How I Knew What I Didn’t Want To Do

In Business & Entrepreneurship
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Growing up, adults never hesitated to make it clear to the kids why the adults were the ones who made and enforced the rules.

Simply stated, they paid the bills, via money they made working at their jobs.

I got my first job at age 15, an age at which I could begin mentally projecting what my inevitable adult working life would be like.

There was a problem. A big one.

It went like this.

  1. The adults I knew were always either at work, or getting ready for work. Not living. Working.
  2. Every adult I knew talked about work and their jobs as if work were an inevitable,  necessary evil of life. It didn’t sound like they really enjoyed the job they spent 8+ hours a day doing. They complained about their jobs, their coworkers, their bosses. This was all considered normal. I didn’t know a single adult who loved their job. But hey, this is what grownups do. And one day, you will, too!
  3. Despite all this time at work, there still wasn’t much money. I mean, we always had food on the table and clothes on our backs. But there were no vacations. No healthy conversations about money at all. If money came up at all, even if we were discussing as little as $10, the exchange was always tense. There seemed to be a generalized fear, insecurity and anxiety around the whole concept of money. I could feel it any time money came up as a subject.

When I was about to turn 16, mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday.

I told her I wanted a car.

She shot me a look that was 50% sadness and 50% annoyance.

“We can’t afford that.”

Cars come in a wide range of prices, I thought to myself.

[In my home, you were better off keeping thoughts like this to yourself. I didn’t get the car.]

My parents always voted, every election. I once asked mom whether our family was Democrat or Republican.

Democrat.

Why?

[Pause to think.] Because, Republicans only work for the rich people.

Ok, then. So I guess that’s not us.

I never bothered asking — and she never bothered explaining — what exactly she meant by “rich.” But it was clear that we weren’t it.

[Funny thing is, most people don’t know the financial definition of “rich.” It’s not measured by any amount of material possessions, such as homes, cars or even money.]

This is what I was supposed to grow up into?

There had to be a better option.

There was. I stumbled into it at the ripe age of 21.

It was a book. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I bought it on eBay for 99 cents. A Word document.

The author explained that working for money — what all the adults I’d grown up around did — was the worst possible investment of your time.

These were the employees and small business owners: they worked hard, and their results were linearly related to their efforts. The problem with this was the cap on our efforts: 24 hours in a day, and only one person doing all the work.

The smarter, richer people instead put money to work on their behalf.

These were the business owners and investors, people who had systems in place for generating money.

They worked hard too, but the ROI of their efforts eventually worked in multiplication rather than addition. This, the author explained, is how freedom is created.

It was at that point that I decided what I wanted to do with my life.

I was already dead set on playing pro basketball. Author Robert Kiyosaki explained that there was a limit to my output even as an athlete: I can play for only so long — and if, for whatever reason, I’m not playing, there’s no money.

I was an employee. A somewhat-well-known employee with a prestigious job title, but still limited in my potential to what effort I could personally muster.

Mr. Kiyosaki showed me my first financial statement. He explained all of it, but one part stuck in my mind.

Assets.

Anything that can be converted into cash. Something that puts money in your pocket without you doing all the work.

Today, I spend the majority of my time using my most valuable assets — my knowledge, experience, and ability to explain what I know — to create new assets. The assets work for me.

More assets = more freedom.

I enjoy working. I’m not racing to retirement. But I like to work with freedom — freedom to do what I want to do, how I want to do it, with whom I want to work.

All the things those adults from my childhood seemed to be lacking.

  1. What do you know or can do, that you can put into a format that others can benefit from without you having to directly do or explain it? These are your potential assets.
  2. What work are you doing that someone else could be doing? Every minute you spend doing it yourself, is money you’re losing.

#WorkOnYourGame

PS-  The Game Group is where I’ll be showing you how I create assets — ideas, content, products — whose job is to work for me. And I know the answers to the above questions aren’t so simple. But I’ll help you answer them, and to apply those answers.

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