Characteristics Of FAKE Teachers
My book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, is a story about two teachers—two great teachers. My dad, my poor dad, was a straight-A student in high school and his class valedictorian. He completed a four-year undergraduate program, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in two years from the University of Hawaii. He then went on to Stanford University, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University for his advanced studies, ultimately earning his Ph.D. in education.
My rich dad never completed high school. His dad passed away when he was 13 years old, and he took over the family business. In spite of his lack of formal education, he grew the business into a statewide hotel and restaurant operation.
I now had two dads to listen to. My poor dad suggested I get a master’s and my Ph.D. My rich dad suggested taking real estate courses.
At that time, I listened to my poor dad and signed up for the MBA program. All I had to do was go to his oﬃce and sign up. The Marines did not have real estate investment courses, so I had to search for those courses on my own. The Marines had stock market investment classes, but no real estate classes. I wanted real estate courses because I wanted to learn to use debt as money.
In less than two months, I was enrolled at the University of Hawaii’s MBA program. Twice a week at night and all day on Saturday, I would ﬁnish ﬂying and go back to school.
In the classroom, I was not enjoying the MBA program. I felt like I was back in high school. One night, my frustration hit a boiling point.
“Have you ever been a real accountant?” I asked the accounting teacher.
“Yes,” he replied. “I have a degree in accounting.”
“That is not what I am asking you,” I said tersely. “I know you have a degree in accounting, but have you ever been a real accountant… in the real world?”
After an extended pause, the teacher admitted, “No, I haven’t. I am a graduate assistant. I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. I am going for my master’s.”
“I can tell,” I replied.
“Are you an accountant?” the teacher asked me.
“No, I’m not,” I replied.
“So why did you ask me if I am a real accountant?”
“Because I can tell you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re teaching from a textbook, not real life.”
How to Tell the Difference Between Real Teachers and Fake Teachers
Real teachers have made mistakes. Fake teachers have not. Fake teachers teach via lectures and books. Real-life is a classroom. Real teachers teach from real-life experience, from their mistakes, and encourage you to do the same.
When trying to determine if the education you’re receiving is good or bad, it’s best to start by looking at who is teaching it and what their purpose is for giving it to you.
- Who: Does this person have experience doing what you want to do? Do they know what they’re talking about? Do their actions match their words? Just because your Uncle Bob talks a big game, doesn’t mean he has the expertise to back it up. But, your neighbor who you never knew ran a successful Amazon store, might be a great person to listen to.
- Why: Of course, their experience is not the only thing you need to consider when vetting your sources. Looking at the person’s intentions is also helpful. They might have many reasons for giving you advice. Maybe they’re looking to intimidate you or impress you with their confidence. More often than not, they are trying to sell you something. Either way, not everyone has your best interests at heart when they offer advice.
When you listen to a “teacher,” make sure the person giving it genuinely cares for you and your success. Their ego or wallet should not come into play at all, rather they should be motivated by a desire to see you succeed.
Mistakes Are Your Best Real Teachers
One big piece of advice from my rich dad was, “You cannot know what you do now know.” In other words, be very aware of the mistakes you will be making.
Things were going ﬁne in my ﬁrst business, my nylon and Velcro® surfer wallet business. The problem was, as it is in most start-ups, money was going out and nothing was coming in.
There were production problems after production problems.
Legal problems after legal problems.
Employee problems after employee problems.
Cash ﬂow problems after cash ﬂow problems.
Problems most of my employees are not aware of.
I went to my rich dad to borrow $100,000. He threw me out of his office, calling my business partners “clowns.”
After convincing my poor dad that the nylon wallet business was set to take off, he took a second mortgage on his house and loaned the business the $100,000. Happy to have bought us some time, I took the check to Stanley, our CFO, one of the business’s three employees. I remember asking Stanley, “Will this $100,000 solve the problem?”
Stanley smiled and nodded. Three days later, Stanley had cleaned out his desk and was gone—with the $100,000.
The $100,000 had solved the problem… his problem. He repaid himself the money he had loaned the company.
Even after launching a number of successful new products, including one product that was the #1 product in the sporting goods industry in 1978, the company eventually folded. And I was left with my dad’s $100,000 loan to pay back.
A $100,000 loss at the time was the biggest in my life. I wish I could say $100,000 was my biggest mistake, but there were bigger, more expensive mistakes coming.
A Painful, Horrible, and Miserable Lesson
Stanley turned out to be a crook, yet he helped me become a rich man.
It took nearly 10 years to pay back the money Stanley stole.
I often think a book on all my screw-ups would be the best, most beneﬁcial book I could write. It would be a giant, multi volume set of books.
But my mistakes are my mistakes.
Your mistakes are your mistakes.
In other words, my mistakes are customized to me.
Your mistakes are customized just for you.
The most important thing I can do is encourage you to make your own mistakes and learn from them, mistakes are your best teacher.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily