My real dad came from the world of academics, a world where mistakes are perceived as bad and to be avoided. My rich dad came from the streets. To him, mistakes were opportunities to learn something new, something he did not know before.
Street Smart Versus School Smart
My rich dad was very successful financially for many reasons. At the top of the list was his attitude towards making mistakes. Like most of us, he hated making them, yet he was not afraid of making them.
Each time he made a mistake, instead of being depressed, he often seemed happier, wiser, more determined, and often richer from the experience. He would say to his son and me, “Mistakes are how we learn. Every time I make a mistake, I always learn something about myself, I learn something new, and I often meet new people I would never have met.”
As I watched my real dad struggle financially and professionally, my rich dad said, “To be successful in the real world of business, you have to be school smart as well as street smart. In school, you’re given the lesson first. On the street, you’re given the mistake first and then it’s up to you to find the lesson. Since most people have not been taught how to make mistakes and learn from them, they either avoid mistakes altogether, which is a bigger mistake, or they make a mistake but fail to find the lesson from the mistake. That is why you see so many people making the same mistake over and over again.” Rich dad said, “I am so rich because I’ve made more financial mistakes than most people. Each time I made a mistake, I learned something new. In the business world, that something new is often called ‘experience’. But experience is not enough. If a person truly learns from a mistake, his or her life changes forever, and what that person gains instead of experience is ‘wisdom’.”
The Art of Making a Mistake
Rich Dad taught us the art of making a mistake and gaining wisdom from it.
“The first thing that happens after you make a mistake is that you become upset. At this point of upset, you find out who you really are,” he said, going on to describe the cast of characters who are brought to centre stage when upsets from mistakes occur:
1. The Liar. “I didn’t do that.”
2. The Blamer. “It’s your fault, not mine.”
3. The Justifier. “Well, I don’t have a good education so that is why I don’t get ahead.”
4. The Quitter. “I told you that it would never work.”
5. The Denier. “No, there is nothing wrong. Things are fine.”
Rich Dad said, “If you want to learn and gain wisdom from this priceless mistake, you have to let ‘The Responsible You’ eventually take control of your thinking.”
Mental Attitude Quiz
1. What are your attitudes to risk, making mistakes, and learning?
2. What are the attitudes of the people around you to risk, making mistakes, and learning?
3. Are there still some financial, professional, or business upsets that remain unresolved?
4. Are you still angry with some one else in regards to money?
5. And if you are upset with someone else or yourself, what lesson can you learn and be grateful for being courageous enough to have taken a risk and maybe learnt something?
Approved abridged excerpt from “Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing”. Copyright Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter.