The Fight for Your Child’s Mind
Soon after Rich Kid Smart Kid, the fourth book in the Rich Dad series, was published, a review of the book appeared in a prominent newspaper.
Almost all of the media reporting on the Rich Dad series has been extremely favorable. They have been more than fair, as well as objective, in their reviews of my books.
This particular newspaper article on Rich Kid Smart Kid did not start the same way.
The journalist began the review with an attack on my inability to write. He more or less said that I needed to go back to school and take writing lessons. The irony is that I openly disclose in the book that I failed high school English twice because of my inability to write. Being labeled stupid and a failure at the age of fifteen because I was a poor writer was a very painful event in my life.
Since then I have never claimed to be a writer. Writing could be my weakest skill and the reason I had such a tough time in school.
Rich Kid Smart Kid is about finding and developing your child’s unique genius, as well as the need to develop their financial survival skills. So the journalist’s critique was not on content, but on my writing skills, the same problem I had all through school. The journalist ended the review by throwing out one comment he thought was favorable and would make the article balanced and objective.
He wrote, “This book will help your child be more employable.” Now, I found the criticism of my writing skills justified. But to put in his article that my book’s only socially redeeming factor was that it made your child more employable was so far off the mark that I became offended.
Rich Kid Smart Kid is not about making your child more employable. It is about making your child more unemployable.
The journalist couldn’t even comprehend that. He was living in a different reality.
My life’s work is to help people change their reality…
Perception is Reality
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Your perception is your reality.”
When asked, “Is it hard to change one’s reality?” I reply, “It depends.”
For me, it was a personal struggle to shed my poor dad’s reality of what he thought was the smart thing to do and adopt my rich dad’s ideas on what he thought was smart.
In many ways, changing one’s reality from a middle-class or poor reality to a rich reality may be like learning to eat with your left hand after you have spent years eating with your right. While it is not hard to do and anyone can do it if they persevere, it may not be the easiest thing to do either.
In other words, learning to shift from right-hand to left-hand dominance is more important than what kind of fork is being used
The fastest way to become rich is to change your realities faster. That may be easier said than done for most people. I’ve observed that most people would rather remain within the comfort of their realities, even if it is a reality of financial struggle and constriction.
Rich dad said, “Most people would rather live within their means than expand their means.”
He believed most people would rather be comfortable working hard all their lives than be uncomfortable for a few years, working hard at changing their realities, and taking the rest of their lives off.
Using the metaphor of switching from right hand to left hand, most people would rather be poor eating with their right hand than become rich by learning to eat with their left hand. In many ways, that’s what a change in mental reality requires.
Content Vs. Context
Webster’s Dictionary 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.
The current school system still struggles with giving kids better content rather than looking at how the Information Age has changed the context of the world we now live in.
Most school teachers are trying to create course content that will make your child more employable. That’s why the school system continues to focus on content rather than context.
The context of the world has changed. When my mom and dad were growing up in the Great Depression, the context was that jobs were scarce and job security was king. That’s why my mom and dad stressed the importance of good grades and a secure job. In my parents’ day, if you found a secure job with a good company, and you were loyal and hardworking, you were set for life.
The company was responsible for your financial security after you retired. But today, most people realize that the context of the rules of employment has been changed forever.
Content, Context, and Capacity
Although my rich dad didn’t use the words content and context very often, choosing instead to use the word reality, he did use the word capacity regularly. He would say, “Not only does a poor person have a poor reality, having a poor reality means that person has very little capacity to allow money to stay with them.”
He meant that when people say such things as “I’ll never be rich,” “I can’t afford it,” or “Investing is risky,” it diminishes their capacity to be rich.
“When a person with a poor or middle-class reality suddenly comes into money, they often do not have the mental and emotional capacity to handle the sudden abundance of money, so the money overflows and runs away,” he said. That’s why you so often hear people say, “Money just slips through my fingers.” Or “No matter how much I make, I’m short of money at the end of the month.” Or “I’ll invest when I have some extra money.”
Occasionally I’ll use the example my rich dad used to drive his message on context home to his son and me. Rich dad would take an empty water glass and then pour water from a full and large pitcher into the water glass. It would not be long before the water would overflow the smaller water glass and would continue to overflow as long as he poured. Rich dad would say, “There is plenty of money in the world. If you want to be rich, you need to first expand your reality [context] to hold on to your share of that abundance.”
I use this same graphic example to explain the relationship between content, context, and capacity. I first start pouring water in a one-ounce jigger, then a small water glass, and then a larger water glass. It is a simple demonstration to illustrate the differences of capacity to hold on to money between the poor, middle class, and rich.
How to Expand Your Context
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 asked, “How do I begin to expand my reality or context?” I reply with, “By watching your ideas.” I also remind people of one of rich dad’s favorite sayings, “Money is just an idea.”
My rich dad would have said it this way: “If you want a faster way to get rich, you need to have a mind open to new ideas and have the skills to take on possibilities greater than your current abilities. To do that, you must have a reality that can change, expand, and grow quickly. To try and get rich with a poor person’s reality or a reality that comes from lack and limitation is a mission impossible.”
Having a mind that can expand its reality or context quickly is an important form of leverage. It may be your most important form of leverage, especially in this rapidly changing world.
To rich dad, having a mind that could expand its reality quickly was very important. I believe it was his great personal skill and the reason for his ever-increasing financial success. Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I more fully appreciate why rich dad forbade his son and me from saying “I can’t afford it.”
In the coming years, your ability to change and expand your reality will be your single most important form of leverage. In the coming years, those who can change and expand their context will prosper and move ahead of those who cannot.
Play it smart,
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily