The Zen of rich dad

Dear Reader,

It was the mid-1970s, and I really could not believe I was spending $150 and a beautiful Saturday and Sunday to take a class on goal setting.

I would rather have gone surfing. 

Instead, I was paying someone to teach me how to set goals. I nearly backed out several times. But it turned out what I learned from that class has helped me achieve what I want in life… including the freedom to spend a Monday surfing if I want. 

The instructor put up on the board these three one-word sentences:




She explained that goals are the “have” part of these three words: goals such as to have a nice body, or to have the perfect relationship, or to have millions of dollars. Once most people figure out their goal and what they want to have, they begin listing what they have to do to achieve the goal. 

That’s why most people have to-do lists. They set their goal and then begin doing.

After that weekend class on goal-setting, I realized that many people tried doing what they thought the rich did and tried having what the rich had. They would buy big houses and invest in the stock market because that’s what they thought the rich did. 

Yet what my rich dad was trying to tell me was that, if they still had the thoughts, beliefs, and ideas of a poor or middle-class person and did what the rich did, they would still wind up having what the poor and middle class have. 

“Be-Do-Have” distilled what my rich dad had been teaching all along. 

It began to make sense.

The CASHFLOW Quadrant Is About Being, Not Doing

Moving from the left side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant — the world where the employees and self-employed — to the right side of business owners (B) and investors (I) is not so much about doing, but about being. 

It’s not so much what the B or I does that makes the difference. It’s how they think and who they are at their core being. 

The good news is that it doesn’t cost much money to change your thinking. In fact, it can be done for free (don’t forget to check out my free online course if you haven’t yet!)

The bad news is that sometimes it’s hard to change your deep core beliefs about money that are handed down from generation to generation, or learned from friends, work, and school. 

But it can be done. 

A big part of being a human being is being human. And being human means having emotions. We all feel fear, sadness, anger, love, hate, disappointment, joy, happiness, and other emotions. What makes us individuals is how we handle those emotions.

When it comes to risking money, we all experience fear, even the rich. The difference is how we handle that fear. For many people, that emotion of fear generates thoughts like these that 

Play it safe. Don’t take risks.

For others, especially those on the right side, the fear of losing money makes them think: 

Play it smart. Learn to manage risk.

Same emotion, different thought: different being — different doing — different having.

What the rich do is relatively simple. It’s the “be” that is different. The difference is found in their thoughts and, more specifically, their internal dialogue. That’s why my rich dad forbade me from saying:

  • I can’t afford it.
  • I can’t do that.
  • Play it safe.
  • Don’t lose money.
  • What if you fail and never recover?
  • I’ll never be rich.
  • That idea will never work.
  • It’s too expensive for me.

If they are emotionally based thoughts, they are powerful. The good news is that they can be changed with the support of new friends, new ideas, and a little time.

I’ve met many professional people who are fearless when investing other people’s money and able to make lots of money. But when it comes to investing or risking their own money, their fear of losing becomes too strong, and they ultimately lose. Their emotions do the thinking rather than their logic.

I’ve also met people who can invest their money and win constantly, but lose their calm when someone asks them to invest money for them.

The making and losing of money is an emotional subject, so my rich dad gave me the secret to handling these emotions. Rich dad always said, “To be successful as an investor or a business owner, you have to be emotionally neutral to winning and losing. Winning and losing are just part of the game.”

Setting Yourself Up to Win

If you’re just starting out in entrepreneurship or investing and want to build long-term success, it’s especially important to experience a little success at the beginning, because:

#1  A little success builds confidence.

When you lose, especially on your first investment, then doubts can begin to creep in. Thoughts pop into your head such as, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this,” or “I don’t want to lose any more money,” or “Who am I kidding, I can’t do this!” It’s a lot easier and much more fun to move on to your second investment when you’ve had a win on your first.

Self-confidence is a magnificent byproduct of investing success. It is also a crucial ingredient to achieving your financial independence. The more your confidence builds from those early wins, the more willing you’ll be to trust your judgment when investing. And the more you trust yourself, the less fear will be a factor in your decision-making process. Those first investment wins set you up for a lifetime of success.

#2  A little success shuts down critics.

There are probably people around you who insist that investing is risky. They are the ones who can’t wait to cut out the articles about the couple who lost their life savings in the stock market or the looming real estate collapse — and they send those articles right to you!

These are the type of people who love to be right, who are waiting for you to fail. Then they sweep in to comfort you with, “There, there’s” or to scold you with “I told you so’s.” I can tell you from experience, there’s nothing sweeter than proving them wrong with a little success. After all, success is the best revenge.

#3  A little success is a lot of fun.

You want to make money, right? That’s the name of this game. I guarantee that as soon as you see that first bit of profit from your investment or business efforts, everything changes. The whole thing becomes a lot of fun. And having fun is how we should all be living our lives. 

Play it smart, 

Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

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Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki, author of bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as 25 others financial guide books, has spent his career working as a financial educator, entrepreneur, successful investor, real estate mogul, and motivational speaker, all while running the Rich Dad Company.

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