The Battle For Your Child’s Mind
The world is an exciting and ever-changing place. This means new challenges, and opportunities, all the time.
Preparing a child for the world of tomorrow is one of the most important roles a parent plays in a child’s life. And it can be a daunting one. Taking on that challenge starts with understanding that our thoughts and actions—what we put into our brains and how we act on that information—needs to change as our world changes.
The ﬁrst step in making changes in our lives starts with a change, a shift in context, in the way we look at things, and the ﬁlters we use to process information and experiences. We often see the imagery of a caterpillar changing into a butterﬂy used to illustrate change. It’s a good visual because change is a process, and what we become in the process is as important and powerful as how we emerge.
By learning to transform ordinary income into passive and portfolio income you will have the key to unlocking your future—and your child’s future.
The Difference Between Content vs. Context
Merriam-Webster defines context as “the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs.”
It defines content as “a part, element, or complex of parts.”
Simply put, context is the frame by which we see reality, and content is the bits of information (i.e., experiences, thoughts, words, actions, etc.) that fill up our context. In my experience, those that are rich focus on context. Those who struggle financially focus on content.
To help illustrate, I want to use the metaphor of a bowl of fruit. For purposes of this lesson, the fruit represents the content. The bowl itself represents the context.
Traditional Education Values Content
Traditional education views content as king: reading, writing, and arithmetic—these are the most important things to teachers and the school system.
My teachers continually told me you have to be good at reading, writing, and math. Every time I objected, saying, “Why am I studying this?” their answers were uniformly the same, “If you don’t get a good education, you won’t get a good job.” That was their context, but they were trying to also make it my context.
Unfortunately, many children have their context changed for the worse because well-meaning, but ignorant, adults assume their context is the only context. They then force-feed massive amounts of content related to their context to these children.
I’ve grown to understand that my teachers’ responses demonstrated a lack of concern for my context. They assumed I wanted to be an employee. They valued their content over my context. They assumed everyone’s context required their content. I did not, and I’m sure many others didn’t as well.
Context, Not Content, Is King
While traditional education views content as king, it actually is not. Context is king. Context holds the content. Contexts can be visible, invisible, human, or non-human. Context is rich in meaning for people. Context determines the course of your life.
A person’s context includes:
A poor person’s context is seen in their words:
- “I’ll never be rich.”
- “Money is the root of all evil.”
- “I’d rather be happy than rich.”
- “The government should take care of people.”
- “Spend it if you got it.”
The reason many people are poor is that they have a poor context. In most cases, more money will not make a poor person rich. In many cases, giving a poor person money keeps them poor longer, often forever.
This is the reason why so many lottery winners are soon broke. They grew up with a poor context, and thus content that did not prepare them for handling money, they blow through it on things like cars, houses, and clothes.
Context Sets The Priority For Your Content
Notice the shift in priorities, values, and words that communicate a middle-class person’s context:
- “I must get a good education.”
- “I need a high-paying job.”
- “I want a nice house in a nice neighborhood.”
- “Job security is very important.”
- “How much vacation time do I have?”
- “Investing is risky.”
People with a middle-class context typically don’t get rich. For their whole life, the content they were given was that they needed to go to school, get a good job, buy a nice house, and invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
Every action they take is to reinforce this lifestyle. Many go deeper in debt to “keep up with the Joneses.” Instead of investing, people with a middle-class context just consume more.
They buy a bigger house, take nice vacations, drive expensive cars, and spend money on higher education. They like the idea of being rich and they want to look rich, but they don’t have the context or the content to know how to actually become rich.
Since most people buy on credit, they often find themselves getting deeper in debt—bad debt, consumer debt—rather than getting richer.
Context Is Hard To Change
Many people have a very hard time changing their context. This is because context has rich meaning for people.
Often people mistake their context for their identity because they were taught it by people they loved. It is made up of some of the earliest and most fundamental lessons we learn in life. Changing your context can often feel like changing the very core of who you are—and in some ways that’s true.
When people with a middle-class context hear, “ There is good debt and bad debt,” their context closes. All they know is that debt is bad and that it makes them poorer. Most cannot grasp the idea of good debt, the kind of debt that can make them richer.
For many of these people, it is best that they simply follow the advice of those who counsel, “Cut up your credit cards and get completely out of debt.” That is the content that their context can handle.
When it comes to investing, most middle-class people have the context that “investing is risky.” That is because most invest in traditional education for college degrees, but fail to invest in financial education.
The Context Of The Rich
The rich have a very different context than the poor and the middle-class. Examples of statements that reflect a rich person’s context might include:
- “I must be rich.”
- “I own my own business, and my work is my life.”
- “Freedom is more important than security.”
- “I take on challenges so I can learn more.”
- “I want to find out how far I can go in life.”
Most of these people are true capitalists. Where the poor or the middle-class might see scarcity, they see abundance and opportunity. They know how to use OPT, Other People’s Talents, and OPM, Other People’s Money, in order to get rich.
They do not think, how can I do this myself, but rather how can I use the talents and money of others to get rich. They do not see investing as risky and in fact, see being an employee as much riskier than investing.
So, for instance, when a middle-class person puts their savings or retirement fund into a bank, the banker lends that money to the capitalist.
This is why my rich dad said, “Context is more important than content.”
A Context-Rich Education Provides Better Content
One reason I had a tough time in school was that I had no plans to be an employee. I wanted to be an employer, an entrepreneur. Every time a teacher attempted to motivate me with, “If you don’t get good grades, you won’t get a good job,” I checked out. My mind just shut off.
By the time I was twelve, I had been working with rich dad for three years. I no longer had the context of an employee.
The statement, “You won’t get a good job,” worked on my classmates who wanted to be employees. It did not work on me. My context helped me to seek out better content for me. By working with my rich dad, I got the content my context needed to thrive.
The lesson is this: “Context determines content.” If you want your children to be better off than you are—if you want them to be rich—then you must find a way to not only change your context but also change the context of your children and their content. You must give them a context-rich education that changes what they find their meaning in.
Today, ask yourself, what is my context? Am I happy with my context? Or do I want it to change? If you want to be rich, you must have a rich person’s context. Same for your children.
And that starts with learning what the rich know about money—their financial education.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily