Happy Farmer, Sad Farmer - The story of the 'rich mindset'
In this blog I share a bedtime story I told my two young daughters. The story was inspired by other stories about 'the rich mindset' and the lessons from the famous personal finance book, ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki.
For those that haven’t read the book, it focuses on the mindset and actions of those that use money as a tool to help them grow their wealth, versus those that just use money for spending.
Story: Happy Farmer, Sad Farmer
‘Sad Sid’ was a farmer who was always very grumpy. He would work on his farm all day picking strawberries, no matter how bad the weather. If someone was willing to listen to him he’d gladly complain about his life to them all day, every day. Particularly, he’d complain about his neighbour and old school classmate, ‘Happy Hannah’.
Hannah was also a farmer who also picked strawberries but didn’t work as many hours as Sid. She had a nice house. She’d just get people to pick most of the strawberries for her. She also went on nice holidays with her happy family.
Sid didn’t think it was fair that Hannah had everything and he had so little, especially as he worked so hard. To Sid, Hannah was just SOOO LUCKY!!
Then one day, a virus broke out which meant that both Hannah and Sid could no longer make money from picking strawberries. The virus went on for a long time. With no money coming from picking strawberries, Hannah could no longer afford to pay the people working for her.
Once the virus was over, Hannah had to go back to picking strawberries herself. This made Sid very happy and thought to himself 'Finally, Hannah isn't getting all the luck and is now in the same position as me!'.
Now both Sid and Hannah started working and got paid for the amount of strawberries they picked.
At the end of the first day after the virus had ended they both got paid. Sad Sid had picked more strawberries and got paid more than Happy Hannah. This made Sid a bit happier.
That night, Sid had a nice meal whilst Hannah only had a basic meal.
The next day Sid turned up for work as usual. Hannah came but had a small tool in her hand. It was a metal glove with a small blade on the thumb. She had spent most of her evening designing and making the tool (she used the earnings she had saved by only having a basic meal to buy the metal parts needed). The tool allowed her to pick a lot more strawberries than before, but in the same amount of time.
At the end of the next day, Hannah had managed to pick more strawberries than Sid due to the tool she had made. This made Sid grumpy again!
Sid had another nice meal but could still see across his fence that Hannah was eating a basic meal in her garden (although admittedly it was a slightly more exciting meal than before). Sid couldn’t work out why! She had earned more money, so why was she still not having a nice meal?!
The next day Sid turned up for work at the farm as usual. This time, Hannah arrived with two other people. They were working with her and both had the tool Hannah had designed. Sid couldn’t work out how she could afford it as she would be sharing her earnings between the three of them. However, at the end of the day, Hannah and her helpers had managed to pick over 5 times as many strawberries as Sid had.
Rather than sell all her Strawberries, Hannah kept some strawberries for herself.
Sid couldn’t understand why she would want to keep the strawberries?
When the next day came, Sid arrived as usual, although even more grumpy than usual. He saw Hannah’s helpers, plus 2 new ones, turn up but there was no sign of Hannah.
When it came to lunch time, he noticed a lot of people walking to the village. He asked them why they were going there. They said, “Haven’t you heard, a new store has just opened selling super fresh and delicious strawberry drinks and snacks!”
Sid went to the store to take a look and couldn’t believe his eyes. Hannah was there at her own shop selling the drinks and snacks she had made with the strawberries she had left over.
Then Sid noticed that some of the helpers weren’t picking strawberries but were planting new crops. These plants grew into other types of fruit.
Before long, Hannah had shops all over the place selling a range of fruit drinks and snacks. Also, Hannah learnt from what happened due to the virus and started also selling her products online and making products which would be stored (so she could still make money if there was a similar event in the future) like Jams and bamboo straws.
Hannah left the running of the shops to her store managers which meant she had more time to spend with her (once again) happy family.
Soon enough they were back to the same place they started, Sad Sid and Happy Hannah. Sid realised that Hannah wasn’t lucky. She worked hard and also worked smart. She focused on how to put the money she earnt to good use and, on it making more money.
Soon Sad Sid started to copy Hannah’s ideas but instead focussed on different fruits. He asked Hannah for her tool design (which she was happy to share) and then got help. He didn’t like the basic meals he knew he had to eat but it wasn’t long before he too was eating slightly more exciting meals and having all the freedom that Hannah had.
Sad Sid was now known as Smart Sid!!
It’s really important for our kids to work hard but they also need to make sure they learn to ‘work smart’. This means finding solutions rather than complaining about problems. The story also highlights that buying things that can help you make more money might mean financial sacrifices in the short term (basic meals) but these sacrifices can lead to great outcomes over time.
For my girls, when talking about what they want to do when they are older, I don’t ask what ‘job’ they want, but instead I ask “What problems do you want to solve?” or, “What business do you want to own?”.
I know lots of people who are happy being an employee (I really enjoyed it) - so I don’t believe it’s a case of saying being an employee is bad (which it makes you feel somewhat in the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad), but its more about explaining that there are other career options available (otherwise our kids may never realise the choice of options available to them).
I hope you enjoyed reading and for those of you who have childcare responsibilities, that this new bedtime story proves a success!
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What to read next? Here's a blog to help you consider "Do your kids have the entrepreneurial talent?"
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