Education is important, but schools don’t teach you how to become wealthy by using the incredible power of your mind. You don’t need a high IQ or college degree to be successful and we’ve seen this.
Our next guest tells us that you can become a millionaire, even a billionaire, faster than you ever imagined possible by following a simple formula. He’s the author of Mind, Money and Wealth. Robert Luxenberg, and he’s here to share that formula with us.
Robert Luxenberg: A few years back, I got together with a friend of mine, a coauthor, and we wrote a book called The Third Q. The objective was to write a book that was a story. Ala Da Vinci Codefilled with secret organizations, murder, mystery, etc, but to teach the power of the mind at the same time. In a sense, to fool people into learning while they’re being entertained.
It was a very difficult book to write. We launched it. It was my first book. We won awards. I became a bestseller through that book. We also had a second book, Unlocking the Secrets, which is basically an amalgamation of insights to life. I think it’s just a wonderful book because there’s so many unique perspectives in terms of how life works. And there’s even a chapter where we describe the way we function, the way the mind functions as the Starship Enterprise, and for those Trekkies or Trekkers out there, they will absolutely relate. It’s very, very cool.
Then this was a year, a few years back, and on my bucket list I had a book that I wanted to write for my children. Because I went through a very painful process myself. It was a journey of pain. It was a journey of frustration, and it had to do with money. I went to university in the United States on a swimming scholarship. I was a national champion at one point. I studied business. I came back, I got involved in real estate and I was an agent, basically a broker.
I was helping other people become wealthy. I was helping them find their buildings and negotiate them. And so I was making commissions. I thought I was doing really well from my perspective. This is a long time ago now. I was making six figures a year and I thought that was pretty cool.
But what happened was of course when you take off taxes and your quality of life, there’s not a lot left to build wealth. But I didn’t see this. So I did that for a few years and then I went from there to the world. I became a VP and a senior vice president to various corporations. I overdelivered in my portfolio. But each and every time, and I can tell story after story, they’re just horror stories.
My stock options were supposed to ultimately be worth millions. And, and there was a story in each case where the executives, either made the wrong decisions, didn’t make a sale over-negotiated or even worse, there was a time when I was a VP of a company during the dotcom boom. Of course just as we were about to go public, the crash came and we went bankrupt. We had to close doors.
So I wasn’t building any wealth. I’ll take it a step further. I was doing okay, I was paying my expenses, but there was very little, if anything in my bank account. And then one day I was offered to run US operations for a company out of Montreal, Canada. It was the same old, same old, I was going to be a VP of this company. Actually, I wasn’t even going to have stock options.
I had accepted the job because I had three young kids at home and a wife to take care of and I was taken out by the executives for a beautiful day of golf. And then they took me out for dinner to celebrate that I was coming aboard with the team and this company and they’re all toasting and “welcome aboard” and everything else.
And after the dinner I got into my car and I was driving home and I had a major chest pain, really serious. It wasn’t a heart attack. There was something wrong and I knew it and I pulled over as I’m pulling over. There was a song on the radio playing by called “Cat’s in the Cradle.”
I don’t know if you know that song, but it’s basically the story of this father and son and the young son is asking the father to play and the father is always too busy for him. You know, but we’ll get together then, you know, we’ll get together at some point. We’ll play, we’ll do it. And of course this happens over and over again. And then there’s a changeover. Now the son is older and now the father starts reaching out to his son and starts asking him, “Hey, you know, let’s get together son. Let’s do this and let’s do that.”
And the son says, “You know, dad, I’d love to, but I’m really busy, but we’ll get together then. We’ll have a real good time then.”
I get choked up every time I think about it. I started to cry in the car because my kids were young and I knew that they were the priority in my life and that this new job was going to take me to the United States a lot.
I was going to travel and I was not going to get to see my children grow up—not the way I wanted. I wasn’t going to be there to play with my son and my daughters. I saw in a sense this song coming to fruition in my life. I got home, and I said to my wife at the time, “Michelle, I can’t do it. I’ve got to say no.”
She goes, “But you’ve got nothing coming in. You have no money if you say no.” I said, “I know, but it feels wrong taking this position.”
And lo and behold, the next morning I called the CEO and I said, “I’m not coming in. I apologize. I’m not taking the job.” I know he was very angry at me at the time. We’re friends today. And I was left in a position where I had three young kids that depended on me, a wife that depended on me, and a very little money and no job. That was the crossroads of my life right there.
That decision was the smartest decision I ever made in my life.
I proceeded to meet with an old client of mine that actually bought his first two buildings from me many, many years earlier. We had breakfast together and I kind of described my story to him. I said, “Hey, you know, here’s my story. I have a high IQ. I’m skilled, I have over-delivered…” and everything I’ve done. “But here I sit, I’m 47 years old. I have no money. I have no wealth. What the hell happened?”
And after listening to my story, he said, “This is not complicated at all.” He said, “Number one, you’ve got to work for yourself. You’ve got to stop depending on others for the your destiny.” And then he said, “Number two, you have to get into real estate and buy your own property. You’re really, really good at this. You’ve been doing it for many years. You understand it like nobody I know.”
He says, “You got to get into your own game. That’s how you’re going to build wealth.”
I thought about it for a few seconds and then I looked at him, and he was at a point in his life, he was kind of in semi retirement where it would have been good for him to get into the real estate game and get going again.
I said, “Hey, you want to be my partner?” And he thought about it, and to make a long story as short as I can, he said yes. And we proceeded to go on a journey together, that lasted I think it’s almost 14 or 15 years now. I went from zero to millionaire in a very short period of time. And then multimillionaire a few years after that.
That whole experience, that whole journey that I went on a was something I had to share with my kids. I did not want them to suffer like I did.
And so I had on my bucket list a note that I had to write a book to my children. It would be a legacy to them. It would be literally instructions, paint by numbers. This is how you do it. And God forbid anything were to happen to me, they would have this manual, literally a blueprint that they could follow.
And it virtually took them from point A to point Z in succeeding not only in their heads, but succeeding and becoming wealthy. And for the longest time it stood there on my list. And I did nothing about it.
I kept thinking about it all the time and it was driving me absolutely crazy. And then finally I said one of the key components of success of any kind is execution. It’s taking action. And I literally said, “Today’s the day.” I started writing Mind, Money and Wealth: What They Don’t Teach In School that day. And here we are right now talking about it.
Back to School
Rae Williams: What is the very beginning of what we need to know?
Robert Luxenberg: That’s a very good question. And it always brings me back to one of my favorite movies called Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield, where that he’s this multi, multimillionaire that decides to go back to university with his son.
And there’s this one scene where he’s in a business classroom while the teacher is teaching all the theories of business and he’s listening to all this and he interrupts the teacher and he stands up and he says, “You know what? You’re forgetting a lot of things here.” And he says, “I don’t know what you’re teaching, but what about greasing the city councilors and what about doing this with the development company?” And he starts dealing with the realities of life, the realities of business.
I think that that’s the issue right there in school. They’re fantastic. I mean, my kids are gonna—it’s compulsory, they’re going to university, they’re going to good universities, they’re going to get their degree. But for me, it’s not about getting a degree so they can get a job or a position. For me, they go to school to train their minds.
Number one. It helps them think. They learn critical thinking. They learn how to analyze. They’re going to definitely be given a lot of tools, which is important. But really at the end of the day, your brain is a super computer and your brain functions best when it’s given lots of data, like a computer. So they’re going to gain a lot of data in university. But as far as actually being able to go out there and do the things that they need to do, to gain wealth and understand what wealth is, to me, wealth will lead to freedom.
Freedom to do the things you want to do, to live the life you want, to live the dream, to live out your dreams, to help the people you want, to help the organizations you want to help. The more money you have, the more people you can help. It’s a very spiritual thing.
Understanding Your Mind
Robert Luxenberg: So they don’t really teach that in school. Most people do very well in school. If they want to be a doctor, if they want to be a lawyer, if they want to be a veterinarian, you have to go to school. They do a good job of getting you from point A to point B, and now you can be one of these great professions, no question about it.
But then I have a question. Just because you’re a doctor, a lawyer, does that mean you’re wealthy? And it was a question I did ask actually too many doctors and lawyers and guess what the answer was.
“I have a Bentley. I have this. I have that.” And I go, “Oh, okay. Do you have wealth? Do you have like a few million dollars put away?”
“Oh no, no, but I have a nice house.” “Does that house have a mortgage?” “Yes.”
Here’s a question. If you couldn’t act as a doctor anymore moving forward, what would happen? “Oh, I guess I’d have to live. I have, maybe I’d have to sell my car and my country house.”
And then I realized that that point that they didn’t even know what wealth was, let alone being able to say, yes, I’m wealthy or not. And it’s so true that you go to school, they give you tools, but you need to know what to do with these tools. And one of the big missing pieces for me was the mind.
I actually interviewed some headmasters on exactly this topic. Why are they not teaching students how to use their mind properly? They teach them how to memorize. And don’t get me wrong, they teach them a lot of good things, but why would they teach them how to use the most powerful instrument in the entire universe? And every one of us possesses it. It’s a very wonderful instrument. It’s complicated, it’s powerful.
It has the ability to create the reality you want, period. But they don’t teach you how to use it in school.
And there are things you need to know. You have to know how not only to use it, but you have to know how it tricks you to hold you back. You have to understand underlying belief systems that ultimately have infiltrated your lives, created a certain behavior that may limit you, so that we all have blueprints.
We all have blueprints for money that come from our past. We have blueprints for relationships, we have blueprints for health. Why are some people always struggling with health or weight? These are blueprints that come from when you’re young, and if you can understand where they come from and then ultimately had to change them and create new ones. If people understood—and when I say people, young people—how to use their minds to create the external world, that reality that they wanted, then you’re giving them probably the most powerful tool in the universe.
It’s a gift, but they don’t teach it in school. Now after I spoke to one of my headmasters here in Montreal, interestingly enough, my son told me this a while back now that they, their first week, they introduced a new part to it called ‘mind power’, which fascinated me of course because it was soon after my conversation on this topic. And they started talking about exactly that, maybe not the way I would have presented it, but certainly they started talking about mind power.
Robert Luxenberg: The other thing that caught my attention was money. You know, the most powerful force in the universe according to Albert Einstein is compound interest. We call it compounding, and that’s really how wealth is built. It’s understanding the compounding effect. I was sitting down with my son and a few of his friends one day. This was towards the end of his high school years, maybe early junior college. And I asked them the question, “Hey, do any of you guys know what compound interest is, or compounding?”
Not one knew what I was talking about. I gotta be honest, I was taken aback. I was quite surprised, because when it comes to money, it’s something that you need to understand. And like I said, Albert Einstein called it the eighth wonder of the universe or the world.
So it started off with they’re not taught how to use their minds and what limits them, and they’re not taught about, really how does money work? They do macroeconomics and microeconomics and they do accounting and they do all of these things, and don’t get me wrong, these are all wonderful things that will help them—but not to really understand how wealth is built just beyond me.
Understanding Wealth Building
Robert Luxenberg: And then of course there was the third piece of that puzzle and that is wealth building. There’s no wealth building class. I know that some universities will certainly start teaching real estate, but I say that there’s a process here. You need to start with the mind, understand your own mind, fertilize it, seed it properly change what needs to be changed.
Because I can tell you right now, I could throw 10 books about wealth building or real estate or money in front of you, but if your mind is not set right, if your mindset is not prepared for that information and to execute on it and to do the right things and not to be limited, I can tell you right now you’re wasting your time. And that’s the problem right there. There’s thousands and thousands of books written on the how to do real estate or how to do multi residential property or learn about money.
But there’s a process here, and I’m taking the reader through this process by the hand. I don’t care if they’re billionaires already because billionaires have blueprints too, and that is understand how your mind works first. Master it, change what needs to be changed, cultivate it, then learn about money. And I’m not talking about writing a check by the way, they’re not taught how to balance a checkbook in school either. But that’s another story.
And then you can go to the wealth building, and the wealth building itself is an aha moment when they start understanding that wealth building is not about income. It’s not about how much you make each week or each month or each year. It’s about your net worth. And that’s another big one that’s not really discussed in school.
You don’t need to make a lot of money every year. You need to build your net worth on a constant basis. And it’s something that I talk about a lot in the book and I get into the nitty gritty of how that’s done and why.
Again, it’s about perspective. It’s about a point of view. I know that I’ve done presentations in front of hundreds of people in the format of my book and I’ve had unbelievable testimonials, but there seems to be a consistent trend. This is the first time that these people who are either in real estate getting into real estate, wanting to become wealthy, whatever, it’s the first time that somebody took them through the process of mind first, and in every case they told me that was the missing piece for them.
That’s why they were not able to succeed as well as they want to or even to execute and get started. And after my presentation where I talked about the mind, they all went, “Oh, I get it. Oh my God, I see myself. I understand now.”
I know that the reader is just gonna love this format. It’s going to prepare them properly for the last third of the book, and the last third is paint by numbers. How to make millions and millions of dollars.
What Is Wealth?
Rae Williams: There’s so many questions I now want to ask you, but there’s something that you said in the beginning that I just want us to clearly define—what is wealth?
Robert Luxenberg: The definition of wealth will be different for every individual, but if you’re asking me, let me give you a few words that I would say make you wealthy. One, you’re making money while you sleep. That’s a big one. Wealthy people are not being paid by the hour. That’s huge.
Most people are brought up, especially in school, but certainly there’s this whole thing out there, how much money you’re going to get paid by the hour. Let’s deal with reality. You’re limited by the amount of hours you can work and ultimately by the number of hours in your life. And trust me when I tell you it’s not what you think it is. I talk about that in the last part of my book.
There’s a chapter, we’re actually doing an analysis of how much time you really have on this earth. And it’s nowhere near what you think. It’s more like a football game that lasts for four hours but the game itself, it’s about 11 minutes.
So if you’re being limited, your ability to make money as being limited by the hours that you work, you’re not wealthy. In fact, the opposite because you’re limited in the amount of money you can make, number one. And number two, you’re not free. What if you want to, you know, “Hey, tomorrow morning I think I’m going to go to Costa Rica.” Can you do that?
I would say to you that freedom to be able to do what you want when you want is a big part of wealth. Making money while you sleep and not being limited by hours. So your wealth is growing, your net worth is growing without necessarily putting in the hours that you would think. I would suggest to you that employees work a lot harder than wealthy people.
Don’t get me wrong, wealthy people work hard, but they get to choose when they work and if they want to go and you know, take a cruise around the Caribbean tomorrow morning. They just tell everybody around them, I’m gone. And they go.
They work smart. I talk about it in my book, it’s the difference between working hard and working smart. Wealthy people work smart. They know how to make their money, and they can make sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, in a one hour a negotiation where they put together a really cool idea for a business and they start executing on it.
But they’re not limited by the hour.
So for me, being wealthy would be able to live my dreams, having the freedom to do so without being shackled to any particular business or job, to be able to help as many people as I possibly can.
I’m very big into giving back. I’m very big into helping people. And I can tell you right now, the more money you make, the more people you can help. It’s as simple as that.
Just look at Gates. He’s a billionaire and he’s running this billionaire fund, or this multibillion dollar fund that he’s helping hundreds of thousands of people every year with his fund. So the more money you have, the more people you can help.
I love the ability to wake up in the morning and say you know what, I got a great idea that I want to execute on and there’s nothing that will hold you back. Just do it.
So it’s an amalgamation of things, but I guess the last thing I could say on this topic is the ability for you to go through your bucket list and make sure you’re putting checkmarks beside each one.
Rae Williams: What are some of the things that we can do when we’re young?
Robert Luxenberg: At the end of the day, there’s no expiry date for success. Even a 50 or 60 year old reading my book can shift their life around totally and start doing well. It doesn’t take years and years and years to build wealth. It can be done rather quickly with the right decision making.
But the reason that I targeted the kids today is, hey, they’re not being taught how to do this number one, and number two, I always think back to my situation.
I loved my father dearly, dearly. I know he’s up there watching me now, and he’s proud of me, but at the end of the day, he didn’t mentor me in this area. Even though he was doing real estate. It was unconscious competence.
I don’t think he knew exactly why it worked, and he certainly didn’t teach it to me. There were a lot of things that went wrong early on. And I talk about it in my book.
He had some real estate, but he complained about it all the time. He always thought he was losing money when he would tell his family he was losing money, wasn’t doing well, the mortgage is this, the payments are that, and painted this pretty a negative picture of real estate. So guess what happens subconsciously? How could I possibly get into buying my own real estate if I’m being told it’s not a good place to be? So I didn’t.
I wasn’t given the information at a young age on what real estate could do over the long run, if you were to buy young. If somebody gave me this book when I was in my twenties, I’d be worth a hundred plus million dollars. No doubt in my mind. Absolutely no doubt in my mind it would have been easy, easy, easy.
I know it sounds funny to say easy making 100 million, but you see time is the X factor here. And that’s why if can get some young people to at least parallel whatever it is that they’re doing with understanding their mind, understanding money, and then of course understanding wealth building and actually starting, they get their feet wet, then you know, the world is their oyster.
There’s no limitation to how they can do in real estate. And what’s really cool is time works in their favor. If you start in your 20s and you buy even just one 32 unit building, 32 unit apartment building, over 20 years, you’re going to make millions of dollars. And that’s the whole point is that you pay off, your mortgage was sent within 20 to 25 years. I’m just saying if you did nothing, I give instructions on how you can build up a huge portfolio, thousands of units. But even if you stopped at 32 units and did nothing else, the rest of your life, that building will take care of you when you get older.
So starting in your twenties is definitely a big boost to your ability to build wealth. If you’re really aggressive when you’re young, then making the big money, whether it be hundreds of millions or even more, is real. It’s not just me BSing or throwing out crap.
I’m telling the absolute truth here. I’ve seen it in front of my eyes. I know people that have done this. I know people that have done this over the last 20 years where they were able to put together a portfolio of 10,000 units and they made a close to a billion dollars. I saw it happen.
It’s completely doable. I don’t care what city you live in, okay. You can make a lot of money in real estate. Especially if you start young. So the reason that my first target market would be young people, let’s say from the ages of 17 to 24, would be because I wish it was me. I wish I had this book when I was that young. That would’ve changed everything. Not that I’m upset about where I am. I love it. I love my children. I love my life, all as well.
Maybe this is what I was meant to do. Pass this information onto young people. But I think to myself sometimes, what if I would’ve had this blueprint, this paint by numbers when I was in my twenties, so that I could have an understanding of why my clients were buying buildings. Then everything would be different today.
I don’t care if these young people are studying to be lawyers, doctors, musicians, filmmakers. It’s all good. I think people need to go after their path of passion, but they have to be realistic too. They absolutely need to understand that wealth building is a process. They may make a lot of money doing their passion, but I suggest they parallel their efforts by buying buildings. It’s doable, and they don’t need their own money.
I talk about that in the book. Anybody that says, “Hey, I can’t make money cause I don’t have my own to start with” doesn’t get it. It’s as simple as that. They just don’t understand because you can use other people’s money and make a fortune. Just like I did. I made millions of dollars and I didn’t put a nickel of my own money. Just start.
So other people can do that too. That’s really what it comes down to. Now there is a secondary target market, and that is the, the parents of these teenagers and young adults.
I can tell you right now, I know they’ve come to me saying, “Oh my God, I read your book. It’s fabulous. I’m going to make some changes. I’m going to buy some property now.” I have friends that are working for a living and they were scared to quit their job, but on the side, they bought a sixplex or an eightplex and got started. So starting young is a huge advantage. No question about it.
A Challenge for Readers
Rae Williams: If you had to issue a challenge from everything that we’ve said, what would that challenge be?
Robert Luxenberg: I think that fear or at least certain forms of fear hold us back. I don’t care who we are. I mean, let’s deal with reality. Buffett has fear. Gates has fear. Branson has fear. They just learned to manage their fear. Fear is part of who we are. It’s the reptilian part of our brain. It’s not as necessary today as it was when we were cavemen. But at the end of the day, a fear holds us back. We have to learn to manage that fear. We have to understand what’s holding us back.
I would say to you that the majority of people I know that either understand what I’m talking about or have read many books, they’re trying to change their lives, and then they struggle and they understand. They ask me, how come my life isn’t changing? I would say it’s because they’re not executing, they’re not taking action, and they don’t take action.
They don’t take that step forward to do something because they’re afraid to, they’re afraid of failure, they’re afraid of success. They’re afraid of not being loved, they’re afraid they don’t deserve it. I could go on and on and on. There’s a hundred different types of fears out there that hold us back.
I think the first thing that has to happen is people need to take a look at themselves in the mirror and start asking themselves some very hard questions. Why aren’t they taking action? You know, what is it that’s holding them back? I’ve met many people that they’re just doing ready, aim, ready, aim, ready, aim. You know, they’re preparing for a new business idea and they study and they analyze and they come out with statistics and they change it and they get a domain name and another domain name and another logo and this and that, and they never execute.
So I guess my challenge after people—hopefully they’ll read the book—but after they figured out the underlying belief systems that have been holding them back, and I don’t care how young or old you are, we all have them, they come from our youth and our upbringing. Once we figure out what’s been holding us back and we go, “Hey, okay, I’m going to change this belief system, I’m going to change my blueprint,” then the next step would be to execute.
And that means to take action, not to worry about making mistakes. I could tell you right now, every wealthy person out there, every successful person out there has made a ton of mistakes, and it’s part of the process of getting to your goal. You’re going to make mistakes, and the key is to correct and continue. Correct and continue, but take action.
I like the description of a GPS. You plug in, in this case you would plug in a goal, but you plug in your street and you go. Often there’s a street that’s closed or there’s traffic and your GPS is going to take you a different route. It’s literally going to make a correction of course correction.
But you’re going to notice that through these corrections, it ultimately takes you to your goal, your street. And I think that that’s what success is all about. It’s not sitting, standing back, being afraid to, to move forward, procrastinating, worrying about failure. What if, what if? What if, but instead prepare yourself to some extent and then move and you’re going to learn and you’re going to correct and you’re going to continue and you’re gonna move forward and then something else is going to come your way and you’re going to correct and you’re going to move forward. And that will absolutely lead you to your success.
There’s no question about it. It’ll lead you to your goal, set that goal, it’ll lead you to your goal, but you’ve got to take action. So that would be my biggest challenge to anybody. Take action, read books, take seminars, prepare yourself, pull the trigger, jump out of the airplane, skydive, do it, just do it.
Connect with Robert Luxenberg
Rae Williams: How can people contact you if they want to learn more?
Robert Luxenberg: I think the best way for people to reach me would be through the website. There is a way to contact me through the website, whether you want me to speak at an event, which I’ve done and I will continue to do. I was just actually invited to speak at Tel Aviv University in Israel this November on exactly this topic to their business school.
So I’m available to speak to organizations, but I’m also available when people have questions. So the best way to do that would be online to start with. This has happened to me in the past where I did a presentation in front of hundreds of people and a lot of the people had questions and wanted to meet with me and take me out for a coffee. And obviously I just couldn’t do it with that many people. I actually had another event and sat down with them in a conference room and just to answer your questions. So there’s many ways to slice and dice this, but the way I would start is at the website, which is mindmoneyandwealth.com.
Get Real: Anna Crowe