I once heard someone say that in business, there’s playing to win and then there’s playing to not lose. At first, it sounds like those are the same things, but in reality, they’re two distinctly different mindsets. “Playing to win” is about feeling dynamic, confident, and operating with a belief that the sky is the limit. “Playing to not lose” is pragmatic, but it can also be characterized by an overabundance of caution and feeling overshadowed by past setbacks. I realized that those two mindsets are reflective of the way rich people and poor people think.
I understand both mindsets. My parents worked very hard to provide us with everything they could, but we didn’t have much extra. They provided me with strong role models for the value of hard work, and that was very useful when I was getting started in real estate. Back then, my goals were immediate. I was investing in a house with a very small profit margin, and even though I was determined to make it work, I worried. A lot. This is one of the defining qualities of a poverty mindset. I was taking care of business, but I wasn’t planning for my next investment property. In the back of my mind, I was expecting the other shoe to drop.
This is an important thing to acknowledge. The mindset we choose will change absolutely everything. Whereas a wealthy person would have been looking for their next property while finishing up the first one, my poor mindset was telling me that it was better to remain hypervigilant about something going wrong with the first property.
Fortunately, everything worked out with my first property and it set me forward on a path of making real estate investing my career (and now it feels like my calling). Once I got busy, I didn’t have much time to entertain the worries that had gripped me when I was starting out. Instead, I was actively learning and growing. I was always open to greater opportunities, and I became an avid student of real estate investing through reading and talking to wealthy people. I was getting practical advice on things like forming LLCs and other tools to keep more of my money. But the real advantage of those relationships was that I began to see the business through their eyes.
Mindset is an invaluable asset when it comes to wealth. Those who are wealthy think abundantly. They are direct about their objectives, purposeful about their spending habits, and knowledgeable about where their money is going. While you can’t completely transform years of habitual thinking overnight, I encourage you to make a consistent effort to change your mindset. I know firsthand that it can improve your life in ways that are unimaginable.