The world is filled with smart, talented, educated and gifted people. We meet them every day. A few days ago, my car was not running well. I pulled it into a garage, and the young mechanic had it fixed in just a few minutes. He knew what was wrong by simply listening to the engine. I was amazed. The sad truth is, great talent is not enough.
I am constantly shocked at how little talented people earn. I heard the other day that less than 5 percent of Americans earn more than $100,000 a year. A business consultant who specializes in the medical trade was telling me how many doctors, dentists and chiropractors struggle financially. All this time, I thought that when they graduated, the dollars would pour in. It was this business consultant who gave me the phrase, “They are one skill away from great wealth.” What this phrase means is that most people need only to learn and master one more skill and their income would jump exponentially. I have mentioned before that financial intelligence is a synergy of accounting, investing, marketing and law. Combine those four technical skills and making money with money is easier. When it comes to money, the only skill most people know is to work hard.
When I graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1969, my educated dad was happy. Standard Oil of California had hired me for its oil-tanker fleet. I had a great career ahead of me, yet I resigned after six months with the company and joined the Marine Corps to learn how to fly. My educated dad was devastated. Rich dad congratulated me.
Job security meant everything to my educated dad. Learning meant everything to my rich dad. Educated dad thought I went to school to learn to be a ship's officer. Rich dad knew that I went to school to study international trade. So as a student, I made cargo runs, navigating large freighters, oil tankers and passenger ships to the Far East and the South Pacific. While most of my classmates, including Mike, were partying at their fraternity houses, I was studying trade, people and cultures in Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Korea and the Philippines. I also was partying, but it was not in any frat house. I grew up rapidly.
There is an old cliché that goes, “Job is an acronym for 'Just Over Broke.'” And unfortunately, I would say that the saying applies to millions of people. Because school does not think financial intelligence is intelligence, most workers “live within their means.” They work and they pay the bills. Instead I recommend to young people to seek work for what they will learn, more than what they will earn. Look down the road at what skills they want to acquire before choosing a specific profession and before getting trapped in the "Rat Race". Once people are trapped in the lifelong process of bill paying, they become like those little hamsters running around in those little metal wheels. Their little furry legs are spinning furiously, the wheel is turning furiously, but come tomorrow morning, they'll still be in the same cage: great job.
常言道，“工作（job）就是比'破产'(Just Over Broke的缩写)强一点”。然而不幸的是，这句话确实适用于千百万人，因为学校没有把财商看作是一种才智，大部分工人都“量入为出”：干活挣钱，支付账单。相反，我劝告年轻人在寻找工作时要看看能从中学到什么，而不是只看能挣到多少。在选择某种特定职业之前或是陷入 “老鼠赛跑（激烈的竞争）”之前，要好好掂量自己到底需要获得什么技能。一旦人们为支付账单而整天疲于奔命，就和那些在小铁轮里不停奔跑转圈的小老鼠一样了。老鼠的小毛腿跑得飞快，小铁轮也转得飞快，可到了第二天早上，他们发现自己依然困在同一个老鼠笼里，那就是：重要的工作。
When I ask the classes I teach, “How many of you can cook a better hamburger than McDonald's?”， almost all the students raise their hands. I then ask, “So if most of you can cook a better hamburger, how come McDonald's makes more money than you?” The answer is obvious: McDonald's is excellent at business systems. The reason so many talented people are poor is because they focus on building a better hamburger and know little or nothing about business systems. The world is filled with talented poor people. All too often, they're poor or struggle financially or earn less than they are capable of, not because of what they know but because of what they do not know. They focus on perfecting their skills at building a better hamburger rather than the skills of selling and delivering the hamburger.