People often talk about a scam as a con. Con is short for confidence. A con man can only dupe you if you put your confidence in him. When I talk about Rich Dad Scams, the scams designed by the rich to keep you poor, one of the hardest things to get past is that so many of us have been taught to believe with conviction and confidence that these scams are true. And the conning started so young that we never had a chance to think differently.
That’s the difference between thinking like my poor dad, who did what he was told and died poor, and thinking like my rich dad, who was financially educated and grew rich based on his knowledge of how money worked.
This post is about one of the biggest, most-ingrained Rich Dad Scams: If you work hard, you will be rewarded.
Don’t work hard
My poor dad worked hard all his life. He went to school because he was told to. He got a job because he was taught that was what you have to do. He worked hard because that was what he was supposed to do. Yet, he struggled financially his whole life, and often he was not happy.
When it came to working hard, my rich dad like a story from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom runs a con job on the kids in his neighborhood. His job is to paint a fence, and he makes it look like so much fun that all the other kids offer to pay him to do the work.
Rich dad said, “Rather than work hard, I work smart. Smart work is getting others to not only do but also want to do hard work for you. And smart work is also getting money to work for you, not the other way around.”
Why hard work doesn’t work
It seems like a simple math equation: effort=reward. You work hard, you earn more, you get more for your effort, and it seems like it should work. Once upon a time, it may have worked that way.
But now, there are two problems. One, as I wrote about in Rich Dad Scam #2, “Get a Job”, if you’re an employee, working harder may get you more money but it also means you’ll be taxed more. So working harder can actually result in you being punished financially. That’s why we created the Rich Dad Scams series, so that you can see them for the lies they are.
The second problem is that you’re working hard for something in particular: Money. And that money is worth less and less every day.
During the 21st century, average income after inflation has fallen. And continues to fall. If you’ve been working hard at your job for ten years, the money you’re making now is actually worth less than it was when you earned it. Practically speaking, that probably means you’re either making the same amount now as a few years ago, or maybe even making less! Rather than work hard for money, you should be working smart by having money work hard for you. That is what the rich do.
Every week most people just hold on until Friday because they hate their job. And when Sunday rolls around, they’re miserable because they know they have five days of work to look forward to.
It’s a lousy way to live, but it’s not the only way. We’ve just been trained to think it’s the only way.
I love my work, but I’m also never far from it. Like most entrepreneurs, I’m at it almost 24/7, but it doesn’t make me miserable—and it certainly doesn’t feel like work. It’s more like a game that I love to play. It’s challenging. It’s fun. It’s rewarding. If that sounds attractive to you, the first step to get there is recognizing “work hard” for the Rich Dad Scam that it is. Stop working hard for others and start working smart for yourself.