Being a product of two strong dads allowed me the luxury of observing the effects different thoughts have on one’s life. I noticed that people really do shape their lives through their thoughts.
For example, my poor dad always said, “I’ll never be rich.” And that prophecy became reality. My rich dad, on the other hand, always referred to himself as rich. He would say things like, “I’m a rich man, and rich people don’t do this.” Even when he was flat broke after a major financial setback, he continued to refer to himself as a rich man. He would cover himself by saying, “There is a difference between being poor and being broke. Broke is temporary. Poor is eternal.”
My poor dad would say, “I’m not interested in money,” or “Money doesn’t matter.” My rich dad always said, “Money is power.”
Although both men had tremendous respect for education and learning, they disagreed about what they thought was important to learn. One wanted me to study hard, earn a degree, and get a good job to earn money. He wanted me to study to become a professional, an attorney or an accountant, and to go to business school for my MBA. The other encouraged me to study to be rich, to understand how money works, and to learn how to have it work for me. “I don’t work for money!” were words he would repeat over and over. “Money works for me!”
At the age of nine, I decided to listen to and learn from my rich dad about money. In doing so, I chose not to listen to my poor dad, even though he was the one with all the college degrees.
The next morning, I told my best friend, Mike, what my dad had said. As best as I could tell, Mike and I were the only poor kids in this school. Mike was also in this school by a twist of fate. Someone had drawn a jog in the line for the school district, and we wound up in school with the rich kids. We weren’t really poor, but we felt as if we were because all the other boys had new baseball gloves, new bicycles, new everything.
Mom and Dad provided us with the basics, like food, shelter, and clothes. But that was about it. My dad used to say, “If you want something, work for it.” We wanted things, but there was not much work available for nine-year-old boys.
“So what do we do to make money?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “But do you want to be my partner?” He agreed, and so on that Saturday morning, Mike became my
first business partner. We spent all morning coming up with ideas
on how to make money. Occasionally we talked about all the “cool guys” at Jimmy’s beach house having fun. It hurt a little, but that hurt was good, because it inspired us to keep thinking of a way to make money. Finally, that afternoon, a bolt of lightning struck. It was an idea Mike got from a science book he had read. Excitedly, we shook hands, and the partnership now had a business.