Beware the promises of shiny people

Have you ever wondered what is it that causes some people to be successful and other people to constantly have dramas, problems and business deals that go wrong?

You are doing everything correctly yet things are going wrong. Why is it? What is going wrong?

There I was at a birthday party enjoying the company of some absolutely fantastic people when John (not his real name), a good friend of mine, quietly draws me aside with the words “Could I have a quiet word with you?”

Now when people want quiet words with me, it is never good news. News that I want to hear like, “everyone loves your clothes,” or “you see that cute lady over there? Well, she’s told me that she really likes you,” or “you’re so special to us that we’re going to give you a special award tonight.”

No! The quiet word is normally about some part of my behaviour someone has found offensive or about an issue they’ve been having. In this case, it was a problem that had suddenly happened to my friend.

The situation

anger, sadness

He was almost in tears and totally freaked out over a situation. In this situation, he had received an unexpected invoice for £84,000 and did not know what to do about it. My friend felt betrayed by the person who’d sent the invoice, as the original quotation for the work had been £38,000. John and I had a long chat and I said that I would think about the situation and get back to him.

That night I went to bed happy. Having a had a great time at the party, I also had a fab sleep. Sometimes at night before I go to sleep I give my subconscious a problem to work on. This was one of those nights. The problem was this:

Why does John always seem to get involved in bad deals?!

Now you have to understand that John is a great person. He adds value to so many people around him. He has worked for months on charities in other countries. In many senses, he is a giver and by all accounts, John should be rolling around in abundance.

Anyone involved in bad deal after bad deal means that there is a pattern. If you believe in the law of attraction, you might say that there is something that John is doing that is causing the attraction of bad deals.

The next day I awoke and suddenly had one of those eureka moments. You know the moment where suddenly all the lights go on in your head and you get some new fab insight into a situation or person? This waking moment was one of them!

The revelation

light bulb, decisions, career, success

I thought and thought about this new revelation and could hardly wait until the day was over to call John and let him know I’d figured out what had been causing him a decade of bad business deals. So I rang him up.

John said “I’ve figured it out too. It’s because I don’t stand up to people. I need to be more assertive.”

“No,” I sighed. “If you have to be assertive with people, they are the wrong people to do business with. Business is easy. You should never have to deal with people that you have to be assertive with. If you have to stand up for yourself in a business deal, you have already chosen the wrong people to do business with.”

I continued, “If you have to stand up for yourself in a business deal, then you have chosen people who are not interested in WIN-WIN scenarios. The people you have chosen will be constantly looking at how they can make extra money out of you without your knowledge. If you have to constantly stand up to people you are in business with….well this doesn’t sound like fun!”

The right people to do business with… and the wrong

Car salesman, bonds, wealth, investment

This was John’s problem. He was constantly choosing the exciting, good-looking people to do business with. I remember one time when John was very excited about a person who had later betrayed him. “You must do business with this guy,” John had enthusiastically said.

“Why?” I asked in my normal dry emotionless manner.

“This guy has a great web-site. His office looks fantastic. You’ve got to meet him.” John exclaimed (almost as if he was a salesman for this person).

Skeptically, I visited this guy’s office and he had the flashiest office, an amazing website, and a great business chat. So, I took his business card as I needed some building work to be done and wanted to get some quotes on the work.

Now here’s where things got wacky. This guy never got back to me…on anything.

There was excuse after excuse. “My foreman is ill,” “I’ve just taken on a new large project,” “We’ve had no missed calls from you,” “I haven’t seen any email from you,” he would tell me time and time again. However, he always had time when it came to selling to me.

As a result, I later chose someone else to do the work. This person did not have a flashy office, no super fab website, no suit…nothing but a large car for his tools. However, this new person was straight forward. He was honest about his process, his quotes and if we made a meeting he was always there or would let me know if he was going to be late.

Fixing John

Doctor Who, success, wealth

While I was on the phone to John, I emphasised something else that I saw had happened at the party we were both at. “John,” I explained,  “what had woken me up to your self-destructive pattern is that you spent time with three girls at the party who nobody else would spend time with.”

These three girls, to some, would perhaps be the most physically attractive girls at the party, but had the most toxic personalities. John knew this. Yet John spent several hours listening to these girls’ negativity, complaining and a whole bunch of -isms, whilst others at the party spent time with people who had great stories and experiences to share. Hardly anyone would really talk to these particular ladies.

After the party, John wailed how he wished he’d never spent so much time with these toxic ladies, about how he tried to help them with dating, with their friends, and their litany of other issues.

“Why?” I asked. “Why do you keep chatting with people who are very obviously toxic in their conversation?”

“I know! I know!” said John shaking his head.

“They spend most of their time being man haters. They choose terrible guys to go out with and then spread rubbish about how all men are bastards. Later when you try to help them these girls, even though they are degree educated, they come out with more rubbish about how the awesome things you share with them will never work.” I continued.

“I know! I know!” repeated John, “I think I just want to be liked.”

“Why do you want to be liked by toxic people?” I brutally asked. “My own perspective is that you go for the shiny people. The people who look great. The people who sell you on get rich quick stories. The people who sound and look good but rarely deliver anything of substance.”

Then I went quiet and said, “John, you have seen me acquire wealth over a period of time. I have often asked you to join me or invest in my businesses. You have never taken me up on my offer. You have always gone with these great looking guys with stories of doubling your money in a year. Maybe they could do this but you never knew who they were. You’ve never spent the amount of time you have with me. Each time you’ve invested with them and their big money stories you’ve lost money, ended up in court, and ended up depressed.”

We talked long and hard over the next few days. Today, I am helping John out of the financial problem he had with the guy with the shiny suit and fab website. John is going to a mediator and will no doubt lose some money and certainly have wasted time and resources.

Fixing myself

Maradona, success, self-sabotage

The story above is a true story from my life, I have changed names and several details to protect others from embarrassment. John is a good man. He has the seeds of awesomeness in him. Perhaps in his next business venture, John will learn to look past the shiny exterior of people and look at their hearts and values and finally be able to reach his financial freedom.

My publisher likes me to end my articles with summaries and points to learn. So here are a few from this story, many of these points are covered in our articles.

  1. No matter how wonderful or genuine someone may seem, be a little sceptical.
  2. Never rush to be in a partner with anyone. The more urgency they emphasise a decision should be made, the further you should run. There will be many more deals to come.
  3. Spend time getting to know potential people you think you would like to be in a business partnership with. These people could be potential business partners, builders, letting agents, media producers, personal assistants. You need to know what these people are like. You need to know their core values, their dreams, how they treat waiters and waitresses, beggars, how they treat people under pressure, how loyal, reliable and trustworthy these people are.
  4. Business partnerships should never be unfair or test your sense of fairness. If there is any inkling that you will need to stand up to potential business partners to have your voice heard, then you need to move on and choose a partner who is a better fit.
  5. Don’t waste your time with toxic people. Many other people will. You need to spend time with people who enjoy your input or who want to share and input into your life. You only have one life to live so make it count to the people who want to hear your voice. The rest are just resounding gongs.
  6. There is a phrase in business “Your network determines your net worth.” so make sure that the people in your network are givers, people with power who don’t need to display their power, people who are solid, honest, good people. Their backgrounds, their personal financial worth are irrelevant, the number of famous people they know is irrelevant. The only thing of importance is who they are as people.
  7. You will eventually become like the people you spend the most time with. If you spend time with toxic people, you will become more and more toxic. You will lose self-confidence, you will eventually dislike being with yourself so be good to yourself and spend your valuable time on this planet with the people who you can help and who can help you become better than you are today.
  8. If you can’t help but want to be with toxic people go get some therapy. Spend as much money as possible because if you don’t stop spending time with toxic people (these toxic people could be parents, brothers, sisters, close friends, so called knowledgeable people or admins who post on Facebook forums) your essence will die. Your dreams will never ever become a reality.

Finally not everything is under our control, but when certain destructive patterns are repeating themselves in your life, you can be sure there is a life pattern somewhere causing the same results to occur.

We’ve just created a community page act where you can interact with, share with, and get insights from other people on their own financial journeys on our Facebook Financial Freedom community page, also please share this article if you found it helpful.

For more financial mindset advice check out:



Previous article5 key lessons to balance your business and your life
Next articleHow I escaped the victim mentality trance