Even though the whole world seems to be going back to school, it’s still summer for us. We don’t start school and stop school because that would send the message to my kids that learning is something you start and stop. The whole back-to-school hoopla is for people who teach their kids to be poor.
Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think, spent nearly three decades interviewing millionaires around the world to find out what separates them from everyone else. It turns out it has little to do with money itself. Rich kids have a different mindset. (via Business Insider). And, it looks to me like the whole back-to-school ritual embodies what Siebold identifies as a middle-class mentality.
1. Rich people don’t let school run their life.
Siebold writes, “Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge.” Rich people acquire specific knowledge. They feel no need to be well rounded.
Also, Siebold found that while average people do things they don’t love, those with a rich-person mindset do only things they love. Which means, of course, that there is no career value in teaching kids to do the things in school that don’t interest them.
2. Rich kids don’t take a summer break.
Siebold found that average people like to be entertained. People with a rich-kid mindset would rather be educated than entertained. Which means that summer vacation makes no sense for a rich-kid in the same way that school being boring makes no sense to a rich kid.
3. Doing what everyone else is doing is for poor kids.
It’s back to school time because that’s what’s easy. It’s easier to send your kids to our national babysitting service than it is to keep your kids home with you and try something new. But here’s the rub: kids who are trained to be average are taught to do what’s mainstream, comfortable, and easy. Kids who are taught to think like rich-kids are taught to get used to uncertainty. Seibold writes: “Physical, psychological, and emotional comfort is the primary goal of the middle class mindset.”
4. Rich people think big; poor people think small.
Going to school, year after year, is thinking small. It’s thinking there is one track in life, it’s thinking we need approval before we take each step forward (what is, for example, graduation?) Going to school is also about letting life happen to you rather than making things happen, which Siebold also says is a big difference between rich and poor people. Once kids get to school, whatever the school decides is right for the kid and the family is what happens. If you don’t like it, you take the kid out of the school. But only to bring them to another school. Deciding you can figure out a better way to do your family life is teaching your kid to think like a rich kid.
5. Rich people think about money logically, rather than emotionally.
Before you get up in arms that rich people are not people to emulate, Siebold has that covered: Kids who are taught to be average are taught that rich people are indulgent and lazy, which is which is an illogical reaction to other people’s money. Kid who are taught to be rich look at money in a logical way. And logically, there are steps you can take to give your kids the mentality to make themselves rich.
Also, you probably do not set out to teach your kids how to be rich, but look, you have to teach them something about how to relate to money because they are watching you. They are learning from you whether you like it or not. So you have a choice to teach your kids to be average or teach your kids to be rich. We make so many deliberate parenting choices about stuff much less important than earning power, so we should be deliberate about this: you can choose to teach your kid to be average or you can choose to teach your kid to be rich.