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Failure rules

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This publication is designed to provide competent and reliable information regarding the subject
matter covered. However, ...
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FAILURE RULES
Your Mindset –NOT Your Skills—Are Holding You Back
Think back to the last time you failed.
(Yes, this re...
How to Choose Your Personal Success
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There is power in what you believe about yourself. If you feel like you’re
stuck, ...
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Failure rules

  1. 1. This publication is designed to provide competent and reliable information regarding the subject matter covered. However, it is provided with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering legal, financial, or other professional advice. Laws and practices often vary from state to state and country to country and if legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a professional should be sought. The author and publisher specifically disclaim any liability that is incurred from the use or application of the contents of this ebook. Copyright © April 2017. Cashflow Technologies, Inc. Copyright © 2017 by Robert T. Kiyosaki. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. CASHFLOW, Rich Dad, and CASHFLOW Quadrant are registered trademarks of CASHFLOW Technologies, Inc.
  2. 2. 1 ® FAILURE RULES Your Mindset –NOT Your Skills—Are Holding You Back Think back to the last time you failed. (Yes, this requires you to admit to failure. Don’t worry; this is just between you and me.) Maybe you started a business that didn’t survive the first year. Maybe your relationship with your children hit a rocky patch that you didn’t know how to navigate. Maybe you tried a new career field and found it much more difficult than you imagined. How did it make you feel? Yes, everyone is disappointed when confronted with a lack of success. But what was your feeling in the next moment? Did you say to yourself, “I just don’t have a mind for business” — or were you inspired to attend more entrepreneurial workshops to educate yourself? Did you think, “I am not a natural at parenting,” or did you decide to try a new tactic you hadn’t before? Did you say, “I guess I’m just no good at this new field; I should go back to what I was doing,” or did you seek out new mentors to help you find your way? Did you shrug and figure that you just don’t have a talent for whatever you were attempting, or did you see it as an opportunity for growth? There are two basic mindsets that people have about their talents, their abilities, and their smarts. One mindset leads to success. The other leads to being stuck in the rat race, to stagnating in your life while others succeed. Your response to failure or to seemingly insurmountable obstacles will tell you which dominates your thinking.
  3. 3. How to Choose Your Personal Success 2 ® There is power in what you believe about yourself. If you feel like you’re stuck, like you’re not succeeding, then it’s time to examine just what your mindset is. THE FIXED MINDSET Some people think that their strengths and weaknesses are set in stone. “I have a certain amount of talent, a certain amount of intelligence, but that’s it.” Maybe they were given an IQ test in school, and they think, “This is my IQ for life.” These folks are wary of challenges because they don’t want to find out they’re not as intelligent as they thought. They don’t want to do anything that will make them look dumb or incapable to others — or to themselves. If they do ever try something new and hit a roadblock they think, “I guess that’s all the talent I have. Oh well.” They figure if they really had the talent, they wouldn’t have run into the problem or had to work hard at it. When they fail, they see it as proof that they just aren’t capable of something. It’s the end of the story. For the other kind of mindset, however, failure might just be the beginning of a new story. THE GROWTH MINDSET At the other end of the spectrum are those who see their innate talent or abilities as simply the starting point. These are people who realize that they can grow and develop themselves through hard work, instruction from others or a well-thought-out strategy. Not everyone is born a genius. I understand that we all start with different advantages or disadvantages. But those with the growth mindset believe that they can grow their abilities.
  4. 4. 3 ® Challenges don’t scare them off. They see obstacles and failure as a chance to learn from their mistakes, an opportunity to grow. They’re fearless in that way. It’s like the famous quote from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison clearly viewed what others might view as failure, as another step toward finding success. For those with a growth mindset, success means stretching themselves and acquiring new abilities. They’re always growing and always learning. They use difficulty to reach newer and higher levels of achievement. They learn from their mistakes. It’s what we teach at The Rich Dad Company. TWO DADS, TWO MINDSETS My two dads exemplified the two different mindsets. Though my poor dad was a well-educated man who continued to pursue academic learning his whole life, he didn’t stretch himself beyond what he saw as his natural talents. My poor dad stuck with the tried-and-true, following the career path that was accepted, even as he struggled to pay the bills or retire comfortably. If he failed at something, he dropped it and went back to what he knew. It was definitely a situation of fixed mindset. I was lucky enough to have another example of how to approach life. My rich dad definitely was not afraid of failure. Not only was he not afraid of it, he embraced it. Failure simply honed his approach to business and to life. If something didn’t work, it was a failure, not him. My poor dad, on the other hand, saw both success and failure as a reflection of who he was. How do you define success? Is it validation that you’re smart and talented? Or is it the result of pushing yourself to grow? Those with a growth mindset are lifelong learners. They know there’s
  5. 5. How to Choose Your Personal Success 4 ® always room for improvement. The non-learners, the ones with a fixed mindset, feel dumb when things get difficult and they have to put forth effort. They think, “If I’m really smart, I shouldn’t have to work hard. Therefore, if I’m working hard at this, I’m dumb at it — and I don’t want anyone to see me being dumb so I won’t try this anymore.” In a growth mindset, the reaction instead is, “This hard stuff is when I know my brain is making new connections and I’m getting smarter.” With the right mindset, failure is the opposite of dumb. Failure allows you to get smarter. We all have a natural inclination that leans more toward one mindset than another, but our mindsets are more learned than predetermined. And the place where we start to learn these mindsets is most often school. DAMNING WITH NOT-SO-FAINT PRAISE There’s a bunch of research that shows how we compliment kids teaches them to have either a fixed mindset or one of growth. You might think it’s a good thing to tell children they are smart, but the problem is that it helps instill a fixed mindset. The children might begin to think — consciously or not — “I’m naturally this smart. This is who I am, not through any effort of my own.” Saying someone is gifted implies they didn’t have to work for it. It’s just something they’re blessed with, right? Then they become afraid of challenges and making mistakes, because either might expose them to everyone else as not being as smart as people thought. They get so caught up in the label, they forget to learn. This is exactly what school does — and what a lot of parents and
  6. 6. 5 ® employers do, too. If you praise your employees by saying, “You’re smart, you’re brilliant” — what you’re really doing is telling them that’s what you care about and they’d better not make mistakes. (In case you think telling someone they’re dumb would reverse this, that’s no good either. Using any of those smart/dumb labels is a bad idea.) Instead, the better approach is to praise the process. Research has found that when a teacher, parent or an employer praises people’s effort, their strategies, their progress — or even just their taking on challenges — it keeps them in a growth mindset. It encourages them to keep innovating, stretching and learning. Praising their intelligence will have the opposite effect, making them afraid of stretching beyond their known talents for fear of failure. FEAR OF FAILURE If you feel stuck in your career, ask yourself why you didn’t grab certain opportunities or take risks that could’ve changed your life. Most likely it was because of a fear of failure. Mistakes are a big topic with our coaching students. So many people have a great fear of mistakes. We all hate to make mistakes, but if you can find the lesson in them, they’re less scary and more productive. The problem is that for those with a fixed mindset, mistakes measure them. Mistakes show whether they’re smart or dumb, and because of that they’re to be avoided at all costs — even if that means being stuck in the same-old, same-old. For the fixed mindset, the belief is that if you’re smart, things should come easily to you; you shouldn’t have to struggle with something. And if you find yourself struggling, then you’re just not good at it. And because those with a fixed mindset don’t think they can change, if a struggle reveals they’re not good at something, that means they’ll never be good at it. But here’s one of the big secrets in life: Nothing that’s important comes
  7. 7. How to Choose Your Personal Success 6 ® without struggle. One of the greatest snapshots nature gives us of awesome change is the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. And it doesn’t happen without struggle, without the new butterfly fighting to escape the cocoon. It’s part of the process. Without something to resist or push against, our bones and muscles become weak. When astronauts spend time in space, the gravity is so reduced that they don’t have any resistance moving around — and as a result they lose muscle mass by the time they return to the Earth’s surface. Think about when you exercise at the gym and lift weights. Though it might tire you out in the moment, after you’ve had time to recover from the exertion you’re stronger, not weaker. The struggle to lift the weights was a challenge for your muscles, but the result was that your muscles become more than they were before. The same is true for us in life as we struggle against obstacles: If we have the right attitude, that struggle makes us smarter, more experienced, stronger. The famous saying is, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger” — not, “That which does not kill you proves to everyone that you’re a failure.” You should always be struggling with something in some way; that’s how we grow. But the problem is that those with a fixed mindset don’t see struggle in this positive light. They see struggle as evidence that they’re just not good enough. In school, this can manifest itself as students who won’t try a new subject or go out for the team for fear of failure. Not only does this make them operate from a place of fear, it can mean cutting themselves off from the possibility of discovering a new interest that changes not only their lives but our world at large. In the mid-1970s, Steve Jobs was a college dropout. He could’ve decided, “Well, I’m just not meant for learning.” But he hung around college and ended up auditing a calligraphy class. From that class, he learned
  8. 8. 7 ® about serif and sans serif type, about varying the space between letters, about writing as visual artistry. Years later, when Jobs and his partners were designing the first Macintosh computer, what he had learned in that calligraphy class led to the computer having multiple and proportionally spaced fonts. And that revolutionary computer led to the design aesthetic that is such a part of Apple and so many people’s lives now. If a student is afraid to stretch into a new subject area, it prevents the kind of innovation that can change the world. In the world of business, the fear of failure can play out in many ways, including hiding your mistakes and competing rather than collaborating with others. If the organization itself has a fixed mindset environment, one where it’s all about who the genius is, it can lead to an atmosphere of cutting corners, keeping secrets and putting a damper on innovation and risk-taking because no one wants to appear less than perfect. If that fixed mindset comes from the CEO himself, it’s bad news for everyone. A CEO with that mindset is often only after his own glory, at the expense of the growth of the company. He doesn’t want people around who criticize or threaten him, which is exactly the wrong way to approach building a team. You should have people around you who challenge you. You should have a team that’s just as talented or even more talented than you are. In her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck recalls how she did a test with a group of young kids in which she gave them an easy jigsaw puzzle. Later she went back and said, “OK, you have a choice: You can do the same puzzle again or you can do a harder one.” The children with the fixed mindset chose to do the first puzzle again because they knew they could do it and get the correct result. Some wanted to do it two or three times rather than risk a more difficult new one. The kids with the growth mindset were surprised at the question,
  9. 9. How to Choose Your Personal Success 8 ® wondering why they would want to do the same puzzle over when they could try a new one and see what happens. Which group are you in? Do you stick with what you already, or do you push yourself to try something new because who knows, that next puzzle could turn out to be pretty amazing? If you find yourself resembling the fixed mindset, it’s never too late to change. A NEW PATH It’s important to understand that we all can have fixed mindsets in certain areas. The first step to switching to a growth mindset is to start noticing the areas in which you have a fixed approach. Take note of your reactions. If someone performs better than you, is your response that you could learn something from that person, or that you’re just not as smart? When you make a mistake, do you get anxious, or do you respond with, “Huh, that’s interesting that it didn’t work. What should I try differently to get a more successful result?” A fixed mindset tells you that you can never grow and change. It says, “I must always be right. I don’t want to make mistakes because if I do, that shows I’m not as smart as I thought I was.” Compare that with the growth mindset, where a person is always learning, always looking for new challenges. People with a growth mind- set measures their success by how much they’re developing personally and how much challenge they’re taking on. It’s OK if a new challenge makes your heart beat a little faster. Being nervous about a new endeavor doesn’t mean you have a fixed mindset; being too afraid to ever try anything new does. Everyone wants to succeed; it’s how you react to the bumps in the road that shows your outlook and ultimately your chances at a bigger success. The school system often reinforces students with fixed mindsets with
  10. 10. 9 ® labels — you’re smart, you’re artistic, you’re math-minded. That’s one of the reasons I turned to my rich dad for an education rather than depend on the school. My rich dad showed me by example that to be successful in business, you must always be willing to risk — and always be willing to learn. I haven’t shied away from failure. Trust me, not all of my investments are a success. But if I allowed those that didn’t perform as well to scare me away from the sometimes-risky process of acquiring assets and boldly looking for opportunities, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have built the life of financial independence that I enjoy now. The key is that I learned from my failures. I used them to drive me to new heights, not scare me back into what I’d done before. We want to label everything as black and white: good or bad, smart or dumb. But failure can be either — it all depends on how you react to it. But instead of being excited about what possibilities failure might open up, our system tells us, “Don’t fail. Don’t do it this way. Do it the way we’ve always done it.” And that’s never going to lead to the kind of innovation that changes lives. The fixed mindset also makes you unpleasant to be around, because you’re so worried to let your mistakes show that you blame others, justify your actions and get defensive, always having to keep proving to the world how smart you are. However, a growth mindset focuses on things that you can cultivate and grow. Your talents, your intelligence, your personality — none of it is set in stone. All of it can improve through effort, and your potential is limitless. Doesn’t the latter option sound a whole lot more attractive? So you’ve got to start by being honest with yourself. No one wants to admit that they’re insecure about failure and shortcomings. Pay attention to the situations in which you have the self-defeating, fixed mindset, the areas in which you’re fearful of failing. Use that awareness to retrain yourself and your thinking. Ask
  11. 11. How to Choose Your Personal Success 10 ® yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I fail?” Almost always, the consequences aren’t as dire as you fear. Then ask yourself, “What’s the best that could happen?” Stop focusing on the fear and instead train your sights on the potential, on the exciting achievements that are possible when you reach outside your comfort zone. RETRAIN YOUR THOUGHTS My poor dad never broke out of the traditional path in academia. He didn’t go into a field he didn’t have multiple degrees in; he didn’t do anything to risk his state pension. But he also never found financial independence or the kind of success that would give him the life he wanted. My rich dad was the opposite. He wasn’t afraid of risk, and he wasn’t afraid of failure. He wasn’t worried that something he did might offend someone or make people think he wasn’t smart. If he tried a business venture and it failed, it didn’t mark him as a failure. It was just a learning experience that made him smarter and more able to find success the next time. The day I rejected my poor dad’s path and decided to take my lessons from my rich dad was the day I began my path to success. It wasn’t a straight upward trajectory with zero setbacks. But the setbacks didn’t define me. I had learned from my rich dad to use those failures as a way to sharpen my skills and hone my strategies. For the person with a fixed mindset, you have to keep proving to yourself (and to the world) how smart you are by not making mistakes and by pretending that you already know everything. With the growth mindset, mistakes just allow you to learn and grow. You’re not afraid of failure because you know that’s how you grow, that’s how you get better. For the fixed mindset, you’re as good as you’re going to get at the start. For the growth mindset, who you are now is just the starting point. It’s
  12. 12. 11 ® exciting because you don’t know how far you’ll be able to grow. My poor dad was an example of the fixed mindset. He wanted to play it safe — and encouraged me to do so — by getting a “good” job with a steady retirement after years of service. But retirement wasn’t my goal— success was. My rich dad showed me what it meant to have a growth mindset. He showed me how to learn from situations where it seemed I’d run into a dead end. Unlike school, he showed me how thinking differently would be more beneficial and would take me further. Which mindset would best define the way you’ve lived your life? If you welcome failure and challenges and mistakes, keep it up. There’s a lifetime of growth ahead of you. However, if you feel like you’re stagnating but the thought of risk is keeping you scared and rooted to where you are, then you’re likely using a fixed mindset. Start paying attention to your reaction to obstacles and mistakes and you’ll start to identify the areas of your life where you’re applying fixed thinking. Retrain your thoughts. Focus on the ultimate goal and view your failures not as game enders but as game changers. Learn from your mistakes and use that knowledge to help you escape the rat race. Struggle isn’t a sign that you’re attempting something you shouldn’t. Struggle is an opportunity to grow your abilities and sharpen your smarts. Do you think every musician is a prodigy the moment they put hand to instrument? Do you think every athlete makes the shot from Day 1? Why would you expect anything different from yourself? It takes hard work and endless practice to become a world-class musician, or athlete, or surgeon, or chef, or entrepreneur. It takes a willingness to admit what you don’t know, in order to become smarter.
  13. 13. How to Choose Your Personal Success 12 ® If your reaction to admitting that you don’t know something is defensiveness or paralyzing fear, you’re never going to grow. A QUESTION OF TIME Listen, there’s no magic pill to success. Even with the most positive of mindsets, it’s going to take work. But it is so much harder when you enter the game assuming, “I’m talented up to this level and no further.” When babies are learning to walk, they never get it on the first try. They wobble, they fall, they might cry … but then they try again. Imagine if we all gave up the first time we toppled over as toddlers. We’d have a world full of helpless adults who could never get anywhere! That’s exactly what happens in so many people’s lives. They try something new, they wobble and they fall over — and rather than see that failure as just one step in the process, they give up. And as a result, they don’t get anywhere. They don’t stretch themselves into a new path that could take them to great places. The average life expectancy for Americans is about 81 for women, 76 for men. That’s a lot of years to not be growing and going anywhere if you assume your abilities are frozen when you get out of school. You might say that you’re in your late 40s, your mid-50s, your 60s and it’s too late for a major life change, too late to start as a newbie in a new field. But you might still have a third or more of your life left! What if you went into a movie and the screen went blank two-thirds of the way through. You’d demand your money back! There’s a whole lot of story that can happen in that final third of the movie. The same is true of your life. If you tend toward the fixed mindset, it may take some practice to start seeing your life through a new lens. But it is so worth the effort; wouldn’t you regret it more if you looked back in five or 10 years and saw the time you wasted being fearful? Maybe the time isn’t quite right yet to jump into a new job. Maybe you need to acquire some new skills first. So what’s stopping you?
  14. 14. 13 ® When you come home after a day of work, do you plop yourself in front of the TV for the latest shows, or do you eagerly jump into learning about your next challenge? There are so many hours of the day that people can waste on things that don’t help them grow professionally, personally or health-wise. Imagine if you harnessed the power of those extra hours to read or attend classes or practice the thing you haven’t conquered yet. Imagine if you harnessed the power of those extra hours five years ago. Imagine where you’d be today. Don’t let that thought discourage you though. Use it as motivation for the next five years. Do something now that your future self will thank you for. Be bold. Struggle wonderfully. Embrace your mistakes not as a sign that you’re a failure, but as an indicator that you’re on the path to success. Only with that growth mindset will you utilize the momentum that allows you to break out of the rat race and enter a new level of success. Conquer your fear and who knows what new heights you will discover.

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