The business of teaching: the classroom teacher does it one way; life does it very differently


This inspiring dialogue between Robert Kiyosaki and Rich Dad in Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad goes a very long way to revealing how life conducts the business of teaching, as different from how our classroom teachers do it. Life has always been a great teacher; just that you may not have known all along. This is time to know.

Kiyosaki: I thought you were going to keep your end of the bargain and teach me. Instead you want to torture me? That’s cruel. That’s really cruel.

Rich Dad: I am teaching you.

Kiyosaki: What have you taught me? Nothing! You haven’t even talked to me once since I agreed to work.

Rich Dad: Wow! Now you sound just like most of the people

Kiyosaki: So what do you have to say? You lied to me. I’ve worked for you, and you have not kept your word. You haven’t taught me anything.

Rich Dad: How do you know that I’ve not taught you anything?

Kiyosaki: Well, you’ve never talked to me. I’ve worked for three weeks, and you have not taught me anything.

Rich Dad: Does teaching mean talking or a lecture?

Kiyosaki: Well, yes.

Rich Dad:

That’s how they teach you in school. But that is not how life teaches you, and I would say that life is the best teacher of all. Most of the time, life does not talk to you. It just sort of pushes you around. Each push is life saying, ‘Wake up. There’s something I want you to learn.’

Kiyosaki: [silently] What is this man talking about? Life pushing me around was life talking to me?

Rich Dad:

If you learn life’s lessons, you will do well. If not, life will just continue to push you around. People do two things. Some just let life push them around. Others get angry and push back. But they push back against their boss, or their job, or their husband or wife. They do not know it’s life that’s pushing. Life pushes all of us around. Some give up. Others fight. A few learn the lesson and move on. They welcome life pushing them around. To these few people, it means they need and want to learn something. They learn and move on. Most quit, and a few like you fight. If you learn this lesson, you will grow into a wise, wealthy and happy young man. If you don’t, you will spend your life blaming a job, low pay or your boss for your problems. You’ll live life hoping for that big break that will solve all your problems. Or if you’re the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you’re that kind of person, you’ll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for some event that never happens. Then, you die a boring old man. You’ll have lots of friends who really like you because you were such a nice hardworking guy. You spent a life playing it safe, doing the right things. But the truth is, you let life push you into submission. Deep down you were terrified of taking risks. You really wanted to win, but the fear of losing was greater than the excitement of winning. Deep inside, you and only you will know you didn’t go for it. You chose to play it safe.”

Kiyosaki: You’ve been pushing me around?

Rich Dad: Some people might say that. I would say that I just gave you a taste of life.

Kiyosaki: What taste of life?

Rich Dad: So when Mike told me about you wanting to learn, I decided to design a course that was close to real life. I could talk until I was blue in the face, but you wouldn’t hear a thing. So I decided to let life push you around a bit so you could hear me

Kiyosaki: So what is the lesson I learned from working? That you’re cheap and exploit your workers?

Rich Dad: You’d best change your point of view. Stop blaming me, thinking I’m the problem. If you think I’m the problem, then you have to change me. If you realize that you’re the problem, then you can change yourself, learn something and grow wiser. Most people want everyone else in the world to change but themselves. Let me tell you, it’s easier to change yourself than everyone else.

Kiyosaki: I don’t understand.

Rich Dad: Don’t blame me for your problems. See, you think I’m the problem. But you are. Well, keep that attitude and you learn nothing. Keep the attitude that I’m the problem and what choices do you have? …

Kiyosaki: So what will solve the problem?

Rich Dad: This, [tapping me gently on the head] This stuff between your ears.