To be healthy and wealthy we need both knowledge and wisdom. We need to be knowledgeable about the things that make for health and wealth. And we need wisdom if we hope to adapt, apply and carry that knowledge as a gift to others. Mastering the art of balancing both knowledge and wisdom will generate success and fulfillment in life.
Two weeks ago I reported on Robert Kiyosaki’s new book, “Rich Dad’s Prophecy: Why the Biggest Stock Market Crash in History Is Still Coming…and How You Can Prepare Yourself and Profit from It!” Judging from the reader replies, there was significant interest in what Kiyosaki had to say about finding investment opportunities beyond the stock and bond markets. He is definitely striking a chord as the Baby Boomers prepare for retirement.
In addition to the wakeup call of the prophecy itself, Kiyosaki’s book is unique — at least in my review of the financial planning and self-help literature • in that he alone makes a connection between health and wealth that I intend to explore more fully in my upcoming book, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Coaching and Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life.” Consider the following excerpts from Kiyosaki’s book:
“When you look at the health problems of millions of people today, many are suffering because they are eating too much fast junk food that tastes good, is extensively advertised, well packaged and easy to buy. Getting involved with too many fast junk investments causes wealth problems in much the same way. Just because something is convenient, looks good, sounds good, is affordable, and everyone else is buying it, does not mean it is good for you.”
“Health and wealth are very similar in other ways as well. When we go to a doctor, the first thing a doctor does is take a blood sample or X-rays. That way the doctor can pinpoint exactly what is wrong and what needs to be corrected. If we get the bad news early enough, we can make the necessary corrections…before the problem becomes worse.”
“A financial statement with clean clear numbers serves the same purpose as a blood test or X-ray. Regular updated financials give you a chance to find out the bad news early and take corrective action early. Unfortunately, because of inadequate or even no financial education, millions of people will find out that they have financial cancer only after it is too late.”
Although that is the extent of what Kiyosaki says about the connection between health and wealth in his book, he identifies a unifying concept: control. Behind cash flow and leverage, Kiyosaki identifies control as the third most important word in his financial vocabulary. Control over yourself, your emotions, your excuses, your vision, the rules, your advisors, your time, and your destiny constitute the entire second-half of Kiyosaki’s book.
In a shift that bespeaks of wisdom itself, Kiyosaki makes the distinction between control and over control. The former is good; the latter is bad. In the interest of getting things done and doing things right, control freaks assume too much responsibility both for themselves and for others. As a result, their efforts at control backfire and they end up with just as many problems as those who control little or nothing at all about their lives.
Wisdom, you see, is about walking the fine line between too much and too little control. It applies equally well to both health and wealth, since wisdom is really about life itself. We are born into this world with very little control. Human beings at birth are, in fact, about the most helpless and out-of-control creatures of all the animals on earth. When a baby whale is born, it’s ready to go in no time. When a baby human is born, it takes weeks and months to control even the most basic of functions let alone the years it takes to control all the rest.
Growing up can be described as the process of coming into control over life. Transactional analysis, founded by Eric Berne and popularized during the 1960s with the publication of Thomas Harris’ book “I’m OK • You’re OK,” viewed the process of human development as necessarily and universally involving the transformation of our external parents into an internal parent which governs and regulates behavior.
If that transformation takes place inadequately, we end up with problems of too little control (which traditional psychotherapy categorizes as “character disorders”). If that transformation takes place over adequately, we end up with problems of too much control (categorized as “neuroses” or, when the problems are extreme, as “psychoses”). The better part of wisdom, then, is to master the art of exercising neither too little nor too much control. Like reeling in a big fish, we want to maintain the perfect position, angle, and tension to neither let the fish get away nor to break the line.
Take health as an example. It’s common knowledge that health results from the sustained and consistent application of proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and relaxation. It’s also common knowledge the most people suffer health problems because they either throw caution to the wind with regard to one or more of these practices (too little control) or because they become obsessed with doing them right, all the time, no matter what (too much control). Either extreme destroys the very health we seek (as well as many relationships along the way).
Or take wealth as another example. It’s probably less common knowledge, but no less true, that wealth results from the sustained and consistent application of proper cash flow, leverage, risk, and resources. Once again we see people suffering either from the failure to learn and apply these practices from an early age (too little control) or from the failure to understand the difference between these practices and taking responsibility for every facet of every venture and assignment (too much control). Once again, either extreme destroys the very wealth we seek (as well as many relationships along the way).
The last section of my upcoming book, as well as the next ten weeks of Provisions, will be devoted to exploring the wisdom of exercising perfect control, neither too much nor too little. This art is epitomized in the Zen saying, “Knowledge is learning something new every day; wisdom is letting go of something every day.”
To exercise perfect control, we need both knowledge and wisdom. There are things we need to learn, and until we learn them there is no way to exercise perfect control. If we do not know the practices that make for health and wealth, then there is no way we can incorporate them into our lives. Ignorance may be our excuse, but as with the law, ignorance doesn’t mitigate the consequences. We still end up sick and poor.
Once the principles of health and wealth are learned, however, once we have the practical knowledge of what needs to be done, then we soon discover the importance of wisdom in terms of letting go of something every day. Just when we think we have the perfect plan for health and wealth, something invariably comes up that gets in the way. Like an injury that keeps us from running or working out, we find ourselves having to make adjustments. And our ability to adapt is all about our ability to let go.
In the weeks ahead we will explore these twin realities of knowledge and wisdom; together they can make us all more healthy and wealthy than we are today.
Coaching Inquiries: What would it take for you to be more healthy and wealthy? Do you need to learn something new or to let something go? Do you suffer from too little or too much control? Perhaps it’s time to stop and reflect in order to see life anew.
LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
A very good article on wealth. I enjoyed the honesty that was given, which hits you right in the face. A good article to share with your financial partner.
Your Provisions and web site provide very valuable information. Recently, I lost 60 lbs on a diet after finding stimulation from your website. I quit eating all the unhealthy foods and started a rigorous exercise plan. I also expect to attend the Trek for Life weekend later this year. Thanks for the inspiration. (Ed. Note: The feeling is mutual! Congratulations.)
I am looking forward to receiving your newsletter. I first came across it on my Pocket PC as one of the AvantGo channels. I also spent some time on you web site today before registering for your newsletter. Very helpful stuff in the ones that I have read so far.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
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