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Breaking the Money Addiction

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"Money is a drug." - Rich dad

When we were kids, rich dad didn't pay his son Mike and me for the work we did for him. Some people were upset about this because they thought he was being exploitive. But rich dad was really doing Mike and me a favor.

The main reason that rich dad refused to pay us while we worked for him was because he never wanted us to become addicted to working for money. "If you become addicted to money," he said, 'it's hard to break that addiction."

Money is a drug?

Rich dad called money a drug because he observed people who were happy when they had money and upset or moody when they didn't. Just as heroin addicts get high when they inject the drug, they also get moody and upset when they don't have it.

Rich dad also noted that people got comfortable with their dealers when it came to money and found it hard to trust other ways to make money. "Be careful of money's addictive power," he often said. "Once you get used to receiving it, that addiction keeps you attached to the way you got it."

Put another way, if you receive money as an employee, then you get accustomed to that way of acquiring it. If you get used to generating money by being self-employed, it's often difficult to break the attachment to earning money that way. And if you get used to government handouts, that too, is a hard pattern to break.

Break the addiction

Rich dad believed it was hard for people to learn how to move from being an employee (E) or a self-employed (S) person (the left side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant) to a business owner (B) or investor (I) (the right side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant) because it was hard to break addictions to the way we're used to earning our money.

"The hardest part about moving from the left side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant to the right side is the attachment you have to the way you are used to earning money," he said. "It's more than breaking a habit. It's breaking an addiction." That is why he never stressed to Mike and me to work for money, but instead encouraged us to change the way we think and focus on growing as people rather than earning money.

Know your patterns

The first step in breaking the addiction of money and the way you make it is to identify the patterns that have conditioned you. The real issue is the change you must go through internally and who you become in the process. For some, the process is easy. For others, it may be impossible.

For Kim and me, the hardest part in trying to become people who generate income in the B and I quadrants was that all of our past conditioning was holding us back. When we were really down and facing over $1 million in debt while trying to build a new business, it was tough when friends said, "Why are you doing this? Why don't you get a job?" It was even more difficult because there was a part of us that also wanted to go back to the security of a paycheck.

For us it was helpful to remind ourselves that this desire for safety in a job was really a default to our conditioning. The world of money is one large system, and we all operate in certain patterns within that system.

An E works for the system

An S is the system

A B creates, owns, and/or controls the system

An I invests money into the system

"When a person feels the need for money," rich dad said, "an E will look for a job, and S will do something alone, a B will create or buy a system that produces money, and an I will look for an opportunity to invest in an asset that produces more money."

Breaking your addiction to money and how you make it requires understanding these patterns and knowing how you operate when faced with fear.

Focus on your passion

Once you know the patterns of money and how you respond when you need money, the key to moving past your addiction to money and the way you make it is to focus on your passion rather than on making money. You must be more worried about keeping your dreams alive than your financial survival.

Fear often can push our passion to the wayside. It takes intention and courage to focus on your passion when you are afraid, but it is the only way forward. The alternative is simply to give up and default to your natural patterns. And change never happens that way.

Today, take stock of how you're living. Are you defaulting to patterns caused by your addiction to money? Or are you breaking your addictions and following your passion?

Original publish date: October 29, 2013

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