My Mentors In Life
I am often asked;
“What is the secret to your success?”)
“How did you write the number one personal ﬁnance book in history?”
“How did you get on the Oprah Winfrey Show?”
“How did you get to write two books with Donald Trump, now the president of the United States?”
“How did you survive the ups and downs of your life, the giant mistakes, the failures, the betrayals of friends and partners, the millions in losses and millions in gains?”
There really is no logical answer.
My only answer to you is the secret to my success had nothing to do with my formal education or what I learned in school.
You probably have heard that I grew up with two dads, a poor one and a rich one. One was highly educated and intelligent. He had a Ph.D. and completed four years of undergraduate work in less than two years. He then went on to Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University to do his advanced studies, all on full financial scholarships. The other father never finished the eighth grade.
Growing up with two contrasting points of view on money offered me a unique experience in learning that most people don’t have the luxury of having at an early age. If I had had only one dad, I would have had to accept or reject his advice. Instead of simply accepting or rejecting one or the other, I found myself thinking more, comparing, and then choosing for myself.
My rich dad and my poor dad saw the world in entirely different ways. If you boil it down, it came down to their mindset about money. I had to think about each dad’s advice, and in doing so, I gained valuable insight into the power and effect of one’s thoughts on one’s life.
My poor dad never seemed to be able to have enough money, even though he had a good salary because my poor dad saw a world of financial scarcity. When my poor dad wanted something that wasn’t part of the budget, he would deny himself that item, saying, “We can’t afford that.” When we kids wanted a special toy or to go on a trip, my poor dad would deny us that, saying, “We can’t afford that.” When my mother wanted a fancy dress, my poor dad would deny her that saying, “We can’t afford that.” My poor dad had a mindset of scarcity.
As a young boy, I noticed that my poor dad was poor, not because of the amount of money he earned, which was significant, but because of his thoughts and actions.
The problem with the phrases that my poor dad would use is that they killed your soul. There was no hope in phrases like, “We can’t afford that.”
Rich dad truly believed that the poor remained poor because that was the only world they knew. “Whatever your reality is about money inside of you will be the reality of money outside of you,” he said. “You cannot change your outside reality until you first change the way you view the world inside you.”
My rich dad saw a world of abundance. He would say things like, “Don’t let money be an excuse” and “How can we afford it?”
Rich dad would drive this lesson home by taking a coin out of his pocket and saying, “When a person says, ‘I can’t afford it,’ that person sees only one side of the coin. The moment you say, ‘How can I afford it?’ you begin to see the other side.”
Rich dad connected what he saw as some of the causes of scarcity to the effect it has on people’s attitudes. The interesting thing was the very values that people thought would help them actually, and paradoxically, created scarcity in their life.
Rich dad would say:
- The more security you need in your life the more scarcity there is in your life. That is why people pass up on opportunities to make their money work for them through investments and business. They are too afraid to take a risk.
- The more competitive you are the more scarcity there is in your life. That is why people compete for jobs and promotions at work and compete for grades in school.
I could see this at play in my two dads. My poor dad always encouraged me to play it safe and seek security. My rich dad encouraged me to develop my skills and be creative.
My two dads made a significant impact on how I viewed money, but the one who has made the most significant impact on my life and personal development is Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller. He was a scientist, an architect, a mathematician, and a futurist. He was best known for designing the geodesic dome but he also established many principles and theories that are still studied and used today.
In 1967, I was a 20-year-old student at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, in Kings Point, New York, when I hitchhiked all the way to Montreal, Canada, to Expo 67, the World’s Fair on the future. I was on a mission to see Dr. R Buckminster Fuller.
I was fascinated that he was one of the first people that systematically defined how you and I can see the future. And that really intrigued me, because if I could see the future, I could see the future of stock markets, bond markets, real estate markets, etc.. So I had a very small reason to want to be a futurist. It was all about greed to make money.
Then in 1981, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Fuller personally at a ski resort in Kirkwood, California. It was a week-long conference that changed the direction of my life. I realized he wasn’t looking at the future of the stock market; he was looking at the future of humanity.
After the conference, I continued to find ways to work with Dr. Fuller until his passing in 1983. In 1984, I met my beautiful wife, Kim, and we decided together that we wanted to continue to have Dr. Fuller as a mentor in our lives.
When Bucky said, “I do not work for me, I work for everyone,” and “Find out what god wants to be done and do it” I found my purpose in life. I was to make an impact in the lives of others the way Bucky had impacted my life.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily