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Were You Taught to Earn The Wheelbarrow Way?

Unraveling Inherited Ideas about Work and Wealth.

Douglas Kruger

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They can’t be blamed. They were doing the best they could with what they had. But when past generations handed their wisdom on to us, more often than not, they gave us a blessing and a curse. And most of us can’t spot the difference.

Here’s what happened in my family:

My grandmother worked in a manor house in Manchester. Arriving early at work each day, she wore the full maid’s uniform, carried the feather duster, and had all the accessories that we associate today with the sexy French maid stereotype. But it wasn’t like that.

This was a woman who had calluses on her hands, and no voice in the face of authority. This was a woman whose means barely outstripped her needs for the duration of her lifetime. She was what Dr Graeme Codrington, expert in generational norms, calls ‘The Silent Generation.’

And so, when it came time to pass on wisdom about the world of work to my father, she went rummaging around in her mental filing cabinets and selected two things. The first was a Protestant work ethic, and that was the blessing. The second was ‘working class ideas about wealth and earning.’ And that was the curse. And I’ve spent the last twenty years trying to unravel it and escape it.

The wheelbarrow way

The working classes are taught the Wheelbarrow Way. They teach it to their children, and so the ensuing generations remain poor. Hard working. But poor. TheWheelbarrow Way goes like this:

‘My son, you are young and healthy. Pick up your wheelbarrow. Go and fill it with bricks. If you want to earn coins, you must push your wheelbarrow for a number of hours. Each hour you push your wheelbarrow, my son, you will earn a coin. If you want more coins, you must push your wheelbarrow for more hours.”

And so the trap is set.

Working class ideas about wealth are interesting. At their core, they teach that work is noble, but money is not. Money, in fact, is shameful. And it is entirely possible to follow working class ideas to complete poverty. In their thrall, you can work very hard indeed, and still die bone-grindingly poor.

The working class solution to poverty is interesting too: “If you’re not paying the bills, then you are not working hard enough. You must get a second wheelbarrow, and in the evenings, you must push it around for more coins. “

The Epiphany of the Wealthy

High-earners and entrepreneurs quickly realize that the trick is to dump the bricks and carry gold. In other words, they see the importance of raising the value of their labour, the value of their offering, so that less hours equates to more coins.

That’s the key to wealth. That’s the key to escaping working-class income levels. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Most people will never have that epiphany. And that’s why they’ll stay poor.

So how do you practically go about raising the value of what you do?

Here are two options:

1. Become More Valuable Per Hour

Your first option is to raise the worth of your hourly labour. You can do this by studying further, taking courses, or investing in learning, so that your qualification entitles you to more money for the same number of working hours. Additionally, as you gain experience in your job, you may get pay increases.

But you can also increase the value of your labouring hour outside of traditional employment, by positioning yourself as an expert. Become the big name in your industry, and the deals and the money start coming to you. Moreover, a prominent public profile changes the scale of your remuneration. The average business consultant might earn x for his input and ideas. But Richard Branson will earn x plus three more zeroes, simply because he is Richard Branson. He has raised the value of his name, and it alters his remuneration.

2. Escape the Hour-Concept Entirely

Individuals who sell and do deals have learned that that one important hand-shake can be worth half a years’ salary. And so their emphasis is not on ‘putting in hours,’ but on ‘landing deals.’

Others have learned to develop passive income streams, for example, by selling books. While they sleep, people pay them money, and as such, they have escaped the hours-equation. Certainly, they had to put the hours in initially. But after that, their gains simply continue, and often grow exponentially.

And you needn’t think about selling anything as boring as widgets. Take Charles M. Schultz, the creator of the comic-strip ‘Peanuts.’ He sold a three-panel comic strip, over and over, to newspapers around the world, for fifty years. Forbes lists him as the 4th highest posthumous celebrity earner for 2012, ahead of John Lennon!

Others still have learned to scale up what they do. Once they discovered that there was market value in their offering, they hired others or created systems that could multiply their effectiveness.

Raising your value is not as difficult as it may sound. You need to solve important problems, which are worth money to people or organizations. You need to sell en mass. You need to create things that keep selling after you have input your labour. You need to raise the intrinsic value of your name and brand, through enhancing public perception of you. You need to scale up the valuable thing you do, so that you are not limited by your own capacity. You need to offer more to those who already like what you sell or do.

Above all, you need to question the thinking that was handed down to you. Can you remember hearing phrases like, “Get a trade, and you’ll never go hungry”? Or, “Get a steady job, be grateful and don’t make waves”? Or, “Money is the root of all evil”? If so, you have inherited unexamined ideas. They’re like racism. We can accept them without question. Or we can unravel them, extricate what value they may have, dismiss the rest as outdated, and move beyond them.

Personally, I’m dumping the bricks and carrying gold. How about you?

Watch a video on this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbsNuStRS5M&feature=g-upl

Douglas Kruger is the only speaker in Africa to have won the Southern African Championships for Public Speaking a record five times. He is the author of ‘50 Ways to Become a Better Speaker,’ published in South Africa and Nigeria, ‘50 Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert,’ and co-author of ‘So You’re in Charge. Now What? 52 Ways to Become a Better Leader.’ See Douglas in action, or read his articles, at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Email him at Kruger@compute.co.za, or connect with him on Linked In or Twitter: @DouglasKruger

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Personal Finance

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life

There’s nothing worse than a rich person who’s chronically angry or unhappy. There’s really no excuse for it, yet I see it every day. It results from an extremely unbalanced life, one with too much expectation and not enough appreciation for what’s there.

Tony Robbins

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Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfilment. But how do you cultivate balance in life? What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?

For nearly four decades, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people from every walk of life, including some of the most powerful men and women on the planet. I’ve worked with presidents of the United States as well as owners of small businesses.

Across the board, I’ve found that virtually every moment people make three key decisions that dictate the quality of their lives. If you make these decisions unconsciously, you’ll end up like the majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted emotionally and often financially stressed. But if you make these decisions consciously, you can literally change the course of your life today.

Decision 1: Carefully choose what to focus on

At every moment, millions of things compete for your attention. You can focus on things that are happening right here and now or on what you want to create in the future. Or you can focus on the past.

Where focus goes, energy flows. What you focus on and your pattern for doing so shapes your entire life.

Related: 10 YouTube Channels Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

Which area do you tend to focus on more: What you have or what’s missing from your life?

I’m sure you think about both sides of this coin. But if you examine your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend most of your time dwelling on?

Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you financially, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have much to be grateful for and some of it has nothing to do with money. You can be grateful for your health, family, friends, opportunities and mind.

Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional wellbeing and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to feel deeply grateful for your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness and fulfilment can be found.

Consider a second pattern of focus that affects the quality of your life: Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t?

If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll have more stress in life. You can influence many aspects of your life but you usually can’t control them.

When you adopt this pattern of focus, your brain has to make another decision: 

Decision 2: Figure out, What does this all mean?

Ultimately, how you feel about your life has nothing to do with the events in it or with your financial condition or what has (or hasn’t) happened to you. The quality of your life is controlled by the meaning you give these things.

Most of the time you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events.

When something happens that disrupts your life (a car accident, a health issue, a job loss), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?

If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or truly caring for you?

Does a devastating problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem is a gift from God?

Your life takes on whatever meaning you give it. With each meaning comes a unique feeling or emotion and the quality of your life involves where you live emotionally.

I always ask during my seminars, “How many of you know someone who is on antidepressants and still depressed?” Typically 85% to 90% of those assembled raise their hands.

How is this possible? The drugs should make people feel better. It’s true that antidepressants do come with labels warning that suicidal thoughts are a possible side-effect.

But no matter how much a person drugs himself, if he constantly focuses on what he can’t control in life and what’s missing, he won’t find it hard to despair. If he adds to that a meaning like ‘life is not worth living,’ that’s an emotional cocktail that no antidepressant can consistently overcome.

Yet if that same person can arrive at a new meaning, a reason to live or a belief that all this was meant to be, then he will be stronger than anything that ever happened to him.

When people shift their habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit to what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter someone’s biochemistry in minutes.

So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life. Choose consciously and wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and wealth in its deepest sense will be yours today.

Once you create a meaning in your mind, it creates an emotion, and that emotion leads to a state for making your third decision:

Related: 13 Habits Of Self-Made Millionaires You Could Adopt Today

Decision 3: What will you do?

The actions you take are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you’re in. If you’re angry, you’re going to behave quite differently than if you’re feeling playful or outrageous.

If you want to shape your actions, the fastest way is to change what you focus on and shift the meaning to be something more empowering.

Two people who are angry will behave differently. Some pull back. Others push through.

Some individuals express anger quietly. Others do so loudly or violently. Yet others suppress it only to look for a passive-aggressive opportunity to regain the upper hand or even exact revenge.

Where do these patterns come from? People tend to model their behaviour on those they respect, enjoy and love.

The people who frustrated or angered you? You often reject their approaches.

Yet far too often you may find yourself falling back into patterns you witnessed over and over again in your youth and were displeased by. It’s very useful for you to become aware of your patterns when you are frustrated, angry or sad, or feel lonely. You can’t change your patterns if you’re not aware of them.

Now that you’re aware of the power of these three decisions, start looking for role models who are experiencing what you want out of life. I promise you that those who have passionate relationships have a totally different focus and arrive at totally different meanings for the challenges in relationships than people who are constantly bickering or fighting.

It’s not rocket science. If you become aware of the differences in how people approach these three decisions, you’ll have a pathway to help you create a permanent positive change in any area of life.

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Personal Finance

7 Steps To Achieve Financial Freedom

Achieving financial freedom doesn’t necessarily mean becoming filthy rich – not that that hurts.

Brian Tracy

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In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy explains the seven steps you need to take to achieve financial freedom. Now, financial freedom doesn’t mean becoming filthy rich – lottery winners go bankrupt all the time. Instead, financial freedom is about becoming disciplined and using your money in a way that ensures you can live the sort of life you want both now and in the future.

Related: 5 Qualities Of Successful Entrepreneurs

That’s why the first step isn’t about getting a lot of money. Instead, it’s about teaching yourself to think positively about money. That way, you’ll be in the right mindset to move forward.

Click play to learn more.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Personal Finance

4 Ways To Become A Millionaire Even When You Start With Little

It costs nothing to take advantage of the limitless opportunities online.

Timothy Sykes

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The hardest part of becoming successful is getting started to begin with. But despite the challenges ahead of you, there’s a way to become a millionaire when starting with little. I’m going to show you four reasons why you can become a millionaire with just a small investment.

1First focus on learning, not big gain

Education is your greatest weapon. Focus on learning in the beginning. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on making huge gains in the beginning. Learn everything you can because this is how you build the foundations for long-term gains.

They say that if a millionaire goes bankrupt they’ll nearly always be able to get it back. And that’s because they might have lost their money, but they have the knowledge of how to get back to where they need to be.

Related: 21 Choices Millionaires Make That You Aren’t Making But Should Be

2You can learn loads about any topic online

online-learning

I’m grateful for the internet. It’s the single biggest library in the world. You’re reading this article right now and you’re acquiring knowledge you wouldn’t have been able to acquire 40 years ago. Use the internet to its fullest extent, whether that’s through reading books, browsing articles or watching video tutorials.

Set some time aside every day to learn something online. It could be a video series or a favorite blog. When you get into the habit of learning regularly you’ll find that you advance much faster.

3Focus on the niche you love

These days you can learn about anything and target the niche you’re passionate about. This is what I was able to do with penny stocks. I found a gap in the market and provided knowledge to people who wouldn’t have otherwise being able to access this sort of information.

You can do that with absolutely any niche. When you find a niche you’re passionate about and you use the reach of the Internet you start to make huge gains.

4Prove your expertise by creating free content

Your reputation as an authority is the new business card. There’s a reason I created a penny stock guide and made it free for all. You may have already seen ads for it on social media. The way to succeed with little is to create a reputation through your content.

It’s the gateway to success because through free content you start to build relationships with others who value your work. And from there everyone gets richer.

Related: How To Become A Millionaire, Explained In 1 Minute

You can do lots with a little

The days when you needed a huge investment to become successful are long gone. These days you can do so much with just a little. Find what you love, advance your knowledge in that area, and create a product that fulfills a need. Finally, work on building up relationships through portraying yourself as an authority on your subject.

Combine everything together and you can accomplish anything.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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