Robert Kiyosaki’s best-selling book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, has sat on my nightstand for a number of years. Within it, Kiyosaki advocates bold entrepreneurship and personal conviction as a means to achieving financial success and freedom; simply working as an employee will never generate significant wealth. Rich Dad, Poor Dad has been enormously successful. What advice does Kiyosaki have to give now?
“There’s an assumption that once one has achieved a certain level of success, everything is easier. Not true! I face the same dilemmas and struggles today I did 30 years ago. It’s only the paradigm that has shifted. The way I perceive these problems is different; there’s a different sophistication level. But the lessons I learned as an entrepreneur working on a Velcro and nylon product decades ago are still relevant,” Kiyosaki explains.
Before becoming a best-selling author, Kiyosaki was a product developer. He counts his inexperience and naivete at that time as a blessing. “If, at the time, I knew how much I did not know, I would have never started. I would have stayed in the Marine Corps, done my 20 years, and collected a paycheck. It’s a great thing I didn’t know,” he says with laughter.
It’s the fearless acceptance of the mistakes he made (and, according to him, continues to make) as a result of that naivete that has allowed him to be so successful. “I blundered along then and I often feel like I’m blundering along now. What’s changed? I have smarter advisors,” he reveals.
But as intelligent as they may be, Kiyosaki’s advisors aren’t responsible for his willingness to try and try again. “The biggest skill I have is making mistakes. I’m pretty much an expert now. In the corporate world, if you make mistakes, you’re fired. But in the entrepreneurial world, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning. I enjoy making mistakes. As far as I can tell, every mistake is accompanied by a priceless lesson. I’ve built my life around these lessons.”
While most people avoid fear rather than seek it, Kiyosaki adheres to a different principle. “If I don’t have butterflies in my stomach, there’s no sense working,” he says.
Kiyosaki can explain his perspective on failure and fear in numerical terms. Simply put, the number of failures you experience is a reflection of the degree to which you’re putting yourself out there. And having the courage to put yourself in a position to fail will ultimately lead you to success. If you never try, you’re never going to fail. But more important, you’re never going to succeed. “The biggest problem wannabe entrepreneurs have is believing they’re going to ‘do what they love’ — but really, a big part of being a successful entrepreneur is doing what you don’t want to. And failing is part of that.”
Although Kiyosaki admits that the economy is “terrible,” he doesn’t view it as an impossible climate. “If you don’t make someone else money, they’re not going to give you their money. This principle is true in any economic climate. Show your client how you’re going to make them money. It may not be as easy now, but it’s possible. Get creative,” advises Kiyosaki.