In his book “The Richest Man in Babylon, Georges Clason has some valuable advice. “Every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you,” he writes. “Every copper it earns is its child that also can earn for you. If you would become wealthy, then what you save must earn, and its children must earn, that all may help to give to you the abundance you crave.”
What Clason was simply saying that every shilling is a seed that can produce after its kind. Not just that. You shouldn’t work for the shilling; it should work for you. The rich don’t work for money. If you doubt that, just look around at some Kenya’s millionaires and billionaires. They all have one thing in common: they don’t toil to earn a salary like most of us. They use their brains to make money work and make more money. It’s so easy to make money work for you.
To achieve this and enjoy a life of greater financial freedom and security, you must avoid thinking using your emotions. When it comes to money, there are two greatest emotions that keep us down. One is fear of not having money. The second is greed. Renowned wealth adviser Robert Kiyosaki politely calls it desire. Nonetheless, he captures the emotions with priceless precision. Most people who feel the fear of not having money react to it instead of thinking and confronting it, he says. “They react emotionally instead of using their heads,” he writes in Rich Dad Poor Dad. “Then, they get a few bucks in their hands, and again the emotion of joy and desire and greed takeover, and again they react instead of think.”
When you have these emotions, and you bet most us have them in plenty, you don’t think. You feel the fear, and that forces you to wake up early morning and go to work, hoping that money will soothe the fear – but it doesn’t. The fear haunts you more, and you go back to work, hoping again and again that the money you make will calm the fears. Again and again, it doesn’t.
Fear has pushed many people into the trap of working, earning money, working, earning money, and hoping the fear will go away. But every day they wake up, that old fear wakes up with them, like a shadow. You can’t just shake it off, unless you see the light. That fear keeps many awake all night, causing worries and meditations. And so they wake up in the morning and dash to work hoping the salary will clear that gnawing fear.
If you experience this, money is running your life, and thus every day you work for money, and you have become enslaved by it. You in the trap called “the rate race” – the vicious cycle of working and earning. Being rich, from a big salary or lottery win, does not solve the problem either. It awakens the second emotion of greed, what Kiyosaki calls desire. There’s nothing wrong with desire. We all desire better things, prettier women, more fun trips and exciting adventures.
So people work for money for the happiness they think it can afford them. But the joy bought by money is often short-lived, and soon you need more money for more joy. So you keep working. The rich are not rich because of desire but because they fear not having money. But as they amass more, the fear of losing it grows. They fear losing the posh car, the nice house, the beautiful mistress and worry about what their friends and relatives will say about them if they lost all the money. This doesn’t, however, mean the poor person is any better. Avoiding money is just as psychotic as being attached to it.
So what to do? The main cause of poverty and financial insecurity is not the government or the economy; it’s fear and ignorance. You must learn to use your emotions to think, not think with them. Instead of waking up and working harder, Kiyosaki says ask yourself this question: Is that going to solve my financial problems? Truth is, a job is a short term solution to a long-term problem. And that’s why it takes care of the bills so well.
The rich know that money is an illusion and so they choose to see opportunities that others miss. And that’s the only way to get out of the trap. That can only be in business. Not education. Not being a high-paid slave. To use Kiyosaki’s words, most people never see the opportunities because they are looking for money and security.
The bottom line is, the moment you see one opportunity, you will see them for the rest of your life.
Luke Mulunda is a media consultant and editor of the Nairobi Business Monthly. email: [email protected] This article was first published in The People Sunday Edition