Why are values so important?"

I took my time before answering. I was teaching a class in how to start your own business, and this student had asked one of the most important questions.

"Because our values determine our realities."

A hand shot up. "How does that happen?"

I replied, "If you value job security, chances are your reality is that of the E [Employee] quadrant. You might wonder why someone else owns the business, and you work for them. You can't see your employer's core values, because values are invisible--but if you could, you'd see that they're probably those of the B [Business owner] quadrant."

The person who asked the question sat silently for a moment, and then said, "Oh."

I continued. "A person who values being the rugged individual, doing things on his own, or being a specialist, will generally have the reality of a person from the S [Self-employed] quadrant. She will say to herself, 'If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!' or, 'It's just so hard to find good employees these days...!'"

I looked out at the sea of adults sitting in my class, and realized that most of them were examining their own core values. The person who raised the question thought out loud:

"So, if a person doesn't change his values, he may have a difficult time changing quadrants...."


A Change in Values

There it was: the critical understanding: making the choice to operate in a different quadrant means making the choice to change one's core

If your core value is job security, it's tough to become a B quadrant person: B quadrant people value freedom far more than security. B quadrant people do very little "work": they have E quadrant people and S quadrant working for them.

An S quadrant person has a tough time becoming a B quadrant person, simply because he doesn't trust other people to do the job as well as he can do it. His core values determine his reality. If you value job security (an E person) or don't trust people to do a job better than you can do it (an S person), those core values form a certain reality within which you operate.

At this point in my class,
a young attorney raised his hand and said, "So, because
I think I'm the only one who can do my job, therefore I am the only one who can do my job. Is that what you mean by my values determining my reality?

It was a great insight, and I told him so. True B quadrant people are always looking for (and finding!) people smarter than they are. They know that when they find someone smarter than themselves, it frees them up to go and do other things. This young attorney, on the other hand, was working harder doing the great job he does, with the result that more and more clients wanted him--and only him.

He said, "So being an S quadrant attorney limits my earning power because time is my resource. If I shifted to being a B quadrant attorney, I'd have to start trusting others to do a better job than I do!"

I congratulated him: he'd gotten it. "The only hard part now is coming to grips with your core values."

He then asked a fascinating question: "But if they're smarter than me--then why do they need me at all?"

I pointed out that again, that was his core values talking!

Since he feared that people smarter than him might not need him, he continued to trap himself by having to be smarter. When you have to be the smartest, it's hard to trust anyone else to do the work. Smart people often get stuck in this trap. That's why the S quadrant is filled with smart people--the "S" in S quadrant also stands for "Smart"!


Core Values Run Deep

Arguments often turn out to be in essence a disagreement in core values. Sometimes people argue with me, for example, saying, "You can't make 1000 percent return on your investment in a month!" When I hear such emotionally charged statements, I know I am listening to a core value that has been disturbed. That's why values are so important when considering a change of business.

When I hear people say, "Starting a business is very risky," they are most often employees (E) or self-employed (S). The idea of starting a business (B) or risking money as an investor (I) shakes their core vales.

It's not easy to change your core values--but it is possible. For example, to operate in the B or I quadrant, you need to have a different core value in relation to loss and failure. This did not come easy to me--but it was a crucial part of my development.

When I lost my first two businesses, I felt terrible for a long time. Finally, I realized that feeling sorry for myself only held me back. I began to investigate what had caused my losing, and to make corrections. I used the pain of losing as my reason to win.

My rich dad said to me, "You can always tell people who are losers: they will be the ones telling you why you won't make it, why what you're doing is too risky. But the biggest losers in the world are the people who do whatever they can to avoid losing! Losers use losing as an excuse to continue losing. Winners use losing as the reason to win."



This passage is excerpted with permission from The Business School for People Who Like Helping People, by Robert T. Kiyosaki, with Sharon Lechter, authors of Rich Dad Poor Dad.