One of the most important lessons that Robert Kiyosaki teaches in his best-selling book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he tells us how important it is that we don’t work for money. If you’re like me, this instantly seems contradictory, but the more that I read the book and heard the lesson over and over, I too began to believe his message.
He starts the book off with a story how he had a reporter interview him, and when she talked about how she knew she was a great writer but couldn’t make it big, he had suggested that she also take some sales and marketing classes to learn how to push herself to that next level of awareness.
She was upset about his recommendation, but he stood by it, saying that most people “are one skill away from great wealth.” When you think hard about this, I totally agree.
Many of us have a bread and butter skill that we’re really, really good at, but if we could add one more skill to tie it together, then we would be so much better. This really applies to me personally as someone that had an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Professional Sales, and now I am going back to school for my MBA with a focus in Finance.
I think that I have a good sales and marketing basis, and I’ve learned that my true passion really is in the financial world, so I am going back to school to make me a more well-rounded person for my career.
This same concept applies in sports too – think about a baseball pitcher that might have a great fastball and change-up, but if they could just add a curveball or a slider, they’d be so much more dominant. Or, think about people on Shark Tank. Sometimes the Sharks will say that someone is a great entrepreneur but not a great businessperson or a salesperson. That person now has the following options:
- Hire someone to run the business or market & sell the product for them
- Continue to keep doing it themselves and likely let the business fail, despite having a great idea
- Educate themselves on how to be better at sales & marketing and then reap the rewards
One of those options sounds much, much better than the others…but it also takes more work. It just comes down to if you’re willing to work for it or not. Since you’re reading this article, I know that you are willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears!
Kiyosaki goes on to say that in school, we are taught to specialize and focus on one thing. I mean, it’s really the essence of picking a degree, right? I understand why we have to do this, but I emphasize the importance of adding a complimentary minor, second degree, or being open to the idea of going back for further schooling to continue developing your skillset.
Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad always told him that “you want to know a little bit about a lot.” This might seem backwards at first, but it gives you exposure to a lot of different areas that then allows you to be able to be more effective later.
The Importance of Exposure
My 8-5 job does this as well. Every 2-3 years you are moved into a new role with the company, giving you exposure to all different areas. The point isn’t to make you the best at your current job – it’s to make you the best manager once you get to that point in your career, and the best way to do that is to give you tons of exposure to all different groups, managers and coworkers, so you can draw on both the familiarity with the organization that you’re now managing as well as the experiences of the different coworkers and managers that you have had.
In short, experience is king.
Kiyosaki had a great job when he graduated college with Standard Oil company in California, but he quit in under a year to join the military. His Rich Dad had gained leadership in the military and he felt like that was the best way for him to do the same thing. His Rich Dad had always said that the hardest part of running a company was managing the people, so he wanted to learn how to do this the same way that his Rich Dad had learned.
His Poor Dad was very disappointed in his decision because he viewed it as a great job. The thing that his Poor Dad didn’t understand was the Kiyosaki didn’t want to work for money – he wanted to own his own business and let the money flow in. He told his Poor Dad that he was joining because he wanted to learn how to fly planes, but we know that was far from the truth.
A couple sayings that Kiyosaki made a point to note in this chapter were that “Job is an acronym for ‘Just Over Broke’” And that “workers work hard enough to not be fired, and owners pay just enough so that workers won’t quit.”
Not only does this demotivate me from wanting to ever have a ‘job’ but it also demotivated me from wanting to have employees that have ‘jobs.’ I now really think of the term ‘job’ as something that people feel like they have to do.
In my eyes, I think that you can work for someone and it not be a ‘job.’ You might truly love what you do and feel that it allows you to accomplish a lot of things, both at work and outside of it, so it’s very important to you.
Kiyosaki isn’t saying that everyone needs to have their own business because if that was the case, no business would actually ever work. There has to be people that are just there to do their job and go home, and I praise them for that.
I, like Kiyosaki, wanted to find a way to provide generational wealth for my family. The best way to do that is to make sure that I don’t work for money.
Kiyosaki encourages us to focus on what we want to do further down the road and focus on skills that are going to help us get to that point rather than chasing money or getting involved in the “rat race” that a lot of ourselves find us in.
Getting Out of the “Rat Race“
If you want to start your own business, try to gain experience through education and other professions that will help get you there. Take a job in a sales/marketing role, take a job in the industry that you want to be in, try to job shadow others and learn from other people that might think differently than you.
Find a mentor!
There’s a ton of things that you can do to help you get there, but the important thing is to make sure that you have a plan and a path for how you want to accomplish that plan.
So many of us will graduate high school or college and immediately chase the money. Chances are, you might’ve even chased the money before you even went to school! You likely picked your career partially because you like it but I’m sure that the earnings potential had something major to do with it as well.
If you’re going to get a ‘job’ then you should focus on the earnings potential, but if you’re focused on having your money work for you then you need to take advantage of every opportunity and learn as much as you can that’s going to lead you on a path for success.
I always seem to find myself relating personal finance with gym analogies, such as, how the best diet is the one that you’ll stick to, just like a budget! Eating chicken and veggies for every meal isn’t meant for everyone, and if you try it but don’t have the ability to stick to it, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s the same exact way with budgeting how if you try to cut out all spending and don’t leave anything in for fun, you might lose your mind and fall off the wagon sooner rather than later.
The reason that I talk about these analogies is because Kiyosaki has an analogy that related to the gym that just really, really hits home with me:
“But for those of you who might be on the fence when it comes to the idea of working to learn something new, I offer this word of encouragement: Life is much like going to the gym. The most painful part is deciding to go. Once you get past that, it’s easy. There have been many days I have dreaded going to the gym, but once I am there and in motion, it is a pleasure. After the workout is over, I am always glad I talked myself into going.”
Have truer words ever been spoken? No way!
I workout first thing in the morning, and I do that just so I can get it over with. I hate it so much, but I feel amazing for the entire day after knowing that I worked out. And on the contrary, when I skip it, that means the first thing that I did for that day was bail on myself and skip something, so now I have the guilt of just not doing it or having to do it after work, both of which just flat out suck!
Kiyosaki goes on later to say that the three most important skills for someone to be a successful manager are:
1 – Management of Cash Flow
2 – Management of Systems
3 – Management of People
All of these are things that can be taught through experiences and education. The key is to jump in, face the challenge head on and get going. None of these involve being the smartest person in the world, it’s quite simply just about making the move.
One time, Kiyosaki asked a group of his students who could make a better hamburger than McDonalds – almost all of them said yes, so he followed up and asked then why they wouldn’t make their own burger restaurant and why McDonalds was so successful. The short answer is that they didn’t want to make the jump and that McDonalds is about far more than just a burger.
They have a great system, they sit on great property, they have a great franchise system, they have loyal customers, they adapt well to trends in the market, and they’re extremely consistent across the entire world. The burgers are fine, but the systems and locations are what makes McDonalds such an amazing company.
Any one aspect of this business wouldn’t be enough to make McDonalds be such a successful company. It’s all of these that work in tandem with each other which is why they’re so successful.
The same can be said for you! Simply being a great numbers person, or a great salesman, great entrepreneur, great creative thinker, or any other great single skill isn’t enough. You need to keep developing your toolbelt, become a more skilled employee, and set yourself up for success in many different facets of life so you can be poised for success.
If you push yourself to learn as much as you can, about anything that you can, from any source of knowledge that you can find, you’re going to eventually find yourself ready to make that big move to finally be that Rich Dad that Kiyosaki tries to encourage us to be. If you can do that, then there’s only one thing left that you need to do…
Take the bull by the horns and do it! Make the jump!
Do what you have always wanted to do and start your own business. That first step is the hardest, but once you do, that ball is going to start rolling and the momentum is going to be so strong you won’t be able to stop – that’s how you make your money work for you. You’re going to become that Rich Dad (or Rich Mom) that Kiyosaki wants us to be, and then you will be able to setup your family for some legitimate generational wealth!