Your Passive Income Goal

The key to goal setting is to get into the habit of setting and achieving goals. It’s not to set aggressive targets that you never reach. You can always set a bigger goal later once you achieve the original goal.

Sometimes I’ve set a big goal with a two-month deadline, and I achieved it during the first week or two. So I celebrated that. Then I set a new goal with a new deadline.

As long as the goal seems motivating to you and it helps you get into action, then I’d say it a good goal for you.

My suggestion would be to set a goal something like this:

I create a new stream of passive income by May 31, 2023, that generates at least $100 per month on average and endures for a minimum of 5 years.

I think this is a very achievable goal for most people. You don’t need your own website to earn this much.

Now some people will blow this goal out of the water; it will be way too easy for them. Other people will find it a serious challenge. Feel free to adjust the goal to something that feels good to you.

If you were to achieve the goal above, you’d put at least $6K in your pocket, but it’s not the amount that matters. The real aim is for you to learn how to create a $100 per month stream of passive income. Once you learn how to do that, you can surely do it again. Do it 10 times, and you’ll earn $60K passively.

Once you learn how to earn $100 per month in passive income — by actually doing it, not by reading about it — then it’s not that difficult to learn to create bigger streams. So instead of creating 10 streams that collectively generate $60K, you might learn how to earn that much with just one or two streams. As you continue to develop your skills in this area, you’ll discover how to earn larger sums with fewer streams and less effort. If one stream dies, you’ll also know how to replace it with a new one.

I’m pretty comfortable creating streams that earn around $50K per year. When I had third-party ads on this website several years ago, one of those streams was earning more than $100K per year. Once you get the hang of this, I think you’ll find it a fun challenge to create new streams of income and to experiment with different approaches.

If you want more long-term financial security, you won’t find it in the money or even in the streams of passive income. You’ll find it in building your own knowledge and skills. You can take away all my streams of income, my website, my assets, etc, and I’ll be able to recreate the same level of financial abundance in a relatively short period of time because I already know how to do it.

This is what I want for you as well. I want you to learn how to do this, so then you’ll always have that option available. This know-how will relieve you of much financial pressure. You won’t have to scramble to get a job to pay your bills. You can just create more passive income streams if you want more money.

Passive Income Systems

To generate passive income, you need a way to maintain your income without having to do so much grunt work to keep it going. If you have to keep working each day to avoid seeing your income drop, then you’re earning active income, not passive income. Passive income continues to flow even when you aren’t actively working.

Many forms of passive income still require daily or weekly maintenance activities, such as fulfilling orders or handling customer service, but this doesn’t mean that you have to perform those maintenance tasks yourself. You may delegate such tasks to other people, to businesses, or to technology. For your income to be passive (meaning that you don’t have to do much to maintain your cashflow), you need to remove items from your plate, but those items still need to get done.

A passive income system is a form of delegation. What is being delegated, and to whom? How will the necessary active tasks being handled if you won’t be doing them yourself? Your passive income system must provide these answers.

I love delegating to technology because it’s fast, efficient, consistent, and inexpensive. Technology also tends to scale well, meaning that you can add more computing resources, which generally requires little more than paying for those resources. This works well for an Internet business.

Notice then that when you rely on technology to communicate, you’re already taking advantage of passive systems. Your messages pass through equipment that’s designed, built, and maintained by others. You may not be paying those people directly, but they’re working for you every day. You’re already taking advantage of these systems now. So if you currently rely on such systems for your communication needs, then why not leverage them to handle your income as well?

You can also delegate tasks to other people and to businesses to get them off your plate. In a typical affiliate deal, you may delegate the order processing, fulfillment, and customer service to another company. For example, if you use Amazon’s affiliate program to sell items, you’re effectively delegating a significant portion of the work to Amazon. From your perspective an affiliate sale may seem very passive, but that’s because Amazon provides the active labor to make your affiliate commissions possible.

Build or Borrow

To employ your own passive income system, you have several options:

  1. You can design and build your own passive income system from scratch.
  2. You can learn how other people earn passive income and try to copy their approach.
  3. You can use someone else’s system as-is (usually by paying for the privilege).
  4. You can do a combination of any of the above.

I’ve used all of these approaches at different times. I can’t offer a general recommendation for one of these above the others though. The most intelligent choice depends on a variety of factors including time constraints, budget constraints, personal strengths, and personal goals.

If you’re up for a real challenge, it can be very rewarding to design and implement your own passive income system from scratch. The upside to this approach is that you invented it, so you know its inner workings, and you can customize it all you want. The downside is that this method can take a lot of work, and it may be quite a while before the first income streams start flowing. Innovation is risky. Sometimes the risk pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t.

More commonly, people borrow ideas from each other. Why reinvent the wheel? Learn what works for other people, and use similar methods for yourself. There are plenty of books and systems authored by entrepreneurs who are happy to teach you how to do what they did. Some people are willing to share details of their systems for free, while others only share this info for a fee. Even when there is a fee, buying someone else’s system can save you a tremendous amount of time and energy.

When I was trying to build some sales for my computer games during the 1990s, I bought a book called How to Sell Your Software by Bob Schenot. Bob shared the details of his system, and I was able to adapt much of his advice to my own business, which saved me a lot of time. That system would seem very dated today (it was largely pre-Internet), but it got me off to a good start in building my own direct sales system.

A seemingly inexpensive approach is to use someone else’s system as-is. An example of this is licensing your book to a book publisher or selling your book via Amazon. This may seem like a good deal since you don’t have to pay anything up front, but it can be a lot more expensive if you do well because you may have to give away a significant percentage of your sales to the system provider. This approach tends to be the easiest for getting started. System providers in this category may be very good at processing orders and handling customer service, but they usually don’t provide much marketing assistance, so it may be hard for you to get noticed with them. That said, they can do an awful lot of work for you, making your income streams very passive.

The good news is that you don’t have to understand how to build a passive income system from scratch in order to use one, just as you don’t need to know how to build a computer from scratch in order to use it.

My personal favorite is the hybrid approach. I pick up many good ideas from others, but I like to put my own spin on things and keep tweaking my passive income streams as I go. I rarely use other people’s systems as-is, often because I find their marketing methods a mismatch for my audience, so at the very least, I still need to tweak the marketing elements even if the underlying product or service is a good fit.

To Buy or Not to Buy

One question that will surely come up for you is whether or not you should buy into someone else’s system, such as by paying for their knowledge or resources.

Generally I do think this is a good idea, especially when you’re first starting out, but only if you’re cautious about it. You can waste a lot of money buying low quality money-making systems from random Internet marketers. On the other hand, paying for a good system can also deliver tremendous value. You can learn in a short period of time what took someone else years or even decades of painstaking work to piece together.

I used to be a bit over-eager in paying for what seemed like premium knowledge in this area, and I wasted money on what turned out to be fluffy or outdated info. Then I cut back massively and became very stingy, which caused me to miss some easy opportunities. And finally I settled into what I feel is a more practical and realistic attitude. I’m willing to pay for systems know-how if I think I’ll be able to apply it effectively and if the info comes from a quality source. For me a quality source is someone who seems to genuinely want to help people understand and apply the methods they teach, rather than just selling low-quality info to make more money. Also, a quality system is one that’s already been proven to work under real-world conditions.

Usually when I pay for systems knowledge these days, I’m not looking to implement someone else’s system as-is. I’m simply looking for a few fresh ideas I can use to upgrade my existing systems. What are the latest and greatest ideas I might otherwise miss?

I know that when it comes to marketing, the people who sell these systems may try to push my emotional buttons and offer extra incentives to get me to buy. I do my best to ignore those sales tactics and look at the potential value more objectively.

Since I know people are going to ask me this, I’ll share a couple of specific recommendations for systems you can use to generate passive income streams online today. (Stay tuned to my “Life Lessons” email series for specifics).

I used a combination strategy when I ran my computer games business. I sold the games through my own website, but I also posted my game demos to hundreds of software and game download sites. The download sites helped drive traffic to my website, where people could buy the full versions of my games.

What About the Economy?

Personally I think that economic recessions, including the current one, are a good thing. Recessions help to weed out the crappy companies that aren’t creating and delivering value people want. Many of those companies were doing a good job at one time, but they failed to keep pace. As our values change, our companies need to adapt. Companies that can’t do that deserve to die off, and the jobs they created should be eliminated. They’ll eventually be replaced by new companies that have a better sense of people’s current needs and desires. Company that just don’t “get it” will be replaced by companies that do.

Consider the notion of bailing out the failing U.S. auto companies by having the taxpayers fund them. Is this a good idea? It’s okay except for one small problem — it’s STUPID! It’s one of the dumbest things our political reps could possibly do with our tax dollars. An auto company bailout is definitely not in the best interests of our country, nor is it in the best interests of the auto workers themselves. It’s totally short-sighted. And FWIW I think the whole financial bailout was just as dumb.

I have family members who used to work for GM for years (not in the automobile division of the company though). If they were still working for GM today, I’d sooner see them lose their jobs and have to find new work elsewhere than encourage them to live under the illusion that their company should continue doing business as usual. As I mentioned previously, I bought a Japanese car in 2006 even though I could have gotten a great price break on a GM model. I just didn’t like any GM cars.

During a recession some companies are going to die off. That’s a good thing. To artificially prop up the proven market losers is just dumb. Sure, it will have some rippling consequences. But those ripples are necessary. We need that sort of self-correction to prevent bigger problems down the road. We need to send a message that if you fail to create and deliver value people genuinely want, your business will ultimately fail, and no amount of political lobbying will save you. Of course we get the opposite result when too many people think that the point of life is to chase dollars, especially our politicians. Can you blame them though? Have you ever been known to fall into the same trap?

It’s better — and much more compassionate — for millions of auto workers to lose their jobs and be re-integrated back into society, where they can start doing socially useful work again instead of wasting their time doing work that simply isn’t needed anymore. If it takes years, it takes years. There are other companies that are doing a better job of providing what people want and adapting to the planet’s changing transportation needs. Giving more money to the losers is a stupid strategy.

Similarly, if you work for a company that is falling out of sync with creating and delivering value that people want, you should indeed lose your job. It’s better to retrain yourself to do more meaningful work elsewhere than to waste your time doing work that isn’t needed. Becoming obsolete is a trap that can be avoided. Even if you’re an employee, you still need to make sure you’re contributing to the creation and delivery of real value. If you fall away from that, it’s only a matter of time before you get the axe, so don’t be too surprised when it happens.

Turning Value into Income

So how does one generate income from creating and delivering value? Can’t you run into a problem of creating and delivering lots of value and making no money from it?

As it turns out, making money is the easy part. If you can create and deliver value to people, the income opportunities will literally come to you. People will practically line up with ways for you to make money. I’m serious.

Here’s how this works.

If you get good at creating value, you can connect with other people who are good at delivering value. They deliver your value, such as by selling it, and they pay you a royalty, commission, or licensing fee.

For example, Hay House offered me a book deal last year, so I wrote a book and it was published in September. I received an advance for the book, and I’ll also receive ongoing royalties based on sales. I might even receive royalties from this book for the rest of my life, especially since the content is timeless. Also, writing a book has lead to other opportunities, such as paid speaking engagements. So in this case I created the value (the book), but others deliver it.

Now suppose you get good at delivering value. In this case you can generate income by plugging other people’s value into your delivery system. For example, my blog is great at delivering value. It’s a very efficient medium for that. But since I give my value away for free, it doesn’t generate income directly. However, I can generate plenty of income by promoting other people’s products that I like. Then I split the profits from sales with the publisher. I earn six figures a year just from doing that. The product publishers come to me. I get way more offers for this sort of thing than I can handle. It doesn’t require a lot of work to do this. Once you have a system for delivering value, you can plug other people’s value into it and generate lots of extra income.

If you have the means to create AND deliver strong value, you’ll have so many opportunities it will be totally ridiculous. First, you can plug the value you create into other people’s delivery systems, so you can earn ongoing royalties and such. This is easy residual income. I’m still getting checks every month for deals I entered years ago.

Secondly, you can plug other people’s creative value into your own delivery system. You pay them a royalty on the sales, or they pay you as an affiliate. Once again you generate ongoing residual income. As long as you’re selective about the products you promote, doing your best to ensure that they provide strong value, everyone is happy, and everyone wins.

Thirdly, you can plug your value into your own delivery system. Strangely, this is something I haven’t done yet with my blog, although I used to do it all the time with my computer games business. This is something I intend to explore in 2012. It simply means that I could create and sell my own products direct. Many other bloggers have already done this with great success, releasing e-books, audio programs, DVDs, etc. They create the value and sell it directly to their visitors.

A big chunk of the income I received in 2011 was from work I did in previous years. I could do no work for all of 2012 and just live off the residual income I know is coming. That’s a nice situation to be in. It’s no accident though. Years ago I decided that this is how I wanted to set up my financial life, and then I focused on creating and delivering value to make it work. There’s no reason you can’t use the same strategy. It isn’t trademarked. 

The Parable of the Talents

The Parable of the Talents is one of the stories Jesus told to teach a moral lesson.  Although the word “talents” in the story refers literally to money, you can obviously extend the meaning to other areas.  It’s interesting to read it using the common definition of “talents.”

Here’s the story:

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.  Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five.  “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents.  See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The man with the two talents also came.  “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Then the man who had received the one talent came.  “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.  See, here is what belongs to you.”

His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant!  So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

– Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

This simple story makes some interesting points that are applicable to the pursuit of personal development.

First, we’re all given a different starting position.  Some of us are born into abundance (five talents).  Others are born into scarcity (one talent).  But what matters isn’t what we’re given — it’s what we do with it that matters.  So Jesus acknowledges the unfairness of life, but he also suggests that our starting conditions are irrelevant.  One person earns five talents, another earns only two, but both are congratulated equally because both achieved a 100% gain.  (I’d sure like to know where those servants invested their money!)

This is also a good lesson in how to deal with other human beings.  Deal with other people based on their starting positions, and evaluate yourself by your own starting position.  If you happen to be one of those who receives five talents, don’t pat yourself on the back that you’re already above average.  If you have abundant talents, you should expect even more from yourself.  Similarly, there may be times in your life where you only have one talent and do the best you can with it, and even though your gains appear small from an external standard, by Jesus’ standard you’ve still made a notable accomplishment. 

Another interesting aspect of the parable is that our talents are entrusted to us, like a master putting money into the care of his servants.  We are stewards of our wealth, and I define wealth very loosely here, well beyond material possessions.  For example, if I can write and speak fairly well, those are talents entrusted to me.  I can bury them in the ground out of fear, or I can push out of my shell and strive to create increase for all.

One thing I wonder about the parable is this:  What would have happened if one of the servants who invested the money realized a loss instead of a gain?  There’s a clue to how Jesus would have answered this because of how the master addressed the third servant:  “You wicked, lazy servant!”  Later the master refers to that servant as “worthless” and has him physically thrown out.  That’s pretty harsh language considering the servant still gave the master all his money back.  Is Jesus saying that inaction is wicked?  Yes, I believe so.  In other words, if you do nothing with your talents… if you hide them in the ground and hoard them, you are choosing to be wicked, lazy, and worthless.  You are supposed to invest what you’ve been given.  Don’t be lazy.

Another clue is how the first two servants are praised.  The master praises them for being “faithful.”  Very interesting.  It would have been different if the master praised them for being shrewd or effective or profitable.  But the praise is given for their faith, not for their results.

Given the language (and hopefully my points still work with non-English versions of this scripture), I conclude that if one of the servants had invested money and lost some or all of it, they would still have been praised for their faithfulness.  However, given that Jesus doesn’t directly address this condition in the parable, he may also be suggesting that faith itself is the path to success — a common theme in his other teachings.  So perhaps if you use your talents faithfully, you aren’t really going to lose.

Another notable quality of the parable is the lack of competition.  The servants aren’t competing with each other for their master’s favor.  It’s not a zero-sum game.  The first two servants both contribute something of value to their master’s estate.

What’s the ultimate reward for the faithful servants?  Although Jesus doesn’t explicitly say it, it seems obvious they don’t get to keep the money.  The two successful servants aren’t even working for their own increase.  It’s not their money.  They’re working for the increase of their master, and they share in the increase to his estate.  Their true reward is to share in their master’s happiness.  So happiness is the reward, and happiness comes from serving others.

I know from experience that if I undertake some action to create increase only for myself, there’s very little energy to it, and it doesn’t usually increase my happiness.  But if I focus on creating increase for others (such as by helping people grow), then I feel great joy in doing that, and it ultimately creates increase for me too.

But there’s more to it than that.  Happiness is a quality that I inject into my work, not something I derive from it.  When I work only for myself, I’m looking for happiness outside myself.  Trying to achieve happiness that way doesn’t work.  But when I work for others’ benefit and turn off WIIFM for a while (What’s In It For Me?), I tap into the deep wells of happiness that are already inside me.  Instead of trying to achieve happiness, I happily achieve.  Happiness flows outward from me and into the work I do, so I experience it as an outflow, not an inflow.

Happiness is something you exhale, not something you inhale.  Are you one of those people who must say, “Yes, Senator, I had a supply of happiness in my gut, but I did not exhale?”

As Jesus implies in The Parable of the Talents, creating abundance requires you to move beyond fear.  If you’re too fearful or suspicious or distrustful, you’re going to bury your talents.  And this leads to “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” i.e. sorrow and depression.

You might think that fear and suspicion will keep you out of trouble, but really they’ll just cause you suffering and pain.  You don’t need fear to avoid being a gullible idiot; for that you just need common sense.  To live a life of abundance, you must ultimately move beyond fear and work to create abundance for others.  Otherwise you’ll ultimately be cast out as worthless.  Jesus doesn’t pull any punches here, youse bums.

Serve to create increase for others, and happiness is your reward.  Bury your talents, and you get “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  The choice is yours.

A Value-Centered Focus

How do you know if you’re creating and delivering real value?

Ask yourself these questions: If you stopped doing what you do, who would care? Who would object loudly? Who would revolt?

If you’re creating and delivering genuine value, and you suddenly stop, people will notice. People will definitely care. Your contribution will be seriously missed. There will practically be rioting in the streets.

Such people may not even credit the value to you directly, especially if your contribution remains somewhat anonymous, but they’ll soon detect that something important is missing from their lives. Even if they don’t know your name, the removal of your ongoing value creation and delivery will have a definite effect.

If, however, hardly anyone cares that you stopped, that should tell you something. It means that people just didn’t value your creative output… not really. What you were doing was either unnecessary or easily replaced. You weren’t yet living as a conscious, self-actualized human being. You held back from shining as brightly as you could have.

You have a choice of whether or not you want this to be your fate. You may have been conditioned from a young age to view your life path in terms of getting a job and making money. Go ahead and live that way for a few years if you think it’s intelligent. You’ll soon see what a pointless, soulless dead-end it really is.

When you finally begin to hear that subtle inner voice screaming at you, “This is just so wrong,” realize that it’s still possible to live a life of fun, freedom, and fulfillment — and still make plenty of money and not starve. But in order to get there, you have to focus on doing what really matters. You must clear your head of all that socially conditioned nonsense and stop doing what everyone else is doing.

Start living as a conscious human being, not a mindless minion. Focus on expressing your child-like creativity on a daily basis. Stop thinking so much about making money, and focus on connecting with people and sharing your creations with them instead.

Create and deliver. Create and deliver.

The correct focus for financial abundance is so simple it’s ridiculous. You learned it in kindergarten.

You: “Hey, look at this picture I made!” (Value created)

Adult: “Wow. That’s awesome! You made my day!”  (Value received)

My five-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter pretty much have it figured out. If they just keep doing what they naturally like to do, they’ll be able to enjoy financial abundance as adults too.

My job as a parent isn’t so much to teach them something new in this area — it’s to prevent them from being brainwashed into thinking like everyone else.

It doesn’t matter whether or not my writing generates income for me. I don’t think about it like that. I just know that if I keep creating and delivering value, I’ll continue to enjoy financial abundance, and I’ll feel really good too. Money is basically a non-entity. It doesn’t motivate action, nor does it serve as a reward. It’s just something that recedes into the background while real life is unfolding.

I’d love for you to be able to enjoy similar benefits if this is something that appeals to you. It all starts with the choice of where you focus your attention. The more you pursue your own creative self-expression, the less you’ll have to fuss over money.

The irony is that this is probably what you tell yourself you’ll do when you finally have enough money, but that sort of thinking is a trap that will only keep you stuck. The way you would live if/when you’re enjoying financial abundance, start living that way now, for that’s the very strategy that will produce the abundance you seek. And when you begin to experience financial abundance, you’ll realize that you never needed it to begin with. You just needed the courage to start expressing the real you under the conditions you find yourself in this very moment.

Talk to the Simulator Directly

Speak aloud to your reality – to the simulator itself. Assume it’s always listening.

Look up at the ceiling, and voice your intentions aloud as verbal commands.

Bring me an extra $20,000… just for fun.

Bring me a new relationship partner who gives great massages.

Bring me a free trip to Paris.

Another effective variation is to declare your desires as already real.

Hey… an extra $20,000 just showed up. I love how that keeps happening!

Thank you for that awesome massage. It feels so good!

Oh how delightful… I’m going to Paris again for free. Merci!

Don’t ask the simulator for what you want. Don’t beg. Be the creator.

At the same time, don’t resist your present reality, which is like slamming the brakes on your positive intentions. Resisting reality yields a resistant vibe, and a resistant vibe will broadcast resistance towards your positive intentions too.

What you want to create is an accepting vibe with respect to what already exists. Surrender to your current reality, no matter how undesirable it may seem. Your present reality is here now, so it’s real. Don’t resist its existence since that will only disempower you, like pushing against a boulder that won’t budge.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to resist your resistance either. When you notice yourself feeling resistant, surrender to that as well. Such a feeling is also part of your present reality, so it too is real. Resisting what’s real won’t help you create what you want.

To create what you want, surrender to what has already been created. If you catch yourself feeling resistant, forgive yourself for harboring such feelings.

Keep forgiving yourself, and keep surrendering to what is. This will help you free up blocked energy and get it flowing again; then you can redirect that energy with positive intent.

Detach From Specific Outcomes

A common manifestation mistake is succumbing to attachment regarding specific outcomes. Trying to manifest a specific relationship partner (such as someone you already know), a singular job promotion, or a narrow set of results is a trap. Such attachment to specific outcomes ultimately stems from fear – the fear that if your target outcome falls through, then maybe there won’t be anything better.

Don’t be clingy or needy with regard to specific outcomes. This restricts the flow of energy. This one mistake is enough to block your intentions from manifesting.

Your task is to hold the intention and to harness the matching vibe. Then relax and stay detached. Let the universe determine how that shows up.

Your intention is an energy signature. The reason to do visualization is to help you lock onto and create that matching energy signature. Don’t get hung up on the specific outcome as an end unto itself though. Realize that what you’re really inviting is a new reality that matches your new energy signature. If you get caught up on the specifics, you’ll most likely lose the energy signature because you’ll be weaving in some neediness and attachment into your vibe. That’s a trap you’ll want to avoid.

The universe may bring you what you expect. But often it will bring you something different than what you expected in terms of the exact specifics.

You may manifest a different relationship partner, a different income stream, or a different opportunity than the one you initially expected.

It’s okay to expect your intention to show up, but be flexible with your expectations. Expect the universe to bring you a reality that matches your vibe. Don’t expect the universe to bring you an outcome that you’re trying to manifest from a vibe of attachment and clinginess because that’s the vibe of lack. The vibe of needing a specific outcome is congruent with not having that outcome. So only use the vibe of neediness if you want to slow yourself down.

Your Desired Reality: Release Partial Matches 

Beware the partial match of your desired reality. A partial match is about 50-70% of what you actually want to experience, but it lacks the ability to achieve 80-100% alignment. When a partial match shows up, acknowledge it as a good step in the right direction, and appreciate it for what it is. Then release it and move on.

Partial matches are potential traps. They’ll seduce you with the false impression that they’ll someday become 80-100% of what you want, but a partial match will repeatedly leave you with significantly less than you desire. If you say yes to a partial match and become fixated on it, then you’re shifting your vibe to match its frequency and losing sight of your greater desire. If you settle for less than you want, you’re settling for something you don’t actually want. Do your best to realize that a partial match is a non-match.

Partial matches often show up as potentially lucrative work projects that require you to do work you don’t enjoy. They show up as relationships that feel more draining than energizing, even though they might have many appealing qualities at first glance. Partial matches are the empty calories of manifestation.

Partial matches do serve a purpose though. They help you explore the possibility space around your desire and gain more clarity about what you really want. They’re part of the manifestation process. A partial match shows up as your vibe begins shifting in a new direction.

In the long run though, be careful not to settle for the shadow of your desire. Keep affirming the complete desire in terms of the vibe you actually want to experience.

If you suspect you’re stuck with a partial match instead of your genuine desire, you’re right – that’s a partial match.

Releasing partial matches can be very difficult. They frequently show up as local maxima, so it will often appear that if you release them and move on, your reality will get worse before it can get better. Usually this perception is a bit of an illusion though. When people do release partial matches, they usually feel immediate relief as their vibes rebound, which puts them in range of better matches more quickly than anticipated.

Practice Creative Observation

Recognize that all observation is biased. There’s no such thing as a completely neutral and unbiased human observer – that’s pure fiction.

You’re a subjective being with your own point of view, and there’s no getting around that. So if you’re going to be biased anyway when observing your reality, go ahead and deliberately slant your bias to favor your intentions.

What’s the alternative anyway? You can’t avoid bias, so you’re either biased towards your intentions or away from them. If you don’t deliberately bias yourself in the positive direction, you’re at risk of drifting into negative bias, which means you’d be inviting some degree of self-sabotage. So if you must act out a self-fulfilling prophecy, then lean in the direction of fulfilling a prophecy you like, as opposed to fulfilling one you dislike.

What if you take this too far? Wouldn’t it be even riskier to overdo this and succumb to self-delusion by pretending that your life is all roses when it really isn’t? My answer to that is: Not really… not if you approach this intelligently.

When you apply creative observation correctly, you’re still acknowledging observable reality and surrendering to what is. You’re not denying what already exists. It’s the denial of what’s already present that gets you into trouble. Denial is what puts you squarely in the realm of self-delusion.

So don’t try to deny what’s already present.

Instead, you must say “Yes, and …” to what’s already present. Surrender to what is, and use your creativity to imagine a desirable future trajectory.

Project a positive momentum onto your present reality. Use your creativity to see your reality shifting in the direction you’d like it to go. Intend improvement. Intend positive change. See this change happening in your mind’s eye. Create the vibe associated with this change, just like how you might anticipate an enjoyable weekend coming up while you’re still at work on Friday.

When you’re surfing a wave of energy, you don’t control the wave. That part is out of your control. But you can control how you use the surfboard that’s riding the wave. To deny the wave’s existence would be foolish. But you can still consciously imagine where you want your surfboard to go, and this will help your body align with your intended reality. That’s creative observation.