Think Like an Entrepreneur

Secure your financial future by thinking like an entrepreneur, not like an employee.
3 min read

This story appears in the January 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In October 2005, I was in New York City, speaking on the business of real estate and real estate investing. One of the other keynote speakers was Donald Trump. After my talk, a young man came up to me and said, "Nice talk, but you can't do what you talk about here in New York City."

Doing my best to be polite, I replied, "Well, Donald Trump is doing it."

"Yeah, yeah," said the young man. "You guys talk about it, but I know you can't do it."

Having heard this wimpy argument often (no matter where I was in the world), I shot back, "You're right. You can't do that here. But I can, and I would if I lived in New York City. And Donald Trump is definitely doing what you say can't be done."

One reason that young man and people like him say, "You can't do that" or "I would, if I had the money" is because they are thinking like employees, not like entrepreneurs.

Simply put, entrepreneurs focus on opportunity, while employees focus on resources such as money, people and time. For example, a person who thinks like an employee will say "I can't do it, because I don't have the money." A person who thinks like an entrepreneur will say "Let's tie up the deal and find the money later."

Even though you're an entrepreneur, you may still be thinking with an employee mind-set. And you can't change your business--and the results you get from your business--until you change your way of thinking.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Rich Dad Poor Dad, it's my story of growing up with two "dads"--and two perspectives on money, finance and investing. My real dad--who I call my poor dad because, ultimately, he died broke--was a hardworking, well-educated man who was Hawaii's super-intendent of education. He believed you should get a good education, find a good job with good benefits, and let the government take care of you once you retired.

My rich dad, the father of my best friend, had little formal education but the spirit of an entrepreneur, and he became one of the richest men in Hawaii. My rich dad forbade his son and me from saying "That's impossible." He said, "In business, when you say 'That's impossible,' your competition is saying 'We can do that.'" So he had us ask ourselves, "How can I do it?"

My rich dad's point was that changing our thoughts would change our lives. He said, "Whenever you say 'I can't,' that means you are at the boundary between what you can and can't do. When you ask yourself 'How can I do something?' you open your mind to new ideas and expand the possibilities of your life."

So the next time you hear yourself saying "I can't" or "That's impossible," remember that you are thinking like an employee and need to begin thinking like an entrepreneur.

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dadseries of books, is an investor, entrepreneur and educator whose perspectives have challenged and changed the way people think about money and investing.

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