Turning Pro: Professionals, Amateurs and Traitors with Robert Kiyosaki.

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By Stefan Aarnio

This weekend I had the pleasure of flying to Edmonton with one of my partners to hear Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dadspeak. Robert is around 65 years old now and has had some very hard experiences in the past few years.

  1. He has severed ties with a founding partners of the Rich Dad company. These people were stealing from him and betrayed him.
  2. He was recently in the media for going “bankrupt” and was sued for breach of an agreement with Learning Annex.
  3. CBC Marketplace did a fairly slanted review of his education company in the last few years and really mis-represented his brand in canada.

Life is not easy when you are on top… Everybody wants a piece of you.

Even still, Robert is tough as nails and still able to evolve, grow and innovate his business.

As an audience, we were treated to an entire morning and most of the afternoon with Robert sharing some of his most recent thoughts. Many of the things Robert taught were contextual and very high level concepts that have brought his life into a new level of focus.

Robert’s talk today was mostly self development and had very little to do with money at all. He talked mostly about character, context and personal growth (which is in my opinion more important than the nuts and bolts of money).

One book that has recently changed Robert’s life is called “Turning Pro” by Steven Pressfield.

Robert has a communication style where he is able to take a hopelessly complicated subject and make it simple.

For example, Robert can explain financial derivatives (a topic that no one REALLY understands) by using the analogy of oranges: Oranges are the underlying asset, orange juice is the derivative, a box of oranges is a package of derivatives that were sold as an “investment”. If the oranges in the box are bad, then the juice and the box of oranges are bad. This is how the American real estate bubble was built and collapsed after people found out “the oranges were bad”. This analogy makes derivatives so simple a 3 year old could understand it.

People understand oranges, orange juice and boxes, but they do not understand complicated financial concepts. This is why entire countries can get robbed by a few smart white collar criminals and no one goes to jail. It’s also whywhy Robert is the king of his field.

Today Robert shared with us a concept from the book “Turning Pro”

In business, or in life, there are 3 types of people:

Professionals, Amateurs and Traitors.

  1. Professionals are people who solve problems. These are the people you can call on, hire to solve a problem and it is fixed without any hassles and is done on time and on budget. These people you will want to call again and keep close to you. These people are worth their weight in gold, cherish them.
  2. Amateurs are people who create problems. Amateurs are people who are in a field, but cannot fix problems with 100% satisfaction. They often fix a problem but do it incorrectly and create another problem in the process. These people are not professionals because they do not practice the basics and have little discipline. They charge the fees of a professional, they think they are a professional but are NOT professional by any means.
  3. Traitors are people who steal life. Traitors can disguise themselves as professionals or amateurs and steal money, time and life from other people. They are often not conscious of their thievery and often mean well. However, either by incompetence, greed or another character flaw, they end up stealing the lives of other people. The only way traitors can get what they want is by stealing from others.

Robert shared a story with the group today about a group of AMATEURS he hired to maintain his lawn. Robert paid the AMATEURS a cash deposit and in few weeks his lawn looked worse. He then asked the AMATEURS why the lawn was worse and they said “pay us more money and it will look better”… A few weeks later, the lawn looked EVEN WORSE. Robert said again “why is the lawn worse?”, the AMATEURS replied “pay us more money” once again. The cycle went on until the lawn looked terrible and Robert fired the AMATEURS. At the end Robert was frustrated, wasted money, time and had a lawn that was nearly destroyed.

After Robert’s lawn was nearly ruined, he hired a PROFESSIONAL and asked him “what will it take to fix this lawn?” The PROFESSIONAL said “$5,000 and five months”. Sure enough, in five months, the lawn looked absolutely beautiful. No hassles, no mess, on time, on budget and Robert was extremely happy.

“Your life sucks when you are hanging out with amateurs and traitors, you give them money and you don’t get results.” Said Kiyosaki.

3 quick questions you can ask a potential business partner to find out if he is an Amateur, Professional or Traitor:

  1. What is your goal in your business or working with me?
  2. What are you will to do to achieve this goal?
  3. If the answer to #2 is “nothing” then this person is not a professional and likely not the best asset to your team.

“Some of the biggest traitors (in society) are school teachers. They don’t have the guts to resign.” said Robert. School teachers can steal and ruin more lives through mis-educaiton and mis-information than any other person in society… worse off, they always get paid whether they do a good job or bad.

Professionals practice the rudiments of their art form every day and strive to be better each and every day. Their goal is to become the best in their field and are willing to pay the price required for success. In the words of Nido Qubein success is “Painful”, which means you have to PAY-IN-FULL for it. Nothing in this life is free.

Amateurs are happy with just doing enough, but do not have the drive to be the best. They are happy operating at a mediocre level, posing as professionals and charge people even when they don’t get results.

Traitors are people who have to steal to get what they want in life. They may look like amateurs or professionals and have good intentions, but when it comes down to their actions, they become thieves and steal time, money and resources.

One exercise that Robert had us do was to write down 25 people that we spend time with in our personal and professional lives.

Write the word “professional”, “amateur”, or “traitor” next to each name and find the patterns and associations in the names.

I did this for myself and noticed that I have been running my career as a “Pro”, my private life as an “amateur” and have a graveyard of “traitors” that I try not to think about.

More interesting is that all of my “pro’s” are associated and work together as a team with me in their respective fields. The “amateurs” are all associated and transact together. They stick together, are tightly bonded and through their daily choices, are committed to mediocrity without even knowing it. I noticed the amateurs in my life referred more amateurs to me who posed as professionals (this was very alarming). The “traitors” were all associated and approached me as a group as well. They were a tight knit group that was like a pack of wolves. Very scary to see a group of traitors aligned in business and all working together, you can get killed if you find yourself working with a pack of traitors. It cost me dearly to deal with these people in the past.

It was extremely revealing to see how my social circles were constructed when measured by this system.

Please take a moment to do this for yourself, you may find out something new about who you are transacting with. You will even find out how you are running the different aspects of your life.

P.S. Don’t be afraid to load up the “traitor” category, this a very important category and I overlooked it because I generally do not focus on people who have “screwed” me. This category is in some ways more important than the other two.

Thanks for reading,
Stefan Aarnio

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