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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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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Lerato Sentle

    Jun 10, 2012 at 23:05

    I am also dumping the bricks…

  2. Lucas

    Jun 12, 2012 at 15:22

    who would still be carrying the bricks after reading this? i think it is a great article with workable ideas. thank you and keep us inspired.

  3. Mareli Csabai

    Jun 14, 2012 at 08:41

    amazing! !!!

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Personal Finance

6 Ways To Develop A Millionaire Mindset

Chasing money has remarkably little to do with getting rich.

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If you truly want to have a million dollars, you must first be and think like a millionaire. By doing so, you will attract the necessary resources to you.

So, you want to become a millionaire entrepreneur? You’re not alone. Many dream of leaving their job and becoming their own boss, enjoying the various millionaire lifestyles we watch on TV. But there’s a difference between those who dream of becoming millionaires and those who do. And it begins and ends with mindset. If you don’t develop that mindset, you will continue to spin your wheels, working just as hard, but never going anywhere.

Developing a millionaire mindset requires you to stretch your thinking. Start by developing the following six attributes.

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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.

1. First 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.

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

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.

2. You 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.

3. Focus 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.

4. Prove 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.

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

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.

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.


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

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Personal Finance

10 Tips To Become A Millionaire This Year

Becoming a millionaire requires changing your mindset and implementing some changes.

Murray Newlands

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Becoming a millionaire may seem out of your reach, but it’s possible with the right attitude and guidance. The fact of the matter is your income can only grow as quickly as you do, so you need to change your mindset to achieve your goal of becoming a millionaire.

Once you have a millionaire mind, you can’t lose it, no matter what financial or business mistakes you make along the way. To get yourself there, you’re going to need some structure. To help you, I’ve outlined the top ten tips you should follow to become a millionaire this year.

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