Rich Dad Scam #3: “If You Work Hard, You’ll Be Rewarded”

The words “scam” and “con” are synonymous.

Con is short for confidence. A con man can only dupe you if you put your confidence in him.

When I talk about Rich Dad Scams, the scams designed by the rich to keep you poor, one of the hardest things to get past is that so many of us have been taught to believe with conviction and confidence that these scams are true.

Plus, the conning started so young that we never had a chance to think differently.

That’s the difference between thinking like my poor dad, who did what he was told and died poor, and thinking like my rich dad, who was financially educated and grew rich based on his understanding of these cons.

This post is about one of the biggest, most-ingrained Rich Dad Scams: If you work hard, you will be rewarded.

Don’t Work Hard

My poor dad worked hard all his life. He went to school because he was told to. He got a job because he was taught that was what you have to do.

He worked hard because that was what he was supposed to do. Yet, he struggled financially his whole life, and it often made him unhappy.

When talking about working hard, my rich dad liked to use a story from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as an example.

Tom runs a con job on the kids in his neighborhood. His job is to paint a fence, and he makes it look like so much fun that all the other kids offer to pay him to do the work.

Rich dad said, “Rather than work hard, I work smart. Smart work is getting others to not only do but also want to do hard work for you. And smart work is also getting money to work for you, not the other way around.”

Why Hard Work Doesn’t Work

It seems like a simple math equation: effort=reward.

You work hard, you earn more, you get more for your effort, and it seems like it should work. Once upon a time, it may have worked that way.

But now, there are two problems.

One—as I wrote about yesterday in Rich Dad Scam #2, “You Need a Job”—if you’re an employee, working harder may get you more money but it also means you’ll be taxed more. So working harder can actually result in your being punished financially. That’s why we created the Rich Dad Scams series, so that you can see these “truisms” for the manipulative lies they are.

The second problem is that you’re working hard for something in particular: Money. And that money is worth less and less every day.

Throughout the 21st century, average income after inflation has fallen. And continues to fall.

If you’ve been working hard at your job for ten years, the money you’re making now is actually worth less than it was when you earned it.

Practically speaking, that probably means you’re either making the same amount now as a few years ago, or maybe even making less!

Rather than work hard for money, you should be working smart by having money work hard for you.

That’s what the rich do.

Working Differently

There are two kinds of “work.” The first type is work you don’t want to do.

You only do this work because you know that if you don’t, something bad will happen. Examples of this type of work include:

  • You go to work every day because if you don’t then you’ll lose your job and have no money for the necessities of life.
  • You do the laundry because if you don’t you’ll have no clean clothes to wear and people will think you’re uncivilized.
  • You eat food you don’t like because if you don’t your health – and your waistline – will suffer.

I could go on and on with examples, but you get the idea. I’m sure you could list quite a few yourself. We all have at least some of this kind of work in our lives – yes, even when we become financially free.

The second type of work is work you do want to do. You do this kind of work because it is meaningful, fulfilling, interesting, etc. Work we enjoy gives us a sense of purpose, challenges us, and taps into our passion. Here are some examples of work my wife Kim loves doing:

  • Volunteering your time with a charity that you are passionate about.
  • Spending hours on the weekends practicing your hobby.
  • Volunteering your services as the family travel agent in order to make a special family reunion possible.

If you were to group all the work you do into one category or the other, which list would be longer?

Chances are, if you spend most of your time doing work you don’t want to do, you feel trapped, resentful, and unhappy. If you spend a lot of your time doing work you do want to do, you likely feel energetic, fulfilled, and happy.

The goal of becoming financially independent is not to stop working, but to shift our efforts from work we don’t like to work we do like.

Every week, most people just hold on until Friday because they hate their job. And when Sunday rolls around, they’re miserable because they know they have five days of work to look forward to.

We all know this. Probably most of you reading feel this.

It’s a lousy way to live, but it’s not the only way!

We’ve just been conditioned to think it’s the only way.

I love my work, but I’m also never far from it.

Like most entrepreneurs, I’m at it almost 24/7, but it doesn’t make me miserable—and it certainly doesn’t feel like work.

It’s more like a game I love playing.

It’s challenging. It’s fun. It’s rewarding.

If that sounds attractive to you, the first step to get there is recognizing “work hard” for the Rich Dad Scam that it is.

Stop working hard for others and start working smart for yourself.

The Daily Reckoning