The secret of success? Unleashing your creative mind

I don’t have any special tools, secret insight or powers that you don’t have. We human beings all have a similar brain and so we all share the ability to dream, predict and imagine. On the opposite side, our brains also allow us to sense doubt, danger and fear. There’s no anatomical difference between a rich, successful individual and a poverty case or someone simply unable to find their way in life. There is only one difference between these two people – a mental one. Put simply, prosperous people have learned how to focus their dreams and creative minds, on an objective or goal, and followed the steps in front of them to reach those end goals.

What I'm sharing with you is no big secret. There is not a mystical formula secretly hidden away somewhere which lays down the foundations to wealth, happiness, freedom and optimum health.

We are told from a young age that if we work hard, we will achieve our successes. And this is true some of the time but hard work does not guarantee a rich and lazy lifestyle. Successful people are aware that the secret is to work smarter. Not harder. It may sound like a bit of a cliche but many of those old phrases we've heard over and over contain highly valuable keys to success. The fact remains that working smarter and not necessarily harder really is an important key to success. Many of us have heard this but how many people actually put this saying into action. How many of us set ourselves SMART objectives?

Excellence can be achieved in many lazy ways

I spend a maximum of two days a week being concerned with my language school. I leave my manager to get on with everything for me. That's what I pay her for after all! On other days, I tend to write a little. Some days I’ll write for thirty to forty-five minutes and on others, I'll write for a few hours. I aim to write one book each year so I only need to spend a few hours each week – not each day – sitting at my desk typing away on my laptop.

It took me two years to write my last book, Easy English for Spanish Speakers. That book's DNA contains my heart and soul. I put so much into that in terms of relevant up-to-date content, grammar exercises that were designed to be fun, vocabulary – both formal and slang – that would suit learners of all ages and backgrounds. I wrote fascinating reading exercises covering technology, fashion, sport, society, history, travel and so much more to stir the inquisitive mind and power critical thinkers using the English language. My students love it and I've been able to distribute it successfully throughout Spain and South America.

Yet, there are students who wont read my book from cover to cover. Even if there are only 180 pages. Many learners skip the grammar and just jump into the exercises and end up getting most of the work wrong... as they realise they don't actually understand the grammar. Then they go back to the grammar, learn some of it, and repeat the exercises to find they succeed a little more.

Lazy time powers creativity

When I allow myself to be lazy for a good length of time, I inevitably find myself buzzing full of energy, thinking creatively and with my mind swirling with ideas – at least for a short while anyway. During these times, it’s surprising how much I can accomplish in a relatively short period of time. And it is during my lazy phases that I tend to generate my best business ideas whether it be something to do with my school, another book or simply an investment opportunity which may have caught my attention.

It took me three years to get my English school off of the ground and running profitably. I could have done this sooner but there were other things that took up my time – other business interests and relaxation time, which I need. For every day that I work, I tend to take a day off as this allows me to relax my mind and re-channel my focus rather than scatter-gun my efforts over everything.

My journey to lazy success

I’m a lazy bastard. I simply can't deny it. For years, I have jumped from one unsatisfying job to another, from one dull industry to another, and never feeling engaged or excited about anything I did. As a result, my motivation and waned as I became more and more disillusioned about the wage slave world we now live in. People always told me that I have to work hard, earn a decent wage then pay my taxes. I was always told that in order to succeed, I have to work hard.

We call it a work ethic: It’s good to work, right? It’s beneficial for the soul. It builds character and makes us more rounded individuals. And hard work – or a work ethic -  creates success. I've always had a problem with this notion to be honest because I've never wanted to work that hard. I mean, who does? Given the choice between a day when I have to set the alarm clock at 6am, get up, shower, shave and go to work or a day when I can laze in bed for as long as I want and then do whatever I feel like, I’ll take that second option every time. And wouldn't anyone?