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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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