I was ready to face him and I was prepared. Even my real dad was angry with him. My real dad, the one I call the poor one, thought that my rich dad was violating child labor laws and should be investigated.
My educated dad told me to demand what I deserve. At least 25 cents an hour. My po
or dad told me that if I did not get a raise, I was to quit immediately.
At 8 o'clock Saturday morning, I was going through the same rickety door of Mike's house.
"Take a seat and wait in line," Mike's dad said as I entered. He turned and disappeared into his little office next to a bedroom.
I looked around the room and did not see Mike anywhere. Feeling awkward, I cautiously sat down next to the same two women who where there four weeks earlier. They smiled and slid across the couch to make room for me.
Forty-five minutes went by, and I was steaming. The two women had met with him and left thirty minutes earlier. An older gentleman was in there for twenty minutes and was also gone.
The house was empty, and I sat out in his musty dark living room on a beautiful sunny Hawaiian day, waiting to talk to a cheapskate who exploited children. I could hear him rustling around the office, talking on the phone, and ignoring me. I was now ready to walk out, but for some reason I stayed.
Finally, fifteen minutes later, at exactly 9 o'clock, rich dad walked out of his office, said nothing, and signaled with his hand for me to enter his dingy office.
"I understand you want a raise or you're going to quit," rich dad said as he swiveled in his office chair.
"Well, you're not keeping your end of the bargain," I blurted out nearly in tears. It was really frightening for a 9-year-old boy to confront a grownup.
"You said that you would teach me if I worked for you. Well, I've worked for you. I've worked hard. I've given up my baseball games to work for you. And you don't keep your word. You haven't taught me anything. You are a crook like everyone in town thinks you are. You're greedy. You want all the money and don't take care of your employees. You make me wait and don't show me any respect. I'm only a little boy, and I deserve to be treated better."
Rich dad rocked back in his swivel chair, hands up to his chin, somewhat staring at me.
"Not bad," he said. "In less than a month, you sound like most of my employees."
"What?" I asked. Not understanding what he was saying, I continued with my grievance. "I thought you were going to keep your end of the bargain and teach me. Instead you want to torture me? That's cruel. That's really cruel."
"I am teaching you," rich dad said quietly.
"What have you taught me? Nothing!" I said angrily. "You haven't even talked to me once since I agreed to work for peanuts. Ten cents an hour. Hah! I should notify the government about you. We have child labor laws, you know. My dad works for the government, you know."
"Wow!" said rich dad. "Now you sound just like most of the people who used to work for me. People I've either fired or they've quit."
"So what do you have to say?" I demanded, feeling pretty brave for a little kid.
"How do you know that I've not taught you anything?" asked rich dad calmly.
"Well, you've never talked to me. I've worked for three weeks, and you have not taught me anything," I said with a pout.
"Does teaching mean talking or a lecture?" rich dad asked.
"Well, yes," I replied.
"That's how they teach you in school," he said smiling. "But that is not how life teaches you, and I would say that life is the best teacher of all. Most of the time, life does not talk to you. It just sort of pushes you around. Each push is life saying, `Wake up. There's something I want you to learn.' "
I had no idea what he was talking about.
"Life pushes all of us around. Some give up. Others fight. A few learn the lesson and move on. They welcome life pushing them around. To these few people, it means they need and want to learn something. They learn and move on. Most quit, and a few like you fight."
Rich dad stood and shut the creaky old wooden window that needed repair. "If you learn this lesson, you will grow into a wise, wealthy and happy young man. If you don't, you will spend your life blaming a job, low pay or your boss for your problems. You'll live life hoping for that big break that will solve all your money problems."
Rich dad looked over at me to see if I was still listening. His eyes met mine. We stared at each other, streams of communication going between us through our eyes. Finally, I pulled away once I had absorbed his last message. I knew he was right. I was blaming him, and I did ask to learn. I was fighting.
Rich dad continued. "Or if you're the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you're that kind of person, you'll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for some event that never happens. Then, you die a boring old man. You'll have lots of friends who really like you because you were such a nice hard-working guy. You spent a life playing it safe, doing the right things. But the truth is, you let life push you into submission. Deep down you were terrified of taking risks. You really wanted to win, but the fear of losing was greater than the excitement of winning. Deep inside, you and only you will know you didn't go for it. You chose to play it safe."
Our eyes met again. For ten seconds, we looked at each other, only pulling away once the message was received.
"You've been pushing me around" I asked.
"Some people might say that," smiled rich dad. "I would say that I just gave you a taste of life."
"What taste of life?" I asked, still angry, but now curious.
"You boys are the first people that have ever asked me to teach them how to make money. I have more than 150 employees, and not one of them has asked me what I know about money. They ask me for a job and a paycheck, but never to teach them about money. So most will spend the best years of their lives working for money, not really understanding what it is they are working for."
I sat there listening intently.
"So when Mike told me about you wanting to learn how to make money, I decided to design a course that was close to real life. I could talk until I was blue in the face, but you wouldn't hear a thing. So I decided to let life push you around a bit so you could hear me. That's why I only paid you 10 cents."
"So what is the lesson I learned from working for only 10 cents an hour?" I asked. "That you're cheap and exploit your workers?"
Rich dad laughed heartily. "You'd best change your point of view. Stop blaming me, thinking I'm the problem. If you think I'm the problem, then you have to change me. If you realize that you're the problem, then you can change yourself, learn something and grow wiser.
"But you only pay me 10 cents."
"So what are you learning?" rich dad asked, smiling.
"That you're cheap," I said with a sly grin.
"See, you think I'm the problem," said rich dad.
"But you are."
"Well, keep that attitude and you learn nothing. Keep the attitude that I'm the problem and what choices do you have?"
"Well, if you don't pay me more or show me more respect and teach me, I'll quit."
"Well put," rich dad said. "And that's exactly what most people do. They quit and go looking for another job, better opportunity, and higher pay, actually thinking that a new job or more pay will solve the problem. In most cases, it won't."
"So what will solve the problem?" I asked. "Just take this measly 10 cents an hour and smile?"
Rich dad smiled. "That's what the other people do. Just accept a paycheck knowing that they and their family will struggle financially. But that's all they do, waiting for a raise thinking that more money will solve the problem. Most just accept it, and some take a second job working harder, but again accepting a small paycheck."
I sat staring at the floor, beginning to understand the lesson rich dad was presenting. I could sense it was a taste of life. Finally, I looked up and repeated the question. "So what will solve the problem?"
"This," he said tapping me gently on the head. "This stuff between your ears."
It was at that moment that rich dad shared the pivotal point of view that separated him from his employees and my poor dad-and led him to eventually become one of the richest men in Hawaii while my highly educated, but poor dad struggled financially all his life. It was a singular point of view that made all the difference over a lifetime.
Rich dad said over and over, this point of view, which I call Lesson No. 1. "The rich don't work for money."