The pieces of the puzzle were appearing. My highly educated dad had a great education and a great career. But school never told him how to handle money or his fears. It became clear that I could learn different and important things from two fathers.
"So you've been talking about the fear
of not having money. How does the desire of money affect our thinking?" Mike asked.
"How did you feel when I tempted you with a pay raise? Did you notice your desires rising?"
We nodded our heads.
"By not giving in to your emotions, you were able to delay your reactions and think. That is most important. We will always have emotions of fear and greed. From here on in, it is most important for you to use those emotions to your advantage and for the long term, and not simply let your emotions run you by controlling your thinking. Most people use fear and greed against themselves. That's the start of ignorance. Most people live their lives chasing paychecks, pay raises and job security because of the emotions of desire and fear, not really questioning where those emotion-driven thoughts are leading them. It's just like the picture of a donkey, dragging a cart, with its owner dangling a carrot just in front of the donkey's nose. The donkey's owner may be going where he wants to go, but the donkey is chasing an illusion. Tomorrow there will only be another carrot for the donkey."
"You mean the moment I began to picture a new baseball glove, candy or toys, that's like a carrot to a donkey?" Mike asked.
"Yeah. And as you get older, your toys get more expensive. A new car, a boat and a big house to impress your friends," said rich dad with a smile. "Fear pushes you out the door, and desire calls to you. Enticing you toward the rocks. That's the trap."
"So what's the answer," Mike asked.
"What intensifies fear and desire is ignorance. That is why rich people with lots of money often have more fear the richer they get. Money is the carrot, the illusion."
Rich dad went on to explain that a human's life is a struggle between ignorance and illumination.
He explained that once a person stops searching for information and knowledge of one's self, ignorance sets in. That struggle is a moment-to-moment decision-to learn to open or close one's mind.
"Look, school is very, very important. You go to school to learn a skill or profession so as to be a contributing member of society. Every culture needs teachers, doctors, mechanics, artists, cooks, business people, police officers, firefighters, soldiers. Schools train them so our culture can thrive and flourish," said rich dad. "Unfortunately, for many people, school is the end, not the beginning."
"What does ignorance have to do with greed and fear?" I asked.
"Because it is ignorance about money that causes so much greed and so much fear," said rich dad. "Let me give you some examples. A doctor, wanting more money to better provide for his family, raises his fees. By raising his fees, it makes health care more expensive for everyone. Now, it hurts the poor people the most, so poor people have worse health than those with money.
"Because the doctors raise their rates, the attorneys raise their rates. Because the attorneys' rates have gone up, schoolteachers want a raise, which raises our taxes, and on and on and on. Soon, there will be such a horrifying gap between the rich and the poor that chaos will break out and another great civilization will collapse. Great civilizations collapsed when the gap between the haves and havenots was too great. America is on the same course, proving once again that history repeats itself, because we do not learn from history. We only memorize historical dates and names, not the lesson.
"Aren't prices supposed to go up?" I asked.
"Not in an educated society with a well-run government. Prices should actually come down. Of course, that is often only true in theory. Prices go up because of greed and fear caused by ignorance. If schools taught people about money, there would be more money and lower prices, but schools focus only on teaching people to work for money, not how to harness money's power."
"But don't we have business schools?" Mike asked. "Aren't you encouraging me to go to business school for my master's degree?"
"Yes," said rich dad. "But all too often, business schools train employees who are sophisticated bean counters. Heaven forbid a bean counter takes over a business. All they do is look at the numbers, fire people and kill the business. I know because I hire bean counters. All they think about is cutting costs and raising prices, which cause more problems. Bean counting is important. I wish more people knew it, but it, too, is not the whole picture," added rich dad angrily.
"So is there an answer?" asked Mike.
"Yes," said rich dad. "Learn to use your emotions to think, not think with your emotions. When you boys mastered your emotions, first by agreeing to work for free, I knew there was hope. When you again resisted your emotions when I tempted you with more money, you were again learning to think in spite of being emotionally charged. That's the first step."
"Can you tell the difference between emotions thinking and the head thinking?" Mike asked.
"Oh, yes. I hear it all the time," said rich dad. "I hear things like, `Well, everyone has to work.' Or `The rich are crooks.' Or `I'll get another job. I deserve this raise. You can't push me around.' Or `I like this job because it's secure.' Instead of, `Is there something I'm missing here?' which breaks the emotional thought, and gives you time to think clearly."
I must admit, it was a great lesson to be getting. To know when someone was speaking out of emotions or out of clear thought. It was a lesson that served me well for life. Especially when I was the one speaking out of reaction and not from clear thought.
As we headed back to the store, rich dad explained that the rich really did "make money." They did not work for it. He went on to explain that when Mike and I were casting 5-cent pieces out of lead, thinking we were making money, we were very close to thinking the way the rich think. The problem was that it was illegal for us to do it.
Rich dad went on to explain that the rich know that money is an illusion, truly like the carrot for the donkey. It's only out of fear and greed that the illusion of money is held together by billions of people thinking that money is real. Money is really made up. It was only because of the illusion of confidence and the ignorance of the masses that the house of cards stood standing. "In fact," he said, "in many ways the donkey's carrot was more valuable than money."
As he climbed into his pickup truck, outside of his little convenience store, he said, "Keep working boys, but the sooner you forget about needing a paycheck, the easier your adult life will be. Keep using your brain, work for free, and soon your mind will show you ways of making money far beyond what I could ever pay you. You will begin to see opportunities right in front of you that in the past would have gone unnoticed."
Mike and I picked up our things from the store and waved goodbye to Mrs. Martin. We went back to the park, to the same picnic bench, and spent several more hours thinking and talking.
We spent the next week at school, thinking and talking. For two more weeks, we kept thinking, talking, and working for free.
At the end of the second Saturday, I was again saying goodbye to Mrs. Martin and looking at the comic-book stand with a longing gaze. The hard thing about not even getting 30 cents every Saturday was that I didn't have any money to buy comic books. Suddenly, as Mrs. Martin was saying goodbye to Mike and me, I saw something she was doing that I had never seen her do before. I mean, I had seen her do it, but I never took notice of it.
Mrs. Martin was cutting the front page of the comic book in half. She was keeping the top half of the comic book cover and throwing the rest of the comic book into a large brown cardboard box. When I asked her what she did with the comic books, she said, "I throw them away. I give the top half of the cover back to the comic-book distributor for credit when he brings in the new comics. He's coming in an hour."
Mike and I waited for an hour. Soon the distributor arrived and I asked him if we could have the comic books. To which he replied, "You can have them if you work for this store and do not resell them."
Our partnership was revived. Mike's mom had a spare room in the basement that no one used. We cleaned it out, and began piling hundreds of comic books in that room. Soon our comic-book library was open to the public. We hired Mike's younger sister, who loved to study, to be head librarian. She charged each child 10 cents admission to the library, which was open from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. every day after school. The customers, the children of the neighborhood, could read as many comics as they could in two hours. It was a bargain for them since a comic costs 10 cents each, and they could read five or six in two hours.
Mike's sister would check the kids as they left, to make sure they weren't borrowing any comic books. She also kept the books, logging in how