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Robert Kiyosaki, A Rich Dad Poor Dad’s Journey To Success

I am especially giddy because we are going backstage with Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad. I wouldn't be here doing this, I wouldn't be on my journey if I hadn't read one of his books, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

If you're just getting to know what that book is, definitely go get it. It is the number one personal finance book of all time. If you don't want to read it, give it to your kids. I was fortunate to come across this book and it has changed my life dramatically. My generations in my family for sure are going to be impacted by this book.

This is such an unusual interview. It is completely different. It's a little contrarian. Robert, you can tell, has a strong point of view. If you're looking for a show, perhaps you've heard of Robert before on another interview. You're going to find this one to be extremely different. I want to give you a little preview of what's to come.

We talked about Robert as a surfer, a Marine, and as a pilot. We go back to when he started the Velcro and wallet business back in the ‘70s and ‘80s and how Pink Floyd, The Police, Boy George and Journey called him up to make wallets and merch for them and he lost $15 million. That's a fascinating journey that he shares with us.

In addition, he also gives some tactical information. How do you find the right teachers and advisers? He gives his techniques and strategies for finding the right mentors and how he goes about it.

Finally, he talks about fear and self-doubt. For a guy that's been as successful as he is and has been, he still experiences fear and doubt. He is still human. He gives us strategies that he uses, a routine that he uses to plow through those. He gives a lot of intel on the recognition of fear and self-doubt and what you do about it.

I am excited for you to read this blog. In the end, I’m going to give you my personal takeaways and reminders of what to do with this powerful information. With that said, let's get to it.

Dustin
Robert, you've had such a profound impact on many people's lives. What has surprised you the most on your path to sharing the Rich Dad message?
Robert
The success of it. Back in 1997, I publish a thousand copies. That was a lot. We never thought we'd sell them. No book company would take it. No retailer wanted it. I sent it to my friend. He said, “We don’t sell books in carwash.” I said, “There's no competition there. That's why I put it there.” It sat there for two weeks and nobody bought anything, and then all of a sudden they're all gone. The company that bought it was Amway, the network marketing company. Trump and I endorsed network marketing as a way for entrepreneurs to get the skill sets necessary to be entrepreneurs, not employees. Amway picked it up and the rest is history. Oprah, then Trump called, then the world called. What happened in the resurgence is that we're in the top ten of Amazon and their stores, top ten in France, Japan, South Africa, many countries in Europe. The message is hitting your generation, which is good.
Dustin
Why do you think the resurgence?
Robert
It's a matter of cycles and markets and all that. Everything goes in ups and downs. I’m not Republican or a Democrat, but I was on the New York Times list for a few years and then they took it off automatically. Most editors and most academic elites, like the Hillarys and Obamas, they have this negative attitude towards money and the rich. That's why Trump gets hammered all the time is because he's going up against the college professors, the Liberals, and those guys. The Liberals in Hollywood make a lot of money by just being glamorous. For people like you and me who are not going to be on Hollywood Squares and all this stuff, we better figure out another way to make our millions. If I could make millions playing golf, I would do it. If I could make millions being like Brad Pitt, I would probably do it. That was not in the card. I’m an entrepreneur. That's all I am. I’m an entrepreneur in real estate and business.
Dustin
I found in life and the success journey, there's always a set of circumstances or events that take place that somewhat nearly derail people from achieving that moment in their life. In your particular case, your path to publishing the book, were there any such moments where you lost the transcript or you got disillusioned and didn't do it?
Robert
Every day. The most stupid questions I hear, especially from young people, out of the Rich Dad Radio Show FAQ is, “What's your biggest mistake?” I said, “How many mistakes can a person make?” I’ve been up and I’ve been down. You talk to most successful people, they've been up and they've been down. There's no difference between up and down because they’re two sides of the same coin. You can't understand up unless you understand down. You can’t understand right if you don't understand wrong. Our school system teaches us only one right answer. My whole family is school teachers, but they're like a one-legged person trying to walk around in the circle on one leg, being right all the time. I’ve been wrong most of the time but having a rich dad and learning that humans are designed to learn by making mistakes. When you learn to ride a bike, you fall off a couple of times. Our school systems are criminal in their philosophy of how they teach people. You look at what's going on on college campuses now. You can't say anything that might trigger what are called trigger events. That might upset them. I'm like, “Give me a break. Every day I’m upset.” The book is called The Coddling Of The American Mind. It’s by a First Amendment, free speech attorney, and an educational psychologist. They’re saying our school systems are damaging our kids' futures.
Dustin
You've got a book you're working on, FAKE: Fake Money, Fake Teachers, Fake Assets. When you say fake teachers, continuing along this line of education or traditional education, what do you mean by that?
Robert
Most teachers teach subjects. They don't have to know the subject. My father was Head of education for Hawaii and most teachers are not students of the subject they teach. They can be teaching accounting one day and English the next. I went to military school. When I was in flight school in Pensacola near San Diego, Camp Pendleton, my teachers were real teachers. They're all real pilots. They weren't just pilots, they were Vietnam veteran pilots. By the time I was at Camp Pendleton, the pilots from Pensacola where basic flight school was, all pilots could fly. Could you imagine taking lessons from a pilot who couldn't fly? I went to Camp Pendleton. These guys are coming back from Vietnam and they're saying, “Everything they taught you at a flight school in Pendleton has changed because technology changed.” If I didn't know that, I have all these fake flight instructors who teach airline pilots. Combat pilots are a little bit different than airline pilots. We have to learn whole new strategies, new philosophies, new tactics and all this and new ways of surviving. When I wrote FAKE, it was fake assets. Our US dollar is fake. Fake teachers. Most school teachers are good people, but they don't teach what they know anything about.
When I was in my MBA program when I came back from Vietnam, I knew more about accounting than my accounting instructor. I don't go to college campuses often because of the book, The Coddling Of The American Mind, because I say things that disturb people. I’m in my MBA program in Hawaii and I realize I know more about accounting than my accounting teacher because he's a fake teacher. I was in my Marine Corps outfit and this was in ‘73. People spit on you if you were a Marine. They yell at you and they call you a baby killer and all that stuff. This teacher and I did not get along. He was younger than me. This is in the book FAKE: Fake Money, Fake Teachers, Fake Assets. The kids are younger than me too. I’m the old guy at 26. I said, “Are you an accountant?” He goes, “Yes, I have a Master's in Accountancy.” I said, “Let me ask the question one more time. Are you an accountant?” He says, “Yes, I have a Master's in Accountancy.” I said, “How much accounting do you do? We're taking lessons from pilots who can't fly. That's a fake teacher.”
I remember when I was at the Academy in New York. I was in the third year of calculus. It wasn't called calculus. It was a derivative of calculus. I asked my calculus teacher, “Do you ever use this stuff?” He goes, “No.” I said, “When will I use it?” He says, “Never.” I said, “Why are you teaching it?” He said, “I get paid for it.” That's where fake teachers come from. Most of us are, should I say, financially challenged because we've had fake teachers. Our education begins at home, “Go to school. Get a job. Work hard. Save money. Get out of debt. Invest for long-term in the stock market,” or we learned in church, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” or from financial planners who say, “Stocks and mutual funds are the way to go. Invest for long-term. Invest in the right portfolio and save until it hurts.” Those are our teachers. They're all fake.
Dustin
You have an inside look at education. Do you think it’s ever going to change?
Robert
No, it can't. Every coin has three sides, heads, tails, and the edge. Teachers are only on one side of the coin, the right answer. What teachers don't realize is that the wrong answer is more valuable than the right answer. In other words, why am I so successful now? It’s because I failed so many times. I’ve lost $26 million and it took me a few years to recover, but that was the best years of my life. It was horrible, but I learned how stupid I was. I learned mistakes, the people I trusted, and all that stuff. Most school teachers my age were spitting at me when I came back from Vietnam.
Dustin
I want to go back to your earlier ventures. You determined early on you had fake teachers and you had to do something about it. You said, “I’m going to go the entrepreneurial path.” Talk to us about when you came up with the idea to get into the nylon and Velcro wallet business. How did that come about?
Robert
The reason most people are not as successful as entrepreneurs is they're trained in school to be employees. Go to school and get a job. What happens when a person transitions out of the employee mindset, which is a paradigm, job security, steady paychecks, pensions and medical, and suddenly they're blasted by the real world? Nine out of ten businesses fail and the reason entrepreneurs fail in the first five years is they come out of school without the skill sets. If you don't have skill sets, can you sell? Do you know how to lead people? Do you understand taxes? Do you understand debt? Do you understand the law? 99.99% of these Harvard MBAs don't know what entrepreneurs know. That's why I always say to young people, “Keep your daytime job but start a part-time business.” What you have to learn as an entrepreneur is staggering and you will fail. You'll make mistakes. You'll get stabbed in the back. You'll do some stabbing back. Your spirits will get crushed. You’ll probably develop ulcers. People will cheat, lie, and steal to you.
That's why our school system in the book, The Coddling of the American Mind, is teaching kids that they got to protect themselves from anything that upsets them. As an entrepreneur, every single day you got messed with. The government, an employee, a customer, the law, it's every single day. Our academic system is going backward. This is my opinion, I could be wrong. Maybe the world should be. We all walk around on clouds and play the flutes and mandolins and everybody should be happy and say nice things. I’m a former US Marine. Four years in the Academy, six years in the Marine Corps. I was trained to be tough. Life isn't easy. What this guy was saying in The Coddling of the American Mind is many kids now are used to having their mommy and daddy block and tackle for them. They think life should be easy. They step out into my world and we pound the crap out of them. “You guys are mean. You’re not politically correct. You say horrible things. You’re friends with Trump.” I’m not Republican and Democrat. Trump's an idiot, so what?
Dustin
You mentioned sales and I want to talk about that because that is the entree into entrepreneurship oftentimes. How important do you think sales is, especially with the book you keep referencing in battle testing you and getting you ready for entrepreneurship?
Robert
If you've studied accounting, which most people haven't, there’s something called the income statement balance sheet and then a statement of cashflow. The way you look at the income statements, called a P&L, topline is income. Where does the income come from? Sales. There's a direct correlation. Rich Dad Poor Dad’s only a book on accounting, it’s ironic. The topline sales, which everybody wants is more income. The top line is income and whether you're an employee or not, most people want more income. Income and sales is a direct correlation. That's why when I got out of the Marine Corps, my rich dad suggested I look for a company, not for job security, the other BS that most people look for, but who had the best sales training programs. Back in the ‘70s, it was IBM and Xerox. I chose Xerox and I went from the worst salesman for a couple years to number one in sales. Then I had to learn other things. The reason I’m a bestselling author is because most academic elites that went to Harvard, Princeton and Yale said, “You don't know how to write.” I said, “That's right, but I can sell.” Sale trickles income and that's why most people can’t sell. The irony of it is due to technology is the issue they'll sell to the whole world, but if you still lacked the basic sales, marketing, and closing skills, you’re still broke.
I was talking to those guys, The Coddling of the American Mind, suicide rate amongst kids is up 25% for men and 75% percent for girls. They’re not prepared for the real world. They blame antisocial media. The girls get picked on and all that. As guys, I don't know about you, but if I wasn't being picked on, it meant my friends don't love me. We have to be so politically correct that we can't say anything. “I’ll hurt somebody's feelings,” or they call the trigger events. If you go live in this little bubble called, “Don't say anything that upsets me,” you're probably not going to sell. Sales is about rejection. It’s a basic entrepreneurial skill and that's why Donald Trump before he was president, recommended people joins the network marketing business. I spent a few years learning to handle your fears and getting rejected every day. If you can't handle rejection, you’re probably not going to make it as an entrepreneur.
Dustin
Fear and self-doubt often stop people. Going and getting rejected, facing it head on especially in sales and entrepreneurship, 100%. You've done that. When you enter a new area of investing or maybe you pick up a new routine, a diet, or something that's not every day you do it, a new thing. What do you do to overcome those fears, that chatter in your head or even self-doubt in certain areas? What's your strategy?
Robert
What I say to everybody, everybody has fear and self-doubt. When I went to Vietnam and people start shooting at you, there’s a lot of fear but it’s how we processed it. The way I handle it now is spirituality, not religious either, but I meditate. I have what I call I hate to use the word a therapist, but not a therapist. It's a person who is trained to handle my doubts, fears, and pains. I have not had much luck with therapists, but I went searching for people that are trained to handle people like me. This woman is on my speed dial because I’m always getting upset. I’m always pissed off about something. I’m always afraid of something. I meditate half an hour every morning and I read spiritual books. The book our whole company finished was called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. His spirituality has kept me alive in Vietnam and it’s spirituality that keeps me alive now. Religion and spirituality. When I meditate, God talks to me. I’m not religious. God stands for a general overall director. When I pray, I’m talking to God.
The key to spirituality is stillness or silence. Can you shut your mind off? Most people, they can't control that chatter. That mind doesn't stop talking to them. It’s the power of meditation, and there are more and more guys doing and recommending it. It's not called mindfulness. It’s called getting out of your mind, being quiet, and still. Can you shut up? When you're in doubt, in trouble, upset and chattering away and angry, can you shut your mind up? The trouble with education is it educates the mind, but it doesn't teach you how to shut that mind up. The little voice that’s always going, “What's he talking about? What’s your biggest mistake? What would you say to somebody who has no money?” I go, “Jesus H. Christ.” “You swore to Jesus.” I’m going, “No, I didn't. I said, ‘Jesus H. Christ.’” I just go nuts. That's why I said I was brought up in a different era. I was a surfer. I’m a Marine. I fly and I killed people. That's what I did and I don't do it anymore, but that's what we're trained to do. That makes me successful in business because I don't have to put up with idiots.
Dustin
What about overwhelm? Fear and self-doubt is one thing, but when business is coming your way, what about overwhelm? What do you do for that?
Robert
Many people think if you're successful then you will have no problems. That's exactly wrong. Success got me in trouble. I started the nylon and Velcro surfer wallet back in ’76 and we became the number one product in sporting goods. Now, I couldn't handle a thing called inventory. I have to start borrowing money to produce enough wallets to supply the demand. Success was wiping me out. We crashed because we couldn't keep up with demand. We went bust because we borrowed all this money. Then my supplier, who came out of Korea, ripped our market out of us. He said, “I can produce that wallet for $0.10 and I’m charging you $1.60 for it,” so he just produced for $0.10. That's business. I said, “I better do something different.” I’m all wiped out. It wasn't too much. I only owed $800,000 but this is the ‘70s. $800,000 is a lot of money.
I used my head again and I went into rock and roll. My first band was an old band called Pink Floyd and a song I love was called The Wall, “We don't need no education.” I was so successful with Pink Floyd that an old band called The Police called, and Journey, Van Halen, Boy George. We took off again and again, the same problem. Success killed me. I just couldn't keep up with demand. That's why I got smarter each time but this time with that product, I lost about $15 million. Success was killing me. I found out who was real, who was fake, and who was all talk. Those things are priceless. That's what school teachers say don't do. Make sure you have all the right answers before you do something. Don't make mistakes and don't ask for help. That's why teachers, for the most part, they're good people. They're not rich people and they teach our kids. You can learn a lot from fake teachers, you can learn not to be like them.
Dustin
Who do you learn from? Who are your mentors? Who do you go for wisdom?
Robert
I flunked out of Sunday school also. I flunked out of everything. When I was in Sunday school, I got in about nine or ten years old. This teacher, she was a pretty young woman. She's probably twenty. She asked the question, “What made the three wise men wise?” I said, “They were rich. That's why they were wise,” and all the other kids in the class all answer the question. She goes, “What made the wise men wise was that they went in search of a new teacher, and their teacher was Christ.” I’m not pitching Jesus, but what makes a person successful is they’ll always seek the new teachers. The other guys, they want to hang on to the thoughts of the old teachers like, “Go to school. Get a job. Work hard. Save money. Invest for the long-term in the stock market.” Those guys are all fake teachers. All I do is I go in search of new teachers. The way you find new teachers, you attend seminars. I’m going to the New Orleans Investment Conference because I want to learn from the guys on the front lines doing it every single day. I don't want a college professor teaching me. I read great books. The teachers are gone, they're dead, but they still have brilliant ideas in those old books.
I hang out with guys James Rickards who wrote The Road To Ruin and Currency Wars and Nomi Prins who wrote Collusion. The reason I like these guys is they’re on the front lines. They were inside the economic collapse of 2008. They were insiders. Most financial planners and school teachers, they're outsiders. I don't take advice from outsiders. As a general rule, I’d rather have somebody was on the inside of the trade. I don't buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETF, or save money because that’s what outsiders do. I’m an entrepreneur, I put my business deals together and I control my real estate deals. I’m an insider in all trades. I don't want to take advice from outsiders who buy outside assets. That's what fake is about. Most people have taken financial advice from fake money, which was the dollar. I forget how much they printed, but it's a lot of money and people are working for it. You got to be kidding me. It's stupid to me. Why would you work for fake money that they're printing? Why would you save it when it's taxed on top of it?
It never made sense to me given that I had a rich dad and a poor dad. My poor dad believes in saving money, that's why he was a PhD from Stanford, University of Chicago, and Northwestern. He was a poor man in attitude. He’s very successful academically but financially wiped out. That's why I understood the Sunday school teacher. Why were the wise men wise? They sought the newest teacher. When I was on my way at Camp Pendleton going to Vietnam, the old pilot, they weren't old probably 24 years old coming back. The war has changed. Technology has changed. We got to change your strategies here. Those were real teachers, they were in combat. Whereas my teachers at Pensacola, Florida were flight instructors. They’re good teachers, they could fly, but they weren't combat pilots. I’m alive now because the combat pilots who got back from Vietnam taught me how to fly, kill, and live. If I hadn't had those real teachers, I’d be dead.
Dustin
You've been on the battlefield, the business battlefield. You've lost money. You've met your share of interesting people that I’m sure you no longer do business with. What advice would you give to young Robert?
Robert
I don't know. We're all different. I don't recommend my life or I don't recommend what I invest in or what I do. There's an old saying, “To thine self be true.” Our parents, I’m sure they mean the most to you. Most people took advice from poor parents like, “Go to school. Get to Harvard. Go to Yale.” That's not good advice unless you want to go to Harvard and Yale. Most religious leaders, they talk about the love of money being the root of all evil. I don't know about you, but to me, it's the lack of money that's the root of all evil. Who are your advisers? I don't trust financial planners, not at all because they have only one thing in mind, to sell you something. That's why at Rich Dad Poor Dad, I said the reason they're called stockbrokers, real estate brokers, and insurance brokers is that they're broker than you. That’s the selling point. As you get to be a wiser person, you get to understand that people have self-interest. The guy wants to put food on his table, he may want to take money from you to put food on their table for their kid. It's human nature. To think that we don't have a light side and a dark side is naïve. That's why I said, “Don't follow in my footsteps. Don't listen to what I say. I’m reporting to you as best I can that I was true to myself.”
When I signed up to go to Vietnam, I was already making $120,000 a year. In 1969, $120,000 is not much now, but back then it was probably like making $750,000 a year now. I gave it up to make $200 a month, $1,200 a year to fly. All my classmates were making all this money. They said, “You might die,” and I said, “Yes, and I might live.” Life and death are on opposite sides of the same coin. I had to stand on the edge of the coin and go, “Which side do I want to face? I think death is more exciting than life,” so I went to face death. It was great. I’m not politically correct when I meet my hecklers and stuff like this. I remember what Christ said in his last few days was, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.” I say, “You're hurting our feelings and all of this.” I said, “Maybe I’m helping you too.” I wouldn't go to school now is one thing. I’ll take seminars and go meet fake teachers in real life. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or an accountant go to school. If you want to be an employee, go to school. If you want to learn about death, taxes, and the real world you don't have to go to school.
Dustin
If folks want to follow what I call the ultimate contrarian thinker, Rich Dad Poor Dad, yourself Robert Kiyosaki, where can folks find more of what you're up to?
Robert
That's RichDad.com. I appreciate young guys like you coming along and endorsing the book because the world has changed. What most people are following worked when I was in college. I got the high-paying job because $120,000 a year is not much money now, but I was on top of the world at 21. Everybody says, “You're lucky.” I said, “It's also boring.” I was driving tankers for Standard Oil. I’m a tanker driver. That's why I make so much money in oil now because I’m a tanker driver. I don't invest in Standard Oil, Exxon, or Mobil but I invest in oil. Education is important, but you've got to watch out for this fake money, fake teachers, and fake assets. 401(k)s, mutual funds, and ETFs are good for the average person, but they're complete rip-offs. The thing called fees, they suck fees out of it and you lose money but they make money. That doesn't make sense to me. We're coming into the biggest crash in world history. I’m not contrarian. I’m just going to say, “I’m excited about this crash. I’m going to make a lot of money in this crash. 2008 was the best crash of my lifetime,” but to people that's contrarian. What most people will do when they're investing in a crash, that's stupidity? That's insanity. That is ignorance. I’m telling you, “Think again. Forget what mommy, daddy, the schools, and churches tell you. Maybe if look at what's going on now.” That's all I’m saying.
Dustin
Thank you, Robert. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us. Check out Rich Dad Poor Dad and RichDad.com.

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