Rich Man, Poor Man . . .

I recently came across a list from T Harv Ecker’s book “The Millionaire Mind”

It’s a list of ’17 Different Ways Rich People Think Differently’ and the last item in the list struck a chord.

It says

“Rich people constantly learn and grow; Poor people think they already know”

That got me thinking about what I’ve ‘learnt’ over the past nearly 70 years.

For a start, just over half my life ago I realised that I didn’t ‘already know’ and ever since then I’ve been hungry to learn new things.

You see, between my late teens and my early thirties I really did think that ‘I knew it all’.

I’d been through the ‘process’

I’d passed all my school ‘exams’, got my ‘A levels’, got my ‘Degree’. I still have the pieces of paper that show that (at the time) I knew it all.

I’d done all those things that society says are the normal things to do – study hard, get good qualifications and you’re set up for life.

All you are supposed to do then is sell your time, knowledge and skills to an employer (in other words get a ‘job’) and away you go until you ‘retire’ on a ‘pension’.

No worries.

I thought I’d got it made.

But you and I know it doesn’t work like that.

During all those years of ‘education’, yes we do pick up a lot of background knowledge and a set of basic skills, but what do we actually ‘learn’?

And this includes the five or so years that lead up to the ‘school experience’.

You and I learnt during those years how we were supposed to behave. How we were supposed to operate in the society that we found ourselves in.

We learnt all this from our parents, our peers, other people of influence, the media and the schools we attended.

None of it was in the syllabus or the curriculum and much of it was subliminal – you and I didn’t even know we were learning it.

But we did.

You and I learnt what was supposedly a ‘good’ way to behave, what was ‘bad’ and also perhaps most importantly what was ‘normal’ (in our particular environment).

Most of us were advised that not being ‘normal’ was a risk and that ‘risk’ was bad and to be avoided.

Normal people don’t take risks, normal people ‘go with the flow’.

They do their time

They do their 40 or so years working in a job for someone else and ‘looking forward’ to ‘retiring’ on that pension.

But you and I know it doesn’t work like that.

We know that route is the road to the ‘poor man’ mentality, because you and I know that ‘normal’ people are always ‘right’.

Because ‘normal’ is the right way to be – they know.

The thing is . . .

That even though some of us may still spend part of our time on the left hand side of the Kiyosaki cash flow quadrant you and I know that we have to think differently in order to escape from the normality of the rat race.

You and I are consciously incompetent

Which means that we know that we don’t know everything.

We may know a great deal about the areas we specialise in but even the ‘experts’ among us always admit that there is ‘new stuff’ to learn all the time.

Things happen, things change, the goalposts are moved, the playing fields are tilted and you and I need to keep up and learn about all that ‘new stuff’.

At the same time, you and I continue to learn from what is going on around us – just like we did when we were kids – but know we’re aware what’s going on.

We’re aware that we’re being ‘influenced’ and so we are able to defend ourselves against it.

Rather than ‘going with the flow’ as we did in our youth you and I now choose to learn actively – to decide for ourselves what we want to take on board and what we want to reject.

You and I are continually growing our spheres of knowledge and understanding, and as we expand our understanding and our core of knowledge within it we also expand our spheres of influence.

We become the teachers and the mentors and the coaches – the ones leading the ‘great escape’ from normality.

I’m off to learn something new and extend the tunnel.

And you?