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Were You Taught to Earn The Wheelbarrow Way?

Unraveling Inherited Ideas about Work and Wealth.

Douglas Kruger




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:

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 Email him at, or connect with him on Linked In or Twitter: @DouglasKruger


Personal Finance

If You Think These 5 Things, You’ll Never Get Rich By The Time You’re 30

Five common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a business and how to correct them.



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Last week, I had lunch with a millennial who wanted some advice about a business he’s starting. After the usual small talk, we got down to discussing his business plan. Within a short time, it was clear that his business idea was great, his plan for executing was fairly solid and he had gathered together a strong team to help him make it happen.

So far, so good. But, to be frank, this guy has no chance of being successful with his current mentality. What it takes to be rich (or successful in any measure) has a lot more to do with your mindset than your ideas and plans.

From the time we started in business at the ripe ages of six and seven, our Grandpa Joe taught my brother Matthew and me many lessons about the details of running a profitable business. Over the years, we learned about how to create a business plan; how to market our products and services; and how to take care of customers, vendors and employees. All this knowledge has been invaluable to us in creating and running successful businesses. But, what our grandfather taught us about attitude and mindset trumps all other lessons.

Without calling out the specific individual I spoke with recently, below are five “hypothetical” attitudes that will get you nowhere in your journey to success – and the attitudes that should replace them.

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Personal Finance

5 Habits That Lead To Millionaire Business Success

You need the right habits if you’re going to succeed.

Timothy Sykes




What do all millionaire businesspeople have in common? Well, a lot of things.

I found from a recent study that 80 percent of all millionaires still go to work every single day. They’re working people just like me. But, they have to keep themselves in work or it all grinds to a halt. So what are the habits you need to make your business a success?

1. Patience

Nothing is ever going to come easy. You can look at the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as well as the other usual suspects, to realize that success didn’t come with their first venture. Many of them failed time and time again. It took patience for them to become successful.

I read an article recently about 36-year-old teacher Andrew Hallam who became a self-made millionaire on a teaching salary. But, in his spare time he invested smart and lived frugally.

It proves you don’t have to inherit lots of money or become an instant success to make a millionaire business.

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

2. Dedication

You have to be dedicated to your craft if you’re going to become successful. Going back to Bill Gates again, he started his business in the back of his garage. Now that’s dedication.

It’s what I tell all my students. If they’re not dedicated to this, then they should leave. You need to be able to push through the barren periods if you’re going to reach the oasis of success.

3. Ambition and big dreams

Have you ever heard the quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”?

I take that to heart because even if you aim to become a billionaire and miss you still might be a millionaire many times over. Take the Wright Brothers as an example. Not content with creating a successful glider in 1902 they went on to create the world’s first airplane in 1903, making four brief flights in Kitty Hawk. It demonstrates the importance of dreaming big because you never know what you might achieve.

Related: 12 Millionaire Habits To Start Making Serious Money Soon And Build Wealth In A Hurry

4. Learn from mistakes

Every good businessperson will mess something up. It’s inevitable. What’s important is how you learn from your mistakes over time. Do you adapt after making your mistakes?

Millionaire businesspeople always set some time aside to reflect. Then they create a plan of action for ensuring that it doesn’t happen again. Most failed businesspeople put it down to “bad luck.”

5. Focus on niches

This important! Try to take over a whole industry at once and you’ll inevitably get swallowed up by the competition. Start small and control your own niche before moving into another niche. When you master your small area, you can push on and expand.

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

You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to expand after you master your own niche/audience first.

Do you have what it takes? That’s the question I always ask novice businesspeople. You need a plan and you need the right habits if you’re going to succeed.

This article was originally posted here on

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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




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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