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What do Warren Buffet and Bill Gates Have in Common? Their Kids Aren’t Rich

What do Warren Buffet and Bill Gates Have in Common? Their Kids Aren’t Rich

Not All Rich Kids Live Like Paris Hilton

“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”  — Robert Heinlein

Every year, the world adds several billionaires to its population. And while the Suri Cruises, Justin Combs, and Paris Hiltons of the world regularly make tabloid headlines with their $85 million mansions, $360,000 Maybachs, super-yachts, and indoor ski slopes, other members of the 3% use parenting styles that could almost be considered tight-fisted or even austere.

Marilyn Carlson Nelson’s father, Curt, founder of Carlson Travel Group, would drive past her home, call her, and ask, “Are you giving a party?” She said, “No, why?” And he’d say, “So many lights on.”

Warren Buffett’s children grew up in the same house that their father bought in 1958 and rode the school bus to the same public school that their mother attended. Chuck Feeney, co-founder of Duty-Free Shoppers Group, insisted that his kids work while on school vacations. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of his parenting style: “I’m not the dad that comes home with a ton of presents. I am the dad that says, ‘Pick that up. Take that; put it in the sink. No, you have to earn that.’

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Why do these ultra-rich parents provide for their children’s’ basic needs, but no more? Bill Gates summed it up best in his statement: “You’ve got to make sure they have a sense of their own ability and what they’re going to go and do … They need to have a sense that their own work is meaningful and important.”

“Give once and you elicit appreciation;

Give twice and you create anticipation;

Give three times and you create expectation;

Give four times and it becomes entitlement;

Give five times and you establish dependency.”

— Bob Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It

Humans Want To Feel Worthy

Imagine for a moment being thirty years old and having someone come up to you and remark, “I see evidence of your mother’s or father’s success all around you … but what have YOU done?”

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All human beings – even children – have the urge to create, and we want to feel powerful and in control of our lives. We yearn for the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes when we figure something out on our own. The desire for parents to try and ease their children’s lives is understandable, but if parents always come to the rescue with open pocketbooks, they are sending their children the message: “I don’t trust you to be able to figure out your own life, so I’m going to do it for you”. If they cater to the child’s every whim and shower them with unsolicited presents, it sends the message “I have money. I am powerful. You’re not.” The dynamic is about the parents maintaining their own sense of power and worth at the expense of the power and worth of their children.

If there are no hard knocks to learn from, children don’t have the opportunity to find out how resilient and wise they are. It’s like growing up in a room full of pillows: warm and comfortable, yes, but also stuffy, stale, and boring.

There seem to be two responses to the pillowed room phenomenon. Some children try to distract themselves from their feelings of frustration and worthlessness with pretty toys and baubles. They grow up into adult who spend their lives in a hollow parody of true creation. They buy this and that, or dabble here or there, even in “worthwhile pursuits”, but are never really satisfied.

Or they revolt, plunge themselves into a world full of sharp corners and hot stoves, and are completely flattened by the first thing that doesn’t go their way, because they never learned to deal with disappointment on a small scale. They then react by turning to anything that will temporarily make them feel better — drugs or sex, for instance — and enter into a cycle of reactivity that spirals into addiction and other unhealthy forms of self-soothing that can ultimately become self-destructive.

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All parents, wealthy or poor, could take a page from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s parenting styles. We need to trust our kids. They’re wiser, more resilient, and far more creative than any of us can imagine.

I leave you now with one of my favorite quotes from the Abraham-Hicks body of wisdom:

“Child of mine, I will never do for you that which I know you can do for yourself. I will never rob you of an opportunity to show yourself your ability and talent. I will see you at all times as the capable, effective, powerful creator that you’ve come forth to be. And I will stand back as your most avid cheerleading section. But I will not do for you that which you have intended to do for yourself. Anything you need from me, ask. I’m always here to compliment or assist. I am here to encourage your growth, not to justify my experience through you.” ~ Abraham / Hicks

May this be an aspiration for us all.

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Featured photo credit: The Western Brothers / Rennett Stowe via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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