could use your own money to buy something that would give you your money back in five months and then after that give you each month a sum equivalent to 20% of the original cost of the asset, that would be wonderful. But if you bought something (like a piece of real estate) that took 20 years to pay you back the money you spent on buying it, maybe that wouldn't be very smart.

Give As Little As Necessary To Get As Much As Possible

Although you know that you have to focus on giving people what they want in order to get what you yourself want, you don't have to produce more or better outflow than is necessary to get that inflow. To do more is pointless. If you're going to give more and better outflow, get more and better inflow in return for it. If you're capable at the present time of giving more than is needed, keep that in reserve for future use or for use elsewhere. The only reason to produce more outflow to others than they currently require is if you feel certain that they will repay you with extra inflow in the future (for example, if an employer, being impressed with your outflow of hard work, will promote you to a higher position that will provide you with a bigger inflow of salary).

Always Be Asking For Money And Always Be Selling Something (Even If It's Only Yourself)

The part about selling yourself applies all through life, but the only time not to be seeking more money-inflow is if you're fully convinced that you've reached a stage in life when you have far more already than you require and that you won't be wanting more in the future. However, even then it is still no bad idea - indeed it is a good habit - to be seeking extra inflow of money. You might not need it, but there is no harm in getting it if you can. Just as importantly, because money inflow comes from producing outflow that other people want, and because you should get a lot of your satisfaction in life (good abstract internal flow) from producing outflow, there should be no reason why you would not want to continue producing such outflow even when you no longer attach much or any importance to the money inflow you get in return for it.

The Government Is Your Friend To The Extent That You Get A Net Inflow Of Income From It

Governments extort money from their citizens. (You try not paying the money your government demands of you, or explaining to them that you've never entered into any agreement with them to pay them any money.) Having got this inflow of cash from you, as well as further inflows of cash from creating and selling debt and creating money, they then outflow that money in ways over which you have no control and little say. There will be some government expenditure with which you agree, and some with which you disagree. It doesn't matter. The rich, who are certainly no fools, go to great lengths to minimize the amount of their money that gets outflowed to their government, or indeed to any government. You should do likewise. You're aiming for the maximum net inflow of cash into your life as possible, and you probably want to retain the maximum amount of money, assets and possessions possible in the internal flow of your life.

There are two aspects to this - minimize the money you outflow to government, and maximize the money that inflows to you from government. There are various ways of achieving the latter, probably the most obvious of which is to go and work for the government. However, it can be even more profitable to provide goods and services to it. In my country, an example might be when someone, having worked in the government department that hands out 'aid' (money) to foreign countries, leaves (having lived off an outflow of government cash up until then) and sets up an organization that helps distribute the government's aid money. That person could then pay themselves a high salary, expenses, pension contributions and dividends, retain profit in the organization for future use, and of course see that some or all of the remaining money goes to people that they have an interest in seeing it go to. The amount of the government's outflow of money they could get their hands on this way so it becomes their own personal inflow could be much greater than they ever got in salary when they were directly employed by the government.

Another example might be to set up an organization that charges the government for supposedly helping unemployed people to get back into work.

So, either work for the government or provide it with an inflow of goods and services that they want and then get them to outflow the maximum amount of money possible to you. The people who provide governments with bombs and bullets have no qualms about doing this, so there's no reason why you should hesitate to do it.

Obtain all government grants you can. Take advantage of all tax breaks. Perhaps your business can borrow government money, so long as you know you personally won't have to pay it back if your business fails. If you can't do these things, you can at least get government benefits to enable you to live without working, or to give you a better standard of living if you do work.

Serve your government to the extent that it is profitable for you to do so. Otherwise leech off it. You want more money flowing to you from it than from you to it. Politicians, lawyers, doctors and all sorts of public sector workers do it, as well as people who get government money indirectly, so there is no shame in it.


Understand, Change, Control - Seven

Franchising - How Smart People Get Other People To Earn Money For Them

Franchising must be one of the best business-building, money-making systems dreamed up. The franchisor is of course the person or organization that has the possibility of getting rich, not the franchisee.

As far as money is concerned, let's say you have worked in the catering industry as the manager of a fast food joint for several years, so you produce an outflow of work and get an inflow of salary each month. You're never going to get rich, but in fact that is what you want to achieve. So what you need is to get a big inflow of that magic substance - Other People's Money. To get this you will need to be responsible for, and ideally have effective ownership of, some correspondingly large outflow of goods and/or services that people want as their inflow so much that they will produce an outflow of money to give you in return for it.

The place where you work is actually a good, profitable business, but the owner is old, his wife has recently died, and he wants to move abroad to go and live with his daughter and her family. You can see the physical flows here - wife flows out of the owner's life, so he wants another person, his daughter, to flow into it to compensate. To achieve this, he wants to outflow himself from the business so he can outflow himself from the country to be with his daughter.

This is where you see an opportunity. For you to inflow yourself as the new owner of the business, you need to give the existing owner an inflow of money. You propose a deal. (This is after focusing your abstract internal flow on solving the problem, taking into account that you have little or no cash of your own, most of your money being tied up in your house.) You suggest you pay the owner his asking price, which is equivalent to four years' profits, by giving him one quarter immediately, and another quarter at the end of each of the next three years. Keen to go and live with his daughter, he accepts.

So, to a large extent you are buying the business with what would normally be the owner's own money anyway. Quite smart. During the buy-out period you'll still be getting your salary, so you'll be OK. The problem is, you either don't have the initial quarter of the purchase price that you need to outflow to the owner immediately, or, if you do, you want to keep hold of that money and not outflow it (keeping it in your own financial internal flow). The solution again is that you need to find someone else's money to outflow to the owner. So you go to friends and family and say they can have a quarter of the business if they provide you with the quarter of the purchase price that you need.

They agree. What have you outflowed to them? Nothing but words really. But of course you are also outflowing a quarter of the business. In the agreement with your friends and family you insert a clause saying that you can buy back the quarter of the business you've sold them by paying them back any time within five years double the money they've invested.

If nothing else was done, you would now have control of the business flow to you, along with three-quarters ownership of it, without having to outflow any cash of your own. After three years, the old owner would have been fully paid off. After another two years, you would have the money to buy back from your friends and family the quarter of the business you don't own.

But you have bigger ideas. With a few little tweaks to the exterior and interior of the business, you give it a distinctive image. You change its name and register and protect it so only you can use it. You alter the menu a little and give the dishes names based around the new name of your business. Now your fast food place - even more popular than it was before - has a clear identity that differentiates it from its competitors.

Now for the big expansion of outflow of fast food and of the inflow of Other People's Money. You franchise your business concept to other people. People who want to trade under your name, knowing that you have a successful business model, must outflow the money necessary to set up their own branch, they must outflow to you a one-off fee, and they must outflow to you a percentage of their turnover (their inflow of other people's money) each month.

So each time you allow someone to have one of your franchises and open up a branch of your fast food business, it is done with their money, and you also get an immediate inflow of cash (the franchise fee) and then a monthly inflow of cash after that.

In this way you grow your business rapidly, debt-free, opening up branches all around the country. On the rare occasions when a branch fails for some reason, it's not your problem. You don't lose money, the franchisee does. It was their money that was outflowed to set up and run the branch, not your money.

You have an ever-increasing, ever more profitable inflow of cash, and you get rich. When you are older you see that younger, newer competitors are likely to prove a threat to your business, so you sell it. You outflow it - either to a single buyer, or to many buyers by floating it as a public company - in return for an inflow of a very big lump sum of money.

And then, having put your money into assets so that you can get a nice big inflow of income without having to touch your capital, or to do any work, you enjoy your rich retirement in a tax haven.


Chapter Eight - Family, Friends And Other Inter-Personal Relationships

The Personal Connections You Make Are Probably Even More Important Than Whatever Ability You May Have

It cannot be stressed too much how important it is to connect with the right people in the right way. Outflow yourself and get to be with these people. Demonstrate to them that you can give them some sort of inflow that they want. It may be nothing more than pleasant, congenial company, but there needs to be something you can offer them.

How important is talent and ability? Certainly it helps, and great talent is so rare that it will usually get you an inflow of rich rewards if you have it because word will get out and you will get 'discovered' by someone who knows how to multiply and market your outflow to get an inflow of money and fame. Yet generally you can get by in life merely by being competent, or even by not being obviously incompetent. What is more important is to be in the right places, doing the right things (producing the right outflow) with the right people so that you get the inflow, and the internal flow, that you want.

The right people are obviously the ones who can give you what you want or help you to get it, and who will find whatever you can outflow to them appealing in some way (because it will give them inflow and/or internal flow they want).

Status, Friendship, Fame, Family, Relationships And Other Inter-Personal Flows And Flow Games

It's generally your work outflow that determines your status in life, although it can sometimes come from being born into a particular family or married to a particular person, in which case you're not really earning your own status but instead being credited with the same status that the other people are regarded as having. Status itself is really the outflow of other people's opinions about you, either between themselves or directly to you. Other than 'status by association', you will have to earn your own status. Basically the bigger and more highly respected the outflow is that you are responsible for producing, the higher your status will be. If such things are important to you, you will want to choose the right sort of outflow. For example, a surgeon and a scrap metal dealer may well have identical incomes, but in many, if not most, societies, the surgeon is held to have higher status than the scrap metal dealer. So if you care about this, make sure you produce highly regarded outflow and be responsible for producing as much of it as possible, or at least for producing as much of it as is necessary to get you the inflows you want. These inflows might not just be money, but could also be things like status, fame, personal contacts, sex, and so on, and you might also want to get certain internal flows to be caused by your outflow production, such as feeling satisfied or challenged.

Fame is obviously similar to status in that it requires other people to know about you, and presumably have some sort of opinion about you. Indeed you could be famous and hated. There must, however, be something that you are doing and/or have done that has brought you to people's attention. This means there is or has been some outflow on your part, or at least connected with you, that has impacted on other people. Really to be famous requires you to be mentioned and/or shown in the media. That's what fame is in the modern era. It isn't enough only to be known by people you have direct personal contact with or to be known only by word of mouth. The media must outflow words and images of you, by you or about you. So if you're interested in being famous, you obviously have to do something that media people will want to write about, talk about or show in the media. Strangely enough, it is possible to be famous without actually doing anything particularly special or having any particular ability. There are people who are simply famous for being famous. They somehow managed to get noticed by the media initially at some point in the past, and then they have contrived to get their perfectly ordinary day-to-day activities continually shown and talked about since then. Their initial claim to fame might have come from associating with someone who was then famous. Now, when interest in them seems to be waning, these people will get married, get divorced, have a child, get involved in a punch-up or get out of a car whilst wearing a short skirt and no knickers (having previously arranged to have photographers handy to take pictures), and this then gives a boost again to their fame. It's a game that has to be played with some application and dedication. You want to be the subject of a steady outflow of words and images in the media, so you must always be working with the media to give them what they want.

As you might have guessed, the difficult thing is making your initial splash in the media. Sometimes this can be done by just being fortunate enough to be picked to go on a TV show. Some people, as mentioned, get noticed just by dating, sleeping with or marrying someone who is already famous. But however you do it, get shown in the media and then do your best to keep getting shown and mentioned in it.

Fame without money is really rather pointless. Either you should become famous for whatever it is you do to get money, or your fame should enable you to make money. In the latter case, the media will often pay you for interviews and photo sessions. Perhaps also your high profile will induce people to pay you to come and give them talks, or perform for them, or advertise their products. Again it's basically an outflow of words, sounds and images that gets you your inflow of money (and yet more fame).

Turning to family and friends, the difference between them, of course, is that you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family (although you can choose the person you marry or pair off with). As already suggested, even though it may sound ruthless, really you should look at your family and say to yourself, “If I weren't related to these people, would I choose to be involved with them?” If the answer is 'no', then don't have anything to do with them. Obviously the easiest way to do this is geographically to move yourself far away from them, but whatever you do, you have to make a deliberate decision to break off any connection with them, and then stick to that decision. In flow terms you have bad internal flow because you're not happy with the outflow you have to make to them or the inflow you get from them, so you want to stop this inflow/outflow exchange going on between you.

Friends also are people that need to be reassessed from time to time. Someone who was an appropriate friend several years ago might not be appropriate now, if you and your circumstances have changed or they and their circumstances have changed.

People have a tendency to fall into friendships, and there seem to be a lot of friendships that shouldn't have been formed in the first place, but, having mistakenly been formed, they should have been ended as soon as possible, but instead they have just continued pointlessly, or even with many negative flow characteristics. The thing with friendships is, if you're thinking in terms of flow, to weigh up what outflow the other person requires you to produce (do they require you to do things you don't want to do, or to give up too much of your time, or to do things at times when you would rather be doing something else?) and also assess what inflow you get from the other person. Do they, for example, teach you something useful, or do they have possessions you like and that they share with you, or do they introduce to other people whom for some reason you find it desirable to get to know? Or do they really contribute nothing to your life other than their company? It's a question of looking at the flows and then seeing if on balance they are positive or negative (as regarded by your abstract internal flow). If they are not positive, then you have to ask yourself what the point of the friendship is.

It can be difficult and/or unpleasant to end a friendship. That is why one should always be hesitant to allow one to start without first considering the various pros and cons very carefully. It's a mistake to allow a friendship to start accidentally simply because you came into contact with someone because they happened to be in the same place at the same time as you (for example, school, university, workplace, a club). Friendships should be formed deliberately, for positive reasons. You should be able to justify the friendship and explain to yourself how it benefits you, and how any costs involved in it (that is, what outflow is required of you in terms of time, actions , use of your possessions, and so on) are acceptable, or at least tolerable in relation to the positive inflow you get from the relationship.

A more focused approach to friendship is deliberately to set out to associate with certain people, or with certain types of people - those whose friendship you think would prove of benefit to you in some way. This is a matter of outflowing yourself to the right places and into the right groups so that you connect with such people. Then you have to show your intended friends why it is in their interests to enter into a friendship with you. To get friends, be friendly. Do friendly acts. Offer something. Produce some positive outflow that you calculate will be welcomed as inflow by the other person. Help other people to improve their outflow.

This active, focused, purposeful approach to acquiring friends is the best approach and will get you into the right friendships for the right reasons. It's the exact opposite of letting friendships start accidentally with people that you just happened to have come into contact with, for example because you're both working in the same place, or you are neighbors, and so on.

Talking of which, other inter-personal flow situations that have to be dealt with are indeed ones with neighbors and with work colleagues, employees, employers, and anyone else with whom you come into contact through your work, or socially. Then in addition there is of course 'the public', the people that you unavoidably come into contact with as you go about your day to day life. Just as friendships need to be deliberately chosen for specific reasons, so all other personal connections should exist for specific, positive reasons. If there aren't such reasons, then the connection should not progress beyond anything demanded of you by ordinary civility. Indeed you should avoid as much as possible people that you have no particular, positive reason to be with.

As for the public, they are of no relevance at all (except from a work point of view where you might be selling something to them), and when you mix with them other than in a work context you should disregard them completely other than to be physically considerate to them and to be polite if you have to speak to them.

Avoid People Who Block, Impede Or Worsen Any Of Your Flows, Or At Least Minimize The Impact Such People Can Have On You

If you know already to keep away from people you have no positive reason to be with, then it is not surprising that you should do all in your power to get away from people who have a negative impact on your flows. If you think about your abstract internal flows, it means getting away from people who make you feel or think anything bad about yourself, or about your plans and intentions, or really about anything at all. There is just no point in having any negative thoughts or feelings, and there is no reason to be with people who cause you to have such thoughts or feelings.

With regard to physical internal flow, this is either self-generated or it is influenced by the inflow you're getting, so as far as the latter is concerned, you obviously need to keep away from anyone who encourages or makes it possible for you to have bad physical inflow, examples of which might be stuff like poor quality or excessive food, or drink, drugs and cigarettes. With your abstract inflow, you should keep away from anyone who wants you to listen to any words that do not encourage and aid you to achieve your goals, or that do not constitute good, useful advice that you can act on, or who wants to distract and negatively influence your abstract internal flow, or who wants you to have pointless inflow. They might do this by getting you to look at negative images, such as ones that are violent or pornographic, or by wasting time playing games, or listening excessively to music, or watching television, or talking about sport, and so on.

With your outflow, the production of which should be the focus and obsession of your life, don't have anything to do with anyone who tries to limit your production of it, or redirect it to somewhere where it should not be going, or to worsen it in any way. Quite the opposite. Seek out people who aid you in multiplying and improving your outflow.

Of course there are going to be occasions when you have little or no choice other than to be in contact with certain people and have dealings with them. For example, if you are a lawyer dealing with real estate and your biggest and best client is someone you find hugely irritating (in other words, they give rise to negative abstract internal flow in you), then you will probably just have to stomach that personal connection. If so, it might actually be best to regard your meetings as opportunities to control and change your abstract internal flow so well that you actually begin to look forward to being with a person who would otherwise be irritating, regarding them instead as being an interesting and even amusing challenge, and someone from whom you might learn things.

But if you can, avoid people who do not on balance make some positive contribution to your flows. If you can't avoid them, make your flows on balance be as good as they can be in the circumstances.

Use Talent, Exploit Stupidity

The first is positive, the second is negative, but both can make your own flows more positive. With the former, you use the most talented people available to you to increase the quality and quantity (i.e. they act as flow pumps) of the outflow you are responsible for producing and getting it to the people who want it and who in return will give you inflow you want. Talent can also play a role in maximizing the amount and quality of this inflow and the speed at which it gets back to you.

As for exploiting stupidity, it may sound bad, but is not necessarily so if it is not excessive or vicious. For example, people who read low-grade journalism, or watch all the soap operas on television, or listen to pop music all the time, are never going to be accused of being the brightest of the bright, but that does not mean that it is necessarily wrong for you to be responsible for outflowing to them the material they want as their inflow if in return it gets you the inflow you want. In other words, to be a journalist with a 'common' publication, or an actor in a soap opera, or a successful pop musician, getting money, fame, good human contact and satisfaction from your work, would be fine from your point of view. Really, there would be good flows all round, even if the people on the receiving end of your outflow should really know better than to have it as their inflow.

To resort to absolute exploitation of other people's stupidity is, I think, unacceptable, but of course it happens all the time, everywhere. Some people will produce absolutely any outflow to get the inflow they want. For example, the people who work in so-called 'boiler rooms', phoning people and selling them worthless shares, may well ruin some people's lives by outflowing lies to them in order to get an inflow of their money, but for the fraudsters that is considered an acceptable exploitation of the stupidity of the 'investors'.

Likewise drug dealers might specifically target kids and outflow cut-price drugs to them in order to get them addicted (internal flow taken over by an inflow of drugs) so that they have a good, reliable customer for an outflow of full-price drugs in the future.

I suppose ultimately you have to define for yourself what you consider 'talent' and 'stupidity' and what you think is a morally acceptable (or financially or sexually advantageous) way of 'using' those qualities in other people.

People And Things Are Either Ends In Themselves Or Means To An End

You should know whether a particular person, or type of person, is your goal, or whether they are just a stepping stone on the way to reaching your goal.

If you've decided that one particular person is the one you'd like to live with because you believe you want to spend the rest of your life with them, and have no other aspirations or considerations associated with them, then that person is, if you like, 'an end in itself'. If, however, you want to marry a particular person so that you can get access to their money and possessions, or you believe they will inherit money and possessions in future from which you can materially benefit, then the person is not really your 'end goal', their wealth is what you are really after, and the person you want to marry is just 'a means to an end'. Likewise if you are being nice to someone (outflowing smiles and pleasantries) because you believe they may be able to offer you a job you want, then the person is just a potential stepping stone on the way to you getting what you really want, which is the job, and beyond that the person is probably of no other interest to you.

So don't waste more abstract internal flow or time and effort than is necessary on people who are stepping stones to a goal, and don't allow yourself to attach particular personal importance to them, especially once they have served their purpose and you have got what you want.

Because Absolute Control Is Rare, You Are More Likely To Have To Try To Influence Flows Than Control Them

Even with your own flows it is almost impossible to have complete control over them. Of course you must do your best to rule over your internal flows so that they are as you want them to be and so that you can produce the outflows you want, but over other people's flows you have even less control, so instead you need to do your best to influence their flows. You do this by feeding them inflow that you calculate will influence their internal flow in a way that you think will cause them to produce the outflow you want them to produce. You are working with probabilities rather than certainties.

Politicians and public speakers, for example, know that there are certain tricks of speech, facial expressions and gestures that they can use to get certain responses from an audience. Seducers know that there are likewise certain things they can say and do that will increase the chances of the other person agreeing to have sex with them. You are very unlikely ever to be able to be 100% certain that the person you are dealing with will outflow the words and actions you want and expect, but with some knowledge of psychology (abstract internal flow) and experience of the impact your outflow can have on it, you can increase your chances of getting other people to react the way you want.

However, you are going to find it difficult to influence other people's flows in this skilful way if you cannot even control your own flows. That is why, before you start trying to manipulate other people, you must develop the maximum possible self-discipline and self-control so that your own flows are as you want and need them to be.

If you are working to influence people and are therefore working with probabilities rather than certainties, it becomes important to have contingency plans in place to deal with situations where the other people don't produce the outflow that you want but instead produce outflow that is not just probable but that is even unlikely although possible.

When Your Flow And Your Flow Goals Conflict With Someone Else's

If there is something really significant at stake and someone has to suffer some hurt or loss, let it be some other person and not you. If you're not ruthless about getting what you want, then you don't really want it. What you will usually want, of course, is some particular inflow (even if it is just an inflow of knowledge that you have manipulated people into producing outflow that has caused something to happen with other people who are remote from you and that you yourself may never have had, or ever will have, contact with).

If you are going to cause other people to suffer hurt or loss, the usual motives will be connected with money, sex, wounded pride, or something to do with political power (which is always connected to financial power anyway). Aiming to cause hurt or loss to people because of anything connected with sex or with wounded pride is really not clever, but the other two motives might possibly justify 'cruel' behavior on your part.

When communism crumbled and capitalism took hold in Russia, murders were quite commonplace. These were ordered by people who wanted to get or retain control of businesses. The potential rewards of becoming or remaining an oligarch were so great that is was worth having someone killed if they were a threat, a competitor or an obstacle. The businesses that were being fought over produced massive outflows of salable products or services and generated massive, very profitable, inflows of money. They could also of course be sold or floated for an inflow of a huge lump sum of money.

When there is political power at stake, assassinations of incumbents or challengers are sometimes arranged. Again, what is at stake is so great that whoever orders these killings considers that it is worthwhile, or perhaps it is even seen as being the only way of getting or retaining what is wanted. Political power enables the holder of it to control the flows of people in their country, or region, and to control the flows of commodities and money, and to control the flows of the armed forces whose use is possibly necessary for them to keep and enforce their power.

With things that aren't on your list of major flow goals to be achieved, you should be less concerned about them. Really if there is something that you would quite like, but you're not really bothered whether you have it or not, and you come up against someone who is either trying to prevent you getting that thing, or they are making it clear that they are determined to get it rather than you, or they are threatening to take it from you if you have it already, then you need to weigh up several considerations. How strong is your resolve (abstract internal flow) in comparison to theirs? How strong is your desire? What quantity and quality of outflow can you produce to use against the other person to try to get or keep this thing you somewhat want, and how does that compare to the sort of outflow the other person can produce? What value do you attach to the flows you get, or would get, from what is being fought over?

It's a balancing act. Like a lot of life, it involves compromise. If the other person is utterly determined to get what you want and can produce a greater outflow of power and resources, while you merely think it is or would be nice to have the thing, and you can only produce limited outflow to secure it, then just give way. There's no point fighting losing battles, especially when you're not particularly bothered about the outcome of such a battles anyway. Save your internal and outflow resources for when you come across something you really want and are determined to have.

As for things that are of no consequence at all, the world is full of people who get the big things in life wrong, but who will pick a fight over a parking space, or threaten to call the police because they think they've been overcharged by some tiny amount of money for some junk food they've just bought. Put things in perspective. Be indifferent about the small stuff. Walk away. Put it out of your mind. Your abstract internal flow should be using its powers to deal with the big stuff.


Understand, Change, Control - Eight

Making A Family To Order

Most people just accept that they have the family they were born into and that there is nothing they can do about it. This is fine if you come from a fine family, full of clever, wealthy, high-status, well-connected people. But what if you come from an ordinary family or even a bad one? Should you just accept it?

If you're similar in nature to the other people in your family, you'll probably be happy to mix with them. Also if you don't like them but you lack ambition or you don't have the strength of character in your abstract internal flow to distance yourself from them, again you'll probably remain connected to them. But let's look at a couple of people who take a different approach.

Remember the teenager in the 'Understand, Change, Control' section of Chapter 6? The section was headed 'A Happy, Ordinary Person'. Let's say that person, a male, was called John. He came from a working class family, and it wasn't the sort of family he wanted to belong to. He himself certainly didn't want to be working class. So he emulated the behavior, looks, speech, and even the thoughts and attitudes of middle class people. He studied hard, paying his way through college by doing casual work, and qualified as a lawyer, getting taken on by one of the top law firms. He worked and lived a long way away from where he grew up and where his family still remained, and had hardly any contact with any of them, including his parents. It wasn't that he was ashamed of them. It was just that he had nothing in common with them.

John met Mary. She too was a lawyer, working at another major law firm. John didn't consciously realize when he first met her that she too was from a working class background, but this information gradually revealed itself. John and Mary had a lot in common, and they shared the same ambitions. Mary too kept a big geographical distance between herself and her parents and practically all other members of her family.

You can say that John and Mary outflowed the members of their families from their lives, but it's probably more accurate to say John and Mary outflowed themselves from their families. It's generally much easier to do that than to try to repel other people and exclude them and drive them away. Instead put some geographical distance between you and the people you don't want to be involved with. If for some reason you can't, or won't, do this, you can at least not visit them (outflow some plausible excuses until they cease inviting you), and keep away from them and from any places they frequent. Also don't have friends in common. That way you keep a social distance if not a geographical distance, and you also make it difficult for information about you to flow to them, and knowledge of them to flow to you.

John and Mary had a lot of friends who, not surprisingly, were lawyers, and they also had friends who were clients of theirs, and these tended to be very wealthy business people. From their social activities they also acquired decent friends. So John and Mary's social circle would definitely be described as middle class.

Their social circle was in effect their new family. If you don't like the family you were born into, you cannot literally make a new family because of course your friends will never be related to you by blood, but you can carefully choose your friends, who will be much better than any bad relatives you have, and you can regard them as if they were your family.

So make friends carefully, because you are in effect making a new family for yourself.

John and Mary, as mentioned, had two children, who naturally grew up middle class. One child grew up to be a lawyer, and the other became an investment banker.

Eventually John and Mary's grand-parents died, and then their parents died. All the other more distant relatives from those generations also died.

Now, the thing with families is that, unless they are so renowned that people talk about your ancestors from generations ago, nobody will know or care about your long dead relatives. They are not interested and they disregard them, so you can do the same.

So it was with John and Mary. As they grew older, no one gave a thought as to who their ancestors had been. All people saw were John and Mary, a nice middle class couple, who had two nice middle class (indeed rather rich middle class) children, who in due course had children of their own, the latter being everything that John and Mary could ever have wished to have as grandchildren.

So John and Mary had now, over an adult lifetime, created their own admirable, very respectable family - a real family, connected by blood. They had done this by carefully focusing on and deliberately choosing and controlling their own flows, as well as the flows of their children when the children had been growing up.

That is how you make a family to order. You can't choose the family you were born into, but by controlling your own flows you can have the possibility of creating a family of the sort you want.


Chapter Nine - Charity, Social Causes And Your Local Community

Sort Out Your Own Flows First Before Trying To Sort Out Those Of The Rest Of The World

It's surprising the number of people who really don't have their lives anything like the way they want them to be, but who are nonetheless busy either worrying about, or trying to solve, the problems of other people, the environment, or some other 'grand' cause.

Get yourself sorted out first before you start tackling the rest of the world's problems. If you can't deal with your own life, why do you think you can deal with other people's lives? Save the planet? Save your own household first. Leave the big ideas about the big causes until you become a big person.

The same applies to local stuff, community stuff. If you haven't got your own life sorted out in material and personal terms, deal with that first. Then when your life is broadly to your satisfaction, you can get involved with local good causes and different clubs and societies and groups. (Of course it might that by joining certain organizations, you think you can improve your own life in some way.)

Some people seem to do the 'helping others' or 'saving the world' thing as a distraction, trying to take their own and other people's attention away from the fact that, to some extent, in some way, they've failed in life, not getting anything like the existence they want. I suppose if somebody comes out openly and says something like, “I haven't got what it takes to get the life I'd really like, so I'm giving up on that idea and going to busy myself instead with something easier, such as feeding a few of the local stray cats, or doing a bit of voluntary work for a local charity,” then that would seem in many ways to be reasonable, but to give up on trying to shape your own life to your liking and then to try to stop global warming or the felling of the rainforests does seem to show a lack of awareness about your own competence and abilities, or lack thereof.

The people best able to tackle big issues should already have proven that they have what it takes to tackle lesser ones. You need to progress up the scale of difficulty when putting yourself forward to take on challenges. So leave the big stuff to the big people. If the biggest problem in your life is that you don't have enough money, don't go and work for free for a local charity. Instead focus all your abstract internal flow on what you can do to get more money. (With charities, it's interesting that you quite often find that it's the poor people who work for free, while the middle-class types, who probably could afford to do some free work without it impairing their standard of living, make sure they get paid for whatever their role is in the charity. With the top people who control the charity, they may or may not get income and expenses, but their connection with the charity enhances their status and enables them to mix with other 'worthies'.)

So by all means deal with other people's problems, but only after you've dealt with your own and you've got the important flows of your own life just the way you want them.

The Spiritual Side Of Life And More On The Charitable Side Of Life

Have you noticed the great thing about rich people and their charitable donations? This isn't always the case, but often the rich transfer their money to … their own charity! What's the point of this? It allows the rich person or family to avoid paying tax on the money, and it can allow the rich family still to keep control of the money. (I'm sure you can think of instances where Jane and John Doe, for example, have transferred a chunk of their wealth not to an independent charity, but to the Jane and John Doe Foundation, of which they and/or their descendants and/or other members of their family retain control, sometimes for many generations.) So the money hasn't really flowed anywhere at all, and it certainly hasn't flowed to the tax man.

You might say that this doesn't matter so long as the money gets used for charitable purposes, but it might be only the income or a portion of it that gets used in this way, and the family not only keeps control of the capital but also of the income and how it is spent. Because everyone knows they are in control of this honey pot, the family's social and financial importance and attractiveness is maintained. The money can also be spent on paying salaries and various expenses, such as for traveling, hosting functions at which to mix with the great and the good, having nice offices to go to, staying in hotels, organizing public events that maintain the profile and status of the charity and it's controllers, and even directing money towards influencing the public, and possibly even politicians, in ways that might benefit the rich family and its interests or might promote, and even enshrine in legislation, the views and beliefs and interests of the wealthy family. The charity can also, of course, raise money from other people so that it has even more money under its control. Actually it's interesting to look at some of the big charities to see how much of their expenditure goes not on charitable deeds but on covering the overheads of the charity - paying staff, running cars, paying for hotels and rented apartments and houses, and so on. Also it's surprising to see how much money they hold on to so they can be sure they'll be able to continue paying themselves for a long time to come.

It is, in short, to a certain extent, giving without giving. It is keeping control of money, with some sort of agreement to use some of it to help 'good causes'.

That is very clever charity. But of course smart people are adept at ensuring that whatever flows take place are in some way to their advantage. Plus they instinctively like to be responsible for, and have control over, flows. Less worldly (poorer) people think that being charitable means really giving their money away, or working for free.

It's better to follow the smart people's example. Where big money is involved, keep control of some of the family's capital by transferring it to your own charity. Often this enables you to avoid paying inheritance tax or transfer tax on it. This capital, along with its administration, might be seen as being a continuing part of your family's internal flow. It generates income, which is obviously inflow, and the money that gets spent, either on pleasurable or self-serving things as well as on genuinely charitable things, counts as outflow. Arranged in this way, it is a very satisfactory flow situation that can go on for many years. People will think you are being nice, but you will know that you are putting your own family's interests first.

As for the spiritual side of life, a difference needs to be made between spirituality and religion. Religion is man-made mumbo-jumbo used by clever people to exploit other people. The people at the top of religions care about getting money, of course, but also about getting status (inflow of respectful appreciation from others), and also about the ego-boost they get (terrific internal flow) from doing nothing more than speaking, and yet still being able to manipulate other people's abstract internal flow. To spin fairy tales and to have other people believe you, and stand up when you tell them to stand, and sit down when you tell them to sit, and sing when you tell them to sing, and give you money, and shake your hand and talk to you politely or even admiringly afterwards … that really can make a person feel good.

If you watch television evangelism, which is like a louder, brighter version of ordinary church religion, you'll notice several things. The speakers enjoy being the center of attention. It's clear that, like all the top section of society, they love doing nothing more than talking for a living. Indeed they're not prepared to do any more than that. You're not going to catch these people emptying trash cans or building cars. If you listen to what they say, they quote gibberish from their invented 'scriptures' - nonsense such as people coming back to life, or dying 'for your sins', or saying that the most vicious behavior imaginable is OK because 'God' said so. Then this is all mixed up with a little popular psychology. There's also a straightforward attempt to get control of other people's abstract internal flow by saying that the congregation, or audience, are sinners, and will only be able to improve their lives if God (through the speaker) forgives them or blesses them. There is also the straightforward ordering of people to do things, on the grounds that 'it is what God wants'. At the end of each bit of an evangelical TV program, however, comes the really important bit - the sales pitch. It might be for video or audio material, or inviting you to visit some sort of religious theme park, or even just an outright request for you to send them money as a gift. But this is what the TV religion game is mostly about - getting an inflow of money. And what will you get for your money? Probably nothing more than words, sounds and images.

Religion is definitely worthwhile if it's putting money in your pocket.

Religion is generally pretty useless and pointless, although possibly it's harmless and even beneficial to you if you don't believe, or take seriously, any of it, but just go to religious services so as physically to get together with other people for some social contact. At its worst, however, it's deceitful, manipulative and exploitative, run by ambitious, self-serving people who want to get as much as they can by giving nothing of any real value, or who want to use other people to do things that are bad in some way.

If you get involved, look to see what inflow you're really getting, and what outflow - of money, things, words and actions - you are being asked to outflow.

Spirituality, on the other hand, may, or may not, have something to recommend it. Whether you believe in a god or not, trying to get in touch with, and inspired by, something you call 'spirit' might serve a purpose. It can be used as a way of calming and cleansing your abstract internal flow, as well as encouraging you not to poison or otherwise worsen your physical internal flow, and it can deter you from being attracted to bad inflow and from considering producing bad outflow. ('Good' religion can of course do this too.)

As far as inspiration is concerned, and creating or receiving new ideas in your abstract internal flow for further consideration, any idea generation can be worthwhile, and it doesn't matter whether it comes from your sub-conscious, the 'Holy Spirit', the 'Universal Mind', or whatever. So, having some sort of spiritual concept in your abstract internal flow may or may not do you any good, but it seems unlikely to do you any harm.

As for me, I've sometimes thought that both Buddhism and A Course In Miracles (yes, I know it's Christian based) have something to recommend them, as does plain, unlabeled meditation.


Understand, Change, Control - Nine

Doing Good After Doing Well

Don't think about doing things for others until you've got yourself sorted out. When you've taken care of yourself, you can look after your family, if you have one and they're important to you. Only then should you be looking to do good for other people (or animals, or the planet) who are more remote from you but about whom (or about which) you care for some reason.

If you have not only enough financial and material resources for yourself, and your family, but an excess, you can outflow some of it to be used to aid your particular 'good cause'.

I think one of the best examples of using money I've seen is a couple who won a significant amount of money in the national lottery. Because they weren't a young couple and they no longer had any great physical desires, they decided that what they wanted was something that made their life more interesting and somehow more positive. They wanted to do good, but in a way that somehow added something good to their own lives. So this couple started giving away their excess income to charities. Now, this achieved several goals. Firstly, by outflowing that part of their income that was surplus to their requirements, they in practice lost nothing, or at least they lost nothing that they wanted or needed. Their capital remained intact, and they could continue to live in the way that they wanted, and to do so indefinitely. Indeed they could pass on their capital to their children so that they too in turn would be able to continue to be a benefactor. If they had no children, they could create a charity that would live on after their deaths.

The other factor in this behavior, however, is that the outflow of the couple's excess income not only became desirable inflow for whatever charities they gave it to, but it also created inflow for the couple. They found themselves on the receiving end of an inflow of desire. This desire was felt in the abstract internal flow of people who wanted to have some of this couple's money for their own particular 'good cause'. Charities need money, and therefore they naturally take an interest in people who have it and who might be inclined to give it to them. So the couple, by outflowing their money, got an inflow of requests from charities, not just to give money, but to attend functions, meet significant people, have their photos taken for newspapers and magazines, give talks, and so on. That is what their outflow of money is really buying them, along with the very pleased internal flow that this inflow causes in them.

Once you have provided for your own and your family's needs, you can make it known that you have an excess inflow of money which you are prepared to divert as outflow to … well, basically whoever you choose. You will soon find that you have an inflow of people who are interested in you (or, more accurately, your money).

You have an excellent flow balance here. People want your money, and therefore they want you, but also your outflow of money achieves some good goal that you yourself believe in. Therefore you have positive abstract internal flow both from the inflow you are getting and the outflow you are producing.

One obvious point is that you should not give away your capital in your own life time, or lose control of the inflow of money it generates for you. Not only is this because you want to have financial security until you die, but also because once you no longer have what people want (you are no longer able to outflow anything to them they want as their inflow), they will no longer want you.


Chapter Ten - Preparing For The End

Being Prepared For The Unexpected

People do have a habit of dying unexpectedly, don't they? They even catch themselves unaware, not just other people. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, very often people can't predict the moment of their death. Worse than that, you've quite a high chance of ending up incapacitated before you die, so you won't even be able to arrange and control your affairs, even assuming have some idea of what you want. The thing to do therefore is to arrange matters the way you want them arranged long before you even imagine it might be possible for you to die.

In terms of flow, what you are looking to do is make sure that the flows post mortem are as you want them to be. You're trying to retain control of money and things even after you're dead. Because you can't know when you'll die, you should get the arrangements made now. Always be prepared for death (at least in material terms) whenever it may come.

Of course if you're in the position of having nothing, you don't need to worry too much. (One of our old friends who died of cancer years ago, and who lived in public housing and had no capital, and no possessions of any worth, was concerned about who would inherit her collection of dolls. This is typical of poor people. They care about what is of no significance.)

Making The Best Of The Inevitable

Knowing that we all have to die (and assuming that you have money and possessions to leave), you want to make sure that what you have goes where you want it to go. The two things you can do are to make a will so that everything goes where you want it to go after your death, or you can dispose of some or all of your money and possessions before you die. In the latter case you can either just give them away, or you could transfer them into, say, a trust, foundation or charity.

The thing here is to try to be ahead of other people who might have different ideas to you as to what they want to see happen with your money and possessions after you're dead. Of course it's not uncommon for people either to forge a will after you're dead, or, if they don't like the look of the will that you have left, to destroy it and then say that no will has been found. And when you're dead, you're dead, so there's not much you can do about what other people do in such instances.

Therefore arguably the best time to dispose of your wealth (or at least the part of it that is excess to your requirements) is before you die. But of course, if you do that, you still want to retain control over it and be a beneficiary of it in one way or another if you can.

There Should Be Flows For Which You Are Responsible That Continue After Your Death

Smart (rich) people don't just give their money away when they die. And they try to make sure that the taxman doesn't get their hands on it (or at least on no more of it than proves to be unavoidable). They want to prevent it from going into the collective tax pool and being spent in ways that they don't approve of (and wouldn't know about anyway).

This is where a family charity might be considered, keeping the dead person's money in the family's control, or, if there is no family, allowing the dead person to dictate what will happen to it and to whom the income on the capital will go.

They might also consider transferring money and possessions into some sort of trust or foundation so that the beneficiary, or beneficiaries, can't get their hands on them, but can enjoy the use of, say, real estate, and benefit from the use of the income produced from capital and assets.

The money and possessions could in a sense be seen as remaining within the internal flow of the person setting up the trust (even after that person dies) because they have dictated what will happen to them and who will benefit from them.

A well-known rich couple in America have put a lot of their money into a charity. This allows them not to pay tax to the government on that money. A rich friend of theirs has also agreed to leave his considerable wealth, on his death, to their charity, thereby preventing the government from getting its hands on it. Once in the charity, the people who control it can not only use it on 'good deeds', but also on using the money to pay themselves salaries and expenses, but they also get the inflow of status and desirability that comes from being known to control a large amount of money. They also get satisfaction (and a sense of power?) in their abstract internal flow from knowing that they have the power to decide who to pay money out to.

When you die, you still want in some sense or other to retain control of what happens to your wealth.

It's interesting that it seems that the less wealth a person has, often the more people they will try to divide it up amongst in their will. Perhaps that's designed to buy the regards, the affection, of as many beneficiaries as possible. Richer people seem more focused, trying to keep their fortune, or the bulk of it, intact. Years ago in my country, practically everything would be left to the oldest male offspring, no matter how unfair this might seem to the other offspring, because it kept the family fortune intact.


Understand, Change, Control - Ten

The Family Trust Fund And Family Charity That Live On After Their Creator's Death

One of the guys from my country who built up a successful manufacturing business, making household goods, didn't want his kids to have so much money that they wouldn't feel some sort of pressure to work and live constructive lives. Therefore he put in a trust fund enough money to produce an income for them that would allow them to live without having to work (for example in a factory producing household goods!), but would probably still leave them wanting more, and therefore be inclined to do some sort of work.

Another woman from my country who built up an 'ethical' business declared when she knew she was dying that she would give all her money away. Actually when she died she had it put into a family-controlled charity.

Giving without giving. Retain the family's money and real estate and other possessions within your family's financial internal flow, or, if you have no family or don't like them, put it under the control of, and into the internal flow of, some other person or people that you favor.

Trust funds, foundations, charities - they give the appearance of outflowing money, but actually allow you in a sense still to retain it, to the extent that you still exercise some significant control over it, even after your death.

So it seems that your death does not necessarily have to be the absolute end of you, at least not materially speaking.

Another example of how you can be responsible for flows even after you're dead and buried (or burnt) is by retaining ownership (in a trust, charity or foundation or just by straightforward transfer into the hands of some beneficiaries) of inflow-receiving entities, which generally will mean investments, businesses, royalties, copyrights, patents, and so on. For example, if you have a widget factory, there's no reason why it shouldn't exist for decades after your death and continue to be able to produce an outflow of money to whoever is nominated as a beneficiary of it and its profits. The same also applies to patents and copyrights. They can keep on generating money inflow for a long time after your death, and that money can be outflowed to whomever you choose.

The intention is to avoid simply dispersing your estate by giving it directly to individuals on your death (and probably a large chunk of it to the tax man too) but rather to keep your estate intact, to stop irresponsible people getting their hands on it and squandering it, and to have some control over how the income your estate generates is outflowed after your death.

So you can outflow your wealth, but to your own created entities, and those entities act on the instructions you have outflowed to them while you were alive. Those entities, governed by people, or a class of people, of your choosing, control your assets, get the inflow of money from them, and outflow some or all of it, along with the use of your real estate and other possessions, as you have instructed.

In a sense, your abstract internal flow still exists and controls flows after your death.


Conclusion

Positive Internal Flow, Positive Outflow, Positive Inflow - The Ultimate Goal Is To Have All Flows Positive ..

… and as big as possible, if you are ambitious. If you are not, you will still want all your flows to be as great as you desire them to be, and you will want them to be under your control as much as possible.

The most desirable and valuable people in society are those who think the most positive thoughts (positive internal flow) and who are responsible for making the greatest, most beneficial contribution to other people's lives (positive outflow). Their reward is that they get a great inflow of money, status, responsibility and fame (positive inflow).

This is the goal to aim for, within the limits of your ambition, ability and the opportunities available to you.

With bad people - for those who want to go down that route in life - the aim will still be to have the best possible inflow and the best possible internal flow, from a purely subjective point of view, but to achieve that by producing illegal or morally bad outflow so as to have the greatest impact on, and control over, the flows of other people.

To get the inflow you want, you must either give other people the inflow they want (which is the outflow you are responsible for producing) or they must be forced to accept what you are causing to be outflowed to them. The former is the positive approach, the latter is the negative approach. Even with the negative approach, such as when a dictator uses force to coerce citizens to obey their wishes, the dictator still has to have an army of enforcers to apply the coercion, and must ensure that the enforcers do what they are supposed to do to the individuals and the types of people that the dictator has decided to persecute or punish. It is still the dictator who is responsible for, and the originator of, the outflow of force.

At the very least in such a case you will need to be responsible for an outflow of decisions, orders and negotiated agreements that result in some outflow being produced. You yourself might not actually do anything physical, but down the line (the interconnected chain of flows), physical outflow will be produced because of the words you have uttered or written, and that outflow will become people's inflow.

Of course people's internal flow is affected by their inflow, and internal flow governs the outflow people become responsible for producing, and it also governs the inflow that they want or are prepared to accept, so you get a very personal, individual-centric flow loop going on.

Internal flow needs to be what you focus on, at least initially. (Your abstract internal flow turns inwards and becomes focused on your internal flow.) Get your internal flows under control and ordered correctly, and all other flows (other than those over which you have no control or influence) will arise as a natural consequence of this, and they will have the form, quality and quantity that is merited by what you have made happen in your mind and body.

Knowing the inflows you desire, and having calculated the outflows you should produce to give yourself the highest chance of getting those inflows, all you need to focus your abstract internal flow on then is producing those outflows, although of course you will also enjoy the inflows you are receiving.

Become obsessed with the production of outflow that impacts on other people in such a way that they in return give you the inflow you want from them (their outflow), or they produce outflow that impacts on other people of your choosing and in a way that you want.

Shift your thinking away from seeing your own flows in isolation and see them in terms of how they relate to, connect with, cause and influence other people's flows.

Flows go round in circles, or they form chains, influencing and affecting each other, changing, moving from one person to another, and giving rise to new flows.

People want their abstract internal flow to be in a certain state. They want, for example, to feel successful, to be taking decisions that cause other people to do things, to be fully absorbed in some activity, and so on. Many aspects of a person's abstract internal flow are under their own control. You can choose what to think about a situation, or what emotion to feel with regard to it. But remain aware that inflow (what is coming into your life) can have a great impact on your abstract internal flow, if you let it, so you want your inflow to be of certain sorts, flowing in at particular frequencies or with a certain volume, and of a certain quality. To get this desired inflow, whatever it may consist of - be it food, drink, money, people, status, fame, sex, attention, or whatever - you need to be producing the right outflow and getting it to the right people. That is, you need to be getting it to the people who will in return give you, or enable you to get, your desired inflow. It makes sense, therefore, for your abstract internal flow at all times to be focused on producing this outflow. Just a small portion of flow at the back of your mind needs to remain focused on what your desired inflow is so that you are aware of what goals you are striving to achieve. But try to ensure that your internal flows are not influenced in a way not of your choosing by whatever inflow you are receiving. If, for example, you don't get the inflow you want, or you are forced to accept inflow you definitely don't want, you must not simply react unthinkingly and allow your internal flows to become other than you would ideally want them to be if you were thinking dispassionately and objectively about yourself.

This is why it is so important always to have goals in mind, because then in any situation you will always ask yourself, “What should my internal flows be, and what outflow should I cause to be being produced, so that I can have the best chance of getting what I regard as the best possible inflow, for myself and/or for others, in the present situation, regardless of the inflow I am actually getting at the moment, and bearing in mind the goals I have set myself?”

Be wary of feeling any emotion other than desire. Even then it should not be desire for a person or for people, it should be desire to produce outflow (although that will of course be directed to particular people) probably with the intention of getting back some sort of inflow that you want.

With your abstract internal flow fully occupied with such thoughts, you then need to learn how best to produce the outflow you've calculated is necessary to get your desired inflow. Unless you have goals on a very small scale, this will almost certainly involve trying to use flow pumps, such as employees, machinery, technology, franchisees, the media (especially including the internet these days), banks, people who will invest in your business, concert promoters, and so on. There are a great variety of flow pumps that can be used in various situations. The goal is always the same - to leverage up the quantity, and perhaps the quality too, of your outflow and to get it to more and more people, probably so they will do what you want (or at least have happen to them what you want to have happen) and most likely so that they will produce outflow that causes you to have some inflow that you desire. Usually this inflow is channeled back to you through those very same flow pumps that are pushing out your outflow, so of course they effectively act both as outflow pumps and inflow pumps.

The degree of your success and significance in life is measured by the extent to which your outflow is other people's inflow, and the extent of your impact on other people's flows. The more you are responsible for other people's flows, the more influence, and even control, you have over them, the more important you are, and the greater the effect you are having as a human being. This applies both for bad people and good people, for drugs barons and car manufacturers, for tyrants and teachers. The more you impact on other people's flows, the bigger your life can be said to be.

Of course it is not necessary to have over-arching ambitions in order to be happy. Happiness is largely a purely personal matter. There is no reason why a person could not be happy living in a hut in the wilderness with little or no money and few material possessions, simply spending each day foraging for enough food to be able to continue to survive. Likewise one could be one of the richest, most famous people in the world, wielding great political power, and yet still be unhappy.

Happiness is something that each person has to decide for themselves. It makes no sense to go beyond the levels of outflow and inflow that your abstract internal flow wishes to produce and have. You should aim to get all your flows as you want them, not as other people might tell you they should be.

In practice we usually all necessarily have to deal with other people's flows to get the flows we ourselves want. This is perhaps the most demanding, and interesting, part of the game of life. To get what you want from other people - that is, an outflow from them of something that could either come to you as inflow, or that is outflowed to other people to produce an effect that you desire on those people's flows. For this to happen you need to get their abstract internal flow in a state that causes them to do what you want. This means you have to do several things. Firstly, obviously you have to connect with them in such a way that your outflow can get to them and become their inflow. Then you need your outflow to be such that when it becomes their inflow, it so affects their abstract internal flow (possibly because you also affect their physical internal flow) that they choose to produce the outflow that you want them to produce. So you need to get your outflow right for this purpose. It could be nice words, compliments, money, sex, fine food, material possessions, a preparedness to listen to the other person airing their opinions. You have to work out what it is that the other person wants from you that you have the ability and willingness (or, better still, keenness) to give to them. (The negative approach, of course, is to outflow to people force, coercion, threats to do something they don't want, or threats to deprive them of something they want. In other words you feed them powerful negative inflow which has a powerful effect on their internal flow, and so makes them do what you want that way.)

Before playing with other people's flows, you should be able to control and order your own internal flows. Once you can control your own internal flows, and therefore the outflow you produce too, you should try to become an expert at fathoming and manipulating other people's abstract internal flow, this manipulation being achieved by producing outflow that gets into people as inflow and affects their internal flow as you desire.

That is the great skill in life - to be an expert in the control and manipulation of flows - both your own and other people's.


Social Sciences