Blog | Personal Finance

It’s Easy To Do What Successful People Do

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Why being is more important than doing

Doing what successful people do is easy. One of the reasons there are so many wealthy people who didn't do well in school is because the "to-do" part of becoming wealthy is simple. You don't have to go to school to become rich. The "to-do" part of becoming rich is definitely not rocket science.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a classic book I read when I was younger. I recommend that you read it as well. There's a reason why the book starts with "think" in the title instead of "work hard" or "get a job." The fact is that the people who simply work the hardest are not the ones who become financially free. Instead, you must learn to think differently than others, to not go along with the crowd.

In my opinion, one of the greatest assets that successful people have is that they think differently than everyone else. This is because if you think like everyone else does, then you'll have what everyone else has. And for most people, what they have is years of hard work, unfair taxes, and a lifetime of debt.

It's not what you do that matters

When someone asks me, "What do I have to do to move from the left side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant [the employee and self-employed side] to the right side [the business owner and investor side]?" my response is, "It's not what you do that has to change. It's how you think that needs to change." In other words, the key lies in who you are in order to do what needs to be done.

For instance, when I was young, I learned about money and wealth by playing Monopoly with my rich dad. He taught me that the key to winning in the game was to buy four green houses and trade them up for a red hotel. That is also the formula for wealth in real life, and Kim and I have used it to grow our wealth.

When I tell people that, they smirk. Surely it can't be that easy, right? It all depends on you. Do you want to be the kind of person who thinks buying four green houses and turning them in for one red hotel is easy? Or do you want to be the kind of person who thinks it's hard?

Be, then do

In the 1970's, I took a goal-setting class. It cost me $150 (and my weekend). I couldn't believe I was spending so much. Many times I almost backed out to go surfing instead, but thankfully I didn't. What I learned from that goal-setting class has helped me achieve what I wanted in life.

At the beginning of class, the instructor put these words up on the board:




She explained, "Goals are the 'have' part of these three words: goals such as have a nice body, be in a perfect relationship, or have millions of dollars. Once people figure out their goals, what they want to have, they begin listing what they have to do in order to achieve the goal. That's why most people have to-do lists. They set their goal and then begin doing—that's also when they begin failing."

Using the goal of the perfect body, the instructor talked about the approach most people take: to go on a diet and hit the gym. "This lasts for a few weeks," the instructor said, "and then most are back to their old habits. That is an example of doing instead of being."

She finished with a powerful line, "It's not the diet that counts. It's who you have to be to follow the diet that counts."

A new way of being

Moving from the left side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant to the right side is not so much about doing but about being. It's not what those who own businesses or invest successfully do that make the difference; it's how they think and who they are at the core of their being.

The good news is that it doesn't take much money to change your thinking. In fact, it can be done for free. The bad news is that sometimes it's hard to change your core beliefs about money that are handed down from generation to generation, or learned from friends, work, and school. But it can be done.

Rich Dad is not about giving you a how-to list. It's never been about which stocks to buy or which mutual fund is the safest. For us, successful financial education teaches you not what to do, but instead how to be.

Since our start, we've always been about your thoughts (being) so that you can take action (doing) that will enable you to become financially free (having).

Original publish date: November 12, 2013

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