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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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